Godzilla returns in Yokohama Exhibition Aug 17 - Sept 4
Godzilla returned to Japanese theaters with Shin Godzilla on July 29, and continues to bring in crowds weeks after its release. On Aug. 17, the Big Godzilla Special Effects Kingdom exhibition, co-sponsored by Dream Planet Japan and founded by special effects director Koichi Kawakita, opened at the Yokohama Landmark Tower Plaza. The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 4, is perfect for fans of Godzilla and monster enthusiasts.
Yokohama, famous for its picturesque architecture, shopping, music, and nightlife is also the backdrop for multiple Godzilla films including Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) and Godzilla Mothra King Ghidorah Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001). This extravaganza hosted by veteran Toho star, Akira Takarada, details the history of Godzilla up to the current film in the series. Shin Godzilla co-directed by Hideaki Anno Neon Genesis Evangelion and Shinji Higuchi Attack on Titan stars Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara and countless others.
The exhibit includes multiple areas for the enthusiasts and large-scale displays incorporating tokusatsu special effects from Toho Studios, one of Japan’s prominent motion picture companies.
At the entrance, a video clip of Akira Takarada, who starred in the 1954 groundbreaking movie produced by Tomoyuki Tanaka, with effects by Eiji Tsuburaya and soundtrack by Akira Ifukube, introduces you to the men behind Godzilla, the world’s biggest movie star in 2016.
This event unlike the 2014 show in Ikebukuro, Tokyo highlights only Japanese films and does not include references to the abominable 1998 TriStar release, or the 2014 Legendary Pictures movie directed by Gareth Edwards. Beyond movie props, sculptures, and models, this show culminates with the beast’s return home after a 12-year absence appearing last in Godzilla Final Wars (2004).
At the exhibition there are high-end goods for sale including a human-sized Godzilla statue, and a premier cash-only gift shop greeting you at the beginning and end of your tour. The store is well stocked with moderately priced t-shirts, toys, books, food, and various souvenirs.
The popularity of Godzilla and Shin Godzilla continues to grow while the import Godzilla Resurgence distributed by FUNimation Entertainment is scheduled to land on American soil later this year. According to some this Kaiju Eiga (monster film), loaded with political and social commentary, has reclaimed its rightful throne while being mindful of Godzilla’s past and future.
The feature film continues to turn patrons’ heads as new treatments are being planned on both shores. Director Koichi Kawakita respectfully commented in 2014 before his passing that, “Only Japan makes kaiju fantasy films.” Only in Yokohama can fans of such movies now see the reigning King of Monsters in all his atomic glory at the Big Godzilla Special Effects Kingdom exhibition, a fantastic museum for all ages.
The exhibit runs through Sep. 4 at Yokohama Landmark Tower Plaza hall 5th floor, with easy access from Yokohama JR Minato Mirai or JR Sakuragicho stations. Admission prices from 300-1,300 yen ($3-$13) http://www.godzilla-tokusatsu.com/
Edward L. Holland is the editor and founder of Monster Attack Team magazine, honoring Japanese Monster and Superhero culture. He has written for Stars and Stripes, Famous Monsters of Filmland, G-Fan magazine and appeared at various conventions and events in the US and Japan. www.monsterattackteam.com