Thursday, October 30, 2008

"The X-Files" meets tokusatsu action? Introducing "Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy"

by Chris MaGee

SciFi Japan has got a fascinating and extensive article on not only a classic Japanese TV series, but it's contemporary reboot. The series in question is "Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy" which told of the continuing adventures of science fiction writer and investigator of strange phenomena Jun Manjoume and his colleagues, apprentice Ippei Togawa and photographer Yuriko Edogawa, as they criss-crossed Japan dealing with ghosts, aliens and of course giant monsters (as the campy illustration above shows). What makes this series sound so interesting is that it was the first project from Tsuburaya Productions, the production company created by Godzilla special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya. The show is also notable for being the genesis of the "Ultraman" series of films, TV show, toys, manga... you name it.

The original series ran back in 1966, but Tsuburaya's son, Akira, gathered together an impressive group of people to bring "Ultra Q" back as a midnight horror series; and when I say impressive I mean impressive: Shusuke Kaneko who directed the live-action adaptation of "Death Note", Hiroshi Takahashi, the screenwriter behind "The Ring", Norio Tsuruta, the man behind the 2004 J-horror film "Premonition" and Akio Jissoji who not only only directed a 1990 big screen version of "Ultra Q" but who also contributed segments to "Rampo Noir" and "Ten Nights of Dreams".

SciFi Japan has a full history of both series, plus the first ever English program listings and plot summaries of the 2004 reboot. Follow the link above to check them out.

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