Family Mart campaign

071430
Dada and Baltan Seijin (right)

We have a chain of convenience store named “Family Mart” in Japan.

You may have one of them in your country.

Their campaign featuring the Ultra characters is now under way.

What impressed me when watching the image (comical one featuring Ultra Kaijyu shopping at a Family Mart) is the well-made suits of the old Ultra Kaijyu.

Such as Baltan Seijin, Pigmon, Dada and Kanegon.

The original suits don’t remain any more.

So they are newly molded ones.

The suits used for Kaijyu shows in my childhood were the ones molded for the sake of the shows.

They didn’t look like the real ones for shooting because of the crudity in molding.

But the recent ones are really well-made.

Very much close to the original ones.

Especially I was impressed with the fidelity the newly molded Pigmon has.

Actually, Pigmon of “Ultraman” is the same in appearance as Garamon of “Ultra Q.”

Garamon is a robot Kaijyu 40 mteres tall controlled by an alien for invasion.

And Pigmon is a friendly human-sized Kaijyu which sides with humans.

Why they are the same in appearance is not mentioned in the drama.

But the different actors acted Garamon and Pigmon respectively.

So they look different in height.

The newly molded Pigmon looks more like Garamon in terms of the height.

But, anyway, it looks like the original suit.

I feel the modelers’ love and respect for the classic Ultra Kaijyu.

All these Kaijyu characters are designed by Tohl Narita.

The popularity is steadfast.

070752
Baltan Seijin (front) and Pigmon

 


Kagaku Tokusotai (Science Special Search Party)

With the exception of “Ultra Q”, a so-called “defense team” to battle with Kaijyu appears in the Ultra Series.

Their mecha and human drama is also attractive along with the Ultra heroes and Kaijyu.

In the world of “Ultraman”, it is Kagaku Tokusotai.

Although its official English name is Science Special Search Party, it literally means Science   Special Investigation Team or something like that.

In the setting, it belongs to International Science Police Organization which has the headquarter in Paris.

Its official name is Kagaku Tokubetsu Sosatai and is also abbreviated as Kagaku Tokusotai or Katokutai.

Also in the setting, Dr. Ichinotani who appears in “Ultra Q” has established the Japan branch.

(This is not mentioned at all in the drama of “Ultraman.”)

The five members of Japan branch consists of Captain Muramatsu (called Cap) , Hayata, Arashi, Ide and Akiko Fuji.

Hoshino is a boy allowed to get in and out of Katokutai.

But he is officially admitted to Katokutai later.

Hoshino is meant to be a representative of all the children watching “Ultraman” on TV.

How much he was the envy of boys all over Japan is imaginable.

In “Ultra Q”, the same three civilians encounter with mysterious incidents or Kaijyu every time.

It was pointed out that the situation is unnatural even from the production side.

The organization which is not unnatural to encounter with mysterious incidents or Kaijyu.

That was Katokutai.


Hayata and Ultraman

002535
Mefilas Seijin

Hayata has become Ultraman.

They share the same life.

The mysteriousness suites the enigmatic spaceman from Nebula M-78.

But they are different in personality.

In “Ultra Seven,” Seven has transformed into Moroboshi Dan, copying the figure and soul of an earthling, Jiro Satsuma.

 

In a pinch, Dan returns to the original appearance of Ultra Seven.

So, Seven and Dan are the same in personality.

And, if Dan or Seven is damaged, for example, it reflects the other directly as they are the same physically, too.

But in “Ultraman,” as Hayata and Ultraman are different ones, that kind thing doesn’t happen.

Even if Hayata is injured, it does not affect Ultraman at all and vice versa.

 

In the episode #33, Mefilas Seijin calls Hayata “Ultraman.”

Inquired by Mefilas whether he is a spaceman or a human, Hayata answers this way:

“Both. I was born to fight against those that break the law of the universe like you.”

 

It is said this dialogue represents the thought of Tetsuo Kinjo (1938-1976), who wrote the screenplay for this episode.

As an Okinawan living in the mainland of Japan, this dialogue is said to show his sentiment over his own identity.

In the episode #25 (screenplay by a different person), viewing the majestic scenery of snowy mountains, Hayata admires like this:

“Beautiful… The earth is a really beautiful planet!”

This may be Ultraman’s feelings expressed through Hayata.

114017
Hayata faces life-sized Mefilas

Tohl Narita and Ultraman

DSCN1093
The sky I shot. Not Mr. Narita’s painting

To Tohl Narita, Ultraman should be his soul and also his pride.

Accordingly, Ultraman remains shining even now.

His design of Ultraman and Ultra Seven became the standard in style for heroes after that.

It is an undeniable fact that it affected Tokusatsu heroes other than Tsuburaya.

Such as “Spectreman”, “Silver Kamen Giant”, “Iron King”, “Thunder Mask” and so on.

I am reluctant to talk about this but Mr. Narita were not pleased with the Ultra heroes created after his design although he writes somewhere, “It’s none of my business.”

Ultraman should be his soul and pride as an artist.

He often painted clouds.

I like his painted clouds and blue sky.

I feel it is similar to the clouds and sky I saw in my childhood.

The sky boundlessly high.

As high as dreams.

Freedom of clouds.

Boundless possibilities.

Dreams spread.

Tohl Narita must have been a person who kept the purity of his soul.

His paintings show the freedom.

That helped him create Ultra heroes and Ultra Kaijyu.

Within the format of broadcasting an episode once a week, it must have been quite a task to design a new Uktra Kaijyu.

Children of my age were waiting in excitement for them every week.

What fun it was!!!


What Ultraman represents

150709
“Incarnation of truth, justice and beauty” by Tohl Narita

In his book “Art of Special Effects,” Tohl Narita also refers to the words “Shin. Zen. Bi.”

Literally it means “truth, goodness and beauty.”

These words should be the symbol of Japanese spirit.

At least the spirit traditionally placed highest among the Japanese.

When I found Mr. Narita to mention these words in his book, I was so surprised at the depth of his thoughts about art.

In the book, he associates “Shin” with “learning,” “Zen” with “religion” and “Bi” with “art.”

Ultraman also represents “Shin. Zen. Bi.”

Mr. Narita’s painting of Ultraman in 1983 is titled “Incarnation of truth, justice and beauty.

With regard to “Shin. Zen. Bi,” a Japanese philosopher associates “Zen” with “affection” and “Bi” with “harmony.”

Ultraman may represent these, too.

That makes me remember Mr. Narita designed Ultraman as the symbol of cosmos.

To make it represent cosmos, Mr. Narita selected “extreme simplification” in designing Ultraman.

Mr. Narita’s son writes in “Art of Special Effects” his father pursued his life to the last in drawing a picture, making a sculpture and handing “What is the real thing?” over to the children of the future with confidence.

I hope I am one of the former children!!!


Tohl Narita’s “Art of Special Effects”

1507051

The other day, I got Tohl (He signs this way for his paintings or designs instead of Toru. I will follow it from here.) Narita’s book titled “Art of Special Effects.”

I was astonished afresh to find Mr. Narita had his own philosophy firmly.

He says in this book this way (Sorry about my English!):

 

“Painters and sculptors learn at art schools.

The learning is a battle with themselves for self-discovery.”

“The more you learn the severity of the form, the harder you will try to get to the bottom by reconsidering a human base and so on.”

 

“An artist is those who keep questioning themselves strictly and create a new beauty .”

“Unless painters themselves draw impressed, they will not be able to impress people.”

“I think it can be said art is impression and artists are those who can be impressed.”

 

“To understand beauty of the theme, the viewers’ effort will be also required.

The effort is not knowledge.

A stack of life with real joy and real sadness.”

“What assists the willingness you try to learn the real thing is knowledge, and liberal arts.”

 

It is a shame my English is not good enough for correct translation.

I really hope you can understand what Mr. Narita means.

I think these are the remarks of someone who really knows the essence.

I think these are the remarks of someone who had battled with the form.

His form for Ultra was also created in this battle.

No wonder it still remains and is adored by many people.

That is what I thought.

Ultra is profound!!!

1507052


Who named Ultraman?

095444

As to the production, it was named after the previous series “Ultra Q.”

In the story, Ultraman appearing in front of Hayata just identified himself as the spaceman from Nebula M-78.

The narration by Koji Ishizaka, when Ultraman battles with Bemular, goes like this:

“Hayata left life to by the spaceman from Nebula M-78 has transformed into the spaceman with the Beta Capsule. He has become an immortal man who flies in the sky at the speed of Mach 5 and smashes any enemy with mighty energy. Go, our hero!”

The name of the spaceman is not mentioned in the narration at this time.

Just he is called as “spaceman” as you can see.

The hero is handled as a mysterious spaceman.

After Bemular was beaten by Ultraman, Hayata came in one piece to the member of Kagaku Tokuso-tai.

The fact that Hayata is now Ultraman is the secret.

Yes! It should be a secret for this kind of story.

Hayata asked Cap. Muramatsu what’s become of Bemular.

Muramatsu answered a spaceman got rid of it.

Hayata says,”Oh, he appeared as I expected.”

Hayata tells that “he” also helped him out.

Impatiently Ide asked what is the name of the spaceman.

Hayata answered, “He has no name.”

No name!

After thinking, Hayata asked, “How about Ultraman?”

This is how the spaceman was named Ultraman.

Lovable easy-goingness.

I love it!