Tohl Narita’s 3 principles in Kaiju design


It is well known that Tohl Narita had three principles in designing Ultra Kaiju.

1. Kaiju is not a specter. Not making a specter two-headed or with several limbs.

2. Drop the idea that creatures on Earth just become huge.

3. Not designing something associated with the damaged body exposing the brain or internal organs. Not having blood run down.

Not all the Ultra Kaiju he designed match these principles faithfully.

Looks like there were times he had to consider the directors’ intentions and make a compromise by designing Ultra Kaiju not necessarily matching the principles unwillingly.

But it should be certain he tried to observe these principles as much as possible.

And they were observed basically.


I think it was these three principles that gave his designed Ultra Kaiju the charm which keeps attracting people up to now.

They have no disgusting appearance even though mysterious.

Alien Baltan or Dada appearing in “Ultraman” should be good examples.


Ultra monsters other than aliens sometimes look even humorous and cute.

Even though they are depicted as eerie in the drama, they look clean and charming.

They are also simple, stylish, cool and often surreal, I think.

It is amazing the designs don’t show any signs of age.

All these things should be why they are adored by people even as comical characters as well.

10 thoughts on “Tohl Narita’s 3 principles in Kaiju design”

  1. This entire blog is one of the best (perhaps THE best) collection of insights, meditations and observations about tokusatsu (and kaiju!) and the principles / spirit within them. It is refreshing to hear others with an understanding that goes deeper than the superficial, deeper than talk of just SFX techniques and otehr production analysis. The ‘Spirit Of Tokusatsu’ is, to me, the most integral element to understand and promote.
    Sidenote: regarding this post, as a monster designer myself, I try to employ principles similar to those of Tohl Narita (though i didn’t know that until just now!)

    1. Thank you very much for your words I hope this blog will deserve! I’m so happy to learn there are people outside of Japan like you who are so nice as to deeply understand what I’m running this blog for! It is especially a great honor to hear these words from a monster designer showing empathy toward Tohl Narita’s kaiju design principles, which truly makes working on this blog worthwhile!

      Thanks again for visiting my blog and for your kindness!

  2. I remember that Narita was reluctant to design Alien Spehl/Spell as it went against his principles, but in the end the alien was still created with that design as the director wanted it…and that design and episode ended up causing some sort of taboo so the episode was banned, probably the only time in the Ultra Series.

    1. Yep. That’s a topic I think I am dealing with in a post on this blog sometime. And that’s why I left out the entries of Alien Spell for this blog. As a matter of fact, It is known that Kaiki Daisakusen (Operation Mystery) aired after Ultraseven ended also has a “sealed” episode that was banned later as it was seen as inappropriate by today’s social standards.

    2. Oh Kaiki Daisakusen had an episode that is thought to be offensive to people with mental health issues or something like that…

  3. This blog is very interesting. It’s filled with love for the Ultra series and I’m glad it exists and that it’s written in English. I wanted to thank you for the informations you have posted on here and how they have helped me learn much about Narita’s work. There are almost no information about him on the internet in English, and absolutely no mention of his work in English literature, so your blog has been an incredible resource for me.
    I am an Art student from Sardinia, Italy, an I have recently finished writing my graduation paper about Kaiju. In it, there are three chapters about Ultra Q, Ultraman and the design of Toru Narita, and posts like this one helped me understand his philosophy and how he approached the concept of kaiju. In less than a week I will talk about monsters like Godzilla, Ultraman, Garamon and Kanegon in front of five professors, explaining to them the value they hold in Japanese culture and their influence in the rest of the world. Without this blog, I would have never managed to understand as much as I have about the work of Narita and Takayama, so I wanted to express my deep gratitude towards you and this blog. Thank you.

    1. Thank you very much indeed for your comment, and your attention to Toru Narita, that makes me extremly happy.
      I’m so delighted if my blog helped you learn about Narita and his great achievements.
      It’s a shame to find his work has not gained enough fame I think it should deserve even in Japan yet.

      As you might be aware, I grew up with the Ultra Series and kaijus created by Narita and Takayama.
      Especially, if an art student like you gets inspired by his principles and, moreover, philosophy he had in his designing, I believe he would also be very happy about it.

      I thank you again for your encouraging comment. I also appreciate your patience with the inaccuracy of my English writing. (Hope it’s bearble.)
      Come by and visit my site anytime to enjoy more about the Ultra Series. Good luck!

      1. You’re welcome. Of course I’ll keep visiting this blog, there’s a lot to say about Ultra kaiju. By the way, your english is good! I have no trouble reading and understanding your posts.

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