Hideaki Anno, whose anime masterpiece Neon Genesis Evangelion recently made its streaming debut on Netflix, is reteaming with his Shin Godzilla co-director to direct a new Ultraman movie. Titled Shin Ultraman, the live-action feature film is based “on the iconic 1966 tokusatsu TV series about a giant alien that battles space monsters to save the Earth.”
Variety reports that Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, who co-directed the award-winning 2016 smash hit Shin Godzilla, are reuniting to direct Shin Ultraman, a feature film adaptation of the beloved 1966 tokusatsu TV series (read: “special effects”) that follows a giant alien who battles space monsters to save the Earth. In his downtime, the alien takes human form to live as a normal person.
The new Ultraman movie, which was announced by Anno’s animation house Studio Khara Thursday, comes on the heels of a Ultraman resurgence. A 2011 Ultraman manga brought the story to modern day and was adapted into an anime series that debuted on Netflix earlier this year. Though the property is little known internationally, Ultraman is a pop culture staple in Japan, spawning countless TV series, video games, comics, and movies. To adapt it into live-action again is a responsibility that Higuchi is taking seriously, the co-director said in a statement.
“A baton has been entrusted to me that has been shining ever since I was small child,” Higuchi said. “I will solemnly strive to fulfill my responsibility to pass on that heavy, radiant baton created by my seniors.”
Anno is currently busy working on the final installment of his Remake of the Evangelion animated film series, Evangelion 4.0 Final, but once it’s complete, he will devote himself full-time to Shin Ultraman, according to Variety. Tsuburaya Production, Toho and Khara are producing the film, for which Anno will act as scriptwriter for Higuchi’s production unit. It’s a division of labor that worked wonders for the duo in Shin Godzilla, a searing and heartbreaking bureaucratic satire that did justice by another iconic Japanese franchise, and won the team the Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture. If anyone can tackle Ultraman, it’s tehse two.
The film is set to star Masami Nagasawa, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Takumi Saito. The Shin Ultraman release date is set for 2021.
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