Nezura 1964 (2021)
Persistence. Determination. Tenacity. This film. (ねばり こだわり がんばり これぞ映画)
— Tagline, Teruyoshi Nakano
Nezura 1964 (ネズラ1964 is a Nezura Ichikyūrokuyon)2021 crowdfunded tokusatsu kaiju biopic written and directed by Hiroto Yokokawa, with special effects by Chusuke Nezu. Produced by 3Y Co., Ltd. in cooperation with Kadokawa, it is inspired by the troubled production of Daiei's unfinished Gamera the Giant Monster precursor Giant Horde Beast Nezura and features several cast members from the Gamera franchise. A preview of the film premiered at Ikebukuro HUMAX Cinemas in Tokyo on December 19, 2020, with the full movie released to theaters on January 16, 2021.
November 4, 1963. By order of the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health, special effects director Yonejiro Tsukaji carries two boxes of condemned rats into a field. At the suggestion of Daiei CEO Yuichi Nagano, he douses them in gasoline to shorten their suffering before lighting the boxes on fire. Yuichi is overcome by a vision of an enormous rat-like monster appearing from behind the flames.
July 25, 1963. Assistant director Kazuaki Yukawa introduces a documentary he will be shooting about an upcoming Daiei film. At the first meeting, Yuichi's son Shigeo, who is also a producer at the company, stresses the need to come up with a fresh idea to complement their existing franchises. Special effects director Yonejiro Tsukaji suggests a lavish monster movie. Yuichi is impressed and approves it, although director Mitsuo Muraoka points out that one of their competitors just released its own monster movie.
Tasked with deciding what kind of monster should star in the film, Tsukaji and Yukawa visit a zoo in Tokyo. Yukawa suggests elephant and giraffe monsters, prompting Tsukaji to imagine "Zoulla" and "Giraafus", presented as maquettes by sculptor Kosaku Takizawa. Neither appeals to him. After Yuichi watches The Birds, he decides that the monsters should be based on more mundane animals. He and Tsukaji settle on rats and announce their decision at an August 5 meeting. The title will be Giant Horde Beast Nezura. Nezura will portrayed by real rats scurrying around miniatures sets. Muraoka is skeptical that the rats will cooperate, so Tsukaji agrees to shoot some test footage.
Filming begins on September 10, with rats swarming a miniature house, tank, and train. The single rat placed on an overpass, however, lacks any menace, and Tsukaji decides that wild rats should play Nezura instead. He goes out and captures some himself, and they prove as lively as he hoped. Yuichi is delighted with the footage and allows the project to proceed. The Naganos name Muraoka as the director, with Tsukaji naturally becoming the special effects director. Tsukaji meets with sculptor Takiyama to commission a full-sized Nezura prop, and finds him working on a sea turtle for an aquarium. Yuichi records a somewhat fumbling announcement of the film, which is scheduled for a January release.
To keep up with Muraoka's insistence on sets covered in rats, Daiei offers the public ¥50 for every rat they bring in. Cages of the animals soon fill a small warehouse. Takiyama completes the prop, and Daiei staff create a Mammoth Nezura puppet as well. The actors, including Utsumi, Michiko Ogata, Junko Kamei, and Schmidt, assemble for a table read. Screenwriter Hasebe's story has the United States and the Soviet Union announce a joint lunar expedition. Mikami Space Laboratory's experiments on rats, intended to create a new type of space food for the astronauts, instead produce ravenous monsters. Nezura escape the lab and rampage through Tokyo. A Mammoth Nezura emerges and battles the smaller rats, with the JSDF ultimately killing them all.
By October 15, the mood on the set has become grim. With the rats increasingly disease-ridden, many crew members wear masks to work, and Tsukaji's wife Masae observes that he has started muttering "rat, rat" in his sleep. He watches a televised conversation between a famed special effects director and his son Azuma, who agree that the public's attention has shifted from film to television, and his mood sours further. Citizens living near the studio interrupt the shoot on October 25 in protest, concerned about the rats spreading disease. On November 3, Daiei receives a stern letter from the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health recommending the termination of the film and the rats. A morose Yuichi complies. After Tsukaji immolates the rats the following day, he stands silently amidst one of the sets, then crushes one of the buildings in a fit of rage. Yukawa reflects that even though Giant Horde Beast Nezura was a failure, it taught him a lot about filmmaking. Shortly thereafter, Azuma and his father announce a new monster-filled television show, Miracle Q.
Yukawa visits Yuichi, who has been in poor health, at his home on January 3. The CEO happens upon a small spinning firework and Yuasa offers to light it. The firework's motion gives Yuichi an idea for a new monster spinning through the sky, and they rush off to Daiei to get to work.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Hiroto Yokokawa
- Written by Hiroto Yokokawa
- Executive producers Hiroto Yokokawa, Kazuma Yoneyama, Takuma Asai
- Consulting producer Avery Guerra
- Music by Takuya Imahori
- Theme song "Nezura March"
- Performed by Mach Fumiake
- Lyrics by Hiroto Yokokawa
- Composed by Takuya Imahori
- Edited by Hiroto Yokokawa
- Production design by Takuma Asai, Karin Yamada, Hiroto Yokokawa
- Director of special effects Chusuke Nezu
- 1st assistant director of special effects Satoshi Watanabe
- Visual effects supervisor Takuma Tokunaga
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Yukijiro Hotaru as Yuichi Nagano, Daiei CEO
- Masanori Kikuzawa as Yonejiro Tsukaji, special effects director
- Kazuma Yoneyama as Kazuaki Yukawa, assistant director
- Himawari Ono as Michiko Ogata
- Mai Saito as Junko Kamei, actress
- Ippei Osako as Shigeo Nagano, producer and Yuichi's son
- Yoshiro Uchida as Takiyama, monster modeler
- Noboru Sato as Mitsuo Muraoka, film director
- Shiro Sano as Azuma
- Bin Furuya as Father
- Mach Fumiake as Monto, protestor
- Norman England as Schmidt
- Akira Ohashi as Mammoth Nezura (motion capture)
Weapons and vehicles
3Y announced that Nezura 1964 was in development on December 31, 2019, accompanied by a teaser trailer and crowdfunding campaign through Makuake. Gamera franchise actors Yukijiro Hotaru, Himawari Ono, and Yoshiro Uchida had already signed on to star. The announcement added that the film would feature fictionalized versions of the staff and cast involved in the original production, including characters based on Daiei directors Yonesaburo Tsukiji and Noriaki Yuasa, and the giant "Mammoth Nezura" from the scrapped production, designed by artist Keisuke Yoneyama. After just three days of crowdfunding, Nezura 1964 successfully achieved its goal of ¥1 million. On January 8, director Hiroto Yokokawa met with prolific Toho special effects director Teruyoshi Nakano, who wished him well with the project. On January 31, a movie flyer for the film was revealed, featuring new promotional poster artwork. On February 16, in celebration of the film's Makuake campaign exceeding 200% of its goal, the @nezura1964 Twitter account announced a giveaway for Nezura 1964 mini posters autographed by Hotaru.
On February 18, actor Noboru Sato was announced to have joined the cast of Nezura 1964. The following day, it was announced that composer Takuya Imahori would score the film. A clay prototype model of the Mammoth Nezura was revealed on March 23, sculpted by Keisuke Yoneyama. Another model sculpted by Takuma Asai for reference in construction of a suit for the monster followed on March 29. Crowdfunding for Nezura 1964 concluded on March 30, raising ¥3.266 million from a total of 482 backers.
On April Fool's Day, the @nezura1964 Twitter announced a fake project entitled Monster Dream Battle: Nezura vs. Garasharp (幻の怪獣決戦 ネズラ対ガラシャープ, slated for a 2025 release. In addition to the titular Nezura and Maboroshi no Kaijū Kessen Nezura tai Garashāpu)Garasharp, the film would feature the scrapped Marukobukarappa from Gamera vs. Viras and the Space Icemen from Gamera vs. the Space Icemen.
A 3D model of the Mammoth Nezura created by artist karin was revealed on April 3. On April 16, images of Keisuke Yoneyama's completed Mammoth Nezura model were posted to Twitter, along with details about the monster's role in the film. Images of Yukijiro Hotaru in costume as the character Nagano were released on April 27, accompanied by a brief interview on the official nezura1964.com website. Interviews with Noboru Sato and Ippei Osako along with images of their characters Muraoka and Shigeo followed on April 29 and May 3, respectively. An interview with director Hiroto Yokokawa was published on SciFi Japan on May 11.
On May 20, a new poster for the film was revealed. Gamera Super Monster star Mach Fumiake officially joined the cast on June 15. 3Y released the film's first trailer on June 30, followed by an English-subtitled version on July 20. The latter included the opening paragraph of this page in the video description. Suit actor Akira Ohashi, best known for his roles as Gamera and Iris in the Heisei Gamera trilogy as well as King Ghidorah in GMK, joined the cast as a motion capture actor for Mammoth Nezura on July 19, followed by Mai Saito on August 17. Shooting continued through October, with actor and director Norman England joining the cast as a character named Schmidt and the aforementioned Mach Fumiake performing the film's theme song, "Nezura March."
The completion of the first draft of the Nezura 1964 script was announced on March 3, 2020. Production began in at least early June, with images of the shooting being released through the @nezura1964 Twitter. Filming concluded on October 4.
- Main article: Nezura 1964/Gallery.
- Tapes: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: "Giant Horde Beast Nezura" music video (1:40), "Nezura March" music video (3:47), trailers
- Notes: Limited to 25 copies.
SRS Cinema Blu-ray/DVD (2022)
- Region: N/A
- Discs: 1
- Audio: Japanese
- Subtitles: English
- Special features: "Giant Horde Beast Nezura" music video (1:40); "Nezura March" music video (3:47); photo gallery; trailers for Howl from Beyond the Fog (0:52), God Raiga vs. King Ohga: War of the Monsters (1:03), Attack of the Giant Teacher (1:33), War of the God Monsters (1:05), ZillaFoot (0:49), and The Great Buddha Arrival (1:00)
A Japanese DVD of the film was sent to select backers of the Makuake campaign in 2021.
- The outlet Daiei selects to announce Giant Horde Beast Nezura, Wind Velocity 75 Meters Typhoon Reporter, references the 1963 Daiei film Wind Velocity 75 Meters and its alternate title Typhoon Reporter.
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