The God of Clay (2011)
Should I cease to exist...?
— English tagline
The God of Clay (ねんどの神さま is a Nendo no Kamisama)2011 tokusatsu kaiju short film produced by Dream Planet Japan and Marbling Fine Arts. Initially directed by Nobuaki Sugimoto, it was completed by Koichi Kawakita and premiered at the Bigfoot Crest Theater in Westwood, California, on June 23, 2011. It is based on the 1993 children's book of the same name by Masamoto Nasu.
In 1946, young Kenichi and Yoko sculpt a clay monster for class, which they call "a god who hates war." Decades later, in a rich and decadent Japan, Kenichi has become the president of a prominent weapons manufacturer. Yoko, who Kenichi looked after after American bombers killed their parents during World War II, tells his grandson that she no longer recognizes him, and wishes for the God of Clay to return. In their old school, long since abandoned, the clay monster comes to life, bursting through the roof as he grows. The JSDF deploys as he rampages through a nearby village. The monster shrugs off their attempts to stop him by blowing up a bridge and shooting him with helicopters. As Kenichi authorizes the use of a new uranium bomb, the God of Clay shoots the helicopters with a blue ray from his horn, then draws them into his body. The uranium bomb devastates the surrounding area but has no effect on the God of Clay, who advances towards Kenichi's office. Standing before his old creation, he refuses to change, but the God of Clay replies that he only wants to ask a question: "Should I cease to exist? You don’t hate war any more, right?" Kenichi tries to argue that the weapons he sells are to prevent war, but as the monster wails, he recants, promising to end his business. Satisfied, the monster returns to clay and shatters.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Koichi Kawakita, Nobuaki Sugimoto
- Produced by Norihiko Iwasaki
- Cinematography by Takehiro Kuramochi, Keiichi Sakurai
- Edited by Koichi Kawakita (supervisor)
- Production design by Tetsuzo Osawa
- Director of special effects Koichi Kawakita
- Storyboards and God of Clay design by Shinji Nishikawa
- Modeling by Kaimai Productions
- Backgrounds painted by Fuchimu Shimakura
Weapons, vehicles, races, and organizations
Upon hearing that Toho would be shutting down its Toho Built studio in 2008, Marbling Fine Arts owner Norihiko Iwasaki secured permission to shoot one last film in the facility. Director Nobuaki Sugimoto led a team of tokusatsu specialists, all volunteering their time, to make this initial version of The God of Clay. Marbling provided the miniatures, which were leftovers from various Godzilla and Ultraman productions. Prolific special effects director Koichi Kawakita took over the project from Sugimoto, supervising a new edit and shooting new scenes.
- Main article: The God of Clay/Gallery.
- United States - June 23, 2011
Marbling encountered difficulties in distributing The God of Clay due to a lack of venues for short films in Japan and licensing issues with the publishers of Nasu's book. Only two known screenings have taken place, both in the United States. Followings its premiere at the Bigfoot Crest Theater in Westwood, California, on June 23, 2011, it screened during the Kaiju Gaiden Strikes Back panel at G-Fest XXVI on July 15, 2017.
- The God of Clay was Koichi Kawakita's last film before his death in 2014. It was not his final work overall, however, as he wrote and directed the 4-episode mini-series Gunbot that year, with its final episode airing on the day of his passing.
- The JSDF's plan to stop the God of Clay by blowing up a bridge may be a reference to The Mysterians, the film which sparked his interest in special effects. The visual of a powerful businessman facing a monster from his past also echoes Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, on which Kawakita served as the director of special effects.
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