Ultra Seven

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Ultra Seven
Ultraseven (1967) HD Title Card.png
Original Japanese title card.
Genre
Created by Eiji Tsuburaya
Starring
Composer(s) Tōru Fuyuki
Country of origin Japan
No. of episodes 49
Production
Running time 24 minutes
Release
Original network
Original release October 1, 1967 – September 8, 1968
Chronology
Preceded by Ultraman
Followed by The Return of Ultraman

Ultra Seven (ウルトラセブン, Urutora Sebun) is a Japanese tokusatsu science fiction television series created by Eiji Tsuburaya. Ultra Seven is the third installment in the Ultra series and was produced by Tsuburaya Productions and aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System from October 1, 1967 to September 8, 1968.

Premise[edit]

In the not-too-distant future, the Earth finds itself constantly under attack from extraterrestrial threats. To combat them, the Terrestrial Defense Force establishes the Ultra Guard, 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.[1]

Production[edit]

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 and Eiji Tsuburaya assembled Hajime Tsuburaya, Akio Jissoji, Tetsuo Kinjo, Masami Sueyasu, and Shoji Otomo to brainstorm ideas.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2]

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.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

Tohru Narita was assigned to design the aliens, monsters, and vehicles. Narita's design for Ultra Seven 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 blue-screen matte process.[5]

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 investor's for Tsuburaya Productions.[6] 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.[7]

Four episodes were completed before copyright was approved for the show's title, which was changed to Ultra Seven. 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.[8]

Ultra Seven aired on October 1, 1967 and earned a 33.7% rating, an achievement at the time.[8] 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, Ultra Seven still remained in the top five highest rated shows in Japanese television at the time.[9]

Sequels for both Ultraman, titled Ultraman Continues, and Ultraseven, titled Fight! Ultra Seven, were proposed, but Tsuburaya Productions would not produce another Ultra show until 1971 with The Return of Ultraman.[9]

Cast[edit]

Koji Uenishi was the Ultra seven suit performer for the entire show with the exception of episodes 14 and 15, with Eiichi Kikuchi performing the Ultra Seven suitmation scenes for those episodes.[10][11] At the time of the show's production, Moritsugu was married and poor. These two facts were kept secret in order to publicize Moritsugu as a young rising heartthrob.[7]
  • Shōji Nakayama as Commander Kaoru Kiriyama
    The captain of the Ultra Garrison.
  • Sandayū Dokumamushi as Shigeru Furuhashi
    The rotund, strong, trigger-happy member of the Ultra Garrison.
  • Yuriko Hishimi as Anne Yuri
    The team's communications operator, nurse, and only female member. Yoshiko Toyoura was originally cast in the role but was pulled out by director Takashi Tsuboshima to cast her in his then-latest film. Yuriko Hishimi was given the role after doing an immediate audition and photoshoot.[12]
  • Shinsuke Achiha as Soga
    The Ultra Garrison's expert marksman.
  • Bin Furuya as Amagi
    The team's strategist. Furuya was the suit performer for Ultraman and stated that although he liked being Ultraman, Amagi was more enjoyable due to having an exposed appearance.[13]

Episodes[edit]

Ultraseven battles Narse in episode 11: Fly to Devil's Mountain
  1. The Invisible Challenger (姿なき挑戦者, Sugata naki Chōsensha)
  2. The Green Terror (緑の恐怖, Midori no Kyōfu)
  3. The Secret of the Lake (湖のひみつ, Mizumi no himitsu)
  4. Max, Acknowledge (マックス号応答せよ, Makkusu-gō Ōtō seyo)
  5. The Negated Hours (消された時間, Kesareta Jikan)
  6. The Dark Zone (ダーク・ゾーン, Dāku Zōn)
  7. Space Prisoner 303 (宇宙囚人303, Uchū Shūjin San-Maru-San)
  8. The Targeted Town (狙われた街, Nerawareta Machi)
  9. Android Zero Directive (アンドロイド0指令, Andoroido Zero Shirei)
  10. The Suspicious Neighbor (怪しい隣人, Ayashii Rinjin)
  11. Fly to Devil's Mountain (魔の山へ飛べ, Ma no Yama e Tobe)
  12. From Another Planet with Love (遊星より愛をこめて, Yūsei yori Ai o Komete)
  13. The Man from V3 (V3から来た男, Bui Surī kara Kita Otoko)
  14. Westward, Ultra Garrison (Beginning) (ウルトラ警備隊西へ(前編), Urutora Keibitai Nishi e (Zenpen))
  15. Westward, Ultra Garrison (Conclusion) (ウルトラ警備隊西へ(後編), Urutora Keibitai Nishi e (Kōhen))
  16. Shining Eyes in the Darkness (闇に光る目, Yami ni Hikaru Me)
  17. Underground: Go! Go! Go! (地底GO! GO! GO!, Chitei Gō! Gō! Gō!)
  18. Escape from Area X (空間X脱出, Kūkan Ekkusu Dasshutsu)
  19. Project Blue (プロジェクト・ブルー, Purojekuto Burū)
  20. Smash Epicenter X (地震源Xを倒せ, Jishingen Ekkusu o Taose)
  21. Pursue the Undersea Base (海底基地を追え, Kaitei Kichi o Oe)
  22. The Human Ranch (人間牧場, Ningen Bokujō)
  23. Find Tomorrow (明日を捜せ, Asu o Sagase)
  24. Return to the North! (北へ還れ!, Kita e Kaere!)
  25. Showdown at 140 Degrees Below Zero (零下140度の対決, Reika Hyakuyonjū-do no Taiketsu)
  26. Super Weapon R-1 (超兵器R1号, Chōheiki Āru Ichi-gō)
  27. Operation: Cyborg (サイボーグ作戦, Saibōgu Sakusen)
  28. The 700 Kilometer Run! (700キロを突っ走れ!, Nanahyaku Kiro o Tsuppashire!)
  29. The Forsaken Earthman (ひとりぼっちの地球人, Hitoribotchi no Chikyūjin)
  30. For Whom Takes the Glory (栄光は誰れのために, Eikō wa Dare no Tame ni)
  31. The Devil Who Dwells in a Flower (悪魔の住む花, Akuma no Sumu Hana)
  32. The Wandering Planet (散歩する惑星, Sannpo suru Wakusei)
  33. The Dead Invaders (侵略する死者たち, Shinryaku suru Shishatachi)
  34. The Vanishing City (蒸発都市, Jōhatsu Toshi)
  35. Horror on the Moon (月世界の戦慄, Gessekai no Senritsu)
  36. The 0.1 Second Kill (必殺の0.1秒, Hissatsu no Rei-ten-ichi Byō)
  37. The Stolen Ultra Eye (盗まれたウルトラ・アイ, Nusumareta Urutora Ai)
  38. The Courageous Battle (勇気ある戦い, Yūki aru Tatakai)
  39. The Seven Assassination Plan (Beginning) (セブン暗殺計画(前篇), Sebun Ansatsu Keikaku (Zenpen))
  40. The Seven Assassination Plan (Conclusion) (セブン暗殺計画(後編), Sebun Ansatsu Keikaku (Kōhen))
  41. The Challenge from the Water (水中からの挑戦, Suichū kara no Chōsen)
  42. Ambassador of The Nonmalt (ノンマルトの使者, Nonmaruto no Shisha)
  43. Nightmare on Planet 4 (第四惑星の悪夢, Daiyon Wakusei no Akumu)
  44. The Terrifying Super-Simian (恐怖の超猿人, Kyōfu no Chōenjin)
  45. The Boy Who Cried Flying Saucer (円盤が来た, Enban ga Kita)
  46. The Duel: Dan vs. Seven (ダン対セブンの決闘, Dan tai Sebun no Kettō)
  47. Who are You? (あなたはだぁれ?, Anata wa dare?)
  48. The Greatest Invasion in History (Beginning) (史上最大の侵略(前編), Shijō Saidai no Shinryaku (Zenpen))
  49. The Greatest Invasion in History (Conclusion) (史上最大の侵略(後編), Shijō Saidai no Shinryaku (Kōhen))

Banned episode[edit]

The 12th episode, titled From Another Planet with Love, was banned after one of the Spehl aliens (which had keloid scars) was labeled as "Hibaku Seijin" (A-bomb Survivor Alien) which was lifted from the term "Hibakusha," referring to 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 (the episode was re-titled to "Crystallized Corpuscles") of the series broadcast the episode in North America.[14]

Cinar English dub[edit]

Title card for the Cinar dub.

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.[15] 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." 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. Ultra Seven 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 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, tapes, masters) to Tsuburaya Productions.[14]

Cinar episode titles[edit]

  1. Enter Dan Moroboshe
  2. Shrubs From Space
  3. N/A
  4. Double Trouble At Sea
  5. N/A
  6. N/A
  7. N/A
  8. Smokers On The Rampage
  9. Toys In Crisis
  10. The Man Next Door
  11. Captured In Living Color
  12. Crystallized Corpuscles
  13. Space Ace Reunion
  14. Planets In Conflict (Part 1)
  15. Planets In Conflict (Part 2)
  16. The Eyes Have Had It
  17. Cave-In
  18. The Bells Are Ringing
  19. Wayne, Lord Of The Universe
  20. The Quakemaker
  21. The Nissans Return Engagement
  22. The Chromosome Eaters
  23. The Fugitive Fortune Teller
  24. Mother Knows Best
  25. Ultra-7 Exposed
  26. The 8,000 Megaton Mistake
  27. Temporary Traitor
  28. Death On Wheels
  29. The Apprentice Alien
  30. Trial By War
  31. Blood-Thirst
  32. Island In The Sky
  33. The Dead Invaders
  34. Urban Removal
  35. Moon-Stuck
  36. Sharpshooter Showdown
  37. The Devil's Angel
  38. The Brave One
  39. Ultra-7 Tastes Defeat
  40. Ultra-7 Execution at Dawn
  41. Killer Lake
  42. The Boy on the Beach
  43. Tyranny by Design
  44. The Stargazer
  45. Simian Says Surrender
  46. Dan and The Ultra-7 Challenge
  47. Home, Sweet... Homes???
  48. Exit Ultra-7 Part 1
  49. Exit Ultra-7 Part 2

Home media[edit]

In December 2012, Shout! Factory licensed the series from Tiga Entertainment Co., LTD[16] and released the series on DVD for the first time North America. This release only included the Japanese original with English subtitles but did not contain the banned 12th episode, From Another Planet with Love.[17]

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.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ultraseven - Shout Factory 2012 DVD Release". Shout! Factory. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ragone 2012, p. 3.
  3. ^ Ragone 2012, p. 4.
  4. ^ Ragone 2012, p. 5.
  5. ^ Ragone 2012, p. 6.
  6. ^ Ragone 2012, p. 8.
  7. ^ a b Ragone 2012, p. 10.
  8. ^ a b Ragone 2012, p. 11.
  9. ^ a b Ragone 2012, p. 12.
  10. ^ Opening credits of Ultra Seven
  11. ^ ウルトラセブンイズム 2002, p. 51
  12. ^ Ragone 2012, p. 9.
  13. ^ Justice, Keith (April 18, 2013). "Ultraman U&A Write Up From Monsterpalooza 2013". Henshin Justice. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b Ragone 2012, p. 16.
  15. ^ Miyake, Marc (December 25, 1995). "'Ultra Seven' (Original Series) Version 1.0". Tokusatsu File 5. 
  16. ^ Aiken, Keith (July 28, 2017). "Chinese Ultraman Movie Latest Chapter in Ongoing Rights Dispute". SciFi Japan. Retrieved July 28, 2017. 
  17. ^ Ragone, August (September 7, 2012). ""Ultra Seven" Complete Series DVD Box Set! Shout! Factory's 45th Anniversary Release!". The Good, the Bad, and Godzilla. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Ultraseven Blu-Ray Box Sets Announced". Tokusatsu Network. July 1, 2014. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • ウルトラセブンイズム. タツミムック. 辰巳出版. 2002-11-15. ISBN 4-88641-779-5. 
  • Ragone, August (2012). The Making of Ultraseven. Shout Factory DVD Booklet. ASIN B0096W46VW. 
  • Ragone, August (2007). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9.