PESTER (making)


Pester design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “As we succeeded in having two men included in Dodongo, this is a design to make them line side by side this time. Naturally, it took the form to cover the two people. The face came from a bat.”

Pester was played by the same combination of Teruo Aragaki and Yukihiro Kiyono as Dodongo, and they had to go through fierce filming experiences with a lot of fire and water used while, in the Dodongo episode, Bin Furuya suffered from lack of air when acting Ultraman at the bottom of the lowered stage set.

Side view of Pester drawn by Tohl Narita

According to Furuya, fire and water were most fearful things in filming, and they seem to have had an extremely hard time in the filming of this Pester episode so that it went so far as to make even the two robust kaiju actors say they had thought they would die in water and flames and that it was unbelievable to have made it out in one piece.

Presumably to hide the shape explicitly telling us the costume has two men inside otherwise, Pester had a lot of “water scenes” and it soon died in flames. Incidentally, using such an enormous amount of fire on a stage set is impossible today as it is banned under the fire laws.

Pester pictured at the back of the Bisen studio

Tetsuo Yamamura says the costume was rather thin with the acting in water in mind just like Bemlar and that the brick-like objects covering the back were made from urethane thinly coated with latex.

I find it very much attractive that its back side was devised to look totally different from the front side. I also like the abrupt and quirky concept of putting a bat and starfish together while I think it is very Narita that such a mixture didn’t make it look ugly, creepy or gaudy.

There is an explanation that the bat head was to have a function of thrusting out forward from where it was usually positioned while the idea was finally rejected, and the side view of the design with the “neck” drawn by Narita might prove that.

I guess these photos should have been taken after the filming was finished as the costume appears to be out of shape

GARAMON; GARAMONS (making)


Primary Garamon design drawn by Tohl Narita with a handwritten word just as “Monster”

Tohl Narita:

(about Garadama) “I made it look just like one of my sculpture works of that time. I took it out of a drawing of my sculpture. If it had been a sculpture, it should have been sculpted from cement.”

(about Garamon) “Although I don’t have the sketch anymore, I started drawing it with the front side of its face. As I had a close-up photo of the front view of a fish like kochi and found the mouth attractive, I attached a dog-like nose and human-like eyes to it, and it came into being rather naturally.”

Finalized design drawn by Tohl Narita

It is explained online that the idea of Garamon arose as a space monster, not a robot monster from space as it was dealt with as such in the episode, that was to appear in an Ultra Q episode titled “Goro vs. Space Monster” while the episode was not produced evntually.

The episode “Garadama” was originally another episode titled “Garadama Valley” as a prequel to “Goro vs. Space Monster,” and the space monster they had in mind at that time seems to have been a monster like Chimera with body parts mixed up from various creatures such as a crab, snake, scorpion and dragon.

It is assumed that the monster was changed into the form of Garamon due to Narita’s policy not to create any kaiju like a yokai, and, while it is said that Tetsuo Kinjo, the writer of this episode, came up with a monster like a skeleton to come out of a meteorite, you can find the features in Garamon’s arms and legs along with its tail.

Garamon at Atlier May (from Seishiro Ishii’s photo album while he was in charge of tokusatsu art back then)

It is also said that it was Toru Matoba, the tokusatsu director of this episode, who presented Narita with an image of a kasago (rock fish).

As I described in other posts, the thorns covering the body were made from scraped urethane, and Garamons were created by compositing one single Garamon into plural Garamons just changing the mark on the chest.

It is said that the short actor Minoru Takahashi was hired to play Garamon at Matoba’s suggestion so as to make the dam set look large enough compared to the kaiju (for cost-efficiency).

The costume was remodeled into Pigmon for “Ultraman.”

Garanon right after it had been completed and delivered at the Bisen studio (same as above)

Kenjiro Yoshino/Kenbo Kaminarimon


Mechataro (center) along with his buddies provoking Daisaku and his friends

Mechataro referred to in my yesterday’s post was played by Kenjiro Yoshino (1956-present) while he was a child actor to be known as Kenbo Kaminarimon in later years with great popularity.

Although he seems to have left the show business in the early 1980s, I remember he often appeared in TV shows and movies and voiced some anime characters when I was a kid. Beside being a child actor, he was also a rakugo (Japanese traditional storytelling) performer registered with the Rakugo Art Association after apprenticeship under Sukeroku Kaminarimon.

As I said in yesterday’s post, Mechataro in Booska is portrayed as a mischievous, impudent boy who is mean to Daisaku as he always tries to outdo Daisaku in rivalry along with his buddies who are also at odds with Daisaku’s friends.

Nevertheless, Mechataro is a nice guy at heart and there were times he tried to help Daisaku and Daisaku’s buddies when they were in trouble. Basically, no real bad guys appear in Booska, which makes me feel really at ease when watching it.

Chibirakun (rightmost)

While Yoshino impressively acted Mechataro in Booska, he also appeared in Ultraman Episode 23 as a boy who tried to rescue pigeons he had kept in a village attacked by Jamyra.

Yoshino voiced Chibirakun in the show “Chibirakun,” the tokusatsu series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and aired from 1970 to 1971, as well afterwards under the name of Kenbo Kaminarimon.

As his voice was changing at the age of 14 then when he voiced Chibirakun, it is actually hard to associate Mechataro with Chibirakun.

Although he cannot be found in TV shows today anymore, I really wish him good luck and happiness as he made us happy watching the shows in which he appeared when we were kids.

OBJECT X KORORIN


Episode: “Kaiju Booska” #42 “Object X Kororin”

Object X: Kororin is a space object that came flying or just falling from space. As a behind-the-scenes story, the name should have come from a Japanese onomatopoeia denoting the movement of something round rolling.

Anyway, it came from space and sucked up all the water of a dam lake in Kinugawa, Tochigi Prefecture. While Chamegon guessed it should be the work of Kororin describing it as a space object, he warned it would be disastrous if it should be allowed to act freely.

Chamegon warning of Kororin

Kororin floats and moves in the air about the size of a ball sucking up water from a hot spring or a fall as it grows bigger. When it has grown to be large enough to suck in humans, Mechataro and Zorome were sucked into the object while calling for help.

Mechataro is a boy who always behaves like a rival of Daisaku and tries to get the better of him all the time, and Zorome is one of Mechataro’s buddies. Incidentally, the name Mechataro pronounced as /mechyataro/ should signify something like “messy boy” as he always messes things up and Zorome represents “matching dice.”

Both Daisaku and Mechataro were tying to outdo each other in making a class newspaper while both of them wanted to feature Kororin on their own class newspapers.

Kororin sucking up water from a hot spring

But Daisaku didn’t hesitate to save Mechataro who had been held captive by Kororin, and, while the space object tried to drive away the kids and Booska by spewing water from the tips of its tentacles, Kororin shrunk when hit by Chamegon’s ring beam fired from his tail.

And Kororin was brought into the sky by Booska, then the dangerous space object was tossed into the Sun with Booska’s telekinesis.

As the photo of Kororin taken by Booska with Mechataro and Zorome sucked in was featured in the class newspaper Booska and Chamegon made, both Daisaku and Mechataro realized they had finally been outdone by the two kaijus.

(I think this is the last one among the main Booska characters featured in the show.)

ALIEN ICARUS (making)


Alien Icarus design (left) and illustration drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “The idea originated from a fish and bat.”

I find Alien Icarus is another attractive alien in its design and sculpture along with his particular behaviors performed in the show.

The unexpectedness of the alien who looks more like a beast than an intelligent life form might be another attractive feature of this alien while he doesn’t look like a kaiju at any rate.

Alien Icarus being sculpted at Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May
Japanese traditional scrubbing brush

It is well known that his hair was made of brushes from scrubbing brushes, and Tetsuo Yamamura says in a book that he saw the staff make it darker on the set with a spray as it was brighter originally.

And he adds he saw the staff of the Tsuburaya Sculpting Section rub the costume surface with sponges to add weathering to the suit as it looked too clean and smooth when the costume was delivered to the studio.

While you can see his ears move or wiggle like flapping wings, they were moved manually by one of the crew from behind, and it is known that his hands were accidentally shown for a moment in the scene (you can find it out in stop motion).

Alien Icarus pictured at the back of the Bisen studio

I think the alien’s side view is pretty attractive in its shape that is distinctive from kaijus. As it seems that there were not always side views and back views of characters drawn by Narita in his designs, Ryosaku Takayama might have sculpted the costume into that shape at his discretion.

As the illustration of Alien Icarus is described as it was drawn in 1983, it might have been drawn by Narita to make it appear in one of his art books published in the same year while I like the ink drawing with pen strokes typical of Narita so much that it makes me feel like drawing pen and ink pictures like that.

Alien Icarus in storage along with Ultraseven maybe after the filming; Alien Icarus used at a stage show (it makes me feel as if I was looking at a real dead body of a creature)