Saturday, April 10, 2010


Gamera is probably the second most popular monster from Japan. Aside from creating this iconic kaiju series beginning in 1965, Daiei Motion Picture Company also produced the first science fiction movie in Japan. 1949’s TOUMEI NINGEN ARAWARU (THE INVISIBLE MAN APPEARS/THE TRANSPARENT MAN APPEARS) 透明人間現わる was a monochrome gem with special effects supervised by Eiji Tsuburaya. Loosely based on the H.G. Wells 1897 classic novel THE INVISIBLE MAN, the Japanese take on the story, still has a scientist using a special chemical to become invisible.
The story begins when jewel thieves becomes interested in an invisibility formula invented by Professor Nakazato. The theives kidnap the professor and want to use his invention to acquire a diamond necklace called the “Tears of Amour“. There are a lot of twists and turns in this film, as to who is the Invisible Man and why. The Japanese Invisible Man looks just like Universal’s 1933 version played by Claude Rains, with bandages and an overcoat. The formula has the same adverse symptoms which effect the nervous and drive the user insane.
Daiei took a second stab at the Invisible Man story in 1957 with TOMEI NINGEN TO HAE OTOKO (The INVISIBLE MAN AND THE FLY MAN/THE TRANSPARENT MAN AND THE FLY MAN) 透明人間と蝿男. This time Japan is plagued by an increasing amount of homicides in broad daylight. The only clue is a buzzing sound near the crime scene. The culprit is a man that can shrink himself down to the size of a fly. The chemical used to shrink was a secret weapon developed by the Japanese in WWII taken by a war criminal Sugimoto. It comes in a glass capsule and is administered in a vapor form. A physicist, Tsuioka and his colleagues invent a ray than can allow objects and people to become invisible. Tsukioka decides to use this technology to stop the murderous Fly Man.
I really enjoyed both films. Especially THE INVISIBLE MAN AND THE FLY MAN, which mixes horror and sci-fi extremely well. It also marks the debut of the stunning actress Mouri Ikuko, who went on to star in SHIRO HEBI KOMACHI (WHITE SNAKE BEAUTY)(1958) . Both films reach deep into the human mind on what a person would do with various kinds power.
Mouri Ikuko


  1. An incredible posting, Royal One! I can see what you meant by this beingaa lot of work. I love those great black and white Japanese SF & horror films (besides liking B&W American horror, German Krimi, etc.). I knew they existed but have never seen them. Now that I've seen them courtesy of your screen grabs and book illos, I've gotta see them!!! You even amazed me this time, Roy, and I've been inside your sinister lair. Oh, and nice girlie pic, too.

  2. i actually manged to find a copy of Fly Man but hadn't found much on the first Daiei Invisible Man, thanx!

  3. I had heard of the Japanese version of The Invisible Man but have not found a copy to watch. I had not even heard of The Invisible Man and The Fly Man before! As always a fantastic post giving me info I did not have!

  4. Thanks Guys!!
    One thing I've found is that Toho wasn't the omly company making cool sci-fi or horror films. Because of lower budgets, I think these films relied more on atmosphere and story which was done really well. I'll keep digging to find more of these masterpieces to post about. I hope you love them as much as I do.

  5. First of all, sorry for my English, guys. Wonderfull post!
    I know that Toumei Ningen Arawaru is with SPFX by Tsuburaya but I'd like to know who made SPFX visual effects in Toumei Ningen to Hae Otoko. Please, coul'd you help me? Thanks a lot.
    An Italian fan

  6. So where can we find the English dub versions? mentioned some,
    Tomei ningen arawaru (1949) :
    Invisible Man Appears International (English title)
    The Transparent Man International (English title)

    Tomei ningen (1954) :
    Invisible Avenger (undefined)
    The Invisible Man (undefined)
    Transparent Human (undefined)

    Tômei ningen to hae otoko 1957 :
    The Invisible Human and the Fly Man (literal English title)
    The Murdering Mite USA (promotional title)
    The Transparent Man vs. the Fly Man USA

    Tômei-ningen: okase! 1978 :
    Invisible Man: Rape! (undefined)
    Lusty Transparent Man USA

    If anyone knows, PLMK,

  7. Honestly I am am not aware of any dubbed versions. Those may just be translated titles and not English dubbed versions.

  8. Great piece. I will be mentioning you on my blog: The Senile Brain from Planet Arous @ when I post it sometime next week.