P-PRODUCTIONS: A Brief History
P-Productions was founded July 13 1960 by Ushio Souji, also known as Sagisu Tomio. The company created cult hits such as Spectreman, Lion Maru, Monster Prince and many others. Its first creation was released in 1964, an anime named Zero-sen Hayato, based on the manga by Tsuji Naoki. Along the years new animes came along such as HARISU NO KAZE created by Chiba Tetsuya, Chibikko Kaiju Yadamon, Don Quixote, etc.. P-Productions' first live-action tokusatsu was MAGMA TAISHI (THE SPACE GIANTS, literally AMBASSADOR MAGMA) based on master mangaka Tezuka Osamu's manga, in 1966. To produce this series, Ushio, a mangaka himself, had to contact Mushi Productions, Tezuka-sensei's company, to obtain authorisation. SPACE GIANTS was also the first colour tokusatsu show on japanese tv, Ultraman came on air 4 days later.
In the following year Ushio Souji was developing a new hero, named Jaguarman. A pilot episode was shot but ended up shelved (with the Jaguarman suit later used in 1973 as Black Jaguar in LION MARU). It was in 1970 that P Productions created a pilot episode for their proposed series CHOUJIN ELEMENTMAN, which would mature later into SPECTREMAN, the company's biggest success, initiating the second "kaiju boom" of japanese super-heroes.
One year later P-Productions was still inovating its series ideas. That same year, by Toei, started the new series KAMEN RIDER created by Ishinomori Shoutaro. Kamen Rider was a hero but not a giant one, and yet it was a complete success for Toei. Someone at P-Productions was paying attention and so, at the request of FUJI TV, the company developed their own toshindai hero show, KAIKETSU LION MARU.
Heavily influenced by the Jidaigeki Henshin genre, it was successful enough that a sequel was churned out, FUUN LION MARU. In the years that followed, P-Productions continued strong in the production of tokusatsu, with TETSUJIN TIGER 7 in 1973 and Koike Kazuo's immortal DENJIN ZABOGA in 1974.
One of the last productions made by the company was SILVER JAGUAR, a co-production between Japan and France which revamped the JAGUARMAN concept. But the show didn't work out. Nowadays Ushio Souji's P-Productions no longer exists, but will always be remembered for its wonderful shows, still thrilling the public decades after its creation...
On the 28th of June, 2004, Ushio Souji died of heart failure in the Mitaka City Hospital in Tokyo. The funeral was on April 1st. Ushio Souji was born on December 4th, 1922, in Tokyo. In the beginning of his career he worked for the TOHO Company (the home of GOJIRA), where he had the opportunity to become acquainted with Ultraman's father, Tsuburaya Eiji. During the second world war he had the pleasure of befriending legendary actor Mifune Toshiro, and first started working with Tezuka Osamu in 1949.
Now he has gone to join the other great entertainers of our times, Tsuburaya, Tezuka.....Sayonara, Ushio-sensei!
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Last modified on Tuesday, December 13, 2005
SPECTREMAN, MAGMA TAISHI et al © 1971 P-Productions
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