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Mirrorman (ミラーマン, Mirāman) is a tokusatsu television series airing on Fuji TV from December 5, 1971 to November 26, 1972. It was Tsuburaya Production's first non-Ultraman superhero series, originally intended to be a tense, character-driven drama. In comparison to most of the Ultraman Series, 'Ultraman is bright like the sun, but Mirrorman is the moon, shining on the dark of night'.

Initially tonally similar to Ultraseven, the network eventually forced Mirrorman's brooding, tense, and understated tone to shift to be more special-effects and combat focused. Mirrorman is made to face more dramatic and flashy fights, but the series becomes less focused on mysterious or spy-TV-esque Invader plots. SGM, previously a practically unarmed scientific investigation squad, is revamped to be more in line with a traditional Ultraman defense team, and the whole series takes on a tone more similar to other Kyodai Hero shows.

Production[]

Fumio Hisamatsu Mirrorman

The manga version of Mirrorman, illustrated by Fumio Hisamatsu, used character designs created by Yoshihiro Morito at the time.

At the beginning of 1969, after the end of Operation: Mystery, Tetsuo Kinjo and Shozo Uehara resigned. At that time, Tsutomu Kazuho Mitsuta and Shigemitsu Taguchi took over Tsuburaya Productions' planning department. Although Tsuburaya Productions launched the project Horror Theater Unbalance, the main task of the planning department was to continue the orthodox planning of Ultraman or to create a new television hero project to replace Ultraman. This task was mainly undertaken by Mitsuda and Taguchi. During this period, Tsuburaya Productions planned several drama series for different TV stations, including The Single's Scat for TBS, Fight! Ultraseven for Fuji TV, Ultra Fight 130 for TBS, and Kaiju Town Block 0 (快獣町0(ゼロ)番地, Kaijuu Machi Zero Banchi) for Nippon TV. Meanwhile, they also started planning new hero projects, such as Mirrorman and Jumbo X.[1]

The planning of Mirrorman began shortly after Kinjo left, based on a rough draft written by Tetsuo Kinjo for Tsuburaya Productions.[2] The program title was decided from the very beginning because it was a project that started with the title. During his time at Tsuburaya Productions, Kinjo often wrote down his ideas for Mirrorman on washi paper when inspiration struck. He once got the inspiration for the image of Mirrorman from the mirror world while shaving during a stay in a hotel. Taguchi tried to develop Kinjo's idea into a television hero, expanding Kinjo's draft to construct the setting of Mirrorman, a hero from a two-dimensional world. They first commissioned manga artists to serialize the manga in educational magazines according to Taguchi's plan.[1]

Taguchi wanted to serialize the manga in educational magazines because TV stations at the time preferred to use popular manga as source material to promote their programs and achieve high ratings. Therefore, "Mirrorman" needed to be serialized in influential magazines so that children would become familiar with the character through print media. Since the manga was scheduled to be published in magazines in August 1969, the general content and design of Mirrorman had to be finalized by April or May 1969 and then promoted to TV stations.[1]

Due to not operating the project through an advertising agency, Tsuburaya Productions had to single-handedly promote the program plans to various TV stations. However, in early 1970, with the favorable reception of the "Ultraman" series reruns, the Return of Ultraman project with TBS gradually took shape. Meanwhile, the project Kaiju Town Block 0, which was negotiated with Nippon TV, began broadcasting under the name Chibira-kun in March. In this context, the planning of Mirrorman did not find a decisive breakthrough, and the project's realization was repeatedly postponed. Around 1971, the production of Return of Ultraman was realized, and Tsuburaya Productions also focused their attention on this project.[1]

Mirrorman Pilot 21

Mirrorman who appeared in the pilot episode.

At that time, it was the local Osaka TV station, Yomiuri TV, that showed interest in the "Mirrorman" project. Since the anime Star of the Giants was set to end in the fall of 1971, Yomiuri TV originally intended to consider Mirrorman as a candidate for the subsequent program. To promote the project's decision, Taguchi wrote a short pilot script, directed by Seiji Tani, which was completed between June and July 1971. However, the slot was never realized.[3]

Meanwhile, Fuji TV’s Sunday 7 PM anime series Pippi Longstocking, scheduled to air on December 5, 1971, was canceled due to copyright issues. As a replacement, Mirrorman was urgently put on the schedule. The advertising agency responsible for the slot at that time was Asatsu-DK. Upon hearing this, Sano from Yomiuri TV recommended Mitsuda and Taguchi to Asatsu-DK and submitted the Mirrorman project proposal. Asatsu-DK internally approved the project and requested a new proposal for Fuji TV's time slot. Taguchi completed the proposal overnight, utilizing elements from Fight! Ultraseven. Ultimately, the proposal was officially approved at Fuji TV's planning meeting on September 3. [4][5]

Since there were only three months from the project's decision to its broadcast, production work began swiftly. Otsuka Pharmaceutical joined as a sponsor, and after several meetings, the details were gradually finalized. Taguchi recommended Tan Toyoaki as the production producer, and through personal connections, Tanabe invited Yoshiyuki Kuroda from Daiei Kyoto. Additionally, directors such as Ishiro Honda, Toshitsugu Suzuki, Kimiyoshi Yasuda from Daiei Kyoto, Yoshikazu Otsuki from Shochiku, Jun Fukuda from Toho, and Harunosuke Nakagawa from TBS were selected.[4]

During the planning stage, "Mirrorman" not only included the concept of "transformation" but also introduced the concept of "reversion," where Mirrorman would revert to Kyotaro Kagami, visually depicted as the reverse process of transformation. However, this setting couldn't be effectively utilized in the storyline, so it was entirely unused in the actual production. In the initial plan, due to the protagonist's setup, emphasis was placed on depicting his anguish and youth, with enemies portrayed in a dark atmosphere. During planning, invaders were not a specific name but a collective term for invaders, including examples like beings from other dimensions and aliens, with various types of invaders initially set.[4]

Proposal document for Mirrorman

The proposal document for Mirrorman.

As production began, chief writer Bunzo Wakatsuki expanded on the literary imagery from Taguchi's plan, presenting a starkly different, cool style from Return of Ultraman. This style aimed to develop the story through the protagonist's emotional tension, the nature of incidents and investigation processes, and serious human drama, excluding fantasy elements. Upon airing, this version of "Mirrorman" achieved a 27% viewership rating for the first episode, indicating that the show's tough style was initially well-received by a certain audience. However, subsequent episodes failed to maintain this high rating. From the second season, the production team changed the monster designs, gradually enhancing visual splendor and story clarity, and strengthening action elements. At the start of the third season, Mirrorman was equipped with a suspenseful color timer, SGM transformed from a research investigation team into a combat team, and the combined mechanical Jumbo Phoenix appeared.[4][6]

In the final stages of the series, the occasional inclusion of invaders' emotions and sharp perspectives on humans remained clear, and Mirrorman successfully excluded fantasy elements, achieving certain success as a science fiction work.

Synopsis[]

An group of aliens attacks Earth in the 1980s, as predicted by Dr. Mitarai, who terms them "Invaders." He organizes SGM (Science Guard Members) to investigate and counter the threat. However, he also raises Kyotaro Kagami after the death of his father, who was an alien from the second dimension.

As a half-alien, Kyotaro is able to transform into Mirrorman. Mitarai reveals this to him, as well as the fact that his father was killed by the Invaders while his mother had to flee for safety. Targeted by the enemy, Kyotaro must defend earth from the Invaders while coming to terms with the impact his father and mother, whom he never knew, had on his life.

Characters[]

Protagonist[]

SGM[]

Others[]

  • Asako Mitarai
  • Ichiro Okawa

Kaiju[]

Cast[]

  • Kyotaro Kagami (鏡 京太郎, Kagami Kyōtarō): Nobuyuki Ishida (石田 信之, Ishida Nobuyuki)
  • Asako Mitarai (御手洗 朝子, Mitarai Asako): Takako Sawai (沢井 孝子, Sawai Takako)
  • Hiroshi Murakami (村上 浩, Murakami Hiroshi): Shunya Wazaki (和崎 俊哉, Wazaki Shun'ya)
  • Takeshi Fujimoto (藤本 武, Fujimoto Takeshi): Kentaro Kudo (工藤 堅太郎, Kudō Kentarō)
  • Hidehiko Yasuda (安田 秀彦, Yasuda Hidehiko): Hajime Sugiyama (杉山 元, Sugiyama Hajime)
  • Yuki Nomura (野村 由起, Nomura Yuki): Yoko Ichiji (市地 洋子, Ichiji Yōko)
  • Kenichi Mitarai (御手洗 健一, Mitarai Kenichi): Junya Usami (宇佐美 淳也, Usami Jun'ya)
  • Ichiro Okawa (大川 一郎, Okawa Ichiro): Tadayoshi Kura (蔵 忠芳, Kura Tadayoshi)
  • Desk (デスク): Fujio Murakami (村上 不二夫, Murakami Fujio)
  • Reporter Asai (浅井記者, Asai Kisha): Kenji Nagisa (渚 健二, Nagisa Kenji)
  • Yuko Kagami (鏡 優子, Kagami Yuko): Sachiko Kozuki (上月 左知子, Kozuki Sachiko)

Voice Actors[]

  • Mirrorman's Father (ミラーマンの父, Mirāman no Chichi): Nobuo Tanaka (田中 信夫, Tanaka Nobuo)
  • Narrator (ナレーター, Narētā): Hikaru Urano (浦野 光, Urano Hikaru)

Suit Actors[]

  • Mirrorman: Mitsuru Saijo (西条 満, Saijō Mitsuru, 1-37), Kinichi Kusumi (久須美 欽一, Kusumi Kin'ichi, 36-51)
  • Kaiju: Shinichi Umeda (梅田 信一, Umeda Shin'ichi, 1-26), Michiharu Sakamoto (坂本 道治, Sakamoto Michiharu, 27-51)

Staff[]

Music[]

  • Mirrorman no Uta (ミラーマンの唄, Mirāman no Uta, lit. "Song of Mirrorman") (opening / ending of episodes 1-29)

Home Media[]

Japan Columbia released Mirrorman on 17 VHS volumes from 1993 to 1994, with each containing 3 episodes, as well as on a LaserDisc set in 1996. VAP released the series as two DVD box sets on November 23, 2005 and January 25, 2006.

From December 2011 to April 2012, Toei Video rereleased the series on 10 DVDs, each with 5 episodes and 7 episodes of Mirror Fight, apart from volume 9, which has 5 episodes, 9 Mirror Fight episodes and the pilot episode, and volume 10, which has 6 episodes and a new 6-episode miniseries titled Mirror Fight 2012.[7][8][9] Toei Video later released a 10-disc box set on March 9, 2016 alongside box sets of Fireman and Jumborg Ace.[10][11]

Gallery[]

External Links[]

References[]

Productions
Showa Series Ultra Q | Ultraman | Ultraseven | Return of Ultraman | Ultraman Ace | Ultraman Taro | Ultraman Leo | Ultraman 80
Heisei Series Ultraman Tiga | Ultraman Dyna | Ultraman Gaia | Ultraman Cosmos | Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy | Ultraman Nexus | Ultraman Max | Ultraman Mebius | Ultraseven X | Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle | Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey | Neo Ultra Q | Ultraman Ginga | Ultraman Ginga S | Ultraman X | Ultraman Orb | Ultraman Geed | Ultraman R/B
Reiwa Series Ultraman Taiga | Ultraman Z | Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga | Ultraman Decker | Ultraman Blazar | Ultraman Arc
Outside of Japan Ultraman: The Adventure Begins | Ultraman: Towards the Future | Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero | Ultraman: Rising
Original Video and TV Special Ultra Fight | Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider | Ultra Super Fight | Ultraman Nice | Heisei Ultraseven | Ultraman Neos | Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend | Ultra Idemitsujin | Ultra Zone
Showa Movies Ultraman: Monster Movie Feature | Ultraman, Ultraseven: Great Violent Monster Fight | Return of Ultraman | The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. The Monster Army | Ultraman (1979) | Ultraman: Great Monster Decisive Battle | Return of Ultraman: MAT Arrow 1 Takeoff Order | Ultraman ZOFFY: Ultra Warriors vs. the Giant Monster Army | Ultraman Story
Heisei Movies Ultra Q The Movie | Revive! Ultraman | Ultraman Zearth | Ultraman Zearth 2 | Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna | Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna, & Ultraman Gaia | Ultraman Tiga: The Final Odyssey | Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact | Ultraman Cosmos 2 | New Century Ultraman Legend | Ultraman Cosmos vs. Ultraman Justice | New Century 2003 Ultraman Legend | ULTRAMAN (2004) | Ultraman Mebius & the Ultra Brothers | Super 8 Ultra Brothers | Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie | Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial | Ultraman Saga | Ultraman Ginga Theater Special | Ultraman Ginga Theater Special: Battle Royale | Ultraman Ginga S The Movie | Ultraman X The Movie | Ultraman Orb The Movie | Ultraman Geed The Movie | Ultraman R/B The Movie
Reiwa Movies Ultraman Taiga The Movie | Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z | Shin Ultraman | Ultraman Decker Finale | Ultraman Blazar The Movie
Spin-Offs Andro Melos | Ultraman Zearth: Parody Chapter | Revival of the Ancient Giant | The Return of Hanejiro | Gaia Again | Ultra Q Kaiju Legend | Ultraman Kaiju Legend | Hikari Saga | Armored Darkness | Ghost Rebirth | Ultraman Zero vs. Darklops Zero | Q - Door to Another Dimension | Killer the Beatstar | Ultra Zero Fight | Ultra Fight Victory | Ultraman Orb THE ORIGIN SAGA | Ultra Fight Orb | New Generation Heroes | The Absolute Conspiracy | Sevenger Fight | The Struggle of Special Section 3 | The Destined Crossroad | Continued Ultra Fight | Shin Ultra Fight | Return of Special Section 3 | Ultraman Regulos | Ultraman Regulos: First Mission | Ultraseven IF Story | SKaRD Break Room
Rebroadcast Shows Ultraman Retsuden | New Ultraman Retsuden | Ultraman Zero: The Chronicle | Ultraman Orb: The Chronicle | Ultraman New Generation Chronicle | Ultraman Chronicle: ZERO & GEED | Ultraman Chronicle Z: Heroes' Odyssey | Ultraman Chronicle D | Ultraman New Generation Stars
Informational Ultraman The Prime | ULTRAMAN ARCHIVES | Ultra Science Fantasy Hour | Ultra Fight Club | UlSummer Information Station | Ultra Information Center | Professor Teruaki's "Blazar Kaiju Academy" | Super Power! Ultra Encyclopedia! | Ultra Construction Tour | THE ORIGIN OF ULTRAMAN | Ultraman 4K Discovery
Docudramas Fly in the Sea Breeze! Ultraman | The Men Who Made Ultraman | My Beloved Ultraseven | The Man Who Wanted to be Ultraman | The Kaiju Club | The Two Ultramen
Other Series and Movies Kaiju Booska | Captain Ultra | Mighty Jack | Fight! Mighty Jack | Operation: Mystery | Chibira-kun | Mirrorman | Redman | Triple Fighter | Emergency Directive 10-4·10-10 | Iron King | Horror Theater Unbalance | Fireman | Jumborg Ace | Mirror Fight | Jumborg Ace & Giant | Mars Men | Army of the Apes | Pro-Wres no Hoshi Azteckaiser | The Last Dinosaur | Dinosaur Expedition Born Free | Dinosaur Great War Izenborg | Star Wolf | Dinosaur Squadron Koseidon | Anime-chan | Gridman the Hyper Agent | Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad | Moon Spiral | Cyber Beauties Telomere | Booska! Booska!! | Otasuke Girl | Mysterious Incident Special Investigation Team SRI | Mirrorman REFLEX | Bio Planet WoO | Operation: Mystery - Second File | Mirror Fight 2012 | Operation: Mystery - Mystery File | Gridknight Fight
Anime The☆Ultraman | Ultraman Kids | Ultraman Graffiti: Wild! Ultra Country | Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend | Ultra Nyan | Ultra Nyan 2: The Great Happy Operation | Ultraman M78 Theater Love & Peace | Gridman the Hyper Agent: boys invent great hero | The・Ultraman: Jackal vs. Ultraman | Kaiju Sakaba Kanpai! | Kaiju Girls | SSSS.GRIDMAN | ULTRAMAN (2019) | Kaiju Step Wandabada | SSSS.DYNAZENON | KAIJU DECODE | GRIDMAN UNIVERSE
Outlaw Content Space Warriors 2000 | Project Ultraman | Ultraman The Animation | Ultraman: A Little Journey on Earth | Fun... English with Ultraman | Young Ultraman | Ultraman Big Transformation | Sinic Q | Red Jade | Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman | Dragon Force: Rise of Ultraman
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