Yusei Oji (Review)

Yusei Oji

aka 遊星王子 aka Planet Prince

1959
Written by Masaru Igami
Screenplay by Shin Morita
Directed by Eijiro Wakabayashi

50 Shades of Krankor!

At TarsTarkas.NET, we stand by our decision that Prince of Space is one of the greatest movies of all time, but did you know it’s also TWO of the greatest movies of all time? Because it is! Yes, what we got in America as Prince of Space is actually a combination of two Japanese films, Planet Prince and Planet Prince – The Terrifying Spaceship! Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ve been able to see copies of the two original films. And again thanks to the wonders of the internet, we’ll be sharing with you what we’ve learned.

Shouldn’t my own antennas be helping the signal???

Planet Prince featured on a tv series where he wore a costume more than inspired by the Starman/Super Giant costume. But for his big screen spinoff, the Planet Prince costume was updated with a funky helmet and goggles, and Prince looked less like an escaped orderly at a hospital and more like a kid on Halloween getting ready to collect a round of candy. Actor Toshio Mimura was replaced with younger actor Tatsuo Umemiya. The two factors combine to add a childlike innocence to his character, making him seem that much more good than the middle-aged evil evil-doers of evil he battles.

Planet Prince bad guys

Typical alien and robot morons about to be owned by tv's Prince of Space


Both Yusei Oji/Planet Prince film adventures clock in at around an hour, the standard length for kiddie matinee serials at the time. Yusei Oji (Planet Prince) was released May 19, 1959, and the followup feature Yusei Oji – Kyofu no Uchusen (Planet Prince – The Terrifying Spaceship) was released six days later on May 25, 1959. Don’t worry, just like all the other early tokusatsu series, there was plenty of Planet Prince merchandise, especially comic books!
Planet Prince comic

This image rips off Starman/Super Giant more than most, it even has a star in the background!


Planet Prince comic

Now he's more cartoonish but still ready for a fight!


As we’ve done a thorough synopsis of the combined Prince of Space film, for these two reviews we shall simply point out variations and deleted/altered material. Yusei Oji has far more deleted segments than the companion film, including a climactic fight sequence with Phantom. There is expanded material focusing on the reporter characters, and a whole plot about Dr. Maki’s wife’s brother being hypnotized by Phantom and his men that we never saw. Some of the music is the same, though the Planet Prince theme is removed from some of the space battles. My Japanese is pretty rough, though I did have some help from an email correspondence with some of the names. So thanks, dude!

PrInception of Space!

As is the norm in English dubbed films, many of the character names have been altered. So let’s do the Roll Call to figure out who is who…

You will answer three questions, Krankor!

Yusei Oji (Tatsuo Umemiya) – Planet Prince aka Prince of Space
Waku-san (Tatsuo Umemiya) – Yusei Oji’s human disguise Wally is called Waku-san by practically every character, because he is near and dear to their hearts.
Dr. Maki (Ushio Akashi) – Dr. Macken’s Japanese name is very close to his American version it can even be read on his house’s mailbox. His wife played by Hiroko Mine is known as Sachiko instead of Susie.
Ichiro (Akira Asami) – Dr. Maki’s kid Johnny is in reality Ichiro, though he still wears the business suits!
Makoto (Koji Komori) – Mickey the the shoe shine boy adopted by Waku-san comes across as a real boy without his ridiculous accent and fake tough-guy persona from the dubbed version. Here, he’s just a normal kid thrust into an abnormal situation with is best friend Ichiro. As far as I can tell, he still likes it very much!
Kimiko (Midori Tsuzuki) – Kimmy gets just as little screentime when she’s known as Kimiko.
Ginsei no Maboroshi Taishi (Joji Oka) – Ambassador Dictator Phantom of Krankor’s Japanese name translated to Ambassador Phantom of the Silver Star, as the aliens are from the Silver Star, not Planet Krankor!
Ginsei-jin (Various) – The Chicken Men of Krankor are called Silver Star people, which is a far better name than Krankorians. Because that’s just terrible!
Shibasaki (???) – Susie/Sachiko’s brother appears in a subplot we never saw, brainwashed and commanded to steal the rocket fuel formula!
All prior attempts to shoot you have failed. So…time to shoot you!

Meteor storm! Also I like the tv cover!
The Phantom of Krankor is coming from inside the room!

Because Japanese films have Japanese opening credits (amazing information, this review has…), Yusei Oji has it’s own opening credits, and from the beginning they’re ripping off Starman/Super Giant wholesale. It’s Planet Prince standing proudly in space as space wind blows his costume’s cape and kids sing the Planet Prince song. And his spaceship flies around, because we can’t forget there is space in this film!

As usual, we begin with a dinner at Dr. Maki’s house, and the tv is interrupted by that jerk Ambassador Phantom of the Silver Star. In Japanese, Phantom’s voice is more gruff. There are also more shots of various Tokyo citizens watching his transmission in the US version. There is even an interruption to the transmission as Phantom’s spaceship travels through a meteor storm (the same meteor storm that shows up repeatedly in the films during the space chases!) This transmission incompetence makes Phantom seem more idiotic, though his normal laughter as opposed to the English dubbed “Haw haw haw haw!” lessons the cartoon villian aspect.

And we get shots of the Japanese paper headlines. There is added filler of the announcement speaker car delivering a long message that is thankfully trimmed down for the US version. Japanese kids just can’t get enough of speaker cars!

Krankor Tanker Taker Wanker
It’s us! The characters so exciting we were largely edited out of the American version!

When Phantom’s ship lands, there are longer shots of the reporter characters talking in the car as they head to “Beaver Falls”. The cops also do their job and keep a lot of the public out, including the useless reporter characters.

After the Silver Star Men’s periscope blasts some of the cops, the warning of not to approach is delivered by a random Silver Star Crewman, not Phantom.

Planet Prince arrives and makes Phantom leave, as usual. Things continue as we’ve seen until the UN meeting, which features a larger segment of world generals areguing about what to do.

A new subplot emerges as Dr. Maki’s family waits for his wife’s brother Shibasaki to arrive at the airport. But he never shows up. Hmmmm….

This is answered by new sequences insite the ship where Phantom and his men torture a captive Earth man (Shibasaki) with heating lights. Shibasaki’s strapped into a chair and blindfolded, they are mind-controlling him!

Two birds with one stone!
FU, space bubbles!

Before this goes anywhere, we have the battle scene inside the abandoned factory where Planet Prince goes on and on about how their weapons are useless.

After this ends, Planet Prince calls the rocket lab and that ends up getting a Cop Character to walk around for a bit. The cop leaves a door open that let’s the press characters sneak into the lab. Ichiro sees Waku-san also wandering around and talks to him a bit.

Also arriving at the lab is the mind-controlled guy Shibasaki. He just marches through the gate, only briefly stopped by security, but he’s recognized as someone who works there. Shibasaki says nothing and stares straight ahead, totally not suspicious at all. He does act dazed enough that he’s taken back to Dr. Maki’s home and taken care of by Dr. Maki’s wife.

That night Makoto is also staying over, and he and Ichiro even sleep in the same bed. At night, Shibasaki gets up and wanders out of the house. The two boys follow in their pjs. Shibasaki heads to the lab opening the safe to get the formula to the rocket fuel. The two boys ask him what the heck is going on, and he tries to strangle the two kids! I don’t know much about this Shibasaki guy, but I approve of his child murder!

Smog checks are commie propaganda!
Protest against underage bootblackers!

But they call in Planet Prince, who stops him, but doesn’t de-mind-control him. Then a disembodied voice of Phantom begins talking, and Planet Prince is zapped by a laser that comes from something floating in the air Planet Prince disappears after this, though Phantom keeps yapping for a bit longer.

The next morning we’re back to where we were in the American version, with guards everywhere at the research center and Phantom invades kidnaps the kids, and gets the rocket fuel formula. Then he flees with Planet Prince in pursuit.

Phantom’s escpae is a bigger deal, there is a whole section where it grinds to a halt and we see secrity guys running around and Phantom hiding behind some barrels.

I can’t imagine why this exciting scene was cut out of the US version!
We have prepared the subject for watching the Oogieloves movie!

Phantom presses buttons that blow up the rocket in the US version, but we see in this original version he’s stealing the rocket, and he runs to it and gets in the rocket elevator to take him to the top. Planet Prince is in the elevator with him, though Phantom holds a gun to him like that will matter at all. Phantom, buddy, pal…your guns….they just don’t work!

They fight on the railway to the rocket’s door, in the struggle, Phantom drops the rocket fuel formula. Phantom then gets locked inside the rocket. Even worse for him, his cape is stuck in the door, so he can’t even strap into the seats! The rocket then takes off and explodes.

Wait, Krankor is dead????

Krankor, NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!


Planet Prince leaves the rocket fuel formula on the side of a building near Dr. Maki, and his ship flies over the area as the Planet Prince song plays, dropping the message container

Which I’m guessing doesn’t say what they say it does in the American version.

Everyone waves goodbye, and it’s The end!

How many lights do you see?
My God…I have a big enough role in this flick to be recognized as the Police Detective character!

Seriously, Phantom is dead!!!!!! I call that a major change, especially since he’s in the second film! How did they pull that off? Find out in Yusei Oji – Kyofu no Uchusen!

Guess who!
Dr. Maki put on a suit and tie before rushing over to this emergency…

Rated 7/10 (telescope mania!, evil ship!, less evil ship!, giant mufflers, TOEI!!, not a turtle, the warning light is a hideous robot face???)


Please give feedback below!

Email us and tell us how much we suck!

More abandonment and neglect for poor Mickey…
I can’t do the gag from Garden State correctly!
Too intense for 1959 America!
It’s true, in this version Prince of Space manages to save the rocket fuel formula!
I won’t make a passing gas joke, I won’t make a passing gas joke…
I’m not creepy
The Japanese education system continues well into your mid-30s!
The end!

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!