The Model Of SSSP Japan Headquarters


From Episode 47 (final episode) of Kaiju Booska

As shown in the series, the SSSP Japan Headquarters that appeared in Ultraman looks so quirky that it remains unforgettable while it is shaped like an inverted pyramid.

Given possible attacks from outside, the underground base of the TDF of Ultraseven looks much more realistic, but the modern-looking SSSP building seemingly equipped with cutting-edge technologies was also attractive enough to amaze us kids back then. (And I do love the sort of idyllic depiction of the SSSP and their behaviors.)

Ultraman Episode 11; although the walls look to be slanted inward instead of outward, this room is described as the one of the seminar house

As a matter of fact, it is known that this building was designed by Tohl Narita allegedly on the model of (or inspired by) a real-life seminar house building associated with a university in a suburban area of Tokyo.

While it is also known you can see the inside of the seminar house building in Ultraman Episode 11 where a press conference over the strange meteorite which fell down from space was held as the stone was capable to substantialize someone’s thought (the exterior is a different building).

The set of the SSSP control room used as a satellite observatory in Booska Episode 8

The exterior of the seminar house briefly showed up in Episode 47 of Kaiju Booska as an institute of a scientist funnily named Dr. Kaminari (thunder), and this inverted pyramid shaped building still seems to exist even now.

As you know, the stage set was regularly applied to the interior of the SSSP Headquarters, it is said that the set walls were sloped just like the exterior set of the building although it is unclear through the screen, and they say the slanted walls often made the cast and crew members feel odd.

The SSSP interior set also shortly appeared in Kaiju Booska Episode 8 as a satellite observatory.

SSSP Headquarters design by Tohl Narita

Live-Action Atom To Be Acted By A Girl


As to the live-action version of Tetsuwan (iron arm) Atom, when checking out the video uploaded online, I figured out that the two types of Atom appeared in the same episode with no specific explanation.

So he might have been set to put on the particular costume when flying or fighting although it feels strange to see him wear even a different helmet while it is supposed to be the head of the robot boy.

Incredibly enough, moreover, I found the actor in the role of Atom showed up at the end of the episode and introduced himself as acting Atom while taking off his gloves and helmet and suggesting viewers to sing the Atom theme song (different from the anime version) together with him!

Although such unexpectedness is definitely one of the attraction about the old tokusatsu shows, it seems that even Osamu Tezuka, author of Atom, didn’t like this live-action Atom.

Therefore it is said he initially showed his unwillingmess when offered to make his Magma Taishi into the live-action TV series so it looks like the success of the TV show Magma Taishi eventually made him extremely happy.

Another attempt to make Atom into a live-action TV series was made later around 1972 and, in the show, Atom was supposed to be the boy robot acted by a girl with the updated costume, but it was not realized while I do remember this (sort of eccentric) Atom was shown in a magazine I read as a kid back then.

Who Is Fuminori Ohashi? 3


Agon

Ohashi also seems to have been involved in the production of the kaiju TV series “Agon” aired in 1968 (4 episodes).

It is explained online, although it was produced  in 1964, the broadcast was delayed as they couldn’t get any sponsorship.

According to the information on the Net, the Toho people protested that Agon’s design was a rip off from Godzilla, but the dispute came to an end as it was figured out that Ohashi was also involved in sculpting the first suit of Godzilla.

Nevertheless, as there seem to be the crew members involved in the production of the movie who maintain they had never seen Ohashi on the set, the truth remains unknown.

I dimly remember there was an explanation that the costume of Agon was converted into that of  Magma Taishi’s Aron. (Ultraseven has another Aron.)

While Agon and Magma Taishi’s Aron certainly look alike, it seems that the costume of Agon also had a balloon in the neck to be blown up to show the inflation and deflation of the throat just like Aron.

Ohashi seems to have claimed that it was him who taught Ryosaku Takayama how to deal with latex to model monster costumes.

Besides all these, Ohashi is alleged to have been involved in making many of the ape masks and hands for the 1968 US movie “Planet of the Apes” after participating in the production of the 1967 UK 007 film “You Only Live Twice” as an art member.

Who Is Fuminori Ohashi? 2


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Magma Taishi

Making the most of his height, Ohashi seems to have played an active role in performing as a suit actor in the 1930s.

Inspired by “King Kong” screened in 1933, he is said to have acted King Kong in the 1938 Japanese King Kong movie “King Kong appears in Edo” while the title sounds pretty attractive and exciting.

As shown in Aron whose photo is featured in my previous post, he had excellent sculpting skills as he was even requested to join the modeling work for the Disneyland props and, later, the production of a TV tokusatsu series under contract with a US production company.

It is said that the suit of Aron was equipped with a balloon inside the neck to show the trembling movements of its throat.

 

Alongside of Aron, Ohashi sculpted the mask of Magma Taishi whose fine features have seemingly been admired by those including Toru Matoba (SFX director of the primary Ultra Series) and Eizo Kaimai (kaiju sculptor who participated in the Godzilla movies and Ultra Series).

Ohashi is alleged to have worked out his own modeling materials such as compound latex to be patented later.

Nevertheless, as he overly elaborated details of the costumes, the suits he modeled seem to have been extremely heavy and rigid while the surface was coated over and over so it is likely that those including Eizo Kaimai and Ryosaku Takayama were called in to remodel Ohashi’s monster costumes making them thinner by hollowing out the inside of the costume.

Who Is Fuminori Ohashi? 1


Aron
Aron sculpted by Ohashi for Magma Taishi

In my article about Kaiju Oji, I  briefly referred to the name of Fuminori Ohashi (1915-1989) who seems to have been known as a prestigious kaiju modeler living in Kyoto back then.

While I don’t think his name is talked about so much as Ryosaku Takayama and I don’t know much about Ohashi, I would like to introduce some information on him as it looks like he was a person with a peculiar career and his alleged association with Takayama.

After graduating from Department of Sculpture, Tokyo School of Fine Arts (current Tokyo University of Arts) Ohashi started his career as an assistant director in the film industry, and then he turned into an actor.

 

In the 1930s he seems to have been known as the Japanese Tarzan star in the Japanese Tarzan movies starring him, and, on the other hand, he began to get involved in modeling suits of creatures featured in films back then.

In the 1950s Ohashi appeared even in the movies directed by Akira Kurosawa including Yojinbo (1961) as an actor, and, at the same time, he seemingly founded his own modeling company “Ohashi Arts and Crafts.”

According to the online information he also seems to have been involved in modeling props for Desneyland at their request that started being built in Los Angeles around the same time.