Ultraman Saga Slated for March 2012: “You know, February’s just not gonna work for me, can we move it up?” – Ultraman Zero

Ultra Fist-Bump.

Tsuburaya Productions announced Wednesday that the movie Ultraman Saga, which commemorates the 45th Anniversary of the Ultraman franchise, will open on March 24th, 2012. The movie will play in both 2D and stereoscopic 3D in theaters in Japan.

The movie features Ultraman Zero, Dyna, and Cosmos as they fight to prevent the villanous Alien Bat from turning the Earth into his own personal laboratory with the help of Hyper Zetton.

-M.C., the Quantum Twin

 

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Ultraman Saga Clips Revealed: So the real hero is Tsuburaya?

We’ve got two clips from a Japanese morning news show featuring scenes from the upcoming third movie in the Ultraman Zero trilogy, Ultraman Saga, and it also features a little bit of promotional stuff for Tsuburaya. Eh, it’s there, just so you know. Now let’s get to the part you’re actually interested in!:

The movie premieres February 2012.

-M.C., the Quantum Twin

Ultraman Vs. Kamen Rider Blu-Ray release: Greatest crossover EVER. :)

After 18 years, the only crossover of two of Japan’s favorite superheroes, Ultraman and Kamen Rider, will finally be out on Blu-Ray and DVD October 26th.

Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider is the first and only crossover special between the two series, and includes clips from both series (from the original series all the way up to the then-current series of both), never before seen clips from both series, and assorted other clips. And to top it all off, a final, literally gigantic, fight scene with Ultraman and Kamen Rider fighting side-by-side.

Until now, the DVD release of this special was uncertain, due to the collaborative nature of the special. And there is word that some of the content of the special has been modified (hopefully, not too much). But, one of the new special features for the movie includes a conversation between Fujioka Hiroshi (Takeshi Hongo/Kamen Rider) and Kurobe Susuma (Hayate/Ultraman). That would be something to see.

-M.C., the Quantum Twin

That’s it! I’m sick of this! I officially declare war on Toei!

You know, I had planned on posting stuff on Kamen Raider OOO today, another one of my famous über-galleries where I was planning on uploading a bunch of pics that have come out over the last month, just to compensate for the lack of Kamen Rider posts. But them something happened that thoroughly pissed me off. Some of you have actually been clicking the links in some of my smaller side posts, including links to certain videos on YouTube. There are three in particular that come from YouTube user Grass Whoppers, all of which pertain to Go-Kaiger. Because of these, and other related videos, Grass Whoppers’ account was suspended by YouTube, on the grounds of copyright violation claims by, you guessed it, freakin’ Toei. This pisses me off for a whole lot of reasons: 1) Grass Whoppers, admittedly, was one of my biggest sources of toku news. 2) Grass Whoppers always listed copyright information, so that claim is completely bogus. 3) Grass Whoppers only uploaded informational videos, he/she/it didn’t upload episodes or music videos or anything like that (at least not frequently), most of his videos were basically slide shows with music, usually composed of pics from the web. No harm, no foul, right? WRONG! At least according to Toei. So now, I have three non-working links on my site, my main source of news is gone, and another account was taken down from YouTube for no reason because Toei has been such a douche.

And the worst part of this is, that it’s not just Toei. Tsuburaya, Media Factory, and every other major Japanese production company has been aggressively targeting major video sites on the web now for over a year, unfairly removing videos, suspending accounts, and basically acting however they please, simply because it’s “their” content. And most of the people they go after aren’t making any sort of profit, their just fans who want to share their passions/obsessions with the rest of the world. The real problem here isn’t that the people uploading this stuff is making money, it’s the fact that these companies assume that THEY AREN’T making money. How wrong are they?

The fact that these companies can go out and do this represents a bigger problem than pissed off fans. No, the fact is, that their ability to do what they’ve done so far over the last year is a real threat to net neutrality. Consider this; at the moment, they can only remove content from existing, popular media-sharing websites, but how long before they have the authority to outright find and shut down whole websites? Now mind you, no one would ever allow such a thing to happen, but that hasn’t stopped people from trying in the past. At the moment, the most they could do is sue websites that have their content, presumably without their permission. But even then, it would be beyond unnecessary and frivolous. At some point, somebody is going to have to challenge these companies from a legal standpoint, because they’ve taken this almost too far. When American companies tried to pull this crap, Viacom attempted to go as far as to sue YouTube for allowing “violation of copyright laws”, and Viacom lost their lawsuit against Google and YouTube, the ruling representing that fair use doctrine took precedence. I don’t know whether or not such a legal battle even took place in Japan, but it needs to. Anyone who understands anything about the internet knows just how impossible it would be to try to regulate any type or amount of content. These companies need to realize that the more they try, the more their eventually going to lose. If that means taking legal action against these companies, then so be it.

And with saying that, I hereby formally declare internet war against Toei Productions LTD, and any other company that would use the same tactics to regulate the use of their content online. By their actions, they have denied a greater, worldwide fanbase that can only get this content online, and denying themselves of what is essentially free advertising, since many people outside of Japan also buy merchandise related to these shows. Their actions have made it impossible for anyone outside of Japan to watch their content, and have made it almost impossible for anyone to even attempt to put their content on any major video-sharing website. I can’t even think of anyone with the nerve to upload subbed videos of either Kamen Rider OOO or upcoming Go-Kaiger. But that does not mean that we should stop trying, that does not mean that we shouldn’t blatantly defy these companies and force the issue to come to light, because this is a form of injustice, and like the very heroes these companies create, we too, should be willing to fight injustice when we see it. If I have to, I may even go as far as to download a subbed episode and put them online, whether it’s on my YouTube channel or here on this website. I’ve wanted to make my own videos for a while, why not start with that? I just rather it not have to come to that, because then I would need to either pay for a direct download, or get some sort of torrent player, and most of those just aren’t safe or worth a damn.

Be careful of your next move, Toei, because it could cost you dearly.

-M.C., the quantum twin

UPDATE: (2/16/11) Look, I know this isn’t one of my most liked post, in fact it was voted down by three people, but I just want to say that I stand behind what I said. I’ll admit, I wrote it in anger, but what about this situation isn’t angering. Let’s face it, their actions are driven by corporate greed, which is the same everywhere. I could delete this post, appeasing those of you who have expressed dislike towards it, but that wouldn’t change anything. It’s still going to happen, and is probably happeneing right now. That’s just my opinion, so you can love me or hate me for it. Either way, I still win because you’re reading this post in the first place. And if you’re really that worried about it, I’ll do that OOO über-gallery that I wanted to do before. And it turns out that Grass Whoppers got right back on the horse, just look for Whopper Productions. He/she/it re-uploaded some of the same videoes I had links for, so I’ll try to fix those. New posts coming soon.

Tokusatsu for Beginners: What is Tokusatsu?

If you’ve found this blog, that most likely means one of two things: Either you already know what tokusatsu is, and you’re looking for info about one in particular, or you’re just entering random crap into Google search to see what comes up. I say its most likely one of those two, because I highly doubt that you came here because you care about my opinion, otherwise I would have regular visitors (if you do visit regularly, please let me know). But on the off chance that your not in any of the groups mentioned, then there is a chance that you’re here because you just learned about the existence of tokusatsu and are curious about what it actually is, and Wikipedia isn’t quite giving as much information as you’d like. For those of you who seem to fit this categorey, this post is just for you! Because those other people already know or don’t care!

So then, where do I start? Well let’s start with the word itself. First off, its a Japanese term, which makes it cool by default. Second off, its actually a slang word for the Japanese for “special effects”, which works out well for those of us on the web, because we go crazy for slang. Tokusatsu as a genre really goes back to the original Godzilla film, which was one of the first Japanese sci-fi flicks, so it had to use a variety of special effects that were spectacular back then, but passé and cheesy by todays standards. In many ways, the way they setup the Godzilla movies is still used in tokusatsu today. Essentially, you have a person wearing a giant monster suit, parading through a scale model version of a major city, with the whole thing brought to life with a mix of on set and editted in special effects. This can be seen in any example of tokusatsu made since then. Essentially, the roots of tokusatsu lie in science fiction movies and television shows from the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.

Of course, when we think about tokusatsu series nowadays, we tend to think about superheroes, and not so much about about giant fake monsters, even though they’re still there. Though there were occasional superhero stories made in the 50’s in Japan, the first tokusatsu superhero is unanimously considered to be Ultraman. Debutting in 1966, Ultraman was an overnight success, proving the popularity of science fiction superheroes with younger audiences. Ultraman‘s popularity eventually led to the shows serialization, where it was followed by numerous versions to the series, each with their own Ultraman and their own storylines. But of course, Ultraman isn’t the only superhero in the world of tokusatsu. 

Because of Ultraman’s success, there was now a rush to produce another series that could equally compete with the popularity of the show. For a time, no one could compete with Tsuburaya Productions (the company that created Ultraman). There were many one shot series that were similar, and plenty of series that outright tried to copy the concept, but no one could match the success that Ultraman had gained. That is until 1971, when the original Kamen Rider debutted. Created by Ishinomori Shotaro, and produced by Toei, the series was part of a move to create more American-style superhero series. With the success of Kamen Rider and it’s many following series still being produced today, this formally introduced the transforming superhero to tokusatsu. With this also came the use of better, more elaborate special effects, a move towards more realistic, martial-arts movie style fighting, and the emphasis on a main villian who acts through minions. The main down side to this change was the shift away from the giant monster fights tokusatsu is known for, though this was temporary.

With the success of Kamen Rider came numerous other shows that tried to mimic the style, not only in tokusatsu but in other media, including anime and manga, leading to the creation of the five-man superhero team, which was brought to the genre through the Super Sentai series. Introduced in 1975 with Himitsu Sentai Goranger, it expanded the tokusatsu genre by bring a mix between the Ultraman-style giant monster fighting with the Kamen Rider-style realistic main-monster-and-minions fight. It also introduced the idea of the team dynamic to the genre, since before then most tokusatsu superheroes before then usually worked alone. And of course, like Ultraman and Kamen Rider before it, Super Sentai has felt success and had multiple versions since it was introduced.

Since its inception, tokusatsu has drastically changed, and yet stays very much the same, much like the people and culture that spawned it. From its origins in science fiction, its come to expand to incorporate action, adventure, fantasy, drama, and many other genres, though it tends to go back to science fiction and action. Even as special effects improve with time and technological advances, it will always come down to a person in a full-body costume.

-M.C., the Quantum Twin