With numerous series and films spanning several decades, Ultraman has become an iconic character in Japanese science fiction. This is the story of how Ultraman came to be, and the minds behind this popular franchise. If you're a fan of Japanese sci-fi and anime, check out this list of the best Gundam model kits.

Who Created Ultraman?

Ultraman was created by Eiji Tsubaraya and Tetsuo Kinjo as a follow-up to "Ultra Q," a popular TV series on the Tokyo Broadcasting System.

Trailer For The 2016 Version

How Many Episodes of the Original "Ultraman" Series Are There?

The original series aired 39 episodes, along with a special to introduce the series, making for a total of 40 episodes.

The Birth Of Ultraman

Is The Original "Ultraman" Available In The US?

Yes, there have been multiple releases of an English-language dub of the original series. It is available digitally as well as on DVD featuring both subtitled and dubbed versions.

More Information

"Ultraman" is a science fiction television series created by Eiji Tsuburaya. It is considered a "tokusatsu," which means any live-action film or TV drama that features special effects. The term literally translates as "special filming" in Japanese.

The TV show was produced by Tsuburaya Productions and had a total of 40 episodes, including a pre-premiere special which was shown on July 10, 1966.

The whole series was broadcast on the Tokyo Broadcasting System, or T.B.S., from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967.

In 1964, Tsuburaya Productions created "Ultra Q," a sci-fi tokusatsu. The show featured continuing characters who explored extraordinary supernatural phenomena, including ghosts, aliens, and giant monsters.

"Ultra Q" was the first of the long-running "Ultra Series." It was shown in black and white and had a total of 28 episodes. The television show was broadcast on T.B.S. from January 2 to July 3, 1966.

"Ultra Q" was the most expensive television series ever produced in Japan at the time. It became so popular that the Tokyo Broadcasting System wanted a new program. The network thought a similar monster-themed series would be ideal, this time filming in color. T.B.S. asked Tsuburaya Productions to create the TV show.

Eiji Tsuburaya worked with writer Tetsuo Kinjo on the concept for the new show. They expanded on the basic idea of "Ultra Q," featuring the war between monsters and civilians. For the second TV series, the focus would be on a special group, specifically created to deal with supernatural phenomena.

This was the beginning of the follow-up series, "Ultraman." It was the result of three different concepts fused together, creating one iconic character of intergalactic heroism.

The first concept was known as "Woo." The story centered on the life of a young girl who went on adventures with a funny looking monster with big eyes.

The second idea was "Bemler." This was Ultraman's first character iteration. In the story, he had a human host named "Officer Sakomizu." He was described as a 28 year old man and a "tough guy" in early drafts.

Sakomizu was a member of a group called the "Science Patrol," eventually named the "Scientific Investigation Agency," or S.I.A. He would transform into a giant winged monster that could fight other enormous villains.

In December 1965, pre-production and story layout began with the title, "Bemler: Scientific Investigation Agency." Tsuburaya and Kinjo added more substance to the story by taking unused ideas from "Ultra Q."

They decided to make Bemler appear more human in form. This was due to the demands of T.B.S. producer, Takashi Kakoi, that the character be easily identified from the rest of the similar-looking monsters in the show. They later changed the image design to be more metallic-based.

In a few months, the third idea was conceptualized. The title was changed to "Redman" because of the leading character's color scheme being predominantly red. In February 1966, the TV show was approved to begin production.

Finally, the three concepts were merged together to form the now popular "Ultraman." On March 22, 1966, the show was registered with the approval of the copyright offices.

To make the show appealing to overseas markets, T.B.S. suggested that they only cast actors who were Western-looking. They found many of their cast members through Toho, a production and distribution company in Japan.

Bin Furuya, whose real name is Satoshi Furuya, played Ultraman. He was specifically chosen for the role because of his physical stature and proportions.

"Ultraman" became so popular that it led to many subsequent iterations of the TV series. Spanning four decades, the show evolved from using props and special effects to being hand-drawn and computer generated.

Some of the shows in the Ultra Series include "Ultraseven," "Ultraman Ace," and "Ultraman Leo." Tsuburaya Productions also created an anime series called "The Ultraman." In 1987, an animated film entitled "Ultraman: The Adventure Begins" was released by the same company.

On December 4, 2004, "Ultraman: The Next," a Japanese science fiction tokusatsu superhero film, was produced by Tsuburaya Productions. The movie was directed by Kazuya Konaka.

Ultraman's success continued into the Millennial age. The show has been resurrected in different mediums, including theatrical films, video games, and manga. The measure of its popularity can be seen in the fact that an anime adaptation of the series was filmed decades after the iconic character first appeared.

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