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official toho and daiei spfx directors discussion thread ( discuss the spfx guru's here)

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MemberBaragonJun-07-2014 8:00 AM

hello everyone this will be a little topic where we can discuss the spfx teams from both toho and daiei studios, a little thread where we all can share our knowledge, and tell who are favorites where. :)

Looks like i'll go first. ;)

Eiji tsuburaya (1901-1970) Is the master of monsters, a man who worked so hard on not only godzilla films but also the ultraman era.

Eiji tsuburaya's work can be found in all of these films

1. gojira 1954

2. godzilla raids again 1955

3. rodan 1956

4. mothra 1961

5. the mysterians 1957

6. king kong vs godzilla 1962

7. mothra vs godzilla 1964

8. ghidorah the three headed monster 1964

9. invasion of astro monster 1965

10. godzilla vs the sea monster 1966

11. destroy all monsters 1969 ( was the manager at this time on the spfx )

12. godzilla's revenge 1969 ( would be his last, but helped ishoro honda on the spfx work )

Eiji tsuburaya had spawned a huge legacy, his work is helped brought these movies to life, a man who without a doubt is the father of special effects. :) ( RIP Eiji Tsuburaya)

Next up for me is the special effects guru from daiei, the man behind the cgi effects for the gamera trilogy.

Shinji Higuchi, a mad man so to speak on what will go down in histroy as some of the greatest special effects monster movies of all time gamera guardian of the universe through gamera 3 revenge of irys.

Shinji higuchi started off in the works with the return of godzilla 1984 while working with Mr. Explosion as i call him, though shinji was not a happy man at this time who could blame him, had he worked on the return of godzilla like he did with the trilogy the spfx would have been alot better. :)

Koichi Kawakita, the mad man behind the later heisei godzilla seires from godzilla vs. biollante 1989 all the way to godzilla vs. destroyah 1995.

After biollante didn't succeed to well, kawakita felt a burn that would engulf him into a horrible drinking problem, one that was almost cause suicide.

Enough with me though let's here what you guys have to offer. :)

http://hugeben.deviantart.com/  check out my gallery of Godzilla artwork! Follow me on Twitter@thebigbadben90.

6 Replies


MemberMothra LarvaeJun-07-2014 10:14 AM

Let me just say...


Eiji tsuburaya, for whatever reason, the movies he touched, they had a special feeling about them, and mood. It was like magic and he is my favorite. I don't know how else to describe it. They are always my favorite, and I can't figure out why there as a specific mood about them. Maybe, it was the *time* for it? Kinda of like Phantom Menace came about at the wrong time and seemed kinda of flat and hollow? 

G. H. (Gman)

AdminGodzillaJun-07-2014 11:54 AM

Some other notables that Eiji Tsuburaya did the genre were Varan: The Unbelievable (1958), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959), Gorath (1962), Matango (1963), Atragon (1963), Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965) and War of the Gargantuas (1966). During the early 60s the man was said to have gone behind Toho's back, re-arranged some numbers in their finacial books and bought himself some high tech equipment for his effects work, for example, an optical printer.

Tsuburaya also created his own production studio, Tsuburaya Productions, specializing in tokusatsu based storytelling. The studio is responsible for the highly successful Ultraman franchise which started the "giant superhero" craze in the late 60s and 70s.

Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla and Destroy All Monsters actually featured special effects by Sadamasa Arikawa, Tsuburaya's special effects cinematographer. Tsuburaya was credited as the special effects "supervisor" for those movies, but stuff like Frankenstein Conquers the World, War of the Gargantuas and his declining health kept him from being more hands-on with those last three Godzilla movies.

Ishiro Honda actually directed the special effects for Godzilla's Revenge, but gave credit to Tsuburaya out of deep respect for his friend whose health had deteriorated. Tsuburaya would pass away a year later.

Teruyoshi Nakano would take over the Godzilla series starting with Godzilla vs. Hedorah. He stayed onboard as series special effects director until his last Godzilla film, The Return of Godzilla/Godzilla 1985. During the 70s he was given far less resources than Tsuburaya because Nakano wasn't nearly as commanding or had the status as his mentor. He retired in 1987 and considers The Return of Godzilla his proudest work.

Koichi Kawikata, as Bigbadben pointed out, developed a drinking problem after Gunhed and Godzilla vs. Biollante didn't perform as expected at the box office. To what extent this problem affected his work is uncertain. Kawikata retired after his work on Rebirth of Mothra 2. He now owns a special effects company used for Japanese comercials and ads.

Kenji Suzuki was Kawikata's special effects assistant director during the Heisei Godzilla series and the first two Rebirth of Mothra films. He took the job as special effects director on Rebirth of Mothra 3, after Kawikata retired, and also did the special effects for Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Rumor has it Toho blamed him as a major reason for why Godzilla vs. Megaguirus did so poorly at the boxoffice. He was not asked to return. Suzuki would continue his career as special effects director for television tokusatsu and Ultraman Max. Eventually he got the director's chair for episodes of UltraSeven X and Ultraman Mebius.

Makoto Kamiya was Shinji Higuchi's assistant special effects director for the Gamera trilogy. Because Higuchi didn't like Toho's harsh production schedule he declined to do Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Kamiya took the job instead. It's the only film he's been credited for as head special effects director. He moved on to direct the CG animated Resident Evil movies and was effects supervisor for Gantz.

Yuichi Kikuchi was the special effects director for Godzilla against MechaGodzilla. It's also the only Godzilla movie he was head special effects director for. He was not asked to return to the series and instead became effects director for the Ultraman reboot, Ultraman: The Next and the follow-up series Ultraman Nexus. Though both were highly acclaimed, they were deemed failures. Kikuchi was last credited for directing episodes of Ultraman Mebius in 2006.

Eiichi Asada has been a part of the assistant camera crew as far back as 1973's Godzilla vs. Megalon. Having worked as a special effects assistant throughout the 1990s he was given the special effects director job in 2003 for Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. and again for Godzilla: Final Wars. Rumor has it he retired.

Great topic, Bigbadben!

"'Nostalgic' does not equal 'good,' and 'standards' does not equal 'elitism.'" "Being offended is inevitable. Living offended is your choice."


MemberBaragonJun-09-2014 1:46 PM

thanks gman2887, glad to know we both share the same knowledge and even more suprising to know that you know at little bit more than i do. :)

http://hugeben.deviantart.com/  check out my gallery of Godzilla artwork! Follow me on Twitter@thebigbadben90.

G. H. (Gman)

AdminGodzillaJun-09-2014 4:05 PM

It's informative and I think it's important for fans to remember the men behind all these films. I'd Daiei as well, but outside of Higuchi I don't know a great deal about their effects director history. I'd want to include their Show Gamera and Daimajin crew as well.

On a side note I always felt bad for Suzuki and Kikuchi. Although I'll admit vs. Megaguirus probably has the most bland effects work of the Millennium series, they weren't bad all the way through. Godzilla vs. Megaguirus had a lot more problems than its visual effects shots, but Suzuki took the fall for it and was regulated to television.

Kikuchi just had a run of bad luck-- Godzilla x MechaGodzilla was a solid action flick and Ultraman: The Next and Ultraman Nexus are two of the best Ultraman stories of the franchise. But Ultraman: The Next flopped at the boxoffice and Ultraman Nexus was cut short thanks to low ratings. It's a shame that Kikuchi's baically disappeared after he directed some Ultraman Mebius. He was a worthy talent to the genre.

"'Nostalgic' does not equal 'good,' and 'standards' does not equal 'elitism.'" "Being offended is inevitable. Living offended is your choice."


MemberBaragonJun-12-2014 2:39 PM


one movie we both forgot was the reinactment of pearl harbor that featured the special effects by eiji tsuburaya. Also i'll be looking around to see what information i can dig up on most of daiei's special effects director's as soon as i can.

Yes i agree with you it is very important for fans to remember these famous spfx directors, without their talent, the movies wouldn't be as good.


http://hugeben.deviantart.com/  check out my gallery of Godzilla artwork! Follow me on Twitter@thebigbadben90.


MemberBaragonJun-12-2014 2:44 PM

not to mention if kawakita had introduced king ghidorah before biollante, maybe he wouldn't have gotten his drinking problem.

One other movie i found out that had cgi effects to it that shinji higuchi did was death kappa, though he was not the main director of the spfx for that movie.

http://hugeben.deviantart.com/  check out my gallery of Godzilla artwork! Follow me on Twitter@thebigbadben90.

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