Interview with A Japanese Fan: Akira01Sum
Well, after a bit of a wait the interview with Japanese kaiju fan and youtuber Akira01Sum is finally here! Now, I must admit that some questions were omitted when editing the interview. This is because some questions were lost in translation. Plus, I would like to give a special thanks to those who submitted questions for this interview. Not all of them came through but I hope those that did will have a fairly pleasing answer. So, without further to do, the interview with Akira01Sum…
1. How long have you bean a fan of kaiju/tokusatsu eiga?
From the time when I was born.
2. How did you become a fan?
I felt sympathy for kaiju. They have no choice but to be an outsider. All because he's a monster.
3. When was the first time Japanese kaiju/tokusatsu fans started doing activities (fanzines, fan films, fests, ect.?)
I guess that they started 1933 when "King Kong" was released.
5. How has the Japanese kaiju fandom changed over the years?
The most notable change is that their average age may be 30 or older.
6. America has G-FEST. What does Japan have?
We have UL-FES. It's an ULTRAMAN-FESTIVAL. It started on 1989. But it's for children.
7. What are the popular fan-sites with the Japanese fandom?
8. Are there any Japanese film historians who have published books on the history of kaiju eiga?
There is Hirosi Takeuti. He published "Nihon Tokusatu eiga kenkyou 40 nen" on 2001. But it's not a study, but the author's love for kaiju.
9. Some American books, such as August Ragones Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters are sold in Japan. How has the Japanese side of the fandom responded to this?
August Ragone had researched thoroughly.
10. What is Godzillas standing in pop culture in Japan today?
Even today Godzilla is the symbol of the fetal power of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
11. It is popular opinion over here in America that the reason why the recent kaiju films (D-WAR, Guilala’s Counterattack) is because after 13 years of continuous kaiju films being released in Japan, the general Japanese movie going audience has lost their want to see more kaiju films. What is your opinion on this matter?
"D-WAR" is a Korean movie, and "Guilala’s Counterattack" is a comedy. These are very bad movies. That's all.
12. How easy is it to get kaiju merchandise in Japan? Could you give some examples or even
For example I can get it as a free gift of chewing gum.
13. What misconceptions do Japanese fans think American fans have?
Probably American fans don't think that kaiju has a relationship with the terribleness of the Pacific War. [Editor’s Note: I talked to Akria01Sum when news of the LP Goji film leaked. Apparently American’s observation of Godzilla as a force of nature is not really looked upon in a positive way, rather it is strictly allegorical. -EB]
14. What is the general feeling regarding Godzilla's enforced retirement?
Probably it is a little lonely.
15. What are the most highly prized collectibles for Japanese fans?
Each one is fantastic.
16. What did Japanese audiences think of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah? Were they offended by the WWII scenes like American WWII veterans?
Japanese audiences do not care about the WWII scenes at all. They purely and simply enjoy the movie as a entertainment.
17. How much bigger is the Godzilla franchise as a whole over there? Are there legions of fans wanting a new movie, or is it a smaller circle of fans like in America?
Perhaps it's size is 300 million fans. And most of them may want to see a new Godzilla movie.
18. Would they like to see a Godzilla vs. Gamera movie crossover be made?
I don't want to see such a movie. Gamera is a hero, Godzilla is a dark side of the humankind. They are thoroughly different.
19. What makes Ultraman so appealing in Japan? Like why is he still running so popular and
Godzilla isn't as popular or forced to go into hiatus every once in a while?
It's simple. A Child always likes him. He changes to be big and strong. In any time it is a child's dream.
20. What did the Japanese kaiju fandom think of the Cloverfield monster?
I don't know how they thought. I felt that the monster was a symbol of an act of terrorism.
21. What did Japan think of the Atari Godzilla games? Were they pleased, surprised, disappointed? What did they think of the online component of the Save the Earth game? Was it very active there for playing in Japan?
They were a disappointment. In the game Godzilla wasn't Godzilla.
22. Do they like Biollante?
They like Biollante herself. She is very terrible. But her essential character is a beautiful woman. At the point they dislike her.
23. What do the Japanese fandom think of the American fandom?
No difference. There are not two fandoms. There is the only one fandom.