Sunday, May 21, 2017

TSUBURAYA PRO IN DA HOUSE! Ultra-Alums Please Their Fans!

Return of Ultraman suit actor Eiichi Kikuchi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

After spending the day with various Toei heroes and villains, it was off to Jimbocho for an evening with Tsuburaya Productions alumni! Two of the biggest guests on hand were old favorites of mine.  

Striking a pose with Eiichi Kikuchi.

First was Return of Ultraman (1971-72) suit actor Eiichi Kikuchi, who also played Ultra Seven in the King Joe episodes of Ultra Seven (1967-68). Not only that, but he battles Sean Connery in the James Bond actioner You Only Live Twice (1967) as a henchman. (Yes, James Bond and Ultra Seven have tussled onscreen.) A resume doesn't get much cooler than that!  

Ultraman director Toshihiro Iijima. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

The other great guest was director Toshihiro Iijima. Iijima-san directed episodes of Ultra Q (1966), Ultraman (1966-67), Ultra Seven, and other Tsuburaya Productions series, in addition to the feature film Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972). In Japan, he is probably best known as the director of episode 2 of Ultraman, which saw the debut of Baltan Seijin.

Iijima-san is a very kind gentleman, and whenever he appears at an event, I always try to attend to pay my respects. All in all, it was a great way to end the day. Now's the time to rest!

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