Category Archives: Ultraman

Human-sized Woo Appeared!!!


With the name TBS in the back assuming it says “TBS Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Field”; the Ishiuchi Ski Resort might have been originally developed by TBS although I am not sure

It is known among ardent fans of Ultraman that there are pictures taken at the ski field (Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort in Niigata Prefecture) where the location shooting for the Woo episode was done back then showing the costume of Woo with an actor inside in the snow field. Not much is referred to and known about the details of these photos while there are no scenes in the show where Woo appeared in the human-size.

Moreover, It is likely that Dorako accompanied Woo on that occasion although the combination is really unexpected while we can see this Dorako was the costume before it was remodeled into Reborn Dorako with some horns added to the costume from Imora by Kunio Suzuki maybe just for pleasure. Suzuki also played Woo in the show although it is uncertain the human-sized Woo had him inside as well.

Even though the Dorako costume still looks neat, marks can be found where it was repaired in some parts of the costume especially in the ditch-like sections between the tile-like surfaces.

According to the caption for the top photo, it seems that an event was held in the ski field in February 1967 to celebrate the completion of Episode 30 (the Woo episode) with the costumes brought over there.

By the by, in the talk among the cast about this Woo episode included in one of the memoirs authored by Hiroko Sakurai (Fuji), it was also revealed that, on a location shooting trip apart from this Woo episode, Masanari Nihei (Ide) got so drunk that he got out of control rampaging at night to the degree that the other people had to tie him up with a rope and that Nihei smashed the door of his room in the lodge (after getting out of the rope) while Iyoshi Ishii (Arashi) ended up paying for the damage at the request of the lodge employee as Ishii added in the talk he still remembered the amount he had paid (2000 yen at the monetary value of the 1960s).

At any rate, it looks very odd somehow to find the human-sized Woo among people in the snow field because it makes it look as if an UMA or something actually showed up there  with the smiling people including kids!

The staff on the location for the Woo episode at Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort

Thank You In Advance, Tokusatsu


“Ultraman Tanjō/The Birth of Ultraman” with the use of a Kaiyodo Ultraman figure for the cover wrongly described as Type B on the flap of the cover although it is Type C Ultraman

Regarding how Ultraseve fought with Star Bem Gyeron, while how Ultraseven dealt with the kaiju could make the fight look unfair in a way, what comes to my mind is the description made by Akio Jissoji in one of his books titled “Ultraman Tanjō/The Birth of Ultraman” published by Chikuma Shobō in 2006.

In that book, Jissoji says everything was left to the tokusatsu staff to make the tokusatsu part of the show filmed at their discretion for the series. And it was not a rarity that the details of fight scene between Ultra heroes and a kaiju character/characters were just left out in the script only with the description indicating it is the tokusatsu scene with an arrow like → and the word “tokusatsu yoroshiku.”

“Yoroshiku” should mean “thank you in advance” in this case while the expression is often found to be used in conversations among Japanese people in various meanings such as when greeting someone or asking others for something. So the description in the script represents “leaving it to the tokusatsu staff, thank you in advance.”

 

As the result, I assume there could have been cases where what happened in the tokusatsu part ended up slightly mismatching the theme of the episode.

As to the effort paid by the tokusatus staff for the tokusatus parts, in the book authored by Jissoji, he refers to the statement made by Koichi Takano, tokusatsu director, as Takano put it as below:

“Although we made efforts to work out something new each time, pressed by the deadline for broadcasting, it was only natural we couldn’t work on something that would require a lot of extra work afterwards (probably optical compositing, etc.). We had to give up on things that would require a lot of preparation and an elaborate set even though we wanted to do it.

“Fight scenes with kaijus were no exception. While there were many things we would rather do such as filming in different sets, devising the use of gunpowder or the expression of beams/rays, and increasing composited images, we couldn’t make it due to time and money. So, as the last-ditch effort or the most straightforward means, it unintentionally ended up having Ultraman and a kaiju perform professional wrestling pretend play frequently.”

A Behind-the-scenes Story About Shaboten (Cactus) Park


Spherical greenhouse from Ultraman Episode 5 in Cosmo Land (Granpal Park at present); this still photo is among the ones alleged to have been recently discovered with no such scene in the show

While I posted an article about Hydra and “Izu Shaboten (Cactus) Park” (currently “Izu Shaboten Zoo Park”) where the Hydra statue is located, a story often referred to in a talk by the cast members of the time and publicized in books is an accident that took place during the filming at the park.

When the night scenes were filmed along with Akiji Kobayashi (Cap. Muramatsu) and Sandayu Dokumamushi (Arashi; formerly credited as Iyoshi Ishii), it is said that Susumu Kurobe (Hayata) accidentally sat on a big spiny cactus.

 

Dokumamushi says in a book that he heard Kurobe say “ouch!” when they tried to get in position by lowering themselves, and Dokumamushi found Kurobe got stuck by the cactus with the needles all over his buttock like a toothbrush.

And they had to remove the needles one by one with the filming interrupted while Kurobe was bending forward with his uniform trousers lowered and his buttock exposed to the filming light lit up by a seasoned lighting technician from Toho who served for products including Kurosawa movies starred by Toshiro Mifune.

Although I feel sorry for Kurobe-san, such a story really makes me feel the presence of a homey relationship exhibited by the cast and staff members of the time.

Izu Shaboten Park was launched in 1959 and has been seen as a “well-established” theme park sine then along with “Izu Granpal Park” run by the same company while both of them are located at the foot of Mt. Ōmuro on the Izu Peninsula.

 

While the mountain where Kemlar showed up was also Mt. Ōmuro (Mt. Ōtake in the show), the (now-defunct) spherical greenhouse that appeared in Ultraman Episode 5 used to be located in Granpal Park that was called “Izu Cosmo Land” back then.

The scene of the spherical greenhouse viewed from above as the VTOL was landing was filmed by Koichi Takano, tokusatsu director, from a helicopter.

These theme parks could be the symbols related to domestic tourism that thrived in the 1960s while they evoke a feeling of nostalgia a lot although such long-standing theme parks are on the wane now due to the emergence of Tokyo Disneyland and the declining number of children in Japan.

Incidentally, the word shaboten sounds a bit outdated as the cactus is called saboten today on the regular basis.

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 DorakoGeronimon 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

Daisaku & Strange Comet Cyphon


Daisaku in “Booska” acted by Miyamoto

As I wrote in my previous post Tomohiro Miyamoto who played Daisaku, Booska’s closest friend who brought the kaiju into being, appeared in an Ultraman episode, and I may have to explicitly explain a bit more about it.

Miyamoto acted a boy in a space suit in Episode 25 “Strange Comet Cyphon” of “Ultraman” while it is not that Daisaku of “Booska” was set to appear in “Ultraman” but as a boy named Tābou along with his father played by Haruo Nakajima, the original Godzilla actor.

Miyamoto in “Ultraman” with Haruo Nakajima

Tābou says to his father he wears the space suit in preparation for being possibly hurled into space with the impact if, by chance, Comet Cyphon should crash into Earth, and it is fun to see him appear alongside of his father’s understandably antsy behavior funnily performed by Haruo Nakajima.

I have to admit I didn’t know his father was played by Nakajima for a long while until it started being talked about in publications in later years, and I am not sure if I knew it was Miyamoto who acted the space suit boy when I was a kid.

Miiko in “Booska” acted by Nakahara

While Daisaku of “Booska” has a cute-looking girlfriend named Miiko (Mīko) as she was acted by Junko Nakahara, she also appeared in Episode 7 of “Ultraseven” as a daughter of the Mizushimas assaulted by the space prisoner 303 Alien Quraso.

It is a great shame that we can’t hear from Miyamoto and Nakahara anymore as they seem to have already left show business long ago maybe as children with little information about them even online.

Nakahara among the Mizushimas’ family members in “Ultraseven”