shin ultraman

Hideaki Anno, whose anime masterpiece Neon Genesis Evangelion recently made its streaming debut on Netflix, is reteaming with his Shin Godzilla co-director to direct a new Ultraman movie. Titled Shin Ultraman, the live-action feature film is based “on the iconic 1966 tokusatsu TV series about a giant alien that battles space monsters to save the Earth.”

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best foreign movies and tv streaming now

(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best foreign movies and TV streaming right now.)

I’m doing something a little different this week in celebration of the Netflix release of Neon Genesis Evangelion, the seminal anime series that has launched a million essays and even more memes. This entry of Pop Culture Imports is themed to Neon Genesis Evangelion and its creator Hideaki Anno, including the acclaimed 26-episode series itself, as well as the follow-up feature films The End of Evangelion and Evangelion: Death (True). Also featured is Anno’s excellent kaiju film Shin Godzilla and an NHK documentary series on Anno’s mentor Hayao Miyazaki.

Fire up those subtitles (because we’re sub, not dub, people) and let’s get streaming.

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Evangelion on Netflix

Fandom is a religion that thrives on killing its own gods. In Neon Genesis Evangelion, there’s a passing line of dialogue that suggests self-destruction is the natural endpoint of evolution. The Japanese television and film series periodically evokes deicide with exotic Judeo-Christian imagery, such as god-killing spears and figures nailed to crosses. Yet it’s known for the line, “The fate of the destruction is the joy of rebirth.” Evangelion is a franchise that evolved to the point of self-destruction, only to be reborn, or rebuilt, numerous times over. Its latest rebirth is on Netflix, where it became available to watch last Friday.

The ability to conveniently view one of the greatest anime works of all time should be cause for celebration among U.S. fans, whose main avenue for watching the series since the DVDs went out of print years ago has been illegal streams, expensive copies from third-party Amazon sellers, or the sketchy online market of bootlegs. Due to licensing entanglements, however, the situation with Evangelion has come to resemble Star Wars, whereby the original, unaltered theatrical trilogy is unavailable on home media. Here again, the version that is out there for mass consumption is different from the one fans first experienced, with redubbed voices, new subtitles, censored relationships, and missing music.

The reaction on social media had been typically harsh, enough so that it almost plays right into Evangelion’s metaphorical god-killing cycle, as complaints drown out discussion of the anime epic’s lasting virtues and the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater all over again. What’s important is that the series is catching a wave of renewed interest, and as it finds a fresh audience, it’s ripe for discussion, particularly as it relates to themes of personal dysfunction, social withdrawal, and the intersection between fan culture and storytelling.

This article contains spoilers for the entire series.

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New Toho Studios ‘Godzilla’ Now in Production in Japan

Japanese Godzilla 2016

Toho Studios in Japan owns Godzilla, and licensed the character to Legendary and Warner Bros. for the 2014 film directed by Gareth Edwards. Toho ended its own giant lizard series in 2004 with the film Godzilla: Final Wars, but don’t think that doesn’t mean that the studio is beyond feeling competitive about the character.

A new Japanese Godzilla film, announced last year, is in production now for release in 2016. While the studio is being quiet about that move into production, the stated intention for the film is to outdo Hollywood’s version.  Read More »

Godzilla 2

Godzilla scribe Max Borenstein, who was brought back to script Godzilla 2, is speaking out for the first time giving us an idea of what we might expect from the monster sequel — and he’s throwing around words like “bigger” and “better”. Also we learn the details behind the hybrid visual effects that will make up Toho’s Godzilla reboot.

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Godzilla Empire scan 1

Right on the heels of Gareth Edwards‘ America reboot of Godzilla from Legendary and Warner Bros Pictures last year, Toho announced they would also be making a new Godzilla movie to open in 2016, two years ahead of Legendary’s Godzilla reboot sequel (scheduled for June 8th, 2018). Today Toho revealed the filmmakers/creatives for the upcoming movie, as well as the first teaser image for Godzilla 29.
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Nausicaa_1

There’s a good bit of “maybe, eventually” sequel news today; I’ll let readers decide whether the best story is Hayao Miyazaki saying that a Nausicaa sequel directed by Hideaki Anno (Neon Genesis Evangelion) would be OK by him, or whether the top spot goes to Chris Carter saying that he still wants to make a third X-Files film, and that he’d like Simon Pegg to appear in it, too.

In addition to those items, after the break you’ll find:

  • A few details on The Raid 2: Berandal,
  • Joy Ride 3 gets (an actor who played) Jason Voorhees,
  • A Haunted House 2 traps Jaime Pressly,
  • and new Insidious: Chapter 2 images.

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Hints About Two New Studio Ghibli Projects Revealed

This weekend marks the release of the first new Studio Ghibli film on U.S. screens since 2009. It’s called The Secret World of Arriety and besides being a very sweet, enjoyable film, the title is also a great way to describe the world of Ghibli itself. Everything about their productions is shrouded in secrecy. Then, one day, as if by magic, a lovely movie appears, beautifully animated for the world to see.

Due to that level of secrecy, it’s rare that any worthwhile information on a Ghibli project pops up before it’s good and ready. But today it has. After the jump, read some information about a Ghibli project involving a samurai and another potentially by the director of Evangelion. Read More »