Jirass (ジラース Jirāsu)

Ultraman, Episode 10: The Mysterious Dinosaur Base

– an uncanny likeness to a far more famous monster
– a beautiful frilled neck
– dodgy splashes of yellow paint

– an eerily familiar blue energy beam
– smashing rocks
– being humiliated


I’ve been counting down the days to this post. I’ve wanted to write about Jirass from the very first week of Mondo Exploito, but I thought it best not to start with such a ridiculous Ultraman monster. Jirass, as you can see, is the cheapest fucking monster ever produced. It was not uncommon for Toho to recycle monster suits from their movies when shooting Ultraman, but I’m not sure why they thought it would be a good idea to use their most famous monster’s suit. Yes, Jirass is Godzilla. To be exact, Jirass is Godzilla with a frilled neck. And towards the end of the episode – when Jirass has his frill torn off – he is simply Godzilla with a weak paint job. Did Toho and the makers of Ultraman actually believe that fans would not notice their budget-cutting methods? Even his monster roar is oddly familiar. Let’s hear what the experts at the Ultraman wiki have to say:

Jirass is actually a very loosely disguised Godzilla suit. Unlike Gomess, Jirass was created simply by combining the head of the DaisensoGoji suit (from the movie Ebirah, Horror of the Deep,) with the body of the MosuGoji suit (from Mothra vs. Godzilla) with some yellow paint sprayed on parts of his body and a yellow frill around the neck. To further demonstrate the similarities between Jirass and Godzilla, Jirass possesses a modified but still recognizable Godzilla roar, as well as his electric ray attack bearing a very close resemblance to Godzilla’s own atomic ray. Also adding to Jirass’s close relationship with Godzilla, Jirass’s suit actor was Haruo Nakajima, whom is famous for portraying Godzilla in the first twelve Godzilla films.

The reason behind Jirass’s creation was because at the time of Ultraman’s production, Tsuburaya actually intended for a different design for the monster for Ultraman to fight, but due to the minimal budget (which is seen between episodes 8 through 19) and a very short schedule, Eiji Tsuburaya had negotiated with Toho Co. LTD to have the Godzilla suit loaned to Tsuburaya Productions, which had been left in Toho’s warehouse. Toho, at the time, was moving on to use a new suit for Son of Godzilla. The conditions for using the suit, however, was that it’d be in good condition once filming was complete.

The battle of the greats begins

Wow. Great job, Toho! Jirass only appears once in Ultraman. His episode is entitled “The Mysterious Dinosaur Base”, and Jirass’s Godzilla-like appearance is not the only ridiculous element in the episode. Despite Jirass taking his time to appear, you can tell almost instantly that “The Mysterious Dinosaur Base” is an episode like no other. With a wonderfully overacting mad scientist and insane flashbacks, “The Mysterious Dinosaur Base” is an oddity in the first batch of Ultraman episodes. Ultraman would become wackier towards the end of its run, but the earlier episodes are generally restrained. The only exceptions being this episode and the following episode starring the amazing Gyango. It’s like the makers of Ultraman had a temporary loss of sanity when producing episode 10 and 11. Even though Jirass only appears in one episode, you can still – thank god – get the toy:

I wonder if the frill is detachable?

Another unexpected bonus in “The Mysterious Dinosaur Base” is the fight between Ultraman and Jirass. Already, it is quite the novelty as you are essentially watching Ultraman fight Godzilla. The fight itself is rather pathetic with the opening moments being a pissing contest between Ultraman and Jirass as they demonstrate their abilities to destroy rocks. But this fight scores points for its uncharacteristic cruelty and violence. This can first be seen when Ultraman tears off Jirass’s frill then plays a game of bull and matador. Pretty horrific stuff. Jirass’s samurai-like death is also oddly brutal (as far as Ultraman episodes go). Here is the fight in its entirety:

Oh Jirass, you may have only appeared in one episode. And you may be a pathetically cheap rip off of Godzilla. But I will always remember you fondly. Farewell, Jirass! JIRASS! JIRASS!!