Tag Archives: Eiji Tsuburaya

Reunion With Lovable Kaiju

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By posing about kaiju of Ultraman, I had a reunion (I’ve had many reunions so far) with each monster and have found anew how lovable they are.

Each of the unique characters fascinated me afresh, and I find they are too attractive to be hated.

Come to think of it, I have known them and been with them for many years.

The monsters were not enemies at all for us kids.

 

Like human actors, they are cast members, important ones, who just played the characters of bad guys in a way.

I think it is a common awareness shared among those who grew up with the Ultra Series.

I’m sure the design by Tohl Narita and the sculpting by Ryosaku Takayama must have contributed greatly to it.

Each one of them appears to be a moving art object to my eyes.

 

I can find, including them, every crew member who gathered under Eiji Tsuburaya obviously brought passion and affection to creating each kaiju.

Of course, it’s needless to say each story of the episodes and the drama were the integral part of the charm as well.

The creators’ enthusiasm could have given eternal life to each of them with attraction which doesn’t fade away even now.

They were truly fascinating and amazing enough to make our eyes sparkle every week.

At any rate the Ultra Kaiju have been lovable monsters for those who spent time with them like me!

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Eiji Tsuburaya’s demand

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In terms of “Ultra Q,” all the episodes were shot before the broadcasting got started.

And the order of broadcasting didn’t match the one of production.

In the case of “Ultraman,” the producers tried to keep some of the episodes in stock by shooting them in advance.

So the episodes of “Ultraman” in the early stage didn’t match the order of broadcasting.

And Episode 1 of “Ultraman” was the ninth episode in order of production.

 

And it was shot after Episode 8 featuring Red King and Chandlar.

I think that’s why Ultraman Eve Festival hastily plotted and produced had them appear on the stage.

Shooting an initial episode seems to be a Tsuburaya way including “Ultra Seven.”

It’s intended to shoot the first episode after the cast members got used to the shooting set.

Despite some of the episodes in stock, the broadcasting started to catch up with the shooting soon.

 

And the delay of shooting was gradually becoming serious.

Finally, it became clear that, if that went on, the production might miss the deadline for broadcasting.

That’s why “Ultraman” had to end with 39 episodes in spite of great popularity.

It’s said that the delay was caused partly because Eiji Tsuburaya, who stuck to the quality of a product, demanded retakes without hesitation.

The expert crew also tried to meet his demand with professionalism.

I think that’s one of the reasons why Early Ultra Series still remain so popular and highly evaluated even today.


Kaiki Daisakusen, post-Ultra

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Avan title of “Kaiki Daisakusen”

You might have noticed that there was another Tsuburaya product besides Ultra Series titled “Kaiki Daisakusen” in the list of the products broadcast in Takeda Hour.

Kaiki means something bizarre or horror; Daisakusen means big operation.

I assume that the title itself is not so significant, though.

It’s a Tsuburaya product just after “Ultra Seven.”

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It has no superhero like Ultraman or Ultra Seven appear with no monsters and no defense team.

It’s a story to depict the activity of SRI (Science Research Institute) standing up against “scientific crimes” brought about by humans.

It was produced on the assumption that Kaiju Boom was already over because of the lowering viewer ratings “Ultra Seven” got.

The producers are likely to have thought Kaiki Boom was coming next because anime products featuring kaiki were getting popular at the time.

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SRI members

I bet “Kaiki Daisakusen” was an ambitious product featuring SFX as expected from Tsuburaya Productions with the name of Eiji Tsuburaya credited as supervisor just like the preceding Ultra Series (Kuuso Tokusatsu Series).

And it seems to have gained decent popularity, and it’s still highly valued among fans now.

But, as an ardent fan of First Trilogy of Ultra Series, it was so sad not to be able to see Ultra heroes and Ultra monsters any more.


Kiddy visitors

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Bisen studio in the late 1960s with kids peeping inside. The junks in front seem to be the used costume of Pester and debris of oil refinery miniatures destroyed by it in the drama

The actors involved in the early Ultra Series say, as the Bisen studios were uninsulated, the noises of fallen leaves blown by the wind on the roof were easily heard while acting in the studios. (The lines were dubbed afterwards at the time.)

It’s impressive to learn that, In the 1960s, the hand-made SFX series were filmed in the shabby studios with the corrugated iron roof.

It’s also noteworthy that kiddy visitors seem to have been allowed to visit and see the shooting set rather easily in those days.

 

It should be unthinkable if it’s today for security reasons.

One thing I remember is that the addresses of cartoonists were easily available in my chilhood because they were openly shown in comic magazines, saying, “Post a fan letter to Mr. …!”

I actually visited the addresses to meet some cartoonists and ask them to give me an autograph, and I got a few including the one of a cartoonist known worldwide now.

 

Eiji Tsuburaya, founder and then president of Tsuburaya Productions, seems to have been very much pleased to welcome kiddy visitors of their own and is said to have been very much gentle and kind to them in showing them the sets.

I feel his idea “Give children a dream” should be working in such an aspect as well.

At any rate, it was an absolutely good time for us kids.


Eiji Tsuburaya’s gleaming eyes 2

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Eiji Tsuburaya in center

Eiji Tsuburaya‘s gleaming eyes mentioned yesterday should have made the production crew pull up their socks in their attempts not to give a bad name to Oyaji-san, big buddy, the nickname for Eiji Tsuburaya.

When I was a child, I didn’t understand what “supervisor” meant.

At the time, it was hard for me to read the Chinese characters as I was too young.

 

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What are they talking about?

I remember I asked my parents about it though I hardly understood the answer because it was too difficult to understand for a kid.

The dignity of having the name of Eiji Tsuburaya on top must have been immeasurable, though.

Having his name in such a way should have been commercially aimed as well.

But it’s not reduced to an empty slogan, and he was not the supervisor in name only, either.

 

He checked through the film precisely and demanded the crew retake any part he disapproved of.

I imagine they had no time to relax their attention in face of Eiji Tsuburaya’s piercing eyes.

But, at the same time, they should have felt warm eyes to watch over the crew most of whom were in their 20s and 30s at the time.

They may have been led by Oyaji-san’s bright eyes to give a dream to children through their products.

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Eiji Tsuburaya’s gleaming eyes 1

What makes the early trilogy of Ultra, “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven,” outstanding must be the existence of Eiji Tsuburaya who was still on the active.

Eiji Tsuburaya, who is called “God of SFX” in Japan and highly reputed across the world as well, is credited as “supervisor” in each of the above first trilogy.

His name appears at the very beginning of the opening credit of each one of them.

 

Each of the pictures above has his name proudly credited as “Supervisor: Eiji Tsuburaya.”

As his name was already known by many people because of, needless to say, “Godzilla” at the time, his name on top should have raised people’s expectations for the product.

And the products lived up to their expectations or more than that.

As far as the viewing rate is concerned, “Ultra Seven” had a hard time.

 

The flourishing of “anime” that made a greater variety of expressions possible may have caused the deteriorated viewing rate.

But the producers’ idea to leave a good thing behind made “Ultra Seven” a successful masterpiece to hand down to posterity.

Kazuho Mitsuta, a dyed-in-the-wool Tsuburaya director who directed lots of episodes of the first trilogy now at the age of 78, says they were always aware of Eiji Tsuburaya’s gleaming eyes in those days.