This year BOSS is back at it again! Showcasing decades of different special effects techniques such as blue screen, projection and stop motion, the ad ends with a celebration of Japan's own form of expression: The specific style of miniature and suitmation work known as tokusatsu.
Take a look at the epic ad below, featuring new effects shots of the 2018 Shodai Godzilla suit:
The commercial ends with a brief blurb on Godzilla vs. Kong covid masks.
This video recalled the Golden Age of Hollywood, and Japanese film crews, who were inspired by the video revolution in 1930s foreign films, when various new expression methods appeared, searched for their own new expression methods. As a result, "tokusatsu" was born, which led to the birth of "Godzilla"
You can watch the BOSS commercial from 2019 below:
Which BOSS commercial did you like best? Which was the most inspiring? Sound off below.
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This article was written By G. H. (Gman) and published on 2021-05-27 15:01:02
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I doubt that much people would pay to see tokusatsu these days. CG can achieve everything tokusatsu can and do better, according to the director's vision. Also, building a miniature destructible city feels more costly than modeling one on a computer.
7amey, People still pay out the ears for Ultraman, Super Sentai and Kamen Rider. Besides, I don't really care how popular it is. Tokusatsu is more unique, special and artist than the fast-food, mainstream-ism of CG. Many filmmakers in Japan want to preserve tokusatsu for the artform, look and style. It's not about making something look realistic, it's about making it look unique unto itself. It's one of the reasons I got in to Godzilla and tokusatsu and it just feels more appropriate.
SarcasticGoji, Indeed. Who cares if it's not very popular. Most of my life Godzilla hasn't been very popular in the west, yet as tokusatsu it still sold out like hotcakes in Japan. Nowdays tokusatsu lives on more as a novelty and an artistic expression. Popularity isn't the point with it. Artistic integrity is.
Personally, I'd rather Godzilla go back to being a niche franchise that celebrates that aspect of Japanese culture, than just do what everyone else does. If it's not your thing? Then it doesn't have to be. There's five CG Godzilla titles for you in the meantime--One edging a little closer to tokusatsu than others, but CG nonetheless.
Kattozilla, Final Wars was still more tokusatsu than CG, but I don't mind it being implemented as a tool now and then. It's when it becomes a catch-all technique that it feels overused and, by extension, boring.
sonictiger, Very easily after those images. It's boring. It looks like every other CGI feature we see every weekend in whatever new blockbuster is being released. What's so exciting and new about something that's been used as a catch-all for thousands of movies in the last 20+ years? It just looks like every other movie out there.
There's definitely a time and place for CG. But it doesn't need to be every movie ever for every single effects shot ever composed. I love the Tarantino and Nolan are at least two western filmmakers that use very little to zero CG in their films. It really helps break up the different look of special effects.
Practical Effects have a lot to them. But I do think that movies do have it have a level of realism to keep them from laughing it off. This can be achieved with practical effects of course, I love the blend of Tokusatsu and real life footage in the Hesei Gamera Series, but I do love the fluidity of the CGI used in KOTM, G 14, and GvK. It makes godzilla seem more alive.
See this is what a lot of people miss about tokusatsu, to paraphrase Shiro Sano from GMK, it's not about looking realistic. It's about mood and atmosphere.
Most western effects, especially Hollywood are about representational art. Whereas tokusatsu is about presentational art.
See, representational art demands that special effects must recreate our reality and trick the audience into believing it's real. It represents how something might be seen in our world.
But presentational art creates its own reality where the visual world is vastly different from our own. It "presents" its own reality--Not unlike stage theater. Do the sets and costumes in stage theater always look 100% realistic? Of course not. It's not suppose to.
It's the same for Godzilla and the world that Tsuburaya created with tokusatsu. And this world allows stories that typically wouldn't work with representational art. It allowed all the crazy adventures with Godzilla, Gamera and Ultraman to exist.
Most western audiences believe that if something does not look "realistic" it must be a flaw. But that's not the case with ever culture. Because something doesn't look realistic, doesn't mean it's flawed, sometimes the goal is very different.
I think it's very important we examine the words of film historian/critic, David Kalat:
"That is not to say the effects look 'realistic,' but realism was not the point. American audiences conditioned to expect realism conclude that anything short of the goal must be a mistake. By contrast, Japanese art often values beauty, poetry, or fantasy above realism."
I don’t think that realism is against art or bad. Even fictional worlds can and should abide by their realism. I was just saying that CGI isn’t completely bad. And I think realism can help with the artistic value or message of the film. In Shin Godzilla, realism helped convey the message, The realistic CGI of Godzilla helps ground it in the world it’s in. I think if it had less realism with godzilla it’s message would have been depleted. Tokusatsu is great but it’s stiff and rigid. Shin godzilla’s movement resembles it, but has much more fluidity and articulation
The reason why I prefer CGI is the graphical details. The way Godzilla's pupils wriggled, his nostrils flaring and saliva sprinkling in his mouth while he roared. He just felt like a living, breathing creature. You can never make a sophisticated rubber suit to convey such a feeling. It's not just about realism, it's about the vividness of the iconic character himself.
Kattozilla, But likewise non-realism isn't against art either. Fictional worlds can abide by realism, but it doesn't mean they should. I also disagree with the assertion that the seriousness involved in the message and themes of Shin Godzilla couldn't have been conveyed via tokusatsu. It worked for the original film, Return of Godzilla and GMK. In fact Shin Godzilla was initially supposed to use practical effects and animatronics for Godzilla. And a great deal of the destruction sequences were miniatures.
7amey, Which is fine, but I prefer what Godzilla helped create. In Japan Godzilla is the king of an entire special effects style that spawned many other Toho sci-fi/kaiju films, Gamera, Daimajin, Ultraman, Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, etc. Under CG he's simply a pauper to stuff pioneered by James Cameron and Spielberg.
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