Ultra Series Director Toshihiro Iijima Attends Autograph Signing
Actress Hiroko Sakurai and Alien Baltan Also Meet with Fans in Machida
Author: Daisuke Ishizuka
Official Site: machidamachinaka.blog (Japan)
Mr. Toshihiro Iijima is well known among fans as a director of ULTRA Q (ウルトラQ, Urutora Kyuu, 1966), ULTRAMAN (ウルトラマン 空想特撮シリーズ, Urutoraman: Kuso Tokusatsu Shirizu, 1966), ULTRA SEVEN (ウルトラセブン, Urutora Sebun, 1967) and other Tsuburaya Procuctions’ tokusatsu TV series and movies. He also created dramas as well as tokusatsu films. In 2011, he directed the movie HOMECOMING (ホームカミング, Hoomukamingu), which was filmed in Machida City, Tokyo. On January 20th, 2013 Mr. Iijima was invited as guest of honor for an autograph session at Poppo-Machida in Machida City.
The cast of HOMECOMING included such familiar faces as Mr. Susumu Kurobe who played Hayata in ULTRAMAN, Mr. Koji Moritsugu who played Dan Moroboshi in ULTRA SEVEN and Ms. Hiroko Sakurai who played Yuriko Edogawa in ULTRA Q and Akiko Fuji in ULTRAMAN. Ms. Hiroko Sakurai joined the session as special guest with Mr. Iijima.
Alien Baltan also appeared at the event. You could say that Alien Baltan is old friend of Mr. Toshihiro Iijima. Mr. Iijima directed the Alien Baltan episodes of ULTRAMAN (episode #2 and #16). In 2006, he again directed the Alien Baltan episodes of ULTRAMAN MAX (episode #33 and #34). In addition, he filmed the movie ULTRAMAN COSMOS: THE FIRST CONTACT (ウルトラマンコスモス THE FIRST CONTACT, Urutoraman Kosumosu: Za Faasuto Kontakuto) in 2001. The main opponent of the movie was also Alien Baltan.
Alien Baltan and Mr. Iijima shook hands at the beginning of the session. Mr. Iijima and Ms. Sakurai autographed such items as the cover of HOMECOMING DVD, their autobiography books or ULTRAMAN goods. I got an autograph from Iijima on an ULTRAMAN MAX book and from Ms. Sakurai on a portrait from when she played Yuriko Edogawa in ULTRA Q. During the autograph session, the friendly Alien Baltan visited with children attending the event.
The year 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions. I highly expect to see the creators, players and characters of Tsuburaya Productons’ tokusatsu series at events throughout this year.