Bankid: Another Tokusatsu Show With Tohl/Toru Narita Involved #3


Daburyusu Chui (chui=First Lieutenant) designed by Tohl Narita

Alien Bukimi featured in the show Bankid are aliens who plot to invade and emigrate to Earth, in the prospect that their planet will be destroyed in 20 years, by getting rid of earthlings’ children they believe will surely disturb their scheme in the future.

Hence they sent in troops led by “Commander Guzare” as the advance party of their force so they attack Earth by their flying saucers.

The variety of forms the individual Alien Bukimi take make it look almost unlikely that they belong to the same species.

Even though Guzare appears to be so cold-blooded and hard on his subordinates that he mercilessly wipes out one who has failed in accomplishing a mission, it also shows his strong wish to save the people of Planet Bukimi by all means, at any expense.

Eicchidoba Chusa (chusa=lieutenant colonel)

Alien Bukimi divide into officers and rank and file so the officers corresponding to villain characters called “kaiju” or “kaijin” of tokusatsu superhero shows bear their names with titles representing their ranks in the force while rank and file members are something just like the “Shocker” combatmen in “Kamen Rider.”

It is known that Tohl Narita joined the show Bankid from Episode 6 as it is also said it was because the Alien Bukimi drawn by someone else looked so terrible in quality.

Narita seems to have been so much into designing aliens for Bankid so he himself said he liked the Bankid aliens more than the Ultraseven aliens he had designed and he wished he could have designed more of them if the show lasted longer.

The Bankid aliens designed by Narita are highly reputed among fans as it is believed that they excellently embodied his preference of “making objects abstract” so he created many unusual-looking aliens for Bankid.

Tībasu Taii (Captain/Lieutenant Teebus?)

That being said, there seem to be some Narita fans who lament the poor qualities of the costume modeling greatly spoiled Narita’s brilliant alien designs in comparison with the Narita kaijus modeled by Ryosaku Takayama in Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven.

Tībasu Taii (Captain/Lieutenant Teebus?) is described as an alien who could best represent Narita’s idea of abstract art with the head and the horn(s) integrated as one whole thing instead of letting horns grow from a head as different/separate objects.

It is really regrettable that, while I didn’t know the show Bankid featured the aliens designed by Narita back then, I missed watching it at the time.

Along with the show “Totsugeki! Human!!” for which Narita designed the superhero(s) and the kaijus, Bankid should be a show that is worth reviewing as another tokusatsu product Narita was involved in.

Narita’s alien design looks unique in Bankid too

Bankid: Another Tokusatsu Show With Tohl/Toru Narita Involved #2


“Kekero Bankid 駆けろバンキッド (Run, Bankid)”: a single cover of the theme song released at the time

The hero team’s name and the show’s title “Bankid” mush  have been derived from “enban (flying saucer)” and “kid” as it seems to have been meant to be a squadron consisting of boys and a girl though the leading hero (Pegasus as described below) was an adult.

Meanwhile, you should note that the Bankid team members as the heroes were not designed by Tohl Narita even though it is unknown who designed Bankid themselves.

It is explained that Bankid comprises the following members under Dr Uzaki who set up the team:

 

Bankid Pegasus / Noboru Tenma (acted by Eiji Okuda / color: red):  the team leader of Bankid. He has a special move called “Tetsuwan Jujisei (literally, Iron Arm Cross Star)” used with the same pose as Ultraman’s Spacium Beam (I have no idea whether or not Pegasus’s was a beam attack). He usually serves as home tutor for Ryuji and Junji described below.

Bankid Dragon / Ryuichi Uzaki (Tomohiro Tanabe / yellow): the sub-leader.

Bankid Rabbit / Junji Uzaki (Tatsuyuki Tsuji / yellow): Ryuichi’s younger brother and the youngest member of the team.

Bankid Ox / Jiro Ushijima (Akinori Umezu / blue): a boy proud of being most powerful in Bankid.

Bankid Swan / Honoka Shiratori (Mie Suzuki / pink): the female Bankid member in charge of information analysis.

Dr Iwao Uzaki (Masami Shimojo): the founder of Bankid. Uzaki brothers’ grand father. A brilliant space scientist.

Incidentally, Akinori Umezu who played Jiro Ushijima (Bankid Ox) is known to have acted “Dan Umezu” as a regular cast member for a part of the series “Ultraman Ace.”

 

The Bankid team completes their transformation process when Pegasus shouts “Bankid Change!” with his arms crossed over his head and then the other members shout “Bankid Go!” crossing their arms in front of their chests.

It seems that, along with hand-to-hand fights between Bankid and individual Alien Bukimi, battles in the air between Bankid’s aircraft called “Bankid Mother” and Alien Bukimi’s flying saucers were shown in every episode (there is a description online saying that the miniature buildings used in the show were so elaborate just like the Toho tokusatsu they were worth watching).

Bankid Mother built by Dr Uzaki can separate into “Ace Fighter” flown by Pegasus, “Sister Fighter” by Swan, and three “Baby Fighters” steered by the rest of them attached to the rear wings.

Alien Bukimi’s “Bukimi Blacker” shaped like a stingray contains and carries their flying saucers.


Bankid: Another Tokusatsu Show With Tohl/Toru Narita Involved #1


Bankid

In response to a request from my reader, here is my post about another tokusatsu show Tohl Narita who designed Ultraman and Ultraseven and their attractive kaiju characters was involved in.

The title is “Enban Sensou Bankid 円盤戦争バンキッド (Flying Saucer Battle Bankid)” that aired from 1976 to 1977 produced by Toho with 26 episodes.

Unfortunately I am totally unfamiliar with this show because I didn’t watch it as I had already outgrown tokusatsu shows intended for children at the time (except the original Ultra Series that have ever been shining in myself) while there was no way of knowing Narita was involved in this show either (I knew nothing about Narita back then, even his name and as the designer of Ultraman and Ultraseven).

 

It is obvious Bankid was influenced by a UFO craze, in which it was talked about fairly a lot among people including kids, that had broken out in Japan at the time in the same line as the anime “UFO Robo Grendizer UFOロボ グレンダイザー” (1975-1977) and an anime film “Uchu Enban Daisensou 円盤大戦争 (Great Battles of Flying Saucers)” shown in 1975 prior to Grendizer while the two products share some of the settings.

Moreover, it is also apparent that having the heroes consisting of five members was an influence from “Himitsu Sentai Gorenger 秘密戦隊ゴレンジャー (Secret Squadron Go(=Five)renger)” (1975-1977) that won much popularity back then.

As Bankid was relatively a short-lived series with 26 episodes, it shows that it had failed to gain popularity among kids unfortunately.

 

The book “The Art of Tohl Narita” says the failure is likely to have been caused by the five heroes appearing too similar to Gorenger as they looked as if just following Gorenger to earn popularity and a lack of experience and skill shown by the company in charge of production that was not used to dealing with a tokusatsu show (while Toho is credited as the production company, it was produced by a subcontractor in reality).

As to the story, Alien Bukimi (the villain aliens’ name as a species meaning “eerie” though it might sound too plain as a name) have embarked on invading Earth aiming at children they thought of as the most likely nuisance for their emigration scheme to Earth slated to begin in 20 years.

Dr. Uzaki who noticed their plot has organized the “flying saucer squadron Bankid” comprising five young members to defend Earth.

 

Note: the building shaped like a pyramid in the top photo is the gymnasium of Setagaya Athletic Field (世田谷運動場体育館) that still exists close to the location where Tsuburaya Productions used to be. It was often used on location filming including the fight between Ultraseven and Alien Pegassa in the episode “Dark Zone” even though you can’t see the building in the dark.


Fantastic Ultraman And Nelonga Masks!


I received a reply from my reader with an image of fantastic masks illustrated by him.

Actually, they are the masks reproduced from his happy memories as a kid. You’ll find the story at the above linked page.

Hope you enjoy them!!!


How Were Wet Suits Used For Ultraman’s Costumes? #4


Akira Tsuda previously mentioned says he thinks he possibly suggested Narita to try the wet suit from the US because he found the material was excelent as it was lined with stuff like nylon feather and they came in red too.

According to him, people including Sadashige Numari 沼里貞重 who was in charge of tokusatsu mechanism operation (called soen 操演 in the industry term) had made the suits at an earlier time by cutting and attaching black rubber materials made in Japan so they pained silver and red over it.

If Tsuda is right, it might be more plausible to think Akira Sasaki heard about Tokyo Akuarangu from Tsuda or Narita who had the store recommended by Tsuda.

 

Tsuda’s statement, however, seems to conflict with the description in Bin Furuya’s book in which it is written that Narita and he visited Tokyo Akuarangu to have them measure Furuya for the sizes of the wet suit before the first costume of Ultraman had been made.

Contrary to this, Tsuda’s remark indicates the first costume was already there before they had placed an order with Tokyo Akuarangu.

More confusingly, it is also stated in another interview with Fuyuki Shinada, the kaiju modeler who is currently in charge of making Tsuburaya kaijus, included in the Ultraman Research Book that Furuya also says the wet suits before Tokyo Akuarangu were made by Yamamoto Kagaku (Yamamoto Chemistry) based in Osaka.

 

Shinada says in it Yamamoto Kagaku still produces wet suits so they used one for Ultraman Belial’s body suit.

In the same book, Tamotsu Sato who is believed to have made the first Alien Baltan’s costume states he often visited Tokyo Akuarangu in order for him to get a wet suit for the Baltan’s body.

Therefore, it might be possible that the suits of Kemur and Ragon were made from the wet suits prepared by Yamamoto Kagaku.

With all these more or less contradictory statements, I believe it is impossible to judge who is correct and who is wrong now as too many years have passed since then.

Anyway, while wet suits are now common materials for Ultra Heroes, all these stories tell us about the trial and error they experienced in order to set the pattern for it.


Fan Site of Ultraman & Japanese TV tokusatsu (SFX) in 1960s &1970s