Akio Jissoji (実相寺昭雄 Jissōji AkioUltraman Series known for his unorthodox style.) was a longtime director of the
Akio Jissoji was born in Tokyo in 1937, but during the Second World War, he and his family lived in China. Afterwards, they returned to Japan and settled in Kawasaki. Inspired by French cinema, he attended Waseda University, where he majored in French literature. After graduating in 1959, he began working for Tokyo Broadcasting System, directing dramas and musicals with cues taken from French cinema.
He first began to work with Eiji Tsuburaya in 1965 when TBS executives reassigned him to Tsuburaya Productions due to their distaste for his strange directorial style. During this time, he submitted two scripts for Ultra Q, neither of which were accepted, and directed a documentary on Eiji Tsuburaya called "The Father of Ultra Q" and Birth of Ultraman stageshow. He soon began working on episodes of Ultraman and Ultraseven, soon becoming notable for the maverick style of his direction for the series.
After Ultraseven ended, Jissoji began to dabble with experimental short films (often pornographic in nature) as well as submit storylines for other Ultraman shows (only one of which was accepted). Then, after a brief retirement, he returned to directing movies in 1988, with varying degrees of success. In 1996, he returned to television when Tsuburaya resurrected the Ultraman franchise with Ultraman Tiga. Afterwards, his work on Ultraman became more sporadic as he focused more on theatrical projects, continuing to work until he died in 2006 from stomach cancer.
Many of his works for the Ultraman Series are noted by fans for being unorthodox in their storytelling and camerawork, often turning conventions of the franchise formula upside-down. Some of them even border on surrealist, similar to the arthouse movies he worked on in the 1970s. This made him controversial with some of his fellow directors, notably Samaji Nonagase, who voiced a strong dislike for the the infamous scene in which Hayata mistakenly attempts to use a spoon instead of the Beta Capsule.
Akio Jissoji worked on the following episodes of the following series:
- Return of Ultraman
- Ultra Special Operation (writer)
- Ultraman Tiga
- Ultraman Dyna
- Monster Drama (director)
- Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy
- Ultraman Max
- Ultra Q The Movie: Legend of the Stars (director)