Category Archives: Cast & Staff

ALIEN PEROLYNGA (making) #3


With Takayama’s ingenuity, Alien Prolynga who appeared a bit scary in the design finally had an amusing look as if playing dumb, perfectly fitting with the character

Hiroyuki Takano was a well-known kid actor who appeared in a lot of shows of the time including tokusatsu as he can be seen in some episodes of “The Return of Ultraman” (Episode 5; 7; 15; 45) along with “Spectreman” (Episode 1; 42).

Especially, he gained great popularity by playing one of the leading characters who transform into the human-sized superhero in the tokusatsu show “Barom 1” (1972) produced by Toei in which the leading two boys turn into Barom 1 with the force of “friendship.”

Moreover, Takano also played the Kirieru prophet in “Ultraman Tiga” afterwards in his thirties (I didn’t know that till now). He is truly a memorable actor who was so prominent when I was a kid as he is a peer just one year older than me.

The name “Perolynga” also sounds funny ha-ha, which should have been named so for pleasure; as “perori” is onomatopoeia for the act of “licking,” I assume there was an image of a wolf licking its lips (if it’s possible) in front of its prey? though I’m not sure

Takano, while he is still an actor who seems to appear in plays, says in a book that he remembers he saw the prop of Ultraman with its fist thrusting forward/upward placed in a Tusburaya Productions’ storage (supposedly used in the transformation sequence) when he visited the company to be auditioned for his role in this Ultraseven episode.

He also says he was impressed during the filming on the set with how the mechanism operated by the staff worked in order to inflate and deflate Alien Perolynga’s cheeks with balloons inside.

Takano adds Director Jissoji kindly directed his performance, properly dealing with him as an “actor,” not as a kid even though Takano says he finds his performance so awkward when looking back.

Barom 1

Hishimi writes Reizei and Takano reproduced the scene of the two conversing with Fukushin’s line “It’d be great to live in the stellar universe. Relaxing without being annoyed by anyone… ” at the “fan meeting” I wrote about in my last post.

Hishimi states it was touching that Reizei said “I really ended up putting much of my emotion into the lines somehow…” while the remark uttered by Takano “Sorry, I’ve grown up this much.” made the moved audience laugh loudly.

Director Jissoji writes in one of his books that this episode was initially titled as “Yogoto No Enban (Flying Saucer of Every Night)” in its preliminary script.

He says he emulated a 1952 French comedy film “Les Belles de nuit” directed by René Clair, a film director Jissoji greatly respected, since the French film was titled as “Yogoto No Bijo (The Beauty of Every Night)” in Japanese.

Hiroyuki Takano (left) in “Barom 1” showing their transformation pose

This tells us how he had been influenced by French films along with Jean-Luc Godard (educated people of the time in Japan generally tended to be more or less drawn to French culture, I suppose).

Jissoji referred to this episode as the one that would come at the top of the list among the Ultra Series episodes he wished to “remake” if he should be allowed to.

It is hilarious that Jissoji just simply put a description “a psychedelic fight” with nothing else about the fight scene between Ultraseven and Alien Perolynga in his script.

It was finally expressed as such along with the alien meant to be psychedelic (in color) as well while something psychedelic caught on at the time as it was called “saike” in Japanese (maybe it was a world-wide fad).

Director Kazuho Mitsuta assumes that Director Jissoji wanted to film a work which depicts a stir arising in the midst of people living in their daily lives just like this episode.


ALIEN PEROLYNGA (making) #2


Alien Perolynga design drawn by Noriyoshi Ikeya

Alien Perolynga was voiced by Hikaru Urano, the series narrator, with his voice processed.

While the witty way the alien talks makes his presence feel all the more frightening in a way, much credit of it should go to Urano’s performing skill.

It is also widely known that each of Perolynga’s spacecraft was made from a pair of shaved ice bowls attached together.

Even though there had been a few theories referring to them as something else including ashtrays in the past, it seems to be definite now that they were bowls for shaved ice.

Noriyoshi Ikeya says in a book “Jissoji told us he would need a hundred flying saucers, so we did that” under the tight budget.

Enlarged head part from the above; looks somewhat similar to Alien Guts

Although “Fukushin” is a pretty unusual Japanese name I’ve never heard of except him, it was revealed in the book most recently authored by Yuriko Hishimi (Anne) that the name was derived from the nickname of SHINichi FUKUda 福田 新一, then TBS director and one of Jissoji’s colleagues.

As Kimihiro Reizei 冷泉 公裕 (1947-present) who played Fukushin knows that person, Hishimi writes in the book that he was surprised to hear that saying “Goodness! Was it from HIM?” when he and Hiroyuki Takano 高野 浩幸 (1961-present) were invited by Hishimi to a “fan meeting” she held to let them show up in front of Ultraseven fans.

Alien Perolynga posing at the Bisen studio; I assume the board in the back was an outdoor bulletin board of the studio

Takano played the boy Alien Perolynga disguised himself into. Reizei says he remembers it was a bit embarrassing that he had to be chit-chatting with Takano over little they could share due to their age difference when they were left alone by the other people and waiting for the cue in order to be filmed with a telescope lens for the scene of them talking while sitting on the bank.

Director Jissoji had the lens used as he thought Reizei would get tense when filmed at a closer distance.

As to the scene of Fukushin falling down on a bike with a dump truck passing by, Reizei states with a laugh that Jissoji said to him (as a joke, perhaps with a serious look on his face) “Look, Reizei-kun, the truck will be rushing towards you in earnest. You’ll be finished off when really hit, but it can’t be helped (=you should accept the death).”

Reizei says he was truly frightened since the truck really just passed through by a hair’s breadth.


ALIEN PEROLYNGA (making) #1


The Aquaticman Piniya design drawn by Noriyoshi Ikeya

As I previously wrote, this episode was supposedly produced under the direction of Akio Jissoji along with “Nightmare of Planet 4” instead of the reckless plot “Aliens 15; Kaijus 35” put forward by Shozo Uehara and Jissoji just as they had wished.

The “Nightmare of Planet 4” and this episode (“Enban Ga Kita/Here Come Flying Saucers” in the Japanese title) were credited as co-written by Kou Kawasaki (Director Jissoji’s pseudonym as a scriptwriter) and Shozo Uehara.

In reality, the “Nightmare…” was written by Uehara and Director Jissoji wrote this Alien Perolynga episode so that it was full of a Jissoji feel to it throughout the fantastic episode.

While the Baroque-like famous background music (I love that one) was breaking up when Gen-san was beating scrap metal with his hammer at the beginning of the episode, it was meant that the beating was so noisy as to interrupt “even the background music.” That’s so Jissoji.

The Piniya costume at Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May

It is widely known among fans that the costume of Alien Perolynga was based on that of “Suiseijin (Aquaticman) Piniya 水棲人 ピニヤ (pronounced as /pih-nih-ya/: also described as “Alien” Piniya depending on publications).”

It is said that Piniya was the character that was to appear in an unproduced episode titled “Kotei No Sakebi Goe (Cries/Shouts from the Lake Bottom)” to be directed by Toshitsugu Suzuki.

The thing is, I’ve just learned that the unrealized episode was planned much earlier than I had thought, which was around “The Stolen Ultra Eye” directed by Suzuki.

It is assumed that the production of the episode was avoided due to the prospected cost of the water-related scene under a tight budget while the “monsterless” episode featuring Maya was produced instead.

It is likely that the Piniya costume had been completed at that point. Therefore it means it had already existed when this Perolynga episode was produced so that only the head was replaced by that of Alien Perolynga.

I assume Piniya’s name was derived from the piranha as it is called “piraniya ピラニヤ” in Japanese by removing the sound “ra.”

It is interesting to find it had an entire piranha placed as its head instead of only its face being shaped like a fish.

It seems that Piniya was set to be an alien who aims at a fictional substance called the Kuroromaito (Chloromite?) Mineral that works to make water on Earth sterilized in order to immigrate to Earth because of its abundant water. Chances are Piniya was set to accompany a kaiju called “Yamo” in the script.


ALIEN GORON; GORRY (making) #2


Gorry design drawn by Noriyoshi Ikeya

The Gorry mask and its hairy gloves used in the show were made by Ryosaku Takayama with a great finishing touch through his highly reputed technique of attaching hair or fur to costumes.

Takayama is also known to have made the mask of Dr Gori and the costume of Ra in the tokusatsu show “Spectremen” afterwards.

While the acting by Keiichi Taki as Gorry was prominent, not much is known about the actor unfortunately although he seems to have appeared in quite a few dramas and films at the time.

Even though I wrote in my last article that this episode should have been influenced by the film “Planet of the Apes,” the presence of Dr Gori and Ra must be another example showing how much popularity the film won in Japan back then.

Incidentally, Ultra Q’s Goro was another ape kaiju, needless to say, more in line with King Kong.

Gorry’s mask worn by someone probably at Takayama’s Atelier May

That being said, it is also likely that the tie-up with the Japan Monkey Center could have this episode featuring an ape alien conceived.

The boat trip Anne bothered to take in order to contact the TDF base for help seemed so abrupt since it was also part of the tie-up with the Meitetsu Group so that they could have their highlighting sights shown to the audience.

You might be able to find out this kind of dynamics behind the scenes in some Japanese tokusatsu shows of the time if the plot development should be somewhat abrupt and unnatural. 🙂

Dr Gori acted by Takanobu Toya with unique gestures he himself conceived for playing Dr Gori

According to the memoirs authored by Yuriko Hishimi (Anne), the filming in the boat was so tough because she had a fever as high as 40°C (104°F) while she says she was just dead exhausted in the boat even though she returned to normal overnight through deep sleep after taking antibiotics.

She says in her latest memoir that she had an impressive reunion with the Golden Lion Tamarin in recent years that actually appeared in the show as it still exists as a taxidermy animal in the Monkey Center after its death.

Hishimi also remembers Junji Masuda who played Dr Mayama as a gentle person who was very kind for her every time they met in the filming of other shows.

Ra performed by Koji Uenishi, the original Ultraseven actor

She adds that, when Masuda offered to take her to the Museum Meijimura with historical collection from the Japan’s Meiji Period (1868-1912) on their way back home, she refused his offer because she had just recovered from the illness and had no interest in history.

As great emphasis is traditionally put on obedience to the older in Japan, Hishimi says to the effect that her refusal as a newbie actress could have been offensive to the actor who had a much longer career but he remained nice to her even after that.

Lastly, Akemi Nishi who played Tamiko, Dr Mayama’s assistant, also acted Mrs Mizushima in Ultraseven Episode 7.

She seems to have been an actress originating from the defunct film company Shin-Toho who appeared in a lot of films and TV shows at the time although chances are what happened to her since her appearance in a TV drama in the 1980s is unknown. The Shin-Toho was the company set up through labor disputes that arose at Toho.


ALIEN GORON; GORRY (making) #1


The drama part of this episode featuring Alien Goron was filmed on location reportedly as a tie-in with the Meitetsu Group centering on the Nagoya Railroad Co., Ltd. based in Aichi Prefecture and the Japan Monkey Center located in the prefecture.

The same kind of tie-up was also carried out about Ultraseven Episode 46.

At an earlier point, the Episode 14 and 15 are known to have been filmed on location by invitation from their sponsor the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company that seems to be originally based in the western part of Japan.

The original Ultra Series were aired in  the time slot called “Takeda Hour” with their stand-alone sponsorship. As I have reiterated, you can imagine how exciting it was to have their brief theme song “Takeda, Takeda, Tekada…” play right before the “avant-title” of each of the Ultra Series started as a kid in front of the TV!

With a tight budget, the original Ultra Series were rarely filmed on location in remote areas except those including the above mentioned episodes.

Mean while, this episode apparently was under the influence of the 1968 US film “Planet of the Apes” that won much popularity here in Japan as well.

The costume of Alien Goron is said to have been modeled by the Tusburaya modeling division supposedly included in the Tokyo Bijutsu Center (Bisen studio) where the tokusatsu part of the series were filmed at the time.

The costume exposing the actor’s eyes and the alien’s weird shouts were pretty impressive for a character which just looked like an ape with no twist.

It had been uncertain who acted Alien Goron for a long while (it used to be said that Kunio Suzuki, one of the suit actors who regularly played Ultra Kaijus back then, could have acted for some time).

Now it is known that the alien was played by Toshihiko Saikyo 西京 利彦 (the credit goes to an issue of the Tokusatsu Hiho magazine).

Saikyo says in the interview that appeared in an issue of the magazine that he felt dizzy and lightheaded in the costume due to the smell of adhesive that hadn’t fully set yet since it had just been freshly completed.

He states he still remembers it was extremely painful when he had to plunge into a miniature building off the platform as high as 180 cm.

According to him, even though people would think a thick costume would greatly reduce the impact, crashing into a miniature building could cause by far much more pain than you would think.