The Making Of The Costumes Used For “Spectreman” #4

Gori acted by Takanobu Toya

It seems that the trunk part of Spectreman’s body was initially made of FRP just like the mask and that it was changed to a more flexible material as the filming went by.

Although Ryosaku Takayama who was planned to play a leading role in building the character costumes for the show Spectreman was unable to be fully involved in the job in its initial stage of production, it is known that the mask of Gori and the whole costume of Rā/La were made by Takayama with his renowned skill of attaching hair onto a costume while he also made the mask of Gorry for Ultraseven Episode 44. Incidentally, the names of Gori and Rā were simply from the word gorira (gorilla) (as you know).

His schedule seems to have finally allowed Takayama to play a major role in making kaiju costumes for the show afterwards, and it is well known that he even got to create the kaiju Mogunechudon/Mognetudon by designing it himself along with the making of the costume.

Rā acted and voiced by Koji Uenishi

It is said that there were times when Producer Soji Ushio himself designed a kaiju because he knew his stuff as a manga and anime artist which were his original job. His adventurous approach to designing kaijus should surely made the characters successfully impressive.

While Soji Ushio was Eiji Tsuburaya’s longtime friend who had also got involved in the foundation of Tsuburaya Productions when it was set up, I hear Eiji was so much worried about the progress of Magma Taishi, when Ushio’s P Production was preparing for the show, saying “I hope everything is all right with Ushio” leaving his own staff’s concerns behind about the new show Ultraman they had been working on even though the two shows were supposed to have to compete with each other as they were aired by different TV stations around the same time. Chances are Eiji’s concerns made his son Hajime say “Come on, Oyaji (Big Daddy), you should care more about our Ultraman!” (I like this story too.)

Last but not least, I think it should be noted that both Spectreman and Rā were played by Koji Uenishi who had acted Ultraseven. Rā was also voiced by Uenishi.

Mogunechudon

The Making Of The Costumes Used For “Spectreman” #3

Spectreman (Type C )

Following my last post, while these differences of the masks were never referred to in publications and never talked about among us when I was a kid, I remember I had one day realized the existence of Spectreman who looked slightly different from the Spectreman familiar with us (Type C) through a Spectreman pictorial I used to have back then. I believe it was the Type B Spectreman.

This reminds me of the time when I became aware of the existence of the Type B costume of Ultraman for the first time also in a pictorial back then. As I remember I felt the Type B Spectreman looked nicer than the Type C in my view and as my favorite is the Type B Ultraman, I may be a person who is more attracted to something transitional or intermediate than a completed version.

Type B Spectreman mask

I am sure the Type C Spectreman looks good as it should have been worked out while it underwent the process of making the mask look better possibly in addition to the need of making it more convenient to handle on the set, but the Type B Spectreman I found out in that book looked way cool.

As it is known that the filming schedule was so tight in the initial stage while the broadcast of the show was suddenly decided, this makes it more likely that they had little time to have a designer design the Spectreman mask on paper and to refine it so that they wound up having the clay mold sculpted without any finalized design.

At any rate, it is interesting to learn the Spectreman mask was made by the staff who made the Giant Robo costume as both of them were built by the same workshop,

As to the beam lamp Spectreman had on his forehead, while it seems to have a lamp available on the market used as it was, I read a person professionally involved in making tokusatsu character costumes lamented that this type of lamp is not available out there anymore.


The Making Of The Costumes Used For “Spectreman” #2

Type A

Who designed Elementman is unknown while I suppose it could be possible that it was designed by Ushio himself as he also seems to have been a manga and anime artist.

Given the important role they would play, I believe it is only natural that tokusatsu heroes have been produced by putting together many ideas from different people involved, and Spectreman came into being exactly this way without a particular person who designed it.

Meanwhile, it is pointed out that the Spectreman mask had three different types currently described as A, B and C just like the masks of the original Ultraman costume (see this and the following three posts).

Type B

While the Type A mask seems to have been used only for a short period of time at the outset of the series, it had no eye holes as the actor was supposed to look out through the translucent resin parts positioned in the eyes. It is a conspicuous feature that the Type A mask had its upper lip part slightly stick out from the surface with moderately sharp angles. The rear part of the head was covered with the FRP material just like the front side.

The Type A mask should have been immediately changed into the Type B that had eye slits opened and the rear part removed apparently for the sake of convenience which should have made the actor able to look out much better and made the head easier to put on and take off. The upper lip shape appears to have remained as it was before.

Type C

It is likely that the Type C mask was used much longer than the other two types of mask, and it should be typically known as “Spectreman’s face” with the upper lip part smoothed down and the rather sharp corners the preceding masks used to have around their outer edges of the cheeks rounded.

Along with their shapes as the pointed part on top became more sharply angled from the Type A to C through B while the Type A’s sharp corners in every part were so conspicuous as a whole, the sizes also seem to be different from each other, and it makes me assume the clay mold itself was remolded every time.


The Making Of The Costumes Used For “Spectreman” #1

Spectreman produced by P Production (acted by Koji Uenishi who had played Ultraseven)

One of my readers inquired me about who designed the Spectreman mask. As I thought it would be interesting to refer to the making of the costumes used for the tokusatsu show “Spectreman” (1971-1972) produced by P Production, let me share what I have learnt so far.

To get straight to the point, it seems that no design on paper didn’t exist for the hero Spectreman. Just like the original Ultraman designed by Tohl Narita, The Spectreman head came into being as a clay mold.

According to the information in Japanese I found online, even though Ryosaku Takayama who had made most of the Ultra Kaiju costumes for Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultraseven was supposed to be predominantly involved in costume making for Spectreman including the hero, Takayama was so busy back then that he referred P Production to Ijinkan Kobo (Ijinkan Workshop) headed by Toru Suzuki that had made costumes for the show Giant Robo together with Shigeru Inoue who was with the workshop then.

Elementman

It seems that Suzuki and Inoue made the clay mold in almost a day under the supervision of the people in actual on-site attendance including Soji Ushio/うしおそうじ (1921-2004; his real name was Tomio Sagisu/鷺巣 富雄, by the way who could write this name in kanji correctly?) who was the producer of the show and the head of P Production, Takaharu Bessho, the producer from Fuji Television that aired the show, and Toru Matoba who seems to have been deeply involved in the planning of the show while he used to be a tokusatsu director for Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultraseven.

As the show had its pilot film produced with the title “Elementman” starring the hero Elementman, the clay mold should have been more or less based on the hero although they ended up looking very much different with Elementman having the lower part of the actor’s face exposed while the design may be kind of hilarious by today’s standards although the film was apparently made as sort of a test film to be shown to producers and prospective sponsors, needless to say, with no intention to air the film as it was.


GELONIMON (making) #2

As to the origin of the story, it is said that, when he saw children playing making believe they were kaijus and heard them say “Ultraman will show up to save us anyway,” Tetsuo Kinjo thought they should do something about it to stop children from excessively relying on the hero without trying their best.

Tetsuo Yamamura says the Gelonimon costume that ended up being featherless looked least impressive in the storage after use. Furthermore, I am very much dissatisfied with the dummy doll allegedly made of styrofoam used in the scene of Ultraman holding the kaiju in the air as it appeared to be too crude and rough while I know it should have been unavoidable because they had to meet the deadline.

A woven wire core made by Takayama for kaiju costumes

Nevertheless, the episode was attractive and impressive enough as it dealt with the attraction of (Reborn) Pigmon including humans’ attempt to interpret his language, which successfully made the story more convincing, and his action as a hero who tried to save Ide at the expense of his life, Ide’s inner conflicts questioning the raison d’être of the SSSP, and the friendship between Ide and Ultraman that makes us feel like, when in review, it would herald the following show Ultraseven that fully featured the theme throughout the series: the friendship between earthlings and the hero from space as it was climaxed in the final episodes of Ultraseven.

As a little kid who didn’t understand all these features of this episode, I remember it was pretty shocking the feathers thrown by Gelonimon actually stuck in Ultraman’s chest and back!

While this episode is said to have won the highest viewership 42.8% among the episodes of the show Ultraman, each of the above should have made it exciting enough and worth watching for audience in front of television sets at home consisting of children and their families even though the number of kaijus coming back to life initially referred to as 60 finally turned out to be enormously reduced to only three of them.

Gelonimon being built in Takayama’s Atelier May. The fin or gill-like parts on both sides of the head apparently appear to have been removed from the costume actually used in the show although Narita’s design properly has them

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