Posts tagged "Yoshifumi Tajima"

Ultra Q – Episodes 5 and 6 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 5 and 6

Pegila Has Come! and Grow! Turtle

1966
Episode 5 Pegila Has Come! directed by Samaji Nonagase
Episode 6 Grow! Turtle directed by Harunosuke Nakagawa

Once again we dip into the world of Ultra Q, the Japanese TV series. A precursor to the Ultraman series, Ultra Q features many giant monsters that our plucky heroes have to deal with. Previously we have gone over Episodes 1 and 2, and then Episodes 3 and 4. Now we tackle the next two episodes! In addition to the 28 episodes of Ultra Q, a movie was produced in 1990 titledUltra Q: Star of Legend. A follow up series aired in 2004 entitled Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy as well as a radio drama called Ultra Q club (episode guide here.)

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. Before it became Ultra Q, however, it was known as Unbalance. As it became less Twilight Zone and more monsters, the name turned out to be a problem, but luckily a sports move called the Ultra C was gaining popularity, and thus Ultra Q was coined. Several artifacts of the original concept remain, including the very Twilight Zone-ish main title theme, as well as a narrator (but one used less frequently.) Several episodes would be somewhat independent stories that barely featured the main characters, and still other episodes would have ambiguous endings.

Thanks to recent Region 2 DVD release, these shows are now available to a whole new generation. However, they aren’t available to me in their entirety, as there are no English subtitles! But that’s where making up what we don’t understand comes in. Plot synopses and visual clues help us get the gist of the episodes, but the subtle parts we are just winging. That actually makes the show a bit better, as if we found out something was lamer than we though we might not like it as much. We don’t need no stinking subtitles!


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous kaiju career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer for the Daily News who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Hiroko Sakurai went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, in Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and in Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own. Not in either of these episodes.
Dr Ichinotani (Ureo Egawa) – After not being in the first two episodes, Dr. Ichinotani makes his first appearances here. Originally he was to serve as the Rod Sterling-type narrator, but when the show was refocused to be less Twilight Zone he became the wizened Professor who helps the heroes deal with the random rampaging monsters. Looks like a Japanese Wilford Brimley. Not in either of these episodes.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - July 20, 2007 at 4:43 am

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Ultra Q – Episodes 3 and 4 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 3 and 4

The Gift from Space and The Mammoth Flower

1966
Episode 3 The Gift from Space directed by Hajime Tsuburaya
Episode 4 The Mammoth Flower directed by Koji Kajita

Once again we dip into the world of Ultra Q, the Japanese TV series. A precursor to the Ultraman series, Ultra Q features many giant monsters that our plucky heroes have to deal with. Previously we have gone over the first two episodes, and now we deal with episodes 3 and 4. In addition to the 28 episodes of Ultra Q, a movie was produced in 1990 titledUltra Q: Star of Legend. A follow up series aired in 2004 titled Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy.

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. Before it became Ultra Q, however, it was known as Unbalance. As it became less Twilight Zone and more monsters, the name turned out to be a problem, but luckily a sports move called the Ultra C was gaining popularity, and thus Ultra Q was coined. Several artifacts of the original concept remain, including the very Twilight Zone-ish main title theme, as well as a narrator (but one used less frequently.) Several episodes would be somewhat independent stories that barely featured the main characters, and still other episodes would have ambiguous endings.

Thanks to recent Region 2 DVD release, these shows are now available to a whole new generation. However, they aren’t available to me in their entirety, as there are no English subtitles! But that’s where making up what we don’t understand comes in. Plot synopses and visual clues help us get the gist of the episodes, but the subtle parts we are just winging. That actually makes the show a bit better, as if we found out something was lamer than we though we might not like it as much. Such is the way of things.


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous kaiju career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer for the Daily News who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Hiroko Sakurai went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, in Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and in Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own.
Dr Ichinotani (Ureo Egawa) – After not being in the first two episodes, Dr. Ichinotani makes his first appearances here. Originally he was to serve as the Rod Sterling-type narrator, but when the show was refocused to be less Twilight Zone he became the wizened Professor who helps the heroes deal with the random rampaging monsters. Looks like a Japanese Wilford Brimley.

The main cast list is done, so we jump into the episodes!
Episode 3: The Gift from Space

Episode three of Ultra Q gives us a new main character and the most Twilight Zone ending so far. But it is still a solid episode, and the monster from Mars Natnegon has become one of the signature monsters from the series. This episode also is the first involving aliens in the Ultra-universe, who will turn out to be very pesky indeed with their constant monster attacks. Stupid aliens! I shake my fist at you! Invade some other planet for once. I hear Neptune is nice, or Krankor. First the guest cast, and then let’s get started with the episode.

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Posted by Tars Tarkas - May 14, 2007 at 12:00 am

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Ultra Q – Episodes 1 and 2 (Review)

Ultra Q Episodes 1 and 2

Defeat Gomess! and Goro and Goro

1966

Both episodes directed by Hajime Tsuburaya

We have special treats for the last two segments of March of Godzilla 2. Unfortunately our attempt to get more editions of Super Scary Saturday fell through, but instead we have some things almost as good. First up, many of you are aware that Godzilla appeared in a few guest shots on TV shows, most notably Zone Fighter. In addition, the old Godzilla costumes were used in several Japanese series to become generic monsters. In this review, we will be watching the first two episodes of the Japanese TV series Ultra Q, where the monsters are modified costumes of Godzilla and King Kong.

Tsuburaya Productions Co. created the TV series, which started to air in 1966. As they also did the costumes for Toho’s movie productions, they had the monster suits lying around, and Godzilla effects master Eiji Tsuburaya was in charge of making new monsters for the TV show (after the series was decided to be more monsters and less Twilight Zone.) Several of the old Toho suits made appearances. In addition to Godzilla appearing in Episode 1 (as Gomess) and King Kong appearing in Episode 2 (as Goro), we had Manda in Episode 6 (as a dragon), Baragon in Episode 18 (as Pagos), the giant octopus in Episode 23 (as Sudar), and Magma the giant walrus from Gorath in Episode 27 (as Todola). Ultra Q was popular enough that it eventually spawned into the Ultraman series, and many of the monsters that originally appeared in this show turned up to fight Ultraman. I never saw any of these as a child, so this is all new territory. In addition, the DVDs are not subtitled in English! But that has never stopped us before! We may pepper more reviews of episodes throughout the year, as short episodes are easy to write if graduate school suddenly becomes much harder (which it will soon!)


Main Characters:

Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) – A pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation and an avid science fiction fan/writer, which causes him to investigate monsters and discover most of the beasts on the show. Actor Kenji Sahara had a marvelous career dating from the original Gojira all the way to Godzilla Final Wars.
Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai) – Female Newspaper Photographer who takes photos of all the horrible monsters that Jun managed to encounter. Went on to star in the sequel series, Ultraman, as Akiko Fuji, as well as many other Ultraman series as various characters.
Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) – Assistant pilot for Hoshikawa Aviation with Jun, and the show’s comic relief. According to the Internet, actor Yasuhiko Saijo used to own a coffee shop in Kagurazaka. He had roles in Gorath, Son of Godzilla as Suzuki, and Godzilla vs. Gigan as a henchman.
Daily News Editor Seki (Yoshifumi Tajima) – Yuriko’s boss, sends her on the assignments to photograph monsters, but is not adverse to getting the scoop on his own.

The main cast list is done, so we jump into the episodes!
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 16, 2007 at 3:35 am

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Godzilla vs. Mothra (Review)

Godzilla vs. Mothra

aka Godzilla vs. the Thing aka Mosura tai Gojira

1964

Starring
Akira Takarada as News Reporter Ichiro Sakai
Yuriko Hoshi as News Photographer Junko ‘Yoka’ Nakanishi
Hiroshi Koizumi as Professor Miura
Yu Fujiki as Reporter Jiro Nakamura (with egg and frying pan)
Emi Ito as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Yumi Ito as Shobijin (Twin Fairy)
Yoshifumi Tajima as Kumayama
Kenji Sahara as Banzo Torahata

Super Scary Saturday is in the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUSE! Not House, MD, your house! Our house! It’s a very very very fine house, with two cats in the yard… Seriously, it’s time once again for a Godzilla movie, as March of Godzilla heads to the penultimate recap, and it’s a Super Scary Saturday version once again, as Grandpa Munster is there to guide us through! This time Godzilla is fighting Mothra in a battle that is battle-ish. Or something. This is pre-good guy Godzilla. Godzilla is still bad, still stomping the people for a pastime. In this version, they ramp up his lizardness, redesigning his head to make him more lizard-looking and more sinister-looking. Mothra makes her first appearance since her own movie, and the Twin Shobijin fairies played by the Peanuts are along for the ride. This is the American dub, complete with a scene filmed only for the US version.



Super! Scary! Saturday! It’s Super Scary Saturday, in case you missed the dozen other times I mentioned it and the big pictures. Grandpa Munster opens singing Zippity do dah! before beginning the standard “It’s me, Grandpa!” Grandpa walks in, with a baseball glove in hand, suddenly stops in his tracks! He says “What is this?” All of his friends are lounging around sleeping and being lazy. Slim the Skeleton is lying down flat on his back. Grandpa tells him to “shake a leg” and he does.

Next up, Grandpa asks mannequin Deadra if she’s going to spend all day filing her nails, which are ten penny nails which she is filing down with a metal file. Explaining this pun takes all the life out of it. Grandpa skips over Fang, who’s also sleeping but just woke up, to see Igor the bat asleep on his bed. Grandpa says Igor was more fun during the Black Plague! “Actually, the Black Plague was a lot of laughs…” Finally, Grandpa says the group needs to “shape up or ship out!” Grandpa will introduce….Grandpa-cise! What’s Grandpa-cise? We’ll find out in the next host segment. Until then, it’s time for the main show…Godzilla vs. Mothra!!!


We open in a storm, like so many Godzilla films. Well, at least Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster. Instead of wrecking a boat, we gets lots of shots of model sets being blown over. It’s like Hurricane Katrina, Japanese Model Version! Look out, Newu Oreansu! Actually, it’s Hurricane Abe, as the dialogue will tell us later. Areas of Japan are ruined, and Reporter Ichiro Sakai and his rookie photographer Junko Nakanishi arrive to survey the scene. Ichiro Sakai is played by Godzilla favorite Akira Takarada, who starred both in the first Gojira all the way to the last one (but not all of them in between.) Photographer Junko Nakanishi is played by actress Yuriko Hoshi, who will be playing almost the same role in the next film Ghidrah, except as a stronger woman character. She doesn’t return to the world of Big G until 2000’s Godzilla X Megaguirus. Her character has the nickname Yoka, so that’s what we’ll be calling her in the synopsis. Reporter Sakai has made some enemies, most notably the loudmouth mayor of the coastal city that was trashed by the hurricane. He boasts that their development project will be on schedule despite what Sakai wrote, thanks to their industrial-strength water pumps. Mr. Loudmouth Mayor fails to reveal how much these things cost, or why he’s wasting money on that instead of providing aid relief. I’d like to think that in the US he’d get run out on a rail, but we still have 99% of the Katrina idiots in charge, so we’d probably give him a medal as people starve.



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Posted by Tars Tarkas - April 28, 2006 at 3:26 am

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