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: 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 the 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 man to have directed entries in all three major kaiju franchises.
- Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
- Gamera 2: Attack of the 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 and 7]
- Ultraman Max (TV 2005-2006) [episodes 1, 2, 11, 12, 35, and 36]
- Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris (1999) [with Kazunori Ito]
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
- Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001) - Consultant
- Ultraman Max (TV 2005-2006) [episodes 11 and 12] - Director
- Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy (TV 2004) [episode 9]
- 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, 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 an episode of Ultraman Max which Kaneko directed, two children are shown playing with figures of Gamera and Godzilla and making the two monsters fight. The figures are specifically of the Gamera from Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris and the Godzilla from Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.
- 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: 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."
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- The sequel to the 2014 film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, also shares some concepts with other films Kaneko directed. In both the Gamera trilogy and MonsterVerse, the primary monster's physical appearance evolves between films, and they heal their wounds while resting on the ocean floor. Both the Heisei Gamera and MonsterVerse Godzilla also have connections to an ancient city presumed to have sunk under the oceans. At the ends of both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Gamera 2: Attack of the Legion, humanity is left to wonder if the victorious heroic monster may become their enemy should they continue to damage the planet's environment. 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. In GMK, Admiral Tachibana mentions that monster sightings have begun to increase all over the world, an event which also occurs in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Mothra's design in Godzilla: King of the Monsters also reflects many traits introduced for her design in GMK, such as her significantly smaller body size compared to Godzilla, more sharp and aggressive facial appearance, more anatomically accurate insect anatomy including long hairless legs and a slender body, and a specific focus on making her appear feminine. In addition, both incarnations of Mothra 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 appearance attacking a group of humans in their larval stage. 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. 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. He also possesses electrical abilities in addition to his traditional Gravity Beams, much like the GMK incarnation of the character. Both incarnations are discovered frozen in ice. Both films 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. Perhaps the biggest difference between GMK and Godzilla: King of the Monsters lies in the fact that Godzilla and King Ghidorah's roles are reversed between the two films, while Mothra plays a similar role in both.
- After watching 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.
- Twitter account
- 1996 interview by Steve Ryfle
- 2002 interview by Ed Godziszewski and Norman England
- Interview published in Fangoria #173 (June 1998)
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