About The Duel Between Ultraseven And Fake Ultraseven

“ダン対セブンの決闘/The Duel: Dan vs. Seven”

About the fight between Ultraseven and Fake Ultraseven, I have just received a reply with an interesting analysis from my reader (it has his wonderful illustration and some precious material of the time worth looking at) I often get kind comments from for my articles.

He points out there was no hand-to-hand fight between them. It is true that they didn’t wrestle at close quarters.

The fight with Agira also just ended with the Capsule Kaiju unilaterally beaten by Fake Ultraseven while Agira was pushed off the cliff finally.

In the fight with real Ultraseven, they exchanged beam techniques as they were found to be just pulling a string meant to be a ray depending on the scene while the depiction of Ultraseven nearly falling off the cliff was not so much suspenseful as it should have been meant to be because it is unlikely falling into the sea could cause serious damage to the superhero even with flying ability.

I persist in saying this is not from “Ultra Fight”!

What can be assumed about all of these is that Fake Ultraseven was not able to move smoothly because (of):

  1. The poor condition of the reused costume with the additional inflexible parts (it is especially imaginable the knee parts should have terribly caused trouble for the actor to move).
  2. The actor was possibly not used to action.
  3. The reused costume didn’t fit the actor enough to let him perform action easily.

In the shows Ultraman and Ultraseven, there were cases in which authentic fights between the superheroes and kaijus were dropped for similar reasons so the fights could be found to have ended too simply.

Alien Baltan, for instance, hardly fought hand to hand with Ultraman in spite of his popularity, with Ultraman Episode 2 as a good example in which their fight was depicted as the one in the air because Alien Baltan’s costume was completely unsuitable for hand-to-hand fight with the big claws and its unstable head that easily came off.

Ultraman and Alien Baltan: a well-known still photo taken at a photo session, there is no scene like this in the show while I really like the series of still photos that convey the atmosphere of the time!

Although Baltan reappeared in Ultraman Episode 16 with the different costume, the fight is assumed to have been made simple for the same reason (Episode 33 is out of the question as he was just standing).

It is also said that the actors who played the two Baltans were not accustomed to action while it was not common yet to have actors specializing in action perform kaiju characters at the time when specialized action choreographers had yet to exist as there were no other ways than actions were decided mainly by the tokusatsu director Koichi Takano and the suit actors on the set, feeling their way.

The Ultraseven vs. Alien Metron is also said to have turned out to be a simple fight for reasons similar to Alien Baltan.

As I wrote regarding the tie-ins in Ultraseven (Episode 44 and 46), something that can look a bit unnatural has some particular reason for it while that might make the shows more enjoyable in a way! 🙂


FAKE ULTRASEVEN (making) #2

I like his low-pitched shout processed from Ultraseven’s shout voiced by Koji Moritsugu

It seems that, in the preliminary script, Fake Ultraseven was initially panned to defeat Windom first before beating Agira.

While Windom was supposed to be destroyed by Alien Guts, that could have made this an unusual episode in which two of the Capsuale Kaijus appear if it was realized.

Unlike Fake Ultraman that was apparently shorter than Ultraman acted by Bin Furuya, Fake Ultraseven looked similar to Ultraseven in its physique while it is unknown who acted Fake Ultraseven.

Even though the actor had been referred to as Kunio Suzuki in some publications, Tetsuo Yamamura says it is least likely because Suzuki was touring the eastern part of Japan with Yamamura for kaiju stage shows around that time (Yamamura must have been a junior high student then probably on summer vacation).

Looks like a scene from “Ultra Fight”

Yamamura assumes Koji Uenishi, the original Ultraseven actor, played Fake Ultraseven in fight with Agira and that the actor who played Agira acted Fake Ultraseven for the rest as Uenishi performed Ultraseven as usual.

Incidentally, it is uncertain who played Agira in this episode, either.

Although there is said to be a possibility of it being acted by Toshihiko Saikyo, who played Alien Guts and so on, Sakyo says in an interview covered in a book that he dimly remember the kaiju with a horn (=Agira) without mentioning anything about Fake Ultraseven.

Come to think of it, featuring human-shaped aliens, the reused costume (about to be discarded, if it’s true), Capsule Kaiju Agira, and open-air filming on the cliff make us imagine the tight budget on which this episode had to be produced, which could show a last-ditch effort they made towards the approaching final episodes of Ultraseven.

This reminds me of a scene from “Godman” while their miniature was not destroyed, I suppose

The fight scene with Agira and the one on the cliff even remind me of “Ultra Fight” and “Godman” produced and aired afterwards in which their fights unfolded on on location or on open-air sets.

In the case of Godman, if my memory serves me right, one single miniature building used all the time with open air in the background. I remember the presence of the miniature seemed to make the fight between Godman and a kaiju look a bit awkward since they appeared to be fighting not to let the miniature break down as I assume it should have been taken good care of.

Nevertheless, following Fake Ultraman, I remember another fake character of a superhero, even though it is not uncommon at all now, was exciting enough as a kid anyway while I think it was inventive to have it set to be a “robot” built by the aliens, different from Fake Ultraman into which Alien Zarab disguised himself into.


FAKE ULTRASEVEN (making) #1

Regarding the costume of Fake Ultraseven, it is not that it was newly made for the character but an old Ultraseven costume used in the show was reused as apparently shown by the deterioration with the hairline cracks on the costume surface.

It is explained online that it was the one about to be disposed of while being left, of all things, at a garbage dump of the studio in contrast with Fake Ultraman whose mask was newly modeled by Akira Sasaki, who made the original Ultraman and Ultraseven masks, even though the body is believed to have been the reuse of the Type A Ultraman costume.

Unlike Ultraman three distinctive types of costumes were used for one after another every time it was replaced by new one, it is obvious that several costumes were used for Ultraseven to replace older ones .

 

Judging from the slight differences in the shape of the masks, it is believed that there were at least four different costumes classified (by fans) as Type A to D for Ultraseven.

That being said, there is another theory that there were a little more, it is thought to be hard to exactly specify which one was used for Fake Ultraseven.

Incidentally, such slight differences of the masks are said to have taken place because, with no silicone material currently used available yet at the time, the plaster molds (it is said that the plaster mold divided into 8 pieces in Ultraseven’s case because of the uneven, elaborate surface with hollows although basically two pieces, left side and right side, for Ultraman) were destroyed every time after the mask had been cast out, and, while the original clay mold was kept, Akira Sasaki put distorted parts of the clay mold in order each time before covering it with plaster to newly form female molds.

 

It is said the mechanical parts added to the Fake Ultraseven costume were intended to cover up the damaged parts of the costume.

It is pointed out that the depiction of the hangar or plant where Fake Ultraseven was built and kept was influenced by “Giant Robo” (1967-1968: “Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot” in the US)  aired around the same time as Ultraseven that excited kids of the time (including me) with the nicely created hangar set as it helped make Robo look like a real robot stored and maintained there.

While I agree with that, I think the Tsuburyaya staff also did a great job in building the plant set for Fake Ultraseven with their own attractively futuristic taste (I think that’s Tsuburaya).

Meanwhile, I believe all of these were influenced by the British SFX show “Thunderbirds” in the first place that was so popular among Japanese boys at the time (including me).

Giant Robo in his hangar

Crossover Between Jumborg Ace And Mirrorman

Jumborg Ace

As I previously wrote, the concept of the “Ginga Renpo/Galactic Federation” failed to be realized even though it was put forward in the planning stage of the show “Ultraman Ace.”

The word was actually sung in its theme song and seemingly (I don’t remember it) mentioned by Ultraman Ace himself in its Episode 1, but left unrealized eventually.

As referred to in my previous post, it was a concept to bring the Tsuburaya tokusatsu superhero shows into one universe although little is known about what kind of form it was planned to take specifically.

 

That being said, as mentioned by one of my readers in a reply to my article, some crossover that reminds us of the Galactic Federation concept took place in the show “Jumborg Ace” (1973) in which a couple of members from the SGM, the defense team featured in “Mirrorman” (1971-1972), appeared in the later episodes of Jumborg Ace (from Episode 32).

Not only they showed up along with their giant fighter jet “Jumbo Phoenix” but the SGM chief Murakami became. of all things maybe unprecedentedly, the fourth captain of the PAT after his three predecessors that was the defense team of the show Jumborg Ace, while it explicitly indicates things are happening in one universe between the two shows (incidentally, both of the shows were narrated by Hikaru Urano).

Mirrorman

According to Shigemitsu Taguchi, scriptwriter for many Tsuburaya tokusatsu shows, the switch of the leaders was carried out because the broadcasting station wanted them to bring in something new for the show.

It is also interesting that, prior to this, Jumborg Ace had Nobuyuki Ishida who starred Mirrorman as Kyotaro Kagami appear in Episode 12 and 13 for an important role.

In Jumborg Ace, Ishida played a character called Kyoichiro Kishi with the first name apparently meant to be similar to Kyotaro although he was a different person set to be a PAT member from its branch in Europe and a younger brother of Captain Kishi who died in Episode 12.

 

It should have been a great reunion with Ishida for audiences who had enjoyed Mirrorman after the show ended the year before.

According to a description I found online, one week before Jumborg Ace started airing, a stage show filmed live was broadcast on TV as a premier special for Jumborg Ace to come, in which Jumborg Ace, Mirrorman, and Henshin Ninja Arashi appeared together on stage and fought with “Geru Shocker” kaijins (mysterious humans) originally featured in “Kamen Rider” (amazing crossover, almost anything goes!).

That makes me feel how popular they were in the “Second Kaiju Craze” supposedly triggered by the tokusatsu shows including “Spectreman” (1971-1972) while the “Ultra Fight” is believed to have played an important part in paving the way for the craze after the First Kaiju Craze broke out with the original Ultra Series.


ALIEN SALOME (making) #2

As memories of the filming, Katena states she was impressed with the grand set of the alien’s base rather unexpected from a TV show, as she found it comparable to a film set, and with the clothing she says she likes as it looks nice and tasteful for a costume of the time.

As to the Salome leader Masao Takahashi, she seems to dimly remember talking to him a bit during the filming.

According to her, she also remembers playing mahjong with Iyoshi Ishii (Furuhashi), Shinsuke Achiha (Soga), and, if her memory is correct, Bin Furuya (Amagi, the original Ultraman actor) at the hotel while that made Hishimi (Anne) sulk because she couldn’t play mahjong back then (she “specialized” in drinking as an extremely strong drinker with no one comparing to her).

 

She recalls the presence of Mamushi (=Sandayu Dokumamushi 毒蝮三太夫, Ishii’s current name in the show business) made her feel really at ease because he was so nice and friendly to her.

As to Shoji Nakayama (Captain Kiriyama), Katena says he had visited her restaurant fairly often while she found him to be a very nice, gentle person who took others into much consideration and didn’t seem like a strong drinker since he didn’t drink so much as he was just enjoying drinking quietly.

She says she was made to start the red sports car even without a driving licence although it was driven by someone else for the rest of the scenes and that, in the scene of the swimming pool, shots of her swimming should have been removed because she didn’t swim well though they were actually filmed.

 

Moreover, she states she remembers eating out for lunch with people including Koji Moritsugu with their uniforms on (what an idyllic time…I like it!).

Katena adds that it was Ultraseven that was still talked about by people who visited her restaurant even after she had retired from acting way back so it makes her happy that she can enjoy talking about her memories of the time with many people even now, which was little expected back then.

She also says, even though she played the role of a villain in this episode, she doesn’t have any impression that she had acted someone evil, assuming it is because there was no “blood” in the show.

That makes me feel her remark represents the philosophy towards the Ultra Series upheld by the people involved to embody the word “Give children dreams” we hear regularly uttered by Oyaji-san (Eiji Tsuburaya) to his staff.


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