Ultraman (JapaneseウルトラマンHepburnUrutoraman) is a Japanese tokusatsu science fiction television series created by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced by Tsuburaya Productions, it is a follow-up to Ultra Q, though not technically a sequel or spin-off. Tsuburaya Productions produced 39 episodes (40, counting the pre-premiere special) that aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and its affiliate stations from July 17, 1966, to April 9, 1967. Its premiere topped the average rating set by Ultra Q and kept climbing each week, marking the show as a success. It was also the first Japanese television series to use a bidding system for commercial rights, allowing multiple third-party companies to sponsor the show. This was following TBS’s merchandising troubles with its predecessor.

Although Ultraman is the first series to feature an Ultraman character, it is the second installment in the Ultra Series, following Ultra Q. This is symbolised by the Japanese show opening with the Ultra Q logo exploding into the Ultraman logo. Ultraman and its titular hero became a major pop culture phenomenon in Japan, generating dozens of sequels, spin-offs, imitations, parodies and tributes. Ultraman went on to generate $7.4 billion in merchandising revenue from 1966 to 1987 in Japan (equivalent to more than $19 billion adjusted for inflation) and become the world’s third top-selling licensed character by the 1980s, largely due to his popularity in Asia.

The series follows the adventures of the Science Patrol, a special scientific team investigating and combating threats from aliens and kaiju. Unbeknownst to the team, fellow member Shin Hayata possesses the ability to transform into the giant alien superhero Ultraman in moments of crisis.

Due to the success of Ultra QTokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) requested a similar themed show from Tsuburaya Productions Company (TPC), this time filmed in color and with the hopes of continuing the series with TPC. TPC founder Eiji Tsuburaya and writer Tetsuo Kinjo decided to recycle the barebones idea of Ultra Q about civilians and center the show on a team, tentatively dubbed the “Scientific Investigation Agency” (SIA), specifically designed to deal with monsters and supernatural phenomena. Tsuburaya and Kinjo repurposed unused ideas from Ultra Q, as well as the rejected outline for Woo. Tsuburaya had spent significant studio money to build his miniatures for the Godzilla films, and TPC was seeking a new project to repurpose and monetize those miniatures.

The first iteration of Ultraman was named “Bemular” and had a human host in his late 20s named “Officer Sakomizu”, described as a “tough guy” in early drafts. Captain Muramatsu would have been the only SIA member to know his secret identity, and a female SIA member was added late in production. Pre-production and story layout began in December 1965 as Bemular: Scientific Investigation Agency. Writer Masahiro Yamada completed a sample teleplay titled The Birth of Bemular that featured an unused scenario originally written for Ultra Q. TBS producer Takashi Kakoi demanded that Bemular have a metallic complexion and be distinguishable from similarly designed monsters to avoid confusion. As a result, Tsuburaya and Kinjo discarded Bemular’s original design in favor of a humanoid appearance. The name “Bemular” was dropped for the hero but given to Ultraman’s first foe in the debut episode “Ultra Operation No. 1”.

In January 1966, the production’s title was changed to Redman to reflect the hero’s color scheme and was unanimously approved for production a month later. In this version, Redman lands on Earth as a refugee after invaders destroyed his home planet. Redman fuses with Sakomizu and together protect the Earth from giant monsters and alien invaders. This version also featured the “Flashbeam”, an early version of Ultraman’s transformation device the Beta Capsule, however, the Flashbeam version resembled a futuristic fountain pen. During the casting process, TBS suggested actors with Western appearances in order to appeal to overseas markets, however, most of the cast came from Toho. On March 22, 1966, the copyright offices approved the shows’s registration, now titled Ultraman. Each episode was produced on a budget of ¥20−30 million.

The early Bemular version was originally conceived by Kinjo as an intergalactic reptilian creature that would enlarge itself to 164 feet (50.0 m) and come to the SIA’s aid. The early design was a cross between Garuda, a mythological Hindu/Buddhist guardian bird, and Tengu, a Japanese folkloric crow-goblin. Eiji Tsuburaya found the early designs to be “too alien and sinister” and requested that production designer Tohl Narita continue drafting additional designs as teleplays were being written concurrently. Narita took inspiration from the Greek concept of cosmos (order and harmony), in contrast to Narita’s monster designs for Ultra Q, which were rooted in the Greek concept of Chaos. Narita also drew inspiration from classical Greek art, ancient Egypt, the European Renaissance, and Miyamoto Musashi. Tsuburaya and Kinjo also gave their own input on Narita’s designs. To reflect Ultraman’s cosmic origins, his silver skin symbolized steel from an interstellar rocket and the red lining represented the surface of Mars. Narita’s assistant, Akira Sasaki, sculpted clays, but became concerned about the nose and mouth looking too human. They eventually decided on a brim-like nose that runs from the mouth to the top of the head like a dorsal fin, and applied flexibility on the mouth for speech. Early outlines had Ultraman capable of spitting fire and a liquid called “silver iodine”, but these ideas were dropped. A three-minute warning light called the “Color Timer” was added at the last minute due to the filmmakers feeling that Ultraman was too invincible, and also believed that it would invoke suspense and cheers from viewers.

To keep production costs from going over budget, the series was filmed on 16mm stock and optical effects on 35mm. This met the network’s requirement for making new episodes on a fast-paced production schedule, due to filming starting in March 1966 for July premiere. The production crew were separated into three teams, subdivided into separate live-action filming and special effects filming groups. TBS and TPC originally agreed to air Ultraman on July 17, but TBS delayed it by one week in order to cover the spot originally intended for the final episode of Ultra Q, which was pulled from the broadcast schedule due to not featuring any monsters. TBS also wanted to beat the release of Fuji Television’s similarly themed Ambassador Magma. Though production on Ultraman was proceeding well enough, it was falling behind to meet the premiere date. After meetings between TBS, Tsuburaya Productions, and sponsors, they decided to produce the Ultraman Eve Festival, a live TV special intended to introduce Ultraman to viewers that would air on July 10. This was also done to help the crew catch up and finish the premiere episode. The special was retitled The Birth of Ultraman: An Ultraman Premiere Celebration. Kunio Miyauchi, who composed the music for Ultra Q, was brought back to compose the music for Ultraman. The lyrics to the show’s opening theme music were written by Hajime Tsuburaya (credited as Koichi Fuji).

Several monster suits were produced for the show, while others were recycled from Godzilla films and Ultra Q.

Production designer Tohl Narita designed all of the show’s monsters, and sometimes deviated from their original descriptions. A majority of the time, the writers did not include any specific descriptions in the teleplays and left most unnamed. The names of the monsters were decided via staff meetings, where it would also be determined if the writer had created a creature that was capable or incapable of being filmed with the special effects technology available at the time. The monsters were sculpted and fabricated by Ryosaku Takayama, Akira Sasaki, and Ekisu Productions.

Haruo Nakajima, who played Godzilla for the first 12 films in the Godzilla franchise, choreographed all the monsters’ battles with Ultraman performer Bin Furuya and even played the monsters for episodes three and ten. Nakajima also had two cameos, one in episode 24 and one in episode 33 as a police officer. Ultraman featured new monster suits, as well as recycled suits from Ultra Q. Two Godzilla suits were recycled from Toho for the monster Jirahs, with the head taken from the Godzilla suit from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep and placed upon the body of the Godzilla suit from Mothra vs. Godzilla. The dorsal fins and parts of the suit were sprayed yellow and a large yellow frill was attached to disguise the connection of the head with the body. The show also marks the first appearance of Ultraman Zoffy in the finale Farewell, Ultraman.

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1“Ultra Operation No. 1”
Transliteration: “Urutora Sakusen Dai Ichigō” (Japaneseウルトラ作戦第一号)
Hajime TsuburayaTetsuo Kinjo & Shinichi SekizawaJuly 17, 1966
2“Shoot the Invaders!”
Transliteration: “Shinryakusha o Ute” (Japanese侵略者を撃て)
Toshihiro IijimaKitao SenzokuJuly 24, 1966
3“Science Patrol, Move Out!”
Transliteration: “Katokutai Shutugeki seyo” (Japanese科特隊出撃せよ)
Toshihiro IijimaMasahiro YamadaJuly 31, 1966
4“Five Seconds Before the Explosion”
Transliteration: “Dai Bakuhatsu Gobyō Mae” (Japanese大爆発五秒前)
Samaji NonagaseRyu MinamikawaAugust 7, 1966
5“The Secret of the Miroganda”
Transliteration: “Miroganda no Himitsu” (Japaneseミロガンダの秘密)
Toshihiro IijimaKeisuke FujikawaAugust 14, 1966
6“The Coast Guard Command”
Transliteration: “Engan Keibi Meirei” (Japanese沿岸警備命令)
Samaji NonagaseMasahiro YamadaAugust 21, 1966
7“The Blue Stone of Baradhi”
Transliteration: “Barāji no Aoi Ishi” (Japaneseバラージの青い石)
Samaji NonagaseTetsuo Kinjo & Ryu MinamikawaAugust 28, 1966
8“The Monster Anarchy Zone”
Transliteration: “Kaijū Muhō Chitai” (Japanese怪獣無法地帯)
Hajime TsuburayaTetsuo Kinjo & Shōzō UeharaSeptember 4, 1966
9“Lightning Operation”
Transliteration: “Denkōsekka Sakusen” (Japanese電光石火作戦)
Samaji NonagaseMasahiro YamadaSeptember 11, 1966
10“The Mysterious Dinosaur Base”
Transliteration: “Nazo no Kyōryū Kichi” (Japanese謎の恐竜基地)
Kazuho MitsutaTetsuo KinjoSeptember 18, 1966
11“The Rascal from Outer Space”
Transliteration: “Uchū kara Kita Abarenbō” (Japanese宇宙から来た暴れん坊)
Kazuho MitsutaTatsuo MiyataSeptember 25, 1966
12“Cry of the Mummy”
Transliteration: “Miira no Sakebi” (Japaneseミイラの叫び)
Hajime TsuburayaKeisuke FujikawaOctober 2, 1966
13“Oil S.O.S.”
Transliteration: “Oiru Esu Ō Esu” (JapaneseオイルSOS)
Hajime TsuburayaTetsuo KinjoOctober 9, 1966
14“The Pearl Defense Directive”
Transliteration: “Shinjugai Bōei Shirei” (Japanese真珠貝防衛指令)
Akio JissojiMamoru SasakiOctober 16, 1966
15“Terrifying Cosmic Rays”
Transliteration: “Kyōfu no Uchūsen” (Japanese恐怖の宇宙線)
Akio JissojiMamoru SasakiOctober 23, 1966
16“Science Patrol Into Space”
Transliteration: “Katokutai Uchū e” (Japanese科特隊宇宙へ)
Toshihiro IijimaKitao SenzokuOctober 30, 1966
17“Passport to Infinity”
Transliteration: “Mugen e no Pasupōto” (Japanese無限へのパスポート)
Toshihiro IijimaKeisuke FujikawaNovember 6, 1966
18“Brother from Another Planet”
Transliteration: “Yūsei kara Kita Kyōdai” (Japanese遊星から来た兄弟)
Samaji NonagaseRyu Minamikawa & Tetsuo KinjoNovember 13, 1966
19“Demons Rise Again”
Transliteration: “Akuma wa Futatabi” (Japanese悪魔はふたたび)
Samaji NonagaseMasahiro Yamada & Ryu MinamikawaNovember 20, 1966
20“Terror on Route 87”
Transliteration: “Kyōfu no Rūto Hachijūnana” (Japanese恐怖のルート87)
Yuzo HiguchiTetsuo KinjoNovember 27, 1966
21“Breach the Wall of Smoke”
Transliteration: “Fun’en Toppa seyo” (Japanese噴煙突破せよ)
Yuzo HiguchiTaro KaidoDecember 4, 1966
22“Overthrow the Surface”
Transliteration: “Chijō Hakai Kōsaku” (Japanese地上破壊工作)
Akio JissojiMamoru SasakiDecember 11, 1966
23“My Home Is the Earth”
Transliteration: “Kokyō wa Chikyū” (Japanese故郷は地球)
Akio JissojiMamoru SasakiDecember 18, 1966
24“The Undersea Science Center”
Transliteration: “Kaitei Kagaku Kichi” (Japanese海底科学基地)
Toshihiro IijimaKeisuke FujikawaDecember 25, 1966
25“The Mysterious Comet Tsuifon”
Transliteration: “Kai Susei Tsuifon” (Japanese怪彗星ツイフォン)
Toshihiro IijimaBunzo WakatsukiJanuary 1, 1967
26“The Monster Highness: Part 1”
Transliteration: “Kaijū Denka Zenpen” (Japanese怪獣殿下 前篇)
Hajime TsuburayaTetsuo Kinjo & Bunzo WakatsukiJanuary 8, 1967
27“The Monster Highness: Part 2”
Transliteration: “Kaijū Denka Kōhen” (Japanese怪獣殿下 後篇)
Hajime TsuburayaTetsuo Kinjo & Bunzo WakatsukiJanuary 15, 1967
28“Human Specimens 5 & 6”
Transliteration: “Ningen Hyōhon Go Roku” (Japanese人間標本5・6)
Samaji NonagaseMasahiro YamadaJanuary 22, 1967
29“Challenge to the Underground”
Transliteration: “Chitei e no Chōsen” (Japanese地底への挑戦)
Samaji NonagaseTetsuo Kinjo & Ryu MinamikawaJanuary 29, 1967
30“Phantom of the Snow Mountains”
Transliteration: “Maboroshi no Yukiyama” (Japaneseまぼろしの雪山)
Yuzo HiguchiTetsuo KinjoFebruary 5, 1967
31“Who Goes There?”
Transliteration: “Kita no wa Dare da” (Japanese来たのは誰だ)
Yuzo HiguchiTaro KaidoFebruary 12, 1967
32“Endless Counterattack”
Transliteration: “Hateshinaki Gyakushū” (Japanese果てしなき逆襲)
Toshitsugu SuzukiKeisuke FujikawaFebruary 19, 1967
33“The Forbidden Words”
Transliteration: “Kinjirareta Kotoba” (Japanese禁じられた言葉)
Toshitsugu SuzukiTetsuo KinjoFebruary 26, 1967
34“A Gift from the Sky”
Transliteration: “Sora no Okurimono” (Japanese空の贈り物)
Akio JissojiMamoru SasakiMarch 5, 1967
35“The Monster Graveyard”
Transliteration: “Kaijū Hakaba” (Japanese怪獣墓場)
Akio JissojiMamoru SasakiMarch 12, 1967
36“Don’t Shoot! Arashi”
Transliteration: “Utsuna! Arashi” (Japanese射つな! アラシ)
Kazuho MitsutaMasahiro YamadaMarch 19, 1967
37“A Little Hero”
Transliteration: “Chiisana Eiyū” (Japanese小さな英雄)
Kazuho MitsutaTetsuo KinjoMarch 26, 1967
38“Spaceship Rescue Command”
Transliteration: “Uchūsen Kyūjo Meirei” (Japanese宇宙船救助命令)
Hajime TsuburayaShōzō UeharaApril 2, 1967
39“Farewell, Ultraman”
Transliteration: “Saraba Urutoraman” (Japaneseさらばウルトラマン)
Hajime TsuburayaTetsuo KinjoApril 9, 1967


this ULTRAMAN BOX includes The Birth of Ultraman (ウルトラマン 誕生Urutoraman Tanjō) a live stage show pre-premiere special intended to introduce audiences to Ultraman prior to the premiere episode. It was also produced to give the filmmakers time to complete the debut episode.

United Artists Television picked up the rights for Ultra Q and Ultraman in the fall of 1966, two months after the first episode of Ultraman aired. Ultra Q was dubbed but never broadcast in the United States due to American TV stations preferring color shows over black-and-white shows. Ultraman ran in and out of syndication until the mid-1980s. UA-TV also syndicated Ultraman internationally. Peter FernandezCorinne Orr, and Earl Hammond provided the voices for the dub. Fernandez also wrote and supervised the dub.

Describing the process, Fernandez said: “I had a Moviola, sometimes a projector, and I’d go back and forth over each line carefully and carefully, building the line to look like English.” Fernandez also went on to explain that a grease pencil was used to mark scenes that needed to be dubbed, even if it were only a few lines. A loop of the film would be projected so that the voice actor could memorize his or her lines and see where the scene needed to be dubbed. The voice actors had to wait for a beeping signal before starting, Fernandez explained: “So in the studio you hear “Beep… beep… beep…” then you talk, as if there is a fourth beep. Those beeps are drilled into me. They are two-thirds of a second apart. Later on, the film is reassembled and mixed with the original music and sound effects.”


all 40 episodes on 5 discs come packaged as shown in special multi disc box, wrapped in plastic!





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