Silver Kamen Aliens Featured At The Event

Alien Khimaira

As you may know, Noriyoshi Ikeya designed the hero Silver Kamen and the aliens that appeared in the Silver Kamen episodes while I am not sure if he designed all of the aliens featured in the show (I think all the “Silver Kamen” and “Silver Kamen Giant” aliens were sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama).

At least the aliens I saw in the episodes screened at the event were surely designed by him, and they were: Alien Tigris (Episode 1); Alien Khimaira (7); Alien Solomon (8); Alien Domino (9); Alien Titan (10)

It is said he dared design Silver Kamen and the aliens not to make them look extremely strong, and, as the result, all these characters have their own unique forms and atmosphere distinctive from the equivalents of the Ultra Series.

Alien Solomon

It should be only natural as the show itself is said to have been plotted and produced with a strong sense of rivalry against the big-name hero show Ultraman.

It should be partly because the Nihon Gendai Kikaku (Japan Modern Planning) and Jissoji-led Kodai Group that were involved in the Silver Kamen production had many people who  had to leave Tsuburaya Productions for the company’s financial reasons.

Alien Domino

As to the Silver Kamen aliens, they were not unilaterally evil but were set to try to rob Kasuga brothers of the hidden photon rocket engine blueprint because they thought earthlings would invade their planets if the rocket should be completed.

Against their expectations, children watched “Mirrorman” aired in the competing timeslot a lot more as an orthodox tokusatsu hero show while the human-sized Silver Kamen didn’t play an active part at all in the show centering on the stories about the agony of Kasuga brothers.

I remember, however, I watched “Silver Kamen” and “Silver Kamen Giant” more than “Mirrorman” in my childhood somehow, and I have found the Silver Kamen aliens attractive enough again this time.

Alien Titan

“Silver Kamen” Shown At The Event

Silver Kamen

Although I described the “Silver Kamen” (1971-1972) episodes screened at the event as they were directed by Akio Jissoji in my yesterday’s post, I was wrong and I have just found only Episode 1 among them was directed by him.

I guess all these episodes were shown at the event as the show “Silver Kamen” was produced while “Kodai Group” led by Jissoji played a leading role in the production.

Although “Silver Kamen” initially started as a show featuring the human-sized hero through Episode 10, it was converted into “Silver Kamen Giant” after that in which the giant version of Siver Kamen appeared instead (he was set to have become a giant accidentally exposing himself to a large amount of photon energy).

The human-sized hero did not manage to gain enough popularity as the show aired along with the Tsuburaya-produced “MIrrorman” (1971-1972) broadcast in the competing timeslot.

And Jissoji and Kodai Group withdrew from the Senkosha-produced show at that time showing disagreement toward easily making a giant hero appear so as to attract viewers’ attention as Jissoji believed featuring the human-sized “non-superhero” with no particular weapons or abilities except bare hand fight should be the integral part of the show.

So the show gives us an utterly different impression between the episodes featuring the human-sized version and the giant version although the conversion got to make the show win popularity.

In this light, I think we were fully able to enjoy the unique features of the Silver Kamen episodes typical of the human-sized version in which the protagonists Kasuga brothers (one of them changes into Silver Kamen) continued to be chased by aliens over the hidden blueprint of the photon rocket engines invented by their father who was killed by an alien.

Silver Kamen fighting with Alien Tigris along with Kasuga brothers who cooperate with him. Saburo Shinoda who played Kotaro Higashi in “Ultraman Tarou” was one of Kasuga brothers (rightmost among them)

All Night Show Of Akio Jissoji Products (March 18, 2017)

The event flyer

I went to see an all-night movie show at the Shin Bungeiza movie theater last Saturday (March 18) where the TV tokusatsu shows directed by Akio Jissoji were screened.

The event was held in commemoration of a newly released book on Jissoji (this year seems to mark the 10th anniversary of his death) authored by Naofumi Higuchi, and a talk show was also held at the outset in which Yuriko Hishimi who played Anne appeared along with Hitomi Miwa, actress who also appeared in the products directed by Akio Jissoji including Ultraman Tiga Episode 37, and Higuchi.

Entrance of the Shin Bungeiza movie theater

It is not that I am a Jissoji enthusiast, I looked forward to seeing Hishimi-san appear in the talk show and enjoying some of Jissoji-directed products, and I found Yuriko Hishimi was a very unassuming, straightforward and friendly person as I expected.

The Jissoji products shown there were (the number in the parentheses shows the episode number):

From “Kaiki Daisakusen (Great Operation Mystery)”: “Fearful Telephone” (4); “A Lullaby Of Death God”(5); “Pottery Of Curse” (23); “I Am Buying Kyoto” (25)

From “Siver Kamen”; “My Home Is The Planet Earth” (1); “The Shine Of Youth” (7); “Call From A Cold-blooded Alien” (8); “Chased In An Unfamiliar Town” (9); “Burning Horizon” (10)

A lot of Jissoji enthusiasts got together although it was late at night (the event started around 10:30 pm)

After these episodes were shown, the movie “Jissoji-directed Ultraman” was shown for us as the movie that featured the edited episodes of the TV show “Ultraman” was first screened in 1979 covering the episodes about Gavadon, Telesdon, Jamyra, Skydon and Seabose while all of them were directed by Akio Jissoji

As I am too familiar with these Ultraman episodes, I found the showing of “Kaiki Daisakusen” and “Silver Kamen” enjoyable enough although it was so tough to stay up all night to see all these things as it was for the first time in such a long time since I was younger.

The person in the middle is Hishimi-san; she generously allowed us to take pictures that were prohibited otherwise (Darn, what a bad photo!)

GLACIER WITCH

Actress: Kyoko Emi


Glacier Witch (Hyōga Majo) is a witch or the winter fairy who is assumed to have enormous power to bring the whole world into an ice age as she appeared in Episode 16 “Drive Away The Ice Age! (inaccurate subtitle I took the liberty of translating into English)” of “Kaiju Booska.”

While she appeared here in Japan somehow, she accidentally met Booska and told him that anyone who has seen her will be frozen into an ice doll in three days (Come to think of it, she is dressed like Flatwoods Monster).

Booska and his fellows freezing in cold weather caused by Glacier Witch

Although she was invisible to other people than Booska, intimidated by her words, Daisaku tried to protect Booska from being made into an ice doll in attempts to make him hibernate by digging a hole in the yard or launching an artificial sun into the sky while all of these attempts failed as Glacier Witch froze even the artificial sun.

In the end, Daisaku developed the Magic Arctic Outfit for Booska while Glacier Witch persistently chased Booska.

Booska managed to get out of trouble by bewildering her with the use of his vanishing technique that could make him invisible.

Magic Arctic Outfit developed by Daisaku for Booska

Even though Glacier Witch tried to attack Booska by making the intense north wind blow at him, Booska finally stood up against her, and got to put the Arctic Outfit on her.

After she was driven off by Booska’s telekinesis while she was crying “Oh, hot! So hot! Help! Help me!” in the outfit, she flew away into the sky.

Although it is hard to understand what she came here for, she was a witch like Alien Poll of “Ultraseven” who plotted to make another ice age take place on Earth.

“Oh, it’s hot!” Glacier Witch  suffering in heat while Booska’s telekinesis span her around

ELEKING (Making)

Eleking design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “Eleking has nothing I got the idea from either. I can call it an absract form I finally drew up on a piece of Kent Paper. I mostly ignored the concept of the eyes, ears and mouth.
(As to Baby Eleking) “It is a design of Eleking shaped like a fish before it becomes a giant.”

Eleking is a monster which makes us feel this is a typical extraterrestrial monster as it features rotating crescent-shaped horns where the eyes are supposed to be and an inanimate, meshed glowing part instead of the mouth.

While the counter-rotating horns look truly fascinating, Shigeo Kurakata, who was in charge of equipping characters with inner mechanism back then, recalls it was so tough to install the device to rotate the horns into its small head.

Baby Eleking drawn by Narita

According to him, the horns were originally attached by Ryosaku Takayama when Takayama sculpted it, and then Kurakata took them off to set the inner device and put them back where they had been while Kurakata had to tear the costume where the scar would not stand out for the installation.

It seems that the mechanism Kurakata built was embedded in the same way as above for each monster, and it is also explained two tails in different lengths (3 meters and 6 meters) were prepared for Eleking and used according to the scenes.

It is also fun to find the horns in Natira’s design look different in shape from those of the costume (Baby Eleking has the same kind of horns as the design) as it is pointed out Keylla has antennas similar to Eleking’s in Narita’s drawing.

Incidentally, the counter-rotating horns were originally applied to Gango, and, in Gango’s case, it is likely that one single motor was set in the head so that the horns connected to it could spin in different directions opposite each other as I guess the same type of device was used for Eleking as well.

Eleking at the Bisen studio along with the shot of the costume being sculpted at Takayama’s Atelier May

RED KING (Making)

Red King design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is another monster I tried to make into a typical biped monster arranging with Tetuso Kinjo (main writer of the series). To make the monster look huge, I made the head small applying stair-like ups and downs to the body so that perspective can be applied to the whole body of the monster when viewed through the camera from below. I colored it silver with only the dents painted blue. Although it was Red King in the script, what I had made turned out to be Silver King.”

Red King was a monster designed by Tohl Narita to make it a definitive kaiju equal to Godzilla and the second monster Ryosaku Takayama sculpted for “Ultraman” after Antlar.

It is explained that the paint used for Red King’s body included a glossy paint mixed with scabbard fish particles, and Tetsuo Yamamura says Red King’s body color was so beautiful with the blue of the dents nicely blurred.

As you know, Red King appeared twice in “Ultraman,” this first Red King had eyes that moved sideways behind transparent eye domes instead of the eyes lit with the miniature bulbs the second Red King had.

Pictures of Red King at the Bisen studio allegedly taken by Tohl Narita

Although it seems that the first Red King’s eyes also had whites, they were almost invisible as the entire eyes looked dark without light from inside.

It is said the eyes were manipulated by wire as the motion takes place when the wire is pulled inside the suit working like bike brakes, and the Red King costume is devised not to expose the zipper which should be in the center on the back.

As I wrote about it before, it is an explanation that, true or not, the name Red King should have come from “the archrival monster of Redman” as Redman was the hero’s name and the provisional title for “Ultraman” before the legal registration of the official show title as Ultraman.


Oops! A Correction On My Previous Post

From Ultraman Episode 13

In my yesterday’s blog entry, I wrote the wrapped box carried by the pedestrian (Senkichi Omura) when Alien Waiell assaulted him was a box meal from Masudaya, but I have to tell you I was wrong.

When I reread the memoir authored by Hiroko Sakurai, the scenes in which the box meal from Masudaya appeared were those you can see in Ultraman Episode 13 while I wrote Ultraseven Episode 2.

At the outset of Ultraman Episode 13, a drunken man (Sakae Umezu who passed away last year at the age of 88) walking staggeringly (even dancing) with a box wrapped in red paper can be found while he saw Pester appear from the water.

Same as above

According to Sakurai, the wrapped box was a box meal from Masudaya called Akachochin Bento or, abbreviated, Akachin Bento regularly wrapped in red paper.

As to the content of the Akachin Bento as well, the description as they were often mere rice balls was from another memoir written by Kenji Sahara who played Jun Manjome, protagonist in Ultra Q.

In Sakurai’s book, she says the Akachin Bento often had the same content with plain white rice (not rice balls) in large part and a few other unvaried simple foodstuffs.

Same as above

Meanwhile, Tetsuo Yamamura says in a book interview they were provided with proper box meals instead of the Akachin Bento in the Tsuburaya products so it is a bit confusing.

Yamamura and Akihide Tsuzawa who played Hoshino in Ultraman say in their talk covered in a magazine that wheat tea was made in a huge kettle as it was boiled in the back of the Bisen Studio where the original Ultra Series were being shot and was taken to the shooting locations with ice in it in summer so that the cast and crew could enjoy iced wheat tea.

What an idyllic time…


Alien Waiell & Japanese Bento Box Meal

Following my article about Senkichi Omura, probably you notice wrapped stuff the man Omura played was dangling while he was walking staggeringly in Ultraseven Episode 2 featuring Alien Waiell.

Actually the scenes of the drunken man staggering on the street with such a wrapped box are a typical way to depict in films and shows a Japanese office worker who worked overtime and is on his way home late in the evening after getting a drink after work.

The box could be a food gift such as sushi for his beloved family or it could be for calming down his irritated wife waiting for her husband who comes home late (her irritation is not always from her love for her husband, though).

Anyway, I hear the stuff the man was dangling when being attacked by Alien Waiell was a box meal (called bento/bentō in Japanese) which was regularly provided for the cast and crew members in the location shootings for the Tsuburaya products. (Sorry, I made a mistake. Please see the correction in my next post)

It is said the box meals were cooked and delivered by Masudaya, a now-defunct eating place that used to be located near Tsuburaya Productions back then.

It is likely that, as Masudaya had a large red lantern in front of the store, the box meals were called Akachochin (red lantern) Bento among them.

It seems that the meal boxeds failed to gain much popularity among the cast and crew members as the contents were very much frugal due to the limited show budget as Hiroko Sakurai who played Akiko Fuji says in her book she was totally fed up with the Akachochin Bento which often ended up miserably with only salted rice balls with a few slices of pickles although they had to go through tough shootings all day long (amazingly, she says the rice ball bentos were served twice a day for lunch and dinner at times).

You can see Masudaya appear in Ultraseven Episode 45 as an eating place Fukushin came into for lunch.


JURAN (MAMMOTH FLOWER) (Making)

While it is uncertain who designed Juran, Akira Sasaki known for his involvement in the kaiju sculpting including the original Ultraman and Ultraseven masks says in a book interview it should be Yasuyuki Inoue, Toho Special Art Division, who designed the flower monster.

Sasaki says, when he joined the crew members for the first time at the Tokyo Bijutsu (art) Center (abbreviated as Bisen), Inoue brought the design to him and asked him to sculpt it.

After thinking about what it should be made of, Sasaki says he decided to sculpt it with styrofoam.

Sasaki recalls he made the male and female molds of the flower part of the monster and, by heating the molds, he cast the parts by pressing a sheet of styrofoam 5 mm thick between the molds to sculpt the monster flower in two different sizes.

He says a petal of the larger Juran measured about 1 meters, and it melted away excellently when thinner was sprayed over the flower.

While he says he worked on the sculpting at the Bisen as he was offered a room about 66 square meters for his own use there, he laughs he remembers the sloping floor with nostalgia as the studio was like a shanty without any air conditioning.

For the scenes in which Juran’s giant root was found in the castle ditch, a life-sized prop was used as it was shot in a giant pool of Toho,and optical compositing was applied to the scenes with the root floating in the ditch.

It is said that, in the scenes of Juran coming into bloom, the petals were initially manipulated by wire but they were eventually retaken in stop motion as the scenes with the wire manipulation did not satisfy Eiji Tsuburaya and he rejected them.

It is known that Satoshi Furuya, original Ultraman actor, is found among the onlookers watching the giant root with his line “Don’t shove!”


Senkichi Omura

Senkichi Omura/Ōmura (1922-1991) is widely known among tokusatsu fans as an actor who often played a minor part eccentrically while he frequently appeared in the Ultra Series along with Toho movies including the kaiju films.

Even playing a bit part, his extraordinary presence was so impressive that he firmly remains anchored in our memory while he often played a victim of the case.

As far as the Kūsō Tokusatsu Series (original Ultra Series) are concerned, he appeared in Ultra Q Episode 1 as a construction site workman addicted to alcohol who first found Gomess showing up in the tunnel under construction.

In Ultraman Episode 29, he played a miner addicted to gold who was rescued out of the gold mine suffering from mental confusion and acting frantically in the SSSP underground tank Vellucidar/Belsider due to blood loss and a high fever.

In Booska (although this is not included in the original Ultra Series), he appeared in Episode 9 as a burglar dressed like a pirate who tried to steal boxes of dynamite and in Episode 30 as a school janitor falling down the stairs in surprise when he came across Chamegon.

In Ultraseven Episode 2, he acted a drunken office worker who was assaulted by Alien Waiell on his way home late in the evening, and, as you know well, the man shapeshifted into another Alien Waiell after he was brought in the TDF Medical Center.

Omura also appeared in Ultraseven Episode 41 as a man who witnessed a kappa (Alien Tepeto) when fishing.

It seems that he is also known to have creepily acted the human form of Alien Steal in Ultraman Ace.

Omura’s hobby is described online as horse riding.

Although he was not often covered in publications related to tokusatsu in life unfortunately, Omura was another actor who gained popularity among Japanese tokusatsu fans.


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