Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ninja Film

Went to Toho of that ninja film I worked on last year.

The real shocker was to learn that the rating board in Japan has issued it “ a “G” rating. This means viewers of all ages will be able see it.  As for the fate of the film, it seems it will start making the rounds early next year, but don’t quote me on that. But until I get the subs done it’s not going anywhere… I’m working on it! I’m working on it!

In the audience for the screening was Ju-on director Takashi Shimizu. Afterward I noticed he was walking around clutching a copy of my book “Zombie Maniacs.” I asked what he thought of it and Shimizu was beside himself with praise. Honestly, I was quite surprised. Shimizu always plays things cool, often going so far as to hide behind silly observations and jokes. Uncharacteristically, he was full of compliments and said he was grateful to finally have this kind of information on Romero’s zombie films in Japanese. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was the first time in the 14 years I’ve know him that he gave ME fannish eyes!

Once the screening was done, I went to the studio next door and crashed the “Attack on Titan” wrap party. Some of the ninja staff and cast were also involved with it, and of course since it’s basically a tokusatsu film I already know many of the staff. So, the first thing I did was get several ice-cold beers, a couple of slices of pieces, and a bunch of sushi down into my belly to start the night off right.

“Norman, I bet you’re wondering why I didn’t use you in the film,” director Higuchi said upon seeing me wandering around. “I mean, you are the first foreigner in any of my films. In fact, you are the first actor in any of my films!” Honestly, I was just hoping for some kind of post-production work. “It’s cool,” I said. “I don’t care about that. What I was wondering was if…” Higuchi cut me off. “I knew it. You are curious why I didn’t use you in the film, I mean, after all, you were the first…” etc etc. “No,” I insisted. “What I am hoping is…” This went on back and forth until it was clear we were both drunk and now was not the time to talk about anything serious.

Well, for various reasons, this year has seen me making the most trips to Toho since the Godzilla film “Tokyo SOS.” This is, of course, good. My years on the Godzilla set are an important part of my life and I want to have a good relationship with Toho.

In this vein, and to wrap this blog entry up, I was invited to an intimate Godzilla staffer get-together recently over in Ginza by one of my biggest supporters over at Toho. Put on by long-time Godzilla producer Shogo Tomiyama, the party had 3 Godzilla directors, a few assistant directors, an art director, a suit maker, marketing staffer, and one of my favorite scripters in the business, etc. Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to be there. After all, all I did was hang out on the Godzilla sets. (Well, this isn’t necessarily true…) 

Oh yeah, and after the "Attack on Titan" party I caught up with some of the ninja movie staffers who were drinking by Seijo Station. Both Shu G (camera) and Ota (lighting) worked on my last film "New Neighbor". Two pals who are great at what they do and an inspiration to watch when on set.

Well, until next entry...


  1. Hello, Norman! I need your help! =)
    Where can I find your movie "New Neighbor"? I'm a big fan of Asami and would like to see it, but can't find it anywhere. The same problem is with other Japanese movies. So hard to find them, especially with subs...
    Thank you!

  2. Thank you for your comment and your interest in my film.
    At the moment I haven't worked out a way of releasing "New Neighbor", but I hope to over the next six-months (or less). When I do, I'll be sure to write about on my blog.

  3. Hey Norman, this is a really cool read. Any way you can post a quick logline about Ninja War of Torakage? I've been scouring the internet for details, but have so far been pretty unsuccessful!

  4. Hi Max,
    I don't really know what's going on with the Torakage production at this point so it's best I don't write anything plot wise for the time being. However, I suppose it will be playing within the next six months.