Category Archives: Ultraseven

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.”

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

“Anne Now And Then” Authored By Yuriko Hishimi #2


Hishimi-san’s latest book “Anne Now and Then” along with her  previous essay book “Seven Seven Seven Anne Once Again” (paperback edition) to the left

As the name Fukushin had ever made me wonder where it came from because it is an unusual name I have never heard of in real life, Hishimi-san is so nice to explain it in this book that it was from a real-life man named Shinichi Fukuda.

Mr. Fukuda, one of TBS directors, was friendly with Akio Jissoji who directed the Fukushin episode (Jissoji himself was also a director originally from TBS), and the character was named Fukushin after Mr. Fukuda’s nickname (as the family name customarily comes before the last name in Japan like Fukuda Shinichi, the nickname should have been from the abbreviation of his name).

This book also has an essay about the topic that Hishimi-san ended up playing Anne instead of another actress who was originally cast for the role of Anne while the topic started being talked about quite much in recent publications on Ultraseven. I would talk about it on this blog sometime later.

It is always fun to read a book written by the cast members of the time, and I am really glad to see Hishimi-san and her fellows doing well while 50 years have passed since the show aired for the first time.

I always wish them good health, happiness, further success and longevity.

“Anne Now And Then” Authored By Yuriko Hishimi #1


“Anne Now and Then, Ultraseven Forever!” authored by Yuriko Hishimi

I purchased another book authored by Yuriko Hishimi who played Anne in “Ultraseven” published this month while I had been looking forward to it since it was announced to be released.

Her first book was published in 1997 titled “Seven Seven Seven My Sweetheart Ultraseven” and was formed into a paperback edition titled “Seven Seven Seven Anne Once Again” after revision in 2001 while the one I have at home is the paperback edition.

The new book “Anne Now and Then, Ultraseven Forever (Annu Konjaku Monogatari, Urutorasebun Yo Eien Ni)” consists of essays about her memory of each Ultraseven episode in the form of complementing her previous book along with the memoir of her childhood and the newest things disclosed after the publication of the previous book also featuring a special talk made among actresses who played aliens’ human forms in “Ultraseven.”

Among fun stories about Ultraseven episodes, a hilarious one is about Kimihiro Reizei who played Fukushin in Ultraseven Episode 45. As a story he himself introduced to fans quite recently, he went to a public bath in an area outside of Tokyo he visited to perform at a theater in the locality as he likes to bathe in public bathes (me too!).

While he had/has been addressed by a stranger as “Fukushin-san” over and over in any other places, the same thing happened to him then while taking a bath as a young man around 18 spoke to him asking, “You are Fukushin-san, aren’t you?”

And they shook hands all naked.

Ultraseven Featured In Sporting Newspaper #2


From left: Bin Furuya, Yuriko Hiishimi, Sandayu Dokumamushi and Koji Moritsugu featured in Sports Hochi

Dokumamushi (formerly Ishii) says in the talk he felt sorry for the other people who played the SSSP members as he was the only one who was decided on for the role of an Ultra Garrison member in subsequent “Ultraseven” after “Ultraman” while he was delighted as he could get a regular role in a show for another whole year.

When he asked the staff if he should change something including the appearance because he was to act a different person in “Ultraseven,” he was told it would be unnecessary to do so.

Therefore, he says kid viewers should have been confused as Furuhashi turned out to be something like a human clone from Arashi.

Brief episode reviews

Koji Moritsugu says, while the commute to the Bisen studio took him one hour and half for one way everyday by train, he had to get up at 5 in the morning to arrive at the studio in time and that children of the time didn’t make a noise letting out a cheer (even if they found Moritsugu on the train) as they didn’t think Dan would take a train. (In his memoir published in 1998, he writes he was in trouble when children found him on the train saying to each other, “Oh, That’s Dan! Dan is on the train! Ultraseven should be able to fly in the sky, though,” and they came over to ask him, “Why?”)

Yuriko HIshimi also referred to fun things she had experienced back then, but I like to introduce one in my post to come shortly afterwards as a new book authored by her has been released lately and the same story I want to tell you about is shared between this article and the newly published book.

The cross section image of the TDF Far Eastern Base newly drawn