Transition of the wet suit body

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B Type suit

According to Akira Sasaki, a silver wet suit and a bright red one imported from the US were cut and pasted into one for the body of C Type Ultraman.

At any rate, a lot of development can be seen in the transition of the body of Ultraman as well.

Though Satoshi (Bin) Furuya‘s body shape remained unchanged, the costume of Ultraman was getting well-built as it was newly made because it was stuffed with urethane to make it look muscular.

 

The B Type costume looks more muscular than that of the A Type, but it often shows wrinkles in its belly characteristically.

I don’t think it doesn’t jump to the eye so much, but it seems the production people didn’t like them.

And they got the wrinkles out in making the C Type suit.

The C Type suit looks most muscular among the three types of Ultraman’s costumes.

 

The C Type suit is admired among the fans as the completed Ultraman including the head.

Personally, I love the flavor of each one from the A Type to the C Type.

And the B Type Ultraman is my favorite among them.

Any way, the production people were absolutely uncompromising in pursuit of making Ultraman look cool.

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C Type suit

Use of a wet suit for the body

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A Type Ultraman has its own attractiveness

It’s well known a wet suit was used for the body of Ultraman.

It’ said that the material was used for the body of Kemur for the first time in “Ultra Q.”

It was also played by Satoshi (Bin) Furuya, actor for Ultraman.

Along with the first use of a wet suit, how it looked turned out to be very much satisfactory to Tohl Narita, designer.

 

And then a wet suit was adopted again for the body of Ultraman.

According to the change of its head three times in the series, the wet suit was also newly made.

The wet suit used for A Type Ultraman is said to have been the one all black, that was called “aqualung suit” in those days.

It was painted silver and bright red.

 

According to Mr. Furuya, the one all black was used only at the very beginning because it was thin and easily tore.

And the one all bright red was imported from the US, and silver was added to it.

Akira Sasaki, who involved in making the Ultraman costume, says they obtained a all silver suit and added bright red to it.

Though their remarks are contradictory, given a long time has passed since then, it can’t be helped.


Use of FRP for the mask

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Nanairo Kamen

I’m not sure but, as a hero with the face entirely covered by a mask, Nanairo Kamen (Seven-colored Mask) might be the first one.

It’s a superhero featured in a monochrome TV series “Nanairo Kamen” (broadcast from 1959 to 1960).

Along with “Gekko Kamen” (Moonlight Mask; broadcast from 1958 to 59), he’s one of the heroes in the early period of such superhero TV series of Japan.

These two were produced by the same author, Kohan Kawauchi (1920-2008).

 

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Gekko Kamen

I don’t know much about this hero because it was broadcast before I was born.

It’s likely the mask material is unknown.

So the head of Magma Taishi may be the first one made of FRP.

It’s said Magma Taishi was supposed to be played by an actor exposing his gold-powdered face in the planning stage.

Magama Taishi with the actor’s face exposed can be actually seen in the pilot film.

 

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Magma Taishi in the pilot film

It seems that, as the gold powder wet with sweat easily got off and so on, it was decided to use the FRP mask.

That shows the producers had a continuous process of trial and error in those days.

At any rate, you will be aware of the extraordinary uniqueness the appearance of Ultraman has among these superheroes.

I love the flavor of each one of them, though!!!


Secret of Ultraman’s eyes

Actually, though the gimmick to make the mouth of Ultraman movable was abandoned, the
same attempt was made about the head of Ultra Seven.

The slit of the earliest head of Ultra Seven is likely to show the trace of an attempt to make the lower lip and jaw movable.

And then an attempt to move only the lower lip movable was made.

Finally, like Ultraman, the idea to make the mouth movable was given up.

 

With regard to the eyes of Ultra Seven, the eye holes were put in the center of the eyes.

Looks like Tohl Narita found it so regrettable that he had to give Ultraman the the eye holes inevitably at last.

He was thinking of finishing the eyes of Ultraman by fitting transparent plastic parts in the eyes to secure the visibility for Satoshi (Bin) Furuya inside.

But due to the shortage of time, he had to just drill holes under the eyes.

 

Mr. Furuya says in his memoir (“A Man Who Became Ultraman”) that Mr. Narita looked angry at that time.

After a while, it’s likely Mr. Narita told Mr. Furuya how much unwillingness he felt when he had to give the drill holes to the eyes of Ultraman.

Regarding the A Type head, you can see the eye holes become bigger to increase the visibility as the shooting progressed.


Head variations of Ultraseven

Much is known about the head variations of the costume of Ultraman.

Actually, there are also variations with regard to the head of Ultraseven’s costume though the differences are so subtle to be noticeable.

In the case of Seven, it’s not that the different types of the head were sculpted like Ultraman.

 

Though they were made from the same mold, they show slight differences in the details.

The cover photos in “Ultraseven Pictorial” show some of the head variations of Ultraseven, which is very much interesting.

The variations of Seven’s head seem to be classified as A Type – D Type among fans. (The photos above are NOT meant to show each one of those.)

 

I can’t tell which is which accurately, but there seems to be differences in the shape of the heat-pressed eyes (conspicuous in the shape of the eye holes) and of the mouth.

The earliest head (far left) has a slit around the mouth and jaw, and the eye shapes also look slightly different.

The first two of the above from left should be the same head with the slit partly puttied.

The eyes characteristically have horizontal shadows that go across the center of the whole eyes.


Magma Taishi and B Type mask

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B Type Ultraman is so beautiful!

In Episode 10 “The Mysterious Dinosaur Base,” there was a plot to have Ultraman pull out a tree and blow off the leaves with a puff of air to express his sympathy for Jirass he defeated so that the leaves fluttering down softly covered the body of Jirass.

It’s very much interesting to learn Ultraman could have been depicted to blow a breath.

In the finished product, the scene was replaced by the one in which Ultraman gently put back JIrass’s neck frill he took off on the monster.

 

The movable mouth of the A Type head was adopted as Ultraman was supposed to speak his lines as well.

But, as posted yesterday, the gimmick didn’t work well and the head started to get wrinkles around the mouth as time went by.

Also, there were no scenes in which Ultraman spoke lines but Episode 1.

So the B Type head with the immovable mouth appeared.

 

I’ve heard the idea to make the overall FRP head partly came from the head of Magma Taishi.

It’s the hero of the SFX TV series “Magma Taishi” (1966-1967) produced by P Production around the same time as “Ultraman.”

Magama Taishi’s mask was made of FRP, and it’s said that the well-made mask was highly esteemed among the Tsuburaya people.

That might have affected the making of the B Type head of Ultraman.

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Magma Taishi (P Production)

Continuous attempts to move the mouth

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“Additional Volume Shonen Magazine” (left) and “Weekly Shonen Magazine”

The trace of puttying found around the mouth of the B Type head is said to show the failed attempts to move its mouth.

The A Type head was made of latex to make the mouth movable.

It had a core made of FRP inside and was covered by latex to be more exact.

The “Ultraman Pictorial” has a rare photo that shows A Type Ultraman with its mouth closed. (above left)

It’s quite impressive!

 

It’s said Ultraman was supposed to spit liquid called Silver Yodo (iodine) from the mouth initially, or I feel like I heard he was supposed to spit fire from the mouth.

But the gimmick to move the mouth caused unnatural wrinkles around the mouth. (According to one explanation, the gimmick itself didn’t work well, either.)

And it was replaced by the B Type head and costume.

But looks like the movable mouth was not easily given up on and the same attempt was made to make the mouth of the full-FRP B Type head movable.

 

According to Akira Sasaki who sculpted the head, he tried to make the jaw a separate part to make it movable but gave up the idea as that made the surface around the mouth unavoidably uneven.

But looks like another attempt was also made to move the lower lip movable though it was finally omitted.

It’s amazing to find the movable mouth was pursued so eagerly!


Covers featuring B Type Ultraman

The covers of the “Weekly Shonen Magazine” and “Bokura” featuring the photos of B Type Ultraman are very much precious now.

These photos should have been taken by the publishers and the original ones cannot be seen today.

Incidentally, the Shonen Magazine continues to be published now, and “Bokura” (“Bokura Magazine” later) ceased to be published in 1969.

 

Getting back to talking about the photos, most of them must have been disposed of after the use for publication.

In those days no one should have imagined the Ultra Series would remain popular so long.

Looks like there are people who became aware of the beauty of B Type Ultraman by these cover photos.

The close-up photo of the B Type head is very much precious today as I haven’t seen any other ones but this.

 

The photo was taken so much close up as the eyes of the actor can be seen through the eye holes.

It’s uncertain if Satoshi (Bin) Furuya was inside for this particular photo though the others must have had him inside.

Because I hear there were times when an editor of the magazine got in the costume in place of Mr. Furuya for the shootings of magazine photos.

The trace of puttying can be seen around the mouth as well.

It’s interesting to see the paint uneven because the heads were painted with a brush in those days.


Article about Satoshi Furuya

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Twenty questions to Mr. Satoshi Furuya (part of the article)

The “Ultraman Pictorial” shows the covers of “Weekly Shonen (boy) Magazine” or “Bokura (our) Magazine” of the time.

It’s imaginable how much attention Ultraman, the hero no one had seen before, drew from the children.

The pictorial also has another interview with Satoshi (Bin) Furuya, actor for Ultraman.

At the very beginning, he was reluctant to make his name known among the viewers as the man inside the costume of Ultraman.

 

His insistence on being an actor supposed to play exposing his face made him choose to keep it a secret he’s playing Ultraman.

But, as the voices arose questioning about who’s playing Ultraman, the production people urged him to disclose the identity.

“So popular for the role of Ultraman, 20 questions to Mr. Satoshi Furuya”

“The secret of Mr. Satoshi Furuya gaining great popularity in playing the role of Ultraman!”

 

After these headers, it makes me smile to see the questions about his favorite food and so on follow.

At any rate, it’s amazing to see the actors’ home addresses were shown publicly in the articles, which is utterly unthinkable today.

Mr. Furuya says in the Q’s and A’s, “(If I get a fan letter,) I will surely write back.”

In fact, he says in his memoir he received an avalanche of fan letters in those days.

I miss the idyllic time!!!

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Four secrets of Mr. Kurobe as Hayata

“Ultraman Pictorial”

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“Ultraman Pictorial”

After the “Ultra Seven Pictorial” I got and posted about it before, I purchased the “Ultranman Pictorial” (published by the same publisher, Kodansha) the other day.

The size of the book is smaller than the Seven’s one, but it has a lot of content and is really enjoyable.

When “Ultraman” came out, as it was an unprecedented TV SFX series, there was no established way of featuring it yet in terms of commercial deployment or publication.

 

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“Ultraman Pictorial” (left) and “Ultra Seven Pictorial”

So I guess “Ultra Seven” had more exposures in publication than “Ultraman.”

I think there were a lot more toys of the Ultra Seven monsters than the Ultraman’s out there at the time.

Anyway, the book has lots of things which make me feel nostalgic, and and it’s full of fun!

Before the current format of how to deal with the epoch-making hero was not established yet, the content of the book looks all the more fresh to me.

 

The featured photos were taken by the publishers in those days.

And looks like most of them were disposed of after the publication.

So we can enjoy seeing the precious photos rarely seen today in the pictorial.

That shows no one expected the Ultra Series would last so long at the time.

It’s an enjoyable and precious book anyway!!!

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“Appearing on TV from July! Playing outstandingly against monsters, Ultraman”