Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Google's homage to Eiji Tsuburaya

In honor of Eiji Tsuburaya's 114 birthday, Google's homepage Doodle includes 10 mini-games about creating special effects for a Tokusatsu film. From helping an actor get into his costume to lighting a set, even setting up pyro effects.

Regarded as the 'Godfather' of Japanese special effects, and sometimes referred to as the Master of Monsters, Tsuburaya worked on approx. 250 films over the course of his 50 year career. Tsuburaya is the special effects director behind many of Toho's kaiju films, his most notable works being Godzilla and the Ultraman series.

Tsuburaya was a fan of the original King Kong movie and after the success of Godzilla, he said, "When I worked for Nikkatsu Studios, King Kong came to Kyoto and I never forgot that movie. I thought to myself, 'I will someday make a monster movie like that.'"

While working at Toho, he brought many monsters to life including Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, Varan, Gaira and Sanda from War of the Gargantuas. He even got to work with the character that was so inspirational to him in King Kong vs. Godzilla and King Kong Escapes.

Yes, King Kong fought a robot double called Mechani-Kong

So to honor Tsuburaya's contribution to Japanese cinema (and geek culture), Google paid homage to the SFX legend with a 10-part mini-game.

Where you build props:

Help an actor get into his costume:

Destroy the miniature buildings with a Godzilla-like tail:

Light a scene just right, with a monster that's a cross between Zoidberg and a Baltan from Ultraman:

Stomp miniature tanks like Godzilla:

Setting up the pyro effects for a scene with a giant robot:

Smash containers as a monster that's reminiscent of Gan Q from Ultraman Gaia:

Swat model spaceships out of the air as a giant orange:

Hook up the hero (who is obviously a homage to Ultraman) to his harness, so he can fly:

And center the camera to catch all the action!

Happy Birthday to Eiji Tsuburaya! And thank you to Google for honoring a true visionary who pioneered suitmation and some of the sweetest SFX that Japanese cinema has to offer.