U-TOM

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Episode Episode 17: Underground: Go! Go! Go!
Alias Underground Robot
Height 2.8 meters
Weight 2 tons
Homeplace Underground city
Features Guarding the underground city
Designer Tohl Narita
Sculptor Sculpting crew of Tsuburaya Productions
Actor Haruo Nakajima

U-tom is the human-sized biped robot guarding a mysterious underground city.

Who built the city for what reason remains unknown.

It has a ray gun fixed to the right arm and the left arm shaped like a hammer ball for striking.

Multiple individuals of U-tom were on guard in the city, and they can be identified by a plate on the chest with a mysterious code. (The scenes were shot with only one costume.)

They speak a language with an electric voice which doesn’t make sense to us.

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Still photo of U-tom

Above all, this episode is such an important episode which revealed how Dan Moroboshi came into being.

First of all, a cave-in accident occurred in the coal mine and a young miner was trapped in the tunnel at the depth of 1,000 meters from the ground surface.

He was embroiled in the accident while returning into the tunnel to save Chukichi, his pet house mouse.

Learning the trapped man was Jiro Satsuma, Dan decided to rescue him by all means.

The Fixed Star Observer #340 of Nebula M78, who was to be called Ultraseven by the earthlings, made up his human form by copying  Jiro’s appearance and soul when he came to the Earth for the first time and named himself Dan Moroboshi when in the human form.

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Still photo of U-tom (It doesn’t become a giant)

While searching for Jiro, however, Dan was captured in the underground city.

After transforming into Ultraseven and destroying one of U-tom, he managed to rescue Jiro. (Sadly enough, it’s likely Chukichi is set to have been dead in the script.)

The underground city was exploded by the Ultra Garrison.

Many people point out it’s a reckless act to destroy the city without properly knowing who built it and what it was for.

I absolutely agree.

Anyway this is an attractive episode also featuring the Magmarizer, underground tank of the UG.

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Underground City. Looks tiny? Have a heart.

ANNON

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Episode Episode 16: Shining Eyes in the Darkness
Alias Rock Alien
Height 30 meters
Weight 150,000 tons
Homeplace Planet Annon
Features Alien with only eyes; possessing a rocky body
Designer Tohl Narita
Sculptor Ryosaku Takayama
Actor Haruyoshi Nakamura
Voice Shinji Nakae (same as Metron of Episode 8)

Annon is the alien who came to the Earth mistakenly deeming the unmanned observation rocket the Sakura 9 launched by the Space Department as invasion on Planet Annon.

It’s a bit shame to find the story line turned out to be similar to that of Episode 14 & 15 aired just before. (Episode 16 was produced ahead of these two episodes in production order.)

Nonetheless, what is interesting is that Annon is an alien with only eyes.

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Annon’s eye staring at Dan

Kiriyama assumed he should be an alien having only brains, so he may be an insubstantial alien with high intelligence.

He needs the abstract-shaped rocky ‘body’ he possesses to act.

When the Sakura 9 returned home from Planet Annon and exploded after landing, his ‘body’ in the reduced size was accidentally thrown out of the rocket in explosion.

The ‘body’ was picked up by a boy named Hiroshi, and Annon got him to bring it to the (fictional) Jigokuyama Mountain promising to make his dreams come true in exchange.

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Hiroshi with Annon’s ‘body’

Annon finally combined with the ‘body.’

While Hiroshi was rescued by Ultraseven safely, Kiriyama vainly tried to persuade Annon into returning home explaining the Sakura 9 was not meant to be for invasion.

After a fierce fight, Seven managed to persuade the alien at last.

Leaving word that they would not allow any attacks on Planet Annon, the shining eyes came apart from the body and flew away into the night sky.

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Annon’s beam from the lovely eyes

It’s good to find Annon was a faithful alien unlike Alien Pedan.

I love the idea of an insubstantial alien and also find the tiny round glowing eyes on the rocky body so cute.

Incidentally, the alien was called Alien Annon in my childhood, but he seems to be commonly called just Annon now somehow.

There’s likely to be an explanation referring to the alien as Alien Annon and the monster form made of the rocky body as Annon.

There may be many sleepless nights thinking over this issue. 🙂

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Seven’s Stop Beam literally stopped Annon

Kikuchi Seven

Now it’s well known that Eiichi Kikuchi performed Ultraseven in Episode 14 & 15 featuring King Joe instead of Koji Uenishi who regularly played Ultraseven through the original series.

Kikuchi is known as the original actor for Returned Ultraman in The Return of Ultraman (1971-1972).

Episode 14 & 15 of Ultraseven were two-part episodes including a distant shooting location to Kobe which, aired on Jan. 7 and 14, 1968, were also meant to be the New Year’s special shows.

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Kikuchi Seven

It’s likely Kikuchi was called due to Uenishi’s schedule circumstances regarding this.

Although I was not careful enough to notice it as a child, Kikuchi Seven looks very much different from Uenishi Seven though I like both of them.

As Kikuchi was taller (180 centimeters) and thinner than well-built Uenishi (seemingly around 170 centimeters), a new costume was made for Kikuchi.

With no instructions about Seven’s fighting stance on the set, Kikuchi had to take a stance of his own with no choice.

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Kikuchi Seven

Uenishi Seven basically took his stance with closed hands.

But Kikuchi Seven assumed his stance with open hands or with one hand closed and the other opened following the karate style he practiced in those days.

In a recent book interview, Kikuchi admits it was surprising to hear a fan say he noticed the difference when he watched it as an elementary-school-age boy at the time.

Kikuchi also says the shooting was tough because the water came in through the eye holes and that the gloves colored his hands red and it was hard to wash it off.

The gloves certainly look old not matching the new suit.

It’s interesting to find how different a character looks according to an actor inside.

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Recent photo of Eiichi Kikuchi  (far right) ; Kikuchi in trampoline action for shooting ‘The Return of Ultraman’

ALIEN PEDAN

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Episode Episode 14 & 15: Westward, Ultra Garrison
Alias Tactic Alien
Height 2 meters
Weight 50 kilograms
Homeplace Planet Pedan in the Eighth Galaxy
Features Manipulating King Joe; sneaking in the TDF Base in the disguise of Dorothy Anderson
Designer Unknown
Sculptor Unknown
Actor Unknown
Voice Shun Yashiro; Hiroshi Tanabe

Alien Pedan are the aliens who mistook the observation rocket the TDF Washington Base launched for an invasion on Planet Pedan which, called the Dark Planet, was deemed to have no creatures.

They sent the Washington Base a message telling they were going to avenge themselves on the earthlings.

In surprise, the Washington Base called together people in charge of the Terrestrial Defense Science Party to hold a defense meeting at the Rokkozan Defense Center.

Having abducted Dorothy Anderson, scientist of the Washington Base who had the investigation data on Planet Pedan, the alien infiltrated the TDF Base to spy them in the disguise of Dorothy.

Dorothy Anderson (played by Linda Hardisty)

Her spying activities enabled the aliens to assassinate the participants for the defense meeting and to make King Joe destroy the Atomic Submarine Arthur conveying the participants secretly.

Wishing a peaceful solution to the crisis, Dan negotiated with Fake Dorothy.

And they agreed on the stoppage of the ongoing weapons development against Alien Pedan and the aliens’ withdrawal from the Earth.

Although Fake Dorothy promised to return real Dorothy to show their sincerity, it was revealed that she was brought back with her memory wiped away.

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Dr. Tsuchida (played by Yoshio Tsuchiya)

After all the aliens changed their mind and decided to obtain the Earth saying they had never seen such a beautiful planet.

They called in their spaceship fleet to the Earth and made King Joe rage in the Port of Kobe.

Betrayed by Alien Pedan, Dan got angry and stood up against the robot after transforming into Ultraseven.

Treated by Anne, Dorothy restored her memory and got down to the development of the Raiton R30 Bomb together with Dr. Tsuchida.

As silhouetted in the spaceship, what the aliens exactly look like remains uncertain though their figure toys were made recently based on the appearance instantly shown in explosion.


KING JOE

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Episode Episode 14 & 15: Westward, Ultra Garrison
Alias Space Robot/Alien Pedan’s Robot
Height 55 meters
Weight 48,000 tons
Homeplace Planet Pedan
Features Capable to separate into four flying/diving objects; super power; emitting a mysterious beam from the eyes
Designer Tohl Narita
Sculptor Ryosaku Takayama
Actor Haruyoshi Nakamura

King Joe is the robot manipulated by Alien Pedan for invasion on the Earth.

Although it was named as such later after being aired, it was treated and referred to as Alien Pedan’s Robot with no particular name in the first place.

The main feature of this super robot is that it’s capable to separate into four parts, each of which can travel in the sea and the sky and join together into the robot form.

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It destroyed the Atomic Submarine Arthur in the separate form and then came flying to the TDF Rokko Defense Center in Kobe where the pieces joined into the robot.

It also went on a rampage in the Kobe Port in the sequel Episode 15.

Its super power exceeded Ultraseven, and Ultraseven’s super weapons had no effect on its sturdy armor (although it looks soft).

The super robot made Dr. Tsuchida admire its amazing functions and mechanisms.

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It fought a fierce fight against Ultraseven through the two-parted episode.

It was destroyed eventually with the Raiton (/rahyton/) R30 Bomb developed by Dr. Tsuchida in cooperation with Dorothy Anderson who was held hostage by Alien Pedan and finally released.

Alien Pedan’s spacecraft embedded in the abdominal part of the robot was also shot down and smashed by Ultraseven with his Wide Shot.

King Joe is one of the most popular characters among the Ultraseven kaiju, and I also definitely love it.

Making mysterious electric sounds constantly, the super robot which made its way in defiance of any attacks, of course, showing no emotions excited and charmed us so much.


Alien Zohffy Controlling Zetton

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Now that videos and DVDs are available, it is possible for us to enjoy watching the Ultra Series episodes whenever you like.

In my childhood, however, it was impossible, and we had no choice but to rely on reruns to watch the shows again.

Without the Internet, we didn’t have so much systematic information on the Ultra Series as today, either.

Such a situation could have caused confusion about the Ultra Series among people.

 

One of them is about Zoffy who appeared in the final episode, Episode 39, of Ultraman.

Actually he was not so properly acknowledged as today at the time.

I remember he was usually illustrated differently from actual Zoffy when shown in publications.

The Ultraman Pictorial recently published refers to how he was dealt with under the title of Zoffy and Alien Zetton — The History of Confusion.

 

Of all things, there was a time when Zoffy was confused with the alien controlling Zetton, now known as Alien Zetton, in those days with the name of Zohffy (with a prolonged vowel) instead of Zoffy somehow.

According to the pictorial, the above illustrations were shown in the Bokura Magazine of Aug., 1967, four months after Ultraman ended.

It is noteworthy that Zohffy’s crest is painted in black properly.

 

They are described as below (I have to admit I love this hilarious inaccuracy):

Space Dinosaur Zetton

Height: 60 meters Weight: 30,000 tons

It came from space.

It melts anything by breathing out a fire ball of high temperature.

It acts as instructed by Zohffy.

 

Alien Zohffy

Height: 2 meters Weight: 50 kilograms

It came from space.

It raged violently manipulating Zetton. Not so powerful but smart.

Weak to the Super Gun.


ALIEN IYROS

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Episode Episode 13: The Man from V3
Alias Space Bird Man
Height micro – 30 meters
Weight 0 – 130,000 tons
Homeplace Planet Iyros
Features Strong enough to make Ultraseven use Wide Shot for the first time in the series
Designer Tohl Narita
Sculptor Ryosaku Takayama
Actor Teruo Aragaki
Voice Koji Yada (heard from the spaceship, not from the creature)

Alien Iyros (also found to be spelled as Ayros) came to the Earth on his spaceship after a battle with the TDF Space Station V3 which found it.

His spaceship shot down two of the three Station Hawks and landed on the Earth.

On the Earth it also shot down the Ultra Hawk 1 and the Station Hawk 1 flown by Captain Kurata which came chasing the spaceship.

Having captured Furuhashi and Amagi who were on board of the Hawk 1 and faked them, Iyros tried to make them steal the solid fuels from the TDF Base.

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Iyros appeared out of this capsule in ecplosion

But the plot was thwarted by Dan.

Instead, Alien Iyros demanded for the fuels in exchange for Furuhashi and Amagi held hostage.

When the Ultra Garrison accepted the demand and got the fuels ready, the alien broke his promise and started attacking the UG.

After Furuhashi and Amagi were rescured by Ultraseven (life-sized), the creature alleged to be Alien Iyros showed up and battled with Ultraseven (giant).

Breathing out beam shots, the legless creature, which looks like the mixture of a longicorn beetle and a bird, was an aggressive and  formidable enemy Emeruim Beam and Eye Slugger had no effect on.

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But he was beaten with Wide Shot Ultraseven used for the first time in the series.

His spacecraft was also destroyed by the Hawk 1 and 3 Captain Kiriyama and Captain Kurata flew respectively with their combination attack.

Given he emerged from a capsule conveyed by a manipulator out of the spaceship and he looks more like a monster, it’s pointed out the creature could be the space monster controlled by Alien Iyros.

This is such a big issue that I can’t go about my work!

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Seven posing to shoot Wide Shot

Suit Actors On Location Shooting

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Kaiju actors on horseback

Continuing to talk about Episode 11: Fly to Devil’s Mountain, it is noteworthy that the half-naked cowboy found dead was performed by Koji Uenishi.

As you know, he was the original actor who played Ultraseven, and the other cowboys were acted by the suit actors for monsters as well.

According to Kazuho Mitsuta who directed this episode, he wanted to have actors who were capable to ride horses and that’s why they were chosen for the roles of the cowboys.

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Koji Uenishi

Also, the location shooting may have been meant to be a reward for their hard work while regularly struggling in the costumes drenched with sweat on the set, which is literally for a change of place.

Such an arrangement seems to have been made a couple of times.

In Episode 10 of UltramanThe Mysterious Dinosaur Base featuring Jirass, Satoshi (Bin) Furuya, the original actor for Ultraman, went on an overnight location trip to Izu together with the cast and crew members of the drama part.

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Bin Furuya (right)

This episode was also directed by Kazuho Mitsuta.

Furuya also played the role of a clerk who appeared fleetingly in a scene of the hotel  where the SSSP members were set to have stayed.

Furuya says he was delighted to play the role of a human instead of Ultraman at that time though he was unsatisfied with the brief appearance.

As it was July 17, 1966 when Episode 1 of Ultraman was to be aired, Furuya says in his memoir all the crew and cast members enjoyed watching it together with excitement in front of the color television in the hotel.


NURSE

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Episode Episode 11: Fly to Devil’s Mountain
Alias Space Dragon
Height 120 meters
Weight 150,000 tons
Homeplace Planet Wild
Features Transforming into flying saucer
Designer Tohl Narita
Sculptor Ryosaku Takayama
Actor None (puppet)

Nurse is the Space Dragon controlled by Alien Wild.

Although it was not depicted, it also seems to be a space vehicle Alien Wild used for his trip to the Earth.

Just like Windom, however, Nurse has been described just as the Space Dragon and not referred to as a robot despite the metallic appearance, which may still be an annoying question among fans. 🙂

Called by Alien Wild, it emerged from a volcanic crater.

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Nurse firing beams in rapid succession at the UG members on the ground

Nurse is capable to take on a flying saucer form and to fire a beam attack from the bottom.

Flying around in the saucer form, Nurse annoyed Ultraseven and coiled around him.

Nurse tried to strangle Ultraseven until the point where his Beam Lamp started blinking, which shows his energy limits, for the first time in the series. (with no sounds we get to hear when it blinks in the later episodes)

But, the next moment, Nurse was torn apart into pieces with Ultraseven’s superhuman power.

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The attraction of this episode is the friendship among the UG members over Dan’s unexpected death at any rate.

His death greatly grieved the members, and they were driven to avenge their loss.

Amagi’s efforts rescued Dan from the Life Camera film and revived him successfully, which enabled Dan to turn into Ultraseven at last.

The ending scenes in which Dan sincerely thanked Amagi who nodded with a nice smile in return are pretty impressive. (You are great, Amagi, as expected from Ultraman! 🙂  )

The western-like touch of the episode is also fun!!!

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You made it, Seven!

ALIEN WILD

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Episode Episode 11: Fly to Devil’s Mountain
Alias Space Wild Man
Height 2.2 meters
Weight 150 kilograms
Homeplace Planet Wild
Features Capturing people’s lives with the Life Camera; controlling the Space Dragon Nurse
Designer Tohl Narita
Sculptor Art crew of the show
Actor Teruo Aragaki
Voice Eiji Maruyama

Alien Wild is the alien set to be from the planet where their species are on the brink of extinction due to aging.

With no intention to invade the Earth, he came here wanting for some of the earthlings’ fresh young lives.

He has the Life Camera capable of sucking the life out of people with their lives captured alive on film though they are left physically dead.

I hear there was a belief among people that cameras could suck the life out of them and shorten their lives as the result if they were shot when cameras were brought into Japan in the Meiji Period (1868-1912),

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Dan captured on the Life Camera

Such a superstition may make you laugh, but they may have been more sensible of something like the life energy captured on film than modern people, which made them think that way.

Anyway, including one of the cowboys of a pasture and the police officers, Dan also fell victim to the Life Camera.

As a child, I didn’t find Alien Wild so much attractive as he’s just a hairy alien having a funny antenna on the head, though it emitted a beam which paralyzed Soga, with the actor’s face just exposed.

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The UG checking the camera Alien Wild left behind in the cave where he was hiding

As an adult, I find the name seemingly too straightforward with no twist.

But the scenes in which, while he admitted the selfishness of his deed, he desperately begged the UG members to return the film to him as his perishing fellows were awaiting him evoke sympathy.

Alien Wild was shot dead by Soga when running up to the Space Dragon Nurse controlled by him.

Now I’m surprised to find it explained that the actor for Alien Wild was Teruo Aragaki, one of the regular suit actors, because I didn’t know it.