Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ultra-Guests Assemble on Friday the 13th!

Ultraman Jack himself, Eiichi Kikuchi, strikes his trademark pose. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

On the night of Friday the 13th, I was able to attend an Ultra-cool event in Tokyo. This event featured no fewer than four special guests, all related to the Ultra-series in one way or another.


The first guest was none other than Eiichi Kikuchi, who is principally known as Ultraman Jack's suit actor in Return of Ultraman (1971-72). Kikuchi-san also donned the Ultra Seven suit in Ultra Seven (1967-68) for two episodes (14 and 15). He also tussles with Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice (1967).

Shigemitsu Taguchi. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Another major guest was Shigemitsu Taguchi. Taguchi-san  has written episodes of Return of Ultraman, Mirrorman (1971-72), Ultraman Ace (1972-73), Jumborg Ace (1973), Ultraman Taro (1973-74), Ultraman Leo (1974-75), among many others.


I've met Taguchi-san a couple of times before, and he's always a warm and friendly gentleman. His credits in television are oustanding, as he had in just about all the best programs from Tsuburaya Productions in the 1970s.

Kazuya Konaka. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Kazuya Konaka was on hand, not just as a guest, but also as an emcee. Konaka-san has directed episodes of Ultraman Dyna (1997-98), Ultraman Cosmos (2001-02), Ultraman Nexus (2004-05), Ultraman Mebius (2006-07), Ultraseven X (2007), Ultraman Ginga S (2014), and Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga (2016-17). As for films, Konaka-san directed Ultraman Zearth 2 (1997), Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna (1998), Ultraman Gaia: The Battle in Hyperspace (1999), Ultraman (2004), Mirrorman Reflex (2006), and Ultraman Mebius and Ultra Brothers (2006).

Masahiko Shiraishi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Last but not least was Masahiko Shiraishi, an author and researcher who has recently written books about the early Ultra-series. Shiraishi-san is himself a veteran of the world of tokusatsu, as he worked under SFX director Koichi Kawakita on the Heisei Godzilla series.

And that's a wrap! What a fun evening it was.

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