Daisaku & Strange Comet Cyphon

Daisaku in “Booska” acted by Miyamoto

As I wrote in my previous post Tomohiro Miyamoto who played Daisaku, Booska’s closest friend who brought the kaiju into being, appeared in an Ultraman episode, and I may have to explicitly explain a bit more about it.

Miyamoto acted a boy in a space suit in Episode 25 “Strange Comet Cyphon” of “Ultraman” while it is not that Daisaku of “Booska” was set to appear in “Ultraman” but as a boy named Tābou along with his father played by Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla actor.

Miyamoto in “Ultraman” with Haruo Nakajima

Tābou says to his father he wears the space suit in preparation for being possibly hurled into space with the impact if, by chance, Comet Cyphon should crash into Earth, and it is fun to see him appear alongside of his father’s understandably antsy behavior funnily performed by Haruo Nakajima.

I have to admit I didn’t know his father was played by Nakajima for a long while until it started being talked about in publications in later years, and I am not sure if I knew it was Miyamoto who acted the space suit boy when I was a kid.

Miiko in “Booska” acted by Nakahara

While Daisaku of “Booska” has a cute-looking girlfriend named Miiko (Mīko) as she was acted by Junko Nakahara, she also appeared in Episode 7 of “Ultraseven” as a daughter of the Mizushimas assaulted by the space prisoner 303 Alien Quraso.

It is a great shame that we can’t hear from Miyamoto and Nakahara anymore as they seem to have already left show business long ago maybe as children with little information about them even online.

Nakahara among the Mizushimas’ family members in “Ultraseven”

NAMEGON (Making)

One of Namegon’s eyes that still exists (from “Ultraman Treasures”)

While it is described online as Namegon was sculpted by Akira Sasaki, another sculptor involved in the primary Ultra Series known for his sculpting of the Ultraman and Ultraseven masks, Sasaki himself says in a book interview he doesn’t remember if he made Namegon at all.

Apparently Namegon is a prop instead of a costume worn by an actoer, and it is explained online that the device to move it came from the one used for the Mothra larva in the 1964 Toho movies “Mothra vs. Godzilla” and “Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster” as a miniature vehicle that drives on its own was inside the larva.

 

It is said that two props (large and small) were sculpted by Sasaki, and Namegon’s roars were from those of Baragon, another Toho kaiju.

It seems that a balloon was used for the scenes in which the egg inflated.

The eye of one of the props still exists and is shown at an exhibition (I actually saw it) as it was worked out to make the reflection of light even when it is lit up with the use of fiber glass.

 

As to the kaijus that were designed and sculpted before Tohl Narita and Ryosaku Takayama joined the production, there is so little to talk about unfortunately as much fewer behind the scenes stories are publicized because it is already an old story with fewer photos remaining and fewer people who know what was going on back then.

Nevertheless, I think Namegon is a kaiju that is attractive enough including its design and sculpture, as, especially, the characteristically wrinkled surface texture with a slimy look fully makes him look like a real creature, along with the episode story.

Namegon should also be remembered among us as a kaiju that got to make the TBS decide to change the show into a kaiju series instead of a mysterious sci-fi series as it was plotted at the very beginning.


IMORA #2

When he got back the Boo Crown, Booska rushed flying in the sky to the scene where Imora was approaching the intimidated kids.

After Daisaku passed on a bunch of dynamite to him, Booska soared into the sky to Imora and tossed the dynamite into Imora’s mouth so that the explosion brought the kaiju to death.

It is hilarious to see the scenes of Imora rising up to Heaven properly illustrated even with a halo apparently made of a circular fluorescent light bulb.

Along with the background music that can also be heard in the background of “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman” (the music for these three shows including “Booska” was composed by Kunio Miyauchi), the scenes in which Imora showed up and went on rampage with the petroleum storage tanks set ablaze with a huge explosion were so impressive as to make me feel like I am watching “Ultraman” in black and white even while even optical compositing is found to have been used.

As Tomohiro Miyamoto who played Daisaku also appeared in “Ultraman” Episode 25 “Strange Comet Cyphon,” the appearance of Imora remodeled from Banila in “Booska” is said to have realized the crossover between the two shows while it is seen as a thoughtful arrangement for kid viewers.

Given these facts, it really comes home to me that they produced their shows devotedly to make viewer kids happy in the midst of the unprecedented Kaiju Boom that arose in the wake of the Godzilla movies and the Ultra Series shows (Ultra Q and Ultraman at this stage).

In this Booska episode directed by Kazuho Mitsuta renowned for his direction of the Ultra Series episodes (especially of “Ultraseven”), Senkichi Omura well known for his eccentric-looking performance in the Ultra Series such as a man addicted to gold in “Ultraman” Episode 29  played the role of a burglar comically and showed his overwhelming presence even in the comedy tokusatsu show.


IMORA #1

Designer: Tohl Narita
Sculptor: Ryosaku Takayama (remodeled from Banila)
Actor: undescribed

Imora (imo signifies potato in Japanese. It could be used as a slang meaning “bumpkin” while I am not sure if Imora came from it) is a kaiju (mysterious beast, not pleasant one in his case) that appeared in “Kaiju Booska” Episode 9 “Booska’s great adventure.”

Imora is the only Booska character designed by Tohl Narita and sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama while the costume is the combination of the body remodeled from Banila that appeared in “Ultraman” and the newly sculpted head.

Incidentally, Tetsuo Yamamura says Imora’s horns were attached to Reborn Dorako by Kunio Suzuki, suit actor who was also in charge of kaiju costume maintenance (probably out of fun).

Booska and the kids started exploring the Jigokudani

The kaiju initially came in the form of an egg found by the kids led by Daisaku as it was enshrined in a hokora (miniature shrine) in the Jigokudani (Hell Valley that exists in real life in Hakone near Mt. Fuji).

After they tried to heat the egg and left it in a hot spring (Jigokudani is a volcanic area; the egg scenes in the hot spring are reminiscent of the Bostang egg), the monster was hatched from it on that night in the midst of thunder and lightning.

Imora’s egg at the bottom of the hot spring

Imora has horns which light up while he has no particular weaponry, and he raged in a petroleum complex after derailing a locomotive.

Meanwhile Booska was in captivity with his Boo Crown that generates his superpower off under two burglars who stole boxes of dynamite after Booska who had mistaken them for delivery men, of all things, helped them load their truck with the dynamite boxes out of kindness.

The kids tried to defeat Imora with their balloon bombs (they look like balloons commonly available) but in vain with Imora coming closer to them!

The “Takayama eyes” are recognisable

WINDOM (Making)

Design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “I made a horned owl’s face look mechanical.”

Windom is set to be a space monster with an appearance like a robot while his emergence in the first episode of “Ultraseven” might have successfully helped make the series look distinctive from “Ultraman” in which we didn’t see any robot monster appear in the preceding show unfortunately.

Although not much can be heard from Narita about the excellent design of Windom, I like the design very much and it is fun to find in it features similar to the design of Ultraseven such as the crest on top of the head and hollowed eyes with radiation lines from each center.

The mechanical-looking antennas sticking out of the eye centers and the lower parts of the head make the design of Windom  fully attractive.

Head design drawn by Tohl Narita

I remember Ryosaku Takayama said in his kaiju sculpting diary covered in a tokusatsu magazine Uchusen back then the complex design of the face gave him a hard time to sculpt it as I find it really cool and I think he did a great job in spite of the presumably limited time to form the design faithfully into the real-life head.

It is also attractive to see Windom’s mouth open with a roar like a monster with a biological look, and the roars are said to have come from those of Mechani-Kong that appeared in the 1967 Toho movie “King Kong Escapes.”

Whereas it seems that the original head of Windom doesn’t remain anymore regrettably, a replica head with precisely reproduced features can often be seen at an exhibition as I actually saw it while it is uncertain whether it is from the original mold (as it is described just as a replica).


GUESRA (Making)

Tohl Narita: “It is an intermediate between a kaiju and kaigyo (mysterious fish). The design was changed from A to B as I thought there should be no choice but to make it walk on the knees after consideration. B appears in the drama as it was drawn by Mr. Iwasaki in charge of art for the drama part.” “I worked out another design of Guesra to be remodeled from a Mothra larva, but, needless to say, I don’t like it.”

The costume of Guesra is the one remodeled from Peter that appeared in “Ultra Q.”

While Peter was also designed by Tohl Narita and sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama, it was made into Guesra by Takayama as well.

Tetsuo Yamamura says in a book that the Peter costume had zippers on its wrists and ankles so that they made its limbs look thin but the zippers were removed for Guesra as he adds that the fin on top of its head was made of latex with the spiny stuff all over the body were from hard urethane.

It seems that the costume was fixed by Takayama after being used for the scenes shot in the pool as the spiny stuff absorbed water and the water left the spiny stuff bent over.

As Narita describes, a costume remodeled from the Mothra larva was initially supposed to be used for Guesra as a larva of Gueran Bee feeding on cacao beans (are they around in real life?) was set to become a giant monster.

The name Guesra is said to have come from gesui, the Japanese word  for sewage.

Peter along with Bemlar in Atelier May

GORO (Making)

Regarding the making of Goro (Gorō), there are just a few things to talk about unfortunately as the costume was remodeled from the King Kong costume used in a Toho movie.

It is said that the suit came from the King Kong that appeared in the 1962 Toho movie “King Kong vs. Godzilla” with his head newly modeled and a tail attached to the costume.

It seems that the Goro costume was used afterwards in the 1967 Toho movie “King Kong Escapes” (the Japanese title is “King Kong strikes back”) for the scenes shot in a pool.

Alongside of the costume, a life-size hand of Goro was sculpted and used in the show as it was operated by a crane outdoors, but I personally find it a bit shame that it didn’t look so real.

While the scenes in which he drinks milk from buckets are my favorite in this episode, the buckets made of tin used in the shooing still remain even now and I actually saw them displayed at an exhibition.

And I recently found a figure doll of Goro with milk buckets to come with it on the Net.

When it comes to another behind-the-scene story, the stuff which made Goro a giant ape is “green leaves walnuts” in the aired story as it was “Helypron Crystal G” in the script, but the name was changed into “green leaves walnuts” as the sponsorship of the show by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company was decided so as to avoid possible disputes which could have arisen as the company could possibly hate medicine being treated as a bad thing.


Thundermask & Tohl Narita

Thundermask

“Thundermask” is another TV tokusatsu series I remember I watched as a kid while it aired from 1972 to 1973 with 26 episodes, and it is the giant hero’s name featured in the series.

It was coproduced by Toyo Agency and Hiromi Production and the serial manga version was drawn by Osamu Tezuka, but it is not that Tezuka authorized Thundermask as it was just made into the manga by him.

While it seems that this tokusatsu product was planned by Mushi Production that Osamu Tezuka (author of “Astro Boy Atom”) founded as a TV tokusatsu series featuring “Majin Garon” authored by Tezuka, it came to a halt (Mushi Production folded afterwards in 1973).

It looks like some of the former Mushi Production employees formed Hiromi Production and took over the plan as another tokusatsu show featuring a new hero.

It is said that Tohl Narita was called in to have him design the new hero but was picked out to get him to join the production of “Totsugeki! Human!!” and he left the project at the outset.

It is explained that they brought the new hero into being based on the draft drawn by Tohl Narita (as “Greenman”) was redesigned into Thundermask by a manga artist and designer Makiho Narita who belonged to Hiromi Production (no blood relationship to each other although their family names are the same Narita).

While it is unknown how much the design by Narita was incorporated into the hero in the end, if Thundermask was fully designed by Tohl Narita, two tokusatsu heroes designed by him, Human and Thundermask, could have showed up in front of us.

An image borrowed from online showing the character (possibly Greenman) obviously drawn by Tohl Narita (left) and Thundermask apparently illustrated by someone else

CHAMEGON #2

Just like Booska, Chamegon also has various super abilities inherently.

First of all, it is one of Chamegon’s greatest features that he can change himself into anything by eating a walnut and turning around although it had hardly any effect on Booska who has a keen sense of smell which enabled him easily find out Chamegon whatever he has changed into.

While he has no flying ability, Chamegon runs at a high speed (100 meters in 5 seconds) and also has an extraordinary jumping ability.

He has an antenna on top of his head with a sphere shaped like a bell at the tip that works as a radar while he hates it being touched, and he can fire electricity attack from his tail.

As he originates from the mixture of a space creature and a squirrel, Chamegon is capable to act in space without any space suit.

As Booska dislikes tortoises, Chamegon hates frogs.

Booska and his younger brother Chamegon have been the two greatest kaijus (pleasant beasts) for those in my generation while a long time has passed since they first appeared in front of us when we were kids as their cute-looking gestures and behaviors continue to fascinate me even now along with the comical but heartwarming story of each episode.


CHAMEGON #1

Designer: undescribed
Sculptor: undescribed
Actor: Tesuo Yamamura; Teruo Aragaki (depending on the episode)
Voice: Junko Hori (actress)


Chamegon is another kaiju ( : pleasant beast) who regularly appeared in “Kaiju Booska” after he showed up for the first time in Episode 26 “The Birth Of Chamegon” of the show.

Booska drawing an imaginary picture of his younger brother wishing to have one

He was brought into being as Booska’s younger brother through an apparatus invented by Daisaku, who also gave birth to Booska, and called the “Object Transmission Formation Device (or something like that in English)” while Booska dreamed of having a younger brother (it sounds familiar to me, too!).

Chamegon originated as a space monster from atoms of an amorphous-looking space creature that accidentally came into the device through which a squirrel put inside was supposed to turn into another kaiju so that the space creature and squirrel merged into Chamegon.

Mysterious space creature plunging into the machine with a squirrel inside

While the Japanese informal word “chame /chahmeh/” (usually used as “ochame /ochahmeh/”) means “amusingly mischievous,” Chamegon often causes a fuss among people as he likes to play pranks.

Although he initially had a stubborn, selfish streak with too much pride and a slight lack of common sense which sometimes made him behave arrogantly as it often gave Booska a hard time to deal with him, he is another gentle, friendly kaiju at heart, and that made it more likely that he helped people out of trouble in cooperation with Booska for the later episodes.

“I am CHAMEGON!”