Toho’s New GO! GODMAN: On the Set Report– Gaira Returns!
SciFi Japan Presents an Exclusive Look at the New GODMAN DVD Special; Plus a Guide for the Original TV Series
Authors: Ed Godziszewski and John Paul Cassidy
Official Site: GODMAN & GREENMAN
Additional Information and Translations by Oki Miyano and Tetsu Shiota, Anime Jungle
- ON THE SET OF NEW PRODUCTION: GO! GODMAN
- A BRIEF HISTORY OF GO! GODMAN
- GO! GODMAN EPISODE LIST
- RETURN OF THE GOOD MORNING HEROES: GO! GO! GODMAN & GREENMAN Box Set Specs
In the early 1970s, the Nippon Television Network’s GOOD MORNING! KIDS SHOW (Ohayou! Kodomo Shoo) was the top Japanese weekday morning series for small children. At the time, Japan was in the midst of a “kaiju boom”, with monster-themed shows proving popular on television, so GOOD MORNING! got in on the trend by including superhero and monster mini-episodes as part of the program’s SESAME STREET-style variety show format.
Both Tsuburaya Productions and Toho Co., Ltd. created series for GOOD MORNING! KIDS SHOW. Toho’s first entry was GO! GODMAN (Ike! Goddoman, 1972), which was quickly followed by GO! GREENMAN (Ike! Guriinman, 1973). Both series were featured as 5-minute segments running six days per week, with one week’s worth of shows combining for a single adventure. Since GOOD MORNING! was intended for very young children, the shows were told as simply and cheaply as possible… story and characterization were kept to a minimum, with the focus on monster fighting.
Despite their almost non-existent plots and threadbare production values, the superhero shorts proved popular with kids. Both GO! GODMAN and GO! GREENMAN also caught the attention of older kaiju fans by including monsters from Toho’s movies. Godman fought several famous Toho beasts including Gabara, Gorosaurus, Gaira and Sanda (from WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS), Kameba (from SPACE AMOEBA/YOG, MONSTER FROM SPACE), and even the Bat-Man from LATITUDE ZERO (1969)! Many of these monsters would also return for GO! GREENMAN, where they were joined by Godzilla’s son Minya. The monster suits, created for classic feature films several years earlier, had seen better days by this time, but Toho aptly decided to get mileage out of them by giving them a final performance on this series, even if fans of the monsters found their appearances to be undignified.
Now, more than three decades after the shows first aired, Godman and Greenman are back in the Region 2 DVD box set RETURN OF THE GOOD MORNING HEROES: GO! GO! GODMAN & GREENMAN (Kaetekita Ohayou Hiiroo: Ike! Ike! Goddoman & Guriinman). The collection includes three DVDs, with the first two discs highlighting the original TV shows, and the third featuring New Production: GO! GODMAN (Shinsaku Ike! Goddoman), an all new adventure in which the superhero battles five classic foes… the dinosaurian monster Tsunojiras, the beastman Jilarji, Kappalge, Green-Mask, and Gaira.
The special was directed by Masaaki Tezuka, best known for his work on the recent Godzilla productions GODZILLA VS. MEGAGUIRUS (Gojira x Megagirasu G Shoumetsu Sakusen, 2000), GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (Gojira x Mekagojira, 2002) and GODZILLA: TOKYO SOS (Gojira x Mosura x Mekagojira Tokyo SOS, 2003), as well as Kadokawa Pictures’ SAMURAI COMMANDO MISSION 1549 (Sengoku Jietai 1594, 2005).
Construction of the Godman and monster costumes was supervised by suit maker Fuyuki Shinada, whose previous credits include the monster Legion from GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION (Gamera 2 Region Shurai, 1996), Iris for GAMERA 3: REVENGE OF IRIS (Gamera 3 Irisu Kakusei, 1999), plus kaiju for GODZILLA, MOTHRA & KING GHIDORAH: GIANT MONSTERS ALL-OUT ATTACK (aka GMK, Gojira Mosura Kingugidora Daikaiju Soukougeki, 2001) and SUPER STAR GOD GRANDSAZERS (Choseijin Guranseiza, 2003).
In keeping with the original TV series, New Production: GO! GODMAN was produced on an extremely tight budget. According to some reports, the production money barely covered the work of Masaaki Tezuka and a DV cameraman. Many of the crew members volunteered or worked at a reduced rate, including Fuyuki Shinada— who not only provided the costumes, he stepped into one of them and played the part of the villainous Green-Mask. In addition, miniature buildings were donated by a company that had created models for the recent Godzilla films.
The results of the crew’s labors will be seen when the RETURN OF THE GOOD MORNING HEROES: GO! GO! GODMAN & GREENMAN set is released in Japan on May 23. Also on that day, the famous Loft/Plus One in Tokyo is hosting a Special Event for the GO! GODMAN DVD release. Masaaki Tezuka and Fuyuki Shinada will be guest speakers, and Godman himself will make an appearance.
B2 Hayashi Building
1-14-7 Kabuki-cho Shinjuku-ku Tokyo-to
Advance tickets: Y2000
Day-of tickets: Y2500
Doors open at 6:30, Event starts at 7:30
ON THE SET OF NEW PRODUCTION: GO! GODMAN
Author: Ed Godziszewski
A SciFi JAPAN EXCLUSIVE
On a sunny but cold Monday morning in late February, I was offered a chance to visit Toho Built to watch filming of the revival of the superhero series GO! GODMAN. Toho Built is a small studio just a stone’s throw away from Toho Studios (well, at least a stone’s throw for a giant monster) and has hosted filming crews for many a television and motion picture crew during its 40 year existence. Hearing that Toho Built was scheduled for demolition shortly after New Production: GO! GODMAN would finish filming, this was the last chance to see such an historic place. And as a bonus, it was a chance to renew acquaintances with my friend, Fuyuki Shinada, who had gone one to become one of Japan’s leading suit makers years after we first met during a visit to Toho in 1979 when we were just young fans anxious to see Godzilla’s home.
My familiarity with the original GO! GODMAN was quite limited…I knew that it was one of several similar ultra-low budget shows from the 70s shows (such as GO! GREENMAN and Tsuburaya’s ULTRA FIGHT) which amounted to little more than the title hero pounding away on mostly old, weather-beaten monster costumes previously used in movies and/or TV. In the case of Godman, some of his opponents included Sanda, Gaira, and Gorosaurus. The monster suits were almost always in deplorable condition, looking as if they had 20 anvils dropped on them prior to fighting. While still decidedly low budget, all new costumes were made for this revival.
Heading up the crew was the enthusiastic Masaaki Tezuka, veteran director of several Godzilla films. As evidence of the show’s scant resources, shooting locations consisted of the studio parking lot and random exteriors between buildings on the lot. Set dressing consisted of burnt wood chips scattered on the ground as simulated battle debris. That was it. During a take, staff members had to halt traffic on the street to make sure ordinary life did not intrude upon a scene. Filming proceeded at a rapid pace in order to get as many shots in the can while the lighting was good. During the morning, Godman battled Jilarji, a human size, skull-faced, horned gorilla-type monster. With only a quick rehearsal, the two stunt men put on a surprisingly long and well choreographed fight.
During a break leading up to lunch, Fuyuki Shinada invited us into the suit staff’s trailer to see the afternoon’s opponent for Godman…none other than the Green Gargantua, Gaira! This was a pleasant surprise. Despite having been given only 4 days to make the suit, Shinada succeeded in capturing the essence of the monster. Watching the suit actor donning the costume and getting into character conjured up visions of 40+ years ago when Haruo Nakajima was doing much the same thing as he prepared to play the green beast. Doing his best to add some life to the suit, Shinada had rigged the face mask so the jaw moved with the actor’s jaw. Simple, but effective. In no time, the mighty Gaira had come to life before our eyes.
Alas, there would be no scenes of Gaira on a miniature set this day. Instead the creature spent its time terrorizing the show’s human heroes amidst equipment piled up for salvage from the soon to be defunct studio and chasing them past the rusty facades of the studio’s sound stages.
The New Production: GO! GODMAN is being made as a straight-to-video special. Will we get to see any of Godman’s other original Toho opponents (Gorosaurus, Gabara, Kameba, and Sanda) revived for this show? Keep an eye out for the upcoming box set RETURN OF THE GOOD MORNING HEROES.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GO! GODMAN
An Overview of the Original 1972 Show
Author: John Paul Cassidy
GO! GODMAN (Ike! Goddoman)
Produced by Toho Planning
Originally a segment of GOOD MORNING! KIDS SHOW (Ohayou! Kodomo Shoo)
Broadcast on Nippon TV from October 5, 1972 to September 28, 1973 (from 8:05 to 8:10 AM, Monday through Saturday)
156 Episodes (26 Segments of 6 Episodes Each)
Music by Takeo Yamashita
“Go! Godman” (“Ike! Goddoman”)
Main Title Theme
Composed by Takeo Yamashita
Arrangement by Masaichi Hirose
Lyrics by Kounosuke Fuji
Performed by Ichirou Mizuki
“Our Godman” (“Bokura No Goddoman”)
Composed by Takeo Yamashita
Arrangement by Masaichi Hirose
Lyrics by Kounosuke Fuji
Performed by Ichirou Mizuki & Green Peas
Despite the show’s running time of only 5 minutes per episode, GO! GODMAN was Toho Company’s first venture into the ever-popular TV superhero genre. It premiered on NTV’s GOOD MORNING! KIDS SHOW on October 5th, 1972, just a day before Toho’s first regular half-hour superhero teleseries, RAINBOWMAN, WARRIOR OF LOVE (which also soon became the first Japanese superhero series to air in Hawaii).
The titular character of GO! GODMAN was an Ultraman-like superhero, with distinguishably long hair! Just like Tsuburaya Productions’ REDMAN (GOOD MORNING! KIDS SHOW’s previous superhero mini-program, which aired early the same year), Godman has no human form, but nonetheless fought rampaging giant monsters (one of which, Tsunojiras, bore a striking resemblance to the monster Gomora from Tsuburaya’s Ultra Series!) in outdoor locales (instead of a soundstage), decorated with miniature houses to give the illusion of giant size. However, unlike Redman, Godman also copes with threats in human size, especially assorted villains, allowing for action similar to Toei’s popular Masked Rider shows.
Hailing from the Fire God Star (Faiaa Goddo Sei), Godman has silvery white hair, blue goggles like sunglasses, a silver face, and a body like blazing red fire. He can grow from 1.8 meters to 38 meters, and consequently weighs from 70 kilograms to 25,000 tons. Godman changes size upon the command “Godman Enlarge!” (“Goddoman Kaku-Dai!”). However, if the golden rings on his ankles are loosened or removed, Godman will revert to normal size (often making him vulnerable to a monster ambush). Usually, the golden rings were returned to Godman by either children who find them, or from a disagreement between two enemy monsters.
Besides his super strength and ability to fly, Godman has a variety of special attacks. They include:
-God-Acid (Goddo-San) – A solution from Godman’s hand that dissolves monsters.
-God-Spark (Goddo-Supaaku) – Energy bullets shot from Godman’s fingertip (right hand). This explodes the monster upon contact.
-God-Circle (Goddo-Saakuru) – Godman’s frisbee-type discus weapon. Has many unexploded bombs, and explodes upon contact with its enemy.
-God-Shower (Goddo Shawaa) – Godman’s water-spray attack.
-God-Crush (Goddo Kurasshu) – Godman’s flail-like weapon. Uses this to reflect his enemies’ attacks back at them, thus “crushing” them.
-Godman Supersonic Wave (Goddoman Chouonpa) – Godman’s ultimate weapon; he emits a powerful spiral of supersonic waves that explodes his enemy.
After the end of GO! GODMAN, Toho’s next series for Fuji TV’s GOOD MORNING! KIDS SHOW was GO! GREENMAN, which aired on November 12, 1973.
GO! GODMAN EPISODE LIST
1. “Godman Vs. Kinger” (“Goddoman Tai Kingaa”)
October 5 – 11, 1972
Featured Monster: Kinger
2. “Godman Vs. Gabara” (“Goddoman Tai Gabara”)
October 12 – 18, 1972
Featured Monster: Gabara
3. “Godman Vs. Ghoston” (“Goddoman Tai Goosuton”)
October 19 – 25, 1972
Featured Monster: Ghoston
4. “Godman Vs. Yasugon & Tsunokeler” (“Goddoman Tai Yasugon – Tsunokeraa”)
October 26 – November 1, 1972
Featured Monsters: Yasugon, Tsunokeler (Hornkeler)
5. “Godman Vs. Tsunosilver” (“Goddoman Tai Tsunoshirubaa”)
November 2 – 8, 1972
Featured Monster: Tsunosilver (Hornsilver)
6. “Godman Vs. Gorosaurus” (“Goddoman Tai Gorozaurusu”)
November 9 – 15, 1972
Featured Monster: Gorosaurus
7. “Godman Vs. Madalan” (“Goddoman Tai Madaran”)
November 16 – 21, 1972
Featured Monster: Madalan
8. “Godman Vs. Gattlar” (“Goddoman Tai Gyattoraa”)
November 23 – 29, 1972
Featured Monster: Gattlar
9. “Godman Vs. Momonglar” (“Goddoman Tai Momonguraa”)
November 30 – December 6, 1972
Featured Monster: Momonglar
10. “Godman Vs. Kameba & Folgon” (“Goddoman Tai Kameeba – Forugon”)
December 7 – 13, 1972
Featured Monsters: Kameba (AKA: Kamoebas), Folgon
11. “Godman Vs. Bolbes” (“Goddoman Tai Borubesu”)
December 14 – 20, 1972
Featured Monster: Bolbes
12. “Godman Vs. Imogoras” (“Goddoman Tai Imogorasu”)
December 21 – 27, 1972
Featured Monster: Imogoras
NOTE: Last episode of 1972
13. “Godman Vs. Bullman” (“Goddoman Tai Buruman”)
January 4 – 10, 1973
Featured Monster: Bullman
NOTE: First episode of 1973
14. “Godman Vs. Dongolar” (“Goddoman Tai Dongoraa”)
January 11 – 17, 1973
Featured Monster: Dongolar
15. “Godman Vs. Skeleto-Man No. 1 & Skeleto-Man No. 2” (“Goddoman Tai Sukerutoman No. 1 – Sukerutoman No. 2”)
January 18 – 24, 1973
Featured Monsters: Skeleto-Man No. 1, Skeleto-Man No. 2
16. “Godman Vs. Sanda” (“Goddoman Tai Sanda”)
January 25 – 31, 1973
Featured Monster: Sanda (Brown Gargantua)
17. “Godman Vs. Gaira” (“Goddoman Tai Gaira”)
February 1 – 7, 1973
Featured Monster: Gaira (Green Gargantua)
18. “Godman Vs. Trunker & Hotter” (“Goddoman Tai Torankaa – Hottaa”)
February 8 – 14, 1973
Featured Monsters: Trunker, Hotter
19. “Godman Vs. Green-Mask & Funtlar” (“Goddoman Tai Guriin Masuku – Funtoraa”)
February 15 – 21, 1973
Featured Monsters: Green-Mask, Funtlar
20. “Godman Vs. Bat-Man & Kappalge” (“Goddoman Tai Battoman – Kapparuge”)
February 22 – 28, 1973
Featured Monsters: Bat-Man (from LATITUDE ZERO), Kappalge
21. “Godman Vs. Alien Tiborus & Ostotam” (“Goddoman Tai Tiborasu Seijin – Osutotamu”)
March 1 – 7, 1973
Featured Monsters: Alien Tiborus, Ostotam
22. “Godman Vs. Tsunojiras & Elephantar” (“Goddoman Tai Tsunojirasu – Erefantaa”)
March 8 – 14, 1973
Featured Monsters: Tsunojiras, Elephantar
23. “Godman Vs. Totsaurus & Jilarji (“Goddoman Tai Tottozaurusu – Jiraaji”)
March 15 – 21, 1973
Featured Monsters: Totsaurus, Jilarji
24. “Godman Vs. Wolflar & Gejilba” (“Goddoman Tai Urufuraa – Gejiruba”)
March 22 – 28, 1973
Featured Monsters: Wolflar, Gejilba
25. “Godman Vs. Trilorn & Ibogilar” (“Goddoman Tai Toriroon – Ibogiraa”)
March 29 – April 4, 1973
Featured Monsters, Trilorn, Ibogilar
26. “Godman Vs. Stegojiras & Akumon” (“Goddoman Tai Sutegojirasu – Akumon)
April 5 – 11, 1973
Featured Monsters: Stegojiras, Akumon
RETURN OF THE GOOD MORNING HEROES: GO! GO! GODMAN & GREENMAN Box Set Specs
* DISC 1: GO! GODMAN (approximately 70 minutes, 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Japanese mono audio, no English subtitles)
-STORY: The following episodes can be watched in “Serial Mode” (complete stories) or “Episode Selection Mode” (individual 5 minute segments): “Godman Vs. Bat-Man”, “Godman Vs. Tsunojiras”, “Godman Vs. Jilarji”, and “Godman Vs. Stegojiras & Akumon”
-GODMAN FIGHTING SPECIAL: Digest versions of Godman’s battles: “Godman Vs. Gabara”, “Godman Vs. Yasugon”, “Godman Vs. Tsunosilver”, “Godman Vs. Gorosaurus”, “Godman Vs. Dongolar”, “Godman Vs. Kameba”, “Godman Vs. Sanda”, “Godman Vs. Gaira”, and “Godman Vs. Green-Mask”
-GODMAN MONSTER LIST: Photo gallery and descriptions of all the monsters that appeared in GO! GODMAN
* DISC 2: GO! GREENMAN (approximately 74 minutes, 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Japanese mono audio, no English subtitles)
-STORY: The following episodes can be watched in “Serial Mode” (complete stories) or “Episode Selection Mode” (individual 5 minute segments):”Greenman Vs. Garamedon”, “Greenman Vs. Ibokira”, “Greenman Vs. Alien Teiboras”, “Greenman Vs. Jilarji”, and “Greenmann Vs. Devil King Maoh”
-GREENMAN FIGHTING SPECIAL: Digest versions of Greenman’s battles:“Greenman Vs. Gaira”, “Greenman Vs. Gabara”, “Greenman Vs. Robabura”, “Greenman Vs. Sanda”, “Greenman Vs. Gorilla (King Kong)”, “Greenman Vs. Akumon”, “Greenman Vs. Minya”, and “Greenman Vs. Tonchiki”
-GREENMAN MONSTER LIST: Photo gallery and descriptions of all the monsters that appeared in GO! GREENMAN
DISC 3: NEW PRODUCTION: GO! GODMAN (approximately 30 minutes, 1.85:1 anamorphic aspect ratio, Japanese stereo audio, no English subtitles)
-MAKING OF NEW PRODUCTION: GO! GODMAN: A complete behind-the-scenes production report
-GODMAN KARAOKE HALL: Sing along to the tunes and lyrics of “Go, Godman!” (“Ike! Goddoman”) and “Our Godman” (“Bokura no Goddoman”)
* DISCS 1 and 2 also sold separately