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).
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.