As far as I read what happened to the product described on the Net, it seems that the P Production is not to blame for the failure of Kaiju Oji.
The plan is likely to have been worked out by the ad agency which participated in the project to bring out a TV tokusatsu series at the request of the US company which highly evaluated the sculpting skill of Fuminori Ohashi, kaiju sculptor who lived in Kyoto then on the premise that Ohashi would join the project.
While I skip all the details of the story referred to online as it is too complex, the vulnerability in the production system seems to have caused the failure even though they established their own production company as the P Production was asked to join the product and cooperate with them.
Come to think of it, as I just remember I watched Kaiju Oji back then without getting to bring the details back to memory, I have an impression the show leaves me no choice but to think what they wanted to deal with in the show is quite obscure.
As it was seemingly a series provisionally titled “Kaiju Daisakusen (Great Operation Kaiju)”, it is likely to have ended up featuring kyoryu (dinosaurs; terrifying dragon in the Chinese character) instead of kaiju.
So it can’t help but to give me an impression they tried to produce the show just attempting to feature a Tarzan-like boy (Tarzan was quite popular in Japan back then) and monsters haphazardly.
While we see the insect-like aliens appear for invasion as shown in my previous post, it seems to be impossible to associate the Tarzan-like character with the stories even encompassing invaders from space unfortunately as Ultraseven featuring the precisely portrayed Terrestrial Defense Force including its futuristic equipment and dramatically depicted stories about invasion from space aired around the same time.
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.
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.
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.
Many monsters featured in the Toei and P Production were characterized by their weird appearances unlike the Ultra Kaijus.
The Tsuburaya products, based on Eiji Tsuburaya’s concept to avoid showing children anything ugly and weird, stuck to featuring monsters which are more straight-ahead while, as you know well, Tohl Narita’s monsters with statuary looks got to make the monsters attractive enough so that they are highly reputed even today.
On the other hand, the Toei and P Production monsters had no restraints like that unlike Tsuburaya that had to defend the Tsuburaya brand.
As the result, it is undeniable that the weird but unique-looking monsters which appeared in those series ended up having their attraction in their own way.
As a matter of fact we had other characters as much popular as kaijus back then which were yokai.
Yokai (literally suspicious mystery/suspicious mysterious being; kai is the same Chinese character as kaiju while the latter means mysterious beast) is a specter which looks like a goblin or imp which had been traditionally talked about in Japanese folktales while kappa featured in Episode 41 of Ultrasevenis one of the yokais.
Along with the anime Gegege no Kitaro (1968-1969) based on the manga created by Shigeru Mizuki well known for his yokai manga with much popularity among people, yokai characters have been frequently featured in manga and anime products alongside of kaijus in Japan although kaijus managed to win much more popularity.
Yokais were featured even in movies such as the 1968 Daiei (known for the original Gamera series) movie Yokai Daisenso (Yokai Major War) in my childhood and I remember I fully enjoyed it as they had their own attraction.
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 Balzas, Dacoda 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.
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.