The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXVI – Toho’s Tokyo Towers

English: 1954 Japanese movie poster for 1954 J...

Who would have thought that these blasted things could hide so well?

Arranging a trip to Japan wasn’t too difficult – and she’d wanted to see the place anyway – but business first! At least she spoke Japanese and managed to scrape up the patience to make the trip without going stir crazy from all the sitting in planes…

Aikiko gritted her teeth and passed up the shrines, the temples, the museums, and the classical fortresses in favor of Toho Studios. A clipboard and Easily Overlooked Presence Method should work just fine.

It did, at least at first – but the studio turned out to be a fairly powerful manse! Rank-4, and with an exotic aspect oriented towards… illusions.

Whaa…?????

OK, the was appropriate for a film studio… But if this turned out to be a copyright dispute gone supernatural, she was going to be very VERY annoyed!

A period of quiet surveillance revealed that there were some dragonbloods around… Air and Water aspects mostly, the CEO, studio executives, directors, managers… only the most important officers of course, but still!

And they were currently… setting up for Samurai Destroyer XIV.

Ooh, a mecha movie! That would be all kinds of fun to watch being made – but it seemed all too likely that some of those those Terrestrials would know (and likely use, if only to watch for things going wrong on the set) Awareness Charms.

Still… from what she could see, it looked like… Palace of Unreality was being used for movie-making. That was… extravagant. On the other hand, it would explain why Godzilla had been so influential! They were using it to… create monsters, and scenery, and sets, and special effects, and even some entire sequences! There was also an instance of Wyld Revocation that allows basic martial arts training to be used for marvelous stunts, and some safety functions, and even a monor healing function for helping out the stuntmen. A lot of computer interfacing with the manse too. It looked like they even had a computer interface set up, so they could just feed in maps and background photos and storyboards and such…

Technology wasn’t her thing – but the primary access was probably in the central offices – just where the dragonblooded were concentrated. Blast! There had to be a whole clan in charge of this… Still, her curiosity was getting the better of her; she headed that way.

There were… a lot of actors, most of whom seemed to believe that advanced special effects technology was handling the odder bits, a screenwriters workshop (which apparently provided some substantial boosts to script-writing), and the central offices right up ahead. Some security… Seems to be basic manse-servants though. Some of the actors – the stars – seemed to fit into that category as well!

But didn’t manse-servants normally stick with the manse? What the heck was going on?

At which point a cheerful young man spotted her and promptly directed her into a line with some of the other aspiring young would-be actresses… they were “ready to start the readings”!

Director Isanawa himself would be reviewing the applicants!

(Aikiko) “Err… yes, sir.”

She bowed. Bowing etiquette was taking some time to get used to, but she was quite socially skilled and adaptable! It was easy enough to pretend to be a slightly nervous young woman here to play a part!

Very shortly she was handed a script and directed to a short series of lines for the part of a Young Female Werewolf Hunter! First a dramatic bit at the climax of a hunt, and then switching to a short interlude with friends.

Huh. That wasn’t entirely unlike what was actually going on… She wasn’t much of an actor, but the Manse seemed to facilitate rapid improvement there as well… the place was HANDY! And… she had to admit that it would be FUN to be in a Godzilla movie! Toho studios was one of the premier studios in the eastern hemisphere, they were hugely influential, their audience was vast, they turned out movies by the score, and they were pretty much rolling in loot…

Oh. Of course. They WOULD be wouldn’t they?

Kiko promptly took advantage of the manses powers to buy two dots of Perform on the cheap – and stunted her performance, throwing in her formidable martial arts skills, the acting boost from the Manse, and punctuating her lines as she was “pummeling the werewolf” with hammer punches and knee strikes – enunciating like a bold, rebellious spirit – before switching to trying to play what she’d picked up of the “demure Japanese schoolgirl” with the “friends”…

Sadly, she didn’t actually roll that well.

The effort was palpable, the actual result was a bit too nervous!

Well, it wasn’t like Kiko had acted before – except to talk herself out of trouble.

The director was good at spotting potential though – and offered her a smaller, non-starring, part. That had been a very good try even if the lack of acting experience had showed!

(Aikiko) “Thank you very much, sir! I won’t disappoint you!”

(Isanawa) “You’re quite welcome Ms Aikiko! You’ve come a long ways to try out!”

The role was a secondary hunter who got bitten in the first attempt on the main monster, and – sadly – had to be put down along with her new boss! Still, she did get some combat sequences, a few appearances standing over bodies and such, and a good death scene! It was not at all a bad start!

The salary was quite decent too – although to go for the higher, star-quality, salaries you had to sign an exclusive contract. Still, even a series of small-scale jobs was well worth considering! She DID need some mundane means of supporting herself in Creation – even if this WAS about as supernatural as studios got!

Toho had really come on the scene with their new studios in the very early 1960’s – and now was probably the biggest studio in the entire east. It turned out a LOT of movies, usually with quite good scripts and fabulously good effects. They did monster movies, supernatural thrillers, sci-fi, and historical stuff mostly… of course, that WAS playing to their advantages. At a guess, there’d been a Terrestrial takeover or the CEO had Exalted – and had gotten the new studios underway sometime in the 1950’s. Despite Charles, building a rank-**** manse was a bit of a project!

Aikiko had to admit that whoever had come up with this one had had a stroke of brilliance… The place let was a money machine on a massive scale and let you peddle whatever images and ideas you wanted to a global audience. It was a cultural shaping machine to be envied… The large number of studio guards might not be as unreasonable as it looked. Whichever Japanese clan controlled the place probably considered it a critical asset – and were probably very pleased that they didn’t just laugh off the original proposal. How ridiculous “Your studio is built on a place of supernatural power. Can we work with you to improve it?” must have sounded!

And now they could undercut virtually everyone… “We need a complete 1823 Kyoto Set…. done!”.

Unfortunately, as fascinating – potentially useful – as that was, there was no sign of Salin, or Darius, or even Mechagodzilla (at least if you didn’t count the poster-and-stills gallery). Toho seemed to be… opinion-molding, income-producing, and a cultural icon – but it didn’t seem to actually deploy Kaiju any more than it did armies of space marines or cyborg samurai. Ah well! It would still be pretty lucrative for her! She’d just have to remember to show up for filming.

Hmmm… Did the Dragon-blooded running the place realize just how much power built up in popular characters and genres? That was always more a divine thing than something for Dragon-Bloods to tap into though…

Drat it! Where to go from here? Could Mechagodzilla possibly be hanging out in space? How could she get there? And even if she COULD, space was HUGE! She couldn’t search that big an area on her own!

Perhaps she could get Toho studios would go after them for copyright infringement?

Nah, that was silly – but she did mention hearing something about the incident within Terrestrial earshot.

(Terrestrial) “Oh come my dear! It sounds like a prank to me – or perhaps a publicity stunt! Godzilla is a mere fantasy! Who could possibly produce such a thing for real? It does sound amusing though! Perhaps the work of one of those american “Fan Clubs”?

(Aikiko) “I guess so… but what happened to the kids who disappeared?”

(Terrestrial) “Camping in the woods perhaps? Or got themselves into trouble after their prank? America has much wilderness! And, sadly, many youngsters disappear…”

(Aikiko) “Yeah… would still be neat though.”

Hm… No obvious signs of lying – although it was pretty obvious that the bit about woods and trouble was a simple guess. This fellow, at least, didn’t know anything.

Ah well. She wouldn’t have thought that they’d risk their cash cow that way, but Terrestrials did talk with each other – even if it did look like the eastern dragon-blooded had gone in for the samurai-businessman model rather than the old warrior model. Well, there was something to be said for economics over punching! It was a lot easier to get comfortable with!

A few similar probes… got nothing much. Toho’s setup brought them money, and influence, and a certain amount of power – but for her particular search it was, at best, a sidequest.

Well, she was more than happy to have a minor part in one of their films! She’d always kind of wanted to be a movie star – and with her speed and combat skills, she might well get many parts!

So; into space? She didn’t want to be beholden to the Sidereals any more than she had too – but Charles would doubtless loan her a ship, and she was a pilot; all that time spent flying Gri-Fel around was going to pay off…

Wait a moment! She was being silly! Mechagodzilla always had a hidden base for repairs!

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6 Responses

  1. I should note that it would be helpful to determine exactly which VERSION of Mechagodzilla it is she’s after. That would give a likely idea of where the hidden base might be. Some versions show it as a robot piloted by humans, and others as an alien weapon. Knowing which version it is would also serve to narrow down the capbilities it’s likely to have.

  2. […] LXXXVI – Toho’s Tokyo Towers: Aikiko in Tokyo, Toho Studios, Aikiko finds a Job, […]

  3. […] LXXXVI – Toho’s Tokyo Towers: Aikiko in Tokyo, Toho Studios, Aikiko finds a Job, […]

  4. […] Toho Studios: Notes only. […]

  5. […] Toho Studios: Notes only. […]

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