Planet Prince

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For the Japanese anime series "Yūsei Shōnen Papī", also known as Prince Planet, see Prince Planet.
Planet Prince
Japanese 遊星王子
Hepburn Yūsei Ōji
Directed by Eijirō Wakabayashi
Produced by Walter Manley, Toei Company
Screenplay by Shin Morita
Story by Masaru Igami
Starring Tatsuo Umemiya
Music by Katsuhisa Hattori
Cinematography Masahiko Iimura
Distributed by Toei Company
Release dates
  • March 19, 1959 (1959-03-19)
Running time
57 minutes (Part I)
64 minutes (Part II)
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Planet Prince (遊星王子 Yūsei Ōji?) is a 1958 tokusatsu superhero television series. Created by veteran writer Masaru Igami and produced by Nippon Gendai and Senkosha, the series aired on NTV from November 4, 1958 to October 6, 1959, with a total of 49 episodes (divided into several segments). It was created to capitalize on the success of the Super Giant serials. In fact, the title hero (whose alter-ego was Waku-san, played by Toshio Mimura) bore a strong resemblance to Super Giant.

Toei produced two movies that featured the character, but in a completely different, more streamlined costume (and goggled helmet). The hero was this time played by Tatsuo Umemiya. The films were titled:

  • Planet Prince (遊星王子) (Yūsei Ōji) Released: May 19, 1959
  • Planet Prince - The Terrifying Spaceship (遊星王子 - 恐怖の宇宙船) (Yūsei Ōji - Kyōfu no Uchūsen) Released: May 25, 1959

For release in America, these two movies were compiled into a TV movie titled Prince of Space.

Production[edit]

As mentioned before, the TV version looks very similar to Super Giant, in that both wear cowled costumes and capes. Each character also has super powers and flies. The two-part movie version (produced by Toei) is different, as Prince of Space wears a streamlined costume, cape and helmet. In the edited US version he has no superpowers other than the invulnerability of his costume, but in a subplot unique to the Japanese version he is able to revert a man brainwashed by the Ginsei aliens to a peaceful state. He uses weapons (a wand-like laser gun) and flies a small spaceship.

In the TV version, just like Moonlight Mask, the Planet Prince persona was credited as being played by "?" (even though he never wore a mask).

In the film, Prince's enemy is Ambassador Phantom of Ginsei (銀星のまぼろし大使) (who also appeared in one of the series' story arcs), or in the US version, Ambassador Dictator Phantom of the Planet Krankor. He (along with his henchmen) wears a prosthetic nose and cowl that gives him a decidedly chicken-like appearance, something that is constantly mocked in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. Phantom and his henchmen also appear to eschew undergarments, as is made painfully obvious in several shots.

A translation error in the English dub has Prince of Space declare "Your weapons are useless against me!", implying he is invulnerable to them. In the Japanese version, this line simply had him implying that their weapons were useless because he was capable of dodging them. The English line leads to confusion as the Prince is constantly shown running away from the lasers that he is supposed to be invulnerable to.[1]

Cinema Insomnia[edit]

Prince of Space was also featured on the nationally syndicated television series Cinema Insomnia.[2][3] On the show, there is a commercial for the album Candles, Krankor and You where the Ambassador Dictator Phantom sings various cover songs to popular music as "Unforgettable" and "Summer Wind".[4]

Cast[edit]

(Americanized names in parentheses)

  • Planet Prince/Waku-san (Prince of Space/Wally) - Tatsuo Umemiya
  • Ambassador Phantom (Ambassador Dictator Phantom) - Joji Oka
  • Sachiko (Susie) - Hiroko Mine
  • Dr. Maki (Dr. Macken) - Ushio Akashi
  • Ichiro (Johnnie) - Akira Asami
  • Makoto (Mickey) - Koji Komori
  • Kimiko (Kimmy) - Midori Tsuzuki
  • Takeda (Commissioner) - Takashi Kanda
  • Sawamoto (Dr. Sangamon) - Akira Tatematsu
  • Shibasaki - Masahiko Naruse
  • Mukai - Ken Sudo
  • Tabei - Ken Hasebe
  • Higashino - Giichi Sugi
  • Sakai - Koji Sahara
  • Tsunoda - Tokio Kozuka
  • Keichi Kawajima (Inspector) - Rin'ichi Yamamoto
  • Dr. Naito - Hiroshi Katayama
  • Newspaper reporter - Yuji Kitamine
  • Newspaper reporter - Hajime Kubo
  • Phantom's follower - Tsutomu Iwaki
  • Phantom's follower - Kenji Todoroki
  • Phantom's follower - Hiroshi Mihara
  • Phantom's follower - Nobuo Yana
  • Dr. Tateishi (Dr. Fletcher) - Shusuke Sone
  • Mrs. Tateishi - Kaoru Nakano
  • Commander Koda - Akikane Sawa
  • Secretary of Defense Fukuhara - Shiko Saito
  • Major Munakata - Tadashi Minamikawa
  • Colonel Matsuda - Junkichi Orimoto
  • Colonel Watanabe - Junji Masuda
  • The Guardian - Rin'ichi Yamamoto

Production credits[edit]

  • Planning - Sanehiko Okada
  • Director - Eijiro Wakabayashi
  • Producer - Sanehiko Sonoda
  • Screenplay - Shin Morita
  • Original Story - Masaru Igami
  • Music - Hirooki Ogawa (stock music; uncredited), Katsuhisa Hattori
  • Director of Photography - Masahiko Iimura
  • Lighting - Kenzo Ginya
  • Art Director - Shuichiro Nakamura
  • Recording - Shozo Hirokami
  • Film Editor - Yoshiki Nagasawa
  • Director of Special Effects - Shozo Horai
  • Assistant Director - Hajime Sato
  • Production Assistant - Takeshi Nishii

Theme Song – "Planet Prince Song"

  • Vocals - Kamitakada Junior Chorus
  • Lyrics - Masaru Igami
  • Composer - Katsuhisa Hattori

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/PrinceOfSpace?from=Main.PrinceOfSpace
  2. ^ CinemaInsomniaTV (1 September 2011). "CINEMA INSOMNIA: Prince of Space". YouTube. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Cinema Insomnia, with your Horror Host, Mister Lobo! - SHOW INFORMATION". Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  4. ^ CinemaInsomniaTV (20 October 2010). "YouTube - Candles, Krankor and You". YouTube. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 

External links[edit]

Mystery Science Theater 3000[edit]