Mysterious Man: Shōji Ōtomo #2

from “Ultra Kaiju Zukan”

It is explained online that it was Shōji Ōtomo who introduced Maurits Escher and René Magritte to Japanese people for the first time along with the “Star Trek” TV series.

It seems that he started being involved with Tsuburaya Productions around the time when the TV show “UNBALANCE” that was to turn “Ultra Q” in a while was being planned. As the show was planned to be produced with the cooperation from a group of Japanese sci-fi novel writers to work out the plots in the first place, Ōtomo might have got involved in the show through that channel.

It was him who devised each precise setting for the hero and kaiju characters and the equipment used by the defense teams with the anatomy illustrations and cross section illustrations based on his ideas even apart from the depictions or descriptions found in the shows.

Same as above

The settings he specified such as Ultraman’s energy limit putting it as three minutes and Zetton’s light ball allegedly given out of its mouth as one trillion degrees Celsius were incorporated into the official settings by Tsuburaya Productions (I hadn’t known he set the energy limit as three minutes until recently).

On the other hand, it also seems to have been Ōtomo who caused dispute afterwards by adding the subtitle that could be seen as offensive to atomic bomb victims to Alien Spell so that Ultraseven Episode 12 featuring the alien has been banned since then in Japan.

It is said that he was so meticulous about his work and such a demanding boss that three editors who had worked under him resigned when the publishing company Kodansha regularly had his articles appear in their magazines.

Chances are that Ōtomo was finally banned from Tsuburaya Productions because Hajime Tsuburaya, Eiji’s first son, took a dim view of the way Ōtomo had dealt with their kaiju characters perhaps by taking the liberty of stretching the stories and settings at his discretion.


2 thoughts on “Mysterious Man: Shōji Ōtomo #2”

  1. That’s amazing to learn that Otomo was the one who came up with the Color Timer’s three-minute time limit, instead of the official production team! Nowadays, such details would be carefully controlled by the production team, but we should remember that things were different in the time that Ultraman was made.

    This entry on Ultraman says that the Flash Beam (not the Beta Capsule) turns Hayata into Ultraman. This Flash Beam is so similar to the name of the Beam Flasher used by the hero in the anime The Ultraman, almost as if Otomo had a vision of the animated Ultraman nearly 15 years into the future… what a “Mysterious Man,” indeed!

    1. Yeah, the Timer thing surprised me too even though the accuracy of the information is a bit questionable as I just fount the description online. Yes, things can go like that in the society as you mentioned unfortunately.

      I can tell you read Japanese perfectly. As to the Flash Beam and the Beta Capsule, I think most of us kids were confused about them back then while the capsule itself was often called “Flash Beam” among us if my memory serves me right although Ultraman himself described it as “Beta Capsule” in Episode 1 (the line uttered by one of the underground humans toward Hayata under hypnosis “Light the Flash Beam!” in Episode 22 could have also been misleading in this sense.

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