August 12, 2011

The Japanese superhero Ultraman and the Ultra Seven were created by the company Tsuburaya Productions. That company was itself founded by Eiji Tsuburaya. Godzilla, Radon, Mothra, and lastly, the Ultra Series itself – this company produced an incredible amount of works which imbued the genre with enough realism to capture the imaginations of the children of my generation. During the company’s heyday, Japan was the major superpower in the special effects world but since Starwars, that mantle has been taken by Hollywood.

Stories weave together the light and shadow of our times. In Eiji Tsuburaya’s time, Japan was still awash in the anxiety of the post-war period. These anxieties then took the form of yokai and were used to express adults’ concerns to their children. Shigeru Mizuki’s Ge Ge Ge Kitarou also used this same mix of social commentary, narrative, and yokai. Soon after, Japan entered into the age of the bubble economy and began heeding the rallying cry of economic globalism: “economics is the one true faith.” The idea of monsters and yokai as a metaphor for shapeless anxieties lost its impact. Instead, these monsters and other characters began to populate video games, where they became the allies and friends of children, filling in the communication void that existed between children and their parents. Now, however, in the aftermath of the disasters of a few months ago, Japan is once again enveloped in worry and unease.

What is a nation? Who bears responsibility for the mistrust we feel toward our politics? Why can’t we stop the advance of nuclear power? The powerlessness I felt in my childhood when faced with the structure of the cold war and the fighting in Vietnam, the sense of urgency that it wrought, have returned these past months. We are no longer in need of “monsters” living next door who serve as symbols of our loneliness. We have once again entered into an age that needs yokai and fearsome beasts. Jellyfish Eyes is thus a work with post-disaster Japan as its theme.

We aim to present a passionate message, free of duplicity, to the children of today. In the center of this photo is production member Yuji Sato.

Thanks for everything from location scouting to organizing the overall team.

Extras on the move

This is how we will continue pushing the shoot forward.

Yuta Okuyama from Special effects. Yuta has been busy creating an array of creatures. On the right is assistant producer Nanae Yoshida from Nishimura Eizo.