Interview with “Monster Attack Team‘s” Edward Holland and Michael Keller

Along with the promotion of the resurrection of legendary fanzine "Monster Attack Team", I have had the special honor to interview the editors-in-chief of the magazine, Edward L. Holland (also known as Edojira) and Michael Keller. I hope this interview is thorough, if not informative on the resurrection. Do take note that Bolgger seems to have an officinal problem when it comes to clumping large amounts of text together which are supposed to be spaced apart, so if you develop disdain, feel free to go ahead and leave your e-mail via comment and I am sure to give it to you. Enjoy!

1. When and under what circumstances did the revival of "Monster Attack Team" come under?

Ed: MAT was revived with the hard work and reinvestment by original contributor and associate editor Mike Keller.

Mike: It was my idea. Basically, it came out of the fact that I've been employed as a graphic designer for a little while now. I use all this software at work and at home. I have all these resources and equipment, plus I'm a hell of a lot better at this stuff now than I was back when we were doing MAT. It occurred to me that we could have really used all of this when MAT was active, it also occurred to me that there were things I'd still like to write about, or see written about. I contacted Ed and told him that I wanted to do another issue, and he agreed that it was a good idea.

2. When establishing "MAT", what goals did you guys set?

Mike: I'll let Ed answer this, as he is one of the founders

Ed: When MAT was established there were no definite guidelines or by-laws, but I had a clear idea of what I wanted to present and in what fashion. I wanted to bring fans together via television and print media and branch out a bit. I wanted it to be a fan club and fanzine like none other. We never took it too serious and wanted to bring things to our network of friends not seen elsewhere. I believe we continue to do so today.

3. What impact did other fanzines like "Japanese Fantasy Film Journal" and "Markalite" have on "MAT"?

Ed: JFFJ and Markalite had an effect, particularly Markalite. I bought every issue of Markalite when they came out and I believe I wrote to their offices as they were preparing issue 4, which unfortunately never came out. I have stayed in contact with August Ragone and Bob Johnson since those days. Back when Ultraman Powered was being shot in Burbank, CA Markalite, Oriental Cinema, and MAT were invited on the set. It was quite an honor and Markalite and MAT were fortunate to be there. At the same time, MAT was invited on the set of Power Rangers while the first season was being filmed.

Mike: They set the standard. Personally, I don't think JFFJ has ever been topped, though Markalite did come close.

4. How many contributors are returning and how many are new?

Ed: Mike knows more about the lineup, but many have returned and there are many new contributions too. I have not brought as many things to this issue as I would like to due to job and family commitments, but I am very thankful that our original crew is basically all back together. I always thought of our contributors as a team and felt that Monster Attack Team really fit our method of promoting the genre and Japan.

Mike: About half and half. I'm really proud of the contributors we have in this issue. We have multiple published authors in our ranks, and everything they've given us is of the highest quality. We also got some people who were pretty involved in the fandom in the 1990s to come out of 'retirement' for MAT 8, so to speak.

5. How did the advent of a TV series come into play?

Mike: That's Ed's department...

Ed: The cable access TV series actually started first. I was approached by Larry King, not the Larry King of CNN fame, but a real fan in his own right that approached me at Larry Lankford's Dallas Fantasy Fair convention and asked if I would like to have a show on Dallas cable. Both Joe Riley (Church of the Sub-Genius, Jimmy Neutron, Blade: Trinity, Mighty Joe Young, makeup/latex mask master) and I said sure. We had worked on a Fred Williams movie and an MTV commercial and we thought it would be fun. The fan club/fanzine sprang from that.

6. Did any competition come up between "MAT" and other fan organizations/fanzines?

Mike: No. We came out of that whole '90s milieu pretty unscathed. We never bought into any of the con/fan wars. We never turned anyone away and everyone was welcome. We were friends with people who hated each other!

Ed: There has never been a spirit of competition between MAT and any other Japanese tokusatsu group that I know of. In fact, some of the groups we featured articles, etc. from were at odds with each other during the original publications. I hope those waters have subsided now. We did not care if people were at odds with each other. If you are still doing something to promote these great shows you have stood the test of time and we applaud such efforts

7. With the TV show, you showed a lot of copyrighted clips. How was it working with Toho, Toei, and Tsuburaya?

Mike: We probably shouldn't address this, but I'll let Ed answer if he wants to.

Ed: Well we did not really work with the studios to show those clips but the studios including Toho knew about us and NEVER once complained. However, during the Alien Death Squad cable program days, a show started by David May, kind an offshoot of MAT, we actually got some Tsuburaya clips officially which were going to be used on a PBS special that we were interviewed for but I never saw the finished product. I don't think I even have those clips of Ultraman 80 which I received in the mail from Ultracom, Tsuburaya's American division years ago. Great show by the way!

8. Other than fanzine articles, what other contributions have you done for the fandom?

Ed: I have been heavily stating the artistic and surreal value of Japanese film and television shows to anyone who will listen since I was 6 years old. I have done this on shore, at sea in foreign countries, at bars, schools and particularly with my old film school colleagues. If an ear is bent I will fill it up with my admiration for my childhood and young adult heroes. I guess I have never grown up, the whole Island of the Lost Boys syndrome so to speak.

Mike: Fan articles and art are all I've done for fandom. I've had things published in G-Fan, Kaiju Review and Oriental Cinema.

9. When writing an article, what mindset do you put yourself?

Mike: I think I write articles a lot differently now than I used to. I certainly hope that I've gotten better! I do a lot of revising and re-writing. It's important to me to have all my ducks in a row. I won't identify something as a fact unless I can corroborate it with another source or witness it myself. Ideally, I would like to do as much original research as possible for a piece - though sometimes that just isn't possible

Ed: I usually work on a deadline and cram as much in as I can possibly and add a fan edge to it as well. First and foremost I am not an authority. I feel there are no authorities except for the creators of these great productions. Those that feel they know everything can never walk in the shoes of those that live it and breathe it for a living.

10. Do you practice a particular "style" of writing?

Ed: I do not practice writing. I write these day in a military manner and maybe I should adopt that style for the pages of MAT. I don't prefer too much authority in pieces that I enjoy on the genre, yet on the other hand I don't like too much subjective writing as well. I was trained to pass college level grammar, but I am a big abuser of comma splices.

Mike: I would like to think that I have finally arrived at my own style. I used to try to imitate the styles of others, but that doesn't get anybody anywhere. I try to steer away from goofiness - but can't help cracking the occasional joke or delving into sarcasm when the situation presents such an easy target. I do not write 'kaiju fan-wank' anymore (what if Godzilla ate a lobster and took a crap on a dead sea-slug and lightning hit it, blah blah blah...). I'm very embarrassed by some of the things I've written in the past. This issue will not contain anything of a fan-ish nature, or any fiction.

11. Do you think "MAT" has aged well in terms of for example, some issues becoming sought after collector’s pieces due to information kept in them, ect.?

Mike: Content wise, we had some pretty good stuff - good enough that's its been reprinted elsewhere. We were the first ones to write about tokusatsu in popular music, for example. Also things like Ed Godziszewski's Daimajin piece were really popular. I think that visually, our last couple of issues were pretty amateurish - that's something that will be rectified in #8.

Ed: I think MAT has aged as well as possible. We are not a fine Merlot by any means, but the members have been around the block seen things, some of them have released books, worked on dvds, played stages, authored articles for other fanzines and beyond. I think people have kept the old issues as a reference of the shows and time gone by. We are not at that level in fandom or professionally anymore. Most of us have larger responsibilities. The fan boys grew up but we never left our roots behind.

12. Where do you project "MAT" is going to go into the future?

Ed: I hope that MAT will be remembered for what it was, is and continues to be: a group of friends writing, discussing, showing what great events are happening on the other side of the pond. Doing this prior to the internet explosion was a labor of love. Our original members who have their membership packets are holding onto something that has never been done, or will be done again. Our original members received a newsletter, personally numbered fan club card, and the biggest prize a mockup of a SD hero or monster as a pin selected by me and hand painted by Joe Riley. To me this was as good as a fan club has ever come to honoring the masters. "Ultra" Joe Riley relaxes in the monster graveyard in the sky with many other legends now and I know he is looking down from more comfortable digs thinking about what we started. Issue 8 is dedicated to you brother!

Mike: No immediate plans. The magazine will not be coming back regularly. We are all too busy and have original creative endeavors and careers to focus on. Plus, printing costs a good chunk of change!

13. What new ground do you think could be broken in terms of kaiju journalism as of now?

Mike: There are always new things to discover. We have information in Issue 8 on some pretty obscure films - stuff that I'd never heard of before. I won't reveal any more until the issue has gone to press. We haven't mentioned everything we've got on the website. I'd like to see people continue to turn over rocks and dig up some new info. The Teito Monogatari series really needs a good English language retrospective, and somebody should try writing about the Watari films.

Ed: New ground? Hmm... maybe a platform for writers to actually write for screenplays and treatments for episodic television and animation. Everyone loves monsters in some form or fashion. As kids, we would pretend like we were on Monster Island and we would even get the girls to join in on the fun. As adults we saw Gamera and Godzilla in American theatres. How about more fan generated treatments with heavy weight stars and special effects done the western way with Japanese budgets and production efficiency?

14. As a fan, I got to ask: on the upcoming article on Kinji Fukasaku, how much information on the film "Satomi-Hakken-Den" will be included?

Ed: Please direct this question to Mike Keller. I don't know how much of that film content will be addressed in the piece.

Mike: Equal time will be devoted to all nine of Fukasaku's films that involve SF or fantasy - The Black Lizard, The Green Slime, Message From Space, Virus, Samurai Reincarnation, Legend of Eight Samurai (Satomi Hakken-Den), Crest of Betrayal, Battle Royale and Battle Royale II.

15. Any last words you would like to share with the fandom?

Mike: It would please me to think that issue 8 of Monster Attack Team will someday be looked at with the same reverence as those old issues of JFFJ. I also hope this serves as a shot in the arm to the fandom, and more people step up to the plate and try to out-do what we've done. I would love to know that we have inspired people to come up with great things, and I hope someone picks up the ball and runs with it.

Ed: Last words: Make it fun, entertaining, informative, a bit light-hearted and approachable for all and someone to read or watch. Even people at first who hated our cable access show continued to watch because they had not seen anything like that before in such a format. If it is not fun or entertaining for you then it will not be so for anyone else. Do your best and if you fall down trying to make a difference or promote your cause, at least you tried and can be proud of your efforts. Thanks for interviewing us and I hope that our readers old and new will enjoy the ride. Tanoshimasho!
You can visit the new site for the ressurected fan site here: http://www.kellerwerks.com/MAT.html
We at JournalismG2KM would like to thank "Edojira" and Mike for taking time out of their schedules to take the time to talk to us. Arigatou!


It's not "Cloverfield 2", it's "Robot-Cloverfield"

Robot Chicken has finally showed it's last new episode for the series, and what a better way to end than with a kaiju-oriented sketch? Apparently, it acts like social commentary on the film "Cloverfield" itself. We see the Statue of Liberty’s head bounce around on New York City’s streets. Not to mention we see awesome scenes with the Cloverfield monster, so good that it looks like they used Hasbro’s $100 toy for it instead of making a cheap clay model for stop motion reasons. This would be the first time that they used a kaiju toy for the actual kaiju appearance, since the kaiju models have mostly been re-casting of Bandai toys (most specifically the Bandai movie monster series Shodai-Goji figure).

As I said, it is social commentary which is brought out with this sketch. People start shouting out rejections like "C’mon man!" and "Dude, it’s only been 8 years since 9/11, not cool." This sounds to be like protest against the film itself, though I bet the animators meant that they humans were talking to the Cloverfield monster directly, because that is what happens. Cloverfield apologizes in a way for the melee he has wrought by building a metal structure out of the 9/11 memorial structure pieces and tops it with an American flag. Everyone seems happy, and right before he leaves, Clover throws a Cloverfield jersey on top of the crowd watching him.

This is a whole hell of a lot better than the faux "Cloverfield 2" trailers. A whole lot better.

Another bit of news - albeit three month old news - is that David Kalat said at G-FEST ’09 that he is editing his book "A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series". He is currently fixing errors (like the conflicting information about who originally bought the US rights to Gojira in 1955), adding information, and even doing sections on the Millennium series and may even do another supplemental part which fills in about how kaiju/tokusatsu eiga is doing and how it did between 1995-1999 (even maybe some mention of G2 and G3, like how he did with G1). I seriously think that if he does this correctly, his re-edited version of his book could be the present day "Japan’s Favorite Mon-Star". Though some may claim that Kalat’s observations are far fetched and that he is seeing too much into some of the films - like "Gigan" having commentary on how kaiju stay popular/stay a cash cow. This something which I will anxiously wait for.

Finally some news not related to Bandai Creation figures and Blu-ray DVDs. And as a note, the interview with Michael Keller and Ed Holland of the one and only "MONSTER ATTACK TEAM" fanzine is still going to be done. I currently have Matt’s answers and awaiting Ed’s. I ask readers to be patient. I hope that all who read the interview (when it will be posted) will post a comment saying thank you to these two men. Obviously, they are cutting time out of their lives to do something for the fandom and to do this interview is also a real blessing.

Finally, as a reminder, this Saturday the Atlanta based "Plaza Theater" showing the classic "Rodan". As SciFiJapan reported, it is Ed Godziszewski’s print. Under these circumstances, this screening is a historical event for kaiju/horror/sci-fi fans alike. Hope to see you there. Since the cat is mostly out of the bag, I am going to document the event under the name "OPERATION RODAN". If you would like to be on camera, please contact me via blogspot or forum.


Blu-Ray 3rd Line and HMV Tie-ins

I mentioned on the Atari 8 days ago that there was a rumor on many Japanese sites about the third wave of blu-ray releases. Thanks to GVAMP with Atari and Tohokingdom, the rumor was true. The new wave is the rest of the Heisei series plus "War of the Gargantuas". Each of the Godzilla releases are the same as the original DVD releases except for the enhanced audio and picture quality. What is a good thing though is that "War of the Gargantuas" has a more "gargantuan" sized repertoire of special features, including what could be roughly translated as "watch the snap shooting scene" (・X・i・b・v・ナ・マ・・・B・e・サ・・・フ・・・i) and "Synthetic Steel Collection" (a steel book perhaps? ・・・ャ・X・`・[・・・R・・・N・V・・・・). If anyone has better translations, please post at the bottom of this blog entry.

In other news, HMV is doing what they do best: capitalizing on new releases. Kind of in the way they gave us accouple more variations of the 8" Kiryu-Goji 2004 version, they are giving us some more. Order now and you will receive a replica dorsal fin off of the Heisei suit, a film canister with some kaiju related goodies, and I think a book filled with text and images with the cover being the same of a G2K booklet released some 10 years ago. And if you order later, you get a free wallpaper for your computer. Not many details could be made out. Here are some links for your considering.

HVM Link:

Toho's Site:

Again, special thanks goes to GVAMP.


Fanzine Ressurection: MONSTER ATTACK TEAM


Before the internet, we had a phenomenom in which we did not only have one kaiju/tokusatsu fanzine to subscribe to (I am mentioning "G-Fan", though you could also count "Japanese Giants" if you count their occasional every 3-5 year new issue), but many. One could be with "G-Fan", "Markelite", and others at the same time. But there is one name which comes to my mind: "Monster Attack Team". While they died out at the end of the 20th century, they are back! They have a new site (see link above) and a new issue comming out this December. There is alot more than kaiju and tokusatusu eiga in there. Here is a full rundown of the new issue:

-The History of Kamen Rider
-Working for Ultraman
-An exclusive interview with Tak Sakaguchi (VERSUS!)
-The Last Dinosaur
-Partying Godzilla-style
-The Fantastic cinema of Kinji Fukasaku (SATOMI HAKKEN DEN!)
-Japanese monster toy mayhem
-Fantastic tokusatsu poster retrospective
-Super Heros!
-Japanese rock and roll!
-So much more!

Stay tuned for more (hopefully)!



Less than 24 hours ago, August Ragone posted on his blog (link to it is to the right of the blog) news on a new magazine publication which has to do with Toho Kaiju Eiga - "Toho Visual Effects DVD Collection". Here are some pictures taken from the issue reguarding the classic "Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster". There accouple of more photos at the official site - which August has a link to on his blog. But as you can see, this is awesome. Good luck trying to find a person who is going to import this stuff to you though.


Updates 9/10/09

I am happy to announce that in just 16 days, two weeks two days, the Plaza Atlanta will be making kaiju theatre history by showing RODAN. As reported by SciFiJapan, the print is on loan from kaiju film historian Ed Godziszewski, in which Sean Linkenback is the middle man between. In case people didn’t know, Sean Linkenback is one of the more prominent kaiju fans from the south. He used to run Showcase Collectibles - a walk in kaiju store which you could also order via internet from - in Atlanta, Georgia till it went out of business. He is most known for writing the book "An Unauthorized Guide to Godzilla Collectibles", which for the time was an awesome book which consisted mainly of a list of merchandise with pictures and pricing. He now runs a memorabilia shop which sells kaiju memorabilia from the Showa series, but also has a lot of posters and lobby cards from the golden age of American cinema - including Universal horror.

As a developing journalist, be expecting a written report on the event. But also there is going to be a video on it. I shall be shooting footage from the event and such. A fellow youtube friend - who is going unnamed - is going to be contributing. Sometime after the showing, be expecting a video (estimated duration of 40 minutes) and a written report. Hope to see you there! This is a once in a lifetime chance to see this film! This is not a digital projection but actual film! Come see a golden age kaiju film the way it was meant to be seen: in film format in a grindhouse theatre! Once in a lifetime opportunity! For a prieview at what the experiance may be like, see my memoir of the Plaza Atlanta's previous kaiju outting from six months ago, GMK.


Toho's Blu-Ray DVD Promotion and Other Stuff...

I wonder about how many of you actually check the official site for Toho’s blu-rays. If so, the news part of the site (accessible at the toolbar at the top right corner of the screen) has been bustling with all sorts of information. The newest piece of news would be on the advertising of the discs, which blows what Kadokawa is doing (by having a good looking Finaro-Goji suit in the store display instead of re-using a promotional suit from 1995). A picture from Toho’s official site is below. Notice the display shows DVD cases for both announced lines of the blu-ray releases.

Reguarding the display itself, it is in Akihabara and a rough translation of the site seems to say that the suit is the actual shooting suit from "Godzilla: Final Wars". And notice in the background the Gamera display).

Toho’s official site also seems to be showing stills of their "Gojira" release’s menus and a look at some of their special features. Take a look! (images in form of links due to their large size).

Scene Selection:

Special Features

Special Feature: Story Board Comparison

Blu-Ray Exclusive Feature

Just a reminder, here is the rundown of Toho's Special Features for their "Gojira" BD release (translation by James Ballard):

1. Theatrical Trailer (HD quality)

2. Akira Ifukube Interview (SD quality)

3. View Storyboards with Picture-In-Picture [NEW FEATURE!]

4. New Version of Godzilla's Theme (HD quality) [NEW FEATURE!]

5. See Original Filming Locations With Snapshots (tentative) (HD quality) [NEW FEATURE!]

6. Oxygen Destroyer (HD quality) [NEW FEATURE!]

7. Audio Commentary (Akira Takarada)

Wondering who is in charge of the people who are graciously making the blu-ray variations of our beloved Toho-owned kaiju eiga? Their names are…

Production Manager Haruyasu Yamazaki

Masaaki Murai

Taono (rest of name does not translate)

Blu-Ray Disc Advisor Enami Masanori

Blu-Ray Disc Advisor Kazuki Yokota

For the past two months, they have been doing "Roundtables" (as of date, there are only two), in which they post comments concerning their work on the official Toho concerning the blu-ray discs. Sadly, the translated version of the two pages is so unruly that it cannot be deciphered. If you want to take a gander, highlight the text from this link: http://www.toho-a-park.com/tokusatsu-bd/news.html and drag it to WordPad. Copy and past the text from word pad onto translate.google.com and then go for it.


Classic Media... More Classic Mistakes

Remember the original "Classic Media... Classic Mistakes" article from Henshin Online? Well, the title of this article is a throwback to that.

Though no real surprise, Classic Media really does disapoint with their newest Blu-Ray release. Sure, we were expecting it but they could have pulled off a surprise for the fans. Honestly. I know that Toho charges for all of the diffrent images and videos the companese use for their discs but I do not think that the payment for the usage of the new remastered and RESTORED version of GOJIRA would be that more costly. Major letdown Classic Media. For future refrence, please get the new prints. Though you guys most probrobly don't care about fan responce at this juncture.


New Photos of Kadokawa's Blu-Ray Set for the Gamera Trilogy

Yep, it has happened. The Gamera trilogy blu-ray set is out. It is out in three different variations. First, we got a cover with Gamera showing off his blown off stub of a right arm. Then there is a purple colored still of Gamera after he has landed in Kyoto for the final battle with Iris. Then we got one which showings a still of Gamera and Iris battling. Well, the good part about this is that we can now show the back of the blu-ray box and all three variations of the Blu-Ray box. Here are the stats. And don’t forget: IT IS IN STORES NOW! BUY THEM NOW!

Statistics (all prices switched to US currency)
Price (Box): $90-$120 price range
Price (Individual): $51.70
Street Date: 8-28-2009
Subtitles: Japanese
First Press: 3D Lenticular Cover
Packing: Black Armary for Blu-Ray
Sounds: PCM 5.1 Surround
Label: Jesnet1050p HD

And do not forget that this set has a new 3-part documentry on the making of the Gamera trilogy, including interviews with SHUSUKE KANEKO and Tomoo Hariguchi.

Kaiju Movie Review No. 4

To start off the month of September, we got another one of Kuroneko-Sama’s Kaiju Reference listings!

Reference(s) No. 4:

TV Reference(s):Godzilla vs. Gigan – Nebula Space Hunter M Aliens

Gamera vs. Guiron – Alien women

Show: Red Dwarf

Season: VI

Episode No.: 1

Episode: Psirens

Plot Summary: After being awoken from a 200-year period in stasis, Lister, Rimmer, the Cat, and Kryten are faced with the seemingly impossible task of relocating Red Dwarf and Holly. Flying in Star Bug, Kryten announced that they have located the Dwarf’s vapor trail. Their pursuit, however, takes them into an asteroid belt in which they discover reside cockroach-like extraterrestrials that want to eat their brains!

Reference(s): I have found several references within this episode. Whether they were in their on purpose or merely coincidental, I cannot say. However, owing to the fact that Red Dwarf continuously riffs a vast majority of science fiction icons, such as Star Trek, it is likely that the following were inspired in some way by daikaiju eiga:The first reference that can be found is the nature of the extraterrestrials – called Psirens – in the fact that they are, put simply, overgrown cockroaches. This models the Nebula Space Hunter M aliens in the respect that they, too, are overgrown cockroaches.I call this episode a reference to the Gamera vs. Guiron female aliens in respect to the method in which the Psirens utilize to lure their victims. Such as the Sirens of mythology, Psirens lure their victims by way of hypnotic attraction and making their victims believe they are facing either an awesome object of love and affection or, in the case with Lister at one point, a friend or companion that can be trusted. The female aliens of the Guiron film use this similar method by making the boys believe that they are merely beautiful, benevolent women from another planet. As with the Psirens, their true intentions are sinister and, to say the least, rather distasteful, as in both incidents, these extraterrestrials seek to consume the brains of their victims, though their rationalizations to this practice may differ.

Credit for Reference(s): Kuroneko-sama

Film Reference(s):Godzilla

Film: Toy Story 2

Year: 1999

Plot synopsis: While rescuing a toy from Mom’s garage sale, Woody is stolen by the man in the chicken suit from Al’s Toy Barn! Buzz and the gang set off to rescue the cowboy, but not just from the Chicken Man, but also from another toy!

Reference(s): As with the first Toy Story film, Hamm pokes at Rex with Godzilla references several times, even calling Rex Godzilla on one occasion in the film.Credit for Reference(s): Kuroneko-sama

Other reference(s):Rodan

Media type: novel

Title: It

Author: Stephen King

Plot Synopsis: An evil exists in the town of Derry – several years ago, a group of kids thought that they had rid themselves of it. Now, as adults, they must fight it again.

Reference(s): There is a point in the novel in which one of the boys in the main cast is watching the film Rodan with his father.Credit for Reference(s): Kuroneko-sama