Mysterious Man: Shōji Ōtomo #3

Zetton set to have its eyes back in the pair of projecting parts on his face and to give out a light ball of one trillion degrees Celsius from his mouth (Kaiju Ultra Zukan)

It is said that Shōji Ōtomo drew attention with the nick name of “Mr. Kaiju” while the kaiju pictorial he had authored gained so much popularity that it became a hot topic back then that even the Crown Prince of Japan was one of the children who purchased the book.

Ōtomo seems to have worked on a picture book of Eiji Tsuburaya to be authored by Hajime Tsuburaya in the hope of restoring the friendship with him, and  Ōtomo suddenly died of heart attack right before the book got completed leaving the restoration of their relationship unrealized with Hajime Tsuburaya having also died only 13 days after Ōtomo had passed away while Ōtomo had claimed he would be dying by 40 since he was younger. (it is likely that the book titled “Tsuburaya Eiji – Nihon Eigakai Ni Nokoshita Isan/Eiji Tsuburaya – The Legacy He Left Behind in the Movie Industry of Japan” published in 1973 is still available in the reprinted version).

A photo of Toho kaiju “Kumonga” is shown instead of “Gumonga” of Ultraseven with the description for the latter  (Kaiju Ultra Zukan)

I remember I was surprised at the anatomy illustration of Ultraman when I was a kid and that it made me wonder “Wow! Is he a robot?” as his metallic skeleton was shown in the illustration (I didn’t know the word “cyborg” back then). As to Alien Baltan’s feet shaped in a very different way from the actual costume, it has an explanation describing them as being able to give out toxic liquid with the organs secreting the liquid properly shown in the anatomy illustration. And it is fun to find that the projecting parts on Zetton’s face are interpreted as having his eyes back in there.

By today’s standards, although it should have been unavoidable with no videos available to review in those days, the specifications he laid would be found to lack accuracy in one way or another such as his statement that Ultraman left the earth for home after he had fought against Zōffy (not Zoffy. Apparently mixed up with the mysterious alien currently called Alien Zetton) and Zetton in the explanatory section for Ultraman.

At any rate, there is no doubt that Shōji Ōtomo greatly contributed to helping us kids expand our imagination with the settings he had devised, and it seems to be appropriate to see him called “the first otaku (enthusiast of anime or tokusatsu)” while he gives me an impression he was totally a mysterious man beyond description.

Note:  The anatomical and technical illustrations were drawn by having illustrators draw them at the instruction of Otomo based on his ideas with the rough sketches drawn by Otomo and presented to them, and it is not that the illustrations actually featured in magazines/books of the time were the works drawn by Otomo himself.

6 thoughts on “Mysterious Man: Shōji Ōtomo #3”

  1. Both Anatomy illustrations and cross section illustrations are what we follow with interest in those days. and Same as you two, I Strongly agree that Shōji Ōtomo’s works helping us kids expand our imagination.

    1. How interesting! Thanks for sharing the Thai version of the illustrations. It is so enjoyable to see how they were dealt with in another country even in the 1960s!

  2. Ah, I see; thank you for clarifying that! Even so, it is still great to learn about Otomo and the background behind these illustrations. I definitely agree that he helped us kids to expand our imaginations, as the illustrations in these books made us think in greater detail about the creatures and technologies that were presented to us

    1. Yes, I totally agree! I think the illustrators drew the illustrations under him also did an excellent job, so I hope to deal with them in this blog sometime in the near future too!

  3. Thank you for writing this series of posts about Otomo. I wrote a comment in one of your previous posts about how much I used to love looking at these sorts of diagrams and anatomical/technical drawings of Ultraman and Ultra Seven when I was a kid, so I am glad to learn more about the man who actually drew them. Thanks again!

    1. You are most welcome, RT! Yes, I understand you really like these illustrations.

      Just in case, to avoid any possible misunderstanding, the illustrations were drawn by illustrators under Otomo, not by Otomo himself. As my English writing must have been confusing, I added a note about it to the end of the last entry of my articles about him!

      Learning that my serial posts about Otomo were enjoyable to you makes me really happy! As there seems to be a detailed book on Otomo available, I hope to buy and read it to give more informationn about him to my readers sometime in the future!

      Thanks for your kind words as always, RT, while I also enjoy your hilarious comments all the time! 🙂

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