Category Archives: Tsuburaya Products Except Ultra

Redman – “The Red Guy” #4

Tokusatsu Hihō vol. 4 released in 2016

This issue of Tokusatsu Hihō had an article about the Redman costume reproduced in 1996 when the laser disc box set of Redman was released.

The article says Yutaka Narita who was with Kaimai Production then sculpted the new Redman costume while he seems to have made the masks of the recent Ultamans since Ultraman Tiga.

Narita (it is unlikely that he is a relative of Tohl Narita) says in the article he sculpted the mask based on photos of the original Redman Tsuburaya Productions provided him with as the original costume didn’t remain in existence.

In the frontispiece, still photos of the show Redman of the time along with photos of the mask that seems to be the original one and Ōoka holding the mask (what a big mask!)

According to Narita, the eyes of the new Redman suit were duplicated from those of Ultaman Great.

Confusingly enough, this issue of Tokusatsu Hihō also had some photos of the Redman mask in the frontispiece described as the one used when the show was filmed with the caption “Ōoka with a smile happy about the reunion with the mask used back then.”

Besides this, a caption says Toshio Kaimai, the current president of Kaimai Production, stated that he feels like they tried to find out the original mold of the Redman mask in their storage when the new costume was to be sculpted as it is likely that the original suit was made by Kaimai Production.

The original Redman costume viewed from various angles and the design drawing while who designed Redman is left undescribed

Then it should mean that the original mask photographed with Ōoka in it was found out quite recently at least after the new suit was reproduced???

The one held by Ōoka properly has the glitter eyes just like the costume used in the show while the new one made by Yutaka Narita had the eyes just simply painted yellow with gloss. Therefore the mask Ōoka holds should be the original one used in the show while it is so confusing.

Redman was acted by Kinichi Kusumi (1950-present) who also played Mirrorman, and this issue of Tokusatsu Hihō also covers an interview with him I would like to talk about if I have an opportunity some other time.

The Redman mask and its clay model sculpted by Yutaka Narita (then with Kaimai Production) in 1996

Redman – “The Red Guy” #3

“Red Fight!”

“Redman” was featured in the “Tokusatsu Hihō (secret treasure) magazine vol. 4 released last year in 2016 while the articles included an interview with Shinichi Ōoka (1947-present) who debuted as a cameraman with “Redman.”

Although I described him as the current president of Tsuburaya Productions in the previous entry, he now seems to be an adviser to the company after his retirement this year in 2017.

In the interview, Ōoka admits he is sort of amazed at the sudden rise in popularity of Redman so that it makes him wonder what is attracting those people to this show.

According to him, the filming of Redman was carried out in an unrehearsed way while they roughly arranged a filming plan each time without any scripts and, in the early stage, even without storyboards (he says they just had a written plan for each episode).

Redman fighting with Alien Icarus painted green just like Icarus who appeared in “Ultra Fight” in a bamboo bush although they are set to be 40 meters tall

Ōoka also says they started filming from around 8:00 in the morning until sunset with the kaiju costumes brought to the location being simply tied up on top of a microbus even without any cover.

They filmed the show in places accessible within 30 minutes by car from Tsuburaya Productions such as Ikuta in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, where private houses could have been caught on film if it is shot from the opposite side.

kaijus were such a trend in those days as it was called “the second Kaiju Boom” allegedly triggered by tokusatsu shows including “Spectreman” produced by P Production and “Return of Ultraman” following the first Kiju Boom the original Ultra Series (Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultraseven possibly including Captain Ultra aired between Ultraman and Ultraseven ) brought about.

Therefore Ōoka and the other staff members seem to have had hard times to secure stage show kaiju costumes for “Redman.”


Redman – “The Red Guy” #2

“Red Fight!”

Just like “Ultra Fight,” with shabby- and cheap-looking stage show costumes used as well along with the suits actually used in “Return of Ultraman” and “Mirrorman,” the fights featured in “Redman” also unfolded in the empty fields.

It is hilarious to find the characters who appeared in the show were set to be around 45 meters tall although they were human-sized whichever way you look at it.

Sound effects to express heavy impacts when punches and kicks hit or they fall down on the ground were used while the exaggerated sounds made scenes having apparently human-sized characters appear look even more unnatural.

 

The fight scenes without any other sounds than the funnily heavy sound effects looked very much surreal with a strange presence and atmosphere.

Each episode started with a scene where Redman came across a kaiju/kaijus in the plain field and started fighting with his yell “Red Fight!” and particular posing.

He went so far as to force a kaiju into a fight with his “Red Fight!” call uttered in an assertive way while the kaiju looks so reluctant to fight even tying to escape from the hero before fighting,

While it seems that Redman is set to be from Planet Red located in Nebula Red although it sounds too easy, the low budget show didn’t allow the hero to use beam attacks that would necessitate the use of optical compositing (tokusatsu scenes have to be filmed with 35 mm films for optical compositing, but 16 mm films were used for “Redman”).

 

So the fights with kaijus were fought exclusively with the exchange of punches, kicks, grappling and throwing except that a beam attack from Redman was realized in Episode 137 with the use of superimposing technique the cameraman who filmed this series Shinichi Ōoka, the current president of Tsuburaya Productions, came up with.

Although depictions that could be seen as violent and cruel were often found in the series having a kaiju/kaijus pierced with the spear-like weapon Redman calls “Red Arrow” (the prop was the same as Ultra Cross used by Returned Ultraman) and so on, the kaijus who should have been destroyed reappear over and over in different episodes as if nothing had happened to them last time.


Redman – “The Red Guy” #1

Redman

Having previously talked a bit about “Ultra Fight” that is, though in a funny way, a legendary show in various aspects, I would like to deal with “Redman” as it could be seen as a show produced in the same line as “Ultra Fight.”

The name “Redman” was used as the provisional title and heroes’ name in the planning stages of “Ultraman” and “Ultraseven” respectively so as not to have the real names stolen before they had been commercially registered.

And here is the hero who was actually named Redman while he is sung in the theme song as “the red guy (akai aitsu).”

 

With the style of the show resembling that of the newly filmed episodes of “Ultra Fight,” fights between Redman and kaijus are fought in every episode of the show as it aired from April to October in 1972 with 138 episodes in total (basically with each complete episode although the episodes from #94 through #99 seem to have been about a serial story).

It was a 5-minute segment aired from 7:30 am to 7:35 am from Monday through Saturday in the show titled “Good Morning, Kids Show (Ohayō Kodomo Shō)” while it is said that the hour-long kids’ show aired from 7:00 am daily including Saturday and Sunday started featuring the kaiju show segment when the Ohayō Kodomo Shō was renewed to avoid getting into a rut.

 

With the appearances of “used” kaiju costumes mostly from “Return of Ultraman,” “Redman” aired in the format of having “Kaiju Ojisan” (middle-aged man) comically played by the actor named Tetsuya Asado (1935-present) appear at the beginning and end of the segment every time to make comments on featured kaijus for the day spurring the excitement of kids viewers.

“Redman” differed from “Ultra Fight” in that the former had no commentary in it on what was going on in the segment unlike the latter that always had one as if it were a live coverage of the fight fought in the show.


Ultraseven & Alien Shadow Mask In Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)

Alien Shadow mask in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

In my yesterday’s post, I referred to the mask of Alien Shadow as used in the ending scene of “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)” Episode 11 “The Jaguar’s Eyes Are Red.”

When I checked, the mask fleetingly appeared at the very end of the ending credits with the director’s name Tsuneo Kobayashi (1911-1991) credited (I know little about him) rather than in the ending scene.

Ultraseven costume in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

Talking about the story of this episode briefly, it is about a science researcher with a crooked personality who kidnapped boys and demanded ransom under the pseudonym of “Red-eyed Jaguar” to get money for the development of a holographic image device he was working on without being rewarded with any social reputation.

I don’t think this is such an attractive story because it has some unnatural settings I don’t think make sense, but this episode is well known among tokusatsu fans since Ultraseven appeared in it as the “costume” worn by the evil man as a street advertising character handing out toy sunglasses to children at a toy store in preparation for kidnapping the targeted boys.

Alien Shadow mask in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

The body of the Ultraseven suit that appeared in this show seems to have been made from fabric while it is likely that such a suit of Ultraseven was used at stage shows or possibly at other local events as one of the photos covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho magazine shows an Ultraseven costume of the same kind (they may be the same costume).

Although it has no choice but to look cheap, it is impressive to find the Ultraseven mask attached to the suit looks exactly like the real ones used in the series while I assume it must have been cast from the original mold.

A photo of Ultraseven covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho allegedly shot at a stage show held in Fukushima Prefecture in 1968

The appearance of the Alien Shadow mask at the end of the ending credits was apparently unrelated to the episode story, which makes me guess it should have showed up simply because (the costume of) Ultraseven appeared in the episode (such irrelevances are conspicuous in this episode).

It was fun to find the kidnapped boys’ father was played by Asao Matsumoto (1928-present) known to have impressively acted Ishiguro in Ultraseven episode 2 (he also played Matsui, observatory employee, in Ultraman Episode 8 who was rescued by Pigmon).

Asao Matsumoto in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

Akiji Kobayashi & Yasumi Hara In Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)

Police Sergeant Machida with Maki

As it aired right after the show “Ultraseven” ended, no Ultra heroes and no monsters appear in “Kaiki Daisakusen” in which the SRI members who courageously stand up against “science crimes” are depicted incorporating minor tokusatsu scenes instead of covering ostentatious tokusatsu scenes featuring Ultra heroes, monsters and futuristic equipment.

While it is explained “Kaiki Daisakusen” is a TV show produced in the same line with the Toho “Transformative Human Series” movies consisting of “The H-Man” (1958); “The Telegian” (1960); “The Human Vapor” (1960).

I found the no-hero-and-no-monsters show very much unsatisfactory when watching “Kaiki Daisakusen” as a kid, I now realize it is another form of TV tokusatsu shows that is fully enjoyable.

SRI chief Matoya
Hume pipe storage owner in Ultraman Episode 15

Meanwhile, it is another fun thing to see Akiji Kobayashi (1930-1996) who acted Captain Muramatsu in “Ultraman” appear in “Kaiki Daisakusen” almost regularly as a police sergeant who cooperates with the SRI team although the sergeant Taizo Machida is much more human than Cap. Muramatsu as Machida often makes mistakes.

Furthermore, while the SRI chief Tadashi Matoya was played by Yasumi Hara (1915-1997), it is hilarious to see him appear as the owner of the hume pipe storage in Ultraman Episode 15 (he appeared in the episode before acting the SRI chief).

It is said that Hara was known to be a good-looking actor who appeared in popular TV series including a daytime soap opera and fascinated Japanese housewives even before his appearance in “Ultraman.”

I greatly admire Jissoji’s playful mind to apply such a popular actor to the man who yells at children in a funny way and gets into a lot of trouble, and Hara himself seems to have played the man happily at Jissoji’s request as Hara was also one of Jissoji’s favorite actors.


Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery) Screened At The Event

Hiroko Sakurai from “Fearful Telephone”

When it comes to “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery: aired from 1968 to 1969)” screened along with “Silver Kamen,” Episode 4 “Fearful Telephone” featured Hiroko Sakurai who played Yuriko Edogawa in “Ultra Q” and Akiko Fuji in “Ultraman.”

Sakurai acted a woman named Reiko Takiguchi in the “Kaiki Daisakusen” episode who has a gloomy streak contrary to cheerful Akiko Fuji while I also found the character of Reiko fascinating.

While the episode includes the scenes in which a man gets burnt to death by electricity transmitted through the telephone cable when using a public phone, Jissoji writes in one of his books they were scolded by a pharmacy owner when they were trying to shoot the scenes on the street by placing a creepy dummy doll made of styrofoam.

From “Pottery Of Curse”

The other two episodes “Pottery Of Curse” and “I Am Buying Kyoto” are the products highly reputed as masterpieces in the “Kaiki Daisakusen” episodes among fans.

“Pottery Of Curse” includes excellent tokusatsu scenes featuring a temple ablaze at the end of the episode while Noriyoshi Ikeya allegedly played a major role in building the finely crafted miniature.

“I Am Buying Kyoto” also includes impressive optical compositing scenes in which stolen Buddha statues are being teleported by a substance transmission device and its surreal ending that leaves it uncertain whether it is a reality or a dream.

From “Pottery Of Curse”

In the case of “Kaiki Daisakusen,” I realize Shin Kishida (1939-1982) who played Shiro Maki, an SRI (Science Research Institute) member in the show, has an extraordinary presence while he is widely known to have acted Ken Sakata in “The Return Of Ultraman” afterwards.

It is said that Kishida was one of Jissoji’s favorite actors, and Kishida also appeared regularly in such tokusatsu shows as “Silver Kamen Giant” and “Fireman” although I don’t think Jissoji was involved in these two.

It is said that Kishida publicly kept stating that he was an actor raised by Tsuburaya Productions even after he gained great fame through his appearances in various movies and TV shows in later years.

Shin Kishida as Shiro Maki From “I Am Buying Kyoto”

Kaiki Daisakusen, post-Ultra

201602111
Avan title of “Kaiki Daisakusen”

You might have noticed that there was another Tsuburaya product besides Ultra Series titled “Kaiki Daisakusen” in the list of the products broadcast in Takeda Hour.

Kaiki means something bizarre or horror; Daisakusen means big operation.

I assume that the title itself is not so significant, though.

It’s a Tsuburaya product just after “Ultra Seven.”

201602112

It has no superhero like Ultraman or Ultra Seven appear with no monsters and no defense team.

It’s a story to depict the activity of SRI (Science Research Institute) standing up against “scientific crimes” brought about by humans.

It was produced on the assumption that Kaiju Boom was already over because of the lowering viewer ratings “Ultra Seven” got.

The producers are likely to have thought Kaiki Boom was coming next because anime products featuring kaiki were getting popular at the time.

201602113
SRI members

I bet “Kaiki Daisakusen” was an ambitious product featuring SFX as expected from Tsuburaya Productions with the name of Eiji Tsuburaya credited as supervisor just like the preceding Ultra Series (Kuuso Tokusatsu Series).

And it seems to have gained decent popularity, and it’s still highly valued among fans now.

But, as an ardent fan of First Trilogy of Ultra Series, it was so sad not to be able to see Ultra heroes and Ultra monsters any more.


Drama part and SFX part

20151119
Mr. Koichi Takano directing Mirrorman

Naturally the honpen (drama part) to be acted by the cast members and the tokusatsu (SFX part) featuring the miniatures, the monsters and the Ultra hero were shot separately and simultaneously in the Ultra Series to save time and cost.

Therefore these two parts were directed by each director separately.

 

The scenes featuring monsters and the hero seem to have been left to the crew on the set with the details undescribed even in the script with only a word saying something like, “The monster has appeared. Leaving the rest to you!”

So the SFX part was left to the discretion of the SFX director on the set practically.

That’s why such a thing happened as Director Akio Jissoji turned out to be dissatisfied with how Seabose was directed in the SFX part as posted yesterday.

 

Koichi Takano (1935-2008) is known as an SFX director who contributed greatly to the Tsuburaya products including the Ultra Series and the others such as “Mirrorman” (1971-72).

Having started his career as an assistant shooter of Toho Company under Eiji Tsuburaya, Mr. Takano learnt SFX shooting directly from Mr. Tsuburaya.

Those who worked with Mr. Takano describe him as very much gentle and considerate with one mouth including Satoshi (Bin) Furuya, actor for Ultraman, and Tetsuo Yamamura, kaiju suit actor.