November 29, 2023

The common thread for many universes in film and television is corporate connectivity. So what joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe, well, is Marvel. Of course, there are exceptions. The latest of which is the newly announced Shin Japan Hero Universe.

This upcoming collaboration will bring together the Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Evangelion robot anime. This means the project will bring together assets from Toei, Toho, Tsuburaya Productions and Hideaki Anno’s Studio Khara. A key graphic and a logo have been released, but other than that, details about the project are few and far between. According to Tsuburaya Productions, more information will be released this year. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see exactly what form this partnership will take.

It’s a fascinating joining, but it makes sense, even though Toho and Toei have traditionally been traditional rivals in the world of Japanese cinema (Toho’s main rival is actually Daiei), with Toho being famous for Godzilla and Toei being famous for Ultraman and Kamen Rider.

The thread that connections these two studios is Tsuburaya Productions, which was founded by Eiji Tsuburaya, who did the special effects for Godzilla Rug and then later for Ultraman and Kamen Rider. Because of the common history between to the two studios and the way Tsuburaya was successfully navigated his relationships with both while producing iconic special effects, bringing these two Japanese cinematic corporate giants together in a shared universe was probably much smoother than, say, if something had soured.

Hideaki Anno and his Studio Khara have made this possible. Back in 2016, the Evangelion creator wrote and co-directed Shin Godzilla, which was a new take on the legendary kaiju franchise (shin means “new” in Japanese). Anno also wrote Shin Ultraman, which will be out this May in Japan, and is writing and directing the upcoming Shin Kamen Rider. The trailers for both yet-unreleased films share a sensibility with Shin Godzilla, so an official cinematic universe seems inevitable. The addition of Evangelion is a plus from Anno’s involvement—a big one, at that.

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