Category Archives: Ultraseven Kaiju Makings

DALLY (making)

Dally design drawn by Noriyoshi Ikeya

Dally is the first Ultra Kaiju that was designed by Noriyoshi Ikeya who took Tohl Narita’s place in designing kauju characters after Narita resigned Tsuburaya Productions with Alien Platic as his last kaiju design while I am thinking of referring to why Narita left the production company in my post to come sometime later.

I hear the work of designing a kaiju troubled Ikeya a lot initially as Narita suddenly quit before he knew. It is said that it was Ryosaku Takayama who suggested Ikeya to design a kaiju by hiding the shape of the human body when Ikeya was in trouble with the Dally design while the design allegedly came from the tick, the same source as Alien Cool designed by Narita.

Dally costume at Ryosaku Takayama’s Ateler May

It is fun to see Alien Cool and Dally designed in such a different way even though the same creature was used for designing while Alien Cool appears to have had the shape of the spider incorporated into its design as well.

That being said, the design and costume ended up unavoidably showing the human body shape by some degree, and a lot of smoke was used to cover it up in the show. Dally was acted by Tetsuo Yamamura following Gander and Alien Prote.

Yamamura says Shigemitsu Taguchi (1944-present), noted as one of the script writers who played major roles for the secondary Ultra Series (Ultraman Series) including “The Return of Ultraman” and the subsequent series that ended with “Ultraman Leo,” measured Yamamura for the size of the Dally costume and informed Takayama of the measurements over the phone as Taguchi served as assistant director while the show Ultraseven was being produced.

Dally costume at the Bisen studio
Same as above

Yamamura’s remarks indicate the costumes of Gander and Alien Prote were sculpted without accurate measurements taken from Yamamura.

Yamamura also states the Dally suit was found to be faintly painted with an orange that was slightly fainter than the suit of Ultraseven but it was repainted pink on the set at Ikeya’s instruction while Yamamura assumes it was because it looked just like a shrimp even though it sounds a bit contradictory to the design with its body that appears mostly painted pink all along.

It is alleged that the name Dally was derived from Salvador Dali, the renowned Spanish surrealist painter.

I think the large eyes neatly positioned in the hollows/sockets on its face and the well-shaped fangs and jaws like a stag beetle (distinctive from the subtly curve jaws Antlar had) successfully made this creature described as a “space bacterium” in the show look pretty attractive!

Dally looks like it is hung in the air with someone inside (see the feet); this picture tells us what the Bisen studio exterior was like (in the back)


Alien Platic design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “I designed this alien putting more energy into the skeleton version than the plastic-like alien that initially appeared. This turned out to be the last design I drew for the Ultra Series. Mr. Noriyoshi Ikeya took over the subsequent job of designing.”

As Tohl Narita describes, Alien Platic is the very last alien he designed for the Ultra Series, and he had never worked on any designs for the subsequent Ultra Series again since then.

As to the design of Alien Platic, it didn’t have any fluffy materials that were finally placed to cover its body. It is said that they were added by the art staff on the set while they are obviously found to have been added to the design drawing afterwards.

Along with the fluffy stuff assumed to have been added to it to make it look more like “plastic-related” alien, I have to admit the design made me feel somewhat odd when I was a kid as the alien seemed to be forcibly associated with the material in a sort of irrelevant manner while I think it was rare in the original Ultra Series and I feel like such a forcible association ended up making this alien look kind of superficial even though I am fully aware that the “plastic alien” was not the idea Narita came up with.

What I vividly remember was that I was so shocked and frightened at the skeleton version of the alien with the bone parts coming together to try to attack Dan and Aoki even after the alien’s body had burned down into ashes. As Narita says he put much energy into it, the skeleton version was so impressive to me back then while it was operated as a puppet also sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama.

As I said in my previous posts, Takayama seems to have been involved in sculpting puppets for doll plays before he started making kaiju costumes, so he should have known his stuff in making puppet aliens for the show “Ultraseven” in which many of them were featured although it was mainly for the purpose of reducing the cost.

Although it is Narita’s last Ultra Series alien, it is a bit shame that Alien Platic was not such an attractive alien in design apart from the depiction in the show that portrayed him as a strong alien who put Ultraseven into crisis.

The skeleton puppet with Takayama operating it on its side

ALIEN PROTE (making)

Alien Prote design drawn by Tohl Narita; how this design is deal with in his art book is terrible with such an image of poor quality that we can’t tell what the face looks like…

Tohl Narita: “I drew this design as I wanted to design something limp.”

Alien Prote was the alien with its yellow eyes like fried eggs and parts on the head shaped like pearl shells that impressively lit up in the dark.

Tetsuo Yamamura who played Alien Prote says in a book interview that, although it was found to have been painted grey when the costume was delivered to the Bisen studio from Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May but it was repainted into a dark blue on the set at Narita’s instruction.

Yamamura adds that the parts from the toy bricks Daiya Brokku were used to cover its body they had found too smooth while the bricks were also used for Dino-Tank. According to Yamamura, as there were scenes that were filmed with low-angle shots, he saw the art staff trying to make the trees and flowerbeds elaborately.

The pyramid-shaped building that appeared in the set was based on the real-life architecture that used to exist in Gakushuin University, a renowned private university in Tokyo. A talk show with this episode shown there and Kazuho Mitsuta who directed this episode invited was held in 2008 before the building was demolished due to deterioration.

Alien Prote costume without the spines to cover his body at Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May; the whole head seems to have been made from a translucent material

As I used to live near Gakushuin University in my childhood, I remember some of my friends told me that the artificial pond surrounding the Pyramid-shaped building was inhabited by red swamp crayfish and that they would catch them there although I had not given it a try (I fished crayfish in a different place with the other friends).

While it was set to be in early spring probably assuming a weather getting warmer in the script, there was an unexpected snowfall as you can see in the show, which makes the scenes related to the university even more impressive.

Sanae Kitabayasi (1944-present) who played Saeko Nanbu, Soga’s fiancée, says in a book that she has been friends with Tomoki Kenmochi (1943-presennt), who acted Ichinomiya tricked by Professor Niwa whose true identity was Alien Prote, since they were high school students. Kenmochi is also known as the voice actor who played Alan in the Japanese version of the British sci-fi TV show “Thunderbirds.”


Dino-Tank being sculpted

At any rate, I still find it quite odd that Dino-Tank didn’t even have its legs, which I assume was designed to make it look like it was integrated with the tank while it is an unlikely creature on the earth.

The brick-like parts covering its lower part of the body were made from the brick toy called “Daiya Burokku (daiya is from diamond)” by fastening them onto the surface. The brick-like parts should have been placed so as to make the dinosaur’s body look united with the tank part while the brick-like parts are found to have been drawn on Narita’s design as well.

When closely looking at the Dino-Tank costume, it makes me aware that the head and arms appear to have been attached to the body with a feel of different texture although such a process of putting separately sculpted parts together was not unusual.

Dino-Tank at Ryosaku Takayama’s Atelier May

This makes me speculate the body part could not possibly have been made by Takayama as, in my personal view, the body looks rather crude compared to the other parts elaborately sculpted while I am not sure…

The tank is said to have been based on the miniature of the type 61 tank borrowed from Nikkatsu movie company with details added to it while it was used in the 1967 Nikkatsu kaiju movie “Gappa: The Triphibian Monster.” The Daiya Burokku parts are also found to have been used for the surface of the tank Dino rode.

Regarding the story of this episode, it is said that the preparatory script didn’t have the concept of Amagi getting over his weakness caused by his traumatic experience he underwent in his childhood and that the one who removed the time bomb from Spiner was set to be Furuhashi. Thus, it can be said that the content of this episode was deepened by applying Amagi’s personal experience to it.

As to the making of Alien Kill, there is nothing to say about it as they were just portrayed as looking the same as humans. Although there seem to be fans who are interested in which actors played the aliens, I have to admit I am not so much drawn to the topic!

The back of Dino-Tank


Dino Tank design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “This is based on a weird idea of a dinosaur riding on a tank, but I personally don’t like to design such a thing.”

While it is unknown who came up with the idea of Dino-Tank as “a dinosaur on a tank,” I think it is a weird idea as Narita says as they look so irrelevant.

I was a bit disappointed when I was a kid at the mere combination of an ordinary dinosaur and ordinary tank. The significance of the story in which Amagi finally overcame his weakness was slightly hard to understand for a kid back then.

So this was not such an impressive episode when I watched it as a kid although I find it enjoyable enough now after I have learnt the significance of overcoming one’s own weakness and how hard it is.

Enlarged head part of the above design that looks excellent

When looking at the design and sculpture now, the dinosaur drawn by Narita and the head and arm parts of the Takayama-made costume look so excellent seemingly reproducing a now-extinct real-life dinosaur.

Generally speaking, it should be even harder to sculpt something simple and plain like the dinosaur with a touch of reality than to sculpt a character with a complex design. It is also interesting that the dinosaur had his teeth curved outwards.

Actually, I like Dino Tank’s roar as it is very much impressive. It is said that Kazuho Mitsuta who directed this episode decided not to use any background music for the scene where the kaiju fought with Ultraseven to make the tank caterpillar sound conspicuous as the director thought it would make the scene more thrilling.

While Narita’s design includes a tank design, it seems to have been left unused