H.G.C.O.R.E. – New Generation V3 edition

V3 and Chainsaw Lizard

One of my favorite toy blogs, Charab Life by Sappii, has some high-quality photographs of the newly released H.G.C.O.R.E. set. This is actually the first time I’ve ever seen Chainsaw Lizard, which I think looks nice. It’s neat to see a vixen-type female villain in the new movies as the original Kamen Rider was pretty much a male-dominated series.

In any case, more pictures at Charab Life: Part 1 (V3 THE NEXT, Sakurajima Rider 1 THE NEXT, Rider 1 THE NEXT), Part 2 (Chainsaw Lizard, Den-O Climax Form, Den-O Liner Form, Crab Bat Kaijin)

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Minami Kotaro’s jacket worn on RX sold on Yahoo! Auctions

Minami Kotaro’s jacket

I was looking for jackets that resembled Minami Kotaro’s in Kamen Rider Black when I stumbled upon an expired item on Yahoo! Auctions Japan. For sale was a genuine, screen-worn jacket that you see above, worn by Tetsuo Kurata himself on Kamen Rider Black RX!

The auction took place on 7/29/07 and ended on 8/5/07. Disappointingly the photo that was attached in the auction details have disappeared, but you can see that the auction started at 120,000 yen (just over $1000), had 8 total bids and ended costing the buyer 141,000 yen ($1230). Looking at the bidding history reveals that the item was barely won, as the last bid was 140,000 yen – a 1,000 yen difference, roughly $9 – ouch!

Original auction item page

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Kurata Tetsuo opens official website

Kurata Tetsuo Official Website

Kurata Tetsuo, the star of Kamen Rider Black who played Minami Kotaro, has recently celebrated his 20th anniversary in breaking into the entertainment industry. After completing Black and RX (which is still the only Kamen Rider sequel in history), he continued to work in television and film, concentrating on drama and period dramas (or jidaigeki).

After all these years Kurata now has his own official website, which came online on 9/1/07. You can join his fan club (6,500 yen a year, roughly $56) and receive exclusive goodies listed below:

What you get when you join:

  • Membership card
  • Access to members-only website content
  • Members-only magazine
  • Membership anniversary 2008 calendar (limited to first 300)
  • Birthday card with Kurata Tetsuo’s autograph

Members-only website includes:

  • News and rare information on Kurata Tetsuo
  • Video messages from Kurata Tetsuo
  • Kurata Tetsuo’s online journal that includes secret information about Kamen Rider Black
  • Downloadable content such as wallpapers
  • Exclusive goods only purchasable by members

The site embraces his Kamen Rider Black roots, which I think is great. The remade red Golgom symbol is pretty awesome, which Kurata himself designed for this website. The design is also available as a shirt (in the Goods section). I’ve read on an unofficial fansite before on how fans should skip Kamen Rider altogether and rent his other works, which I thought was idiotic and ignorant, considering that was his groundbreaking role. You can even see the masked hero proudly represented in the Gallery section!

Visit the Official Kurata Tetsuo Website

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Release: Kamen Rider Black Episode 35

Shadow Moon

Kyoko carries the wounded Kotaro to safety from the wretched Birugenia. Birugenia, in search of Kotaro, wrecks havoc on the city to lure Kotaro out. Meanwhile, the High Priests are now nearing death, and are greeted to their new master – Shadow Moon!

Kamen Rider Episode 35 thumbnails (possible spoilers)

You can download the episode in the Downloads section or Watch it Now!

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 3/11

3/11 (Sunday)
Today we filmed a scene of Shiro’s company “Excesstreme.”

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 3/11V3, Kazami Shiro, is a charismatic and young president of a IT company. Excesstreme is a fictitious name, and these names and settings are sometimes thought up by the assistant directors. We also are assigned to “searches” on occasion. For instance we found out what an IT company offices look like, that they don’t have a set time to come in, jokers don’t wear neckties and wear colored glasses and suspenders, desks are covered with presentation materials (many floor plans), most commonly used PCs are ThinkPads, etc.
For this assignment I had a friend in the IT industry tell me his experiences.

Back to Excesstreme. Scissors Jaguar, played by Taguchi Tomorowo, is usually a gentleman in a suit. When he transforms, he becomes a violent kaijin with giant scissors.

The Riders and Kaijin are designed with Izubuchi Yukat-san’s illustrations. With that as a base, we have the Rainbow and Takeda Dango-san’s costume teams make it a reality.
Oh, those who hasn’t watched “THE FIRST” may think that they say “Henshin!” and make a pose during transformation. However, in “THE NEXT” the Riders and kaijin either snap on a mask or put one on. This is how Ishinomori Shotaro sensei originally envisioned it. It is “Masked” Rider after all.

In any case, Excesstreme becomes a victim of Shocker’s plan. Tomorowo-san and Shocker breaks into the building and the employees are trapped inside. Tomorowo-san is wearing a protective mask and usually we use a boom microphone, but the audio technician put a pin microphone on him so that they could get a sense of being inside the cramped helmet. When I viewed it in the editing stages I figured out what they meant.

Nearing the end of the scene, we called for those who wanted to be “stepped on by Tomorowo-san!” 3 brave, masochistic souls volunteered. They were impressively stepped on many times in the final shot. Many extras hope to become an actor someday, so making a positive difference in the production is also happiness to them.

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 3/11

[Translated by Pal. Originally posted on 10/19/2007 @ Kamen Rider THE NEXT Official Blog]

Kamen Rider THE NEXT now in theaters

Kamen Rider THE NEXT

Kamen Rider THE NEXT is playing in theaters in Japan as I type this. I’m so jealous!

UPDATE: If you’re like me and have to wait a few months for the DVD release of Kamen Rider THE NEXT, you can read Igadevil’s detailed reviews (spoiler-free and spoiler-laden) to wet your appetite. Check it out!

[Note: I wanted to post this yesterday (10/27), but as you may have noticed, the website has been down for the last few days. My web host was upgrading things and ran in to some troubles, so it was out of my hands. It’s all fixed now, so here we go!]

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Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 3/6~9

3/6 (Tuesday) ~ 9 (Friday)
On the fourth day we were at the development site of Nikotama for a huge action shot!!
This is probably the most important action scene in “Kamen Rider THE NEXT.”

Bike action, car action, Rider action, elaborate explosions… it’s a barrage of action scenes. There are many things I could talk about, but I’ll talk about Scissors Jaguar since it had the most impact on me personally.

In “THE NEXT” we use a HD camera made by Panasonic called the Varicam. This camera can shoot in a way very similar to traditional 24P film, but we use even less frames for action. For example, the normal frame rate is 24 framer per second, but for action scenes we film at 18 or 20 frames per second. Do you know what would happen if you played that film at 24 frames per second? Since it has 4 or 6 less frames per second, the movements seem faster. Using these techniques enhance the speediness that make action scenes so exciting.

I got carried away on the introduction there, but the battle between Scissors Jaguar and Kamen Rider is impressive even at normal speed. I’m the one with the clackers, which means I’m really close to the actors, so it’s just amazing! So amazing! My head was so hot with excitement.

The bike action was handled by the Bushi Racing (Warrior Racing) team.
The scene where a car drives into the restaurant was also exhilarating. There were 2 cameras in the building and another in the car, a 3 camera 1 take battle. You can’t make mistakes on these kind of shots, so the staff’s nervousness is heightened. We thought through the shot several times and filmed once everyone was ready.

There are many more action scenes.
Please see these amazing scenes on the big screen!

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 3/6~9

[Translated by Pal. Originally posted on 10/15/2007 @ Kamen Rider THE NEXT Official Blog]

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 2/28 (Wednesday)

2/28 (Wednesday)
Today we filmed our first wire action scene at the pier.
In this scene Hongo is approached by Shiro and gets punched, thrown far into a pillar. Action scenes aren’t handled by the acting crew. Action is the lifeline of the film, so they’re handled by the pros. The most important thing in this scene is timing Kikawada-san jump and the pulling of the wires. There was a mistake in the first take, but we got an OK on the second. Kikawada-san hit his bottom pretty hard on the first take, but he kept going with a smile. The spirit of an actor is truly impressive.
(There is a foam mat in the photo but it’s removed for the actual take. Kikawada-dan hit his bottom on the concrete…)

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 2/28 (Wednesday)

Tonight we just moved locations, this time to a cafe where Kotomi and Okamura, the Chiharu Fanclub chairman, meets. We got the owner of the cafe to play as an extra.

This is most likely the scene where we had the most retakes.
As a car moves across the camera the focus changes and a white hand rises from the back seat. The white hand was created by the makeup crew. We had an actor lay in the back seat of the car, but the timing of when to take out the hand, how the hand was introduced, or issues with the camera forced many retakes. It took a pretty long time since the car had to be moved back to its origin every retake, but in the end we got the shot that we were looking for. I felt as if the director taught me to “never compromise and aim for perfection.”

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 2/28 (Wednesday)
[Translated by Pal. Originally posted on 10/2/2007 @ Kamen Rider THE NEXT Official Blog]

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 2/27 (Tuesday)

2/27 (Yuesday)
Today’s scene takes place in Kotomi’s apartment.
It’s a night scene but we filmed it with the “crushing” technique. Crushing is done by covering up daylight and changing the aperture of the video camera, allowing for shooting night scenes in midday. It was such a tiny, tiny place that I could smell a good scent of someone’s leg. When I used the clackers I was in the closet like Doraemon.
In today’s scene Kotomi starts a conversation with Hongo while opening a bag of snacks and throwing a roll of toilet paper. Whenever an actor misread the script or the director said “once more time!” the filming crew had to hand them a new bag of snacks, roll up the toilet paper to its original state and hand it back to the actor.
When there are many NG (note: No Good, outtake, blooper) scenes and only one prop is left, our hearts are racing, thinking “please, let’s get it right this time!” and wait for the camera to start shooting again.

After the indoor shoot we prepare for the outdoor shoot. Unlike the indoor shot we can’t crush this shot so we waited for the sun to go down and then shot. Basically waiting for the night. Since the indoor shot was completed, the props and decorations are taken down. We called the other staff to help out and to take everything back with the transportation group.

Although the staff all like being in one place, we don’t work slowly. We concentrate on the job at hand to cut unnecessary time. After that day’s duties, that’s when the staff can freely communicate to each other. First we talk to our superiors in our respective groups, then people from other groups whilst keeping an eye on the director and eating snacks that the production crew gave us… It’s basically break time for the staff.

Kamen Rider THE NEXT Production Diary: 2/27 (Tuesday)

[Translated by Pal. Originally posted on 9/28/2007 @ Kamen Rider THE NEXT Official Blog]

NG Kamen Rider Black suit

Kamen Rider Black NG Suit

NG, or No Good, is a term that Japan uses for outtakes and other non-usable footage/idea/item. Kamen Rider Black didn’t always look the way he does now, as you can see above. This suit was actually used for live shows at the Tokyo Toy Show (for how long is a mystery). Our hero dons a super-shiny suit reminiscent of newer Riders like Kabuto and Den-O, silver joints instead of the organic brown veins, and a yellow circle around his neck. This look wouldn’t have fit the role very well (looks a little too pretty), but it’s a pretty modern look for the late 80s – look at that gloss!

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