MM9 (2010)

Shinji Higuchi - after a year of a hiatus (unless you count him being the executive producer and part camera man on GEHARHA) from making his Kurosawa remake THE LAST PRINCESS - is coming back to the science fiction genre in a big way with a new television series entitled MM9 (Monster Magnitude 9). This will mark the man marked "The Second Tsuburaya" and the "Heisei special effects king"’s first divulgence into television drama.
The basis for the television series would be the MM9 stories by science fiction writer Hiroshi Yamamoto. The stories were originally published like manga in separate issues of Tokyo Sogensha’s magazine "Mysteries!", published in a circuit of 2005-2006. A year later, the stories were compiled into one complete book. The story that the book series tells is one of Ultraman-like style - kaiju are part of everyday Japanese life, usually shrugged off as a usual natural disaster. To combat the kaiju are the Science Patrol-like Kitokutai section of the Japan Meteorological Agency use their smarts to do battle with the daikaiju threat.

Clues of this television series’ production were hinted at back on April first when a picture which was said to be part of a production called XX9, which was later said to be a joke. However, it was a hint at this series. Now, the series has been officially said to be premiering on July 7, 2010 on MBS and will start releasing episodes on a weekly basis.

Writing for the show is Kazunori Ito, who at 56 is not only a veteran science fiction writer himself, but also was one of Higuchi’s colleges on the Heisei Gamera series. Doing directorial duties is Kiyotaka Taguchi, another past college of Higuchi on GEHARHA and also directed the popular independent film G. Another director will be Tomoyuki Furumaya, a 3 time award winning director who’s most current work was writing and directing the 2010 film BUSHIDO 16. Another director mentioned was Ataru Oikawa, known for works such as "Tomie" which was given a nod to in the two recent Ju-On films, showing his status in Japanese cinematic culture.

The cast will consist of 17 year old award winning actress Anna Ishibashi and 28 year old Machiko Ono, playing the characters Sakura Fujisawa (the rookie) and Mochizuki (person responsible for Sakura’s training) respectively. Also in with the cast is Issei Takahashi (KILL BILL VOL. 1, ULTRA Q: DARK FANTASY, DETROIT METAL CITY), Yasuhi Nakamura (JU-ON 2, ONE MISSED CALL), Satoru Matsuo, Sarutoki Minagawa (KAMEN RIDER 555, OTAKUS IN LOVE), Takako Kato, and Yutaka Matsushige (GODZILLA 2000: MILLENIUM, RINGU, RASEN, PRINCESS BLADE, ONE MISSED CALL, K20: FIEND WITH 20 FACES).

Seems to be a good production with some good talent. Can’t wait!

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