Leading Japanese entertainment firms Toho, Toei, Studio Khara and Tsuburaya Productions are joining forces to launch the Shin Japan Heroes Universe, a project modeled on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shin Japan Heroes brings together such iconic characters as Godzilla, Ultraman and Kamen Rider, as well as the world of anime maestro Anno Hideaki’s Evangelion sci-fi franchise.
Details in Monday’s announcement were scanty, but the project team has revealed an emblem and visual showing all four “heroes” together, as well as a website.
A starting point for the project was “Shin Godzilla” (translation: “New Godzilla”), the 2016 smash hit live-action film that Anno scripted and co-directed. It was followed by last year’s hit anime “Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time,” which was also directed by Anno for his Studio Khara anime house as the fourth and final film in the “Rebuild of Evangelion” film franchise. Released in March of last year by Toho and Toei, it became the highest-earning film of 2021 in Japan, with total box office of $92 million.
Also, slated for release on May 13, 2022 is “Shin Ultraman,” a live-action film based on the iconic Ultraman sci-fi TV show with Anno scripting and producing and his “Shin Godzilla” co-director Higuchi Shinji directing. Toho will distribute. Finally, set for release in March of 2023 is “Shin Kamen Rider,” which Anno is scripting and directing. Toei is the distributor.
A core company behind the project is Tsuburaya, the effects production house that has worked with both Toho (“Godzilla”) and Toei (“Ultraman,” “Kamen Rider”), which are ordinarily fierce rivals at the Japanese box office.
The new project will also encompass merchandize, events and other tie-ins derived from the Shin Japan Heroes Universe concept.