From left to right: Shozo Uehara, Sadao Iizuka, Hiroyasu Yamaura, Masahiko Shiraishi, Toshihiro Iijima, Eizo Yamagiwa, and Teruyoshi Nakano pose for pictures. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Among American fans, the TV series Ultra Q (1966) has never gotten very much exposure. Sure, it's been released on DVD, and it's better known these days than it was even just five years ago. However, aside from the likes of Kenji Sahara and Hiroko Sakurai (who are recognized by American fans from their other tokusatsu projects), the names of the cast and crew of the series are largely unknown.
Shozo Uehara, Toshihiro Iijima, and Eizo Yamagiwa share a laugh prior to the start of festivities. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Yours truly meeting legendary sculptor and suitmaker Keizo Murase for the second time.
Among the headliners was Toshihiro Iijima, who directed many classic episodes of Ultra Q, Ultraman (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), and other Tsuburaya Productions series. He also directed the feature film Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972).
Another celebrity guest was Shozo Uehara, a prolific writer who wrote episodes of Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Return of Ultraman (1971-72), Ultraman Ace (1972-73), Zone Fighter (1973), and Ultraman Taro (1973-74) before penning many of the Super Sentai and Metal Hero series for Toei Studios.
Another honored guest was Eizo Yamagiwa, a director who worked as an assistant director under Teruo Ishii in the 1950s and '60s before helming episodes of Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace, and Ultraman Taro in the 1970s.
Toho SFX director Teruyoshi Nakano talks about Eiji Tsuburaya and his SFX legacy. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Eizo Yamagiwa (left) and Shozo Uehara (right) speak about all things Ultra. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Toshihiro Iijima, Sadao Iizuka, and Keizo Murase are all smiles all photographers snap away. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Sadao Iizuka and Keizo Murase, two SFX veterans, compare notes (and what notes they were!). Photo by Brett Homenick.
I enjoyed meeting Toshihiro Iijima at this event. While he attended Bin Furuya's performance in December, I didn't have a chance to meet him. So I was pleased to have a few opportunities to speak with him this time.
This photo with Eizo Yamagiwa was taken shortly after he introduced himself to me and gave him his business card. He seemed surprised that an American would be so interested in his work.
It was great to have a chat with Fuyuki Shinada again after about three years since we first met. Hopefully it won't be so long till we meet again!
There are simply too many photos to share here, so they'll come in the next post. Stay tuned!