Category Archives: Other Than Tsuburaya Products

“Ike(Go)! Godman” #3

This is an image I found online although no detailed information is available about it; I think it is more likely that this is a mask of Godman recently reproduced while I am not sure.

The show “Godman” seems to have had some Toho kaijus appear such as Kamoebas, Gabara, Gorosaurus, Sanda and Gaira although it is left undescribed whether they were the real costumes used in the movies.

Godman’s mask was allegedly sculpted by Nobuyuki Yasumaru (1935-present), sculptor of Toho. It might have been new and unique to apply the part shaped like goggles to the mask design to cover the hero’s eyes that I believe managed to make Godman look distinctive enough from the Ultra Heroes of Tsuburaya Productions along with his hair.

And the newly produced kaijus were designed by Teizo Toshimitsu (1909-1982) while both of them are known to have been deeply involved in the Toho tokusatsu movies including the Godzilla series (Gorosaurus in the movies was the costume sculpted by Yasumaru while I think it was so excellently sculpted that it looked absolutely real).

Kaiju Ojisan of the time

It is likely that Kaiju Ojisan (Uncle Kaiju) played by Tetsuya Asado (1935-present) also appeared in the show “Godman” following the previous show “Redman” as the commentator who would make comments on the characters before and after the show, and there seem to have been episodes in which Kaiju Ojisan appeared in the episode as one of the spectators who watched Godman and a kaiju/kaijus fighting.

Even with some human characters who appeared in the episodes, it seems that there were no episodes with particular stories that were worth being called “stories” only featuring fights between Godman and the kaiju characters while the human characters always rushed away as they were threatened by the appearances of the kaijus on Mondays or Thursdays (the day when the new story began) and cheered for Godman without uttering no lines just watching him fight with the kaiju(s).

Kaiju Ojisan at present with Redman

It is explained that the episodes that had Kaiju Ojisan appear as one of them included something like a story properly with the lines spoken by them.

At any rate, I keep remembering the scene with the same miniature used every time where Godman and a kaiju showed their fight somewhat awkwardly (seemingly trying not to break the miniature) while I felt like the brave-sounding theme song (or its instrumental version) that played there without fail made the fighting scene look even odder.


“Ike(Go)! Godman” #2

I hope the name “Godman” will not be offensive to religious people as it is just the name of the show and the hero, and as long as the show actually existed in one way or another, I have got to refer to it when talking about the history of tokusatsu.

It is told online that the show was roughly produced for a tokusatsu show as a Godman’s weapon was found to get stuck on the costume of a kaiju, the toxic gas a kaiju sent out toward Godman permeated in a weird way according to the wind direction, an actor’s back got exposed through the opening of the costume, it was shown that a character hit the reflector board and the like.

And it is also pointed out that, although it was often found that the previous episode ended with the scene where Godman was driven to the wall, the following episode just began as if nothing had happened to him.

 

Godman has the ability to enlarge the size himself by shouting “Godman Kaku Dai! (Godman Enlarge!; maybe a brief pause between en and large if put into English)” after initially showing up in his human-sized form. As he shrinks back to the human size the moment his leg bands worn around the ankles were taken off by an opponent, the weak point seems to have often troubled him.

As to the way he fought with kaijus, chances are there were times when it didn’t make him look like a hero by hitting the opponent on the groin, going at the kaijus while they were fighting between them, begging the kaijus to spare his life and so on.

Incidentally, the weapon held in his hand in the above picture is likely to be called “God Circle” described as a weapon used like throwing the Frisbee as it was set to explode when hitting the opponent (probably with the use of gunpowder).


“Ike(Go)! Godman” #1

“Ike! Godman”

After writing about the Tsuburaya tokusatsu show “Redman” in my previous posts, I “have no choice but” to refer to another tokusatsu series titled “Ike! (Go!) Godman” aired in the same way as “Redman.”

The show “Godman” broadcast from 1972 to 1973 as a 5 minute segment for the show “Ohayō! Kodomo Show (Good Morning! Kids Show)” aired in the same time slot from Monday through Friday in the morning back then.

“Godman” was produced by the movie company Toho instead of Tsuburaya Productions with the 52 stories consisting of its 260 episodes as each complete story broadcast being divided into six or three episodes (so you could watch one story a week or two stories a week).

 

As they got a higher budget than the previous show “Redman,” it is likely that newly designed kaiju characters and tokusatsu scenes with miniatures were featured along with the appearances of some Toho kaijus that appeared in their movies although the used costumes of kaiju characters or the stage show costumes were exclusively used for “Redman” that included the fights that just unfolded in the plain field while the location set didn’t make them look like giants at all in spite of the settings with which they were set to be 40 meters tall or so.

That being said, I remember the same miniature building was used every time for “Godman” with Godman and a kaiju fighting around the prop as if they were carefully trying not to break it seemingly with the consecutive use of the miniature in mind and that their fights could have been fought on the same outdoor cliff (I feel like the cliff had the miniature building built in an unnatural position) all the time even though I don’t remember much about the show “Godman” because I didn’t find it much enjoyable when I watched it just a couple of times as a kid.


A Tokusatsu Show Almost Forgot: Majin Bander #3

The other head of Bander

As far as the outline of the story I described in my previous post, I think it sounds quite interesting. And I dimly remember the scene where the armed police squad fired at Bander in the field although I remember nothing else of the series.

While I should have watched it in 1969 when I entered elementary school, the memory is quite ambiguous probably because there should not have been any occasions when the show was rerun.

The greatest feature of Majin Bander as a character was that it had two heads to be replaced by one another according to his emotion. The face usually looks mild (or plain) as the guardian for the Paron but, when he gets mad, the mild-looking head goes down into the body and the other head with the angry-looking expression on it comes up from within the body instead.

This concept of a guardian changing into a majin is just like, in the Daiei “Daimajin” movie series, the haniwa-clay-figure-like statue with its gentle-looking face turning into angry-looking Daimajin when getting rid of villains.

Reissued Bander figures I found online; Bander looks somewhat awkward with the unwantedly long arms out of proportion to the body

About the two heads, it was properly sung in the theme song like “His face changes scary when he gets angry.” The phrases “Tonde Koi Bandā/Tonde Koi Bandā/Heiwa No Tsukai/Uchu No Hate Kara Yattekoi (come flying, Bander/come flying, Bander/Emissary of Peace/come from the farthest reaches of space)…” sung in the song still stays with me in my head.

It is known that the character Bander was played by Eiichi Kikuchi who acted Returned Ultraman in the 1970 tokusatsu show “The Return of Ultraman.” Kikushi says in an interview covered in a book that it was a costume that left him almost unmovable with inflexibility except the movement with which he just moved forward and backward.

When I talked about Bander to one of my colleagues at work a long time ago, he was astounded saying, “How come you can remember such stuff?”

Oh, well, that is the way a tokusatsu fan goes…


A Tokusatsu Show Almost Forgot: Majin Bander #2

The image of seemingly a record or sonosheet (flexi disc) consisting of “Song of Majin Bander” and “Bander March” borrowed from online

First of all, I have to apologize to you about a mistake I carelessly made in my previous post.

The word “majin” could have two different meanings according to the Chinese characters used for the term. One is “evil human” and the other “evil god” while the two words are pronounced the same way in Japanese.

And this “Majin Bander” is applicable to the latter case. Making an excuse, these two words are often confused even among Japanese. The name “Daimajin” from its famous Daiei tokusatsu movies means “great evil god,” and the name “Mazinger” should have been derived from the term “evil god” as well while both of them are good guys.

Therefore, it might be better to interpret the term “majin” literally representing “evil god” as a character with such mighty power that it could be intimidating.

 

As to the story of “Majin Bander.” while I don’t remember it at all, it seems to go like this:

Space energy called “Oran” alleged to be some thousands times as much powerful as a hydrogen bomb was stolen from Planet Paron. To get the Oran back, Prince of Paron accompanied by the character named X1 came to the earth along with Majin Bander.

The emergence of the prince with scissors-like hands caused the government to send in the armed police squad to attack them.  Prince called Bander to make it defend him.

In the meantime, the villain Gōdā (maybe Goder or something if put in English) was plotting to conquer the world with the use of Oran. Dr. Tachibana who learnt about the object of Prince of Paron having come to the earth decided to fight with Goder in cooperation with Prince, X1 and Bander.


A Tokusatsu Show Almost Forgot: Majin Bander #1

“Majin Bander”

While I have many tokusatsu shows I hope to watch again even besides the Ultra Series out of the ones I enjoyed watching when I was a child, the show “Majin Bander/Bandā” is also one of them.

“Majin” is the Japanese word to be literally translated into English as “evil human” often representing a being that has a magical power even if it is not exactly a human. It could be translated as “warlock” or, according to the nature of the character, “genie” in English.

Incidentally, it is known that the name of the popular anime robot “Mazinger Z” was from the association between this word “majin” and “mashin (machine)” as they phonetically sound similar in Japanese.

 

It is said that “Majin Bander” was the tokusatsu show aired in 1969 with 13 episodes while the series was shortened for an unknown reason although it had been planned to have 26 episodes in the first place.

It seems that it was initially planned to have a tokusatsu series feature “Majin Garon” based on the manga authored by Osamu Tezuka, but it didn’t go well and it is likely that the plan was replaced by the one about the show “Majin Bander.”

In my impression, the show looked very much old-fashioned or outdated even when I watched it as a kid. And it is no surprise when I have learnt that the series had finished being produced in 1966 and that the broadcasting had been postponed indefinitely due to affairs to secure the time slot for this show.


Keylla & Saigo Appearing In “I Never Cry”

Keylla and Saigo reappeared in “Naite Tamaruka”

Following yesterday’s post, the Ultraman Kaijus Keylla and Saigo also appeared in “Naite Tamaruka (I Never Cry)” Episode 76 titled “Oh, Kaiju Japan’s No.1” although the meaning of the title is a bit unclear (maybe it refers to Japan’s no.1 kaiju “actor” who best performed kaijus given the content).

In this episode starring Kiyoshi Atsumi, he played a suit actor who was performing Keylla along with the scenes in which Keylla and Saigo battled on Planet Q used from “Ultraman” Episode 38 while additional scenes with Keylla and Saigo fighting with each other newly shot.

Keylla set to be worn by the suit actor Kiyoshi Atsumi played

I actually remember I saw Keylla appear in this episode as a kid when I watched the show by chance while being surprised to find the Ultraman monster showed up in a different TV show.

While I understood it was about a kaiju actor, the exact story was beyond my understanding (I had no interest in the story), and I couldn’t figure out any detailed description about the story of this episode online either unfortunately.

By the way, Atsumi became more famous as Torasan afterwards for the popular Japanese ninjō (人情 ) movie series “Otokowa Tsuraiyo (Being A Man Is Tough)” in which he played the good-natured leading character named Torasan.

Kiyoshi Atsumi playing the kaiju actor

The Keylla costume that came up in this “Naite Tamaruka” show seems to look a bit deteriorated as the “Naite Tamaruka” episode aired about a year later (March, 1968) than the “Ultraman” episode (April, 1967).

That makes me imagine the costume should have already started being used in stage shows all over Japan, and it is well known that the Keylla costume used in “Ultraman” appeared in the legendary (in a way) “Ultra Fight” series aired in later years as the repaired and repainted costume looked utterly worn out

(A part of the Naite Tamaruka episode in which Keylla and Saigo appeared is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfgZtWFB72w although the sounds are almost inaudible.)


Cute Kaiju Nakira: Another Narita-Takayama Made Kaiju

Amidst the unprecedented Kaiju Boom that arose in the wake of “Ultra Q” and “Ultraman” along with the Godzilla movies, kaijus appeared even in non-tokusatsu dramas.

Nakira is a kaiju that appeared in Episode 16 “Cute Kaiju Nakira” of the serial drama “Naite Tamaruka (I Never Cry)” aired on TBS, the same channel as the Ultra Series, from 1966 to 1968 with 80 episodes in all.

The show was a popular ninjō (人情: human emotion) drama meant to evoke tears and laughter among viewers portraying a good-natured male protagonist who works hard, even though a bit clumsily, against difficulties with different characters and settings in each complete story.

In the episode, Nakira was a costume monster designed by an ad agency worker in competition with a rival advertising company while I checked it out on the Internet as I myself don’t remember it.

It seems that the story conclusion was the ad agency worker managed to get the better of the rival agency by creating Nakira as an advertising character (the man himself was seemingly set to act Nakira wearing the costume).

The thing is that Nakira was a kaiju actually designed by Tohl Narita and sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama although it was set to have been created by the adman in the episode.

While Nakira looks like a human baby’s features were applied to a kaiju with Garamon or Pigmon-like projecting parts, what it looks like surely makes us aware it was just like a Narita-Takayama-made kaiju.

The name Nakira should have come from the Japanese verb naku, to cry or weep, in association with the show title.

The show “Naite Tamaruka” seems to have been produced featuring Kiyoshi Atsumi, Yukio Aoshima and Katsuo Nakamura while each of them played a different leading character according to the episode by turns, and Nakira appeared in the episode featuring Aoshima.

Aoshima (1932-2006) was a popular talent who served as the governor of Tokyo in later years, and you can find him to appear in Ultraman Episode 11 as a funny news reporter.

At any rate, Nakira might be called another extra kaiju created by Narita and Takayama along with Imora of “Kaiju Booska” hidden behind the commonly acknowledged Ultra Kaijus made by them.

Aoshima in Ultraman Episode 11

Silver Kamen Aliens Featured At The Event

Alien Khimaira

As you may know, Noriyoshi Ikeya designed the hero Silver Kamen and the aliens that appeared in the Silver Kamen episodes while I am not sure if he designed all of the aliens featured in the show (I think all the “Silver Kamen” and “Silver Kamen Giant” aliens were sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama).

At least the aliens I saw in the episodes screened at the event were surely designed by him, and they were: Alien Tigris (Episode 1); Alien Khimaira (7); Alien Solomon (8); Alien Domino (9); Alien Titan (10)

It is said he dared design Silver Kamen and the aliens not to make them look extremely strong, and, as the result, all these characters have their own unique forms and atmosphere distinctive from the equivalents of the Ultra Series.

Alien Solomon

It should be only natural as the show itself is said to have been plotted and produced with a strong sense of rivalry against the big-name hero show Ultraman.

It should be partly because the Nihon Gendai Kikaku (Japan Modern Planning) and Jissoji-led Kodai Group that were involved in the Silver Kamen production had many people who  had to leave Tsuburaya Productions for the company’s financial reasons.

Alien Domino

As to the Silver Kamen aliens, they were not unilaterally evil but were set to try to rob Kasuga brothers of the hidden photon rocket engine blueprint because they thought earthlings would invade their planets if the rocket should be completed.

Against their expectations, children watched “Mirrorman” aired in the competing timeslot a lot more as an orthodox tokusatsu hero show while the human-sized Silver Kamen didn’t play an active part at all in the show centering on the stories about the agony of Kasuga brothers.

I remember, however, I watched “Silver Kamen” and “Silver Kamen Giant” more than “Mirrorman” in my childhood somehow, and I have found the Silver Kamen aliens attractive enough again this time.

Alien Titan

“Silver Kamen” Shown At The Event

Silver Kamen

Although I described the “Silver Kamen” (1971-1972) episodes screened at the event as they were directed by Akio Jissoji in my yesterday’s post, I was wrong and I have just found only Episode 1 among them was directed by him.

I guess all these episodes were shown at the event as the show “Silver Kamen” was produced while “Kodai Group” led by Jissoji played a leading role in the production.

Although “Silver Kamen” initially started as a show featuring the human-sized hero through Episode 10, it was converted into “Silver Kamen Giant” after that in which the giant version of Siver Kamen appeared instead (he was set to have become a giant accidentally exposing himself to a large amount of photon energy).

The human-sized hero did not manage to gain enough popularity as the show aired along with the Tsuburaya-produced “MIrrorman” (1971-1972) broadcast in the competing timeslot.

And Jissoji and Kodai Group withdrew from the Senkosha-produced show at that time showing disagreement toward easily making a giant hero appear so as to attract viewers’ attention as Jissoji believed featuring the human-sized “non-superhero” with no particular weapons or abilities except bare hand fight should be the integral part of the show.

So the show gives us an utterly different impression between the episodes featuring the human-sized version and the giant version although the conversion got to make the show win popularity.

In this light, I think we were fully able to enjoy the unique features of the Silver Kamen episodes typical of the human-sized version in which the protagonists Kasuga brothers (one of them changes into Silver Kamen) continued to be chased by aliens over the hidden blueprint of the photon rocket engines invented by their father who was killed by an alien.

Silver Kamen fighting with Alien Tigris along with Kasuga brothers who cooperate with him. Saburo Shinoda who played Kotaro Higashi in “Ultraman Tarou” was one of Kasuga brothers (rightmost among them)