Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kitano Takeshi vs. Monster X, as refereed by Kawasaki Minoru

For a while now there have been vague mentions here and there of Kitano Takeshi's involvement in Kawasaki Minoru's latest affectionate parody "Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit!" (Girara no Gyakushu: Towako Samitto Kiki Ippatsu), in which third-rate kaiju Guilala lays siege to the conference of world leaders actually taking place in Hokkaido's Toyako this July. Now I can reveal at last that the Beat will be the lynchpin of the film's climax as Japan's saviour "Takemajin" (that's a concept sketch on the left), so don't rule out the possibility of this being his way of taking the piss out of Matsumoto Hitoshi's "Dainipponjin". It'll be his first appearance in a film other than his own since Sai Yoichi's "Blood and Bone" and the documentary "Arakimentary".

Takemajin is a deity that has protected the Japanese people since time began. He is brought to life by their pleas, whereupon he transforms from a 50cm statue into a 50 metre-tall, 10,000-tonne giant. When he powers up, his face changes.

Sound familiar? Shh, nobody tell Kadokawa Pictures.

Kawasaki has drawn on the talents of his frequent collaborators to bring Takemajin to life, namely manga artist Ebihara Yu ("Calamari Wrestler") for designing the character and Tsuboi Koichi ("Calamari Wrestler", "Executive Koala", "Crab Goalkeeper") for putting the costume together. He explained his reasons for casting Kitano thusly:

"In the past we've seen Takeshi-san do his costumed schtick as 'Takechan-man', 'Red and White Mask' and for the 'Trans America Ultra Quiz', and he's a guy who has an unsurpassed fondness for Japan's traditional art of costumery. Right now, at a time when Japan's distinctive man-in-a-suit monster films are in danger of disappearing, he's the only guy who can save this genre. I can say without a doubt that thanks to Takeshi-san, this'll be a film that'll make people say "Now this is a monster film that Japan can be proud of!"

"Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit!" opens in Japan this July, and the makers promise "a shock greater than the ending of Kurosawa Akira's 'Sanjuro'". Hopefully it'll be at least as cool as its old school poster. (source: Cinematopics)

Update: A terrifying glimpse of Guilala courtesy of Jason Gray.

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