Friday, April 23, 2010

Japanese Giant Monsters And Robots In The News 04/23/10

"Assault Girls" Coming To Blu-Ray In Japan On June 23rd/New Behind-The-Scenes Pics - A New "Gundam" Themed Cafe Opens - An Outside Review Of Nintendo's "Kaiju Busters"

Written By: Ken Hulsey
Sources: Undead Backbrain / Kotaku /Japan Times / Nintendo Life / Avery Guerra

Director Mamoru Oshii's "Assault Girls" is one of the slickest looking sci fi/monster films to be produced in Japan in recent memory.

The film follows the exploits of three virtual big-game hunters, played by the three stunning actresses Meisa Kuroki, Rinko Kikuchi and Hinako, as they stalk giant monsters in an imaginary world run wild.

The film, which was released in theaters last December, is packed with over-the-top effects and great monster action. Two facts that have lead to there being great interest in the film on this side of the Pacific.

Actually, 'interest' is an understatement, an unnamed Hollywood studio has already gobbled up the rights to do an American remake.

Here is the synopsis:

The story takes place in an in-game virtual space called "Avalon (f)", a barren desert-like battlefield, resembling a devastated world after a nuclear war. "Avalon (f)" is a world full of gigantic monsters. It is a fictional world where an endless "hunt", known as "play", repeatedly takes place. The drama centers around a sniper who pilots a camouflage fighter plane; a sorcerer who can freely transform herself; a woman fighter equipped with an assault rifle on a horseback; and a large-framed man equipped with an anti-tank rifle. There is also the "Game Master" who watches the players from the air.

In a world where giant Sunakujira (Sand Whales) monsters crawl the earth, storming battleships fly high up in the sky, and assault rifle muzzle flashes go off everywhere, can anyone shoot down the mutant monster, Madara Sunakujira (Spotted Sand Whale)? If so, who?!

"Assault Girls" will be released on Blu-Ray in Japan on June 23rd.

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos (next story after the break):

Everyone knows that the giant robot Anime, "Gundam", is simply huge in Japan, and that 'themed' restaurants and theme parks are as equally as huge.

So, should it come to any ones surprise that Bandai would open an official "Gundam Cafe" in Tokyo's Akihabara district?

Of course not.

The sixty seat cafe, which is filled with "Gundam" memorabilia, themed food and drink items, and videos on giant screens, opens tomorrow.

At a press event in Tokyo this week Bandai paraded out, what they think will be the "Gundam Cafe's" most popular attraction, pretty young female hostesses dressed in uniforms from the show.

That's mini-boots, knee-high stockings and mini-skirts gentlemen.

The young ladies will serve as hostesses, waitresses and the official 'face' of "Gundam" posing for photographs with visitors.

Though the new cafe is designed for a Japanese crowd, Bandai president Kazunori Ueno hopes that it will attract new foreign tourists as well, ‘‘The restaurant has the capability to entertain core and lighter Gundam fans, children, and female customers as well as customers from overseas.’‘

Here are some photos of the new official "Gundam Cafe" (next story after the break):

Kaiju Busters (DS)
Nintendo Life - Lewis Cave

Kaiju Busters (or "Monster Busters" as its effective English translation goes) is just one in a long line of monster-based video games that we don’t often get to see in the West. This handheld effort from Bandai Namco inevitably draws comparisons with Capcom’s massively popular Monster Hunter games, and in that respect already has a lot going for it: an RPG set in a fantasy universe, with a plot-lite storyline and plenty of fantasy monsters to slay along the way.

With Japanese popular culture seemingly intrinsically drawn to the colossal and bizarre, it might go some way to explaining the appeal of these games in the East. Now that Nintendo has seen fit to grant the release of Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 on the Wii for the US and Europe, perhaps now is as good a time as any to take a further look into this curious sub-genre. Intriguingly, Kaiju Busters is tentatively linked to the long-standing Ultraman serials in Japan, and although the man himself doesn't make an appearance here per se, this is in fact a spin-off storyline of the recent TV series, which focuses on the exploits of the Science Patrol team. A cheap way of shoehorning in a popular licence to an otherwise simple premise perhaps, but to the unaware it shouldn't make that much difference either way.

So, with all that out of the way, what's the game actually about? The Science Patrol explores distant planets, collecting data on the inhabitants and, most crucially of all, kills a lot of strange monsters in the process. Even in the name of science, there’s some questionable motives going on here, but we’ll ignore that for now. The game opens by designing and naming your own character – a space marine whose job it will be to descend onto the unknown planets and deal out all of the disconcerting slaying. Over time you can acquire all kinds of impressive and strange suits, helmets and weapons. Most of the creatures encountered are familiar enough already, but the ultimate aim of many of the missions is to seek out and down the over-sized varieties that essentially act as the bosses of each level. As you encounter these strange beasts, they are paraded across both DS screens, just to give them an even more impressive sense of scale.

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See Also: In The Absence Of Godzilla, Japan Has Had A Real Giant Monster Boom!

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.