Redman – “The Red Guy” #4

Tokusatsu Hihō vol. 4 released in 2016

This issue of Tokusatsu Hihō had an article about the Redman costume reproduced in 1996 when the laser disc box set of Redman was released.

The article says Yutaka Narita who was with Kaimai Production then sculpted the new Redman costume while he seems to have made the masks of the recent Ultamans since Ultraman Tiga.

Narita (it is unlikely that he is a relative of Tohl Narita) says in the article he sculpted the mask based on photos of the original Redman Tsuburaya Productions provided him with as the original costume didn’t remain in existence.

In the frontispiece, still photos of the show Redman of the time along with photos of the mask that seems to be the original one and Ōoka holding the mask (what a big mask!)

According to Narita, the eyes of the new Redman suit were duplicated from those of Ultaman Great.

Confusingly enough, this issue of Tokusatsu Hihō also had some photos of the Redman mask in the frontispiece described as the one used when the show was filmed with the caption “Ōoka with a smile happy about the reunion with the mask used back then.”

Besides this, a caption says Toshio Kaimai, the current president of Kaimai Production, stated that he feels like they tried to find out the original mold of the Redman mask in their storage when the new costume was to be sculpted as it is likely that the original suit was made by Kaimai Production.

The original Redman costume viewed from various angles and the design drawing while who designed Redman is left undescribed

Then it should mean that the original mask photographed with Ōoka in it was found out quite recently at least after the new suit was reproduced???

The one held by Ōoka properly has the glitter eyes just like the costume used in the show while the new one made by Yutaka Narita had the eyes just simply painted yellow with gloss. Therefore the mask Ōoka holds should be the original one used in the show while it is so confusing.

Redman was acted by Kinichi Kusumi (1950-present) who also played Mirrorman, and this issue of Tokusatsu Hihō also covers an interview with him I would like to talk about if I have an opportunity some other time.

The Redman mask and its clay model sculpted by Yutaka Narita (then with Kaimai Production) in 1996

Redman – “The Red Guy” #3

“Red Fight!”

“Redman” was featured in the “Tokusatsu Hihō (secret treasure) magazine vol. 4 released last year in 2016 while the articles included an interview with Shinichi Ōoka (1947-present) who debuted as a cameraman with “Redman.”

Although I described him as the current president of Tsuburaya Productions in the previous entry, he now seems to be an adviser to the company after his retirement this year in 2017.

In the interview, Ōoka admits he is sort of amazed at the sudden rise in popularity of Redman so that it makes him wonder what is attracting those people to this show.

According to him, the filming of Redman was carried out in an unrehearsed way while they roughly arranged a filming plan each time without any scripts and, in the early stage, even without storyboards (he says they just had a written plan for each episode).

Redman fighting with Alien Icarus painted green just like Icarus who appeared in “Ultra Fight” in a bamboo bush although they are set to be 40 meters tall

Ōoka also says they started filming from around 8:00 in the morning until sunset with the kaiju costumes brought to the location being simply tied up on top of a microbus even without any cover.

They filmed the show in places accessible within 30 minutes by car from Tsuburaya Productions such as Ikuta in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, where private houses could have been caught on film if it is shot from the opposite side.

kaijus were such a trend in those days as it was called “the second Kaiju Boom” allegedly triggered by tokusatsu shows including “Spectreman” produced by P Production and “Return of Ultraman” following the first Kiju Boom the original Ultra Series (Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultraseven possibly including Captain Ultra aired between Ultraman and Ultraseven ) brought about.

Therefore Ōoka and the other staff members seem to have had hard times to secure stage show kaiju costumes for “Redman.”


Redman – “The Red Guy” #2

“Red Fight!”

Just like “Ultra Fight,” with shabby- and cheap-looking stage show costumes used as well along with the suits actually used in “Return of Ultraman” and “Mirrorman,” the fights featured in “Redman” also unfolded in the empty fields.

It is hilarious to find the characters who appeared in the show were set to be around 45 meters tall although they were human-sized whichever way you look at it.

Sound effects to express heavy impacts when punches and kicks hit or they fall down on the ground were used while the exaggerated sounds made scenes having apparently human-sized characters appear look even more unnatural.

 

The fight scenes without any other sounds than the funnily heavy sound effects looked very much surreal with a strange presence and atmosphere.

Each episode started with a scene where Redman came across a kaiju/kaijus in the plain field and started fighting with his yell “Red Fight!” and particular posing.

He went so far as to force a kaiju into a fight with his “Red Fight!” call uttered in an assertive way while the kaiju looks so reluctant to fight even tying to escape from the hero before fighting,

While it seems that Redman is set to be from Planet Red located in Nebula Red although it sounds too easy, the low budget show didn’t allow the hero to use beam attacks that would necessitate the use of optical compositing (tokusatsu scenes have to be filmed with 35 mm films for optical compositing, but 16 mm films were used for “Redman”).

 

So the fights with kaijus were fought exclusively with the exchange of punches, kicks, grappling and throwing except that a beam attack from Redman was realized in Episode 137 with the use of superimposing technique the cameraman who filmed this series Shinichi Ōoka, the current president of Tsuburaya Productions, came up with.

Although depictions that could be seen as violent and cruel were often found in the series having a kaiju/kaijus pierced with the spear-like weapon Redman calls “Red Arrow” (the prop was the same as Ultra Cross used by Returned Ultraman) and so on, the kaijus who should have been destroyed reappear over and over in different episodes as if nothing had happened to them last time.


Redman – “The Red Guy” #1

Redman

Having previously talked a bit about “Ultra Fight” that is, though in a funny way, a legendary show in various aspects, I would like to deal with “Redman” as it could be seen as a show produced in the same line as “Ultra Fight.”

The name “Redman” was used as the provisional title and heroes’ name in the planning stages of “Ultraman” and “Ultraseven” respectively so as not to have the real names stolen before they had been commercially registered.

And here is the hero who was actually named Redman while he is sung in the theme song as “the red guy (akai aitsu).”

 

With the style of the show resembling that of the newly filmed episodes of “Ultra Fight,” fights between Redman and kaijus are fought in every episode of the show as it aired from April to October in 1972 with 138 episodes in total (basically with each complete episode although the episodes from #94 through #99 seem to have been about a serial story).

It was a 5-minute segment aired from 7:30 am to 7:35 am from Monday through Saturday in the show titled “Good Morning, Kids Show (Ohayō Kodomo Shō)” while it is said that the hour-long kids’ show aired from 7:00 am daily including Saturday and Sunday started featuring the kaiju show segment when the Ohayō Kodomo Shō was renewed to avoid getting into a rut.

 

With the appearances of “used” kaiju costumes mostly from “Return of Ultraman,” “Redman” aired in the format of having “Kaiju Ojisan” (middle-aged man) comically played by the actor named Tetsuya Asado (1935-present) appear at the beginning and end of the segment every time to make comments on featured kaijus for the day spurring the excitement of kids viewers.

“Redman” differed from “Ultra Fight” in that the former had no commentary in it on what was going on in the segment unlike the latter that always had one as if it were a live coverage of the fight fought in the show.


ALIEN CANNAN (making)

Alien Cannan design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is an alien design as a variation descended from Alien Pitt and Alien Shaplay.”

It was a bit shame that Alien Cannan only appeared rather fleetingly and that they only wore clothes for the body part instead of full-costumes without showing their whole bodies just staying in their spacecraft disguised as a light house.

But I think the design and sculpture of Alien Cannan’s head were fabulous with its form that makes me feel like it is an abstract sculpture work that has no unneeded features while the three heads of the alien were sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama.

Alien Cannan heads sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama at his Atelier May

Just like Alien Shaplay, it came in the form of having the lower part of their heads with an organic feel shown beneath the mechanical top part while I think the expression and sculpture applied to the eyes are just excellent.

While it may remind us of Kamen Rider from today’s standpoint, Alien Cannan designed by Narita came far ahead of Kamen Rider as the show “Kamen Rider” started airing in 1971.

Even though it had been said that these aliens were played by actresses as they were voiced as such, Tetsuo Yamamura assumes they were acted by male actors.

Alien Cannan heads and Ryosaku Takayama with a big smile (I love this picture!)

There is an explanation that, given the ends of the heads that should be tucked into their clothes are found to have been laid over them, the heads were made according to the measurements taken from actresses so that the ends turned out to be exposed over the clothes as the small-sized heads were just barely worn by male actors possibly because the actresses to wear the costumes became unavailable or something.

Featuring Windom with its electronic brain disordered by a beam attack fired from the aliens’ spacecraft instead of a newly designed and sculpted space monster to be manipulated by the aliens should indicate the difficulties the staff suffered back then in terms of cost and time although, nevertheless, the story that unfolded centering on Furuhashi (and his mother) might have successfully made the episode attractive enough.


JAMYRA (making)

Jamyra design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is an attempt to push the limits of having the suit get a man inside.”

While Narita describes as above, integrating the head and body by removing the parts corresponding to the shoulders might have been the same method as the one applied to Alien Zarab.

Nevertheless, I found the shape of Jamyra so impressive when I watched the show as a kid along with how this tragic kaiju who was formerly a human was portrayed in it.

Hiroko Sakurai who played Akiko Fuji writes in one of her books as remarks from Akio Jissoji who directed this episode that Jissoji felt Narita might not have liked Jamyra so much because Narita gave his design of the kaiju immediately without any hesitation to Jissoji when Jissoji asked Narita to let him own the design he found fabulous.

Sculpting plan drawn by Ryosaku Takayama

This story could indicate Jamyra was a kaiju that ran counter to Narita’s three principles for kaiju designs as it could be seen as a distorted human form.

It is unknown whether the design of Jamyra included in Narita’s art books (the image on top) was the one that used to be owned by Jissoji.

Tetsuo Yamamura says the costume was seemingly made of a sheet of foam rubber while the method was commonly found among the costumes including those of Bemlar and Pester adding that he dimly remembers the cracked skin was made by spreading latex over the mold and having each piece pasted (onto the body surface) without gaps between each other.

It seems that the upper, the lower part of the body and its arms seem to have been made separately before being put together.

Jamyra at Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May

It is known that, although the light of the eyes was accidentally turned off due to an unexpected wire disconnection during the filming, it was allowed to go on without reshooting the scene as Koichi Takano, tokusatsu director, judged that Jamyra’s eyes with the light off could express the kaiju’s agony and grievance more explicitly.

It is explained the switch for the eye lights were set inside the arm to allow the actor, Teruo Aragaki, to operate it.

While I often saw a lad imitate Jamyra by making his face come out of the opening of a round neck shirt so that it ended up getting miserably stretched out, it is hilarious that I have just learnt a figure of a boy with his shirt worn in the funny way was made into a figure set and released from Bandai including Jamyra titled “Mizugiwa-no Jamyra (Jamyra at the Water’s Edge)” in 2015 so  they can be placed at the edge of a glass (image at the bottom of this entry)!

Jamyra at the back of the Bisen studio


GOGA (making)

The primary design of Goga drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “The idea came from a shell and a slug.”

It is explained that the concept of a shell monster originated from a rejected script titled “Fossilized Castle.”

It is said that the script was based on a sample story titled “Living Fossil” worked out in the planning stage of the show featuring a shell monster named “Kaigeru” (probably it came from the Japanese word “kai” that means shell).

It is very much intriguing to find the design of Goga drawn by Narita has the settings meant to be instructions for sculpturing, and, probably based on this, three puppets of Goga in different sizes, large, medium and small, were made by Ryosaku Takayama.

The finalized design of Goga drawn by Tohl Narita
A sketch of Goga with the settings and instructions for sculpturing (click to enlarge)

The instructions put down by Narita are:

(about the eyes) Freely extendable. Firing from the tips.

(about the mouth) Mouth (just the specification)

(about the skin) Skin like a slug. (The body) Comes further forward than it is in this drawing when the entire body shows up. (with another arrow) Darker than the shell.

(about the front part of the shell) Smooth (like a steel board)

(about the shell) Whitish

(about the drill) This is where it rotates. Like a drill. It digs into the roof and ground.

(about the way it moves) Crawling with up-and-down movement. Usually walking with its bottom up.

Goga puppets at Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May

Along with these settings, specifications about the sizes can be found to the right as “diameter 3 jaku (shaku) =approx. 36 inches; 1 shaku =approx. 12 inches; 2.5 sun = approx. 3 inches.

Incidentally, shaku and sun (pronounced like shortened “soon”) are almost obsolete Japanese units of length people of my generation and younger are unfamiliar with.

It is a rarity to see such settings added to a design by Narita while it might indicate that they had time to spare for precise arrangements at this point when they were working on “Ultra Q” as all the details of such settings should have been decided through discussion with those concerned.

The largest puppet is said to have been burnt and destroyed for real in the ending scene of the show…

The drill mechanism is said to have been installed by Shigeo Kurakata.

A snapshot of one of the Goga puppets with the puppet of M1 behind

Annu Mari & Anne Yuri #2

Annu Mari as Yuta Hanamura in Ultraseven

Although little is publicly referred to about exactly why Annu Mari as Anne Yuri was not realized in Ultraseven, Mari herself says in interviews covered in books titled “Ultraman Kenkyū Hakusho (research paper)” and “Ultraseven Kenkyū Hakusho” released from Yōsensha that she doesn’t know whether it is true that they had the idea to have her play Anne in Ultraseven.

She says that she should have received an offer from Tsuburaya Productions through the talent agency she was/has been with for an appearance as a regular cast member in a Tsuburaya product even though she doesn’t know what it was.

 

But the offer seems to have been declined as she was reluctant to be occupied by acting a main character for a year-long TV series while she was busy enough back then.

She also admits that she didn’t like to work at the shabby shed-like studio of the Bisen/Tokyo Bijutsu Sentā (Art Center) where the Ultra Series were filmed either.

When the interviewer mentioned that Tetsuo Kinjo was a big fan of her, Mari said, although she knows it now, she was not aware of it at all at that time while she noticed Anne Yuri should have come from her name, jokingly adding that she might have agreed to the offer if she had known Kinjo was a big fan of her.

 

She says Kinjo didn’t say anything about it to her even when the two met in a TV show later around the time when the Okinawa Ocean Expo was held in 1975 as Kinjo was originally from Okinawa and was involved in the exposition after he had left Tsuburaya although Kinjo died in an accident in 1976.

As to the name Annu Mari, Mari says the record company King Record gave her the name when she debuted as a singer from the company and that she didn’t like it because it sounded funny as it was unclear which was the first name as both of them, Annu and Mari, could be seen as the first name.

If I am allowed to refer to my memory, the name “Anne” of the Ultra Garrison member sounded odd to me back then as it was unusual for a Japanese name (the name was also used in Ultraman Episode 22).

Yuriko Hishimi says in her latest book that Mari and she have been friendly with each other for long and that they often talk over the phone even now.


Annu Mari & Anne Yuri #1

Annu Mari as Patty in Ultraman

As you know, Anne Yuri is the character played by Yuriko Hishimi in “Ultraseven” set to be the only female member of the Ultra Garrison as a skilled and talented woman who belongs to the elite team of the world-wide defense organization TDF along with her job at the Medical Center of the base as a medical doctor (She is set to be so instead of a nurse).

And it is commonly assumed that her name should have come from Annu Mari, the actress who exists in real life and appeared in “Ultraman” Episode 32 as Patty, SSSP female member from the India Branch of the organization.

 

Incidentally, they are called “Mari Annu” and “Yuri Anne” here in Japan as the last name is customarily set to come before the first name.

Annu Mari attractively played Patty as a bright, active, charming woman, and she also appeared later in “Ultraseven” Episode 34 for the role of Yuta Hanamura who was, in contrast with Patty, a medium with a quiet, mysterious, enigmatic presence although she was being controlled by an alien (“yuta” represents “medium” in the Okinawan language, so it’s not the character’s first name but her title).

 

As an actress originally from Toho who was born to a Japanese mother and an Indian father and brought up in Japan, Mari seems to have already been popular with her appearances in movies and TV shows when she appeared in Ultraman (I don’t know much about it as I was a kid).

It is said that Tetsuo Kinjo, more than the main script writer for the original Ultra Series because he was involved even in planning of the series as the head of the planning section of Tsuburaya Productions, was a big fan of Annu Mari and that he might have created the character Anne with the idea of having Mari play the role in mind as the similarity of the names, Annu Mari and Anne Yuri, indicates.

The Ultraseven episode in which Mari appeared was written by Kinjo.


Ultraseven & Alien Shadow Mask In Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)

Alien Shadow mask in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

In my yesterday’s post, I referred to the mask of Alien Shadow as used in the ending scene of “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)” Episode 11 “The Jaguar’s Eyes Are Red.”

When I checked, the mask fleetingly appeared at the very end of the ending credits with the director’s name Tsuneo Kobayashi (1911-1991) credited (I know little about him) rather than in the ending scene.

Ultraseven costume in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

Talking about the story of this episode briefly, it is about a science researcher with a crooked personality who kidnapped boys and demanded ransom under the pseudonym of “Red-eyed Jaguar” to get money for the development of a holographic image device he was working on without being rewarded with any social reputation.

I don’t think this is such an attractive story because it has some unnatural settings I don’t think make sense, but this episode is well known among tokusatsu fans since Ultraseven appeared in it as the “costume” worn by the evil man as a street advertising character handing out toy sunglasses to children at a toy store in preparation for kidnapping the targeted boys.

Alien Shadow mask in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

The body of the Ultraseven suit that appeared in this show seems to have been made from fabric while it is likely that such a suit of Ultraseven was used at stage shows or possibly at other local events as one of the photos covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho magazine shows an Ultraseven costume of the same kind (they may be the same costume).

Although it has no choice but to look cheap, it is impressive to find the Ultraseven mask attached to the suit looks exactly like the real ones used in the series while I assume it must have been cast from the original mold.

A photo of Ultraseven covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho allegedly shot at a stage show held in Fukushima Prefecture in 1968

The appearance of the Alien Shadow mask at the end of the ending credits was apparently unrelated to the episode story, which makes me guess it should have showed up simply because (the costume of) Ultraseven appeared in the episode (such irrelevances are conspicuous in this episode).

It was fun to find the kidnapped boys’ father was played by Asao Matsumoto (1928-present) known to have impressively acted Ishiguro in Ultraseven episode 2 (he also played Matsui, observatory employee, in Ultraman Episode 8 who was rescued by Pigmon).

Asao Matsumoto in Kaiki Daisakusen #11