The Great Buddha Arrival (2018)

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The Great Buddha Arrival
The Japanese poster for The Great Buddha Arrival
Directed by Hiroto Yokokawa
Producer(s) Hiroto Yokokawa, Avery Guerra
Written by Hiroto Yokokawa, Yuki Yonezawa,
Kazuma Yoneyama, Kensaku Sakai
Music by Hiromi Shinoda
Distributor 3Y Film
Budget ¥1,481,000[1]
Running time 50 minutes (original cut)JP[2]
60 minutes (Final Edition)
Aspect ratio 2.39:1
Rate this film!
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(6 votes)

You can not reach Sukhavati without watching this. (これを観ずして極楽浄土には行けません。)
„ 

— Tagline, Jun Miura

The Great Buddha Arrival (大仏廻国,   Daibutsu Kaikoku) is a 2018 tokusatsu kaiju film produced by 3Y Film. A sequel to the lost 1934 film of the same name, made with the cooperation of director Yoshiro Edamasa's grandson, it was released in Japan on December 15, 2018. Additional footage with new actors was shot to extend the film's run time for international distribution, with still more footage shot for a Japanese theatrical release in 2020, termed the Final Edition.[2][3]

Plot[edit | edit source]

Spoiler.png SPOILER WARNING: This section may contain major plot and/or ending details. Proceed at your own discretion.

3Y Film records an interview with Godzilla star Akira Takarada about The Great Buddha Arrival, a lost kaiju film released in 1934, the same year he was born. It was directed by legendary special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya's mentor, Yoshiro Edamasa. The interview is part of a larger project by 3Y on the mysterious film, spearheaded by Murata. He reviews another segment narrated by Momorun, who explains that the basic premise of the film—the 18-meter Buddha statue at Shurakuen Park coming to life—is rumored to have really happened. She presents a trio of photographs of the animated statue as possible proof.

Murata takes the photos to his producer, Tanaka, who encourages him to run with the idea. He visits the statue to shoot b-roll and interviews a man who claims that Great Buddha statue saved him from falling to his death from a lighthouse during the 1960 Valdivia earthquake. At the 3Y office, Murata finds his editor, Kita, working on a jet-powered bike. Kita shows him footage he edited of a physicist and paranormal researcher arguing over how the statue came to life. He also discovers the source of the photos: they're some of the few surviving images from The Great Buddha Arrival. Edamasa, however, said the film was based on his own experiences.

In a flashback to 1934, Edamasa films his lover in the woods when she suddenly walks away from him, as though in a trance, and leaps off a bridge to her death. Distraught, he soon attempts to join her, but suddenly finds himself face-to-face with the Great Buddha. In the present, a tired Murata researches a rash of suicides across Japan that year and Great Buddha sightings after the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake. He falls asleep at his desk and is woken the next morning by what he thinks is an earthquake. His Twitter feed, however, informs him that the Great Buddha, once again on the move, is responsible.

Kita encounters Detective Osaki while testing his bike; when the Great Buddha steps into view, the panicked detective rides away with it. The statue advances towards Tokyo, moving slowly but never breaking stride. There are no evacuations; the populace simply watches it in awe. Reactions pour in from around the world, many of them fearful, although Dr. Mary-Lisa Gleason, an expert on unexplained religious phenomena, sees the statue's march as a sign of hope.

Murata encounters Osaki while following the Great Buddha and takes Kita's bike to continue his pursuit. It finally stops in front of the Tokyo Skytree. As the sun sets, Osaki catches up with Murata. The Great Buddha starts to glow intensely bright, and onlookers begin to walk towards it silently and without expression. Murata is stopped, however, by the ghost of Edamasa, who warns him not to hasten his death. The world goes white, and he awakens in the ruins of Tokyo. He checks his phone and sees an emergency alert about a magnitude 9.5 earthquake striking the Kanto region. Reaching the 3Y office, he continues work on his The Great Buddha Arrival video. In one clip, Edamasa's grandson Kazuyoshi reveals that he saw the Great Buddha again just before his death; he believes it may have helped him travel to the "Land of Happiness". In another, Takarada speaks to the way that Japanese special effects films have served as warnings about the dangers of scientific progress. Murata sends an email declaring that the video is complete, then realizes he has been staring at a blank screen, the computer inoperable.

In a post-credits scene, a crowd gathers before the Great Buddha, now sitting motionless in Shurakuen Park, and it comes to life once more.

Staff[edit | edit source]

Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Hiroto Yokokawa
  • Written by   Hiroto Yokokawa, Yuki Yonezawa, Kazuma Yoneyama, Kensaku Sakai
  • Produced by   Hiroto Yokokawa, Avery Guerra
  • Music by   Hiromi Shinoda
  • Production design by   Takuma Asai, Karin Yamada, Ryo Kimoto, Hiroki Ishikawa
  • Visual effects by   Color Co., Ltd.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Masanori Kikuzawa   as   Yoshiro Edamasa
  • Kazuma Yoneyama   as   Murata
  • Iwata Momoka   as   Momorun
  • Yuma   as   Kita
  • Takashi Yasuda   as   Kayama reporter
  • Shelley Sweeney   as   Canadian interviewer
  • Peggy Neal   as   Dr. Mary-Lisa Gleason
  • Norman England   as   American newscaster
  • Inge Murata   as   Chancellor of Germany
  • Philip Granger   as   President of the United States
  • Robert Scott Field   as   Mysterious person
  • Iku Hasegawa   as   Yoshiro Edamasa's lover
  • Ai Aoki   as   Female suicide victim
  • Ippei Osako   as   Producer Tanaka
  • Yuki Morita   as   Announcer Itano
  • Toshi Toda   as   James "Toshi" Maxwell
  • Yoshihiko Otsuki   as   Physicist
  • Junichiro Nirasawa   as   Paranormal researcher
  • Yukijiro Hotaru   as   Detective Osaki
  • Akira Takarada   as   Himself
  • Yoshiro Uchida   as   Mayor Sakurai (international version and Final Edition)
  • Yukiko Kobayashi   as   Yuko Murata (international version and Final Edition)
  • Akira Kubo   as   Prime Minister Maki (international version and Final Edition)
  • Shiro Sano   as   Newscaster Miyakura (Final Edition)
  • Bin Furuya   as   Kazuyoshi Edamasa (Final Edition)

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Monsters[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

3Y Films held an unsuccessful Kickstarter for The Great Buddha Arrival from March to April 2018, raising $755 out of a $2,696 goal.[4] A second crowdfunding campaign on Makuake fared much better, far exceeding its ¥1,000,000 target with ¥1,481,000 in donations.

Video releases[edit | edit source]

SRS Cinema VHS (2022)[5]

  • Tapes: 1
  • Audio: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Notes: Limited to 25 copies.

SRS Cinema Blu-ray (2022)[6]

Videos[edit | edit source]

Trailers[edit | edit source]

The Great Buddha Arrival teaser #1
The Great Buddha Arrival teaser #2
The Great Buddha Arrival trailer #1
The Great Buddha Arrival trailer #2
The Great Buddha Arrival trailer #3
The Great Buddha Arrival trailer #4

Miscellaneous[edit | edit source]

Great Buddha CG model

See also[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • While no footage of the original The Great Buddha Arrival is known to have survived, the sequel presents recreated clips from the film using suitmation. The Great Buddha who appears in the present day is a CGI creation.
  • Yoshiro Uchida played turtle-obsessed Toshio Sakurai in Gamera. His character in The Great Buddha Arrival, Mayor Sakurai, tells a story highly reminiscent of Gamera's rescuing of Toshio and owns a pet turtle.
  • The name of Peggy Neal's character, Dr. Mary-Lisa Gleason, references her characters' names in Terror Beneath the Sea (Jenny Gleason) and The X from Outer Space (Lisa Schneider).
  • The name of Akira Kubo's character, Prime Minister Maki, references his character's name in Son of Godzilla (Goro Maki).
  • Yukijiro Hotaru's character, Detective Osaki, references his character in the Heisei Gamera trilogy, Inspector Tsutomu Osako.
  • As in Godzilla: Final Wars, Yoshihiko Otsuki and Junichiro Nirasawa play characters who debate whether a mysterious presence is malevolent.
  • Inge Murata previously played the Chancellor of Germany in Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit.
  • Bin Furuya's character, Kazuyoshi Edamasa, wears a small Ultraman pin. Furuya is best-known as the original Ultraman suit actor.

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

This is a list of references for The Great Buddha Arrival. 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: [1]

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