Archive: G-FEST XXIII Special Guests
The following special guests appeared at G-FEST XXIII:
Guest of Honor: Akira Takarada
Actor Akira Takarada returned as our guest of honor, having previously made lasting impressions on all G-fans at the 2012 and 2010 conventions. Mr. Takarada was instrumental in arranging visits to Toho Studios on G-TOURs II and III. He is one of the most recognizable actors associated with the Godzilla series, portraying navy diver Hideto Ogata in the original Godzilla in 1954, and has appeared in numerous other Godzilla and Toho science fiction films to date. One of Toho’s most distinguished and successful actors, Mr. Takarada is a celebrity in Japan, still making appearances in television dramas, quiz shows, and commercials.
Guest of Honor: Linda Miller
While modeling in Japan, Linda Miller was discovered and cast as one of the stars of the Toho cult classic film, King Kong Escapes in 1967. She also appeared the following year in the MGM/Toei Company co-production The Green Slime.
Guest of Honor: Bin Furuya
Bin Furuya returned to G-FEST, having previously attended the 2012 convention. He is best known as the suit actor in the original Ultraman series. In the follow up series Ultra Seven, Mr. Furuya stepped out of the suit, joining The Ultra Garrison as a regular cast member. He has also made appearances in the classic Toho films: Gorath and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster. Mr. Furuya’s most recent roles have been in Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit, and Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends - The Movie. He was also one of the film stars appearing at Toho Studios on G-TOURs II and III.
Guest of Honor: Hiroko Sakurai
Hiroko Sakurai is an actress, producer, and author, long known to Ultraman fans as the popular character Science Patrol member Akiko Fuji. Her relationship with the Ultra universe started with Ultra Q in 1966 and she has since played in many Ultraman television series and films, the latest being Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers. Ms. Sakurai also authored three Ultraman related books, including Akiko Fujiko’s Story: Secrets Behind the Filming of Ultraman from 2006.
Special Guest: Robert Scott Field
The star of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Scott has become an integral part of G-FEST since he first attended in 1999. Each year, G-FEST attendees look forward to renewing their friendship with Scott, and hearing about the latest happenings in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Special Guest: Yoshikazu Ishii
Yoshikazu Ishii is a director and assistant special effects director whose work includes Ultraman Ginga, Gantz, and Daimajin Kanon. He was also first assistant director of special effects on Godzilla: Final Wars. 2016 was Mr. Ishii’s fifth G-FEST appearance, having last attended in 2006.
Special Guest: Hiroshi Sagae
Hiroshi Sagae is a master maquette sculptor, and model maker for the film and toy collectibles industries. He has contributed maquette sculpts and miniature work for numerous modern-day Godzilla and Gamera films, and most recently did sculpting work on Ultraman Saga in 2012.
Special Guest: August Ragone
August Ragone is one of the most authoritative historians of Japanese science fiction and fantasy films working in English, and is the Rondo Award-winning author of the highly-lauded “Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters,” chronicling the life and career of the visual effects master. He has written for several publications (starting with the “Japanese Fantasy Film Journal”), was the co-editor of Markalite magazine, and the Special Features Producer for Shout Factory’s DVD releases of the classic Gamera films and the Ultra series. You can follow August at his multi-Rondo nominated blog “The Good, The Bad, and Godzilla”: augustragone.blogspot.com.
Special Presenter: Sojiro Uchino
A super kaiju-fan in his native Japan, Sojiro Uchino had small roles in episodes of Ultra-Q and Ultraman, as well as playing one of the Boy Scouts (along with Carl Craig) in Gamera vs. Viras. He is currently directing the Gotouchi Kaiju Project with Hiroshi Sagae.
Special Presenter: Tony Isabella
Tony Isabella is 44-year veteran of the comics industry, and was an editor and writer at Marvel Comics and for many other publishers. At DC Comics, he created Black Lightning, the company’s first prominent African-American superhero. He is the author of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, one of comicdom’s most successful books of comics history and nostalgia. Tony was also the lead reviewer for and a contributing editor of Comics Buyer’s Guide for over two decades.
Special Guest: J.D. Lees
The driving force behind G-FAN Magazine, G-FEST, and G-TOUR, J.D. Lees was present at G-FEST XXIII all weekend.