Attentive viewers may notice some subtle Christian imagery in this clip from early 1970s Japanese TV show Ultraman Ace.
Only joking. It’s about as subtle as a man throwing a rubber kaiju through a ten storey building. Either the makers of this series had absolutely no idea what blasphemy is, or they understood it perfectly well.
Anyone who’s unfortunate enough to have seen the relentlessly grim Nolanised fun vacuum that was Man of Steel may also get flashbacks to it when they witness the gay abandon with which Ultraman blithely annihilates huge swathes of the city and (although unseen) presumably also thousands of the citizens he’s ostensibly protecting. In Ultraman’s version of reality it must pay off big time if you have shares in construction, emergency services and infrastructure companies.
Pigmon. It’s the expression that makes this one magnificent. Prawn hands? Feathers? Pink lipstick? DEAL WITH IT.
I don’t know much about Ultraman or the context of the characters depicted here, except that it was a Japanese tokusatsu (特撮 “special effects”) TV series from the 1960s involving battles between the title character and various kaiju (怪獣 usually translated as “giant monster”, though it’s more like “strange monster”) of the kind best known to Western audiences in the form of Godzilla. It still looms fairly large in Japanese culture via various spinoffs, sequels, reboots and vinyl figures based on characters from the show. I got a catalogue of the figures in Tokyo a few years ago, mainly because I liked the pathos of these endearingly crappy monsters. On the other hand, I suppose even Pigmon would be legitimately terrifying if it was really the size of a building and it came crashing down onto your house.
In classic Japlish style the book’s katakana title reads as something like “Neo Ultra Monsters Vinyl Complete Album”, and its pages record in exhaustive and occasionally amusing detail the imagination of the show’s costume designers. Or their lack of imagination, in some cases. The pictures are scanned from the book, which has hundreds of examples, every one beautifully photographed and catalogued.
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