Mysterious Man: Shōji Ōtomo #1

Shoji Otomo

Regarding the original Ultra Series, Ultra Q, Ultraman and Ulttraseven, that have been featured in this blog, I feel like referring to Shōji Ōtomo (1936-1973) should never be missed.

Shōji Ōtomo is known for his work related to the Tsuburaya tokusatsu TV series especially while playing a major role in publicizing kaiju pictorials featuring kaiju anatomy illustrations based on the ideas Ōtomo had devised.

Although it is very hard to describe him about what he actually was as he is referred to as “a Japanese editor, sci-fi researcher, movie critic and translator” on the Internet, it is told that he was born as Toyoji Shishimoto to his father, Hachiro Shishimoto, international journalist, and his mother, Ai Shishimoto, social movement journalist. The name Shōji Ōtomo was one of his pseudonyms.

Ōtomo spent his childhood in Mexico from two to five years of age when his father was assigned abroad, and, while looking at Aztec pyramids and the like, it helped him get into something mysterious.

While his mother Ai Shishimoto was alive until she died at 103 in 2013, the Ultraseven Research Book published by Yōsensha in 2012 got to have her appear in an interview included in the book in which she said Ōtomo had been drawing a lot of monsters inspired by the statues he had seen in the Aztec areas so that he had drawn some 100 monster drawings when he was two years old.

After he came back to Japan, he graduated from Keio Universtity where he met Toshihiro Iijima and Keisuke Fujikawa at Broadcasting Study Club (an extracurricular activity) Ōtomo was involved with for a short period of time when Iijima and Fujikawa, who were to become a director and a writer for the Ultra Series respectively in later years, were upper-year students of the university.

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