One of the most famous studios in Japan and founded in 1942 as Daiei Motion Picture Company (大映株式会社 Daiei kabushiki-gaisha ), it is best known for having produced the giant monster Gamera film series and the Daimajin Trilogy. It also produced the Zatoichi and Nemuri Kyoshiro film series and the television series Shōnen Jet before going bankrupt in 1971. In 1974 it was bought by Tokuma Shoten; and in 2002 was sold to Kadokawa Shoten and renamed Kadokawa Daiei Motion Picture Co. Ltd., later Nippon Kadokawa Pictures. In March 2004, Nippon Kadokawa Pictures acquired a 44% stake in Nippon Herald Films and acquired the remaining 56% stake the following year.   Following the passing of Yasuyoshi Tokuma, Daiei was sold to the massive Kadokawa Shoten Publishing Company. In November 2002, Chairman Maihiko Kadokawa announced that Daiei would merge with the company’s own film division to form the Kadokawa-Daiei Motion Picture Company. Shortly thereafter, the company’s name was simplified to Kadokawa Pictures. On March 1, 2006, it merged with the Kadokawa Herald to become Kadokawa Herald Pictures Inc. (later Kadokawa Shoten Pictures).
The new studio quickly went to work on several projects. It approached Toho Company Ltd. about co-producing Godzilla vs. Gamera, but the offer was rejected, so Kadokawa Shoten turned its attention to reviving some of the combined studio’s best known properties. 2005 saw successful releases for both Masāki Tezuka’s Samurai Commando: Mission 1,549 (Sengoku Jieitai 1,549) and Takashi Mīke’s The Great Yokai War (Yokai Daisenso). As these two films opened in Japan, Kadokawa Shoten Pictures revealed that the studio would begin shooting the twelfth Gamera film in July 2005.
Five of their Gamera films were mocked (twice) on Mystery Science Theater 3000. According to Shout! Factory, because of this, they were horrified by the mockery and refused to let Shout release the MST3K versions on home video. Brian Ward (one of the members of Shout) even stated in his own words that "The Japanese just aren't into their man-in-suit flicks being parodied or mocked in any way." However, thanks to Kadokwa selling the rights to a U.S. company (also according to Brian Ward), all 5 of the Gamera episodes were released by Shout! Factory on August 2, 2011.
- Company Web Site (Japanese)
- Kadokawa Pictures at the Internet Movie Database
- Kadokawa Anime Channel at YouTube
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