Category Archives: Ultraseven

Earth is targeted!

201509091
“Ultra Seven” Episode 1 “Invisible Challenger”

“Earth is targeted!

Now, from thousands of heavenly bodies drifting in the universe, evil hands of formidable invasion …”

 

The world settings of “Ultra Seven” drastically changed from those of “Ultraman.”

The theme is focused on invasion of Earth by aliens from the space.

The phrases above were used as narration in the opening scene of Ultra Seven Episode 1.

Ultra Seven and Ultraman were about totally different worlds with no asscosiation initially.

That’s why Ultraman and Ultra Seven have such a difference in appearance.

 

For example, Ultra Seven is the only Ultra hero with no Color Timer.

All the Ultra heroes after “Seven” have one because it was exactly since “Return of Ultraman” after “Seven” that the world settings of each product have been combined.

 

Tohl Narita, who designed Ultraman and Ultra Seven, was unpleasant about Color Timer attached to Ultraman his design didn’t have before he knew.

Then he placed a lamp called “Beam Lamp” on Seven’s forehead to avoid such a thing as Color Timer from being attached.

I hear he said he didn’t want to see his design spoiled by something strange attached without asking.

 

And the Ultra heroes bear the title of Ultraman such as Ultraman A (ace), Ultraman Taro, Ultraman Leo and so on in the later Ultra (Ultraman) Series.

Ultra Seven is exceptional.

It shows “Seven” had no association with “Ultraman” and was produced as an independent product.


Ultra Eye

150903
Tohl Narita’s design of Ultra Seven (final version)

The final version of Ultraman design doesn’t exist as Tohl Narita embarked on molding the mask came to a standstill in designing on paper.

But the final version of Ultra Seven does exist.

The design of Ultra Seven was modeled on western armors.

 

As you may know, Dan Moroboshi transforms into Ultra Seven attaching a glass-shaped item called “Ultra Eye” on his eyes.

The shape around Seven’s eyes follows it.

 

In the planning stage, the production corresponding to Ultra Seven was titled “Ultra Keibi-tai (Ultra Garrison)”, and no hero like Ultraman was supposed to appear.

It was supposed to depict Ultra Keibi-tai’s activities mostly in space.

The idea reflects the arrival of the space age in those days Apollo and Soyuz stand for.

 

That is the background for the planning of “Ultra Seven.”

 

Through transitions, there was a duration when the pseudonym title of the product was “Ultra Eye” for a while.

Eye-slugger, Seven’s fatal blow to sever the opponent by throwing the space boomerang on top of Seven’s head, shows the trace in the name.

With that title, looks like the hero’s name was Redman again.

I’m not sure if it’s why Seven’s body is in red.

Finally, the title and the hero’s name were decided as “Ultra Seven” after that of an SFX comedy by Tsuburaya Production about seven ape-men which was not produced.


Design of Ultra Seven

1509021
Tohl Narita’s design of Ultra Seven (1)

I remember Ultra Seven’s appearance made me surprised when I first looked at it.

The upper body photo published in a children book with a caption notifying the start of Ulra Sven on TV looked just like a robot to me.

Completely different from simple-looking Ulraman.

 

The design of Ultra Seven by Tohl Narita also went through changes.

The first one looks just like an armored astronaut.

It is said Mr. Narita designed Ultra Seven assuming Satoshi Furuya would act in succession of Ultraman.

But, as it got decided Mr. Furuya was acting Amagi of Ultra Garrison, that made Mr. Narita disappointed.

 

According to Mr. Furuya’s autobiography, Mr. Narita begged him to accept the role of Ultra Seven, saying, “You are the hero.”

Mr.Furuya was willing to play the role of an Ultra Garrison member.

He acted Ultraman without any stand-in for one year, suffering from injuries or burns.

And fans of his wanted him to act with no mask this time.

 

After all, it got decided Koji Uenishi was to act Ultra Seven.

Mr. Uenishi was not such a tall man with long limbs as Mr. Furuya.

Mr. Narita said in life he adopted complicated design for Seven’s upper body so that it would draw more attention than the lower body.

I think both Furuya’s beautiful Ultraman and Uenishi’s manly Seven are attractive and I love both of them!

1509022
Tohl Narita’s design of Ultra Seven (2)

James Dean and Ultraman

122412
Ultraman vs Jirass (Episode 10)

Ultraman has a stooping posture with open hands when facing with Kaijyu in the battle.

It is a characteristic point.

In addition to Mr. Furuya’s thin figure, some Ultra fans say it doesn’t look strong at all and the uneasiness is also appealing.

I feel it suits a mysterious spaceman beyond our understanding.

By the way, where is the stooping posture from?

In the older publication, it had been said Mr. Furuya unfamiliar with actions backed away from gunpowder and so on.

Mr. Furuya says in his memoir that it came from James Dean and Koichi Takano (Tokusatsu director).

He was inspired by James Dean.

In the movie “Rebel Without a Cause“, James Dean held a knife with stooping posture in the duel.

Mr. Furuya found it cool and had the same posture for Ultraman.

Mr. Takano advised him to get it lower for the sake of camera work.

154832
Ultra Seven

On the other hand, Ultra Seven stands up straight with closed hands like a boxer.

Koji Uenishi who acted Ultra Seven was aware of the dfference from Ultraman.

Mr. Uenishi was a sword fight arranger in Samurai movies and used to do a stunt as well.

Mr. Uenishi acted “Spectreman” (1971/P Production ) in later years and he had his hands open like chops.

Always pursuing a different style of their own.

I am very much impressed with the attitude in acting heroes.


Kaijyu Show

po1
“Pointer” in “Ultra Seven”

In the previous post, I mentioned “Kaijyu Show.”

I myself was not taken to such show in my childhood except the one held in Futago Tamagawa Park in Tokyo. (This park was closed in 1985.)

I don’t remember what was on there.

I don’t remember I met any Kaijyu or heroes there.

Probably the show may not have had many things.

I just remember “Pointer” was displayed there.

Unfortunately, no photo for an unknown reason.

I may have had a photo with me in front of Pointer but it’s missing.

It was sometime in the 1970’s.

Probably around time “Kaette-kita Ultraman” was on TV.

So I must have been around 10 years old.

Autograph sessions with the regular cast of “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven” were also held and assembled many people.

Koji Moritsugu, actor for Dan Moroboshi who transforms into Ultra Seven, recalls in his memoir he was in trouble being asked by children at the show to transform into Seven with the Ultra Eye (transformation item).

He says most surprizing was an autograph session which was held in a department store in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Too many people got together there and the session was suspended.

He just waved his hand on the rooftop to the people.

It is imaginable how popular “Ultra” was at that time.


Ultraman created from claywork

I like the design of both Ultraman and Ultra Seven.

As totally different in concept, each design has its own fascination.

Toru Narita, if my memory is correct, told that he was more fond of the design of Ultraman than Ultra Seven.

As Toru Narita thought the symbol of “cosmos” should be extremely simple, any decoration was removed in designing Ultraman.

When you see the silver body of Ultraman, you may not be sure whether it is the spaceman’s spacesuit or his skin.

You cannot know whether the face is the spaceman’s face or a steely mask he wears.

The uncertainty is what Toru Narita intended.

At that time there were artists and illustrators involved in art works for Ultraman publication.

Inoichiro Sekiguchi, one of the artists, told in a recent book he was in trouble about how he should interpret the above.

According to his writing,Toru Narita was at a standstill in designing Ultraman’s face during limited time.
He was in charge of designing Kaijyu,mechanics and so on for the entire work “Ultraman.”

Narita gave up drawing Ultraman on paper and switched to claywork.
Given he is a sculptor, it should be only natural.

Narita worked on the prototype with his fellow sculptor Akira Sasaki.

And the mask of Ultraman was finished at last.

In designing characters, the face should be most important.

I see it interesting that the face of Ultraman was originated as a solid body not on paper.

I remember Toru Narita wrote somewhere that the final version of the design of Ultraman’s face did not exist because he quit it and switch to the clay work.

It is a truly sculptor’s work.


Ultraman and Ultra Seven

141019
Ultraman (1966)

My heroes in my childhood are, of course, Ultraman and Ultra Seven.

I was a 4-5 years old, at that time, “Monster Boom” (Kaijyu Boom) has occurred between the children.
Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ultra Seven were much more popular than you could imagine now.

When I entered a kindergarten, my mother bought me a magazine for children.
In the magazine I remember there was a notice saying that “Ultra Seven” is coming soon on TV.

214635
Ultra Seven (1967)

Just the broadcasting of Ultraman ended in spite of the popularity.
It was time to have Ultra Seven start to be broadcast.

Looking at the photos of Ultra Seven, completely different appearance from familiar Ultraman, I was a bit embarrassed.

The protector around the shoulder which Ultraman didn’t have gave the impression such as a robot to me.

I was worried whether Ultra Seven could fight as smart as Ultraman.
After Ultra Seven started, I found it was just a needless worry.
Seven was a hero that had a different charm from Ultraman.

Ultraman and Seven became the immortal hero for me.

I looked forward to watching Seven every Sunday.
But now I know the viewing rate was going down.

After Seven, “Kaiki Daisakusen” of the same Tsuburaya production was broadcast.
No Ultra Kaijyu and no Ultra heroes were there any more.

In TV broadcasting industry, they had a recognition that Kaijyu was already old-fashioned.

Kaiki Daisakusen is re-evaluated today among ardent fans.
But, in my impression, after Ultra Series, I found it lack in impact.

The end of Ultra Seven was also the end of the “Kaijyu Boom” until the boom came back after years.