About Koji Uenishi

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Koji Uenishi, actor for Ultra Seven

Other than the previous post, “Ultra Seven Pictorial” has articles saying Koji Uenishi is good in playing Japanese drums and was dreaming of becoming a baseball player or pilot in his childhood.

It is said Mr. Uenishi, born in Nagasaki Prefecture, was a sword fight arranger and actor belonging to Mifune Production founded by Toshiro Mifune, actor who is well known by Akira Kurosawa’s movies.

According to Wikipedia, it was revealed in 2014 that Mr. Uenishi had already passed away.

 

According to it, when requested to appear in “Ultra Seven” as suit actor, he was unwilling as he would have to act disguised without his face exposed. (Satoshi Furuya, who played Ultraman, says the same thing. )

But Mr. Uenishi accepted the request with the intention of studying.

He worked on preparation for the role positively, for example, establishing his own style of Ultra Seven unlike Ultraman after he studied Ultraman’s fighting style.

 

Wikipedia also says, when he visited a facility for disabled children to entertain them as Ultra Seven one day, a boy who had been unable to walk let alone stand up, run up to him.

That made Mr. Uenishi fully aware of how influential a hero could be, and he dropped his prejudice against suit acting since then.

It is really a shame to have learnt Mr. Uenishi is gone.


Playing the role of Ultra Seven. Mr. Koji Uenishi

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Koji Uenishi on the right hand side

I found an article intended for children of the time in “Ultra Seven Pictorial” as above.

Let me translate it as below:

 

So popular! Playing the role of Ultra Seven. Questions to Mr. Koji Uenishi.

The secret of the star appearing in “Ultra Seven” !

 

Q.1: Your real name?

Koji Uenishi. Just the same as my stage name.

Q.2: What is your height and weight?

172 cm in height; 68 kg in weight.

[…]

Q.5: Can you tell us about any memories of childhood?

Let me see…

I dived in the ocean and speared fishes.

I crafted the spear myself…

It was great fun.

Q.6: What is your favorite sport? 

Ski, baseball, equestrian art…

I do any sport.

Q.7: What is your favorite food?

I’m very much fond of  meat.

But I eat anything.

I have no dislikes for food.

Oh, no. Really.

Q.8: What is difficult in playing Ultra Seven? How do you build your physical strength?

It is most difficult in playing how to wear expressions.

To build strength, I try to get a lot of nutrition and to do exercises such as baseball and bodybuilding as much as possible.

[…]

Q.10:  Who do you respect?

Toshiro Mifune.

I think he’s a respectable person both as a human and as an actor.

I want to become such a person as Mr. Mifune.”


Tohl Narita’s concept arts for “Ultra Seven”

According to Tohl Narita, he was informed in advance of modifying a used car available in the market place for Pointer.

Pointer has no final design on paper (like Ultraman) because the design depended on which car should be modified.

So, after the car was decided, he created Pointer by going to an auto garage and  giving them instructions for modification on site,

It is as expected from a sculptor, I think.

 

Looks like he was thinking of giving Pointer blue lines first in accordance with Ultra Hawk 1.

But he gave it black lines finally instead as he thought blue lines would make it look vulgar.

It is likely he took pains over how to make a used car look cool enough.

I think the black lines make it look more stylish to be sure.

In my impression, Pointer looks cool markedly among the defense team cars through all the Ultra or Ultraman Series.

 

Tohl Narita played an important role as what is now called concept artist for the whole product of “Ultra Seven.”

So he designed from the equipment such as Ultra Hawk to the costume for UG.

He worked on the marks of TDF and UG as well.

As to the design of Hawk 1, he diverted the design for  “Aerial Battleship,” which was an unproduced Toho movie, to Hawk 1.

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Image of Pointer by Tohl Narita

“Pointer” looks cool!

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Among the TDF and UG equipment, I love Pointer most.

The design shows no signs of age (to me), and It still looks so cool even now!

There are fans who are so charmed with Pointer that they get their own by modifying their cars.

The design work was done by Tohl Narita in line with the other equipment such as Ultra Hawk 1-3.

It is said Pointer is based on Chrysler Imperial 1957 model.

 

Though it is set as an amphibious and ultra-fast speed supercar, it is likely it often stalled out during a take as it’s based on an almost discarded car.

But it was also used for transportation of cast members by detaching the rear wings on both sides.

And that made them embarrassed every time stopping at a red light because it got a lot of attention from people around.

 

While Pointer 1 (PO-1) regularly appears in the drama, you can see PO-II in Episode 4 and the MP version for use of the common TDF members in Episode 5.

As you may have noticed, the producers have only one Pointer for shooting.

So letters were just added to make it look like another Pointer.

In Episode 4, you can see plural Pointer lined in the parking area of the TDF base which were increased in number by compositing though it’s inconspicuous.


Ultra Hawk 2, 3 and the others

Ultra Hawk 2 is a space rocket used as a shuttle making a round trip between the underground base and Space Stations.

Also it is in use for battles in the space along with Ultra Hawk 1.

It can fly in the atmosphere as well.

The docking of Hawk 2 and Space Station was supposed to be depicted.

But It was not realized.

 

Ultra Hawk 3 flies exclusively in the atmosphere and is in use for patrolling or transporting the underground tank Magmariser.

It also fights with Hawk 1.

Hawk 3 appears from the launching pad behind a water fall.

The likeness of a secret base shown in such a way satisfied us at the time.

 

The underground tank Magmariser played an outstanding role, for example, in saving Seven’s life in Episode 40.

Or the unmanned Magmariser on auto pilot loaded with explosives rushed into the aliens’ underground base to destroy it in Episode 49 (the last episode).

The tank has a major presence with frequent appearances.

 

Hydrangers are submarines which also appeared a number of times in the drama and showed their impressive activities.

In the later Ultra or Ultraman Series, such underground tanks and submarines don’t appear as much as in “Seven.”

Each of the Space Station V1-V3  has Station Hawk 1 and 2 operative.

Great lineup, isn’t it?


Ultra Hawk 1

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The TDF and UG equipment also developed a lot in comparison with that of SSSP.

It is another charm “Ultra Seven” has and that makes it so much distinctive among all the Ultra or Ultraman Series.

First of all, an eye-opener is Ultra Hawk 1.

It is a large-sized six-seater battle plane which flies at the spped of Mach 4.

It can fly in the air and also in the space.

 

The point is Hawk 1 can separate into three battle planes, Alpha, Beta and Gamma, and join together again.

And the launching sequence of Ultra Hawk 1 is fabulous!

The launching platform goes up from underground with Hawk 1 on.

The hilltop opens aside and Hawk 1 takes off.

 

During the launching sequence, you can hear an English announcement by the flight control.

“Fourth gate, open!
Quickly! Quickly!
Fourth gate, open!
Fourth gate, open!
Twenty seconds before!
All out! All out!
Pull the throttle!
All right! Let’s go!”

 

Putting aside whether the English expression is accurate, it sounded so cool to a child of the time.

It is well known the announcement was voiced by Kazuho Mitsuta, one of the directors for Ultra Seven.

In Episode 7, you can watch exciting coalescence and separation scenes of Hawk 1.

It’s really exciting!!!

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TDF chief, staff officers & member

As previously described, Ultra Garrison belongs to the Terrestrial Defense Force Far East Base in Japan.

The chief and staff officers of the TDF also appear and take command of UG in the drama on a frequent basis.

That successfully makes the drama look more real.

 

Chief Yamaoka (age 55) heads the TDF Far East Base.

He is a man of military bearing.

But also as flexible as he accepts a suggestion from the subordinates and as warm-hearted as he gives weight to their lives.

He appeared in Episode 1, 5, 25 and the last episodes (48-49).

 

Staff Officer Takenaka (age 40) often appears in the drama.

He is also a man of dignity but very much considerate of the subordinates.

Kenji Sahara, who also acted Jun Manjome in “Ultra Q,” played Takenaka nicely.

 

Staff Officer Manabe (age 42) also appears in the drama frequently.

He is scrupulous and always keeps his wits about one.

He makes a hard-headed decision at times but is actually considerate.

 

Staff Officer Yanagawa (acted by Akihiko Hirata) and Staff Officer Bogarde only appeared in Episode 1.

 

Captain Kurata heads Space Station V3.

The TDF has three of them, V1, V2 and V3, as the first defense shield for Earth.

Despite bad-mouthing, he is hot-blooded man very much considerate of his men.

He enlisted at the same time as Kiriyama.

Kurata calls Kiriyama “Mole” probably because Kiriyama is with the TDF Far East Base deep underground.

Kiriyama calls Kurata “Villain.”

They are also good rivals.

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Kurata and Kiriyama

UG members

Ultra Garrison consists of 6 members.

The setting for each character is also a little more detailed in comparison with SSSP of “Ultraman.”

 

UG is headed by Taicho (captain) Kiriyama, born in Tokyo, age 38 with corps history of 16 years.

He is portrayed as a warm-hearted but sometimes strict captain.

 

Tai-in (member) Furuhashi is born in Hokkaido, age 29 with corps history of 7 years.

His first name is Shigeru.

He is called the most powerful man in the TDF.

 

Tai-in Soga is born in Kyushu at the age of 25 with corps history of 3 years.

He is the top-rated shooting champion of the TDF.

He is portrayed like a close friend with Dan.

 

Tai-in Amagi is born in Nagoya with corps history of 2 years.

He is explained as a good planner.

Intelligent guy but sometimes timid as he is scared of heights or gunpowder.

Satoshi Furuya, actor for Amagi, played Ultraman in the preceding “Ultraman.”

 

Tai-in Anne Yuri has corps history of 2 years with the age left unknown in the drama, but the probable age is 20.

She is a member of UG and also a medical doctor for Medical Center of the base.

She falls in love with Dan by degrees.

 

Tai-in Dan Moroboshi is, actually a spaceman from M-78, the 6th member of UG newly enrolled.

And Ultra Seven is regarded as the enigmatic 7th member.


TDF and UG

UG members in Operation Room

Another characteristic of “Ultra Seven” is a defense team depicted much much more precisely and larger-scaled than SSSP of “Ultraman.”

In the world of “Seven,” the defense team is Ultra Garrison and the Terrestrial Defense Force (TDF).

UG is part of the TDF and its elite team. (The name of “Ultra” comes from it.)

The secret installation of the TDF Far East Base is set as located deep underground near Mt. Fuji with 300 people at work.

 

Basically, only five SSSP members appeared in “Ultraman” though it is part of International Science Police Organization with the headquarter in Paris.

But in “Seven,” TDF is a militant organization on a global scale for defending Earth from space invaders.

And activities of the TDF members were also depicted precisely along with those of Ultra Garrison.

 

In case of SSSP of “Ultraman,” only one room where the SSSP members get together is usually shown because the other sets were actually not there.

But, in “Seven,” the Operation Room with lots of the common TDF members at work appeared along with the Staff Office and also Medical Center.

The set of passageways, though partially built, and the Flight Control, though the TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System, which broadcast “Seven”) controlling room was used for it, helped you to learn the scale of the installation.

The nice-looking base of the TDF really made us amazed and excited!!!

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Flight Control for Ultra Hawk 1

“Ultra Seven Pictorial”

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“Ultra Seven Pictorial”

I got a book “Ultra Seven Pictorial” which covers publication of “Ultra Seven” for children at the time around 1967.

Because they are shown as they were at that time, you can find out how Seven was dealt with in publications of the time.

Every time I take a look at old publications like this, I am impressed with how much they are well made.

 

In these publications, it’s repeatedly mentioned Ultra Seven means the 7th member of Ultra Garrison.

In the later series, all the Ultra heroes from Ultraman (the first) to Leo including Zoffy have been set as brothers without blood relationship, and they were called “Ultra Brothers.”

In time, they got to be called “Ultraman Family” including “Father of Ultra” and “Mother of Ultra.”

Such settings were not around yet at the time of these publications.

So it’s only natural Ultraman and Seven were dealt with as separate products.

 

It is interesting, however, to find a question in the Q’s and A’s asking whether Ultraman and Seven are brothers or not.

The answer is just that they are from the same Nebula M-78, not mentioning whether they are brothers or not.

I think this is a gorgeous book which is very much precious as a reference of the time.

I will show you some of it later!!!

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Seven appearing on the covers of “Weekly Shonen Magazine” of the time