Alien Spell (スペル星人 Superu Seijin)
FIRST APPEARS IN:
Ultraseven, Episode 12: From a Planet with Love
– a pale body ravaged with scars and burns
– disturbing Hellraiser-esque facial features
SKILLS AND QUIRKS:
– laser beam eyes
– selling toxic watches
– appearing in human form and seducing ladies
Alien Spell has a more interesting back story than any Ultra monster – I’m not talking about his narrative history, but the controversy his episode, “From a Planet with Love”, generated. In 1967, “From a Planet with Love”, episode 12 of Ultraseven, was banned from Japanese television (and, as far as I know, remains banned to this day). Even the recent American DVD release of Ultraseven omits this episode. The only way it can be seen is through hazy American broadcasts where the reason behind its controversy is lost in translation.
Alien Spell is the head of a bunch of extraterritorial assholes who have decided to make Earth their home after nuclear war has ravaged their own. They give out fancy watches to women – fancy watches that kill. In the dubbed version, the watches drain the blood of their wearers, converting it to a crystallized form (I think). The blood is used to replenish Alien Spell and his council of cronies. When, by chance, the watch is worn by a young boy, they decide that the blood of children is even tastier than that of women.
It was not the blood sucking of children that created the uproar around “From a Planet with Love”, rather it was Alien Spell himself. His design – his burnt, scarred body – brought to mind nuclear warfare, and the hibakusha (victims of atomic war in Japan who often found themselves discriminated against) were hugely offended. And understandably so – the wounds of World War II were still fresh in 1967.
The episode itself is unremarkable – at least in its English dubbed form. It is somewhat convoluted but follows the classic Ultra-formula to a tee. Ultraseven’s fight with Alien Spell is nothing spectacular, though I enjoyed Alien Spell’s laser beam eyes and Ultraseven’s finishing move of separating his foe’s body in two. It is only with its added context and controversy that “From a Planet with Love” becomes something special.
The entire episode can be found on YouTube under its American title, “Crystalized Corpuscles”: