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.