RIP Masanari Nihei, 1940-2021

Rewatching the original Ultraman a few years ago, I was struck by just how remarkable that original cast was. Maybe assembling the Science Patrol was like catching lightning in a bottle, because while the next three shows in the series assembled perfectly good casts of talented actors, none of them had the fun chemistry and individual, sparkling personalities as the first. When I wrote a little about Masanari Nihei in a 2017 post, I wondered about his post-Ultraman days. He struck me as being really talented, a great physical comedian who makes it all look easy and mastered double-takes and elongated faces, and I hope he had a really successful career beyond silly kids’ sci-fi. Masanari Nihei passed away last week from aspiration pneumonia. Our condolences to his family and friends.