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Ultraman monsters reproduced by university in Tokyo 50 years after first episode aired

Ultraman turns up at the exhibition of monsters from the first series of the television show that first aired in 1966, on the exhibition's opening day on Oct. 25, 2016, at Spiral Garden in the Minami-Aoyama district of Tokyo's Minato Ward. (Mainichi)

As the 50th anniversary of the launch of the television series "Ultraman" is marked this year, a horde of monsters that appeared in the first series have surfaced in Tokyo, thanks to the efforts of a university marking its own 50th anniversary.

Students and teachers at Tokyo Zokei University in the Tokyo city of Hachioji, which was founded in 1966, created sculptures of the monsters that Ultraman fought in all 39 episodes of the first series that began airing the same year -- from Alien Baltan to Pigmon, and Zetton (Z-Ton). The creations will be on display at the Spiral Garden facility in the Minami-Aoyama district of Tokyo's Minato Ward until Nov. 3.

A total of 16 creators sculpted the works after watching the episodes, with free interpretation from a modern perspective allowed. Some of the monsters have expressions that could delight children, while others are more abstract.

The university's deputy head Hiroaki Jinushi commented, "All of those who made them were in their 40s or younger, so they're from a generation that wasn't around when the episodes first aired. I wondered how they would interpret the stories which reflected the social background at the time, including such issues as the Cold War and pollution, but the works surpassed my expectations."

Hiroshi Fujita, a business producer at Tsuburaya Productions, which made the television series, expressed delight in the creations.

"It was commercial and other artists who designed the monsters when the television series was aired. I hope that having artists produce the monsters 50 years on from then will provide a link to the next 50 years of Ultraman's 'life.'"

At the end of the exhibition, it will be possible to purchase the works by draw for 50,000 yen each (not including tax or postage). Interested parties can apply at the exhibition venue. Entry to the exhibition is free.

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