Category Archives: Ultra Q Kaiju

KAIRYU (MYSTERIOUS DRAGON)

dragon1

Episode Episode 6: Grow Up! Little Turtle
Alias Mysterious Dragon
Height 20 meters
Weight 500 tons
Homeplace Ryugujo  (Dragon Palace Castle)
Features Breathing out a beam
Designer Undescribed
Sculptor Remodeled from Toho’s monster Manda
Actor None (puppet)

This Dragon is the monster that appeared where it’s supposed to be the Ryugujo when Taro arrived there on Gameron, and it’s called Kairyu (Mysterious Dragon) in Japanese.

The Ryugujo that Taro reached had no palace and no beautiful Otohime (princess) with no feast unlike the folk tale.

Taro just found a little girl on a swing there with a habit of rubbing under her nose frequently and laughing creepily who just claimed that the place was the Ryugujo and she was the Otohime.

otohime1
Otohime on a swing somehow

With strange laughs, Otohime played tricks on Taro, and he tried to chase her on Gameron’s back while she was flying on a rocket!

Then the rocket changed into Kairyu. and the Dragon shot down Gameron with Taro holding on to its shell by breathing out beams shaped like lightning.

While these scenes featuring Otohime are too surreal for me to understand, in the end, Otohime gifted a box to Taro.

In the folk tale ‘Taro Urashima’ I mentioned, the protagonist young man turns into a white-haired old man when opening a treasure box Otohime told him never to open (what a treasure box!).

otohime2
Otohime on a rocket blowing a bubble gum

Although the same thing happened to Taro in this episode as well, he turned back into the original boy immediately.

Everything may have been just a daydream he had or he may have been off with the pixies…

As to the folk tale ‘Taro Urashima,’ there are people describing it as a kind of ‘time paradox’ story as the treasure box thing shows that quite a long time has passed since the protagonist left the beach although he spent just a few days in the Ryugujo.

ryugujo
Otohime about to gift a box, plot device with fairy tales

GAMERON

gameron1

Episode Episode 6: Grow Up! Little Turtle
Alias Giant Turtle
Height 99 centimeters
Weight 1 ton
Homeplace Tokyo
Features Special capabilities including flying ability
Designer Undescribed
Sculptor Eizo Kaimai
Actor Yukio Fukutome

Gameron (this name was left unused in the show) is the giant turtle that a squirtle turtle raised by Taro grew up into.

Taro, 5th grade boy, had believed that, if the turtle grew up to the size of 99 centimeters, it would take him to Ryugujo, literally Dragon Palace Castle, imaginary palace cited in a Japanese famous folk tale ‘Taro Urashima.’

gameron2
Gameron with Taro on its back flying over Tokyo

The folk tale is not only for this episode but does exist, and it’s a story about Taro Urashima who saved a turtle being teased by unruly boys on the beach and was taken to the undersea Ryugujo at the invitation of the turtle appreciating his help.

In the folk tale, Taro met Otohime (princess) there and was entertained with a big meal in the palace more than picturesque.

gameron3
Gameron with blinkers on the shell end

As the Taro of this episode longed for it, he told Gameron to take him to the undersea palace when it had grown big enough.

Gameron has super abilities to walk through walls or to fly in the sky, and, oddly enough, has turn signals and speedometer (it indicated Mach 3 when flying) on the body.

And a speedometer on the back
And a speedometer on the back…

While it’s also capable to swim underwater in the sea at a high speed, Gameron with Taro on its back reached the deep sea palace at last.

Incidentally, Gamera (Gammera) is the forerunner of a flying turtle monster as its first movie produced by Daiei (no longer existing) was shown in 1965 ahead of Ultra Q (1966).

Both names surely came from kame, the Japanese term for turtle/tortoise. (Game is just for making the names sound stronger than kame.)

It shows up with a part of the shell flipping up
It shows up with a part of the shell flipping up

PEGUILA

peguila1
Episode 14
Episode Episode 5: Peguila Is Here!

Episode 14: Tokyo Ice Age

Alias Freezing Monster
Height 40 meters
Weight 20,000 tons
Homeplace South Pole
Features Breathing out a freezing beam of -130 °C
Designer Tohl Narita (allegedly based on the original draft drawn by Yasuyuki Inoue, Toho Special Art Division)
Sculptor RYosaku Takayama
Actor Yukihiko Kiyono (same as Chandlar)

Peguila is the biped monster living in the South Pole that has wings (or flippers), and it gets wrapped up with a black smoke (the monster gets out of view) when flying.

Peguila’s face looks like a sea mammal such as the walrus or seal with fangs and a horn, and it characteristically has a sleepy look with half-open eyes almost all the time.

It breathes out a freezing beam (fog) of -130 °C (-266 °F) that also brings about anti-gravity phenomena making everything soar into the air while it’s blown.

peguila2
Episode 5

Peguila is vulnerable to a substance called Peguimin H that can be taken out of South Pole’s moss (fictionaly).

While Peguila appeared twice in Ultra Q: Episode 5 and 14, it was repelled by being shot with an observation rocket loaded with the Peguimin H when attacking the South Pole Observatory in Episode 5.

In Episode 14, Peguila came flying to Tokyo on its way to the North Pole as a high temperature caused by a nuclear power plant accident made the South Pole uninhabitable for the creature.

peguila3
Episode 5

And Peguila was driven away once more by an Cessna that plunged into it with the Peguimin H on board while the airplane was flown by a former Zero fighter pilot Sawamura at the cost of his life.

It is noteworthy that Peguila is the first, commemorable Ultra monster created by the combination of Tohl Narita and Ryosaku Takayama that was to produce many popular kaijus for the First Trilogy adored by people even today although Narita said he had designed Peguila based on an artwork drawn by Toho’s Yasuyuki Inoue.

There has been an explanation describing Chandlar that appeared in Ultraman (remodeled from Peguila’s suit) as Peguila’s younger brother kaiju since my childhood.

Episode 14, Peguila with wide open eyes looked so scary in the show…

JURAN (MAMMOTH FLOWER)

juran1

Episode Episode 4: Mammoth Flower
Alias Mammoth Flower
Height 100 meters
Weight 3,000 tons
Homeplace Marunouchi
Features Giant bloodsucking plant that a huge ancient bulb lying underground sprouted
Designer Undescribed
Sculptor Eizo Kaimai; Akira Sasaki
Actor None (prop)

Juran is the giant bloodsucking ancient flower that appeared in the heart of Marunouchi business streets of Tokyo suddenly oneday.

It’s just called ‘Mammoth Flower’ in the show instead of ‘Juran.’

With its plant roots spreading out and raging in the water of the Imperial Palace moat or in the basements of buildings, its giant flower showed up in the midst of the business streets.

juran2

Juran sucks human blood with its thorns by letting its roots coil around people like a huge constrictor snake  (no bloody scenes, though).

And, moreover, toxic pollen are released from its giant flower while Ippei and his girlfriend were trapped inside a building.

After the two were rescued, the carbon dioxide fixative sprinkled over the mammoth flower from a device dropped by the Cessna that Manjome flew made the blood sucking plant wilt and melt down.

juran3

This is the first episode of Ultre Q in production order, and Hiroko Sakurai who played Yuriko Edogawa says she remembers well that the shooting of the series featuring the cast members started with the ‘moat scenes.’

So that makes us find features of the period when the series were being shot as ‘Unbalance’ with the theme ‘what if the disruption of nature balance occur’ before they were diverted to shows mainly featuring kaiju monsters with the title changed to ‘Ultra Q.’

Juran is the pioneering plant monster that heralds Green Monse, SuflanKeronia and Alien Waiell that appeared in the later Ultra Series.

juran4


NAMEGON

namegon1

Episode Episode 3: The Gift From Space
Alias Mars Monster
Height 30 meters
Weight 10,000 tons
Homeplace Planet Mars
Features Coming out of eggs found in a space probe
Designer Undescribed
Sculptor Akira Sasaki (He says he doesn’t remember making it at all in a recent book interview)
Actor None (puppet)

Namegon (just called ‘Mars Monster’ in the show) is the monster like a slug with a creepily slimy body that appeared out of an egg found in a space probe that came back from Mars to Earth out of bolt after it was launched half a year ago and went missing.

Two tiny gold spherical objects were found inside the probe were stored in a safe at the Space Development Bureau, but they were stolen by a burglar who mistook them for gold bullion.

namegon2

The burglar fled to an isolate island in a Cessna he forced Manjome to fly at gunpoint, and the volcanic heat of the island made Namegon hatched from one of the orbs.

After killing the burglar and his fellow with beam attacks fired from its sticking eyes, Namegon fell down into the sea and melt away while chasing Manjome.

The other orb that dropped on the floor while the burglar battled with Manjome was found and picked up by Ippei and, of all things, gifted to Yuriko with a chain attached to it as a necklace.

namegon3

And the other slug monster emerged when the egg was accidentally warmed while Dr. Ichinotani assumed that the monster could possibly have been sent to Earth by Mars intelligent creatures as a warning to stop earthlings’ reckless space development.

Horrifyingly enough, this episode ended with the scenes in which Namegon was slowly approaching the people with an ending narration stating another formidable monster could be sent to Earth that would grow larger and stronger by seawater as the second gift from space unless space development competition for political purposes is put to an end.

The name Namegon simply came from the Japanese word for slug ‘namekuji.’


GORO

goro1

Episode Episode 2: Goro and Goroh
Alias Giant Monkey
Height 50 meters
Weight 10,000 tons
Homeplace Awashima Island
Features Friendly with Goroh
Sculptor Remodeled from King Kong’s costume used in the 1962 Toho movie ‘King Kong vs. Godzilla’
Actor Yukio Fukutome

Goro is the giant ape that an Atelidae mutated into after it ate a large amount of the ‘green leaves walnut’ (Helypron Crystal G in the script) and the drug disrupted the thyroid hormone balance.

Goro caused a stir among people by showing up on the rope way route of Awashima Island or gulping buckets of milk on a milk truck passing by.

The Atelidae was friendly with Goroh (Kazuo Suzuki), a man who almost grew up among apes after losing his parents when he was a young child and has difficulties in speaking words.

goro2

While their friendship remained unchanged even after the mutation, Goroh was arrested by the local police while trying to steal food crops to feed Goro.

Goro wandered into the local town looking for Goroh in police custody and started raging as it was shot by police.

At Seki‘s suggestion, it was decided that Goro was to be taken to Irian Island (outside Japan) while sleeping where the people live in peace with giant apes like Goro.

When Goro was made fall asleep by the sleeping drug included in milk given to it by Goroh, the man who didn’t understand what had happened to his friend let out an anguished cry while Goro was just staying asleep peacefully.

Goro may be a mere ape monster by today’s standards, but the SFX scenes shown in this episode were truly remarkable including the finely crafted miniature sets (also the milk buckets).

So I think this is the episode that enables you to enjoy the fun of SFX  of the time even today.

By the way, I have noticed that, on the premise that Goro is the ape and Goroh is the man, the Japanese original title goes as ‘Goroh and Goro’ despite the English title ‘Goro and Goroh.’ (well, either way, it’s OK. I’m getting confused…)

goroh
Goroh with a milk bucket unaware that it contained a sleeping drug

LITRA

litra1

Episode Episode 1: Defeat Gomess!
Alias Primitive Mysterious Bird
Height 5 meters
Weight 10,000 tons
Homeplace Third construction area of the bulet highway
Features Beating Gomess with citronella acid
Designer Yasuyuki Inoue (Toho Special Art Division)
Sculptor Radon’s flying puppet remodeled by Teizo Toshimitsu (Toho)
Actor None (puppet)

Litra is the monster that was found in the form of the egg in the third construction area of the bullet highway being built where Gomess appeared from underground.

Oddly enough, the egg shaped like a jewel was described as ‘pupa’ in the show, but it should be an egg and looked so anyway I looked at it.

It’s alleged to be an ancient intermediate between birds and reptiles whose scientific name is ‘Litraria.’

litra2
JIro (boy wearing glasses) checking the ‘pupa’

It was learnt an old document found in Dosenji Temple on Mt. Konpozan depicted Litra beating Gomess with its highly acidic citronella acid it breathed out.

It told us that the Phoenix-like graceful and beautiful monster reminiscent of archaeopteryx was the natural enemy of Gomess.

Jiro (Junji Muraoka; voice: Kiyoshi Komiyama), encyclopedic boy staying with the workers in the construction site, took care of the egg and managed to hatch Litra from it.

litra3
Citronella acid

In response to Jiro’s fervent calls, Litra went at Gomess bravely at last.

Gomess gave Litra a hard time by knocking it down with the tail and biting at it, but it was beaten with Litra’s citronella acid in the end.

But the deadly weapon also made Litra lose its life (the acid allegedly melted its respiratory organs).

It was narrated at the end of the episode that you would be able to find a tombstone for Litra (it seems that the name came from ‘little’) built by Jiro beside the finished highway.

Edit: one of my readers informed me through his comment that the name could have come from Archaeopteryx lithografica.


GOMESS

gomess1

Episode Episode 1: Defeat Gomess!
Alias Ancient Monster
Height 10 meters
Weight 30,000 tons
Homeplace Third construction area of the bulet highway
Features Going into battle with Litra
Designer Yasuyuki Inoue (Toho Special Art Division)
Sculptor Toho Special Art Division (remodeled by Keizo Murase from Godzilla’s costume used in the 1964 Toho movie ‘Mothra vs. Godzilla’)
Actor Haruo Nakajima

Gomess is the monster that appeared from underground in the third construction area of the bullet highway awaken from the state of hibernation.

It’s a ferocious and carnivorous monster set to be a species of primitive mammals belonging to the Cenozoic Era.

Gomess went into battle with Litra, a Phoenix-like monster found in the form of the egg (described as ‘pupa’ in the show somehow) in the same construction site.

gomess2

Although Gomess initially gained ground in the battle, Litra turned the tables by poking in Gomess’s eye with its sharp beak.

And Gomess was beaten by Litra in the end exposed to citronella acid the bird monster breathed out.

While Gomess and Litra are set to be much shorter than the monsters of the later episodes of Ultra Q and later Ultra Series, they must have been perceived to be large enough by the standards of the time.

gomess3

And the miniature sets built to match them in scale helped the SFX scenes look all the more realistic with an impact reminiscent of kaiju movies of the same period.

It’s well known that Gomess’s costume is the one remodeled from Toho’s Godzilla and it was played by the original Godzilla actor, Haruo Nakajima.

Nakajima also played Jirass in Episode 10 ‘The Mysterious Dinosaur Base’ of Ultraman that was the other monster remodeled from Godzilla’s suit for the Ultra Series.