Ultra Q

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Ultra Q
UltraQ-title.jpg
Created by Tsuburaya Productions
Starring Kenji Sahara, Yasuhiko Saijou, Hiroko Sakurai
Country of origin Japan
No. of episodes 28
Production
Running time 24 minutes (per episode)
Broadcast
Original channel TBS
Original run January 2, 1966  – July 3, 1966
Chronology
Followed by Ultraman

Ultra Q (ウルトラQ Urutora Kyū?) is a tokusatsu science fiction/kaiju series made in the tradition of Toho's many tokusatsu sci-fi/horror films.

Produced in black and white by Tokyo Broadcasting System/Tsuburaya Productions, this is actually the first of the long-running Ultra Series, and was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System from January 2 to July 3, 1966 (the final episode was preempted until December 14, 1967), with a total of 28 episodes. This series was followed a week later by the more popular Ultraman (Urutoraman, 1966), the second Ultra Series.

Ultra Q can be described as a half-hour Toho kaiju film. Although series creator Eiji Tsuburaya intended this series to be more like The Twilight Zone and focus less on the monsters, TBS convinced Eiji to add more monsters onto the show, as Godzilla (Gojira) and Gamera were very popular at the time (the first "Kaiju Boom" was already born).[1] Much like the The X-Files, the series features continuing characters who investigate strange supernatural phenomena, including giant monsters, aliens, ghosts, and various other threats. Perhaps the closest parallel in American TV is The Outer Limits, which in its original form generally featured a monster each week.

The original planned title of this project was UNBALANCE, and was subsequently renamed Ultra Q (inspired by "Oba-Q", the nickname of the title character of the then-popular anime series Obake no Q-Taro, and "Ultra C", a popular term used for women's gymnastics during the 1964 Summer Olympics, where a Russian gymnast created an extremely difficult maneuver called the "Ultra C"). The series was produced beforehand all through 1965 (it went in production as far back as 1964) and was broadcast at the beginning of the next year. At the time, this was the most expensive TV series in Japan.[2]

Characters[edit]

  • Jun Manjome (万城目 淳 Manjōme Jun?, played by Kenji Sahara): Aviator at Hoshikawa Air Service and amateur SF writer.
  • Yuriko Edogawa (江戸川 由利子 Edogawa Yuriko?, played by Hiroko Sakurai): Reporter for the Daily News.
  • Ippei Togawa (戸川 一平 Togawa Ippei?, played by Yasuhiko Saijou): Jun's aviation partner at Hoshikawa.
  • Professor Ichinotani (一ノ谷博士 Ichinotani-hakase?, played by Ureo Egawa): World renowned scientist, and occasional assistance to Jun, Yuriko and Ippei in times of crisis.
  • News Desk Editor, Seki (関デスク Seki Desuku?, played by Yoshifumi Tajima): Yuriko's boss and editor at the Daily News.

Monsters[edit]

List of Ultra Q monsters
The monster Gomess from episode 1. The monster was brought to life with a modified Godzilla suit from the films Mothra vs Godzilla and Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster.

Because Eiji Tsuburaya had a high standing with Toho, he was able to use various suits and props from the various Toho Kaiju films for his series. The Manda prop was used for the dragon Kairyuh as well as the head being used as the front portion of a Viking ship seen in episode 12, the giant octopus prop from King Kong vs. Godzilla was used to portray Sudar, while the Maguma suit from Gorath was used to portray Todora. As well, various other suits and props were refurbished to play some of the monsters such as Godzilla for Gomess, King Kong for Goroh, Baragon for Pagos, and a small Rodan prop for the birds Largeus and Litra.

Episodes[edit]

  1. Defeat Gomess! (ゴメスを倒せ! Gomesu o Taose!?)
  2. Goro and Goroh (五郎とゴロー Gorō to Gorō?)
  3. The Gift From Space (宇宙からの贈りもの Uchū kara no Okurimono?)
  4. Mammoth Flower (マンモスフラワー Manmosu Furawā?)
  5. Peguila Is Here! (ペギラが来た! Pegira ga Kita!?)
  6. Grow Up! Little Turtle (育てよ! カメ Sodateyo! Kame?)
  7. S.O.S. Mount Fuji (SOS富士山 Esu Ō Esu Fujisan?)
  8. Terror of the Sweet Honey (甘い蜜の恐怖 Amai Mitsu no Kyōfu?)
  9. Baron Spider (クモ男爵 Kumo Danshaku?)
  10. The Underground Super Express Goes West (地底超特急西へ Chitei Chōtokkyū Nishi e?)
  11. Balloonga (バルンガ Barunga?)
  12. I Saw a Bird (鳥を見た Tori o Mita?)
  13. Garadama (ガラダマ?)
  14. Tokyo Ice Age (東京氷河期 Tōkyō Hyōgaki?)
  15. Kanegon's Cocoon (カネゴンの繭 Kanegon no Mayu?)
  16. Garamon Strikes Back (ガラモンの逆襲 Garamon no Gyakushū?)
  17. The 1/8 Project (1/8計画 Hachibun-no-Ichi Keikaku?)
  18. The Rainbow's Egg (虹の卵 Niji no Tamago?)
  19. Challenge from the Year 2020 (2020年の挑戦 Nisen-nijū-nen no Chōsen?)
  20. The Undersea Humanoid Ragon (海底原人ラゴン Kaitei Genjin Ragon?)
  21. Space Directive M774 (宇宙指令M774 Uchū Shirei Emu Nana Nana Yon?)
  22. Metamorphosis (変身 Henshin?)
  23. Fury of the South Sea (南海の怒り Nankai no Ikari?)
  24. The Idol of Goga (ゴーガの像 Gōga no Zō?)
  25. The Devil Child (悪魔ッ子 Akumakko?)
  26. Blazing Victory (燃えろ栄光 Moeru Eikō?)
  27. The Disappearance of Flight 206 (206便消滅す Ni Maru Roku Bin Shōmetsu-su?)
  28. Open Up! (あけてくれ! Aketekure!?)

English Dub[edit]

Page from United Artists Television's Press Kit

In 1967, Ultra Q was licensed from Tsuburaya and TBS by CBS Films, producers of The Twilight Zone. It was a package deal that not only included Ultra Q, but also Ultraman. For the task of dubbing, CBS hired Film House in Toronto, Canada, what is now DeLuxe Toronto. Tsuburaya provided translated scripts, plus English language opening and closing credits, and a custom, swirling title-card. The series itself was dubbed in its 28 episode entirety. At some point, CBS Films backed out of licencing the series, and it was picked up, along with Ultraman, by United Artists Television, producers of The Outer Limits. With dubbing of Ultra Q complete, United Artists hired Titra Studios to dub Ultraman. Ultraman was syndicated, however, Ultra Q was not, due to being in Black-and-white at a time when most television was switching to color. After Ultraman finished its run in syndication, audio and film masters, and other materials, of both series were stored in the MGM vaults.[3]

It is commonly believed that only one episode, specifically Episode 3, was dubbed as a pilot. This has proven not to be true as other episodes have been found either in audio prints, like Episode 3, or film or video prints. From here it can be concluded that this was not the only episode produced.

Legacy[edit]

In the years following the show's original run, a live action film called Ultra Q The Movie: Legend of the Stars was released in 1990. As well, a radio program featuring the voices of the three original stars of the show (playing their classic characters) called The Ultra Q Club aired on Japanese radio from 2003-2004. Also in 2004, a new series called Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy was produced while another series called Neo Ultra Q began airing in early 2013.

The original concept of the show (when it was going to be called Unbalance) was ultimately used for a 13-episode horror anthology series entitled Horror Theater Unbalance that was produced by Tsuburaya Productions in 1973.

Various Ultra-Q monsters were reused or redressed for various monsters in Ultraman. The Kemur being and Ragon (now giant sized) returned, while the Garamon suit was reused as Pigmon. Other suits were altered to play other monsters such as, Peguila being altered into Chandrah, the Kemur being altered into Alien Zetton, Pagos being altered into Neronga and later Magular and Gabora, the Semi Ningen being altered into the Alien Baltan, while Peter was altered into Gesura.

Home Media[edit]

Shout! Factory released the complete series of Ultra Q on DVD on August 13, 2013.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman and Godzilla, by August Ragone, Chronicle Books (2007), ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9
  2. ^ Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman and Godzilla, by August Ragone, Chronicle Books (2007), ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9
  3. ^ Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman and Godzilla, by August Ragone, Chronicle Books (2007), ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9
  4. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Urutora-Q-The-Complete-Series/18445
  • The Q-Files, Complete Ultra Q Episode Guide by Jim Cirronella & Kevin Grays, Originally published in KAIJU-FAN Issue # 4 November 1996 [1].
  • Ultraman Monster Ultra Large Collection (orig.: ウルトラ怪獣大全集), Domdom (1995), ISBN 978-4-09-101411-5
  • So Crazy Japanese Toys!, by Jimbo Matison, Chronicle Books (2003), ISBN 978-0-8118-3529-9
  • The Ultra Bizarre World of Ultra Q (Parts 1-3) by Mike Bianco. Originally published in G-Fan issues #62-64. May 2003-December 2003.

External links[edit]