Sunday, December 6, saw the second Ultra One-Man Show hosted by Bin Furuya (the original Ultraman suit actor). Taking place in Minato's Hatsumei Kaikan, it featured many notable celebrity guests.
Among the guests on hand were Ultra Q alumni Yasuhiko Saijo and Hiroko Sakurai. Both shared many laughs when recounting their memories at Tsuburaya Productions.
After the Q&A wrapped, actress-singer Grace Mika took to the stage with Furuya-san, and together they performed a tap-dancing number that wowed the audience. How often do you get to see Ultraman cut a rug like that?
The guest who seemed to garner the most reverence was Tsuburaya Productions director Toshihiro Iijima, whose directorial credits include Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultra Seven. Director Minoru Kawasaki (who served as an emcee for the event) interviewed Iijima-san onstage while Tsuburaya alumni Furuya-san, Sakurai-san, Saijo-san, and scripter Atsuko Tanaka threw in their two cents.
One surprise was a video message from Ultraman and Ultra Seven actor Sandayu Dokumamushi. If only he were able to attend in person!
After the show finished, it was time to meet and mingle. I spoke to many familiar faces in the lobby area. I also was able to snap a few photos with some of the guests.
Once that wrapped, the after-party was ready to commence. Many of Furuya-san's fans and friends converged upstairs for a dinner that lasted about two hours.
This was an opportunity for attendees to get autographs from and photos with the celebrity guests. One of the first I approached was Hiroko Sakurai. Even though fans immediately swarmed around her, she was as friendly as always.
It had been months since I last saw and hung out with Sojiro Uchino (a former child actor whose credits include Ultra Q, Ultraman, Kaiju Booska, and Gamera vs. Viras). I certainly hope to have the chance to see him again before the end of the year.
I spent the majority of the evening hanging out with actress-singer Grace Mika, along with our mutual friend Yasushi. Grace is always a blast to spend time with, and even though she isn't a tokusatsu fan, she seems to fit right in at events like this.
Yours truly with Ultra Seven and Return of Ultraman suit actor Eiichi Kikuchi.
It was also a lot of fun to speak with Eiichi Kikuchi, who played Ultra Seven in Ultra Seven for two episodes (14 and 15) and the suit actor for Ultraman Jack in Return of Ultraman. We took several pictures together with different poses, all at his insistence!
A suprise guest was actress Nami Tamura, an actress who appears in many Toho films, particularly the works of Kihachi Okamoto. She can also be seen in many programs from Tsuburaya Productions.
A great time was had by all, and I must congratulate Furuya-san on an excellent event. I can't wait for next year's show!
After it was finished, Grace, Yasushi, and I went out for dinner and drinks for a few more hours. It was the perfect way to cap off an incredible day!