Original Japanese title card
|Created by||Eiji Tsuburaya|
|Developed by||Tetsuo Kinjo|
|Country of origin||Japan|
|No. of episodes||49|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Production company||Tsuburaya Productions|
|Distributor||Turner Program Services (United States)|
|Original release||October 1, 1967 –|
September 8, 1968
|Followed by||Return of Ultraman|
Ultraseven (ウルトラセブン, Urutora Sebun) is a Japanese tokusatsu science fiction television series created by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is the third installment in the Ultra Series and was produced by Tsuburaya Productions. The series aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System from October 1, 1967 to September 8, 1968.
In the not-too-distant future, Earth finds itself constantly under attack from extraterrestrial threats. To combat them, the Terrestrial Defense Force establishes the Ultra Garrison, a team of six elite members who utilize high-tech vehicles and weaponry. Joining their fight is the mysterious Dan Moroboshi who is secretly an alien from the Land of Light in Nebula M-78 and transforms into his true alien form, Ultraseven, in times of crisis.
After the success of space-themed science fiction shows such as Ultraman, Captain Ultra, and the Japanese broadcast of Lost in Space, Tokyo Broadcasting System pursued Tsuburaya Productions to produce another sci-fi series. This led Eiji Tsuburaya to assemble Hajime Tsuburaya, Akio Jissoji, Tetsuo Kinjo, Masami Sueyasu, and Shoji Otomo to brainstorm ideas.
Eiji Tsuburaya proposed a series that would have been a hybrid of Thunderbirds and Lost in Space, Hajime proposed a new Ultraman series that would have included network and sponsors' input for each season, Jissoji proposed a time-travel themed show which would have focused on a time patrol team and their families, Kinjo proposed a children's horror/mystery show that would have been a hybrid of Ultra Q and The Twilight Zone, Sueyasu proposed a fairy tale-themed series, and Otomo proposed a space-themed series which would have been a cross of Lost in Space and Men into Space featuring giant monsters.
TBS eventually settled on a fusion of Eiji's and Otomo's ideas and Eiji submitted a treatment titled The Ultra Garrison, which featured six trained astronauts (including an android named "John") stationed on a satellite called "Mother", the first line of defense against alien invaders. Kinjo felt that the idea was lacking an essential element and suggested adding a superhero.
The treatment underwent massive revisions after TBS felt the idea was too similar to The Great Space War and the new version included giant monsters while retaining the original Earth Defense Force element at TBS' request. TBS eventually suggested to make the series a direct sequel to Ultraman and have it focused on Hayata and Fuji's son, who would be able to call upon Earth monsters for help and only transform into Ultraman in times of desperation.
Tetsuo Kinjo began working on an outline, combining elements of TBS' best ideas and his own, such as elements from his rejected proposal Woo, which featured an alien unwittingly becoming a savior of mankind. Kinjo's outline was titled Ultra Eye and featured Dan Moroboshi being the son of a human and an alien, with Dan coming to Earth in search of his mother. This version also featured Capsule Monsters that Dan would have used when he could not transform. Originally, monsters from Ultra Q and Ultraman were going to be used as the Capsule Monsters in order to cut down production costs.
Tohru Narita was assigned to design the aliens, monsters, and vehicles. Narita's design for Ultraseven was inspired by Mayan culture and originally chose silver and blue for the colors, but changed them to silver and red to avoid problems with the blue-screen matte process. Principal photography on the special effects began in May 1967 and casting began in June 1967. Many of the actors hired were chosen from Toho's acting pool, since the studio was one of the financial investors for Tsuburaya Productions. Yoji Hashimoto and Toshimichi Miwa were put in charge of duties with TBS for the show, while Eiji Tsuburaya served as the chief producer and supervisor for the show and Masami Sueyasu reprised his role as a hands-on producer for Tsuburaya Productions.
Four episodes were completed before copyright was approved for the show's title, which was changed to Ultraseven. The show was filmed silent, a common practice for Japanese shows at the time, and post-production, including editing and voice dubbing, began in September 1967. Toru Fuyuki was hired to compose the soundtrack, gearing towards a more classical direction as opposed to the jazz-inspired direction Kunio Miyauchi took for the Ultraman soundtrack.
Ultraseven aired on October 1, 1967 and earned a 33.7% rating, an achievement at the time. Due to the show's high ratings, TBS ordered an additional 10 episodes during preparations for the show's third Cours (episodes 27-39). Despite ratings dropping during the final weeks, Ultraseven still remained in the top five highest rated shows in Japanese television at the time.
Sequels for both Ultraman, titled Ultraman Continues, and Ultraseven, titled Fight! Ultraseven, were proposed, but Tsuburaya Productions would not produce another Ultra series until 1971, with Return of Ultraman.
- Kohji Moritsugu as Dan Moroboshi/Ultraseven: Spelled as "Dan Moroboshe" in the Cinar English dub. Ultraseven borrows the look of Jiroh Satsuma and transforms into his true alien form using the Ultra Eye ("Task Mask" in the Cinar dub). At the time of the show's production, Moritsugu was married and poor. This was kept secret in order to publicize Moritsugu as a young rising heartthrob.
- Shōji Nakayama as Captain Kaoru Kiriyama: The captain of the Ultra Garrison.
- Sandayū Dokumamushi as Shigeru Furuhashi: The rotund, strong and trigger-happy member of the Ultra Garrison.
- Yuriko Hishimi as Anne Yuri: Known as "Donna" in the Cinar dub. The team's communications operator and nurse. Yoshiko Toyoura was originally cast in the role, but was pulled out by director Takashi Tsuboshima to cast her in his then-latest film. Hishimi was given the role after doing an immediate audition and photo shoot.
- Shinsuke Achiha as Soga: The Ultra Garrison's expert marksman.
- Bin Furuya as Amagi: The team's strategist. Furuya had been the suit performer for Ultraman in the preceding series and stated that, although he liked being Ultraman, Amagi was more enjoyable due to having an exposed appearance.
- Koji Uenishi as Ultraseven (suit performer): Uenishi portrayed Ultraseven for the entire series while Eiichi Kikuchi did the suit performance for episodes 14 and 15.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"The Invisible Challenger"|
Transcription: "Sugata naki Chōsensha" (Japanese: 姿なき挑戦者)
|Hajime Tsuburaya||Tetsuo Kinjo||October 1, 1967|
|2||"The Green Terror"|
Transcription: "Midori no Kyōfu" (Japanese: 緑の恐怖)
|Samaji Nonagase||Tetsuo Kinjo||October 8, 1967|
|3||"The Secret of the Lake"|
Transcription: "Mizumi no himitsu" (Japanese: 湖のひみつ)
|Samaji Nonagase||Tetsuo Kinjo||October 15, 1967|
Transcription: "Makkusu-gō Ōtō seyo" (Japanese: マックス号応答せよ)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo & Masahiro Yamada||October 22, 1967|
Transcription: "Kesareta Jikan" (Japanese: 消された時間)
|Hajime Tsuburaya||Akihiko Sugano||October 29, 1967|
Transcription: "Dāku Zōn" (Japanese: ダーク・ゾーン)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Bunzo Wakatsuki||November 5, 1967|
|7||"Space Prisoner 303"|
Transcription: "Uchū Shūjin San-Maru-San" (Japanese: 宇宙囚人303)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Tetsuo Kinjo||November 12, 1967|
|8||"The Marked Town"|
Transcription: "Nerawareta Machi" (Japanese: 狙われた街)
|Akio Jissoji||Tetsuo Kinjo||November 19, 1967|
|9||"Operation Android Zero"|
Transcription: "Andoroido Zero Shirei" (Japanese: アンドロイド0指令)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Shozo Uehara||November 26, 1967|
|10||"The Suspicious Neighbor"|
Transcription: "Ayashii Rinjin" (Japanese: 怪しい隣人)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Bunzo Wakatsuki||December 3, 1967|
|11||"Fly to Devil Mountain"|
Transcription: "Ma no Yama e Tobe" (Japanese: 魔の山へ飛べ)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||December 10, 1967|
|12||"From Another Planet with Love"|
Transcription: "Yūsei yori Ai o Komete" (Japanese: 遊星より愛をこめて)
|Akio Jissoji||Mamoru Sasaki||December 17, 1967|
|13||"The Man Who Came from V3"|
Transcription: "Bui Surī kara Kita Otoko" (Japanese: V3から来た男)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Shinichi Ichikawa||December 24, 1967|
|14||"The Ultra Guard Goes West: Part 1"|
Transcription: "Urutora Keibitai Nishi e Zenpen" (Japanese: ウルトラ警備隊西へ 前編)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||January 7, 1968|
|15||"The Ultra Guard Goes West: Part 2"|
Transcription: "Urutora Keibitai Nishi e Kōhen" (Japanese: ウルトラ警備隊西へ 後編)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||January 14, 1968|
|16||"The Eye That Shines in the Darkness"|
Transcription: "Yami ni Hikaru Me" (Japanese: 闇に光る目)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Keisuke Fujikawa||January 21, 1968|
|17||"Underground Go! Go! Go!"|
Transcription: "Chitei Gō! Gō! Gō!" (Japanese: 地底GO! GO! GO!)
|Hajime Tsuburaya||Shozo Uehara||January 28, 1968|
|18||"Escape Dimension X"|
Transcription: "Kūkan Ekkusu Dasshutsu" (Japanese: 空間X脱出)
|Hajime Tsuburaya||Tetsuo Kinjo||February 4, 1967|
Transcription: "Purojekuto Burū" (Japanese: プロジェクト・ブルー)
|Samaji Nonagase||Ryu Minamikawa||February 11, 1967|
|20||"Destroy Earthquake Epicenter X"|
Transcription: "Jishingen Ekkusu o Taose" (Japanese: 地震源Xを倒せ)
|Samaji Nonagase||Bunzo Wakatsuki||February 18, 1967|
|21||"Pursue the Undersea Base!"|
Transcription: "Kaitei Kichi o Oe" (Japanese: 海底基地を追え)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Onisuke Akai||February 25, 1967|
|22||"The Human Farm"|
Transcription: "Ningen Bokujō" (Japanese: 人間牧場)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Hiroyasu Yamaura||March 3, 1968|
|23||"Search for Tomorrow"|
Transcription: "Asu o Sagase" (Japanese: 明日を捜せ)
|Samaji Nonagase||Ryu Minamikawa & Shozo Uehara||March 10, 1968|
|24||"Return to the North!"|
Transcription: "Kita e Kaere!" (Japanese: 北へ還れ!)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Shinichi Ichikawa||March 17, 1968|
|25||"Showdown at 140 Degrees Below Zero"|
Transcription: "Reika Hyakuyonjū-do no Taiketsu" (Japanese: 零下140度の対決)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||March 24, 1968|
|26||"Super Weapon R-1"|
Transcription: "Chōheiki Āru Ichi-gō" (Japanese: 超兵器R1号)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Bunzo Wakatsuki||March 31, 1968|
Transcription: "Saibōgu Sakusen" (Japanese: サイボーグ作戦)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Keisuke Fujikawa||April 7, 1968|
|28||"The 700 Kilometer Run!"|
Transcription: "Nanahyaku Kiro o Tsuppashire!" (Japanese: 700キロを突っ走れ!)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Shozo Uehara||April 14, 1968|
|29||"The Earthling All Alone"|
Transcription: "Hitoribotchi no Chikyūjin" (Japanese: ひとりぼっちの地球人)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Shinichi Ichikawa||April 21, 1968|
|30||"Glory for Whom?"|
Transcription: "Eikō wa Dare no Tame ni" (Japanese: 栄光は誰れのために)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Keisuke Fujikawa||April 28, 1968|
|31||"The Flower where the Devil Dwells"|
Transcription: "Akuma no Sumu Hana" (Japanese: 悪魔の住む花)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Shozo Uehara||May 5, 1968|
|32||"The Strolling Planet"|
Transcription: "Sannpo suru Wakusei" (Japanese: 散歩する惑星)
|Samaji Nonagase||Masahiro Yamada & Shozo Uehara||May 12, 1968|
|33||"The Invading Dead"|
Transcription: "Shinryaku suru Shishatachi" (Japanese: 侵略する死者たち)
|Hajime Tsuburaya||Shozo Uehara||May 19, 1968|
|34||"The Vanishing City"|
Transcription: "Jōhatsu Toshi" (Japanese: 蒸発都市)
|Hajime Tsuburaya||Tetsuo Kinjo||May 26, 1968|
|35||"Terror on the Moon"|
Transcription: "Gessekai no Senritsu" (Japanese: 月世界の戦慄)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Shinichi Ichikawa||June 2, 1968|
|36||"A Lethal 0.1 Seconds"|
Transcription: "Hissatsu no Rei-ten-ichi Byō" (Japanese: 必殺の0.1秒)
|Samaji Nonagase||Hiroyasu Yamaura||June 9, 1968|
|37||"The Stolen Ultra Eye"|
Transcription: "Nusumareta Urutora Ai" (Japanese: 盗まれたウルトラ・アイ)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Shinichi Ichikawa||June 16, 1968|
|38||"The Courageous Battle"|
Transcription: "Yūki aru Tatakai" (Japanese: 勇気ある戦い)
|Toshihiro Iijima||Mamoru Sasaki||June 23, 1968|
|39||"The Seven Assassination Plan: Part 1"|
Transcription: "Sebun Ansatsu Keikaku Zenpen" (Japanese: セブン暗殺計画 前篇)
|Toshihiro Iijima||Keisuke Fujikawa||June 30, 1968|
|40||"The Seven Assassination Plan: Part 2"|
Transcription: "Sebun Ansatsu Keikaku Kōhen" (Japanese: セブン暗殺計画 後編)
|Toshihiro Iijima||Keisuke Fujikawa||July 7, 1968|
|41||"Challenge from Underwater"|
Transcription: "Suichū kara no Chōsen" (Japanese: 水中からの挑戦)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Bunzo Wakatsuki||July 14, 1968|
|42||"Ambassador of the Nonmalt"|
Transcription: "Nonmaruto no Shisha" (Japanese: ノンマルトの使者)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||July 21, 1968|
|43||"Nightmare on Planet No. 4"|
Transcription: "Daiyon Wakusei no Akumu" (Japanese: 第四惑星の悪夢)
|Akio Jissoji||Takashi Kawasaki & Shozo Uehara||July 28, 1968|
|44||"The Terrifying Super Ape-man"|
Transcription: "Kyōfu no Chōenjin" (Japanese: 恐怖の超猿人)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Shozo Uehara & Shinichi Ichikawa||August 4, 1968|
|45||"The Saucers Have Come"|
Transcription: "Enban ga Kita" (Japanese: 円盤が来た)
|Akio Jissoji||Takashi Kawasaki & Shozo Uehara||August 11, 1968|
|46||"The Showdown of Dan vs. Seven"|
Transcription: "Dan tai Sebun no Kettō" (Japanese: ダン対セブンの決闘)
|Toshitsugu Suzuki||Shozo Uehara & Shinichi Ichikawa||August 18, 1968|
|47||"Who Are You?"|
Transcription: "Anata wa dare?" (Japanese: あなたはだぁれ?)
|Tatsumi Ando||Shozo Uehara||August 25, 1968|
|48||"The Biggest Invasion in History: Part 1"|
Transcription: "Shijō Saidai no Kessen Zenpen" (Japanese: 史上最大の侵略 前編)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||September 1, 1968|
|49||"The Biggest Invasion in History: Part 2"|
Transcription: "Shijō Saidai no Kessen Kōhen" (Japanese: 史上最大の侵略 後編)
|Kazuho Mitsuta||Tetsuo Kinjo||September 8, 1968|
The 12th episode, titled From Another Planet with Love, was banned due to Alien Spell (which had keloid scars) being labeled as "Hibaku Seijin" (A-Bomb Survivor Alien) which was lifted from the term "hibakusha", referring to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The issue was featured on an article of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which sparked public outrage and forced Tsuburaya Productions to change the name to "Kyuketsu Seijin" (Vampire Alien). Despite this, Tsuburaya Productions still received negative public opinion and as a result, Tsuburaya pulled the alien character and episode from official publications, broadcasts and home media releases. However, the Hawaiian English dub and Cinar dub of the series broadcast the episode (which was re-titled "Crystallized Corpuscles") in North America.
In 1985, Turner Program Services licensed the series in a 15-year contract from Tsuburaya Productions, who provided the English dubbed versions produced in Honolulu by Tsuburaya-Hawaii, Inc. in the mid-1970s. Finding this English version to be lacking, Turner commissioned the Canadian children's programming production house, Cinar, to dub all 49 episodes for run in syndication. The TPS/Cinar produced episodes featured new opening and closing credits, eyecatches, new episode names, and even a change of name for the character of Anne Yuri, who was dubbed as "Donna Michibata". Cinar edited the episodes for violence, language and commercial time and featured new music cues.
Unsatisfied with Cinar's resultant work, Turner put the series into their vaults until 1994, when they were alerted that the episodes were never broadcast. Ultraseven was dusted off for the "Toons 'Til Noon" and "MonsterVision" blocks on TNT. The "Toons 'Til Noon" broadcasts received substantially heavy editing to make them suitable for the time slot, while the "MonsterVision" broadcasts were the full-length Cinar adaptations. Episodes 3 and 5-7 were missing or mislabeled and were never broadcast. Clips from the series were later used in the "Messages from Space" segments on the animated variety show Cartoon Planet, which aired on TBS and Cartoon Network. When the contract expired in 2001, Turner returned all the materials (film elements, videotapes, audio masters) to Tsuburaya Productions.
Bandai Visual released the series on Blu-ray in Japan as two separate sets with the first released on November 21, 2014 and the second on January 28, 2015. In September 2020, NHK aired 4K restorations of the series, converted from 16 mm film with HDR.
In December 2012, Shout! Factory released the Japanese version on DVD, licensed from UM Corporation through Tiga Entertainment. In July 2019, Mill Creek Entertainment announced that it had acquired most of the Ultraman library from Tsuburaya Productions through Indigo Entertainment, including 1,100 episodes and 20 films. Mill Creek released the series on Blu-ray and digital on December 10, 2019 in standard and steelbook editions.
In July 2020, Shout! Factory announced to have struck a multi-year deal with Alliance Entertainment and Mill Creek Entertainment, with the blessings of Tsuburaya and Indigo, that granted them the exclusive SVOD and AVOD digital rights to the Ultra series and films (1,100 episodes and 20 film) acquired by Mill Creek the previous year. Ultraseven, amongst other titles, will stream in the United States and Canada through Shout! Factory TV and Tokushoutsu.
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