Charming Avan Titles 1


Each of the Ultra Series has its characteristic opening title called “avan title.”

It seems to be a Japanese coined word of French and English, and I don’t know the English equivalent.

Today’s Ultraman Series also follow this tradition.

I especially like the ones of the First Trilogy, “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven.”

The one of “Ultra Q” thrilled me most among them.

 

The marble patterns going round gradually turn into the title of “Ultra Q.”

The attached eerie sound effects were also effective.

The guys around the same age as me usually say that “Ultra Q” was so much scaring.

I absolutely agree and find that this avan title matched the series.

In “Ultraman,” it’s interesting to see the title of “Ultra Q” formed first in just the same way as “Ultra Q” though in color this time.

 

The title of “Ultraman” with the subtitle “Kuuso Tokusatsu Series” (Fantasy SFX Series) below appears as if it breaks up the title of “Ultra Q.”

It’s very much impressive.

The First Trilogy is categorized as “Kuuso Tokusatsu Series,” and it’s likely that the First Trilogy obtained the trademark registration as such.

Naturally, as “Ultraman” was a color TV program, the avan title was remade in color as well.

The sound effects changed into a different take.

 

Idyllic merchandising


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Drawing for merchandising of Ultraman (1966)

Taking a look at the face of the soft vinyl toy of Shodai (original) Ultraman, it looks similar to the front, side and back views of the drawing for merchandising of the time.

It’s not a design drawing by Tohl Narita, and it’s said that a variety of goods were made based on this drawing.

It seems that the photos of the front, side and back views of Ultraman were not taken though such photos would become indispensable for merchandising in later years.

 

Moreover, looks like there was not much of an idea of merchandising at the time.

First of all, the adults involved in merchandising were unlikely to understand that such characters as monsters would be so much liked by children with no precedent.

So a variety of goods including toys, stationery and snacks featuring monsters and the Ultra heroes were the ones produced after they became fully aware of the popularity of such characters among children.

Looks like it was after a while when the producers of the series themselves noticed the importance of merchandising clearly.

 

In the early stage of the production of “Ultraman,” the photos of the front, side and back views of the characters were not taken.

Therefore, for example, what the back of Alien Baltan looks like remains unknown even now.

The fact shows that the producers didn’t have much awareness of merchandising of the products.

But I love such idyllic days!

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Front, side and back views of Ultra Seven (A Type mask; 1967)

Bullmark & Marusan


I now remember that I also had soft vinyl toys of Returned Ultraman and Takkong.

I think that it was around the same time when I had the one of Galvan.

I guess the far left one of Returned Ultraman was the one I had.

And a generous friend of mine gave them to me when we were elementary school students.

I often gave him the cartoons I drew, and I think he gave me the soft vinyl toys in return.

 

Takkong is a monster which appeared in Episode 1 & 2 of “The Return of Ultraman.”

I didn’t have the soft vinyl toys of Ultraman and Ultra Seven.

Partly because the toys looked too cute for me at the time.

Anyway, the soft vinyl toys were so popular among children at the time for sure.

The ones I had in those days were produced by Bullmark (1969-1977).

 

According to the information on Web, Bullmark was a company established by three of the former employees working with Marusan (or Maruzan 1947-).

Bullmark developed a lot on the occasion of “the second Kaiju Boom” centering on “The Retuen of Ultraman” in the 1970s but folded in 1977.

I’m fully aware that they were really well-made and attractive when I take a second look at them now.

Their products also contributed greatly in helping us to expand our dream in our childhood.

(The photos of the toys are the ones I found on Web.)

Memory of soft vinyl toys


As far as toys of monsters are concerned, it’s not that I have been a dedicated collector of them.

But I had a few of the soft vinyl toys of the Ultra monsters.

I remember I had the one of Windom, Eleking, King Joe and U-tom.

All of these are the monsters of “Ultra Seven.”

I was a bit disappointed at the time that they didn’t look like the real ones we saw on TV.

 

The idea to make such toys look like the real monster suits faithfully didn’t exist at the time.

There were many of them which were painted in a different color from the real suits.

It’s likely that they were intended to stand out among the other bright-colored toys.

As to the appearance of the toys, they were more simplified and looked much more lovable than the real monsters.

I was dissatisfied with their deformed look in those days.

 

It should have been impossible to make the molds so much detailed as to make them look just like the real things.

Also, the producers seem to have tried to avoid making them look scaring to children.

They might also have taken account of the possibility of injuring children with a sharply pointed part and so on.

Aware of these, I’m impressed with the producers’ thoughtfulness toward us.

Now I also find attractiveness unique to such soft vinyl toys.

(The photos I fond on Web are the same soft vinyl toys I had at the time.)

Memory of Galvan


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Galvan

Spiegel of “Captain Ultra” is said to be something innovative which introduced the idea of joining and separating to a mecha of an SFX series.

The idea was taken over to Ultra Hawk 1, and it might have brought about the inspiration of King Joe, that is the super enemy robot appearing in Episode 14 and 15 “Westward, Ultra Garrison” of “Ultra Seven,” which also separates into three and rejoins.

Hawk 1 designed by Tohl Narita looks marvelous, of course.

But Spiegel also looks nice with a different taste from Hawk 1 though I don’t know who designed it.

 

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King Joe designed by Tohl Narita

Turning our eyes to the monsters as well, “Captain Ultra” had unique ones of those with a different attractiveness from the Ultra monsters designed by Tohl Narita.

Browsing through them on the Internet, in addition to Alien Bandel and Metalinome posted before, I remember Galvan very well, too.

If my memory serves me right, it was set to be a robot monster made of iron scraps put together.

 

The idea and the appearance matching it are so much fun!

I also remember very well that I had a soft vinyl toy of Galvan which was my favorite.

I’m not sure, but I feel like a friend gave it to me when I was an elementary school student.

I remember he had lots of such soft vinyl toys of monsters.

The below is a photo of the toy I found on Web.

I think the one I had was painted in red.

Looks so cute!!!

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Toy of Valgan