Hero Cicada-Human & M1 vs. Gorgos #1

“Ultra Q Pictorial”

I recently purchased a book titled “Ultra Q Pictorial” (published this year in 2017) featuring magazine articles on Ultra Q of the time after the previously released “Ultraseven Pictorial” (2014) and “Ultraman Pictorial” (2015).

This pictorial of Ultra Q is not so picturesque as the others because it was not customarily practiced back then to deal with such a TV show in publication featuring a large number of photos even though Ultra Q was the unprecedented full-fledged tokusatsu TV show supervised by Eiji Tsuburaya famous for Toho Godzilla movies.

Therefore, in addition to illustrated black and white articles about Ultra Q kaijus, this pictorial predominantly features illustrated reads from Ultra Q episodes while the stories tend to be adjusted more or less even with different settings applied to them rather than faithful to the original stories of the show.

The back cover

Among them, I found a fun story featuring Cicada-Human, M1 and Gorgos. While it is a story in which a battle unfolds among them, of all things, Cicada-Human is found to be dealt with as a righteous hero (with a muffler put around his neck) who fights with M1 against Gorgos while the alien was depicted as a formidable enemy plotting to invade Earth using Garamons in the real show!

In the story, Cicada-Human’s spacecraft crashed into the ground by accident. People including Jun Manjome and his fellows along with M1 rushed to the scene. M1 is described in this particular story as an artificial life form brought into being for observation of volcanic activities of Mt. Fuji to check places inaccessible to humans.

Illustration featuring Cicada-Human fighting against Gorgos in cooperation with M1 found tearing Gorgos’s leg apart


U-TOM (making)

U-tom design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is a very ordinary robot.”

It is always fun to see Tohl Narita make such a brief comment on some kaijus he designed while I think it could tell us whether one is his favorite or not. I think it is inevitable to some degree that he had to design what he did not desire to meet the deadline for the weekly broadcasting of the show.

It has been pointed out that Narita should have designed U-tom with inspiration from the famous “Robby the Robot” that appeared in American sci-fi movies such as “Forbidden Planet” while the character is very much popular among sci-fi fans even in Japan.

The impression toward U-tom I had when I was a kid was just a weird robot with its face filled with gears inside although I found it very much attractive. Incidentally, King Joe and U-tom had no particular names of their own when the show aired and are said to have been named after the show ended although I do not remember.

While robot kaijus designed by Narita and sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama looked rather “soft” in material as shown by Windom and King Joe (including Nurse although it is a puppet monster), this U-tom apparently had a rigid body except the soft-looking bottom part of the body.

As the U-tom costume was not sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama but by the sculpture section of Tsuburaya Productions, I assume it might have been made with sort of a sense of rivalry toward Takayama-made robots by choosing to make it a “rigid” robot character.

Although little is publicized about the sculpture of U-tom even officially, the limbs seem to be made from a metallic material such as stainless steel while the head and chest part appear to have been made of FRP. They might have put an order with a sheet metal worker for the limbs if I guess right.

Different marks on the chest were applied to the one single costume to make it look like plural U-toms existed just like Garamons in “Ultra Q.”

TetsuoYamamura says Narita designed this robot supposing Yamamura was to act it, but, at the request of Hajime Tsuburaya, director of this U-tom episode, Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla actor, played instead of Yamamura. Yamamura says he found it regrettable that he missed the opportunity to act U-tom while highly admiring Nakajima’s performance to fall face down to the ground with the rigid suit.

When Bin Furuya who played Ultraman and Amagi told Nakajima that falling down in that way in a suit should have hurt in an interview covered in a book, I think Nakajima casually answered, “I don’t remember.  I should have felt nothing.”

Hajime Tsuburaya and U-tom

BULLTON (making)

Bullton design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is from a sea anemone. I just designed it simply as a moving abstract form.”

Bullton is really a unique kaiju in appearance and settings that is a true rarity among kaijus featured in the primary Ultra Series, and I personally like to see such a weird monster appear along with normal, standard kaijus. It is great to find Narita and Takayama did not make the oddly-shaped kaiju look creepy even though it looks mysterious.

Larval Bullton design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tetsuo Yamamura says in a book that it had two men in it for the scene in which it vibrated its body although the kauju was described as acted by Teruo Aragaki by himself (Yamamura assumes a crew member, not another actor, should have helped Aragaki for the body-shaking scene).

Yamamura also says Bullton had a wooden board like lauan lumber on the bottom inside so as to get on it and that the actor(s) could make the body tremble from inside by shaking a wood stick set vertically across the inner side of the costume.

Bullton sculpture plan drawn by Ryosaku Takayama with instructions for his assistants (he also put lookalikes of them on top with his words “to my good assistants”)

The larval Bullton is also my favorite while the design is fabulous and it is amazing to see the prop shift its shape into the unfolded version from the meteorite-like form just as it is seemingly without using image compositing or stop motion (I wonder who made the prop. Could be Takayama).

It is likely that Bullton was portrayed in the script to be a creature that was hard to decide whether it was an animal or plant in appearance with bat-like wings swaying.  It also seems to be depicted to be covered with bagworm-like stuff all over the body and to have a head-like part that came up while sticking out a long needle from it.

Bullton sculpture plan drawn by Ryosaku Takayama

One of Narita’s art book has a picture titled “Sky Wall” he describes as he thought he had drawn it around the time when he had been involved in “Ultra Q” adding that a fan let him know it was a background design for an episode of “Ultraseven.”

But I find it is a background design of the four-dimensional universe for this Bullton episode instead of an Ultraseven episode (you can find it out in the DVD).

Narita’s artwork titled “Sky Wall” that is my favorite

PAGOS (making)

Pagos design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is from a Toho kaiju only with its head replaced.”

Narita’s description of Pagos is so plain as if showing the unwillingness he had when designing a kaiju to be remodeled from the existing Toho kaiju Baragon.

It is said that this episode was originally planned to feature Gomess that was revealed to have an organ to breathe out a molecule destruction ray in this episode, but it seems that, as Gomess had been restored to Godzilla the costume was based on and returned to Toho already, they decided to feature a new kaiju instead that was to be Pagos capable to breathe out the molecule destruction ray.

Pagos design drawn by Tohl Narita

I have just known the sculptor of the Pagos head is described as Ryosaku Takayama on the Net although I put it “unknown” in my Kaiju Pictorial entry for Pagos (I corrected it already).

Along with the head design done by Tohl Narita, Takayama’s head sculpture is just excellent and impressive enough to make the kaiju look fully attractive although the body was from Baragon.

The back part of the head looks a bit different between the drawing with Pagos on all fours and with the kaiju standing on two feet.

Pagos design drawn by Tohl Narita

I have also found it is explained online that the Baragon body was used for Nelonga, Magulla and Gavora in “Ultraman” after being used for Pagos in “Ultra Q,” and, after the use at stage shows as NELONGA, the costume was returned to Toho where it was restored to Baragon again to make it appear in the 1968 Toho movie “Destroy All Monsters.”

Ultraman Episode 9 in which Gavora appeared was originally planned to feature Pagos instead, but the idea seems to have been dropped to use the Nelonga head as it was.

Such a transition eloquently tells us how robustly the Baragon costume was made by the Toho art staff at any rate given it got to appear as Baragon finally again after being reused that much as different kaijus.

 


More About Tetsuo Yamamura Who Played Chamegon

From left: Hideaki Sato, Akihide Tsuzawa and Tetsuo Yamamura (snapshot from Ultraman Episode 9); Sato also appeared in Ultra Q Episode 14 as the protagonist boy

Following my post on Haruyoshi Nakamura as one of the suit actors of Booska, I would like to talk a bit more about Tetsuo Yamamura (1951-present) as an actor of Chamegon while the character was acted by Yamamura and Teruo Aragaki alternately depending on the episode.

As I wrote about the outline of Yamamura’s career as a suit actor, after he appeared as human characters in “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman,” he started his career as a kaiju actor with Chamegon for the first time, surprisingly enough, when he was a junior high student.

Chibirakun characters: Pochipochi is a dog-like character beside rightmost Chibirakun

As to Ultra Kaijus, as most of them were being played by seasoned suit actors who had already been involved in suit acting for the series, Yamamura started playing with Gander, Alien Prote (giant version) and Dally in “Ultraseven” after he had played kaijus at stage shows or for still photos exclusively along with a human character as the son of the Mizushimas assaulted by Alien Quraso.

Yamamura (second from right) around the time when he was playing Pochipochi

After that, Yamamura played Pochipochi in the TV tokusatsu series “Chibirakun” (1970-1971) produced by Tsuburaya Productions, and, in 1972, he played Daigoro in the kaiju movie “Daigoro vs. Goliath” produced as the movie commemorating the 10th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions (I have never seen this movie unfortunately).

He is also known to have played kaius for several Tsuburaya TV tokusatsu series including “Ultraman Tarou”(1973), “Fireman” (1973) and “Jumborg Ace” (1973). He also appeared in “Ultraman 80” (1980) as a kaiju named Tetsuon after his name.

Tetsuon

(ALIEN) ANNON (making)

Annon design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “I wanted to make a kaiju with rocks piled up irregularly.”

As I put in my “Kaiju Pictorial” post on Annon, I find this alien consisting of the lifeless material, rock, is very much attractive with the concept of a formless alien to possess his body made from a rock, which makes us aware a variety of life forms even except humanoid aliens could be found in the universe.

According to Tetsuo Yamamura who says he tried on the costume, he found it had been made in the form of allowing an actor to get in by removing the top part of the suit while adding the costume was well made.

Sculpture plan drawn by Ryosaku Takayama: the miniature Annon body (above); the costume (below) with an actor faintly visible inside

As to the design Narita drew, it is a shame that the (blurred) image covered in one of his art books does not have its full length leaving the head part trimmed probably to fit into the page layout (unfortunately, the other art book of his does not have the design of this alien itself presumably due to the page limitation).

Whereas Narita describes it as it was shaped like a pile of rocks, it appears to be shaped like a cloud that was one of Narita’s favorite motifs.

Annon costume that appears to have been just cast out of the plaster mold at Takayama’s Atelier May

The plaster mold the miniature Annon body used in the show was cast out of still remains in existence while it was also sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama along with the suit, and I saw the mold displayed at an exhibition before alongside of the miniature Annon body replicas allegedly made in the 1980s.

Incidentally, Haruyoshi Nakamura played this unique alien besides the other kaiju characters he acted for the original Ultra Series.

The original mold of the miniature Annon body made by Takayama (left); a replica of the miniature Annon body

ALIEN BALTAN II;III (making #2)

Alien Baltan III

For Alien Baltan III, the costume of Baltan II was used again after being repainted although the mechanism to light up the V-shaped part on the head was left unused.

It is also said the leg openings of the Baltan II suit were made to look integrated with the boots by taping the joints up just like the costumes of Ultraman while the first Baltan apparently wore boots just as they were.

Although it is unclear, it is pointed out that Baltan II’s  boots appear to have fin-like parts on the back of the heels like the Type B suit of Ultraman, and I feel like figures with the reproduced fins for the boots were once available even though I am not sure.

 

Chances are that, as it was hard for the actors to act with the aliens’ heads that seem to have easily come off and the big nippers, their battles with Ultraman on the ground ended up being rather short.

The costume variations of Alien Baltan had not been referred to in publication (there was no classification to describe them as Alien Baltan I, II and III either) until the 1980s when ardent fans who had grown up with the Ultra Series started talking about them as the character had been dealt with to that point as the same (species of) Alien Baltan regardless of the slightly different appearances.

I think we (a bit younger than the forerunner fans who were born in the late 1950s) were aware that Alien Baltan II and III apparently looked different from the first Baltan when we were kids as we watched the reruns (no videos were available) over and over back then.

(to see a post about what happened to the costume in the end, click here)


ALIEN BALTAN II; III (making #1)

Alien Baltan design drawn by Tohl Narita

It is not that the costume of Alien Baltan II (and III) was sculpted based on a new design drawn by Tohl Narita as a character with a different appearance from the first Alien Baltan.

It is said that the costume of the first Baltan was in an unusable state allegedly because of deterioration as the costume could possibly have been used at stage shows.

Along with the eyes that light up, rotate and move sideways just like the first Baltan, Baltan II has a luminescent section over the V-shaped part on the head with the color changing from white to red alternately.

Alien Baltan II

While it is known (it was learnt quite recently actually) that the first Baltan costume was sculpted by Tamotsu Sato who was with Shimada Workshop that was involved in film art for Toho movies, Baltan II was sculpted by Akira Sasaki who made the masks of the original Ultraman and Ultraseven.

As to the sculpture, Sasaki says, “I don’t think I had any particular reason for having made it look thinner than the first Baltan. If anything, I think I made it look more like Narita’s design.”

It is truly a shame that there is little record available about the costume of Alien Baltan II including pictures showing the sculpting process, images of its front, side and back views (to be shot at the back of the Bisen studio) or still photos as it is said that people including publishers were likely to have thought the same costume as the first Baltan would be used naturally for the filming with no one ready for the new costume sculpted by Sasaki to be featured.


1/8 HUMANS (making)

As 1/8 humans were humans acted by humans as they were, I have nothing to talk about regarding the design and the making of costumes.

This episode, as I wrote before, was to be produced as one of the “UNBALANCE” episodes  in which stories unfold about mysterious phenomena instead of kaijus before the show title changed into “Ultra Q” along with the content shifted to a kaiju series by decision of the TBS producer Takashi Kakoi.

While it was about to be dropped from the series with the shift to a series featuring kaijus, it ended up being produced as Kakoi found normal-sized humans wandering into the 1/8 city could be seen as kaijus (therefore it is likely that the title and style changes were made before this episode was actually produced).

Along with the miniature buildings of the 1/8 city, props such as a telephone and pencil to be used by Yuriko shrunk to 1/8 size were made. The telephone was made of plaster and the pencil tip was from a coke (fuel) piece so that it could allow Yuriko to write letters on paper for real.

Hiroko Sakurai who played Yuriko (and Akiko in “Ultraman”) writes the telephone receiver was so heavy that she accidentally dropped and broke it, and it appears to have a mark on the part where the receiver was repaired (Sakurai says it does).

Without computer-generated images, everything was hand-made back then even with optical compositing used along with the props, which, strangely enough, could give us  a sense of presence in its own way apart from how much real they look by today’s standards.

According to one of the books authored by Sakurai, these props were made by an art staff member named Hatakeyama, and she writes she found it so impressive that he was working on the set so happily and vigorously saying he was enjoying his job very much as he could do what he liked to the fullest.

It is explained online that she still has the big pencil used in the show with her.

One of the books written by Hiroko Sakurai titiled “Memoir of Youth with Ultraman (sorry about my sloppy translation)”

Design & Sculpture Of Chamegon

Episode 27

As to the making of Chamegon, it is a shame that little is known about who designed and sculpted the character unfortunately.

While I have seen an article putting the designer as Tohl Narita on the Net, I don’t think it is what is officially publicized and commonly known although, come to think of it, the character could appear to have some Narita features in his face depending on the way you look at it. It remains unknown anyhow.

Regarding the sculpture, I assume the costume should have been made along with the Booska costumes by the same sculptors (Shimada Workshop and Ex Production), it has not been talked about so far either.

Episode 41

Although there are few people who point it out, Chamegon also has different types of costumes, and, as far as I know, it seems that they can be roughly classified into two types. If I put them as Type A and B following the customary practice, the Type A costume is thought of as a standard suit of Chamegon illustrating his naughty and mischievous character with eyes slanting upwards at a sharp angle.

The Type B costume looks milder with eyes more rounded, which gives me a more friendly impression. It might have been for making him more popular among kids. The two types of costumes appeared randomly seemingly till the end of the series even though there might have been another type I have not noticed.

I personally prefer the Type A costume as I find it is very Chamegon who behaves naughtily most of the time. At any rate, it is regrettable to find little is referred to about the making of Chamegon compared to Booska, and it makes me feel strange that the different types of the Chamegon costumes have not been pointed out among fans despite its significance (I hope you will agree).

Episode 47 (final episode “Farewell Booska”)

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