Tag Archives: Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)

Ultraseven & Alien Shadow Mask In Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)

Alien Shadow mask in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

In my yesterday’s post, I referred to the mask of Alien Shadow as used in the ending scene of “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)” Episode 11 “The Jaguar’s Eyes Are Red.”

When I checked, the mask fleetingly appeared at the very end of the ending credits with the director’s name Tsuneo Kobayashi (1911-1991) credited (I know little about him) rather than in the ending scene.

Ultraseven costume in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

Talking about the story of this episode briefly, it is about a science researcher with a crooked personality who kidnapped boys and demanded ransom under the pseudonym of “Red-eyed Jaguar” to get money for the development of a holographic image device he was working on without being rewarded with any social reputation.

I don’t think this is such an attractive story because it has some unnatural settings I don’t think make sense, but this episode is well known among tokusatsu fans since Ultraseven appeared in it as the “costume” worn by the evil man as a street advertising character handing out toy sunglasses to children at a toy store in preparation for kidnapping the targeted boys.

Alien Shadow mask in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

The body of the Ultraseven suit that appeared in this show seems to have been made from fabric while it is likely that such a suit of Ultraseven was used at stage shows or possibly at other local events as one of the photos covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho magazine shows an Ultraseven costume of the same kind (they may be the same costume).

Although it has no choice but to look cheap, it is impressive to find the Ultraseven mask attached to the suit looks exactly like the real ones used in the series while I assume it must have been cast from the original mold.

A photo of Ultraseven covered in an issue of Tokusatsu Hiho allegedly shot at a stage show held in Fukushima Prefecture in 1968

The appearance of the Alien Shadow mask at the end of the ending credits was apparently unrelated to the episode story, which makes me guess it should have showed up simply because (the costume of) Ultraseven appeared in the episode (such irrelevances are conspicuous in this episode).

It was fun to find the kidnapped boys’ father was played by Asao Matsumoto (1928-present) known to have impressively acted Ishiguro in Ultraseven episode 2 (he also played Matsui, observatory employee, in Ultraman Episode 8 who was rescued by Pigmon).

Asao Matsumoto in Kaiki Daisakusen #11

Michio Kida

Booska #35

When watching the Booska Episode 35 “Let’s Go To The Galaxy!,” I found an actor who looks familiar to me among the characters.

That was Michio Kida (1912-1994) who impressively played Yasui, the fortune teller persistently chased by Alien Shadow in Ultraseven Episode 23 “Find Tomorrow” because his ability to foresee the future intimidated the aliens as it could possibly spoil their plot to blast the Terrestrial Defense Force weaponry development facility.

In the Booska episode, Kida acted Orihime’s father comically, and Kida also appeared in Booska Episode 5 in which he played a kendo (Japanese swordsmanship with the use of bamboo swords) teacher who was easily beaten by Booska in a kendo match in spite of his stately presence.

And, after his appearance in “Ultraseven,” Kida performed a magician in “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)” Episode 1 “Man Who Gets Through The Wall” as a side character who just appeared for a short while.

A strong impression made by his role of Yasui makes it even more suitable for Kida to act a magician.

Kaiki Daisakusen #1

According to a book authored by Yuriko Hishimi who acted Anne in “Ultraseven,” Kida brought his grandson to the set when his Ultraseven episode was being filmed as the boy begged to take him there.

Hishimi writes she remembers Kida said to her with a laugh that the boy showed him respect for the first time with admiring words “Grandpa, you are great!.”

While I have read a few more stories like this uttered by other actors who appeared in the Ultra Series, these stories tell us how much popular the series were among us kids back then.

Photos of Kida as Yasui alleged to have been recently discovered

About “Ultra Fight”

“Ultra Fight” Title

Dealing with the history of the Ultra Series might make it unavoidable to talk about the show “Ultra Fight” as referred to in my previous post (about Keylla).

“Ultra Fight” was a five-minute long tokusatsu show (I am not sure how much appropriate it is to call this show tokusatsu) aired from 1970 to 1971 with 196 episodes at 5:30 pm from Monday through Friday in the same time slot on TBS.

Tsuburaya Productions was in a financial crisis back then as their “Mighty Jack” that started broadcasting with a lot of fanfare failed to win so much popularity as expected.

“produced by Tsuburaya Productions”

“Kaiki Daisakusen” that started after “Ultraseven” ended was also shortened than originally planned by judgement of TBS on the ground that it ended up gaining a lower viewership than the Ultra Series while the average rating itself alleged to have been 22.0% should have been fair enough even by the standards at that time.

Meanwhile, “Ultra Fight” started being produced as Hajime Tsuburaya, Eiji’s first son, took an initiative suggesting to work out a show with little expense.

Although it was planned to make each edited episode a five-minute long show in the first place extracting only the battle scenes between Ultraman/Ultraseven and a kaiju from the shows “Ultraman” and “Ultraseven,” as they found fewer battle scenes were long enough for the new show than they had thought, many newly shot episodes were added to the series while each part is described today as the “extracted episodes (71 episodes)” and “newly shot episodes (125 episodes)” respectively.


Akiji Kobayashi & Yasumi Hara In Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery)

Police Sergeant Machida with Maki

As it aired right after the show “Ultraseven” ended, no Ultra heroes and no monsters appear in “Kaiki Daisakusen” in which the SRI members who courageously stand up against “science crimes” are depicted incorporating minor tokusatsu scenes instead of covering ostentatious tokusatsu scenes featuring Ultra heroes, monsters and futuristic equipment.

While it is explained “Kaiki Daisakusen” is a TV show produced in the same line with the Toho “Transformative Human Series” movies consisting of “The H-Man” (1958); “The Telegian” (1960); “The Human Vapor” (1960).

I found the no-hero-and-no-monsters show very much unsatisfactory when watching “Kaiki Daisakusen” as a kid, I now realize it is another form of TV tokusatsu shows that is fully enjoyable.

SRI chief Matoya
Hume pipe storage owner in Ultraman Episode 15

Meanwhile, it is another fun thing to see Akiji Kobayashi (1930-1996) who acted Captain Muramatsu in “Ultraman” appear in “Kaiki Daisakusen” almost regularly as a police sergeant who cooperates with the SRI team although the sergeant Taizo Machida is much more human than Cap. Muramatsu as Machida often makes mistakes.

Furthermore, while the SRI chief Tadashi Matoya was played by Yasumi Hara (1915-1997), it is hilarious to see him appear as the owner of the hume pipe storage in Ultraman Episode 15 (he appeared in the episode before acting the SRI chief).

It is said that Hara was known to be a good-looking actor who appeared in popular TV series including a daytime soap opera and fascinated Japanese housewives even before his appearance in “Ultraman.”

I greatly admire Jissoji’s playful mind to apply such a popular actor to the man who yells at children in a funny way and gets into a lot of trouble, and Hara himself seems to have played the man happily at Jissoji’s request as Hara was also one of Jissoji’s favorite actors.


Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery) Screened At The Event

Hiroko Sakurai from “Fearful Telephone”

When it comes to “Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery: aired from 1968 to 1969)” screened along with “Silver Kamen,” Episode 4 “Fearful Telephone” featured Hiroko Sakurai who played Yuriko Edogawa in “Ultra Q” and Akiko Fuji in “Ultraman.”

Sakurai acted a woman named Reiko Takiguchi in the “Kaiki Daisakusen” episode who has a gloomy streak contrary to cheerful Akiko Fuji while I also found the character of Reiko fascinating.

While the episode includes the scenes in which a man gets burnt to death by electricity transmitted through the telephone cable when using a public phone, Jissoji writes in one of his books they were scolded by a pharmacy owner when they were trying to shoot the scenes on the street by placing a creepy dummy doll made of styrofoam.

From “Pottery Of Curse”

The other two episodes “Pottery Of Curse” and “I Am Buying Kyoto” are the products highly reputed as masterpieces in the “Kaiki Daisakusen” episodes among fans.

“Pottery Of Curse” includes excellent tokusatsu scenes featuring a temple ablaze at the end of the episode while Noriyoshi Ikeya allegedly played a major role in building the finely crafted miniature.

“I Am Buying Kyoto” also includes impressive optical compositing scenes in which stolen Buddha statues are being teleported by a substance transmission device and its surreal ending that leaves it uncertain whether it is a reality or a dream.

From “Pottery Of Curse”

In the case of “Kaiki Daisakusen,” I realize Shin Kishida (1939-1982) who played Shiro Maki, an SRI (Science Research Institute) member in the show, has an extraordinary presence while he is widely known to have acted Ken Sakata in “The Return Of Ultraman” afterwards.

It is said that Kishida was one of Jissoji’s favorite actors, and Kishida also appeared regularly in such tokusatsu shows as “Silver Kamen Giant” and “Fireman” although I don’t think Jissoji was involved in these two.

It is said that Kishida publicly kept stating that he was an actor raised by Tsuburaya Productions even after he gained great fame through his appearances in various movies and TV shows in later years.

Shin Kishida as Shiro Maki From “I Am Buying Kyoto”

All Night Show Of Akio Jissoji Products (March 18, 2017)

The event flyer

I went to see an all-night movie show at the Shin Bungeiza movie theater last Saturday (March 18) where the TV tokusatsu shows directed by Akio Jissoji were screened.

The event was held in commemoration of a newly released book on Jissoji (this year seems to mark the 10th anniversary of his death) authored by Naofumi Higuchi, and a talk show was also held at the outset in which Yuriko Hishimi who played Anne appeared along with Hitomi Miwa, actress who also appeared in the products directed by Akio Jissoji including Ultraman Tiga Episode 37, and Higuchi.

Entrance of the Shin Bungeiza movie theater

It is not that I am a Jissoji enthusiast, I looked forward to seeing Hishimi-san appear in the talk show and enjoying some of Jissoji-directed products, and I found Yuriko Hishimi was a very unassuming, straightforward and friendly person as I expected.

The Jissoji products shown there were (the number in the parentheses shows the episode number):

From “Kaiki Daisakusen (Great Operation Mystery)”: “Fearful Telephone” (4); “A Lullaby Of Death God”(5); “Pottery Of Curse” (23); “I Am Buying Kyoto” (25)

From “Siver Kamen”; “My Home Is The Planet Earth” (1); “The Shine Of Youth” (7); “Call From A Cold-blooded Alien” (8); “Chased In An Unfamiliar Town” (9); “Burning Horizon” (10)

A lot of Jissoji enthusiasts got together although it was late at night (the event started around 10:30 pm)

After these episodes were shown, the movie “Jissoji-directed Ultraman” was shown for us as the movie that featured the edited episodes of the TV show “Ultraman” was first screened in 1979 covering the episodes about Gavadon, Telesdon, Jamyra, Skydon and Seabose while all of them were directed by Akio Jissoji

As I am too familiar with these Ultraman episodes, I found the showing of “Kaiki Daisakusen” and “Silver Kamen” enjoyable enough although it was so tough to stay up all night to see all these things as it was for the first time in such a long time since I was younger.

The person in the middle is Hishimi-san; she generously allowed us to take pictures that were prohibited otherwise (Darn, what a bad photo!)

Super heroes of Takeda Hour

201602101
Silver Kamen

Gekko Kamen is said to have been Japan’s first television series and the origin of products featuring a modern superhero.

The hero’s motto was “Never hate, never kill and forgive a sin.” and he never killed bad guys.

It seems to have been so popular among kids at the time though it’s before I was born.

201602102
Silver Kamen Giant

It’s impressive to learn that Ultraman was exactly the successor to Gekko Kamen as a superhero in a way given it was broadcast in the same Takeda Hour.

As to Takeda Hour, the product I remember is Ultra Series including Captain Ultra, Kaiki Daisakusen (Tsuburaya product with no superhero), Judo Icchokusen (judo drama), Silver Kamen and Iron King.

After Tsuburaya Productions got out of the hour leaving its immortal masterpieces behind (seemingly because of cost issues), Senkosha company which brought out Gekko Kamen produced two other SFX superheroes which are Silver Kamen (Silver Mask) and Iron King.

201602103
Iron King

The people who left Tsuburaya Productions also took part in these two.

The design work was done by Noriyoshi Ikeya who was the successor to Tohl Narita in designing Ultra monsters (aliens) for the latter half of “Ultra Seven.”

Silver Kamen and Iron King, both of which were designed by Mr. Ikeya based on western armors look similar.

They are attractive in a different way from Ultra heroes.

I hope to talk about them sometime later.


Takeda Hour

20160209
Gekko Kamen

Kuuso Tokusatsu Series (Fantasy SFX Series or Early Ultra Series, which stand for “Ultra Q,” “Ultraman” and “Ultra Seven”) were broadcast as one of the programs of “Takeda Hour.”

Takeda Hour was a prime-time TV program slot from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every Sunday from 1958 through 1974 broadcast by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) and sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited..

 

The hour started with a characteristic chorus featuring the company name and the bird-eye views of the company building.

At any rate, it was a long-awaited hour for us kids at the time.

With the beginning of the Takeda song, we rushed to a television set and breathlessly waited for what’s coming next.

It was the avan title of Ultra Series!!!

 

I vividly remember the excitement I had every time even now.

Kids throughout Japan should have been glued to the tube during this hour.

Looking into the Internet, I found the list of the Takeda Hour programs broadcast at the time (Shown in bold and red are SFX series).

If you find any errors, please let me know!

Title Duration Producer Episodes
1 Gekko Kamen Feb. 24, 1958-Jul. 5, 1959 Senkosha 130
2 Jaguar’s Eyes Jul. 12, 1959-Mar. 27, 1960  38
3 Nakiwarai Sakuranbo Gekidan Apr. 3, 1960-Jul. 31, 1960  ?
4 Yuyake Tenshi Aug. 7, 1960-Sept. 30, 1962 ?
5 Onmitsu Kenshi Oct. 7, 1962-Mar. 28, 1965  128
6 Shin Onmitsu Kenshi Apr. 4, 1965-Dec. 26, 1965  39
7 Ultra Q Jan. 2, 1966-Jul. 3, 1966  Tsuburaya Productions  28
 8 Ultraman Jul. 17, 1966-Apr. 9, 1967  39
 9 Captain Ultra Apr. 16, 1967-Sept. 24, 1967  Toei Company  24
 10 Ultra Seven Oct. 1, 1967-Sept. 8, 1968  Tsuburaya Productions 49
 11 Kaiki Daisakusen Sept. 15, 1968-Mar. 9, 1969  26
 12 Yojutsu Bugeicho Mar. 16, 1969-Jun. 8, 1969  Toei Company  13
13 Judo Icchokusen Jun. 15, 1969-Apr. 4, 1971  92
14 Guts Jun Apr. 11, 1971-Nov. 21, 1971  Senkosha  33
 15 Silver Kamen Nov. 28, 1971-May 21, 1972  26
16 Kimero! Finish May 28, 1972-Oct. 1, 1972  Toho Company  18
 17 Iron King Oct. 8, 1972-Apr. 8, 1973  Senkosha  26
 18 Henshin! Ponpokodama Apr. 15, 1973-Jul. 29, 1973  Kokusai Hoei  15
 19 Go! Go! Idol Aug. 5, 1973-Sept. 30, 1973  ?  9
 20 Onmitsu Kenshi Oct. 7, 1973-Dec. 30, 1973  Senkosha 12
 21 Onmitsu Kenshi Tsuppashire! Jan. 6, 1974-Mar. 31, 1974  14