What are your opinions on the non-ultra toku shows from Tsuburaya?
To be honest, my exposure to their Non-Ultra shows is limited. What I have seen are weird, American compilation films of a few of their other TV programs. Heck, I own one of them I loved it so much.
The one I own is Attack of the Supermonsters which is a film cobbled together from three episodes of 1977′s Dinosaur War Aizenborg.
It’s a facinating mix of suitmation, model work and animation with all of the monsters and vehicles being tokusatsu effects and the human characters as anime. It doesn’t entirely work but it is a lot of fun and it uses the same Tyrannosaurus Rex suit used in the Tsuburaya and Rankin/Bass co-production The Last Dinosaur. It also shows that at the time, Tsuburaya’s strength were really in their live action work as the animation can come across as repetitive (especially in crowd scenes were the same faces and clothes are repeated over and over) and rough. Still, it’s sentient dinosaurs waging war on humanity and being opposed by super science and a cyborg pair of twins who can combine into one being so it’s pretty awesome!
Another of their works outside of the Ultra series I have seen is the compilation film Time of the Apes, which is a highly condensed version of their Planet of the Apes pastiche, 1974′s Army of the Apes.
It’s a fun science fiction tale with some pretty great ape make up and I love how, unlike the Planet versions, the Army of the Apes have modern technology with cars and guns. I will admit the first time I ever saw it though was on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
This is also how I saw another of the American compilations of Tsuburaya Pro’s work. the Fugitive Alien movies which were put together from their Star Wolf TV series based on the works of American SF writer Edmond Hamilton.
These were the infamous Sandy Frank dubs and weren’t what you would call entirely faithful to the source material plus there were the constant (though often hilarious) comments from the crew of the Satellite of Live so it’s not the best way to see these works. Still, it was exposure to Tsuburaya’s other work and did make me interested in seeing the original versions.