is the name and title superhero
of a tokusatsu sci-fi
TV series. Produced by P Productions
and created by producer Souji Ushio
, this series aired on Fuji TV
from January 2 1971
to March 25 1972
with a total of 63 episodes (divided into three segments), not counting the pre-series pilot episode. This was the first major superhero show of the 1970s.
Spectreman specifications and powers
Disguised as a human being (Jôji Gamô), Spectreman requests his transformation from the Nebula Star, or is ordered by same to do so. Saying "Ryôkai" (了解 - Japanese for "Roger"), or "Ready" in the US version, he raises his right hand towards the Nebula Star, which shoots a beam at him, transforming into Spectreman, a cybernetic being in a gold-and-copper cuirass, with a full helmet looking somewhat like the Rocketeer
's mask. Before transforming back into a human, however, he simply faints, possibly from using up his energy.
Spectreman starts out as human-sized, and can increase his size at will.
Among Spectreman's weapons:
- Spectre-Flash - Spectreman's ultimate weapon, an energy beam he shoots from his hands or wrists (depending on the pose he performs with his hands).
- Shuriken - Multicolored shuriken, which he pulls from his beltbuckle.
- Spectre-Blades - Razor-sharp blades that spring forth from Spectreman's forearms (a possible inspiration to those of the Guyver).
- Spectre-Sword & Shield - Sword and shield sent to Spectreman from Nebula Star when requesting them.
- Spectre-Gun - A huge gun sent to Spectreman from Nebula Star when requesting them.
While Spectreman is virtually invincible, he can still be damaged. In one episode, when injured in the leg by an opposing monster, he bled green blood. He bled one other time, when bitten in the neck by a space vampire. Notably, his blood color had changed to bright yellow.
Banished from the peaceful simian Planet E, the mad scientist Dr. Gori and his brutish assistant Karras search for a new planet to rule after Gori's plot to conquer Planet E had been foiled by its government. Coming across the Earth, Gori is captivated by its beauty, but is appalled by its inhabitants' misuse of its environment, leading to severe pollution (a huge topic back when this series was made), so mankind must be quickly conquered if this planet is to be inhabitable, so he plots to, ironically, use the very same pollution that's plaguing the Earth to create horrible giant rampaging monsters to wipe out and/or enslave mankind.
Fortunately, hope comes in the form of the Nebula 71 Star, a Saturn-like artificial satellite that observes the Earth incognito. Fearing that Gori may eventually make the Earth uninhabitable, they dispatch Spectreman, their super-cyborg agent, to battle the menace of the mad apeman. Spectreman disguises himself as a Japanese man named Jôji Gamô to walk among the humans and scout out Gori's weekly menace for the Nebula 71 Star. He works with a government-run group called the Pollution G-Men, run by Chief Kurata. This group investigates phenomena involving pollution, but they don't (until late in the show's run) have the facilities to handle giant monsters, so unbeknownst to them, their comical-yet-mysterious teammate Jòji disappears on them, only to help them as Spectreman!
As the series comes to a conclusion, Dr. Gori is defeated and driven to face Spectreman by himself in the last episode. While the hero tries to convince him that his remarkable intelligence should be put at the service of good rather than be used for destruction and tyranny, Gori eventually commits suicide, after replying that he'd rather die than be denied his supremacy over Earthlings.
- Space Apeman Gori (宇宙猿人ゴリ - Uchû Enjin Gori) Episodes 1-21
- Space Apeman Gori Vs. Spectreman (宇宙猿人ゴリ対スペクトルマン - Uchû Enjin Gori tai Supekutoruman) Episodes 22-39
- Spectreman (スペクトルマン - Supekutoruman) Episodes 40-63
Titled Space Apeman Gori
(宇宙猿人ゴリ - Uchû Enjin Gori
; Just like the series' first title), alternately titled Superman Elementman
(超人エレメントマン - Chôjin Erementoman
), or simply Spectreman: Pilot Version
, this pilot has the same exact formula, but with many differences:
- Gori looked different from the final version (the Pilot Gori was used as "Rah 2" [US name: Kah] in Episodes 5 & 6), and had glowing eyes. In a creepy fashion, his face appeared right behind the prop for the pilot's logo. (The same prop logo would be used in the series' opening titles, but seen on a deserted land from top view.)
- Spectreman (named "Elementman" here) looked completely different from the final version, almost looking like a martian. He wore a red & black costume and aerodynamic silver helmet partially exposing a painted human face.
- Jôji Gamô was played in the pilot by Jiro Dan, who left after its completion to star in Return of Ultraman. In this pilot version, Jôji ran a sports store (this was a response to the popular "Sports Boom" in Japan).
The monsters Elementman fought in the pilot were Midoron and Zeron, which were not only used in Episodes 3 and 4 of the TV series, but Jaguarman, an earlier superhero TV pilot by P Productions from 1967.
- Spectreman should have been spelled Spectraman - hence his rainbow beam weapon.
- Spectreman is different from other kaiju heroes in that it is up to his superiors when he transforms; he has no ability to initiate his changes himself. He's also somewhat unique in that he clashes with his detached leaders over the value of human life on various occasions, as they are willing to sacrifice a single person or family to prevent greater damage if they must.
- The truck used by Jôji Gamô throughout the series was a yellow 1971 Suzuki LJ10.
- Jôji Gamô is a homage to the great Russian scientist George Gamow.
- When he wanted to make one of his monsters harder for Specterman to beat, rather than fitting it with new weapons like most tokusatsu masterminds, Dr. Gori would usually take the unorthodox step of trying to make it more intelligent.
- In the American version a new acoustic guitar-driven theme song was written for the show, but an instrumental version of the original Japanese theme song still plays during fights.
- Dr. Gori was reputedly the inspiration for Mojo Jojo in The Powerpuff Girls cartoon. Both are green-faced simian super-geniuses with a penchant for energetic conversations with themselves.
- Dr. Gori would later appear in the live action film adaptation of the manga Cromartie High School.