I want to thank my friend Jean Guerin for bringing my attention to Episode 38 of ULTRAMAN DYNA, directed by the remarkable Akio Jissôji. Jean had previously brought to my attention the fact that Jissôji had directed the 22nd episode of the original ULTRAMAN series, employing a somewhat jarringly unusual visual style influenced by the works of Jean-Luc Godard. It was yet another of the six episodes of the series that Jissôji directed that Hayata reached for his Beta capsule and pulled a spoon from his pocket instead - a surreal joke that reportedly worried the show's producers but went on to become a favorite moment with fans.
I had never before seen an episode of ULTRAMAN DYNA, which ran in 1997. I tend to find it difficult connecting with the later ULTRAMAN series, particularly those shot digitally, because they are somehow too clean, too transparent, too antiseptic to feel filmic. That said, I recommend that everyone watch this episode, because - despite its digital origins - it’s one of the trippiest, most cinematic experiences I’ve had in a long time.
|Akio Jissôji and friend.|
I see from his IMDb listing that Jissôji also directed the Edogawa Rampo adaptation THE WATCHER IN THE ATTIC (1993) and also a segment of the anthology feature RAMPO NOIR in 2005, the year before his death at age 69. As coincidence would have it, next month Arrow Video will be releasing a box set of Akio Jissoji's THE BUDDHIST TRILOGY. Definitely a filmmaker worth studying more closely.
(c) 2019 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.