Join the Director of ULTRAMAN on a journey into the world of “tokusatsu” – films featuring giant monster vs. hero in miniature sets (pioneered by the Godzilla generation at Tsuburaya) as he demonstrates the process, plus reflects on his life as a director at the heart of the action!
AKARI: Tokusatsu Re-imagined (a tv & film production-ready concept)
While developing the Narō course, in which Director Yagi guides you through the tokusatsu production and filming process, the creative team decided to try something adventurous: creating an entirely new Tokusatsu concept from scratch: AKARI!
With the help of talent from around the globe, Director Yagi led the effort in bringing the concept to life as a tokusatsu action scene. AKARI embodies and honors the tokusatsu tradition while seeking to break new ground in storytelling and visual design.
Debuting live at Tokyo Comic Con on November 24, 2022, the team will be seeking to bring this AKARI concept to film or television in the near future.
By supporting this project, you'll help increase the odds that we can turn this vision into a reality!
AKARI: Origins of the HENSHIN power
A mysterious alien species known as the CHI'SORA barely avoided a collapse of their civilization due to a revolution by a sentient AI. In order to survive that AI revolution, the CHI'SORA created a special "locked down" mind-machine technology that could transform the user into a giant warrior with enhanced physical and mental powers.
Aware of the universal danger such AIs represent, whenever the CHI'SORA discover a species (like humans on Earth) about to cross the point of AI singularity, they find a worthy being to bestow their henshin power on so that this person can protect their species against the perils of artificial intelligence.
In AKARI, the newest bearer of the henshin power will prove to be a young woman from Earth…
AKARI: Story Overview
2076. Tokyo. Technology has flourished, but the powers of governments world-wide have waned. Parts of the city have become “free (lawless) zones,” and a secret branch of weapons manufacturing company, TEPPO CORP, has taken advantage of these zones to conduct risky research on neural-hacking, DNA engineering, and semi-automated giant animal soldiers.
TEPPO CORP has been quickly progressing on research attempting to weaponize a giant creature – PYTHAGODON, a hybrid grown from a mix of kabutomushi, tardigrade, and dinosaur DNA. TEPPO CORP's goal: to make the creature stronger and superior to conventional technology-based weapons. When activated, PYTHAGODON is supposed to be rendered into a zombie state, requiring a human to "remote pilot" it. TEPPO CORP's research is also aiming to improve PYTHAGODON's mental ability with AI supplements that will enable it to instantly analyze attacks and predict enemy movements.
The research and development have been progressing much faster than the government or public realizes, with many physical supplements having already been incorporated into the hybrid's body (armor, guns/lasers). Recently, a number of scientists and employees working on the project have become increasingly alarmed by the creature’s AI supplements, as they partially override the need for full remote-piloting.
News of this work has just been leaked to the media by these concerned scientists. Large demonstrations and protests have been organized in response. Our heroine's boyfriend, HARUTO, is one of the protest organizers and leaders. As the protestors gather in the city, the creature appears and begins behaving erratically.
It seems PYTHAGODON has somehow been activated – and a renegade scientist, DR. SAKAI is implicated in a terror plot on the city. Police capture the scientist, believing they have stopped the threat and saved the day. However, PYTHAGODON's AI supplements have been evolving thanks to SAKAI's removal of some of the few remaining code safeguards. Will the successful protests and capture of DR. SAKAI turn into a tragedy?
As the AI singularity looms, the CHI'SORA arrive over Tokyo's skies, and our heroine AKARI, who has suffered a recent personal tragedy, is about to have her life further upended. Is she capable of assuming the mantle of Earth's new champion?
AKARI team 『AKARI』制作チーム
AKARI brings together an extraordinary creative team that blends deep tokusatsu tradition with global entertainment experience 『AKARI』制作チームは、特撮の深い伝統とグローバルなエンターテイメントの知識を融合させた素晴らしくクリエイティブなチームです。
Key cast 主なキャスト
Kanon Miyahara (AKARI) (宮原 華音) is a model and actor whose film and tv roles include: Nozomi Takai in Kamen Rider Amazons, Sakura Yamanami in High Kick Angels, a live-action portrayal of Saya Kisaragi in Blood-C series and Ultraman Z. She is a first dan holder in karate and judo.
Kazuki Hamatani (Pythagodon) is a Tokusatsu actor and stuntman whose credits include Prisoners of the Ghostland, God of War and Lost Judgment.
Key creative team 主な制作スタッフ
Yagi hails from the Waseda University Research Society, and has been a pillar of tokusatsu productions as a Japanese and international TV director/producer whose credits include Tsuburaya Productions' popular Ultra Series including Ultraman Gaia, Ultra Q Dark Fantasy, Ultraman Max, Ultraseven X, and Superior 8 Ultra Brothers (the highest grossing Ultra installment until 2021). Direct inheritor of the legacy of Tsuburaya Eiji. Has also worked on animated works such as SD Gundam Force, and horror pieces such as Urban Legend Sepia (Toshi densetsu sepia) and Spirit Demon Town (Reima no machi). Yagi is also the author of a best-selling book, The Golden Age of Tokusatsu (in Japanese).
Director of Photography
Alexandre is a seasoned director of photography across film & television, his recent projects include: Bake Off Japan (Amazon), and helming the Tokyo unit on an upcoming Hollywood action blockbuster.
AKARI character design
Matt is an artist for IDW's Godzilla comics since 2011, with work in Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters, Godzilla: History's Greatest Monster, as main artist for Gamera: The Complete Collection (2020) and more. In addition, he’s an accomplished Transformers artist, and worked with Tsuburaya Productions, on the Ultraman franchise, including an Ultraman pinball machine for Spooky Pinball.
井口 昭彦 PYTHAGODON kaiju design
Iguchi often referred to by his first name Akihiko (styled as 亜㐂比古), is a Japanese artist and production designer. He got his start as an art director for Tsuburaya Productions' Mighty Jack, and went on to design numerous vehicles and well-known kaiju (monsters), including classics like Toho's Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus.
Mad Dog Jones
Mad Dog Jones is the artist name of Michah Dowbak, is a multidisciplinary artist from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Dowbak rose to fame with the success of his Crash + Burn series, the “Replicator” series, Art Basel installations, and headlining at the first major NFT art exhibition at UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and has recently designed for Mercedes F1 Team.
Marbling Fine Arts
Tokusatsu model and character construction
Marbling Fine Arts is located in Tokyo and has been in the models and miniatures business supporting the Japanese film industry for over four decades. Marbling Fine Arts boasts a 90%+ share of the miniature effects business in the Japanese motion picture film industry, and does miniature effects on giant hero TV shows in China. Marbling has been nominated for Visual Effects Society Awards in Los Angeles in the category of “Outstanding Models/Miniatures in a Motion Picture.”
Todd was a consulting producer on the Emmy-award winning HBO hit series Silicon Valley. He has also edited several New York Times bestsellers and is a published poet.
Jordan A. Y. Smith
Jordan has produced and written for BBC Radio and is a poet (Syzygy), literary translator, co-founder of Cōem poetry-tech collective, curator (DIESEL Art Gallery), and literary / cultural studies researcher who has taught Japanese literature & pop culture at UCLA, Waseda University, Sophia University, and Josai International University.
Composer, Sound design
Darin is a lifelong audio creative who has worked on everything from mobile phone ringtones for Death Row Records to touring and audio engineer work for the legendary Thomas Dolby. Recent work includes collaboration with the poetry-tech collective Cōem, BBC Radio, and several music albums.
Yuichi is a seasoned professional at putting giant heroes and monsters on camera. He debuted in the tokusatsu field as a director of special effects in Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, and went on to serve as assistant director in many of the Ultraman series’ greatest hits and other animation and TV series.
Tatsuro has been a key player in stunt coordination and action directing in Japan and Hollywood, including serving as stunt man in The Last Samurai and Beverly Hills Ninja. He’s also acted in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series. Currently Koike serves as President of Alpha Stunts.
Practical Effects Director
Yoshinori is the technical mastermind behind the exploding buildings and life-like monsters seen on countless classic tokusatsu TV shows and film sets, including the Gamera, Mothra, and Death Note franchises. He now heads his own crew at Kikkousen.