On Wednesday, September 20, at 22:37:11 his time, Richard (family name
not given) wrote this message, which I've had to expurgate somewhat: "As
much as I hate to admit it, 'Ultraman Jonias' (for the sake of
discussion) was too unknown here in the US. It sounds as if only a few
episodes were run on selected UHF stations on a trial basis for ratings
purposes, and failed miserably. Why? Publicity. For a show that small to
succeed anywhere near as much as TPC/Tsuburaya could've dreamed that it
would, it would have to be as big as 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,'
'He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe,' or 'She-Ra, Princess Of Power'
were in the 1980s. However it failed to grab the attention of the major
stations enough to where they wanted to put together any major type of
advertising campaign for it."
The original "Ultra Man," from 1966, is not suitable for 4Kids
Entertainment, which Richard attacked viciously, pointing out, "Haven't
you people learned yet that although the 4Kids CEO, Al Khan, has the
absolute best of intentions, ANYTHING he touches (he ruins)?!? He's
hardly better than Haim Saban & Shuki Levy were back in the 90s! As for
Tsuburaya's relations with 4Kids, I'll bet anyone any money that TPC told
Khan, in several differently worded ways, (that it wanted nothing to do
with him or his company). Look what he and his, as well as other dubbers,
He cited these examples.
1. The original "Ultra Man," which United Artists, then a Transamerica
company, released in the United States. Eiji Tsuburaya himself was very
pleased by this first attempt. So am I; enough so, indeed, to hope that
Eiji Tsuburaya's grandson, Kazuo Tsuburaya, agrees to remake this in
cooperation with MGM, United Artists's current parent company. And who
knows? Maybe with American tokusatsu from Industrial Light And Magic,
actor Susumu Kurobe, who acted out the original Shin Hayata, may just
find himself with some competition. One catch: Whoever would get chosen
to wear Shin Hayata's Science Patrol uniforms in this second version
would also have to wear the Ultra Armor--in short, one actor for two
roles. A big savings in terms of both Nippon yen and American dollars,
and a key story point: None of the other members of the Science Patrol
seemed to be aware that Shin Hayata and Ultra Man were the same!
2. "Ultra Seven," also called "Ultra 7," which was transmitted on Turner
Network Television, I believe, before the turn of the Millennium. This
version left TPC with the first unpleasant flavor in its, and Noboru
Tsuburaya's, mouth. (Eiji Tsubaraya was now dead; Noboru was destined to
die in a matter of years.) Its only real saving grace was that it
revealed what Bin "Satoshi" Furuya looked like without the Ultra Armor he
had worn in the original "Ultra Man."
3. DiC's "Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad," a weak American adaptation of
"Electronic Warrior Gridman" that starred a badly miscasted Matthew
Lawrence and renamed the main character "Servo." This was a poor enough
production to make Tsuburaya Productions spit "Ultra Seven's" unpleasant
flavor out of its mouth, and it left both the now moribund Noboru
Tsubaraya and his son Kazuo Tsubaraya wide-eyed with disbelief. However,
the Tsuburaya dynastics were tolerant enough to allow "Superhuman Samurai
Syber-Squad," for all its flaws, to complete its run as a series program.
4. The 4Kids-FoxBox version of "Ultra Man Tiga" was not acceptable to
Richard. "Enough (was) enough," he wrote, for TPC's and Kazuo Tsuburaya's
sake!" (Noboru Tsubaraya had died since.) Kazuo Tsuburaya's sense of
honor was offended, and in Nippon and Okinawa, which Nippon governs,
honor is VERY serious. Kazuo Tsuburaya's outrage was, according to
Richard, the only saving grace difference between the dubbed DVDs as
against the unedited DVDs.
Richard added that TPC/Tsuburaya had thus far had only a 29% success rate
with American dubbers, and its failure percentage with the DVD production
companies was much higher, but he did not provide that and I will not
speculate. The others, he concluded, were popular enough to make up this
difference. He asked why the Tsuburaya dynastics themselves should want
to wish those difficulties on themselves. The answer: So as not to lose
face. As I have said, in Nippon and Okinawa, which Nippon governs, honor
is VERY serious. But as the cases against Chaiyo that Kazuo Tsubaraya and
his are pursuing demonstrate, there is only so much face you can lose
Richard "rested his case" by writing: "Hanna-Barbera's DVD prints would
be for everyone's enjoyment and a few laughs, even with it as likeable as
Juan Wise had written: "I would love to see both on a nice DVD box set,
maybe even add the Ultra Man cartoon that Hanna-Barbera did back in the
'80s along with it as a compilation. I think if TPC put out a feeler of
some sorts, the American audience would grasp it; If it is done properly
(not with 4Kids Entertainment)." The main character of that cartoon, if
I'm not mistaken, is listed in the Ultra Canon as "The Ultra Man." The
cartoon might have been enjoyable to some audience members, but not me.
Once I saw the original "Ultra Man," I found myself spoiled for anything
else. Certainly for anything 4Kids Entertainment would want to bring to
the table. As I have said, the original "Ultra Man" is not suitable for
Bear in mind that I'm reacting to a message sent over two months ago, and
anything I have written may be an inappropriate response to what is all
water under the bridge by this time.