THE SPACE GIANTS Series Guide
A Look Back at the Many Incarnations of AMBASSADOR MAGMA
Author: Bob Johnson
Source: Uchusen, Lakeside Television, Japanese Fantasy Film Journal, Tezuka Osamu World, various
Additional Material: Keith Aiken and Oki Miyano
Space Giants is licensed and copyrighted in the United States by Lakeside Television.
- AUDIO OF THE SPACE GIANTS OPENING THEME SONG AND NARRATION
- P-PRODUCTIONS AND OSAMU TEZUKA’S ORIGINAL MANGA
- THE MAKING OF AMBASSADOR MAGMA
- THE SPACE GIANTS COME TO AMERICA
- COPYRIGHT DISPUTE
- AMBASSADOR MAGMA/ THE SPACE GIANTS EPISODE GUIDE
- THE ANIMATED AMBASSADOR MAGMA
Though the name THE SPACE GIANTS may be unfamiliar to anyone under age 35, for a decade or so beginning in the early 1970s this 52 episode Japanese science fiction series was a popular fixture on syndicated television in the United States. Much like its brethren ULTRAMAN and JOHNNY SOKKO AND HIS FLYING ROBOT, each episode of THE SPACE GIANTS featured a gigantic humanoid super-hero battling bizarre monsters and aliens who threaten mankind. The main hero of THE SPACE GIANTS was Goldar the Space Avenger, a brave and intelligent robotic being that could turn into a golden rocket.
Known in Japan as AMBASSADOR MAGMA (Magma Taishi), the show was Japan’s first weekly special effects TV series to be broadcast in color, beating ULTRAMAN to the air by two weeks. However, it was the superhero in red and silver and not the one in gold with the lion’s mane of hair that skyrocketed into popularity to create a national obsession of video, toys and merchandising still going strong to this day. While AMBASSADOR MAGMA may not have had the same long-term impact as ULTRAMAN, both series did make it to American shores, and many older US fans of Japanese fantasy fondly remember THE SPACE GIANTS and long for its return on television or home video.
To quote from the original English publicity material for THE SPACE GIANTS’ American release: The series is pure fantasy-adventure-entertainment, dealing with science fiction and outer space. Special effects is an important part of each program, in addition to imaginative stories and a superb production that is completely fascinating and will stir the imagination of the viewer.
And so it has for more than four decades… but what are the origins of the show? How was it made? What secrets lie behind the series? Was there ever a sequel or remake? Blow your supersonic whistle three times, as SciFi Japan takes a look back at AMBASSADOR MAGMA/ THE SPACE GIANTS and everyone’s favorite Space Avenger!
P-PRODUCTIONS AND OSAMU TEZUKA’S ORIGINAL MANGA
It all began in July 1960 with Tomio Sagisu, a well known cartoonist who had worked under the pen name Shoji Ushio since the end of World War II. Sagisu was looking to get into film and television production, and after meeting with Toho effects legend Eiji Tsuburaya about partnering on what would eventually become Tsuburaya Productions, he decided to open his own company, P-Productions.
At first, P-Productions created special effects for industrial training films, but soon moved into theatrical features starting with Daiei’s historical epic BUDDHA (Shaka, 1961). After dropping plans for a live action science fiction omnibus series called STOP in 1962, the company became well known for the patriotic animated TV series ZERO FIGHTER HAYATO (Zerosen Hayato). During the production of HAYATO, P-Productions also made a pilot film entitled KIDS’ CLUB ADVENTURES (Kurabu Kun No Boken) that combined live action and animation. This project was inspired by Sagisu’s desire to do an animated series based on the work of Japan’s most respected manga creator, Osamu Tezuka. Although KIDS’ CLUB ADVENTURES was well received, Tokyo Advertising Agency (Tokyu Agency) producer Kazuo Ueshima was unable to sell it to any of the television networks and the project was abandoned.
Tomio Sagisu continued to pursue his dream of working with Osamu Tezuka, but Tezuka had already founded his own successful animation company, Mushi Production Co., Ltd. Mushi Pro had scored big with the classic series ASTRO BOY (Tetsuwan Atomu, 1963) and KIMBA, THE WHITE LION (Janguru Taitei, 1965) so Tezuka wanted to do all adaptations of his manga himself. But Sagisu persisted, and eventually persuaded Tezuka to let him adapt either Big X (Dai X)— a science fiction story about a super drug developed in Germany during WWII— or Tezuka’s then-newest manga, Ambassador Magma.
Ambassador Magma premiered in the May 1965 issue of Boy’s Illustrated News Magazine (Shonen Gaho Magazine) from publisher Shonen Gahosha. The series was presented in a different way than most Japanese comics of the time; the first five pages of Ambassador Magma ran in the main magazine, while the rest of the chapter was included in a small supplemental booklet packaged with each issue. Ambassador Magma was divided into three major story arcs or episodes: The Fake People (Ningen Modoki) which was serialized from May 1965 to August 1966, Black Garon (Burakku Garon) from September 1966 to February 1967, and Cyclops (Saikuroppusu) from March 1967 to August 1967.
In the first chapter of The Fake People, the home of newspaper reporter Atsushi Murakami, his wife Tomoko, and their son Mamoru is transported back in time to the Age of Dinosaurs by the evil spaceman Goa. Having shown his power, Goa returns the family to the present and demands that Atsushi tell the nations of the world that the earth now belongs to him. Not long after, Mamoru is visited by a giant golden robot named Magma. Magma transforms into a rocket and takes the boy to the island home of Earth, the old man who actually created the planet the bears his name. Earth explains that he has created a family of rocket-men— Magma, his wife Mol, and their son Gam— to defeat Goa, and Magma gives Mamoru a whistle that will call the robots to his aid whenever he is in danger.
The series was supposed to be completed when Goa is defeated at the end of the initial story arc, but the manga was continued to run as a companion to the TV show. The stretching was quite obvious as the later comics were not good reading. In addition, the last half of the series was created during a boom period for Osamu Tezuka and Mushi Productions, so most of the work was done by assistant artists Tomoe Inoue and Kazuyoshi Fukumoto rather than Tezuka himself.
In addition to its appearance in Boy’s Illustrated News Magazine, the Ambassador Magma manga was later collected and reprinted in several formats and from various companies. These included Ambassador Magma Special Edition (1966) from Shonen Gahosha, Compact Comics (1968) from Shueisha Inc., Monthly Tezuka Magazine Leo Extra (1971) from Mushi Pro Commercial Firm, Sunday Comics (1973) from Akita Publishing, Osamu Tezuka: The Complete Collected Works (1980) from Kodansha Ltd., Osamu Tezuka Masterpiece Anthology (1993) by Akita, and Akita Bunko (1995). Most of these editions used the same artwork, however Tezuka often redrew some pages when his work was reprinted in book form. The Black Garon episode was featured only in The Complete Collected Works, however, since the third episode Cyclops was not drawn by Osamu Tezuka it was not reprinted at Tezuka’s request.
In Boy King Magazine (Shonen King Magazine), Ambassador Magma was also featured as an illustrated story told in six pages per week. The 52 installments paralleled the TV episodes and were all written by Yoshimi Ogino and illustrated by Yoshitsuna Maemura, Koshi Asahigaoka, and Satoshi Inoue.
THE MAKING OF AMBASSADOR MAGMA
Osamu Tezuka and Tomio Sagisu eventually settled on Ambassador Magma for adaptation to television. Though Tezuka naturally envisioned all his manga as animation, P-Productions was very much into special effects and wanted to do AMBASSADOR MAGMA as a live action science fiction-based series.
Producer Kazuo Ueshima also liked the idea, but the show’s sponsor, Lotte Co., Ltd. preferred an animated program rather than live action. The advertiser wanted a popular character that could raise the company’s profile through merchandising, and they felt something along the lines of Tezuka’s other cartoon shows was the best way to get positive results.
It was Tsuburaya Pro’s ULTRA Q (Urutora Kyu, 1966) that changed Lotte’s mind. At the time, ULTRA Q was airing on the Tokyo Broadcasting System and causing a wave of monster-mania throughout Japan. According to Noboru Tsuburaya, second son of Eiji Tsuburaya and President of Tsuburaya Productions from 1973-1995, “The ratings of ULTRA Q, which was more about mysterious phenomena than monsters, would always rise when there was a giant monster on the show.” These rating statistics convinced Lotte to relent and give their approval for P-Productions to make a short live action AMBASSADOR MAGMA pilot. When the pilot for AMBASSADOR MAGMA was completed, it was very well received by Fuji Television and Lotte so the series went into full production.
Many of the episodes were directed by Sadao Funatoko (MOONLIGHT MASK) and Keinosuke Tsuchiya, a former assistant director on the highly regarded Shintoho horror film JIGOKU (1960). Tsuchiya would return to helm another popular P-Productions series, SPECTREMAN (Supektoruman, 1971). In a Japanese interview, he recalled, “I directed AMBASSADOR MAGMA through Episode 13. Each story continued over more than one episode. I’d rather direct a whole story if possible, but it wasn’t because of the schedule.”
While the special effects for later P-Productions shows like SPECTREMAN were shot at Senkawa Studio, AMBASSADOR MAGMA’s fx were done at the smaller and less equipped production facility Sakae Studio. To make the most of limited resources, Keinosuke Tsuchiya and the staff employed a little creativity. “What I think worked very well on MAGMA was when, using a special lens, we filmed people with life-size models of Magma’s hands and feet, which shook a bit, in the same frame. We had a successfully vivid sequence edited with insert cuts where only people were shot in reverse angle. In this way I tried to have the minimum amount of special effects possible. It worked well.”
“However, I must admit that it wasn’t what I intended or the kind of craftsmanship that you would sometimes find in handmade works,” Tsuchiya said. “It was a struggle without either enough time or money, and yet, I wanted to create something good. My enthusiasm was always far ahead of what was practical.”
The initial storyline of AMBASSADOR MAGMA followed Osamu Tezuka’s manga, but the series quickly began using new stories from screenwriters Susumu Takahisa, Shigeru Umeki, and Hiroyasu Yamaura. Yamaura later co-wrote the script for GODZILLA VS MECHAGODZILLA (Gojira tai Mekagojira, 1974), while Takahisa wrote the screenplays from the movies GOLDEN BAT (Ogon Batto, 1966), GOKE, BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL (Kyuketsuki Gokemidoro, 1968), and GENOCIDE (Konchu Daisenso, 1968), as well as anime titles like DEVILMAN (Debiruman, 1972) and hero shows such as BATTLE FEVER J (Batoru Fiba Jei, 1979) and SPACE SHERIFF GAVAN (Uchu Keiji Gyaban, 1982).
The fx director for AMBASSADOR MAGMA was Yoshio Irie. Irie had built miniatures for Shintoho before joining Toho to work on EAGLE OF THE PACIFIC (Taiheiyo no Washi, 1953) and GODZILLA (Gojira, 1954). He remained at Toho until 1965, and during that time he drew blueprints and built many of the buildings and vehicles seen in the studio’s war and monster movies. “The reason I joined MAGMA was that producer Kazuo Ueshima asked me to,” Irie said. “When I first saw Sakae Studio in Soshigaya, I found it to be so small I was really concerned whether or not I could work properly, but then I thought that I just had to do my best under the circumstances.”
“Jun Oki, who directed special effects on TOKYO: THE LAST MEGALOPOLIS [Teito Monogatari, 1988], was the assistant director on MAGMA. I was sort of the “chief advisor” of the special effects team. I remember meetings and discussions with writers, and looking at locations to work out in advance how the editing would be done. In that sense, AMBASSADOR MAGMA was an ideal job.”
One interesting aspect of AMBASSADOR MAGMA was the use of some animation that was combined with the live action. This was due to the early consideration of doing MAGMA as an animated series. When P-Productions finally received the okay to go with a live action format they raised the budget, but not by a sufficient amount. The lack of funds forced the special effects crew to be even more creative than usual, and one way of staying within budget was to use animation sequences done by Yoshio Watanabe (THE GREEN SLIME).
Another idea was to reuse the same monster through multiple consecutive episodes. Unlike ULTRAMAN, which featured a different monster every week in individual stories, much of AMBASSADOR MAGMA was formatted into a number of four part serials. Since each monster could be used for up to four episodes, this cut down on the number of costumes which had to be created for the series. Also, since the sets were reused as well, they were unusually detailed for a TV show.
Tight budget or no, some top Japanese fx artists were part of the AMBASSADOR MAGMA crew. Yoshio Irie recalled, “The [original Magma] mask and the giant dinosaur [from Episode 1] were the work of Mr. Fuminori Ohashi, whom I have known since I worked with him on HALF HUMAN [Jyu-Jin Yuki Otoko, 1955].”
Ohashi was a pioneer in Japan’s model-making industry whose work has been seen in films by Toho, Toei, and Daiei, as well as Disneyland attractions and the 20th Century Fox hit PLANET OF THE APES (1968), for which he created ape masks, hands and feet. He remembered, “The first model making to be counted as “special art direction” in Japanese cinema was a giant gorilla which I did for the movie KING KONG APPEARS IN EDO [Edo Ni Arawareta King Kong, 1938] fifty years ago. It was also the first movie to feature certain kinds of special effects.” Later he worked as an assistant director under Yasujiro Ozu at Shochiku. “However, I was also a prop maker and built the props myself because I had learned sculpture in art school. The staff found me to be very useful.” He also did a bit of acting that included some small parts as samurai in director Akira Kuroswa’s THRONE OF BLOOD (Kumonosu Jyo, 1957) and YOJIMBO (1961). “I got the role of Tarzan in the movie series called Japanese Tarzan [Nippon Tarzan] because I had a big body,” Ohashi said.
“When the Second World War ended, I got back from the military and joined the Disneyland project in America. It was December of 1950, and I did model making there for two years”. After returning to Japan, Ohashi went to work at Toho on GODZILLA, where he helped to make the Godzilla costume. Recalling the difficulty in finding the right materials to construct Godzilla, Ohashi said “Later it became possible to use softer latex to make monsters like Rodan and Mothra. Other harder monsters like Mogera I made with rubber and plastic. These were done at Ohashi Design [Ohashi Kogeisha], a company I started in 1955.”
Ohashi signed a contract with Japan Radio Movie (Nippon Dempa Eiga) in Kyoto and in 1964 he created fx and directed episodes of the television series JUNGLE PRINCE (Janguru Purinsu) and AGON: ATOMIC DRAGON (Maboroshi no Daikaiju Agon). During production of AGON one of the show’s sponsors pulled out of the project. Toho also reportedly threatened legal action over Agon’s similarities to Godzilla, so the series was cancelled and the four episodes that were already produced were shelved. AGON did finally air in January of 1968.
Not long after Ohashi completed his work on AGON, he was approached by the American studio Screen Gems with an offer to make a monster movie. He agreed, and asked the Tokyo Advertising Agency to handle accounting for the project. “That was how I got involved with them. The plans for the Screen Gems movie evaporated somehow, but I got AMBASSADOR MAGMA instead.”
Fuminori Ohashi stayed at Tomio Sagisu’s house for two months, working on monster suits. “I designed Aron, Birdora and Magma myself and Mr. Irie designed all the others,” Ohashi said. “I made Magma, Goa, Aron, Moguness and Birdora. However, we were sued by Toho because of the similarity of Aron to Godzilla [not surprising since Aron was a modified costume from AGON]. It was soon cleared up when everyone noticed that I made both of the suits. [laughs] I had patented the special rubber I made for the Godzilla suit. However much lighter materials had been developed and by the time I made Aron, I could use an air pressure gimmick that made the monster’s throat move as if it were breathing.”
Ohashi had intended to make all the suits for AMBASSADOR MAGMA. However, he was still under contract with Japan Radio Movie, and the company recalled him to Kyoto after he had completed only five costumes for the show. “After the monster Moguness, Mr. Sakae Kaibei and Mr. Trui were in charge of costume making,” Yoshio Irie said. “The first Magma costume began to crumble over the course of shooting the series and we had to make a new one. The crew did it very good job with the new suit; it was made of lighter, more flexible materials.” The Ambassador Magma costume was also slightly revised to have five fingers on each hand instead of four.
When Fuminori Ohashi returned to Kyoto, he became president of Japan Special Effects Inc.( Nihon Kabushiki Gaisha). This company soon partnered with Tokyo Advertising Agency on a new TV series which went into production as “Monster Operation” (Kaiju Daisakusen) but was broadcast on Fuji Television in 1967 with the title MONSTER PRINCE (Kaiju Oji). Japan Special Effects Inc. actually built four studios and one large stage containing a big pool for water scenes. While P-Productions were shooting AMBASSADOR MAGMA, they sent some of their crew over to help Japan Special Effects on MONSTER PRINCE in return for using the studio facilities.
The music for AMBASSADOR MAGMA was composed by the prolific Naozumi Yamamoto. Following his work on this series, Yamamoto did music for Tsuburaya’s OPERATION: MYSTERY (Kaiki Daisakusen, 1968), the Crazy Cats adventure COMPUTER FREE-FOR-ALL (Kureejii no Buchamukure Daihakken, 1969), the animated feature ANIMAL TREASURE ISLAND (Dobutsu Takarajima, 1971), and more than forty films in the long-running Tora-san series.
Tomio Sagisu cast the actors himself. Toshio Egi starred as Mamoru Murakami. Egi had previously played Jun Kingo, the son of Toshiro Mifune’s character in the Kurosawa film HIGH AND LOW (Tengoku to Jigoku, 1963). He was also a lead character in P-Productions’ KIDS’ CLUB ADVENTURES pilot, in which his performance was considered excellent. “MAGMA was the kind of show which gathered the stars of the time, such as Masumi Okada [who played Atsushi Murakami] from Nikkatsu, Toru Ohira [Goa] from TBS, Mayako Yashiro [Tomoko Murakami] from Toei, Shigeko Mise [Mol], Hideki Ninomiya [Gam] and myself.” Egi said in a 1991 interview. “I was 13 at the time. Mr. Okada in particular took care of me almost like a real parent. For instance, he used to give me a lift home during shooting and, also like a teacher, taught me about the world.”
“Filming often took place in the morning; in the worse case, four o’clock in the morning! [laughs] I can say it was an almost impossible schedule and naturally the film crew always stayed to work late at night. On the other hand, the budget was relatively high for that kind of show at the time, as you saw a fair number of people in the crowd scenes.”
Masumi Okada played Mamoru’s father, newsman Atsushi Murakami. In a career that lasted more than fifty years, the Dutch/Japanese actor appeared in dozens of movies and television shows. A partial list of Okada’s credits includes CRAZED FRUIT (Kurutta Kajitsu, 1956), ANYTHING GOES THREE DOLLS’ WAY (Oneichan wa Tsuiteruze, 1960), LIVING SKELETON (Kyuketsu Dokuro Sen, 1968), LATITUDE ZERO (Ido Zero Daisakusen, 1969), SAYONARA JUPITER (Sayonara Jyupita, 1984), and IZO (2004). He also had a role in the popular American television mini-series SHOGUN (1980).
Tomoko Murakami, wife of Atsushi and mother of Mamoru, was played by Mayako Yashiro. Yashiro was also in Toei’s superhero show SPECTRUM MASK (Nanairo Kamen, 1959) and the long-running TV series PLAYGIRL (1969). Her other credits include roles in several movies in the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department series, and a guest appearance in Tsuburaya Pro’s THE UNBALANCE ZONE (Kyofu Gekijo Unbaransu, 1969).
The role of Ambassador Magma was performed by Tetsuya Uozumi. The sample pilot short of AMBASSADOR MAGMA featured Uozomi playing the part with his face uncovered so Magma could be as expressive as the character was in the original manga. But when the series went into production, the actor’s face was covered by the immobile faceplate fans of the show are familiar with. Yoshio Ishie explained the change: “In the pilot episode, I asked Mr. Uozumi to play Magma with his face painted gold. However, when he wore the entire costume, with only his face uncovered, his body could barely breathe and his face went completely red because he was pissed off. [laughs] It couldn’t possibly look like a superhero’s face, so I talked to the producer about this matter and ended up having a mask for the hero’s face.”
Shigeko Mise was Mol. The actress was born Ran-fan Oh to Chinese parents who were naturalized Japanese citizens living in London during WWII. Mise used several names (including Chu Ki Oh and Shigeko Kondo) during a long career that included roles in the serial killer film I, THE EXECUTIONER (Minagoroshi no Reika, 1968) and the TV series PLAYGIRL.
Hideki Ninomiya played the robot boy Gam. 1966 was a busy year for Ninomiya; in addition to his role in AMBASSADOR MAGMA, he played the young prince Tadafumi in Daiei’s MAJIN (Daimajin).
The elderly wizard scientist Earth was played by Gen Shimizu. Shimizu was a regular performer for Akira Kurosawa, with roles in STRAY DOG (Nora Inu, 1949), SEVEN SAMURAI (Shichinin no Samura, 1954), THRONE OF BLOOD, YOJIMBO, and HIGH AND LOW. He also appeared in the Oscar nominated GATE OF HELL (Jigokumon, 1953), BUDDHA, and the Godzilla films MONSTER ZERO (Kaiju Daisenso, 1964) and GODZILLA VS GIGAN (Chikyu Kogeki Meirei: Gojira tai Gaigan, 1972).
Atsushi’s photographer Liz was played by Edith Hanson, a part-time actress who also appeared in the film GAMERA VS GUIRON (Gamera tai Daiakuju Giron, 1969). Hanson lives in Japan and is active with Amnesty International.
Tohru Ohira played the evil spaceman Goa. “In MAGMA I was merely Goa’s voice at first,” he said. “But I couldn’t possibly sync my voice with Goa’s actions, because it was the assistant director who played the character and was completely inexperienced as an actor. Goa’s character, as you know, often gets pissed off, which requires some sort of ham acting and a layman can’t really handle that. I negotiated with Mr. Funatoko and Mr. Sagisu about this matter, with the result that I wore the mask, had the costume fitted and played the role myself. It was not just because I was young and keen at the time, but also because I wanted the program to be as good as I could possibly make it.”
“Goa’s mask was physically fixed and it didn’t change expression. Since he was supposed to be ill tempered, I had to shake and wobble my body to express that clearly. By doing so I learned acting by physical expression and a lot of other things. It was hard for me to wear the costume, especially in the summer! [laughs] I almost died from the heat…honestly I could have died if I had not prepared some ice and cold, wet towels from home.” Ohira would have a much easier task playing Chief Kurata in SPECTREMAN and providing the voice of Goa in the 1993 animated version of AMBASSADOR MAGMA.
The various monsters that appeared in the show were played by stuntmen, including Japan’s most famous monster performer, Haruo Nakajima. Nakajima had played the part of Godzilla since the kaiju’s first film in 1954, and went on to portray various monsters in many of Toho’s science fiction films as well as Tsuburaya’s ULTRAMAN series.
With only minor changes from the pilot short (mainly a new design for Mamoru’s whistle and the addition of a mask for Magma), AMBASSADOR MAGMA premiered at 7:30 PM on Monday, July 4, 1966. A new episode was broadcast once a week for an entire year. Following the final show, Fuji TV reran the first 13 episodes to keep the public tuned in until MONSTER PRINCE was ready to air in MAGMA’s timeslot. The average ratings for AMBASSADOR MAGMA were over 30%, much to the pleasure of the producers, network, and sponsors.
Looking back at the show, Toshio Egi said, “AMBASSADOR MAGMA is a kind of milestone in my life as an actor and its name is still valued. I used to look at the studio next door where the special effects were done. I liked the atmosphere in those days, you know, kind of something hand made. I remember a lot of things and really miss those days.”
“I guess that the show’s long term popularity simply lies in the nice premise that whenever or wherever you whistle, Magma will come to help you!”
THE SPACE GIANTS COME TO AMERICA
Shortly after AMBASSADOR MAGMA aired in Japan, Tokyo Advertising Agency began offering the series for international sales with the title THE MAGMA. In 1968, the US rights to the show were sold to Lakeside Television Company, a small New York-based distributor owned by Bernard Schulman. Lakeside first announced that the series would be called MONSTERS FROM SPACE, but before the first episode aired in late 1970 the title had been changed to THE SPACE GIANTS.
Additional changes to THE SPACE GIANTS included new names for all of the episodes as well as most of the characters and monsters. Mamoru Murakami was renamed “Mikko Mura” (also spelled “Miko” in some Lakeside promotional materials) while his father Atsushi Murakami became “Tom Mura” ( “Ito Mura” in the first episode dubbing). Magma was now called “Goldar”, his wife Mol was “Silvar”, and the wizard Earth went by the new name “Mathusam” (early press materials use the spelling “Mathuslah”). On the villainous side, Goa was renamed “Rodak” and his henchmen the Fake Humans became the “Lugo Men”. Both Japanese and American names for the monsters and individual shows are included in the episode guide below.
The Americanization of the series was coordinated by Zavala-Riss Productions, an editing facility established by producers Pablo Zavala (THE FAT BLACK PUSSYCAT) and Sheldon Riss (THE NIGHT THE ANIMALS TALKED). The Zavala-Riss offices were in the National Screen Building, 1600 Broadway in Manhattan. That same location also housed Titra Sound Corp., the studio that created the English scripts and dubbing for THE SPACE GIANTS. Titra was the top dubbing house of its day and was responsible for the English language versions of numerous Japanese films and television programs.
The voice director for THE SPACE GIANTS was Peter Fernandez, best known for writing and dubbing the American version of ULTRAMAN and writing the theme song and voicing the title character of SPEED RACER (Mach Go Go Go, 1967). For THE SPACE GIANTS, Fernandez brought in many of his regular Titra performers including Paul Hecht (JOHNNY CYPHER IN DIMENSION ZERO), Earl Hammond (ULTRAMAN), Paulette Rubinstein (GODZILLA VS THE THING), and Larry Robinson. Robinson, who dubbed the egg-loving reporter Nakamura in GODZILLA VS THE THING, was the English voice for Masumi Okada’s character Tom Mura while Peter Fernandez was Mura’s United Press International co-worker Kita. For the first half of the series, Paul Hecht was the narrator as well as the voices of Goldar and Rodak. In the second half of THE SPACE GIANTS those roles were performed by voice actor Ray Owens (ASTRO BOY, GIGANTOR).
Lakeside Television offered THE SPACE GIANTS to TV stations as both a 52 episode series and as 13 feature length movies. The original sales book explained: Each group of four shows in the series contains three cliffhanger endings with the final episode in the group containing a complete ending. When each of these groups have their four episodes combined, a 90 minute motion picture is formed which is complete in itself. Whether any stations ordered the film compilations is unknown but unlikely.
THE SPACE GIANTS was syndicated to independent UHF stations that were not affiliated with the major networks. Therefore the series was not shown in all parts of the United States, and many stations that did carry the show did not begin airing it until years after it was first available from Lakeside. This spotty distribution has caused some confusion about when the first broadcasts took place, but daily TV listings in the Pennsylvania newspapers Bucks County Courier Times and Doylestown Daily Intelligencer confirm that THE SPACE GIANTS began airing in the Philadelphia area on WGTW-TV channel 48 in early September 1970. The series ran on Philly’s UHF stations for most of the decade, moving to Sunday mornings on WTAF-TV 29 circa 1975, then back to weekday afternoons on WPHL-TV 17 in early 1978.
In 1977, the show got a syndication boost with the increased interest in science fiction and outer space following the release of STAR WARS that May. THE SPACE GIANTS was picked up by stations in Burlington NC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Florence SC. The program was also seen in Galveston TX, Annapolis MD, and Syracuse NY between 1978 and 1983. Around that time it reached its widest audience thanks to the Atlanta UHF station WTCG (Turner Communications Group). Now known as TBS (Turner Broadcasting System), WTCG launched basic cable service by presenting its programming— including THE SPACE GIANTS— to other markets across the country via satellite.
Unfortunately, this temporary boom marked the beginning of the end for THE SPACE GIANTS on US television. In 1981 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began a series of television deregulations that allowed major networks and cable companies to own multiple UHF stations. Consequently, most UHF stations were bought up and converted into network and cable affiliates that featured the same programming nationwide. With the loss of the independent UHF marketplace, THE SPACE GIANTS and other syndicated shows like ULTRAMAN and SPEED RACER virtually disappeared from American television overnight. According to TV listings, the last broadcasts of THE SPACE GIANTS occurred around 1983.
Much like the ongoing legal battle between Tsuburaya Productions and Chaiyo Productions over rights to Ultraman, Lakeside Television/Bernard Schulman is currently in the midst of his own THE SPACE GIANTS copyright dispute with Indiana-based artist and former pro wrestler Pasquale Gabriele.
The problems had their beginnings back in 1979, when Pasquale Gabriele’s company FBN (Fantasy Book Novels) Publications released a one-shot The Space Giants comic book licensed from Lakeside. Based on the first four episodes of the TV show, the comic was written and drawn by Gabriele and another artist named Richard Lynn. In an interview around the time of the comic’s release, Lynn described that, “Basically THE SPACE GIANTS is a new twist on the classic fairy tale of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. Instead of rubbing a magic lamp, the Japanese boy blows one to three blasts on his supersonic whistle to summon the three robots (genii) who come forth from a volcano instead of a bottle!”
In 1982, an outfit called Elder Comics advertised that Pasquale Gabriele was doing a new The Space Giants comic book series. A free 16-page The Space Giants preview comic was to be included with Elder Comics’ Uncanny Tales from the Forbidden Book, but neither project ever got off the ground. More than a decade passed, then Gabriele did another one-shot The Space Giants comic book that was published in 1994 by the indie label Boneyard Press.
In 1997, LK Management/Pyramid Comic Publications solicited a new series of The Space Giants comic books, once again by Gabriele. Five issues plus a promo story in another title called Triple Threat were pitched to distributors. Preview copies were printed for some issues, but the series and Triple Threat were never published. Gabriele later accused LK Management of “disapearing [sic] with stockholders funds”.
During these on again/off again comic book plans, FBN Publications became Powerslam Productions and the company began selling supposedly official videos of THE SPACE GIANTS. Powerslam’s advertising described their DVDs as having “dialogue in English with restored footage in Japanese” and being “recorded in SP mode for highest quality”. According to Pasquale Gabriele, in exchange for producing the 1979 The Space Giants comic book his company was granted all licensing rights— excluding television— to THE SPACE GIANTS by Lakeside Television. Powerslam claims to own in perpetuity the trademark and copyright on all characters, storylines, and names from the Americanized TV series.
Bernard Schulman has stated that Powerslam has no rights to THE SPACE GIANTS. In 2004, eBay shut down several DVD auctions by Pasquale Gabriele when Schulman proved that he still owned the intellectual properties rights to the show. Both sides have said the matter will be determined in court, but it is worth noting that documents on file with the United States Copyright Office list Lakeshore Television Company as the copyright holder for THE SPACE GIANTS. Pasquale Gabriele and Richard Lynn did register their The Space Giants comic book with the Copyright Office in 1979, but the documentation shows that their claim is limited to only the art and story created for the comic.
Another rights issue regarding THE SPACE GIANTS recently surfaced in America; this time involving Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, creators of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim sketch comedy television series TIM AND ERIC AWESOME SHOW, GREAT JOB! (2007). Working with AWESOME SHOW writer Eric Fensler and composer Davin Wood, the duo created and pitched a re-edited comedic version of THE SPACE GIANTS. According to the Tim and Eric website: “THE SPACE GIANTS is a project we collaborated on with Eric Fensler. He recut the original footage from the show and revoiced it. Davin Wood composed the title theme. We sold the show to the Sci Fi network and THEN found out we couldn’t get the rights to the footage, so it never happened.”
The Tim and Eric site does include a demo video of their take on SPACE GIANTS Episode 13: TARON- SUPER HEAT MONSTER.
AMBASSADOR MAGMA/ THE SPACE GIANTS EPISODE GUIDE
The following guide provides titles and plot synopses for all 52 episodes of AMBASSADOR MAGMA/THE SPACE GIANTS. Since the names of most characters and monsters were changed for the US release of the series, this episode guide uses the American versions followed by the Japanese names in parenthesis. All English names and spellings are taken from the original THE SPACE GIANTS promotional material created by Lakeside Television in 1970.
For some American episodes of THE SPACE GIANTS, the onscreen title is slightly different than what was given in Lakeside’s promotional materials. In those cases, the onscreen title is given followed by the advance title in parenthesis.
Episode 1: THE MONSTER RODAK (RODAK)
Japanese Title: I AM GOA (Watashi Ga Goa Da)
Original Airdate: July 4, 1966
One evening, young Mikko Mura (Mamoru Murakami) receives a telephone call from an unknown man identifying himself as a messenger of Rodak (Goa), a conqueror from outer space. The caller tells Mikko that Rodak will take the boy, his mother Tomoko and his father Tom (Atsushi Murakami) on an interesting journey at 6:00 AM the following day.
The next morning, Mikko awakens and finds that his neighborhood has been transformed into a primitive jungle. A large dinosaur appears, and Mikko runs into the jungle to look for the unusual creature. The dinosaur sees him and begins to walk in his direction. Suddenly, Rodak’s saucer appears in the sky and destroys the creature with a special ray. Dropping from his ship, Rodak tells Mikko and Tom Mura— a reporter for United Press International— to print in the newspapers what they have just witnessed. Before Rodak flies off, Mikko takes a picture of him with his camera.
With his house back in the old neighborhood again, Mikko has the photo developed. He then hears the loud roar of a jet engine, and looks outside to see a huge rocket land beside his house and immediately turn into a 50 foot tall golden robot. The giant introduces himself as “Goldar” (Ambassador Magma), a friend to the people of Earth. Goldar asks Mikko for the picture. When Mikko refuses, the camera flies from his hands and into the giant palm of the Space Avenger! He tells Mikko that he must show the picture of Rodak to his creator, Mathusam (Earth), a scientist from outer space.
Episode 2: THE SUBTERRANEAN MENACE
Japanese Title: SPACE MONSTER MOGUNESS ATTACKS (Uchu Kaiju Mogunesu Shuraisu)
Original Airdate: July 11, 1966
Goldar takes Mikko to his base, located deep in the heart of the active volcano Mt. Olympian. There Mikko meets Goldar’s wife Silvar (Mol), and Mathusam, the elderly, white-haired scientist. Goldar and Silvar are taken with Mikko and ask Mathusam to create a son for them in Mikko’s image. He grants their wish, creating “Gam”, a boy robot who can change to a rocket just like his parents. Mathusam also gives Mikko a supersonic whistle to call for help whenever he is in danger. One blast will summon Gam, two blasts will call Silvar and three blasts will bring Goldar the Space Avenger into action!
As a show of force, Rodak sends his mechanical creature Molesaurus (Moguness) to Earth. Mikko returns to his parents’ home and learns his father Tom Mura has been assigned to cover the story. Tom boards a train, but suddenly the creature Molesaurus attacks from underground! The survivors of the trainwreck seek shelter. Mikko and his mother learn about the accident and wonder if Tom is still alive.
Episode 3: ATTACK OF THE MOLESAURUS
Japanese Title: GAM! DEFEAT MOGUNESS (Gamu! Mogunesu o Taose)
Original Airdate: July 18, 1966
Tom Mura is able to escape from the train wreckage and begins to look for help. As strange earthquakes begin to take place all over, Rodak announces his plans to conquer the Earth and asks that the people surrender their planet peacefully.
Mikko calls for help and Gam, hearing the whistle, flies to his aid. They discover that Rodak’s creature is a mole-like animal that can move under the earth. From the air, Gam and Mikko spot Tom Mura walking in a daze. They land to help him and suddenly Molesaurus comes out of the ground to attack them. Mikko takes out his whistle, calling three times for Goldar!
Episode 4: THE MONSTER BOMB (THE BOMB)
Japanese Title: TOKYO IN CRISIS! (Kiki Ippatsu Tokyo!)
Original Airdate: July 25, 1966
Molesaurus is found to be carrying an H-Bomb in its body, planted there by Rodak! After being told this by Mathusam, Goldar is forced to let the creature escape deep within the Earth’s crust. Gam is hurt during the encounter with the creature, and is taken back to the base for repair of his electronic system by Mathusam.
Rodak appears again and demands that the people of Earth surrender or he will blow up the entire planet with an army of monsters like Molesaurus. He states that he will wait for a white flag to be raised atop the tallest tower in the city. Rodak later hovers over the tower in his spacecraft, and his anger is aroused when he does not see any flag of surrender.
Mathusam comes up with a solution. He gives Goldar a powerful magnet to force Molesaurus to move toward the North Pole where the bomb can be exploded without harm (except to Molesaurus).
Episode 5: BIRDAURUS—TERROR OF THE SKY
Japanese Title: MONSTER BIRDORA IS BORN (Kaiju Badora Tanjosu)
Original Airdate: August 1, 1966
Defeated by Goldar, Rodak concentrates on examining the structure of Goldar and his component parts to find the Space Avenger’s weakness.
Tom Mura and his family have decided that a vacation is in order. While flying in a jet airliner, the plane suddenly sways. But it is not turbulence…the plane’s instruments do not function because of some outside disturbance. A strange saucer is seen flying outside the plane, then leaves the area.
Tom meets with another UPI reporter named Kita, and together they investigate the whereabouts of the flying saucer. The saucer is located and turns out to be a small glowing mechanism that appears to be breathing! The object is brought back to the lab as scientists try to discover its origin. Not having the right equipment for further tests, the object is shipped by truck to another facility. On the back of the truck, the object begins to grow. As it crushes the truck with its increasing mass, the object changes into a new creature of Rodak’s: Birdaurus (Birdora)!
Episode 6: BATTLE OF THE FLYING BEAST
Japanese Title: AMBASSADOR MAGMA VS BIRDORA (Maguma Taishi tai Badora)
Original Airdate: August 8, 1966
Tom Mura meets Silvar for the first time, and learns that this family of giants from outer space is on Earth to help defeat Rodak, whom they have been following for quite some time.
Gam and Mikko decide on their own that they will attack Rodak’s spaceship. They are captured and confined in a transparent cage. Rodak attempts to gain their confidence and tells them that on his ship, children only play all day long. Rodak shows them many children playing all kinds of games, apparently happy. Mikko is somewhat taken in, but Gam knows that Rodak is not telling the truth! Gam rebels, and Rodak places him on a platform for examination of his electronic parts.
Birdaurus attacks an atomic power plant and begins to destroy it. Goldar arrives to stop the creature.
Episode 7: THE VICTORIOUS MONSTER (THE VICTORIOUS CREATURE)
Japanese Title: AMBASSADOR MAGMA IS INJURED (Ayaushi Maguma Taishi)
Original Airdate: August 15, 1966
Goldar attacks Birdaurus at the atomic power plant, but is tricked by the creature and drained of his power. Birdaurus heads toward the power plant to destroy it completely and release radioactivity throughout the world. Tom Mura and Kita run to the plant and— with the help of scientists— attempt to pull out the safety pin of the furnace, thereby eliminating the danger of radioactivity if the plant is destroyed. Tom succeeds, and the furnace is shut down.
Silvar appears and fires a volley of rays at the creature, which flies off. Silvar goes to Goldar, who is too weak to stand. She supplies him with enough electrical energy to return to Mt. Olympian. Tom and Kita return to their car. As they drive away from the power plant their car is drawn up into the air by Rodak’s spaceship. Unaware that his father has been captured, Mikko gets Lily, one of the children on Rodak’s ship, to help him release Gam. Gam turns into a rocket ship and all three return to Earth.
Mikko and his mother are visited by Kita, who says that he escaped from Rodak. Kita says that it is important that Mikko arrange for him to see Goldar, but the boy thinks that there is something strange about the reporter. Kita is actually a Lugo Man (Ningen Modoki)— one of Rodak’s Human Duplicates— in disguise. He buys a box of flowers for Goldar and asks Gam to deliver them. However, inside the box is a time bomb!
Episode 8: THE WINGED HORROR
Japanese Title: THE LAST OF BIRDORA (Badora no Saigo)
Original Airdate: August 22, 1966
Gam brings the box of flowers to Mt. Olympian. Mathusam senses something is wrong and orders Gam to throw the flowers out into the open where they explode harmlessly. Gam believes that Lily was responsible and is an agent of Rodak. Mikko disagrees. Birdaurus appears again, and Gam turns into a rocket to see what the monster is doing.
Kita offers a charm to Lily as a gift for Mikko. Mathusam soon discovers that a signal is coming from the charm, and Silvar determines that it is transmitting to Rodak. Mikko accidentally sees Kita reporting in to Rodak and realizes that it is not really Kita, but one of the Lugo Men.
Gam takes Kita to a deserted island, making him believe that this is Goldar’s base. Kita discovers the trick, and Birdaurus is called. Goldar, now fully recovered, comes to battle Birdaurus and is victorious. Tom Mura and the real Kita escape from Rodak’s saucer.
Episode 9: THE TERRIFYING LUGO MEN
Japanese Title: MYSTERY OF THE FLYING SAUCERS (Nazo no Soratobu Emban)
Original Airdate: August 29, 1966
One night, a fireball is seen falling from the sky. Tom Mura and his assistant/photographer Liz learn that the shooting star has landed in the northwest. They drive to the location and discover a yellow saucer. Convinced that the ship belongs to Rodak, Tom goes for help while Liz stays to take some photos. A Lugo Man appears from inside the saucer and captures her. Tom returns with the police, only to see the saucer explode and find Liz walking in a trance.
Mikko and his mother Tomoko visit the planetarium, where he and other children are learning about shooting stars. All of a sudden, Rodak’s image appears on the planetarium “sky”. He tells of his plans to conquer Earth, because it is the most beautiful planet in the universe. In the confusion to leave the planetarium, Mikko is separated from his mother. Tomoko is followed by a sedan and is captured by four Lugo Men!
While Mikko is asleep, Tomoko enters his room and takes the whistle. She blows the whistle many times. Thinking it to be an emergency, Gam, Silvar, and Goldar all respond. Mikko is startled and rushes outside to see his mother confronted by all three robots. She is frightened until Mikko explains the use of the whistle. All agree that it was a mistake.
The next day Mikko goes to his father’s office at United Press International and tells him that he left a tape recorder running in the house. As Mikko’s mother calls Rodak for instructions, every word is being recorded. Mikko and Tom come home and accuse Tomoko of being an imposter. Realizing that she has been trapped, she turns into a Lugo Man and disappears through a wall.
Rodak informs the world that his latest monster Zandosis (Frenix) is draining all the sound waves from the air and that a silent world will soon be a dead world.
Episode 10: ZANDOSIS STRIKES
Japanese Title: SOUND WAVE MONSTER FRENIX (Ompa Kaiju Furenitsukusu)
Original Airdate: September 5, 1966
Tom and Mikko take the tape recorder to the authorities and play the recording of Tomoko contacting Rodak. The inspector, who unbeknownst to Mikko and his father is in reality a Lugo Man, uses his powers to add a commercial at the end of the conversation, making the entire tape seem like a radio program.
Goldar and Silvar spot a creature in the ocean that has been destroying ships at sea. It is noted that when the monster is on the surface, there are no sound waves in the air.
Mikko and Tom follow Liz, whose identity has been taken by a Lugo Man. They tail her by car to a deserted jungle area where she meets another hooded Lugo Man in a silver uniform. They overhear the man tell Liz that soon an army of Lugo Men will arrive on Earth to take over the identity of humans in the first step to conquering Earth. The Lugo Men begin to arrive in saucers, and demonstrate their ability to walk on water. The aliens arrive at Mikko’s house and find Gam there. They believe he is Mikko, but he uses his electronic rays to fight them off. Mikko and his father follow the Lugo Men and Liz to a local hospital. They see Tomoko being wheeled out… all the nurses at the hospital have been taken over by Lugo Men.
The sea creature Zandosis shoots down U.S. Navy patrol aircraft.
Episode 11: CLASH OF THE MAMMOTH MONSTER (CLASH OF THE MAMMOTH CREATURE)
Japanese Title: DEFEAT THE HUMAN DUPLICATES (Ningen Modoki o Taose)
Original Airdate: September 12, 1966
The Lugo Men put all of their victims, humans without identities, in a truck for transportation to another location. Mikko and his father watch the Lugo Men, but are helpless to do anything. Tom Mura tells Mikko to continue observing them from their hiding place while he goes to the police for help. The police do not believe his story since their identities have been taken over by Lugo Men, and Tom is put in a jail cell. The aliens are about to steal Mura’s identity when Silvar blasts in to rescue him.
Flying over the ocean shipping lanes, Goldar spots Zandosis and begins his attack on the creature!
Episode 12: THE MONSTER TRAP (THE TRAP)
Japanese Title: THE LAST DAY OF MONSTER FRENIX (Kaiju Furenitsukusu Saigo no Ka)
Original Airdate: September 19, 1966
Goldar attacks Zandosis, but the creature is too strong and escapes into the ocean depths. Goldar returns to Mt. Olympian and tells Mathusam that the creature has escaped and that a better means of fighting the creature must be devised.
Mura attempts to tell his bosses at UPI that Liz is not Liz, but no one will believe his story. Gam and Mikko follow Lugo Men as they leave the hospital. Mikko worries about his mother, one of the captives aboard the Lugo Men’s truck. The villains arrive at a deserted area where they plan to dispose of all their victims. Mikko calls Goldar to help and the Space Avengers arrives to destroy the Lugo Men. All the victims are safely revived.
Meanwhile, Zandosis causes hurricanes out at sea. Mathusam creates a new weapon for Goldar to use against the monster: an instrument to absorb all sound waves. The weapon works, and Zandosis is destroyed and sent to the bottom of the sea.
Episode 13: TARON- SUPER HEAT MONSTER (THE SUPER HEAT CREATURE)
Japanese Title: THE LAST INHABITANT (Saigo no Yuseijin)
Original Airdate: September 26, 1966
An observatory in Australia reports a mysterious S.O.S. signal coming from a planet in outer space. The planet is called Kuwal (Pal), and it has been attacked by the heat creature Taron (Aron), sent there by Rodak! The King of Kuwal tells his daughter Lita (Lihza) that she must escape to Earth in a space-boat and tell the people of Earth what has happened. Tearfully, Lita leaves her father and escapes the doomed planet.
Gam finds Lita and her space-boat crashed in the desert and takes the girl to Mikko and his father, Tom Mura. Rodak’s assistants report that only one survivor of Kuwal has made it to Earth, the daughter of the King, and that she may have some important documents. Rodak’s robot men go after Mikko, Gam, Tom and Lita, forcing their car off the road and over the side of a mountain, but the heroes escape without injury.
Meanwhile, the temperature on Earth seems to be rising; even the water is becoming hot. Volcanoes erupt and lakes bubble with steam. Gam takes Mikko for a closer look at the erupting volcano, and there they discover Taron! Goldar and Silvar are called. Goldar attempts to defeat Taron, but the creature retreats back into the mouth of the volcano.
Episode 14: THE TERRIBLE TARON (TARON)
Japanese Title: SKULL ISLAND (Dokura Shima)
Original Airdate: October 3, 1966
Rodak’s agents spread the rumor that Goldar is responsible for the disasters and is actually an assistant to Rodak! Mikko calls the Space Avenger to have him refute the rumors in person, not knowing that Rodak wants to get Goldar out in the open so he can be shot down by the Army’s guided missiles.
Tom Mura tries to destroy the evil Lugo Man who is posing as the police inspector, but is found out. Mikko sends Gam to defeat the Lugo Men.
Meanwhile, Lita is captured by other Lugo Men and taken to a secret house, where Rodak suddenly appears and questions Lita about a locket given to her by her father. Rodak again shows her the destructive power of the heat creature Taron. Mikko learns where Lita is being held and signals Goldar to free her.
Episode 15: TERROR FROM TARON (TERROR FROM OUTER SPACE)
Japanese Title: DESTROY THE MONSTER ARON (Kaiju Aron o Ute)
Original Airdate: October 10, 1966
Goldar confronts Rodak. The two enemies shoot electronic rays at each other, but Goldar’s attack is too strong and Rodak retreats. Rodak tells Taron to start destroying the area. Goldar flies to confront the heat creature.
Goldar tells Gam that an island base has been set up to train Lugo Men and imprison the many people who were captured to give Lugo Men identities. Goldar suggests that Silvar also go along to free the captives. Silvar, Gam, and Mikko go by boat to the edge of the island, and there, Silvar places a powerful explosive in a watch which is strapped to her wrist. She dons scuba-gear and swims toward the island. Her foot accidentally strikes an underwater signal device, setting off an alarm on the Lugo Men’s control board. The Lugo Men, armed with spear guns, dive into the water to search for the intruder. Silvar escapes detection and goes ashore onto the island. She places her wristwatch containing the explosive device and the island is blown up.
Goldar fights Taron, but the tide of battle begins to turn against the Space Avenger. Mathusam causes a solar eclipse which causes Taron to lose energy. Rodak declares that he will not allow Goldar to win. He will create tremendous heat so that the North and South Poles will melt, causing tidal waves all over the Earth!
Episode 16: BATTLE OF THE TITANS
Japanese Title: THE LAST DAY OF EARTH (Chikyu Saigo no Ka)
Original Airdate: October 17, 1966
United Press International receives information from their New York office that tidal waves are destroying harbors in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Alaska, the Soviet Union and Australia. Mathusam creates a rainstorm to cool down the temperature, however the rain is heated and is no help.
Lita remembers the watch her father gave her and feels that it is important in solving the world’s problem, but the Lugo Men are also after it and shoot the girl with an invisible ray.
Goldar decides to give Rodak a taste of his own medicine. Flying into the heart of an active volcano, the Space Avenger absorbs all of its heat. Goldar head directly for Rodak’s saucer and releases his built-up heat directly into the ship. Rodak calls for the cold of the North Pole, which destroys the heat of Taron. The temperatures return to normal and Rodak is defeated again!
Episode 17: RANAUTIS ATTACKS
Japanese Title: GAREON— ATTACK THE EARTH (Gareon-Chikiyu o Kogeki Seyo)
Original Airdate: October 24, 1966
A strange, fatal disease spreads across Earth. All who come in contact with it turn blue. Then cause of the disease is Rodak’s latest creature, Ranautis (Gareon), a monster that has the power to turn red blood cells into blue.
One of Mikko’s friends becomes ill and is taken to the hospital. Tom Mura and his assistant Liz go to the hospital to talk to the doctor about the disease. Checking medical records, the doctor discovers that all patients with the disease have been transferred to Moz Hospital. Doctor Moz, who runs the hospital, is working for Rodak. He kidnaps the patients and replaces them with replicas under his control. Mikko sees Doctor Moz at work and tells his friend that his sister has been replaced by an imitation human.
Episode 18: THE TERROR MONSTER
Japanese Title: THE STRANGE LIVING MANNEQUINS (Iki Ningyo no Kai)
Original Airdate: October 31, 1966
Tom Mura discovers Doctor Moz’s true plans, and the authorities make a raid on the hospital. Doctor Moz escapes by a rocket ship that was hidden beneath the hospital roof.
The creature Ranautis attacks a car containing Tom, Liz, Mikko and Gam, but Gam forces it to withdraw. The monster attacks again and Goldar is called to help. Goldar’s missiles strike Ranautis, only to melt away. Trying another weapon, a colored liquid, the Space Avenger causes the beast to retreat.
Two workers come across a group of life-size dolls, only to discover that they have heartbeats! Frightened, they call the police.
It is discovered that Ranautis absorbs blue flowers and changes the pigment of the flowers into a ray which penetrates the human body, causing all red blood cells to turn blue. Mathusam tells Goldar that only the seeds of the rare Balango plant can cure the disease. Mikko, Gam and Tom Mura head to a deserted island to locate the Balango seeds.
Episode 19: THE DEADLY DROX
Japanese Title: THE BALANGO STRATEGY (Barango Sakusen)
Original Airdate: November 7, 1966
Mikko and Tom Mura hire a plane to take them to Balango Island, but the crew turn out to be Lugo Men. Mikko is given a sleeping pill by the stewardess, and then the pilots tell Tom that they work for Rodak. The Lugo Men disappear, leaving no one at the controls of the plane! Tom remembers Mikko’s whistle and blows it one time. Gam flies to their aid, and talks Mura in for a landing, guiding him in rocket form.
Arriving on the island, the Muras and Gam meet Mary, the daughter of the scientist they were supposed to rendezvous with. Mary tells them her father has died. A guide leads them in search of the Balango seeds. The Lugo Men blow up a bridge, but Gam turns into a rocket and carries the heroes across. Going by foot into the jungle, they are met by Goldar, who tells Tom Mura that he must return to the city. Goldar leaves with Tom while Miko, Gam, Mary, and the guide continue their quest. They find the seeds in a cave which is guarded by Rodak’s monster, Drox!
Episode 20: THE MONSTERS CLASH (THE CLASH)
Japanese Title: DEATH STRUGGLE OF THE MONSTERS (Shito Nidai Kaiju)
Original Airdate: November 14, 1966
While waiting for Drox to leave the cave entrance, Gam and Mikko get into a children’s argument about whether it is better to be a human or a robot. Gam feels insulted and flies off, leaving Mikko, Mary and the guide alone on the island. Mathusam decides to show Gam what it feels like to be human. Gam suddenly finds himself stripped of his rocket powers and becomes a real boy. He also learns that he has developed human fear. Mathusam explains to him that humans are different than rocket people. Gam, having learned his lesson, returns to being a rocket boy.
Following the guide’s instructions, Mary begins playing her flute. The creature Drox begins to dance, and like the pied piper, Mary leads him away from the cave. As the monster dances away, Mikko goes toward the cave to retrieve the Balango seeds. Rodak sends Ranautis to block the entrance. Mikko calls Goldar for help, and suddenly Goldar finds himself caught between the two monsters! Goldar turns the two creatures against each other and they are soon destroyed. Mikko and Gam become friends again. The seeds are collected and delivered to scientists to help cure the blue disease.
Episode 21: CHALLENGE OF THE GREAT NORONDA
Japanese Title: BACTERIA PURSUIT (Saikin o Oe)
Original Airdate: November 21, 1966
Rodak sends three black liquid blobs that can impersonate humans to steal a secret formula. They head to the Research Center, where a conference is taking place with world scientists and a member of the United Nations. Changing from men to liquid blobs, the aliens get by the conference guards and steal a formula that eats vegetation, the substance which Lugo Men are made of.
Tom Mura is assigned to follow up on the scientific conference. The Lugo Men overhear a scientist telling Tom that the formula Rodak stole was not real, but only a decoy.
Rodak sends his latest creation Noronda (Stopgon) to Earth… a giant creature made of metal, which can paralyze any type of machinery. Gam and Mikko fly to the last reported location of Noronda and confront the creature. Gam flies around and around the monster’s head. Getting dizzy, Noronda falls backwards and shatters. But, to Gam and Mikko’s surprise, the creature’s metal parts reform. Noronda lives again!
Episode 22: THE RAMPAGING TERROR
Japanese Title: STOP THAT SPACE ROCKET!! (Ano Uchu Roketto o Todomero!!)
Original Airdate: November 28, 1966
Mikko calls Goldar to fight Noronda. Goldar shoots a missile at the creature, breaking it into small pieces. However, the monster just reassembles itself. Mathusam tells Goldar that he knows how Noronda breaks up into small pieces, and explains how Goldar can destroy the monster.
Disguised Lugo Men, once again trying to steal the formula, kidnap the scientist Dr. Kura at the airport. Tom Mura sees the car pull away and gives chase. A hand grenade is thrown at Mura’s car, and he is injured. The Lugo Men take Dr. Kura to a secret hideout for questioning. At the hospital, Tom tells Mikko and Gam that they must find Dr. Kura because he is carrying the formula that can destroy the Lugo Men.
A Lugo Man breaks into the hospital and captures Tom Mura, taking him to the same hideout as Dr. Kura. They force the doctor to give them the formula. Gam and Mikko rescue Mura and Kura and head for the launching pad where the formula can be loaded onto a rocket and shot skyward, showering down to destroy all the Lugo Men. But it is discovered that the doctor is actually a Lugo Man and the formula is a substitute which will kill all of mankind, and not the Lugo Men!
Episode 23: THE WILD CREATURE
Japanese Title: ANGRY MONSTER STOPGON (Ikaru Kaiju Sutoppugon)
Original Airdate: December 5, 1966
Goldar chases after the missile, but Noronda stops the Space Avenger with its holding-ray. Gam flies to help his father and is able to break the creature into pieces. Goldar catches up to the rocket and destroys it.
In the meantime, the Lugo Men question the real Dr. Kura. He refuses to tell them where he is hiding the formula. The bacteria are actually hidden in Kura’s shoe, in a secret compartment he himself is not even aware of. Rodak orders the Research Center destroyed, and the Lugo Men attack. Gam uses radar to find the doctor and tries to rescue him while Mikko calls Goldar for help.
Episode 24: BATTLE OF THE BEHEMOTHS
Japanese Title: EARTHLINGS BEGIN COUNTERATTACK (Chikyujin Hangeki Seyo)
Original Airdate: December 12, 1966
Arriving on the scene, Goldar finds the boys trapped in Noronda’s giant hand. He forces the monster to drop Mikko and Gam, and fights the creature as Rodak infuses it with more power from his spaceship. Transportation in the city stops as Noronda freezes all mechanical parts.
Meanwhile, Rodak causes all laws of nature to act in reverse… rivers run backwards, the Earth begins to split into sections and plate glass begins to shatter on its own. Rodak’s new Titalia bacteria spread, covering its victims with a brown mold. One of the scientists suggests that a certain chemical will counteract the bacteria. Gam is called to disperse the chemical into the air.
An x-ray photo is taken of Noronda’s heart. Mathusam tells Goldar that the heart of the creature is located just below the rib cage. When Noronda breaks up, Goldar must catch and destroy the heart, making it impossible for Noronda to reform.
Episode 25: INVADERS FROM A FAR PLANET
Japanese Title: A CHRISTMAS PRESENT FROM THE DEVIL (Akuma Kara no Kurisumasu Purezento)
Original Airdate: December 19, 1966
In celebration of Christmas, Rodak launches a new wave of attacks. He sends his creation Vacuma (Dakoda) to Earth as a holiday gift. The creature hovers over the airport like a flying octopus, sucking planes into its long, writhing tentacles and crushing them.
Another of Rodak’s “presents” are the Dwarf Robots (Micro Ningen), 6 inch high men that invade a person’s body and assume control of their thought processes. The robots begin to work immediately, dissolving into many people’s bodies and taking over their minds at the direction of Rodak’s chief henchman Sultan (Sarutan), who is assigned to oversee operations.
Mikko buys a Christmas present for Gam. When Gam opens the packaging, the toy inside issues forth a spray that turns the boy robot into a concrete statue. Men under the control of Dwarf Robots appear and spirit Gam away. Toms Mura chases them in his car, only to be sucked up into the tentacles of Vacuma. Mikko blows his whistle three times, calling for the Space Avenger!
Episode 26: A SURPRISE MONSTER (A SURPRISE VISITOR)
Japanese Title: REFRIGERATION STRATEGY: COMPLETE (Reito Sakusen Kanryosu)
Original Airdate: December 26, 1966
Vacuma grabs the incapacitated Gam with its powerful suction tentacles. Mathusam, however, tells the other heroes that this is actually a trap to lure them to Gam’s aid. The army sends its jets against Vacuma, but all are crushed.
Mikko goes with Kita to look at the store where he bought Gam’s Christmas present. The pair tails the owner of the store to a house on a hill. They enter the house and find Gam frozen in a block of ice. As they approach Gam, iron bars drop around them, capturing Mikko and Kita as well. Mikko uses a heat gun to melt the ice, and Gam is returned to normal.
A new creature— Gor (Black Giant) the faceless giant— confronts Goldar!
Episode 27: GOR AGAINST EARTH
Japanese Title: KILL THE TRAITOR SULTAN (Uragirimono Sarutan Korose)
Original Airdate: January 2, 1967
Mikko and Kita are still trapped in a closed room that is beginning to reach freezing level. The room is also soundproof, so Mikko’s whistle is useless. Gam, having escaped, reports what has happened to United Press International and then returns to help Mikko and Kita. As Silvar causes a distraction in the sky, Goldar moves underground toward the house. Rodak sends Vacuma to fight Silvar, but she avoids him. Mikko and Kita escape.
The angry Rodak tells Sultan that he must executed for failing his mission. But before this can be done, Sultan escapes and heads toward Earth, landing at the Mura house. Tracking Sultan’s flight, Goldar and Gam arrive moments later. Sultan pledges allegiance to Earth and promises to fight against Rodak! Goldar agrees to trust Sultan.
Rodak is furious with the escape of Mikko and Kita and with Sultan’s defection. He turns Gor loose on the airport. As Goldar heads to his confrontation with Gor, Rodak releases his army of Dwarf Robots to kill Sultan.
Episode 28: VACUMA’S SHOWDOWN
Japanese Title: MONSTER DAKODA’S LAST MOMENTS (Kaiju Dakoda no Saigo)
Original Airdate: January 9, 1967
Rodak tells Goldar that Gor’s body contains an army of 6-inch tall robots which will be released if Gor is destroyed. The villain next orders Gor and Vacuma to destroy the military complex where Sultan is being kept. Sultan informs the authorities that only freezing cold can safely destroy Gor. Mathusam equips Gam with a freezing chemical. As Goldar attacks Gor, Gam throws the freezing chemical on the monster, defeating him once and for all.
Rodak orders an all-out attack to find and kill Sultan before he can give away any more of Rodak’s secrets. Because Sultan came from a highly magnetic planet, Rodak is able to locate him with a powerful compass. He finds Sultan hiding in a hotel, Rodak shrinks Vacuma, enabling the monster to get inside the building and murder Sultan. Using Mathusam’s freezing compound, Goldar destroys Vacuma.
Episode 29: THE CITY SMASHER
Japanese Title: AMBASSADOR MAGMA AND THE GODDESS OF LIBERTY (Maguma Taishi to Jiyu no Joshin)
Original Airdate: January 16, 1967
Rodak goes to New York and attacks the Statue of Liberty. Tom Mura, on assignment in in the city, calls Mikko and has him send Goldar to stop Rodak. Goldar and Gam arrive in New York and drive Rodak back into outer space. Mathusam is suspicious that Rodak went away without a fight.
A hotel reports that ten of its guests have mysteriously disappeared. Kita is sent to cover the story. One of the caretakers tells Kita that people seem to disappear after going swimming. Kita asks if there is anything special in the water and is told that that the only additive is sulfur for health purposes. The caretaker even says that the water is drinkable. He demonstrates by drinking some of himself, but suddenly goes crazy and runs off.
Kita decides to have the water analyzed. He is attacked by one of Rodak’s men, but is saved by Goldar. It is discovered that the water contains “Zana”(Zamaz), a chemical from outer space that acts as a radio transmitter. Just then, Mura calls from New York asking for Goldar to come back to Manhattan as Rodak is attacking again.
Episode 30: TERROR FROM EAST TO WEST
Japanese Title: MONSTER TERAVARDEN VS SCRAMBLE (Kaiju Terabaden tai Sukuramburu)
Original Airdate: January 23, 1967
Goldar is assigned to New York to help against an attack from Rodak. Rodak sends his newest creature Gorda (Teravarden) to spread the Zana chemical into all the Earth’s water supplies, causing everyone who drinks it to come under Rodak’s control. The monster’s underground movements also cause volcanoes to erupt.
Rodak orders his men to have as many people as possible drink Zana so that he can have an army of spies. Many drink the water and become Rodak’s willing slaves. Rodak orders all the missing guests to return to their hotels and await further orders. Gam, Mikko and Kita go to the hotel to investigate and come face to face with Gorda. Kita is captured by Rodak’s men.
Rodak orders Gorda to create more volcanic eruptions. Goldar returns from America and is told by Mathusam that Gorda is responsible for the Zana and must be destroyed.
Episode 31: GORDA’S REVENGE (GORDA)
Japanese Title: DEFEND EARTH FROM GOA’S EVIL INFLUENCE (Goa no Mashu Kara Chikyu o Mamore)
Original Airdate: January 30, 1967
Goldar injures Gorda, but the monster escapes into a volcano. Goldar returns to Mount Olympian, where Mathusam begins to work on a new weapon to use against the monster.
Kita is the prisoner of a doctor who has taken Zana. He is kept in a room, which gets hotter and hotter in order to force Kita to drink the Zana-contaminated water. Gam uses his sensitive, electronic headpiece to discover Kita’s whereabouts. He and Mikko enter the doctor’s lab by pretending that they want to take Zana. However, Gam’s headpiece causes anyone under the influence of Zana to become dizzy and they are found out. Locating Kita’s cell, Gam crashes through the wall and all three escape.
Mathusam finally develops a special ray gun which can destroy Zana. Goldar successfully uses the gun against Gorda, and then instructs Gam to use it on all the people who took Zana. As Gam shoots the ray at them, they all return to normal, with no recollection of what they had been doing. Zana is no more and Goldar now seeks to destroy Gorda who hides in the depths of hot volcanoes where Goldar cannot follow!
Episode 32: THE BIG SHOCK
Japanese Title: DUEL AT OWAKU VALLEY (Owaku-Dani no Ketto)
Original Airdate: February 6, 1967
Goldar battles Gorda near a volcano, but the rising heat becomes too intense for the Space Avenger. Mathusam sends Silvar and Gam to Goldar’s aid. Gorda returns to its volcanic lair, where Rodak orders it to stay hidden. Gam manages to get a small piece of Gorda’s skin for Mathusam to analyze. Mathusam discovers that the creature is from the planet Zephyr. The planet is dissolving fast and once Zephyr disappears completely, so will Gorda. Goldar flies Mathusam to his planet, where he gets his leader to agree to speed up the destruction of planet Zephyr.
Rodak decides to cover the Earth with a heavy fog. As the army attacks Gorda, Mathusam creates a time ring which Goldar throws around the head of the creature. This causes Gorda to disappear at the exact same time as Zephyr and the Earth is safe again…for now.
Episode 33: THE MINI-MONSTERS (THE MINI-BEINGS)
Japanese Title: TERROR OF THE MYSTERIOUS INSECT PIDORA (Kyofu no Kaichu Pidora)
Original Airdate: February 13, 1967
Rodak’s every move is monitored by powerful radar systems at the Space Center which are zeroing in on Rodak’s spacecraft for a missile attack. The impact of the explosions is felt at the center, leading the Earth forces to believe they are victorious over the space villain. But Rodak laughs at the missile attack, and orders a fireball horde of alien insects to attack the Space Center. Four army jets discover the insects streaking toward Earth, but are destroyed before the pilots can report what they have seen.
Mikko and his friends are playing baseball when the swarm of insects lands on the backstop and begins eating the metal. The bugs next attack the Space Center as well as various buildings throughout the area. Gam turns into a rocket and he and Mikko attack the bugs. Gam’s ray seems to stop some of the bugs, while the others fly away. Gam and Mikko follow the fleeing swarm only to come face to face with the giant beetle, Nardo (Pidora). The beetle flaps its wings, creating a strong wind while throwing out bolts of fire rays. Mikko calls for the Space Avenger!
Episode 34: ATTACK OF THE MONSTER PLANTS (ATTACK OF THE PLANTS)
Japanese Title: SPACE PLANT NESUGIRAS: CREEPING TOUCH OF EVIL (Seru Ma no Shu-Uchu Shokubutsu Nesugirasu)
Original Airdate: February 20, 1967
Goldar arrives and attacks Nardo! As the two titans fight, Rodak’s ship appears overhead and Rodak announces that Nardo will keep Goldar busy while the insects do their job. Nardo eventually retreats and the boys inform the authorities what has happened. The radar units scan for the bugs, with no luck.
American scientist Dr. Reed is coming from New York with a plan to stop the bugs by using shock waves. Using a hidden transmitter, Rodak learns of the arrival of the doctor and his plan. Tom Mura goes to the pier to greet Dr. Reed who is arriving by boat. Rodak sends Nardo to destroy the ship. However, Dr. Reed is actually travelling by submarine, ruining Rodak’s plan.
Silvar is sent by Mathusam to find out where the insects are and what sustains them on Earth. She discovers a plant (Nesugiras) that gives the insects their energy. Moving closer, the plants come alive, catching her. Goldar rescues Silvar, but finds out that his ray does not damage the plants.
Episode 35: A TRAP FOR GOLDAR
Japanese Title: MAGMA BASE IN DANGER (Ayaushi Maguma Kichi)
Original Airdate: February 27, 1967
Goldar and Silvar report back to Mathusam. He tells them that the space plants must be uprooted, but does not know how best to do that until he studies them more.
Meanwhile, Gam meets with Tom Mura, Mikko and the authorities at a lighthouse to await the arrival of Dr. Reed. As the scientist and the Commander come ashore, Rodak attacks! Dr. Reed and the Commander try to escape, but before they can get away, Nardo sucks their car up into the air.
Rodak’s bugs attack everything in sight. Mathusam tells Goldar that he must fight Rodak and rescue Dr. Reed and the Commander. Rodak confronts Goldar, but Nardo flies overhead and sends out streams of fire that encircle Rodak’s captives. Goldar can not come any closer due to his sensitivity to heat. Rodak appears at Mount Olympian and tells Mathusam, Silvar, and Gam that Goldar is trapped and soon the world will be his!
Episode 36: THE INSECTS
Japanese Title: SAVE THE EARTH (Chikyu o Sukue)
Original Airdate: March 6, 1967
Goldar abandons his attack on Nardo and saves Dr. Reed and the commander, bringing them back to the United Press International building. Mikko informs Goldar that Gam is not responding to his whistle. Goldar immediately leaves for Mount Olympian and confronts Rodak just as he is about to destroy the base. Not wishing to fight Goldar, Rodak disappears.
Rodak orders the bugs to launch an assault on oil tanks that will fill the air with dangerous vapors. People are instructed not to strike a match or cook as the combustible gases in the air can cause explosions. A cold spell is forecast by the weather bureau.
Mikko calls Goldar for help, but he cannot respond for fear that this rocket jets may cause an explosion. Rodak issues a demand for mankind to surrender the Earth or Nardo will ignite the atmosphere. Goldar places himself in jeopardy and decides to create a jet stream that will clear the atmosphere of the gas vapors. Accomplishing his mission, he attacks Nardo and defeats the creature!
Episode 37: THE CURSE OF HORONDA (HORONDA)
Japanese Title: MADMEN AND H-BOMBS: ENTER POISON GAS MONSTER SANGIRAS (Kiyojin to Suibaku–Doku Gasu Kaiju Sangirasu Tojo)
Original Airdate: March 13, 1967
After observing an H-Bomb test, Rodak makes plans to steal one of the bombs and have the countries of the world blame each other for the crime. A jet bomber carrying H-Bombs is hijacked. To Rodak’s surprise he discovers that his men were not responsible. Central Intelligence discovers that it was Horonda, leader of the underground organization The Orange Order, who stole the plane.
Gam and Mikko set out recover the lost plane, but they are forced to retreat when the jet fires on them and Gam’s rudder is damaged.
Tom Mura tells his newspaper chief Mizuno that he knows what Horonda looks like, but that he has many disguises. Mura knows that Horonda will attempt to get into the city by any means. Tom and Mikko go to the railroad terminal, where they notice an unusual woman, which Tom recognizes as Horonda in disguise! They follow Horonda to his hideout and overhear the terrorist’s plan to use the bomb to force all the countries of the world to turn over their armies to him. As they are about to be discovered, an assistant of Rodak’s appears. They follow him outside, only to be confronted by Rodak and his Lugo Men. Rodak meets with Horonda and forces him into an agreement to work together.
World leaders hold a conference to sign a treaty banning all nuclear weapons. Suddenly, Rodak’s creature Claw (Sangiras) is sent to Earth to break up the meeting. Mikko calls Goldar for help!
Episode 38: EXPLOSION
Japanese Title: FAREWELL POISON GAS MONSTER SANGIRAS! SEARCH FOR THE H-BOMB (Saraba! Doku Gasu Kaiju Sangirasu Suibaku o Sagase)
Original Airdate: March 20, 1967
Goldar arrives and is attacked by Claw. Rodak is furious that his creature has turned its attention away from the meeting of world leaders. Goldar stops Claw and the monster disappears. Goldar tells Mathusam that Claw is able to send out a red stream of nerve gas from its tail. While Mathusam works on a plan to combat the monster’s poison, he instructs Goldar that the three H-bombs Horonda stole must be found.
The Commander decides to attack Horonda’s hideout. His forces close in on the house, but find it empty. Claw flies over a military exercise and incapacitates the troops with nerve gas. Mikko and Gam fly in to investigat. They follow the trail of red gas to Horonda’s new hideout, a. warehouse where it is believed that the bombs are hidden. The Commander and his forces try to get into the house, only to be met by Horonda’s men. A volunteer enters the warehouse and defuses one bomb, but there are still two missing.
Episode 39: INSTANT DISASTER
Japanese Title: MONSTER GRANIA NOW APPEARS (Kaiju Gurania Tada Ima Shutsugen)
Original Airdate: March 27, 1967
Rodak calls the monster Dilas (Grania) to Earth to destroy Goldar. Claw is also reactivated by Rodak, and now the Space Avenger faces two monsters! As Goldar battles Dilas, the creature disappears.
Horonda and his men have Mikko, Gam and the Commander pinned down. Goldar comes to Miko’s assistance, but not before Claw infects Mikko with nerve gas. Horonda escapes and meets with Rodak. The two villains decide to detonate the H-Bombs. They kidnap the daughter of an army H-bomb expert, Yazowa, to force him to set the timing device. But, instead of freeing Yazowa and his daughter, Horonda and Rodak tie them to the bomb.
Mikko recovers and calls for Goldar when Dilas attacks. Unaware that Yazowa has cleverly installed a tiny safety mechanism in the H-Bomb, Rodak begins the countdown to the big explosion. There is only a small, sparkling blast in which Yazowa is hurt.
Episode 40: THE CLUTCH OF CLAW
Japanese Title: HURRY AMBASSADOR MAGMA— SEND MONSTER GRANIA TO HELL! (Isoge! Maguma Taishi–Kutabare Kaiju Gurania)
Original Airdate: April 3, 1967
Rodak attacks a false image of Goldar, an illusion caused by a special projector. With Rodak distracted, Goldar drops the second H-Bomb into the Atlantic Ocean. There is still one more bomb to be located. Rodak plans to explode the third H-Bomb over New York.
Rodak also works with Horonda on a new plan to spread poison gas from a factory smokestack. The factory is attacked by troops wearing gas masks. Horonda counterattacks and Goldar is called to help. Horonda is killed in the battle, and the poison gas is shut off.
The last H-Bomb is attached to the back of Dilas. As Goldar confronts the creature the bomb is released into the air towards New York. Goldar defeats Dilas and then uses all of his incredible speed to overtake the bomb. Attaching himself to the H-Bomb, he flies it into space and sends it hurtling towards Rodak’s ship! Rodak sees the bomb approaching and orders it detonated in mid-air. Rodak is beaten again.
Episode 41: THE SHOCK OF GHANA
Japanese Title: THE FIERCE ATTACK OF ILLUSION MONSTER BALZAS (Gen Kaiju Baruzasu no Moshu)
Original Airdate: April 10, 1967
Adults and children are enjoying themselves on the various rides at a local carnival, when all of a sudden Rodak’s newest creature Ghana (Balzas) appears! Ghana wrecks the carnival, disappears, and then reappears in another spot on a road, only to disappear again. Mikko and Gam arrive on the scene and spot Ghana’s footprints. They notice the footprints head in one direction and then another. Mathusam tells Goldar that Ghana is composed of vegetation and has the power to disguise itself as anything organic such as blade of grass or a tree.
The latest report places Ghana at the zoo. Mikko, Gam, Kita, the Commander, and his troops, head to the location. They hear loud footsteps coming from some of the cages, but find nothing. Mikko and Gam decide to go back to the carnival in search of clues. The boys search high and low. Suddenly, Gam finds a small flower, all by itself, in the sand. Remembering what he was told about Ghana’s abilities, Gam fires a ray at the flower and it becomes the monster! A call goes out for the Space Avenger! However, as Goldar arrives, Ghana disappears again without a trace.
Episode 42: THE PLUNGE
Japanese Title: THE FIERCE BATTLE BETWEEN AMBASSADOR MAGMA AND BALZAS (Maguma Taishi to Baruzasu no Gekito)
Original Airdate: April 17, 1967
Ghana reappears at the entertainment park. Goldar attacks with his ray and Ghana goes down. Rodak appears overhead and tells Goldar that the smoke coming from Ghana is a poisonous mist, which will destroy all of mankind unless the people of Earth surrender within 24 hours. Mathusam tells the space family that they must keep Ghana in sight at all times until he can devise a weapon for its destruction.
When the 24 hours are up, Rodak gives the Earth one more hour before he releases the poisoned pollen. Ghana disappears, but under the Commander’s orders, the troops use tear gas to force the monster back into the open. Mikko calls for Goldar, who decides to keep the creature busy until Mathusam can complete his weapon.
Soon, Mathusam completes a special gun that is designed to destroy plant cells. Gam takes the gun to Goldar. Using the new weapon, Goldar fires it at Ghana, freezing the monster and then hitting it with his own rays. Ghana is defeated and the pollen is rendered harmless.
Episode 43: MAGNO’S STRANGEST WEAPON
Japanese Title: MAGNET MONSTER JIGIRA APPEARS! (Magunetto Kaiju Jigira Arawaru!)
Original Airdate: April 24, 1967
Rodak heads out into deep space to regroup his forces. His flight is tracked on radar via satellite.
Rodak leaves his assistant Tocka on Earth to plant a bomb in an art museum. Mathusam senses something wrong at the art museum and tells Mikko, Gam, Tom Mura, and Kita to investigate. They drive to the museum and discover an unusual statue, which suddenly emits a strange smoke. Everyone flees the building just before the museum is destroyed. A new beast, Magno (Jigira), appears and traps Gam against one of its magnetic horns. Mikko calls for Goldar, but Magno drops Gam and retreats.
Tocka records Mikko’s whistle and uses hundreds of recordings to lead Goldar on a wild goose chase. The confused Space Avenger reports back to Mathusam, who informs him that he is not listening carefully enough as only Mikko’s whistle emits a natural sound. Magno attacks an electrical power plant and Goldar is called for help!
Episode 44: THE FOUR MILLION-VOLT SHOCK
Japanese Title: MAGMA’S MISSION (Maguma no Shimei)
Original Airdate: May 1, 1967
The Commander finds out that Goldar is not available to help. He orders his troops to attack Magno, but their guns and tanks are useless against the creature’s magnetic powers.
In the depths of outer space, Rodak decides to relaunch his assault on Earth with additional monsters. Goldar pursues Rodak, carrying a bomb to launch at the evil alien. Rodak sees Goldar approaching and orders meteorites to be aimed at the Space Avenger, but Goldar is able to survive the attack.
While spying on the military complex Tocka is captured by Mikko and Gam. Tocka destroys himself. Believing Rodak is dead, space control celebrates. Silvar reports that Rodak has not been destroyed, however, his planet has been turned into a gigantic meteor and is heading towards Earth!
Mathusam tells Goldar that he must destroy Magno, as the monster’s magnetic powers re pulling the meteor towards Earth. Once the beast is destroyed, the meteor will change course away from Earth. The only way for Goldar to defeat Magno is to shoot four million volts straight into the creature’s brain, but this may weaken Goldar to the point where he may not recover. Goldar decides to take the risk in order to save the Earth. Magno is defeated, and the meteor immediately changes direction and heads off into space.
Episode 45: THE FANTASTIC GONDA
Japanese Title: MYSTERIOUS SEA CREATURE UMIBOZU APPEARS IN NIKKO (Nikko Ni Arawareta Umibozu no Nazo)
Original Airdate: May 8, 1967
A new monster appears on Earth! Gonda (Umibozu), a creature that can change from normal size to giant instantaneously, attacks young people and destroys cars and trucks. However, this creature is not Rodak’s! Rodak orders his men to find out what Gonda is and who sent him. Both Rodak and Mathusam feel some kind of unusual energy from the Nastric galaxy.
United Press International sends Kita to investigate Gonda. An elderly man named Kazuki (Harada) talks about his grandson, Taro, who was killed by a truck. Kazuki later tells his wife that he is happy that Gonda is destroying motor vehicles.
Kita, Gam, and Mikko see Gonda smashing a car. Gam attacks the creature, but nothing happens. Goldar is called, but Gonda retreats. Goldar says that it is true that the monster is not one of Rodak’s, and that it has the heart and mind of a human.
Episode 46: THE FINAL CRUSH
Japanese Title: VENGEFUL GHOST MONSTER UMIBOZU VS AMBASSADOR MAGMA (Onryo Kaiju Umibozu tai Magma Taishi)
Original Airdate: May 15, 1967
Kita develops his photograph of Gonda, but the picture shows nothing.
Rodak finds Gonda and follows him to the Kazuki’s home. Gonda disappears as Kazuki awakens from a trance. The old man admits to Rodak that he is Gonda and is avenging his grandson’s death. Rodak offers him a pact: in return for Gonda’s help, Kazuki can have all the revenge he wants on mankind. Since Kazuki is unconscious each time Gonda is activated, Rodak shows the grandfather for the first time an image of his monster.
Meanwhile, Kita, Gam and Mikko arrive at the house and overhear Rodak’s offer. They are discovered and chased by Rodak, Kazuki, and Gonda. Mikko blows his whistle three times. Goldar arrives and battles Gonda, destroying him. Kazucki returns to his normal self, ashamed of his actions. Rodak again retreats back into outer space.
Episode 47: LODI’S BIG MOVE
Japanese Title: ELECTROMAGNETIC WAVE MONSTER KANIX ATTACKS SHINJUKU (Denjiha Kaiju Kanikkusu Shinjuku ni Shutsugen)
Original Airdate: May 22, 1967
Rodak plans his next move, creating Lodi (Kanix), a miniature creature. To make it grow into a giant monster, Rodak must learn the secret of electromagnetic waves, but only Kazuki knows the answer.
Rodak kidnaps Kazuki and takes him to his spaceship. He tortures the old man by showing him illusions of his dead grandson Taro. He tells Kazuki that he will allow him to keep the illusion as long as he gives Rodak information on how he created Gonda. Kazuki initially refuses, but the images of his grandson are too much and he tells all. Lodi is then sent into space, returning to Earth as a giant monster. Kazuki is returned to Earth, double-crossed by Rodak!
Lodi attacks Shinjuku and the army retaliates against the beast. The monster disappears, reappearing in a new location. United Press International finds the monster, and Goldar is called. Goldar fights Lodi, only to let him go when he finds out that if he destroys Lodi, Kazuki will also die.
Episode 48: HAMMER-BLOW
Japanese Title: ELECTRO WAVE MONSTER KANIX RAGES AT TOSHOGU TEMPLE (Toshogu no Denjipa Kaiju Kanikusu Oabare)
Original Airdate: May 29, 1967
Rodak proclaims that his new monster Lodi will attack the schools of the world if the Earth is not surrendered to him. Lodi appears in several locations but the army troops, using bazookas, cannot harm him. Mathusam calls a meeting of the Space Giants to discuss the situation. He says that the only way to defeat Lodi is to cut the monster off from the electromagnetic rays that give him his power, and shrink Lodi back to its original size.
Kazuki is visited in the hospital by a citizens committee, who blame him for the antics of Lodi. The old man is distressed that there is a link between him and Lodi; they both feel the same things so any harm to the monster also affects Kazuki. Kazuki returns home, only to find Rodak waiting there for him. Kazuki angrily tells Rodak that they are no longer partners.
Rodak’s henchmen take Kazuki outside where they are confronted by Goldar. Rodak escapes just as Lodi appears. Goldar battles the monster. Kazuki decides to destroy Lodi, even if it means his own death. He touches the monster’s foot, sending electric waves into him. Goldar destroys Lodi and Kazuki is killed as well.
Episode 49: RADA’S INVASION
Japanese Title: REGENERATION MONSTER KINDORA APPEARS (Saisei Kaiju Kindora Shutsugen)
Original Airdate: June 5, 1967
An Earth ship is launched to study the planet Venus. Rodak observes the rocket and is furious that the Earth people are invading his territory. He decides to attack the spaceship and render it inoperable. Goldar is called for help and goes after the rocket. Goldar attaches himself, in rocket form, to the disabled ship and starts to fly it home. Rodak causes Goldar to lose control and he lets go of the rocket, sending it crashing to Earth. Two hunters find the ship and notice part of the hull is a golden color. Believing it to be real gold, the hunters think they are rich.
Mikko and Gam search for the lost ship and landing beside it. Suddenly, there is a large explosion, and through the smoke emerges the monster Rada (Kindora)! Gam’s powers are useless against the creature, so Mikko calls for Goldar. As Goldar attacks, they notice that Rada has the power to rejuvenate lost limbs. After a short fight, Rada retreats.
The two hunters are rushed to the hospital, but by the time they arrive, all that is left are their skeletons. The doctors say that the cause is a living orange liquid which was brought to Earth on the rocket ship. Mathusam tells Goldar that Rada must be destroyed before it can spread more of the orange liquid.
Episode 50: FURY IN SPACE
Japanese Title: GO TO HELL COSMIC MOLD MONSTER KINDORA! (Kutabare! Uchu Kabi Kaiju Kindora)
Original Airdate: June 12, 1967
Goldar battles Rada again, but the monster reproduces every limb that Goldar destroys. Goldar attempts to incinerate the beast with his jet rockets, but Rada only disappears. Goldar reports to Mathusam, who tells him that Rada is composed of Space Bacteria that enables it to disappear when in danger. Gam and Mikko search the area looking for Rada and run into a cloud of orange color. Figuring that it is the Space Bacteria, they quickly leave the area.
At the hospital, Tom Mura interviews all the victims that have come into contact with the orange liquid. One patient mentions that he had seen the color green. Perhaps this could be a form of cure? Tom and Mikko leave to see if they can locate the green liquid that could be the answer to their problems. Along the way, they encounter two strangers attempting to flee the area. They overpower Mikko and Tom and steal their car. Tom and Mikko search for a place to hide from the approaching orange mist and find an empty house. The orange mist comes closer, only to be turned away by a green plant which surrounds the house. This green plant is an antibiotic which followed the orange liquid from space to the Earth.
Rodak issues orders for Rada to continue spreading the disease. Goldar and Gam attack with the green spray and Rada is destroyed.
Episode 51: THE MIGHTIEST MONSTER OF ALL (THE MIGHTIEST OF ALL)
Japanese Title: SPACE MONSTER GOA GONGON ATTACKS! (Uchu Kaiju Goagongon Shuraisu!)
Original Airdate: June 19, 1967
Rodak’s men look at a memory machine showing all the creatures that the mighty Goldar has beaten. Rodak decides that he must now bring to Earth the strongest monster of them all, Kono (Goa Gongon), for the final attempt at defeating Goldar.
Mathusam has been gone for three days and the Space family is worried. Rodak causes an eclipse, plunging the Earth into darkness. Rodak sends a parrot to spy on the Mura family. The bird flies in Mikko’s open window and his parents Tom and Tomoko decide he can keep it. Mathusam returns and tells everyone that he must return to space so the time has come for Goldar to defeat Rodak once and for all! Rodak overhears everything via the eyes and ears of his parrot-spy.
Rodak plans to have all of the Earth’s volcanoes erupt at the same time. The space villain informs the people of Earth that a new creature will soon be coming and that they watch the tallest tower the next day at 8:00 AM. Rodak appears in person and then transforms into Kono, the mightiest monster in history! The call goes out for the Space Avenger— possibly for the last time!
Episode 52: SHOWDOWN (SHOW-DOWN)
Japanese Title: THE FINAL BATTLE: SPACE EMPEROR GOA VS AMBASSADOR MAGMA (Uchu no Teio Goa tai Maguma Taishi Saigo no Tatakai)
Original Airdate: June 26, 1967
Goldar faces a critical situation: he must kill Kono while at the same time saving an infant that is trapped in a building the monster is trying to destroy. Tom Mura can do nothing but try and hold back the frantic mother of the child, but Mikko calls for Gam as Goldar is fighting Kono. The boys fly into the building and save the child. Goldar takes off into the air, creating a heavy wind as Kono disappears.
Goldar is followed to a volcano by Rodak, but the Space Avenger confronts the villain. Rodak turns into Kono— a mighty creature with super intelligence!! The volcano erupts and Rodak is injured, but escapes once again.
Tom and Mikko return home only to find Rodak and his henchmen holding Tomoko captive. They take Mikko and his whistle to Rodak’s ship and head for space to set a trap for Goldar. Mikko breaks away and blows the whistle, summoning Goldar and Gam. Gam rescues Mikko as Rodak shoots a ray into Goldar, who loses control and drifts into endless space.
Silvar and Gam get permission from Mathusam to go after Goldar. Mathusam contacts Goldar and instructs him to go to the planet where Goldar was created. On this world, Goldar will be able to gather new energy. Goldar locates the planet, but Kono is there! Dodging his way around Kono’s destructive “absolute zero” beam, Goldar absorbs energy from his home planet and finally kills Kono/Rodak!
Back on Earth, Goldar, Silvar and Gam say farewell to their friends and head back into outer space. The threat of Rodak is gone, and the Earth is safe from the space villain for all time!
THE ANIMATED AMBASSADOR MAGMA
In the years following AMBASSADOR MAGMA’s run in Japan, Mushi Production Co., Ltd. got into financial difficulties and the company went bankrupt on November 1, 1973. In 1978, Osamu Tezuka established his new company, Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd., which he ran until his death on February 9, 1989. Nearly twenty years after Tezuka’s passing, Tezuka Productions is still going strong.
On April 23, 1992, AMBASSADOR MAGMA was released on laserdisc in Japan. As part of their “Humming Bird Collector’s Item Series”, the video label Taxco (pronounced “taesko”) put out two box sets containing all 52 episodes of the original 1966 program. The packaging for the laserdiscs featured the Japanese series name and the English title SPACE AVENGER: TERRAE CATASTROPHE. Sadly, the set may have been the final bow for the live action show in Japan, as P-Productions’ rights to AMBASSADOR MAGMA have expired and Tezuka Productions has stated that they have no plans to reissue the series on television or DVD.
Later in 1992, Tezuka Productions partnered with Bandai Visual Co. Ltd. and PLEX on a new OVA (original video animation) AMBASSADOR MAGMA series. Hidehito Ueda (TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA) directed the thirteen part series, which was a modernized take on the original Ambassador Magma manga. The updated versions of the main characters were designed by Kazuhiko Utagawa (FINAL YAMATO, METROPOLIS). In a nice touch, Tohru Ohira returned as the voice of Goa, the role he had played in the live action series 26 years before.
Bandai’s Emotion label released the 13 parts in Japan as six videos from February 21 to June 21, 1993, and it was issued on Region 2 DVD on June 25, 2002. Beginning in October of 1993, the animated AMBASSADOR MAGMA was also released on VHS in America by Dark Image Entertainment, a division of the now-defunct company LA Hero, Inc./US Renditions. In the UK, the series was distributed by Kiseki Films. The English language releases retained the character names from the Japanese anime rather than the Americanized versions from THE SPACE GIANTS.
The following guide lists the US/UK episode titles, plus the official titles and synopses from Tezuka Productions’ materials for the AMBASSADOR MAGMA OVA series…
Episode 1: MY NAME IS GOA
Japanese Title: MY NAME IS GOA (Waga na ha Goa)
Goa, the emperor of darkness who was contained by the creator “Earth” in an ancient war, has now been brought back to life on the modern earth. In order to prevent the awakening of Magma, his old enemy who would obstruct his invasion of the earth, he maneuvers to take away Miki, a descendant of the Asuka family. Atsushi Murakami, who gets involved in the trouble, and his son, Mamoru, go on both the offensive and defensive with Goa to protect Miki.
Episode 2: THE GOLD GIANT
Japanese Title: THE GIANT GOLDEN GOD (Ougon no Kyojin)
The Asuka family has been endowed with the power to contain Magma. Will Mamoru be successful in protecting Miki through to the end? Mamoru confronts an alien sent by Goa, and at that moment a mysterious glow engulfs Miki’s body. Will Magma, the giant golden god, ever awaken?
Episode 3: SILENT INVASION
Japanese Title: A SILENT INVASION (Shizuka Naru Shinryaku)
Atsushi Murakami investigates a town attacked by Goa, but no traces, not even a witness, can be found. It is because Goa has already started manipulating information. Sensing something wrong, Mamoru and his mother Tomoko attempt to escape from the town, but another trap set by Goa awaits them.
Episode 4: THE TWO MAMORUS
Japanese Title: THE TWO MAMORUS (Ni Nin no Mamoru)
Atsushi gets into a desperate situation, confronting the killer Goa has sent. Meanwhile, Goa takes Mamoru away to force him to tell him where the Earth is. It is not Mamoru, however, that Goa has captured. It is actually Gam, the third human rocket, created by Earth in the likeness of Mamoru. Gam, however, faces a tough battle due to his limited fighting power. In order to rescue Gam out of a critical situation, Magma launches a fierce counterattack.
Episode 5: THE GOVERNMENT STRATEGY
Japanese Title: SPECULATIONS OF THE STATE (Kokka no Omowaku)
The intelligence agency that controls Mamoru has already succeeded in contacting the Goa camp. Does the government believe that Magma is an evil force, as claimed by Goa? Meanwhile, although Mamoru manages to escape from the intelligence agency, his life is threatened by assassins. Then a blue “glow” saves Mamoru, and the glow turns out to be Gam— the human rocket.
Episode 6: THE QUESTIONABLE WARRIOR
Japanese Title: SUSPICIOUS WARRIOR MAGMA (Giwaku no Senshi Maguma)
An escort ship navigating in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean is attacked by a giant creature, and loses contact with land. Without knowing that it is a trap, Magma hurries to the spot. A big tidal wave caused by his desperate struggle with the huge monster heads for the metropolitan area. Meanwhile, at the intelligence agency, Kunisaki tells Mamoru that it is Magma who is the devil contriving to invade our planet.
Episode 7: GIGANTIC TASK
Japanese Title: THE GRAND MISSION (Ooinaru Shimei)
The article in question, which is said to have been left by the Asuka Civilization, is found to be a piece of microfilm containing an image of a small shrine. With this film as the only clue, Atsushi and the others set out on a search for Goa. In the meantime, with the whistle to call Magma entrusted to him, Mamoru is baffled by the difficulties of his critical mission. Knowing that Goa is involved in a series of disappearances, Atsushi and the others fly to Kimonyama.
Episode 8: HUNTED WHISTLE
Japanese Title: THE WHISTLE IN DANGER (Nerawareta Fue)
Jacob, Goa’s right hand man, maneuvers on his own to steal Mamoru’s whistle. When Mamoru and Tomoko are taking a rest, a mock human appears and attacks them. Imai, who happens to be with them, helps them escape. Injured in the struggle, they go to Imai’s house, where his own daughter Midori welcomes them. But the girl also turns out to be a mock human secretly sent by Goa.
Episode 9: THE RESURRECTION OF UDO
Japanese Title: RESURRECTION OF UDO (Udo Fukkatsu)
Witnessing monsters living in Kimonyama, an area under the control of the government, Atsushi questions Kunisaki closely about what is going on. Contrary to the policy of the intelligence agency, Kunisaki sets about investigating Kimonyama with his subordinates. Mamoru finds a cave beside a shrine and sneaks into it with Yuko. Meanwhile, Goa, who is finally able to manage his own resurrection, urges the awakening of Udo, the strongest of warriors, in order to challenge mankind to a final battle.
Episode 10: MOTHER AND HER LOVE
Japanese Title: MOTHER’S LOVE (Haha, Sono Ai)
Goa finally makes a horrific appearance before mankind, declaring war on the world. Meanwhile, because Kunisaki has made the decision on his own to attack the aliens, the intelligence agency puts him under their watch, maintaining that they have lost the chance to negotiate with Goa due to his actions. Requesting the cooperation of Earth, the agency forces Mamoru to call Magma. And it is someone unexpected who saves Mamoru.
Episode 11: RAGE OF THE EARTH
Japanese Title: WRATH OF EARTH (Daichi no Ikari)
Mamoru’s group, Magma, Udo, and even Goa have all been swallowed in a warp of space-time. This is a sign that our planet needs to tell them the truth on their own free will. Mamoru’s company is now caught in prehistoric earth, where they see dinosaurs swaggering around. And a huge T-rex is about to jump Mamoru and Atsushi!
Episode 12: DEATH OF MAGMA
Japanese Title: MAGMA DIES! (Maguma Shisu!)
Convinced that the intention of the earthlings is to eliminate mankind, Goa launches an all-out attack. Magma is driven into a desperate situation by Udo’s tenacious attacks. At that moment, Jacob, who is supposed to have died, takes possession of Udo’s body, and stages a violent assault on Goa from a spaceship. However, Goa captures Udo’s consciousness and sucks it into his own space together with Magma.
Episode 13 (final): THE PLANET OF LOVE
Japanese Title: PLANET OF LOVE (Ai Gaaru Hoshi)
With Magma gone, mankind is facing a critical moment up against the overwhelming power of Goa. Is it possible for the earthlings to regain peace without Magma? With the help of Mol, Mamoru and Gam head for the spaceship on a satellite orbit, obstinately aiming to challenge Goa to a final battle.