The other designs for Ultraman

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The above is another hero design (Bemular) by Tohl Narita.

Looks like he wanted to give the surface of the face and body diamond cuts.

You can find a trace of the idea on Ultraman’s eyes which have diamond cuts.

The instructions given to the drawing show he was thinking of something between a space suit and an armor.

It looks like a Samurai warrior with an armor and helmet to be sure.

With a crescent-shaped decoration on the helmet.

The protector-like parts on the upper arm may be the origin of Ultra Seven’s protector.

This Bemular design should have led to Redman.

 

There is another version which looks very much different as below.

I guess this is a hero design drawn before the final version, maybe after Redman.

The head design may have been replaced by this as the body looks almost the same as Redman.

It is interesting to learn its patterns on the body are in blue instead of red we are familiar with as Ultraman’s body design.

I hear the red patterns on Ultraman’s body came from the patterns on the surface of Mars.

We can imagine it should have been such a task even for Mr. Narita to create a new hero no one had never seen before.

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Transition from Redman to Ultraman

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From “Tohl Narita Art Book”

As in the previous post, Tohl Narita’s design of Redman was still more like a monster.

It was getting simplified and reached the design of Ultraman as you see today.

There are voices doubting it has become so much popular if the hero should have been like Bemular or Redaman.

I doubt it, too.

 

As I wrote before, Tohl Narita really had a hard time in designing Ultraman.

You can see his efforts in the transition of the design.

It is said the transition reflects opinions of TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) which broadcast “Ultraman” in succession of “Ultra Q.”

They are likely to have demanded something more simple and having more impact.

It is said, bringing broadcasting of the SFX drama in the US into view, the TBS people thought it could not be accepted in the US if the hero should remain as it is.

Then, they wanted it to look more like an enigmatic iron mask.

 

Through trial and error, Mr. Narita came to a standstill in the hero’s design on paper.

He finally got down to molding the mask together with Akira Sasaki, giving up designing on paper.

So there is no final design of Ultraman on paper.

That proves Mr. Narita is a real sculptor, I think.

From “The Art of Tohl Narita”

Bemular & Redman

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Bemular from “Ultraman White Paper” (left)

In Eiji Tsuburaya’s diary, I found he expressed like “Redman of Ultra Seven.”

It gave me an impression as if “Ultra Seven” is the title and the hero’s name is Redman.

Actually, it is said both Ultraman and Ultra Seven were called Redman in the plannning stage.

It is also said Redman was a pseudonym for Ultraman until its trademark registration was finished so that the name would not be used by someone else.

It’s likely the same name was used for Ultra Seven again for the same reason.

 

Originally, the planning of “Ultraman” stemmed from that of “Kagaku Tokuso-tai Bemular.”

Bemular is a righteous space monster which battles with enemy monsters in cooperation with Kagaku Tokuso-tai,

But Eiji Tsuburaya was likely to have advised to get a hero like Superman.

I hear they wanted to make it more sophisticated with a view of marketing overseas.

 

Then Bemular was replaced by a spaceman named Redman.

Accordingly, the title was changed to “Kagaku Tokuso-tai Redman.”

Redman was designed by Tohl Narita.

I guess, while he struggled with the hero’s design, the hero’s name and the title changed to Ultraman finally even if it was annouced as “Redman” publicly.

Thus Ultraman was produced.

And the name Bemular was used for the first monster Ultraman battled with in Episode #1.

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Redman from “Ultraman White Paper”

Ultraman Genesis Exhibition at Yokosuka Musium 2

Kanegon in the entrance hall
Kanegon at the entrance

This is the first time for me to see the masks of Returned Ultraman, Ultraman A (Ace), Ultraman Taro, Ultraman Leo and Ultraman 80.

Also the ones of Ultra Father. Ultra Mother, and Ultraman King.

These are the real ones used in the shooting.

It was fun.

Ultraman
Ultraman

The exhibition covers the works from “Ultra Q” (1966) to “Ultraman 80” (1980).

So it was also enjoyable to see the design works of monsters and mecha from “Return of Ultraman” and after.

Regarding the early Ultra (Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultra Seven), what drew my attention is design works done by Chikyu Iwasaki.

Looks like he designed SFX props such as firearms of SSSP and Ultra Garrison.

Ultra Seven
Ultra Seven

Eiji Tsuburaya’s diary was also on display.

The page shown was written on Jan. 2 in 1966 exactly when Ultra Q was first broadcast.

He wrote about the joy.

The pages dated Aug.14 and 15 in 1967 says he consulted with his production staff about the transformation sequence of Ultra Seven.

From right, Returned, A and Taro
From right, Returned, A and Taro

I think the exhibition was well organized making it possible for you to overview Ultra.

I saw some children in the exhibition.

It is pleasurable to know Ultra is still adored by the younger generations.

(The Ultra heroes on this page are for taking a commemorative photo in the entrance hall.)

Taro, Leo and 80
Taro, Leo and 80

Ultraman Genesis Exhibition at Yokosuka Musium 1

Flyer
Flyer

I went to Yokosuka Museum to see “Ultraman Genesis Exhibition” held there till Aug. 8.

It was supposed to be a long way from my home by train and by bus from the nearest station to the museum.

But I went out thinking, as the museum is located on the sea side, it should be fun to enjoy viewing the sea in a while.

 

It was a very nice museum with an ocean view.

Back of the flyer

There were not many people in the museum and I was able to see the exhibition at leisure.

 

Inside the entrance, the Ultra heroes were on display for you to take a commemorative photo.

The suits are not the original ones.

Museum

But photography is prohibited in the main area.

In the main area, the masks of Ultraman, Ultra Seven and the other Ultra heroes were displayed.

 

I have seen the ones of Ultraman and Ultra Seven in another exhibition before.

All of them are the replicas and not the ones used in the shooting.

Sea in front of the museum

The displayed B-type and C-type masks of Ultraman were so much beautiful.

The C-type is the one duplicated by Akira Sasaki who molded the original mask of Ultraman.

The B-type mask is the one newly molded in 1980 after the original.


SSSP headquarter

224528When I was a child, making a base was popular play among children.

Securing a place called “base”, we got together there.

Do you have the equivalent play in your country?

 

In the settings, the base of the SSSP is located in the suburbs of Tokyo.

It’s shaped like a pyramid put upside down.

It was designed by Tohl Narita.

It is said the design was based on a real seminar house belonging to a university.

You can see the inside of the seminar house in the scene of the press conference in Episode #11 of “Ultraman.”

 

The base is the symbol of the best of science people in those days could imagine.

Incidentally, the world of “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven” is set as near future, not the same time as they were broadcast.

It truly reflects the faith in the progress of technology people in those days had.

In the middle of economic high growth, anyone of the Japanese believed it would bring us happiness.

Especially, “Ultraman” was produced in such days.

 

The base is supposed to be something most sophisticated in those days.

But Akihide Tsuzawa who acted Hoshino said in a book interview they kept a fire in the set as the studio was so battered it was so hot in summer and freezing cold in winter.

The door of the control room supposedly automatic were moved manually.

Hand-made in good old days.


Mecha of SSSP

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Jet VTOL

The SSSP has a variety of mechanical weapons to attack monsters.

When they attack from the sky or in the sky, the Jet VTOL is used.

As it’s pronounced as “Beetle” in the drama, I had thought it was from a beetle, insect.

But later I learnt it was “VTOL.”

 

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Mini VTOL (Triangle VTOL)

It flies in the air normally but it’s become possible for it to fly in the space with sub rockets attached later.

 

The model of the VTOL itself was made based on the same wooden prototype for the VTOL which appeared in a Toho SFX movie “Yosei Gorasu.”

It was made by knocking tin.

Tohl Narita in charge of the design works for “Ultraman” was reportedly dissatisfied with the diversion.

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Supergun

The Mini VTOL, also called Triangle VTOL, was designed by Mr. Narita.

Hayata in the Mini VTOL collided with Ultraman in Episode #1 of “Ultraman.”

 

From the ground, the SSSP members attack monsters with such weapons as Supergun and Spidershot.

In addition, they also have a submarine, underground tank and so on.

 

Talking about mecha, honestly speaking, the one of “Ultra Seven” may be more attractive.

But the mechanical weapons of the SSSP should have been another attraction for the boys fond of mecha besides Ultraman and monsters. (I was more interested in monsters and Ultraman.)

Above all, a defense team like the SSSP battling with monsters with such latest scientific weapons was not out there before “Ultraman.”

It should be really epoch-making.