Saying 'it's just a guy in a suit' is not the right attitude. It's more enjoyable to watch these films when you understand their long history and culture.
— From the documentary Bringing Godzilla Down to Size
Shusuke Kaneko (金子 修介 is a Kaneko Shūsuke)Japanese director and screenwriter. Kaneko got his start in the film industry working for the Nikkatsu Corporation in the 1980's, during which time he also worked as a writer for popular anime series such as Urusei Yatsura and Creamy Mami. By the end of the decade Kaneko had become a freelance director working for multiple studios and had cemented himself as one of Japan's up-and-coming directors. When Daiei chose to revive the Gamera franchise to commemorate its 30th anniversary, it selected Kaneko as the director for the new film. Working with acclaimed anime writer Kazunori Ito and revolutionary special effects director Shinji Higuchi, Kaneko directed 1995's Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, a film which attracted unprecedented critical acclaim for a kaiju film. Kaneko was honored with the Director's Award at the 17th Yokohama Film Festival, while the film itself won numerous awards throughout Japan. Kaneko and his staff returned to direct two follow-ups, Gamera 2: Attack of Legion in 1996 and Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris in 1999, both of which are highly regarded by genre fans to this day. Toho, who had distributed the trilogy in theaters, took notice of Kaneko's work and selected him to direct the 25th Godzilla film. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack ended up being the most successful Godzilla film of the Millennium series. Kaneko followed this by directing several episodes of two shows in Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Series from 2005 to 2006, making him the only person to have directed entries in all three major kaiju franchises.
Selected filmography[edit | edit source]
Director[edit | edit source]
- Gamera the Guardian of the Universe (1995)
- Gamera 2: Attack of Legion (1996)
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy (TV 2004) [episodes 3, 7]
- Ultraman Max (TV 2005-2006) [episodes 1, 2, 11, 12, 35, 36]
Writer[edit | edit source]
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999) [with Kazunori Ito]
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) [with Keiichi Hasegawa, Masahiro Yokotani]
Special effects[edit | edit source]
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) - Consultant
- Ultraman Max (TV 2005-2006) [episodes 11, 12] - Director
Actor[edit | edit source]
Interviewee[edit | edit source]
Selected bibliography[edit | edit source]
- Behind the Kaiju Curtain (2021) - Author [foreword]
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Shusuke Kaneko is the only person to direct at least one Godzilla film, at least one Gamera film, and at least one episode of the Ultra Series.
- Kaneko's wife Nanako Kaneko played several minor roles in the Heisei Gamera trilogy; first as a zookeeper in the first film and as an interviewer in the third.
- Kaneko and Kazunori Ito were originally members of the staff for the 1990 film Ultra Q The Movie: Legend of the Stars, but were later replaced by other staff members which included Shinji Higuchi. All three would ironically end up working together on the Gamera trilogy. Kaneko and Higuchi specifically would both end up having experience in the Godzilla, Gamera, and Ultra franchises.
- In the beginning of episode 11 of Ultraman Max, which Kaneko directed, two children battle with vinyl Bandai figures of Gamera and Godzilla. Both figures are from Kaneko films: Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Toho and Kadokawa signed off on this scene, a rare crossover between their famous kaiju, but only for the episode's initial broadcast. It was cut from DVD and streaming releases, with one exception: the English-dubbed version available on Toku.
- Antlar attacks a gas station called "Kaneko Oil" later in the episode.
- Kaneko was vocally critical of TriStar Pictures' 1998 American GODZILLA film, stating "It is interesting [that] the US version of Godzilla runs about trying to escape missiles... Americans seem unable to accept a creature that cannot be put down by their arms." Kaneko would go on to include a satirical dig at the 1998 film in his Godzilla film, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in 2001. During the film's opening, a soldier asks one of his colleagues if Godzilla attacked New York a few years ago, only for the other to respond that the "American experts seem to think so," while Japanese authorities have their doubts.
- The 2014 American Godzilla film was noted by many viewers to possess numerous plot similarities with Gamera the Guardian of the Universe, specifically the monster dynamics between Godzilla and the MUTOs which mirrored that between Gamera and Gyaos. Kaneko himself acknowledged this in an interview with Kinema Junpo, commenting: "Gareth... of course he must have watched Gamera. It's alright though."
- After watching the sequel to the 2014 film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Kaneko again acknowledged multiple similarities between the film and those he had directed in an interview with Eiga Hiho, saying, "There are moments I felt 'didn't I take these?' such as 'King Ghidorah in ice,' 'Mothra's metamorphosis,' 'father in a submarine,' and so on... Well, my ones are not only predecessors..." Within the same magazine, similarities between Mothra in GMK and Mothra in King of the Monsters were mentioned again. Both Mothras are significantly smaller compared to Godzilla, have sharper, more aggressive facial appearances and more anatomically accurate insect anatomy, originate from a location aside from Infant Island, are not accompanied by the Shobijin, possess venomous stinger attacks instead of the character's traditional poisonous scale attacks, and make their first appearances attacking a group of humans in their larval stages. Both versions of Mothra also die protecting their kaiju ally from a foe's beam attack, and in death empower that ally with their energy, although Godzilla and King Ghidorah's roles are reversed.
- In addition, both the Heisei Gamera and MonsterVerse Godzilla have connections to an ancient, sunken city. The idea of kaiju inspiring creatures from real-world ancient mythologies was presented in both Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris and Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. Both GMK and King of the Monsters feature an underwater battle between Godzilla and King Ghidorah in which the military attempts to intervene with a superweapon, but only ends up injuring the more benevolent monster. Many of King Ghidorah's design characteristics from GMK are reflected in his MonsterVerse design as well, such as in his feet and wings. Specifically, his feet are bird-like with three large claws and a smaller fourth digit, while his wings have visible phalanges which connect to his body, and can be folded at his sides when not in use. Both also possess electrical abilities in addition to the character's traditional Gravity Beams. At the end of both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Gamera 2: Attack of Legion, humanity is left to wonder if the victorious heroic monster may become their enemy should they continue to damage the planet's environment.
[edit | edit source]
- Twitter account
- 1996 interview by Steve Ryfle
- 2002 interview by Ed Godziszewski and Norman England
- Interview published in Fangoria #173 (June 1998)
References[edit | edit source]
This is a list of references for Shusuke Kaneko. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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