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Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman, Godzilla in the Golden Age of Japanese Science Fiction Film

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Behind-the-scenes hero to anyone who's thrilled by giant monsters duking it out over Tokyo, Eiji Tsuburaya was the visual effects mastermind behind Godzilla, Ultraman, and numerous Japanese science fiction movies and TV showsbeloved around the world. The first book on this legendary film figure in English, this highly visual biography details his fascinating life and caree Behind-the-scenes hero to anyone who's thrilled by giant monsters duking it out over Tokyo, Eiji Tsuburaya was the visual effects mastermind behind Godzilla, Ultraman, and numerous Japanese science fiction movies and TV showsbeloved around the world. The first book on this legendary film figure in English, this highly visual biography details his fascinating life and career, featuring hundreds of film stills, posters, concept art, and delightful on-set photos of Tsuburaya prompting monsters to crush landmark buildings. A must-have for fans, this towering tribute also features profiles of Tsuburaya's film collaborators, details on his key films and shows (most available on DVD), and features on the enduring popularity of the characters he helped create.


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Behind-the-scenes hero to anyone who's thrilled by giant monsters duking it out over Tokyo, Eiji Tsuburaya was the visual effects mastermind behind Godzilla, Ultraman, and numerous Japanese science fiction movies and TV showsbeloved around the world. The first book on this legendary film figure in English, this highly visual biography details his fascinating life and caree Behind-the-scenes hero to anyone who's thrilled by giant monsters duking it out over Tokyo, Eiji Tsuburaya was the visual effects mastermind behind Godzilla, Ultraman, and numerous Japanese science fiction movies and TV showsbeloved around the world. The first book on this legendary film figure in English, this highly visual biography details his fascinating life and career, featuring hundreds of film stills, posters, concept art, and delightful on-set photos of Tsuburaya prompting monsters to crush landmark buildings. A must-have for fans, this towering tribute also features profiles of Tsuburaya's film collaborators, details on his key films and shows (most available on DVD), and features on the enduring popularity of the characters he helped create.

30 review for Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman, Godzilla in the Golden Age of Japanese Science Fiction Film

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    "My heart and mind are as they were when I was a child. Then I loved to play with toys and to read stories of magic. I still do. My wish is only to make life happier and more beautiful for those who will go and see my films of fantasy" Without knowing it, both my dad and myself grew up in love with Tsuburaya's work. As a kid (and now as an adult) my mind was filled with giant monsters, space-faring transforming superheroes, and no shortage of excellent miniature cities. Ragones book however, has "My heart and mind are as they were when I was a child. Then I loved to play with toys and to read stories of magic. I still do. My wish is only to make life happier and more beautiful for those who will go and see my films of fantasy" Without knowing it, both my dad and myself grew up in love with Tsuburaya's work. As a kid (and now as an adult) my mind was filled with giant monsters, space-faring transforming superheroes, and no shortage of excellent miniature cities. Ragones book however, has given me a whole new appreciation for Eiji Tsuburaya. This book is very accessible, but is not endless pages of cringy fanboy worship more fit for a fan blog than a book. Ragone does excellent research and does far more than just detail Eijis creation of fan favorites. His genius is on full display here and the reader learns that Eiji was not just an important figure in tokusatsu, but indeed a very influential person in the history of film itself. Innovation after Innovation in special effects is detailed, and I was stunned by how freethinking Eiji was. However, as a fanboy, I can also say with confidence that if you are looking for details about Godzilla and Ultraman, than this is a fantastic resource. The fascinating development of the Ultra series and the kaiju genre is given in spades. What I liked perhaps most about this book was that it is clear that it is a deeply personal tribute by Ragone to Tsuburaya. It gives this nonfiction work an almost storybook quality. To August, thank you for this fascinating book about a magnificent artist. To Eiji Tsuburaya, thank you for bringing so much joy and happiness to my life, even many decades after your death and in a distant country.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mary Bird

    Really interesting book about the man who created Godzilla and so many other enduring characters. The pacing and emphasis on certain details sometimes felt a bit off, but overall a good book for anyone intrigued by the Japanese monster wave. Lots of great pictures.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Warner

    I tried getting my hands on this book years ago. At the time, it was long OOP and was going for prices north of $100. Well, it was hard to drop that kind of cash on a used book, so I decided to hold off. I’m glad I did. Now the book is in print again and going for far more reasonable prices. Among Godzilla fans, August Ragone’s book on Eiji Tsuburaya is considered one of the best books in the English language ever written about the genre and the men who created it. If you don’t know who Eiji Tsub I tried getting my hands on this book years ago. At the time, it was long OOP and was going for prices north of $100. Well, it was hard to drop that kind of cash on a used book, so I decided to hold off. I’m glad I did. Now the book is in print again and going for far more reasonable prices. Among Godzilla fans, August Ragone’s book on Eiji Tsuburaya is considered one of the best books in the English language ever written about the genre and the men who created it. If you don’t know who Eiji Tsuburaya is, he’s the grandfather of Japanese special effects, the man who’s credited for creating suitmation among other techniques. Along with director Ishiro Honda and producer Tomoyuki Tanaka, Tsuburaya helped bring Godzilla to the screen, thus creating the kaiju genre. He also created Ultraman, a superhero who fights kaiju on a weekly basis. The special effects wizard passed away in 1970 at the age of 68 but his legacy lives on in the imagination of fans and in the classic films he helped create. Ragone’s book Master of Monsters is a great, exhaustive look at the life and work of Eiji Tsuburaya. Full of interesting info and hard-to-find photos (so many great photos!), it’s a well-written biography for an important figure in film. And I always feel like a book that draws more attention to an artist like Tsuburaya is something to celebrate – there will always be books about Scorsese, Welles, Chaplin, Harryhausen, and Hitchcock (as there should be!), but names like Tsuburaya deserve some recognition as well. For Godzilla fans wanting to know more about the series, you should be aware that this book has a laser focus on Tsuburaya, and does not continue to give much insight on the Godzilla films made after his death. Those looking to know more about one of the most important creators of their favorite genre will find lots to like and even more to learn, as Ragone gives info about Tsuburaya’s early beginnings, his rise to fame, and his charming techniques that brought monsters to life. Along with David Kalat’s A Critical History and Filmography of Toho’s Godzilla Series, August Ragone’s book Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters is one of my favorites on the subject of kaiju cinema.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Shaw

    I spent a large portion of my childhood Watching "Japanese Monster movies/TV" I loved Godzilla(gojiro originally) Mothra, Gamera, SpectraMan, UltraMan And so many more The brilliant man Behind a lot of my child hood Was Eija Tsubara Not only a gifted creator Who masterminded many Of the staples of "Japanese monster" cinema But an innovator whose genius changed Filmmaking forever. This book makes me 6 again. I want a big bowl of pop corn And an Ultra Man marathon. I spent a large portion of my childhood Watching "Japanese Monster movies/TV" I loved Godzilla(gojiro originally) Mothra, Gamera, SpectraMan, UltraMan And so many more The brilliant man Behind a lot of my child hood Was Eija Tsubara Not only a gifted creator Who masterminded many Of the staples of "Japanese monster" cinema But an innovator whose genius changed Filmmaking forever. This book makes me 6 again. I want a big bowl of pop corn And an Ultra Man marathon.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Worth

    My brother and I grew up in the Bay Area with August as we all became Monster Kids together. August was already as a 12 year old kid becoming the authoritarian on Godzilla and Kaiju movies. This book expresses all that passion I have seen boiling up in him since childhood. If you have an interest in the man who formed the "rubber suit" genre in Japan, don't miss this! My brother and I grew up in the Bay Area with August as we all became Monster Kids together. August was already as a 12 year old kid becoming the authoritarian on Godzilla and Kaiju movies. This book expresses all that passion I have seen boiling up in him since childhood. If you have an interest in the man who formed the "rubber suit" genre in Japan, don't miss this!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Robertson

    I like having this around as a resource for my Godzilla and Ultraman fandom. It's got great photos and stories from classic movies and their creator. It's good stuff. I like having this around as a resource for my Godzilla and Ultraman fandom. It's got great photos and stories from classic movies and their creator. It's good stuff.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Wendel

    A well researched and fascinating look into the life of one of the greatest monster creators to ever walk the face of the earth. Rest in Peace Tsuburaya!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Page

    I really enjoyed this book, despite not having seen more than a couple of these films, and only the Americanized versions. I really want to watch more now--I dig the kooky sci-fi scene!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kory Torjussen

    Excellent look into the life of Eiji Tsuburaya and his legacy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    I really enjoyed reading about the thought that went into creating Godzilla and Ultraman! I was not aware of the Frankenstein movies that Eiji Tsuburaya did, so I got some homework out of this book too. The book overall was part Kaiju history, part Eiji myth, and part Japanese sci-fi special effects methodology. I wished some of the photos were better quality, but that may not have been possible based on the time period. I thought it would be more of a coffee table style book but it was more of I really enjoyed reading about the thought that went into creating Godzilla and Ultraman! I was not aware of the Frankenstein movies that Eiji Tsuburaya did, so I got some homework out of this book too. The book overall was part Kaiju history, part Eiji myth, and part Japanese sci-fi special effects methodology. I wished some of the photos were better quality, but that may not have been possible based on the time period. I thought it would be more of a coffee table style book but it was more of a detailed timeline of Eiji's Tsuburaya's film career. Nice for fans of Kaiju films but doesn't scratch the art/coffee table book itch I thought it would.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gerald Matzke

    I don't give many books five stars but this one deserves that and more if that were possible. As a fan of Japanese monster movies, this book is the ultimate look inside the world of the man who is considered the father of special effects. August Ragone has produced not only a history of Tsuburaya's work but also an appreciative tribute to his genius. This was a great preparation for my third trip to G-Fest next week. I am now properly psyched and ready to go. I don't give many books five stars but this one deserves that and more if that were possible. As a fan of Japanese monster movies, this book is the ultimate look inside the world of the man who is considered the father of special effects. August Ragone has produced not only a history of Tsuburaya's work but also an appreciative tribute to his genius. This was a great preparation for my third trip to G-Fest next week. I am now properly psyched and ready to go.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jason harris

    As a kid I grew up on a healthy diet of Godzilla movies, the Ultraman t.v. series as well as other Kaiju Eiga(giant monster) flicks. This book is a dream come true. It details the life of Godzilla/Ultraman creator Eiji Tsuburaya and is filled with behind the scenes photos and info on the creation of these classic characters. A must read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Kaufmann

    This comprehensive history of the man behind so many of the classic Toho monster movies is chock full of exceptional behind-the-scenes photos and production stills. A must-read for any fan of classic Godzilla films, Ultraman, and kaiju entertainment in general, it will make you feel ten years old again--in the best way. Now I want to watch all those old Godzilla movies again!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bobby

    Very well researched, and the reverence the author clearly has for the Japanese godfather of special effects (and creator of Godzilla & Co.) helped keep me glued, even when the book went on a few tangents. The tangents were nice, but I feel there were a tad too many, and distracted from Eiji's professional life story, which this is. Very well researched, and the reverence the author clearly has for the Japanese godfather of special effects (and creator of Godzilla & Co.) helped keep me glued, even when the book went on a few tangents. The tangents were nice, but I feel there were a tad too many, and distracted from Eiji's professional life story, which this is.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    I'm very happy this book exists but it is really a nicely packaged info-dump on his career. Definitely enlightening but it moves through his projects at a rapid pace. Some of the aside featured articles are pretty cool. There is a wealth of great pictures from sets but it doesn't really dig deep. I'm very happy this book exists but it is really a nicely packaged info-dump on his career. Definitely enlightening but it moves through his projects at a rapid pace. Some of the aside featured articles are pretty cool. There is a wealth of great pictures from sets but it doesn't really dig deep.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    Basically a magazine article about the special effects master, Eiji Tsuburaya. The book outlines the major films and tv shows as means of tracing Eiji's distinguished career. Not much detail is given to the process or method. I would have loved to know how the models were built, exploded and such. The behind the scenes photos almost make up for the lack of nerdy detail. Basically a magazine article about the special effects master, Eiji Tsuburaya. The book outlines the major films and tv shows as means of tracing Eiji's distinguished career. Not much detail is given to the process or method. I would have loved to know how the models were built, exploded and such. The behind the scenes photos almost make up for the lack of nerdy detail.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Horton

    Not insanely in-depth; subscribe to G-Fan if you want the down-low nasty nasty behind the scenes stuff - but lovingly designed and full of a ton of handsome photos and materials about THE man behind the monsters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike Bogue

    Excellent look at Japanese special effects craftsman Eiji Tsuburaya. Fans of Japanese monster movies will love the smart prose and eye-catching layouts, as well as the author's clear passion for the subject matter. If you're a Godzilla fan, you need to read this book! Excellent look at Japanese special effects craftsman Eiji Tsuburaya. Fans of Japanese monster movies will love the smart prose and eye-catching layouts, as well as the author's clear passion for the subject matter. If you're a Godzilla fan, you need to read this book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    ISMOTU

    A great overview of the life of special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya and his amazing contributions to Japanese film and television. Lots of great behind-the-scenes photos and information.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark Matzke

    One of the most wonderful books I own...I would've killed somebody to own this book when I was 7. Of course, it didn't exist then, but you understand One of the most wonderful books I own...I would've killed somebody to own this book when I was 7. Of course, it didn't exist then, but you understand

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andreia

    As a huge fan of monster movies this was a definite treat.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  23. 5 out of 5

    Buz

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Loreana Rushe

  26. 4 out of 5

    Deonlow

  27. 4 out of 5

    V

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  29. 4 out of 5

    shiloh

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chad

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