Forgotten Hero: Greenman #4

“You should call him when in the face of danger” (in the theme song)

Although I was going to finish a series of my Greenman articles with the last post, I found out additional intriguing information on the web (http://sofvi.tokyo/180726_hakabanogarou/).

It seems that an exhibition with materials used when the shows Godman and Greenman were actually filmed way back was held in Nakano, Tokyo, this summer at the famous “Nakano Broadway” (visit my other site for some information on it if you are interested) that is called “the holly place for the otaku” with a large number of anime-, manga-, and tokusatsu-related stores in it.

The below picture I borrowed shows the Godman costume and the Greenman mask on display in unity while the Godman costume looks quite new.

According to another piece of information I found online, when the DVD set titled “Ike (Go)! Ike! Godman & Greenman BOX” consisting of three discs came out in 2008, a newly filmed episode starring Godman also having Greenman appear seems to have been contained in addition to the selected episodes from Godman and Greenman actually aired back then.

Therefore, this makes it more likely that the Godman mask I wrote about in my previous article was newly made for the DVDs. Moreover I guess that particular mask could have been used for the Godman costume shown in the above photo.

While the Greenman costume shown on top of my first Greenman post looks new too, it may have been the one reproduced for his appearance in the above DVD. Although it is unknown whether the new Godman mask was based on the original mold, the new Greenman mask could have been duplicated from the original mask displayed at the exhibition (see right below).

Furthermore, even though I failed to refer to this in my previous Greenman posts, there might be some Japanese fans who believe Greenman was designed by Tohl Narita.

However, it must be a mix-up between this Greenman produced by Toho planning and the other hero that was prepared as “Greenman” and was finally produced and aired as “Thundermask” while the hero Thundermask was designed and modeled based on a design drawn by Narita as Greenman.

Incidentally, the man called “Kaiju Ojisan (Kaiju Old Man)” seems to have kept appearing in the show Greenman too, the following show “Ike! Ushiwaka Kotaro” likewise. As to Ushiwaka Kotaro, I am going to write about it shortly afterwards as it seems interesting although I didn’t know that show had existed.

“Greenman Greenman Thrust your blaster!” (in the theme song)

Forgotten Hero: Greenman #3

A picture found online described to be from a sketchbook discovered at the company Tsueni that seems like the original designs of Greenman and Tonchiki while details are unknown

As to the design and modeling of the hero Greenman, while the company Tsuenī (twenty) set up by Keizo Murase from Toho through Ex Production was in charge of the costume making for the show, his older brother Tsuguo Murase who was with Toho as an art staff member at the time designed the hero, and Keizo modeled the costume including the mask according to it.

It is said that the mask design was based on Buddha statues in Southeast Asia. Keizo seems to have said “At first, I found the design somewhat odd with the pattern like a ramen bowl. But my brother said ‘It’s better to make it look this much stunning,” so it encouraged me to devise the modeling to finish it with imitation jewels that were hardly available back then in an attempt to make it look striking.”

Greenman with a pattern on his body like one on the ramen bowl
The pattern called “raimon” (lightening pattern) on a ramen bowl alleged to be a symbol of auspiciousness driving off evil (What an auspicious hero Greenman was!)

It means that, following Godman also produced by Toho Planning with the hero’s mask modeled by Nobuyuki Yasumaru who worked for Toho, Greenman was modeled by the Toho-related modelers.

Although I found Greenman looked a bit odd when I first saw him in a picture, I now find he looks cool in his own way with the mask that looks graceful in a way with good-looking features. Keizo Murase sure knows his stuff.

The filming seems to have been conducted in areas of land under development just like Redman and Godman with the use of the same miniature buildings throughout the series set up on the ground. That being said, it can be found that they used elaborately built miniatures that looked excellent.

The outdoor filming with elaborate miniatures seeming quite effective in making scenes look more real

In addition, I found out a picture below showing Gyrock from “Totsugeki! Human!!” and Tonchiki in the Greenman show. As the Human characters including the hero Human and Gyrock were designed by Tohl Narita (you can see the Gyrock design here; the Gyrock costume was modeled by Ryosaku Takayama), those kaius made by Narita and Takayama who were involved in creating masterpiece kaijus for the original Ultra Series might make the show Greenman more worth watching and enjoyable.

The name Greenman is likely to be from Midori (denoting green) Ebina, female host of the “Good Morning! Kids Show” at the time while the show had different hosts according to the periods.

Susumu Ishikawa who was initially cast for Ide in Ultraman seems to have been the first host of the show. Moreover, surprisingly enough, chances are Shinsuke Achiha who played Soga in Ulraseven appeared in the show as a regular cast member (as a young man who plays with guest kids) over some period of time.

Some Greenman footage seems available online while it is searchable in English, I suggest you to enjoy watching it!

Gyrock (Narita kaiju) and Tonchiki (right)

Forgotten Hero: Greenman #2

Maou who also behaves in a funny way

The show Greenman seems to have consisted of three episodes for one story. The hero Greenman is set to be a righteous “robot life form” from Planet Green included in the Kingakei. As the Galaxy is called Gingakei (literally, silver river system) in Japanese, the fictional Kingakei (gold river system) in this show might be translated as the “Kalaxy” or something.

When the children aimed at by a kaiju/kaijus get into a fix, Greenman appears out of nowhere in response to the children’s shouts “Greenman Call!” uttered while holding up a device called likewise. There might be some similarity with “Totusgeki! Human!!” in which the audience were supposed to spin a paper disc called “Human Sign” with their finger calling the hero’s name as it was a series videotaped live on stage in front of the audience and then aired on TV.

“Greenman Call!”
The device Greenman Call

Although Greenman first appears as a human-sized hero in every episode, he turns a giant with his shout “Greenman Giant Machine Change!” (English words in the Japanese phonetics: I doubt children could remember this as it is tongue-twisting enough) the moment the kaiju turns into their giant form.

The voltage of the electricity that powers Greenman is set to measure 100V (the standard voltage in Japan since way back) as a robot with gears and meters inside, which look old-fashioned by today’s standards, shown at times while a voltage gauge indicator going up and down can be seen to depict the lowering voltage when he gets into a jam with the attacks from the kaiju.

Tonchiki

Maou has his subordinate called Tonchiki (meaning something like “numskull” in Japanese but in an amusing way even moderately) who is a unique regular character shaped like a jelly fish speaking Japanese female language in a man’s voice (like a drag queen) behaving humorously.

Even though he initially had no particular name, while he was yelled at by Maou “You, tonchiki!” every time his scheme to capture children fails, It seems to have turned his name. He can make his subordinates kaijus and make them into their giant kaiju forms by casting a spell “Chichin Puipui No Pa!” on them.

The word chichin puipui that doesn’t make any sense in itself was often used by adults toward children in my childhood when a child fell down and scraped their knee for example as a magic spell to help it get well as soon as possible. Do you have any equivalent? Oh, well, I got off the track.

Tonchiki who looks scary enough in spite of his funny words and behaviors: the moth opened and closed by the actor inside with his hands

Forgotten Hero: Greenman #1

Greenman

Come to think of it, I’ve just remembered I failed to write about Greenman, another tokusatsu hero, here in this blog.

It was the hero who appeared in the show titled “Ike! (Go!) Greenman” aired from 1973 to 1974 with 52 episodes as a five-minute-long segment contained in the program “Ohayo! Kodomoshō (Good Morning! Kids Show)” broadcast in the same time slot every morning back then.

That being said, to be honest, I have to admit that I have never seen this show Greenman while I don’t think it was much talked about even among us kids so that I didn’t know this show had ever existed until rather recently although I remember watching the preceding shows (segments) “Redman” and “Ike (Go)! Godman” aired in the  above-mentioned “Good Morning! Kids Show.”

Greenman opening with its song and lyrics shown; I find the cheesy song truly attractive!

Among them, while Redman was produced by Tsuburaya Productions featuring (beat-up costumes of) Tsuburaya kaijus mainly from “The Return of Ultraman” and “Mirrorman,” Godman and Greenman were made by Toho Planning affiliated with the movie company Toho. Thus the two shows featured Toho kaijus instead including original kaijus for the shows. It seems that the kaijus that appeared in Greenman also contained those from “Totsugeki (Attack)! Human!!”

The outline of the story seems to be that Maou (Evil King), the incarnation of evil who was sealed underground after having his blood removed by the god came up with the idea of setting himself free by extracting blood from human children for him as he gets his subordinates to go at kids by sending them out in the form of kaijus into a park in the neighborhood or a house yard probably where children are playing.

When the children get into a jam, they call in Greenman who “calls himself the emissary from the god” and fights with kaijus in both the human-sized and giant-sized forms. Although Redman and Godman just featured rather abrupt fights between the hero and a kaiju/kaijus, Greenman seems to include lines spoken by characters so that it was designed to make each episode look more like a “complete story” than just a fighting match between the hero and a kaiju/kaijus.


MAYA (ALIEN MAGELLAN) (making)

Maya holding out Ultra Eye to give it back to Dan

As you expect, there is not much to write about regarding the making of Alien Magellan Maya because she was just acted by an actress as she was. It seems that this is the episode Shinichi Ichikawa (1941-2011), one of the script writers in the Ultra Series, was asked to work out a story that would need no costume alien to cut costs.

While this anecdote indicates in what difficult situation they were back then financially and time-wise to produce the Ultraseven episodes for the latter half of the series, Meanwhile Ichikawa showed his outstanding ability with this excellent episode in spite of the seemingly reckless request from the producers.

Kaiju Booska Episode 4

Ichikawa made his debut as a script writer with his script for Episode 4 “Booska’s visit to the Moon” in Tsuburaya Productions’ “Kaiju Booska.” He was deeply involved in “Ultraman Ace” (1972-73) afterwards from its planning stage as the concept of the male and female combining into Ultraman Ace as the existence transcending gender was allegedly put forward by Ichikawa.

Ichikawa became a greatly popular script writer later washing his hands of shows for kids and moving to the field of TV dramas after he had left “Ace” in the middle of the series as he was dissatisfied with the fact that his ideas were not fully realized in the show.

Perhaps, I suppose there were conflicts between the producers who were just trying to make the show commercially successful as if just humoring kid viewers and Ichikawa who was aiming at a tokusatsu show of high quality.

Yuriko Kouno

As to the actress who played Maya, Yuri Yoshida (1951-present), she was 17 years old back then. Yuriko Hishimi (Anne) admires Yoshida in her memoirs saying she had much of a presence in the show in spite of her young age though she didn’t meet her in the filming, adding that her performance only through the eye contact with Dan was excellent as it was done without speaking any words (they were set to communicate by telepathy between the two aliens) and even without any facial expressions either.

This episode marked Yoshida’s debut as an actress when she was in senior high school, and she joined the renowned Haiyuza theater with her name changed into Yuriko Kouno (by coincidence, the same name as Hishimi) after graduating from college. She seems to have appeared in numerous products including TV detective and period dramas, movies and plays.

While the buttons on the jukebox Maya pressed in the show were “J” and “7,” the selection panel had “I” between H and J missing, and some fans seem to suppose it implied “there is no ‘ai’ (‘love’ in Japanese)” and “there is no Ultra ‘Eye’ (since it was stolen)” as one of my readers kindly referred to it in the comment section of my Maya article linked above.

Yuriko Kouno (formerly Yuri Yoshida) in the popular detective drama “Taiyo Ni Hoero (Roar at the Sun)”

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