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Tsuburaya Productions (円谷プロダクション,   Tsuburaya Purodakushons?) is a Japanese special effects studio founded in 1963 by Eiji Tsuburaya. The studio is best known for producing the original Ultraman TV series, as well as the Ultraman franchise. Since 2007, the Head Office has been located in Hachimanyama, Setagaya Tokyo.


History

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Toho's renowned director of special effects, Eiji Tsuburaya, founded Tsuburaya Productions in 1963 as a means to achieve greater creative freedom. Drawing from both Tsuburaya's staff at Toho and other artists from across Japan, the company's first assignment was the 1963 Ishihara/Nikkatsu film Alone Across the Pacific. Its first in-house project was Ultra Q, a black-and-white science fiction TV series about a reporter and two pilots who investigate mysterious events, in 1966. Boasting special effects comparable to Toho and Daiei's kaiju films, it was a tremendous success, and guaranteed a follow-up. Later that year, Tsuburaya debuted the color series Ultraman, starring one of the first Kyodai Heroes, to even greater ratings. Ultraman's formula of an alien warrior merging with a human host to defend the planet against monsters and aliens would become the foundation for Tsuburaya's Ultraman franchise, with even Toho themselves creating Zone Fighter in an attempt to cash in on the growing popularity of Kyodai Hero content.

Following Eiji Tsuburaya's death in 1970, his eldest son Hajime Tsuburaya took control of the company. Tsuburaya Productions would then remain a family business until 2007, when it was sold to TYO Inc. Today, Fields Corporation owns a 51% stake in Tsuburaya, with the other 49% is controlled by the company Bandai, whose Ultraman products have been prominently featured in every Ultraman Series since Ultraman Ginga in 2013.

World Record

In 2001 Tsuburaya's Ultra Series was awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records for the most amount of television spin offs. In 2013, the record has continued to be upheld for a total of 12 years. In the 2014 edition of the book, the Ultra Series was still listed as having the world record for the most spin-off series. The certification counts the 27 spin off series which were made at that time. This excludes remakes like the Heisei Ultraseven series, one off movies, summaries and home releases. Although technically many of the shows were not originally meant to be sequels, they were to be in a single multiverse.

Series

1960s

1970s

1980s

  • Ultraman 80 (1980-1981)
  • Andro Melos (1983)
  • Ultraman Kids (1986)
  • Ultra Monster Encyclopedia (1988-90)

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

Films

1960s

1970s

  • Return of Ultraman (1971) [compilation film]
  • Return of Ultraman: Terror of the Tornado Monster (1971) [compilation film]
  • Daigoro vs. Goliath (1972) [Toho co-production]
  • Jamborg Ace and Giant (1974) [Chaiyo co-production]
  • The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. the Monster Army (1974) [Chaiyo co-production]
  • The Last Dinosaur (1977) [Rankin/Bass co-production]
  • The Bermuda Depths (1978) [Rankin/Bass co-production]
  • Ultraman (1979) [compilation film]
  • Ultraman: Great Monster Battle (1979) [compilation film]

1980s

1990s

2000s

2010s

2020s

Television Specials

  • The World of Ultra Q (1990)
  • Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider (1993)

OVAs

  • Ultraman Graffiti (1990)


Trivia

  • Eiji Tsuburaya's ties with Toho allowed props, suits, sound effects, and even footage from the studio's kaiju films to appear in Ultra Q and Ultraman. Godzilla became Gomess and Jirass, Baragon became Pagos, Neronga, Magular, and Gabora, Maguma became Todora, the Giant Octopus became Sudar, King Kong became Goro, and Manda became Kai Dragon.
  • Toho employees who worked on the early Ultra Series installments included Ishiro Honda (director of several Return of Ultraman episodes), Shinichi Sekizawa (writer of the pilot episode of Ultraman), Kenji Sahara (Jun Manjome in Ultra Q), and Akihiko Hirata (Chief Hanazawa in Ultra Q, Professor Iwamoto in Ultraman, and Staff Officer Yanagawa in Ultraseven).

External Links