"Ultraman Saga," the latest film adaptation of the long-running "Ultraman" superhero franchise, is currently showing nationwide.
Recent "Ultraman" films have featured battles in space created with a heavy use of computer graphics.
But the story of the latest movie is set on Earth. The production staff placed importance on traditional special effects involving miniatures and diorama sets featuring cityscapes to create more intense and real-life images.
"With computer graphics, anything can be shaped in a perfect way, but the irregular and asymmetric nature of hand-made things can bring reality," special effects director Toshio Miike said.
That said, it costs more money now to use miniatures in filmmaking. Staff members put their heads together to reduce costs. They came up with an idea to add computer-generated images of buildings modeled after miniatures to make the background set look more densely packed with structures.
The story of "Ultraman Saga" takes place on Earth where people across the world have been spirited away by an alien from space. The only humans remaining on Earth are "Chikyu Boei-tai" (Earth defense squad) member girls and children left orphaned.
But a protagonist, played by actor and singer Daigo, comes from a parallel universe and transforms into a gigantic superhero Ultraman to battle a monster called Hyper Zetton.
The Great East Japan Earthquake that dealt a devastating blow last year also brought impact on the production process.