The Ultraman opening image was replaced by a new version from Episode 12 (Mummy Man and Dodongo), and Tohl Narita was credited as ‘kaijyu design’ from Episode 26 (Gomora) instead of ‘art’ for which he had been previously credited.
If I put the two versions of the opening credits as Version A (see yesterday’s post) and B (shown in this post) temporarily, the monsters found in them are as below:
It’s fun to see some monsters featured from Ultra Q, which I think shows the perception that Ultraman is the sequel to Ultra Q sharing the same universe.
As to the Version A, the silhouette of Peguila is not the one of Chandlar as it has no ears (or two curved horns on both sides of the head).
There seems to be an explanation describing the silhouette of Goro as that of M1 as it’s designated as such in the storyboard while it looks more like King Kong than Goro or M1 and I always wonder what the object shaped like an airplane beside the silhouette is.
Possibly mirroring the unprecedented popularity of the show that could have granted them some mental leeway to do so, I feel like more playfulness was incorporated into the Version B as shown in this post with uniquely simplified distortion of each character.
Especially, I love the silhouettes of Gango, Pigmon and Alien Baltan shown right above.
As to the unknown monster (third from left, top row), Sadao Iizuka is likely to have said it has no model.
Watching the Ultraman opening credits with silhouetted characters shown in the back is a lot of fun while it makes me vividly remember how much it made me excited while watching the opening as a kid and realize I get as much excited even now.
A professional manga artist I personally know (as one of my business clients) said to me that it’s amazing to see each shape of the silhouette properly make us associate it with each character solely with silhouettes in admiration of Tohl Narita as it proves the uniqueness of the characters designed by him.
According to Sadao Iizuka, known for his drawing work of beam effects in tokusatsu products including the Toho movies, the impressive silhouettes were not to be applied to the opening credits initially with only smokes featured in the back.
It seems to have been Iizuka who suggested to use silhouetted characters as he found just showing ascending smokes was going to be unpicturesque and boring.
And he got the young staff members working under him to draw the silhouettes to be added to the opening credits image.
I really like these silhouettes as I find each of them so charming with features of each character nicely captured while they are full of handmade feelings.
The Spacium Beam shooting pose performed by Satoshi (Bin) Furuya has a unique feature with his head bent forward and with his fingers properly aligned and extended to the fullest beautifully.
It’s going to be perfect if your left hand fingers are bent back to the extent that they point slightly upwards.
After this unprecedented beam shooting pose was created by Toshihiro Iijima (director), Koichi Takano (SFX director) and Furuya on the set during the shooting, Furuya says he never failed to practice the pose 300 times in front of the mirror at home before going to bed every day until the shooting of the series ended.
As we have been so familiar with this pose since our childhood while imitating it when playing as a kid, seeing most of the people perform the pose in a wrong way in the street interviews of the Ultraman 50th anniversary special on TV was a bit shocking to me.
They pose like Ultraseven’s Wide Shot with the left hand positioned almost below the right elbow or the Wide Shot pose with arms positioned the wrong way around.
Although I’m not a person who is fussy over trifles, I have to admit that I find it moderately disappointing to be honest…
Meanwhile, what impressed me is that American people in photos taken with Furuya who visited the US are found to show their Spacium poses performed excellently, far better than Japanese people, even small children (no, it should be small children who would know the real thing) while I found those photos online.
With these things, while I find many overseas people who are nice enough to visit my blog, I can’t help thinking it might be people outside of Japan who are willing to truly appreciate Japanese cultures.
It came as a great surprise when I learnt Satoshi Furuya acted the original Ultraman for the first time in 47 years at the age of 70 in 2013.
Along with Susumu Kurobe (Hayata) and Hiroko Sakurai (Akiko Fuji), Furuya appeared in a special event wearing the suit of Ultraman reproduce solely for him although it should have been a truly challenging task for him.
While he seems to have been worried if he would manage to endure the tough task to appear in front of the audience in the Ultraman suit at his age, looks like he successfully fulfilled the role.
Although it’s a bit shame to find the mask looks slightly different from the original, the appearance with long limbs unique to Furuya Ultraman remained unchanged enough to make us remember the original Ultraman he played 47 years ago.
I have never heard of anyone who got into such a suit at that age, and it’s even more amazing to find his body shape maintained just like when he was in his 20s.
As he’s a diligent person, he seems to have trained himself to develop physical strength in preparation for the challenge although there was no problem about his body shape perfectly maintained.
It is extremely impressive to be able to see Furuya Ultraman’s shooting pose of Spacieum Beam again that Tohl Narita admired saying, “it makes me feel like looking at a beautiful sculpture. There was nothing wrong with my judgement in choosing Bin-san (for the role of Ultraman).”
In this sense, I find the Ultra Series was the products full of personalities and humanities of the creators who were involved in the production.
Especially the primary series, Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultraseven, are something like a pure crystal to my eyes while they were produced by the creators who miraculously gathered under Eiji Tsuburaya nicknamed as God of Tokusatsu among people in those days.
By today’s standards, the tokusatsu back then might have fallen behind anime and manga in its picturesque expressiveness because of a variety of conditional restraints and difficulties including budget and time constraint or technical issues supposedly inseparable from tokusatsu requiring a lot of hard work without computer graphics like today.
I feel like, however, that makes the love and passion the creators seemingly poured into the products even more outstanding as the hard work unique to tokusatsu could not have been finished without the fulfillment of those elements.
That might be one of the major reasons why I am drawn to the primary Ultra Series so much.