Run for your lives: Godzilla hits Tokyo museum
The first thing on the average Tokyo visitor’s to-do list this summer is probably to visit the shiny new Tokyo Skytree. And who can blame them, given the saturation coverage the 634-meter tower’s been getting?
But there’s another behemoth in town.
Just a few stops away from Tokyo Skytree Station, Godzilla and his pals have taken over the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo for an epic exhibit of rubber-suited carnage over the next few months.
For better or for worse -- other than legendary director Akira Kurosawa's works -- the giant-monster genre is probably what defines the Japanese film industry abroad.
For the first time, fans will get to feel what is was like in a 1960s movie studio with Godzilla about to stomp on the hapless citizens of a miniaturized Tokyo.
The show -- “Tokusatsu Hakubutsukan,” or “Museum of Special Effects” -- is a retrospective of the golden age of monsters and heroes and an unprecedented chance to see not only some of the stars in all their rubbery glory, but also a whole walk-through miniature Tokyo set.
Here, visitors can experience what Godzilla (or at least the guy in the suit) saw right before he destroyed the city.
Hideaki Anno, director of the hit anime series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” and all-round otaku, has teamed up with animation giant Studio Ghibli to create the expo, so Godzilla fans can be assured that it's in expert hands.
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Two of Godzilla’s rivals, the robotic imposter MechaGodzilla and three-headed golden dragon from Venus, King Ghidorah, are also on display so it's a real treat for fans of the series.
Other than the monster suits, over 500 rare props used in the filming of many of these classic movies are being showcased, including fighter jets, spaceships and buildings that have managed to escape being blown to bits.
The exhibit is also a celebration of the long-underappreciated art of miniature building; an industry in which Japanese model-makers lead the world.
An entire section is dedicated to the craftsmanship that went into the building of the cities and towns that were doomed to be reduced to rubble.
It also includes displays revealing some of the movie magic the masters used to make sure the audience never got tired of seeing Tokyo flattened.
There’s even a short film created just for this exhibit, where -- you guessed it -- a giant monster demolishes Tokyo. No fancy CGI effects here -- just lots of explosions and plenty of miniature buildings being smashed up.
Bottom line -- after checking out what the masters of construction have done at Tokyo Skytree, why not check out what the masters of destruction can do at the monster show?
Tickets are ¥1,400 (US$18) for adults, ¥900 for middle- and high-school students and ¥400 for elementary students. Children under elementary-school age get in free.
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku, Tokyo; +81 (0) 3 5245 4111; open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m; exhibition runs until October 8; www.mot-art-museum.jp
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