Tag Archives: Magma Taishi

Who Is Fuminori Ohashi? 3

Agon

Ohashi also seems to have been involved in the production of the kaiju TV series “Agon” aired in 1968 (4 episodes).

It is explained online, although it was produced  in 1964, the broadcast was delayed as they couldn’t get any sponsorship.

According to the information on the Net, the Toho people protested that Agon’s design was a rip off from Godzilla, but the dispute came to an end as it was figured out that Ohashi was also involved in sculpting the first suit of Godzilla.

Nevertheless, as there seem to be the crew members involved in the production of the movie who maintain they had never seen Ohashi on the set, the truth remains unknown.

I dimly remember there was an explanation that the costume of Agon was converted into that of  Magma Taishi’s Aron. (Ultraseven has another Aron.)

While Agon and Magma Taishi’s Aron certainly look alike, it seems that the costume of Agon also had a balloon in the neck to be blown up to show the inflation and deflation of the throat just like Aron.

Ohashi seems to have claimed that it was him who taught Ryosaku Takayama how to deal with latex to model monster costumes.

Besides all these, Ohashi is alleged to have been involved in making many of the ape masks and hands for the 1968 US movie “Planet of the Apes” after participating in the production of the 1967 UK 007 film “You Only Live Twice” as an art member.


Who Is Fuminori Ohashi? 2

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Magma Taishi

Making the most of his height, Ohashi seems to have played an active role in performing as a suit actor in the 1930s.

Inspired by “King Kong” screened in 1933, he is said to have acted King Kong in the 1938 Japanese King Kong movie “King Kong appears in Edo” while the title sounds pretty attractive and exciting.

As shown in Aron whose photo is featured in my previous post, he had excellent sculpting skills as he was even requested to join the modeling work for the Disneyland props and, later, the production of a TV tokusatsu series under contract with a US production company.

It is said that the suit of Aron was equipped with a balloon inside the neck to show the trembling movements of its throat.

 

Alongside of Aron, Ohashi sculpted the mask of Magma Taishi whose fine features have seemingly been admired by those including Toru Matoba (SFX director of the primary Ultra Series) and Eizo Kaimai (kaiju sculptor who participated in the Godzilla movies and Ultra Series).

Ohashi is alleged to have worked out his own modeling materials such as compound latex to be patented later.

Nevertheless, as he overly elaborated details of the costumes, the suits he modeled seem to have been extremely heavy and rigid while the surface was coated over and over so it is likely that those including Eizo Kaimai and Ryosaku Takayama were called in to remodel Ohashi’s monster costumes making them thinner by hollowing out the inside of the costume.


Kaiju Oji (Kaiju Prince)

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Takeru and Nessie

Among the TV tokusatsu series we had as a kid including the products featuring a boy protagonist, Kaiju Oji (Kaiju Prince: 1967-1968; 26 episodes) seems to be rarely talked about among tokusatsu fans here in Japan.

Although it aired around the same time as Ultraseven and Giant Robo, I have to admit Kaiju Oji was much less impressive than them. While it features dinosaurs in spite of the title announcing kaiju, I don’t remember the episodes and characters including the dinosaurs at all.

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Takeru

The story is about a boy named Takeru (played by Mitsunori Nomura: 1956-present; unrelated to this Takeru) living in a jungle like Tarzan on a volcanic island crustal changes made appear in the Pacific Ocean as he was a survivor in an airplane accident after the plane crashed into the sea.

Takeru (his yell is “Awwwrahhh!”) is often found to swing on a vine and ride on top of the head of Nessie who is a friend of Takeru’s or to glide with a handmade equipment like a hang glider found least likely to be capable to glide anyway we look at it.

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Takeru has his twin brother who lives in the civilized society

While the series was produced by P Production after they made Magma Taishi (Ambassador Magma) at the request of an ad agency which signed up with a US TV company to export the tokusatsu TV show to the US, it didn’t get to win sufficient viewership and the season seems to have been shortened from 52 episodes to 26.

It was to feature monsters/dinosaurs modeled by Fuminori Ohashi (1915-1989), his suit was elaborated too much for an actor to play inside with its heavy weight and rigidity which made it hard to deal with, Ryosaku Takayama was appointed to remodel the suit as Takayama’s name can be found in the opening credits seemingly on the regular basis.

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Insect Humans that seem to have appeared as a villain in the show while I don’t remember them at all

Magma Taishi Monsters

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Magma Taishi

Alongside of the Toei products including Giant Robo, there were tokusatsu TV shows produced by the P Production in the 1960s and 1970s.

As previously posted, Magma Taishi (1966-1967; Ambassador Magma) was produced by them and started being broadcast as the first home-made color tokusatsu TV show just one week before Ultraman started being aired.

Magma Taishi also featured unique-looking monsters, and I dimly remember BalzasDacoda and Umibozu (please note that the spelling of each monster’s name is inaccurate; the monsters photos are alphabetically ordered ) although I don’t remember the episodes at all.

While I checked them out online to write this post, I don’t remember most of the monsters featured in Magma Taishi unfortunately including their names although it’s not that I have covered all the Magma Taishi monsters here on this post.

When looking at each of them, it’s amazing to find how well sculpted the suit of Aron is, and I also find many other attractive-looking monsters which make me feel like watching each episode again.

As the cyclops-like single-eyed monster with funnel-shaped head parts Balzas holding a ferris wheel reminds me of Kemur who yanked one out in his episode of Ultra Q, the Magma Taishi crew might have been inspired by it.

The P Production is also well known for their TV tokusatsu series Spectreman (1971-1972) that also started a little before The Return of Ultraman started airing while I’ve heard the former still has so many fans in France.


Use of FRP for the mask

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Nanairo Kamen

I’m not sure but, as a hero with the face entirely covered by a mask, Nanairo Kamen (Seven-colored Mask) might be the first one.

It’s a superhero featured in a monochrome TV series “Nanairo Kamen” (broadcast from 1959 to 1960).

Along with “Gekko Kamen” (Moonlight Mask; broadcast from 1958 to 59), he’s one of the heroes in the early period of such superhero TV series of Japan.

These two were produced by the same author, Kohan Kawauchi (1920-2008).

 

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Gekko Kamen

I don’t know much about this hero because it was broadcast before I was born.

It’s likely the mask material is unknown.

So the head of Magma Taishi may be the first one made of FRP.

It’s said Magma Taishi was supposed to be played by an actor exposing his gold-powdered face in the planning stage.

Magama Taishi with the actor’s face exposed can be actually seen in the pilot film.

 

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Magma Taishi in the pilot film

It seems that, as the gold powder wet with sweat easily got off and so on, it was decided to use the FRP mask.

That shows the producers had a continuous process of trial and error in those days.

At any rate, you will be aware of the extraordinary uniqueness the appearance of Ultraman has among these superheroes.

I love the flavor of each one of them, though!!!


Magma Taishi and B Type mask

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B Type Ultraman is so beautiful!

In Episode 10 “The Mysterious Dinosaur Base,” there was a plot to have Ultraman pull out a tree and blow off the leaves with a puff of air to express his sympathy for Jirass he defeated so that the leaves fluttering down softly covered the body of Jirass.

It’s very much interesting to learn Ultraman could have been depicted to blow a breath.

In the finished product, the scene was replaced by the one in which Ultraman gently put back JIrass’s neck frill he took off on the monster.

 

The movable mouth of the A Type head was adopted as Ultraman was supposed to speak his lines as well.

But, as posted yesterday, the gimmick didn’t work well and the head started to get wrinkles around the mouth as time went by.

Also, there were no scenes in which Ultraman spoke lines but Episode 1.

So the B Type head with the immovable mouth appeared.

 

I’ve heard the idea to make the overall FRP head partly came from the head of Magma Taishi.

It’s the hero of the SFX TV series “Magma Taishi” (1966-1967) produced by P Production around the same time as “Ultraman.”

Magama Taishi’s mask was made of FRP, and it’s said that the well-made mask was highly esteemed among the Tsuburaya people.

That might have affected the making of the B Type head of Ultraman.

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Magma Taishi (P Production)