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Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla / 1993 version / B1 / Japan

12.04.13

Poster Poster
Title
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
AKA
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (alternative title) | Gojira VS Mekagojira (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
1993
Director
Takao Okawara
Starring
Masahiro Takashima, Ryoko Sano, Megumi Odaka, Yûsuke Kawazu, Kenji Sahara, Akira Nakao, Kôichi Ueda, Leo Meneghetti, Daijiro Harada, Tadao Takashima
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Masahiro Takashima, Ryoko Sano, Megumi Odaka, Yûsuke Kawazu, Kenji Sahara, Akira Nakao, Kôichi Ueda, Leo Meneghetti, Daijiro Harada, Tadao Takashima,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
Artwork
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1993
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Noriyoshi Ohrai
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40.5"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

A colourful montage on this Japanese B2 poster for Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, which was the 2oth film in the series featuring the King of the Kaiju (giant monsters) and was marketed as the 40th anniversary of the series. The film was also the fifth release in the second generation of Godzilla films, which were part of the Heisei era of Japanese monster movies (daikaiju eiga). The monster movie eras are named after the Japanese emperor at the time, so the first generation of Godzilla films were part of the Shōwa era. Despite sharing the same title with a 1974 film, this is neither a remake or a re-imagining of the earlier version.

The story sees the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center (UNGCC) created in order to stop the legendary monster. Two machines are manufactured from the salvaged parts of Mecha-King Ghidorah, a mechanised abomination last seen in 1991s Godzilla vs King Ghidorah; one is a flying gunship called Garuda and the other is the titular Godzilla-like robotic beast. When a mysterious egg is discovered on an island in the Bering sea, both Godzilla and Rodan – the irradiated pteranodon seen in several previous films in the series – appear and battle over it, allowing a team to escape to a research centre in Kyoto. When the egg hatches it is revealed to be Baby Godzilla (AKA Godzilla Junior) and once again the legendary Kaiju is summoned to Japan by its psychic powers. The UNGCC decide to mobilise their new defence weapons and both Rodan and Godzilla are pitched against the metallic foes.

The artwork on the poster is by Noriyoshi Ohrai who is something of an enigma, even in his native Japan. I’ve been unable to find much about him beyond a few pages like this one on the Star Wars Wookiepedia. He’s responsible for a number of Star Wars posters, including this lovely 1982 B2 to celebrate the release of the Japanese dubbed version of the original film and the brilliant design for The Empire Strikes Back.

Ohrai painted a poster for each of the Heisei era of Godzilla films, which were always accompanied by a photographic-style poster. I will be adding more of the Ohrai Godzilla posters over the coming weeks.

The other Ohrai posters I’ve added to the site so far can be seen by clicking here.

A Boss with the Samurai Spirit / B2 / Japan

30.06.11

Poster Poster
Title
A Boss with the Samurai Spirit
AKA
Kapone no shatei, yamato damashi (Japan - original title)
Year of Film
1971
Director
Takashi Harada
Starring
Tomisaburo Wakayama, Minoru Oki, Willy Dorcey, Seizaburô Kawazu, Ryôsuke Kagawa, Kikue Môri
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Tomisaburo Wakayama, Minoru Oki, Willy Dorcey, Seizaburô Kawazu, Ryôsuke Kagawa, Kikue Môri,
Type of Poster
B2
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1971
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
20 5/16" x 28 11/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

I’ve been unable to find out much about this film, other than this profile on IMDb, but it’s a really striking poster. It has a USA title so it must have been released outside of Japan at some point.

Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion / B1 / Japan

06.07.15

Poster Poster
Title
Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion
AKA
Gamera 2: Region shurai (Japan - original English title)
Year of Film
1996
Director
Shûsuke Kaneko
Starring
Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Ayako Fujitani, Hiroyuki Okita, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yukijirô Hotaru, Hatsunori Hasegawa
Origin of Film
Japan
Genre(s) of Film
Toshiyuki Nagashima, Miki Mizuno, Tamotsu Ishibashi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Ayako Fujitani, Hiroyuki Okita, Yûsuke Kawazu, Yukijirô Hotaru, Hatsunori Hasegawa,
Type of Poster
B1
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
Japan
Year of Poster
1996
Designer
Unknown
Artist
Unknown
Size (inches)
28 12/16" x 40 7/16"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
--

Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion is actually the 10th film to star the turtle-esque daikaiju (giant monster). The first film in the Showa period, entitled simply Gamera, was filmed in black and white in 1965 and released a year later in the US as ‘Gammera the Invincible’. Subsequent films during the Showa period were all ‘Gamera vs…’ a different kaiju and ended with Gamera: Super Monster. Fifteen years later the series was rebooted during the current Heisei period with Gamera: Guardian of the Universe.  Attack of the Legion is set a year after the events of the last film and begins with a meteor crashing into a mountainside that is carrying swarms of an insect-like extraterrestrial.

Soon after the city of Sapporo is covered with strange plants and it becomes clear that the creatures are nesting underneath the city and encouraging them to grow into a giant flower in order to form a kind of launchpad for another meteor-like spore to be blasted into space so they can colonise another world. Just before the creatures are able to trigger a launch explosion that would flatten the city, Gamera flies in and tears the flower out by its roots. Soon he is battling the smaller creatures, which a soldier nicknames Legion (after the Biblical demon army), as well as a gigantic queen which bursts out of the ground and flies off to try and create a nest in another city. Before long Tokyo is being threatened by the creatures and Gamera is all that stands in the way.

The film was a critical success in Japan and was followed in 1999 by a sequel called Gamera 3: Awakening of Irys.

I’m unsure who is responsible for this artwork but I’m confident that it’s not Noriyoshi Ohrai, who painted several fantastic Godzilla posters. If anyone has any ideas please get in touch.