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.
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.
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.
Although I described the “Silver Kamen” (1971-1972) episodes screened at the event as they were directed by Akio Jissoji in my yesterday’s post, I was wrong and I have just found only Episode 1 among them was directed by him.
I guess all these episodes were shown at the event as the show “Silver Kamen” was produced while “Kodai Group” led by Jissoji played a leading role in the production.
Although “Silver Kamen” initially started as a show featuring the human-sized hero through Episode 10, it was converted into “Silver Kamen Giant” after that in which the giant version of Siver Kamen appeared instead (he was set to have become a giant accidentally exposing himself to a large amount of photon energy).
The human-sized hero did not manage to gain enough popularity as the show aired along with the Tsuburaya-produced “MIrrorman” (1971-1972) broadcast in the competing timeslot.
And Jissoji and Kodai Group withdrew from the Senkosha-produced show at that time showing disagreement toward easily making a giant hero appear so as to attract viewers’ attention as Jissoji believed featuring the human-sized “non-superhero” with no particular weapons or abilities except bare hand fight should be the integral part of the show.
So the show gives us an utterly different impression between the episodes featuring the human-sized version and the giant version although the conversion got to make the show win popularity.
In this light, I think we were fully able to enjoy the unique features of the Silver Kamen episodes typical of the human-sized version in which the protagonists Kasuga brothers (one of them changes into Silver Kamen) continued to be chased by aliens over the hidden blueprint of the photon rocket engines invented by their father who was killed by an alien.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.