Category Archives: Kaiju Booska

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.


Maya holding out Ultra Eye to give it back to Dan

As you expect, there is not much to write about regarding the making of Alien Magellan Maya because she was just acted by an actress as she was. It seems that this is the episode Shinichi Ichikawa (1941-2011), one of the script writers in the Ultra Series, was asked to work out a story that would need no costume alien to cut costs.

While this anecdote indicates in what difficult situation they were back then financially and time-wise to produce the Ultraseven episodes for the latter half of the series, Meanwhile Ichikawa showed his outstanding ability with this excellent episode in spite of the seemingly reckless request from the producers.

Kaiju Booska Episode 4

Ichikawa made his debut as a script writer with his script for Episode 4 “Booska’s visit to the Moon” in Tsuburaya Productions’ “Kaiju Booska.” He was deeply involved in “Ultraman Ace” (1972-73) afterwards from its planning stage as the concept of the male and female combining into Ultraman Ace as the existence transcending gender was put forward by Ichikawa.

Ichikawa became a greatly popular script writer later washing his hands of shows for kids and moving to the field of TV dramas after he had left “Ace” in the middle of the series as he was dissatisfied with the fact that his ideas were not fully realized in the show.

Perhaps, I suppose there were conflicts between the producers who were just trying to make the show commercially successful as if just humoring kid viewers and Ichikawa who was aiming at a tokusatsu show of high quality.

Yuriko Kouno

As to the actress who played Maya, Yuri Yoshida (1951-present), she was 17 years old back then. Yuriko Hishimi (Anne) admires Yoshida in her memoirs saying she had much of a presence in the show in spite of her young age though she didn’t meet her in the filming, adding that her performance only through the eye contact with Dan was excellent as it was done without speaking any words (they were set to communicate by telepathy between the two aliens) and even without any facial expressions either.

This episode marked Yoshida’s debut as an actress when she was in senior high school, and she joined the renowned Haiyuza theater with her name changed into Yuriko Kouno (by coincidence, the same name as Hishimi) after graduating from college. She seems to have appeared in numerous products including TV detective and period dramas, movies and plays.

While the buttons on the jukebox Maya pressed in the show were “J” and “7,” the selection panel had “I” between H and J missing, and some fans seem to suppose it implied “there is no ‘ai’ (‘love’ in Japanese)” and “there is no Ultra ‘Eye’ (since it was stolen)” as one of my readers kindly referred to it in the comment section of my Maya article linked above.

Yuriko Kouno (formerly Yuri Yoshida) in the popular detective drama “Taiyo Ni Hoero (Roar at the Sun)”

Design & Sculpture Of Chamegon

Episode 27

As to the making of Chamegon, it is a shame that little is known about who designed and sculpted the character unfortunately.

While I have seen an article putting the designer as Tohl Narita on the Net, I don’t think it is what is officially publicized and commonly known although, come to think of it, the character could appear to have some Narita features in his face depending on the way you look at it. It remains unknown anyhow.

Regarding the sculpture, I assume the costume should have been made along with the Booska costumes by the same sculptors (Shimada Workshop and Ex Production), it has not been talked about so far either.

Episode 41

Although there are few people who point it out, Chamegon also has different types of costumes, and, as far as I know, it seems that they can be roughly classified into two types. If I put them as Type A and B following the customary practice, the Type A costume is thought of as a standard suit of Chamegon illustrating his naughty and mischievous character with eyes slanting upwards at a sharp angle.

The Type B costume looks milder with eyes more rounded, which gives me a more friendly impression. It might have been for making him more popular among kids. The two types of costumes appeared randomly seemingly till the end of the series even though there might have been another type I have not noticed.

I personally prefer the Type A costume as I find it is very Chamegon who behaves naughtily most of the time. At any rate, it is regrettable to find little is referred to about the making of Chamegon compared to Booska, and it makes me feel strange that the different types of the Chamegon costumes have not been pointed out among fans despite its significance (I hope you will agree).

Episode 47 (final episode “Farewell Booska”)

Design & Sculpture Of Booska

Booska Type A

While it is uncertain who designed Booska, it seems to be said that Tatsuo Fukada in charge of art of the show “Kaiju Booska” designed the character with many people who were involved in the production referring to him as the designer of Booska.

The first costume of Booska is said to have been sculpted by Tamotsu Sato while it was recently disclosed that he sculpted the costume of the first Alien Baltan when he was with Shimada Kobo (Shimada Workshop) that was located in the Toho filming studio as they worked for the art of Toho movies.

Sato says he made the first Booska costume after he had sculpted the Alien Baltan suit at the workshop.

Booska Type B

According to him, Booska’s eyes were made from acrylic plates and the crown was made of FRP cast out of the mold he sculpted (he says the crown easily broke).

The second and subsequent Booska costumes were made by Ex (from “expert”) Production that was involved in kaiju sculpting mainly for “Ultraman” along with renowned Ryosaku Takayama.

It had been known that two different types of the costume were acknowledged among fans while they were called Type A and B just like the masks of the original Ultraman. The type A Booska costume was made by Sato and Type B by Ex Production.

Booska Type C

Furthermore, it is known now that the costume had the other type called Type C while it should also have been made by Ex Production.  The difference between the Type A and Type B is obvious as the former’s head looks like a round triangle while the latter looks more round-shaped.

In addition, the Type A costume has a longer body with shorter legs and his lips are more conspicuous. It seems that the Type A head gradually flattened as thinner wires were used to support the head from within.

The Type C Booska’s head came back to a triangular shape with a broader white part under the mouth. That being said, it is realized that there were many different Booska costumes including the ones for stage shows as they appeared in Episode 37 “Startling Nainai Temple” of “Booska” as the shadow cloning technique Booska used.

Who Voiced Reborn Pigmon?

Reborn Pigmon speaking at the microphone in a kaiju language voiced by Nekohachi Edoya

While we are at the topic of “Kaiju Booska,” I would like to talk about another associated matter between “Ultraman” and “Booska,” both of which were produced and aired around the same time.

As I just talked about the making of Pigmon in my recent post,  Reborn Pigmon who returned to life as an unvaryingly friendly monster was set to speak words although it was a kaiju language.

In the episode, as you know, an expert of the dolphin language study tried to figure out what Pigmon was talking about, and he managed to interpret the monster’s words in the end.

Nekohachi Edoya as Daisaku’s father in “Kaiju Booska”

While Pigmon’s babbling, yelling, shouting and screaming was so impressive as the friendly kaiju was trying hard to convey his warning to people about upcoming attack by the kaijus (Telesdon and Dorako) Gelonimon had brought back to life.

In this episode, Pigmon was voiced by Nekohachi Edoya (the third: 1921-2001) who gained popularity as a performer known for his excellent vocal mimicry of animals’ voices.

And, moreover, Edoya regularly played Daidaku’s funny and humorous father in “Kaiju Booska.”

Jiro (left) voiced by Kiyoshi Komiyama in Ultra Q Episode 1

Kazuho Mitsuta, director, who was also involved in “Kaiju Booska” along with the original Ultra Series recalls Edoya was nice enough to happily accept their request to voice Pigmon as he was already acting Daisaku’s father even though he was a big name performer then while his name was not included in the opening credits of Reborn Pigmon’s episode.

The voice that can be heard through the kaiju language interpreting device was played by Kiyoshi Komiyama (1937-present), and you can also hear komiyama voice a boy in “Ultra Q” Episode 1 and Episode 15.

Akira (left) voiced by Komiyama in Ultra Q Episode 15