Tag Archives: Noriyoshi Ikeya

Part-Timers’ Great Contributions To Kokusatsu #2

The woman on the right hand side could be Kato-san with Imora somehow

Judging from the woman found to be drying Goldon’s back in my Goldon making entry, I guess the smiling woman in these photos as if showing her good nature wearing a white kappogi (coverall apron) could be Kato-san although it is left unspecified in the issue of the Tokusatsu Hiho magazine containing these photos.

In one of the pictures shown in the magazine along with the talk between Kaimai and Murase, while it should have been taken at Toho with Baragon and the sculpting staff shown, the woman on the left hand side with a big smile could also be Kato-san as she and the woman shown in the photos taken at Ex Production look alike.

The woman on the left hand side could be Kato-san with Baragon at Toho

While the photo posted in this entry shows the Imora costume that was remodeled from the Banila suit with its head replaced, the caption of the Tokusatsu Hiho says it is unknown why Imora is included in the photo as it was written in Ryosaku Takayama’s diary that the sculpting of Banila and remodeling into Imora were done by himself without referring to the involvement of Ex Production.

At any rate, I like these photos as if showing an idyllic atmosphere of Japan we definitely had in those days with the people smiling happily. As there was a lot of demand for kaiju costumes when the “Second Kaiju Boom” arose with such tokusatsu products as “The Return of Ultraman,” “Spectreman (P Production)” and “Mirrorman” in the 1970s, it seems that many part-timers including housewives helped to sculpt the costumes.

Eizo Kaimai (left) and Keiso Murase in their talk featured in an issue of the Tokusatsu Hiho magazine

Around the “First Kaiju Boom” including the original Ultra Series it is said that a lot of art university students took part in the production such as costume sculpting or miniature modeling as part-timers while many of them were from Musashino Art University from which Tohl Narita and Noriyoshi Ikeya had graduated. Young, quiet and stoic-looking Ikeya devotedly working on the set seems to have gained much popularity from female students from the art universities.

Anyway, I believe this should be the first blog where Kato-no-obachan was referred to for people outside of Japan (I made her name into one of the tags)! I would like to thank those part-timers including her for their great job they did in enabling us to enjoy the tokusatsu shows when we were kids!


Replaced Cast: Ide And Anne #2

Toyoura-san, Hishimi-san and Bin-san from Tokusatsu Hiho Vol. 1

As to Anne in “Ultraseven,” it was revealed that the role was supposed to be played by Yoshiko Toyoura (pronounced as /toyo-ura/ or //toto-oora/) in the first place. Toyoura joined Toho as an actress prior to Yuriko Hishimi and seems to have appeared in TV dramas and Toho movies as a “Toho New Talent” actress back then.

It is likely that Toyoura was one of the 5th Period Toho New Talent actresses while HIshimi belonged to the 6th Period as those actors and actresses were chosen every year in those days (so the period number is associated with the year when they were selected).

Although Toyoura was chosen for the role of Anne in “Ultraseven,” she says she got out of it as he was picked for a Toho comedy movie starred by the popular comical band called “Crazy Cats.”

 

As a Toho actress, I assume Toyoura had no choice but to give priority to the appearance in a Toho movie while she says she dimly remembers she asked Toho if she would be able to appear in both the movie and the TV show “Ultraseven.”

While movies were in their prime with great popularity back then, it was the time when appearances in TV shows seemingly tended to be undervalued than those in movies.

Noriyoshi IKeya, designer who took over from Tohl Narita, says they were discriminated even when eating lunch at a restaurant in Toho as they were involved in TV shows instead of movies (I personally don’t like such a strong sense of territory).

 

Under these circumstances, it should have been only natural that Toyoura chose to appear in the movie rather than a tokusatsu TV show even though it was substantially the sequel to the unprecedented TV show “Ultraman” that marked a rating of 42 percent at most.

And it was decided that Anne was to be played by Hishimi instead as she herself says she was staying idle after the TV drama titled “Tenka No Seinen (The Young Man Under The Sun)” featuring an enthusiastic high school teacher in which Hishimi played a leading part regularly ended with 13 episodes while Koji Moritsugu was also appearing regularly in the show.

An issue of the magazine “Tokusatsu Hiho (secret treasure)” covered an article in which Toyoura-san and Hishimi-san met each other again in nearly 50 years and talked along with Bin Furuya while the same topic also appeared in Hishimi-san’s latest essay book recently released.

The UG uniform Hishimi-san initially wore in the show including the helmet seems to have been the one made for Toyoura-san as Toyoura-san left the show right after measurements were taken for her uniform.


ALIEN METRON (making)

Alien Metron design drawn by Tohl Narita

Tohl Narita: “I think I put more energy into the movement of light embedded into a simple and plain alien (than the alien itself).”

While Episode 8 “The Targeted Town” featuring Alien Metron has won great fame and popularity as one of the masterpieces among the Ultraseven episodes, it is said that Akio Jissoji, the director of this episode known as a caustic critic, described the alien as something like a “rubber boots monster” (the shape of the head seems to have made him imagine that way somehow).

According to Shigeo Kurakara in charge of mechanism,  the same device used for Alien Mefilas to light up his mouth with blinking lights was reused for Alien Metron while it is uncertain the same device was also share with Zetton who has the same kind of illumination mechanism.

He says the actor inside operated the switch to match the light blinking as it moves with Alien Metron’s utterances as the switch was equipped inside the alien’s hands while the shape of the hands best worked to hide the actor’s  switch operation.

Metron costume at Bisen studio

While the costume looks much thicker when viewed diagonally, it is said that the unpainted costume was delivered to the Bisen studio due to a busy schedule and that Noriyoshi Ikeya painted it on the set.

It seems that the costume structure made it extremely hard for the actor to look out as the uniquely shaped head unavoidably made a distance between the surface of the costume where the eye holes were inconspicuously positioned and the actor’s face, and it is likely to have resulted in the short battle fought between the alien and Ultraseven.

It is fun to find he has his back that looks very much different from his front with nut-like rising parts placed all over his back.

Metron costume at the back of Bisen studio and his spacecraft prop

ALIEN VIRA (making)

Alien Vira design drawn by Narita with the final version on the right

Tohl Narita: “I got the idea from a fan lobster. It became thinner in the final design.”

While he was not such a showy alien in appearance (at the same time, it was a puppet alien instead of a costume), Alien Vira was an impressive character along with the story featuring Dr. Yushima who was manipulated by the alien.

The primary version of the design looks more like a fan lobster as Narita says he designed the alien after it.

Alien Vira head presumably about to be cast out of its mold

Alongside of Narita’s fascinating design and Takayama’s excellent sculpture, the movement of the alien’s legs was also very much attractive as the mechanism was devised by Shigeo Kurakata.

Kurakata says in an interview for a book that, in the case of Alien Vira, he built the mechanism and gave it over to Takayama so that Takayama set it into the puppet he had sculpted.

Kurakata also says he doesn’t remember how he made it work as, when he tried to make the same mechanism recently, he found it didn’t move well.

Alien Vira at Takayama’s Atelier May with the mold found behind him

As to the miniatures used in this episode, Noriyoshi Ikeya commented that the set with the shrine gates was built imagining the areas including Ueno and Asakusa and that Alien Vira’s characteristically shaped space vehicles were made from the idea of making them look like they could connect infinitely.

Along with Alien Waiell who was severed into half with Eye Slugger and Alien Quraso who was actually set ablaze and destroyed at the end of his episode, Alien Vira should also have been burnt to ashes for real (what a waste!).

Alien Vira at Bisen Studio

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”

Silver Kamen Aliens Featured At The Event

Alien Khimaira

As you may know, Noriyoshi Ikeya designed the hero Silver Kamen and the aliens that appeared in the Silver Kamen episodes while I am not sure if he designed all of the aliens featured in the show (I think all the “Silver Kamen” and “Silver Kamen Giant” aliens were sculpted by Ryosaku Takayama).

At least the aliens I saw in the episodes screened at the event were surely designed by him, and they were: Alien Tigris (Episode 1); Alien Khimaira (7); Alien Solomon (8); Alien Domino (9); Alien Titan (10)

It is said he dared design Silver Kamen and the aliens not to make them look extremely strong, and, as the result, all these characters have their own unique forms and atmosphere distinctive from the equivalents of the Ultra Series.

Alien Solomon

It should be only natural as the show itself is said to have been plotted and produced with a strong sense of rivalry against the big-name hero show Ultraman.

It should be partly because the Nihon Gendai Kikaku (Japan Modern Planning) and Jissoji-led Kodai Group that were involved in the Silver Kamen production had many people who  had to leave Tsuburaya Productions for the company’s financial reasons.

Alien Domino

As to the Silver Kamen aliens, they were not unilaterally evil but were set to try to rob Kasuga brothers of the hidden photon rocket engine blueprint because they thought earthlings would invade their planets if the rocket should be completed.

Against their expectations, children watched “Mirrorman” aired in the competing timeslot a lot more as an orthodox tokusatsu hero show while the human-sized Silver Kamen didn’t play an active part at all in the show centering on the stories about the agony of Kasuga brothers.

I remember, however, I watched “Silver Kamen” and “Silver Kamen Giant” more than “Mirrorman” in my childhood somehow, and I have found the Silver Kamen aliens attractive enough again this time.

Alien Titan

Giant Alien Ghose

Design of Alien Ghose drawn by Ikeya

As it is widely known, Alien Ghose and the monster manipulated by them Pandon appeared in the final two parted episode of Ultraseven.

And it has been explained online that the giant form of Alien Ghose was also supposed to emerge in the episode along with the normally human-sized aliens and Pandon.

Meanwhile, the Tokusatsu Hiho magazine with tribute articles to the designer Noriyoshi Ikeya showed the design of Giant Alien Ghose drawn by Ikeya back then among the representative monsters he designed.

To me, this is definitely the first time I have seen it, but, according to the Hiho article, surprisingly enough,  Giant Alien Ghose was not included even in the script with no plan at all to make it appear in the episode.

Giant Alien Ghose drawn by Ikeya

It seems that Ikeya himself described it in his art book as the alien he designed with a western armor in mind having something in common with the aliens he also designed for “Silver Kamen” in later years without referring to any other details about the character.

Therefore this leaves it unknown why Ikeya designed this giant version of the alien regrettably.

The dark-colored alien design with no features on its face and nothing outstanding makes the character look very much creepy deserving the name of Ghose that came from ghost though it surely looks attractive in its own way.

I think it is an excellent job with much of an Ikeya feel to it, and it is also impressive to find he designed it as the giant version has nothing in common with the human-sized form.

Incidentally Pandon is the monster remodeled from his original design, and, if you are interested, see this post.


Noriyoshi Ikeya Featured In Tokusatsu Hiho 2

“Fireman” monsters designed by Ikeya

As Noriyoshi Ikeya himself said, it is not that he entered the field of film art because he wanted to be involved in tokusatsu and kaiju while he was initially called in by Tohl Narita to participate in the production of the series Ultraman.

Therefore the work he did in the field is not confined to kaiju design but he played an active role involved in film art including the films produced by renowned directors and TV commercials after leaving Tsuburaya so that he was awarded the Japan Academy Prize for the Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction twice in the 1990s.

Among the Ikeya monsters, it is fun to learn Takkong that appeared in “The Return of Ultraman” is likely to be thought as a challenge to the Narita design with the quirky shape after Ikeya took over the designing of Ultra kaijus from Narita.

I myself like the design of Twintail as it is admired as a masterpiece created by the combination of Ikeya and Ryosaku Takayama as Takayama modeled the costume along with Gudon and Stegon (the “Siver Kamen” alien costumes were also allegedly made by Takayama while he seemingly modeled the majority of the “Fireman” monster suits as well).

I wish I could have seen more of the monsters worked out by them in “The Return of Ultraman” (by the way, I feel like I wanted to see Zetton II modeled by Takayama again…).

According to an article, Ikeya seems to have said he had in stock design drawings of unreleased new monsters he had drawn every once in a while in his spare time.

I definitely hope these designs will see the light of day in the form of characters shown in film/video products someday.

Aliens designed by Ikeya for “Silver Kamen” (right); Multi for “Mirrorman” (top left); robots for “Iron King”

Noriyoshi Ikeya Featured In Tokusatsu Hiho 1

“Tokusatsu Hiho vol. 5” issued in January, 2017 with a tribute to Noriyoshi Ikeya

The  Tokusatsu Hiho (secret treasure) I mentioned yesterday is a fun magazine with a lot of detailed articles and quite a few pictures about tokusatsu products including the old ones and new ones from both movies and TV shows while I don’t know whether this is a periodical publication as the issue is always found to come out unexpectedly.

The same publisher released the Ultraseven Research Book and Ultraman Research Book in 2012 and 2014 respectively in this order as I find both of them very much informative and a lot of fun.

Colored articles from the above Tokusatsu Hiho

The latest Tokusatsu Hiho recently published features Noriyoshi Ikeya as a special who passed away the other day regrettably.

I don’t think the attraction of the monsters designed by Ikeya has been publicly talked about so much as those by Tohl Narita, but it was fun to learn from the articles how the Ikeya monsters are perceived among people.

Reading the articles, they seem to view the Ikeya monsters as sensitive and feminine in contrast with the bold and masculine design of the Narita monsters as it is known that Ikeya often referred to fashion magazines to design his monsters rather than real-life creatures.

It is also mentioned that his sensitive, graceful and stylish behaviors with gentleness and a perpetual soft smile on his face charmed people around him a lot while he was a silent type working on his task with few words.


Knack Of Kaiju Desining

narita_jamyra
Jamyra from Tohl Narita’s art book

I apologize If my post about Pandon referred to as something like kushikatsu unintentionally offended any Pandon fans!

Getting back to the talk about Noriyoshi Ikeya, while Ryosaku Takayama advised Ikeya to distort the human body shape to design monsters, that seems to have been what Tohl Narita incorporated into his designing.

Narita says in his art book he designed Jamyra at the idea of distorting the human body shape not to make it look like a costume worn by an actor.

I vividly remember I read an article about King Joe in an issue of the Bokura Magazine or Shonen Magazine showing the design process of King Joe allegedly explained by Narita.

Final design of King Joe from Tohl Narita’s art book

In that article it is said to have been explained that a trick to make the robot look unlikely to be a costume applying cylindrical objects to the human body shape. (The images here are not from the article but from Narita’s art book)

As I was still a small child then, when just looking at some illustrations showing the design process, I mistakenly understood it was about, funnily enough, how Alien Pedan constructed the super robot, and I found it pretty amazing and exciting (good old days…)!

Although I’m looking for the illustrated article online, it’s really a shame that I have found it out nether online nor in the Ultraseven Pictorial I have covering the articles featured in the Bokura Magazines and Shonen Magazines back then.

narita_kingjoe2
Primary design of King Joe from the same book as above