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.
THE INVISIBLE MAN AND THE FLY MAN
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.