Toshihiro Iijima, the director, writer, and producer who directed the first two Ultra series programs, Ultra Q and Ultraman has unfortunately passed away at the age of 89.
He died on the 17th of October at a hospital in Yokohama due to aspiration pneumonia.
Iijima was born on September 3rd, 1932, and began working at Radio Tokyo (now known as TBS) in 1957. He acted as one of the key creators of the Ultra series as the director and writer of Ultra Q and Ultraman, both in 1966.
Other works in the series that he played in part in the making off include Ultraseven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact, and Ultraman Max.
Eventually, Toshihiro Iijima officially retired as a director and producer in 1992 however he continued to come back to the series on multiple occasions afterward including to work on Ultraman Cosmos (2001) and Ultraman Max (2005-2006).
Today, Ultraman has become one of the most iconic Tokusatsu shows and would go on to inspire other special effects-heavy televisions programs like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai. It has also been referenced in multiple different Japanese media including anime like Gintama, Dragon Ball, and Digimon.
Ultraman is currently undergoing the second season of its recent anime adaptation and will premiere a new movie in 2022 called Shin Ultraman, directed by Hideaki Anno of Neon Genesis Evangelion fame (which was also inspired by Ultraman)
We give out condolences to Mr. Iijima’s friends and family.