Ultraman 1.14 – The Pearl Oyster Defense Directive

Pearls… now affordable on Science Patrol pay!

Well, our son really loved this episode, which is what counts. There’s no hiding in the shadows for this week’s monster. It’s a flabby thing called Gamakujira, and it shows up about four minutes in, and the entire show is one long fight with it. So if you’re watching to see plastic spaceships and explosions on the skin of big rubber monsters, that’s all this episode is. I did enjoy his mild criticism of the beast, though. “That monster’s kind of wet looking. And it’s kind of squishy looking.”

I say all, but it is topped and tailed by what’s by far the most interesting parts. They sent a film crew out with actors Masanari Nihei and Hiroko Sakurai to visit a jewelry store in a busy city to learn that there’s a massive pearl shortage, and at the end, with the pearl-eating beast blown up and the prices back to normal, Sakurai gets to model some pearl necklaces and rings. In every episode, the footage of 1966 Japan is invariably a million times more interesting than monsters on miniature sets, but this is the first time the actors are seen in a large city.

There’s also a funny, but very dated and awfully sexist moment while the stranded Science Patrol are waiting for somebody at base to bring them a new jet, and Gamakujira sits bloated on the other side of the bay digesting pearls. Fuji loses her freaking mind, with both Sakurai and her English language voice actress (Corinne Orr, I guess) going way over the top. Fuji starts yelling at the monster to just cough her up one single pearl, and the boys tell her to quit being so darn weird. Unhinged, she shouts back at them about how they don’t understand “a woman’s emotions,” and I think Arashi was glad he locked up the laser bazooka before Fuji charged into the ocean with it, firing wildly.

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