The companies behind the four iconic properties have partnered to bring them all together in one MCU-style world-building venture.
Four Japanese production giants have joined up to form their own cinematic universe. Toho, Toei, Studio Khara, and Tsuburaya Productions announced this past Monday that they are moving full-speed ahead with “Shin Japan Heroes Universe” -- a project that will bring Godzilla, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and the world of Evangelion together under one roof to rival Marvel Studios’ MCU.
The first details of the project were made available yesterday on the official website, along with a gorgeous visual by Mahiro Maeda to celebrate the announcement. The “Shin” in the project’s name is the prefix that will be included in each new film’s title. This tradition was first established with Toho’s masterful 2016 Goji feature, Shin Godzilla. (The “Shin” of that film’s title was chosen for the multiple meanings the Japanese word conveys, including “new” and “evolved.”)
Hideaki Anno - creator of Neon Genesis: Evangelion and writer/co-director of Shin Godzilla - will be a key participant in the project. Earlier today, he issued a statement on his involvement and the ambition of the joint creative venture. “SJHU was conceived from the idea that characters that Japanese culture [is proud of] can be put together [to] spread enjoyment [throughout] the world,” Anno said. “[The] project uses a common [name,] ‘Shin[,]’ as an expedient. We hope that the development of SJHU will please our fans [and] transcend the boundaries of the[se] character[s’] world[s].”
Anno is confident that the project affords its participating creators a high amount of creative flexibility, and that it will not let the business interests behind its existing IP stand in the way of individual authorship. He also added that in the future, the project plans to remove the “Shin” prefix from the titles it produces.
For now, however, that tag will be an integral part of the project’s branding.
First up on SJHU’s slate is Shin Ultraman, a live-action feature based on the sci-fi TV series written and produced by Anno, and directed by his Shin Godzilla co-director Higuchi Shinji. Toho will distribute the movie, which is currently scheduled for a May 13, 2022 release. Shin Kamen Rider, which will be written and directed by Anno, will follow, with Toei distributing the film theatrically in March of 2023.
SJHU will also have a heavy hand in merchandising, events, and other tie-ins to its burgeoning universe.