Charming Kaijyu molded by Ryosaku Takayama

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Ryosaku Takayama working on Garamon

The collaboration between Narita & Takayama gave bith to a lot of great Kaijyu.

They are still popular and loved by many people.

Mr. Takayama’s molding skill seems very high to me.

Each Kaijyu looks so real and lifelike.

It is said he told art university students working part time for him, “You are making living creatures.”

It means you had better handle the Kaijyu suits that way.

Mr. Narita and Mr. Takayama.

I feel those in their generation may have particular sense toward life.

Tenderness for life, so to speak.

Takayama Kaijyu are never hateful.

They look cool.

They are lovable and even humorous sometimes.

And even pathetic.

That may not be something aimed at.

That may be something coming from his work naturally.

That may reflect his own life and the same should be true with Mr. Narita’s work.

It is said the Takayama Kaijyu were light in weight and easy to wear for the actors inside.

A few robots appearing in “Ultra Seven” look soft as they were made in latex.

I had a feeling of strangeness as a child, to be sure.

But they still looked cool.

It seems there were voices Takayama Kaijyu lacked massive feeling necessary for Kaijyu.

Toward such voices, Mr. Narita is said to have comforted Mr. Takayama saying, “Never mind. We make Kaijyu taking the actor inside into consideration.”

I feel their tenderness in humanity.


“Ultraman Hakusho” 3

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“Ultraman Hakusho” also covers the works of Toru Narita and Ryosaku Takayama.

The above is transition in designs of Ultraman drawn by Toru Narita in an article written by Shinichiro Kobayashi titled “Morphological Design Theory of Ultraman.”

You can recognize the process that the spaceman in rather monstrous figure are changing to more sophisticated one.

Ultraman on the left is an illustration by Mr. Narita in later years and not the final version of design.

As Mr. Narita says here, there is no final version of design on paper for Ultraman.

He got stuck in designing Ultraman and switched to molding the mask without the final paper design together with his fellow Akira Sasaki.

Ryosaku Takayama was in charge of molding Ultra Kaijyu.

Ryosaku Takayama (1917-1982) contributed to creating attractive Ultra Kaijyu with his excellent skills of molding.

He is a painter actually.

In Ultra, a sculptor Toru Narita designed the characters and a painter Ryosaku Takayama molded them.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Being a sculptor, Mr. Narita was able to design imagining the form when molded.

And Mr. Takayama as a painter was able to interpret Mr. Narita’s drawing for molding actual forms.

Most of Ultra Kaijyu in the first trilogy of the Ultra Series were created by Mr. Narita and Mr. Takayama.

And we were grown up in touch with the works by the two great artists.

I very much feel grateful about their unforgettable works for Ultra.

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“Ultraman Hakusho” 2

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I got this “Ultraman Hakusho” when I was 20 years old.

At the age of 20, you are regarded as an adult socially.

You may have to face the realities in life as an adult.

In my case, I had to face the reality of university entrance.

Having much on my mind without much money, time with such books gave me a relief.

I really enjoyed the Ultra World as, at that time, DVDs like today were not available.

Even videos were not  out there so much.

In the 80’s, there was a “revival boom” in reviewing Tokusatsu like Ultra and anime in the past.

Those who had grown up with them in their childhood got the reviewing started.

When I was in high school, I remember the rerun of the first “Ultraman” started on TV.

In response to the voice wishing for the new Ultra, “Ultraman 80” was made and broadcast.

Ahead of that, “The Ultraman” was made as anime work.

The word “Otaku” was not heard of yet, though.

“Ultraman Hakusho” covers those series, too in addition to the early Ultra trilogy (Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultra Seven).

As long as I remember, this should be the first book to spotlight the work of Toru Narita (Ultraman designer) and Ryosaku Takayama (in charge of molding Kaijyu suits) properly.

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“Ultraman Hakusho” (Ultraman White Paper)

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I bought a book on line I used to have again.
This is “Ultraman Hakusho”(Ultraman White Paper) first published in the 1982.

In the 80’s, very nice books on Ultra were published.
This is the one putting together the two books published earlier.

Looking back, I think the estimation of Ultra leading to today stemmed from that time in the 80’s.

Until then, maniacs like today were not here and there.
Even though Ultra was recognized in public, it did not go beyond just a nostalgic TV program seen in childhood, I guess.

Such publications as “White Paper” should have been the first attempt ever to spotlight Ultra as the work not only just nostalgic but worth appropriate evaluation.

It may also be the first work to deal with Ultra systematically including the making.

The job was done by those a bit older than me in generation.
By those who directly and intentionally experienced the early Ultra, maybe, in their elementary school age.

The current books on Ultra may be more accurate and precise in information.
But I feel the books in those days compare favorably with the current ones in terms of love for Ultra .

The vital point should be enough, I think.

This should be the work done by those who were given dreams by Eiji Tsuburaya and his staffs for sure.

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Baltan illustrated by Toru Narita on the back cover

James Dean and Ultraman

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Ultraman vs Jirass (Episode 10)

Ultraman has a stooping posture with open hands when facing with Kaijyu in the battle.

It is a characteristic point.

In addition to Mr. Furuya’s thin figure, some Ultra fans say it doesn’t look strong at all and the uneasiness is also appealing.

I feel it suits a mysterious spaceman beyond our understanding.

By the way, where is the stooping posture from?

In the older publication, it had been said Mr. Furuya unfamiliar with actions backed away from gunpowder and so on.

Mr. Furuya says in his memoir that it came from James Dean and Koichi Takano (Tokusatsu director).

He was inspired by James Dean.

In the movie “Rebel Without a Cause“, James Dean held a knife with stooping posture in the duel.

Mr. Furuya found it cool and had the same posture for Ultraman.

Mr. Takano advised him to get it lower for the sake of camera work.

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Ultra Seven

On the other hand, Ultra Seven stands up straight with closed hands like a boxer.

Koji Uenishi who acted Ultra Seven was aware of the dfference from Ultraman.

Mr. Uenishi was a sword fight arranger in Samurai movies and used to do a stunt as well.

Mr. Uenishi acted “Spectreman” (1971/P Production ) in later years and he had his hands open like chops.

Always pursuing a different style of their own.

I am very much impressed with the attitude in acting heroes.


Beautiful Spacium pose with “Ki”

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Ultraman shooting Spacium Beam toward Kaijyu Bullton (Episode 17)

Deciding the pose of Spacium Kosen (beam) is said to have required a lot of task.

It is only natural, I think.

As it is the first TV Tokusatsu featuring such a giant hero, “Ultraman” had to go through series of trials and errors.

Just like going on trackless roads.

According to Satoshi Furuya’s memoir, all the details about Ultraman such as posing for Spacium Kosen remained undecided when the shooting of “Ultraman” got started.

When the style was decided, Tishihiro Iijima (director), Koichi Takano (SFX director) and Minoru Nakano (optical shooting engineer) discussed and gave Mr. Furuya advice.

Lots of Ultraman’s posing seem to come from Japanese martial arts.

Mr. Furuya was training Karate at Toho (movie company) and Mr. Iijima has a knowledge of Japanese martial arts.

The horizontal arm in the Spacium pose means defense and the vertical one means attack.

That was what Mr. Iijima explained to Mr. Furuya.

Mr. Kono and Mr. Nakano advised him not to hide the Color Timer or not to move the crossed arms for the optical shooting.

Mr. Furuya says he practiced the Spacium pose 300 times every night at home.

Mr. Furuya’s Spacium pose is really beautiful.

I feel “Ki” (vital energy) throughout the fingertips with the curved fingers of the left hand.

Toru Narita (Ultraman designer) also admired Mr. Furuya’s Spacium pose, saying he feels like watching a beautiful sculpture.

I really agree.


Spacium Kosen (beam)

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Spacium Kosen toward Bemular (Episode 1)

Ultraman uses a variety of beam shots fighting with Kaijyu.

The optical SFX is one of the attractive points with Ultra.

It makes us feel as if we see a sharp edge of Samurai’s Japanese sword.

Ultraman’s often used finishing shot is Spacium Kosen (beam).

The term derives from the conbination of “space” and “ium” for an element.

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Baltan-seijin (Episode 2)

The previously mentioned Bemular was  finished by Spacium Kosen (Episode 1).

Next, it was used for Baltan-seijin (Alien Baltan) in Episode 2.

Baltan came to Earth searching the place for migration because their planet was destroyed.

Hayata talked with Arashi possessed by Baltan.

Hayata suggested Baltan go to Mars instead of Earth.

Baltan insists on Earth and says, “Earth is ours.”

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“Spacium Kosen, isn’t it? Cap.” delighted Fuji (center) with Cap. Muramatsu (left) and Hoshino (Episode 2)

Cap. Muramatsu noticed Baltan dislikes Spacium existing on Mars (in the story).

Great! Cap.

Fuji asked Muramatsu how they could get it.

Muramatsu said “he” may have it available.

Fuji asked,”He? Who is it, Cap.?”

Baltan and Ultraman had aerial battles.

Landing on the ground, Ultraman shot a beam with his arms crossed at the flying Baltan.

Baltan fell on the ground burning.

Looking at it, Muramatsu groaned, “Just as I thought…!”

Fuji said to Muramatsu with excitement.

“Spacium Kosen, isn’t it? Cap.”

That was the first time the term was used in the episodes.


By the way, who is Ultraman?

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Bemular

Ultraman is a spaceman from M-78 Seiun (Nebula M-78) which is said to be 3 million light-years away from the Milky Way Galaxy in the setting.

He is a member of Uchu Keibi-tai (Space Ranger) of M-78 Seiun.

M-78 Seiun is also called “Hikari-no-kuni” (the Land of Light).

He is a giant 40 meters tall.

He can fly in the sky at the speed of Mach 5.

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Ultraman appears in front of Hayata

He came to Earth chasing Bemular, Uchu Kaijyu (space monster).

Bemular came to the earth transforming into a blue light ball.

On the other hand, Ultraman came after it transforming into a red light ball.

While chasing Bemular, the red light ball mistakenly collided with the VTOL which Hayata, member of Kagaku Tokuso-tai (Science Special Search Party), flew for investigation.

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Ultraman gave Hayata the Beta Capsule

Hayata’s body was wrapped up in the red light ball.

Ultraman appeared in there and apologized to Hayata.

He says he is going to give his life to Hayata.

 

Hayata: “Your life? What will happen to you?”

Ultraman: “I will become one with you and would like to work for the peace of Earth.”

 

Ultraman gave the “Beta Capsule” to Hayata which makes his transformation into Ultraman possible when in trouble.

The Katokutai (abbreviation of Kagaku Tokuso-tai) attacked Bemular but was no match for it.

Hayata flashed the Beta Capsule!

A silver giant no one has never seen before stands up there in font of Bemular!


Family-intended Ultra

Whom were the early Ultra Series intended for?
It is not ony children like me but also for families.

It was the time of dawn when TV sets were spreading in homes.

The living room called “Chanoma”started to have a TV set.
The whole family sit in front of it and watched the programs together.

Without the current apparatus of various kinds, it was a great deal of amusement.

The early Ultra Series were also watched by family members.
And they were intended to be enjoyable for all of them.

There are words and phrases in the drama which should be difficult for children to understand.

But they were not avoided.
The production staff thought fathers, mothers or grandparents watching together with children would teach the meaning to them.

I myself remember I asked my mother watching “Ultraman” together about the meaning of the narration “Solar energy sustaining Ultraman decreases rapidly.”

With this narration, the Color Timer on the chest of Ultraman begins to blink.

The Japanese words used in the narration were too difficult for me to understand.

The narration was kind of stately in a way.

My mother explained the meaning and I understood it.

Drama which the whole family can enjoy.

That was the concept of the early Ultra.

Really good old days, aren’t they?


Let’s make good things!

What still makes me attached to the old Japanese TV Tokusatsu?

Satoshi Furuya, actor for Ultraman, says in a recent book interview this way.

Without affluence, Kaijyu, miniatures and Ultraman were created using everyone’s ingenuity.

You can see the enthusiasm o various kinds through the screen.

The work is made of sweat and tears.

The current people will understand that.

That is what Mr. Furuya says.

I think this is it!

I feel the creators’ passion through the works.

I bet the current works have their own goodness.

What was impossible in the old days is possible now.

Without the current CG, everything was hand-made at that time.

That may give a unique taste to the works of those days.

Of course, they have limitation without the current technology.

But they still keep shining.

And really well-made.

I am sure the creators’ uncompromising stance made the works outstanding.

They were full of “Sense of Wonder,” I think.

The adults of that time made the works with great enthusiasm for us, children of that time.

That is how I feel.

Also, they are real entertainment you can enjoy without reasoning.

“Let’s make good things!”

I feel that passion through each work.

Of course there was limit on budget and time.

They tried to do their best under the difficult circumstances.

Conflicts between personalities of the creators must have given unique atmosphere to each work.

I am very much fond on the old Tokusatsu including the atmosphere.

It is really fun for me to touch it through viewing such Tokusatsu.