Gyango (ギャンゴ)

Ultraman (original series),
Episode 11 – “The Ruffian from Outer Space”

– a lovely hand-painted chest (are those supposed to be his organs?)
– spinning mechanical ears (both of which are torn off by the end of the episode)
– awkwardly long arms and elongated neck (primed for Ultraman to strangle)

– synchronised swimming
– playing pranks on hotel staff


When it comes to the original series, there are three types of Ultraman episodes. Great episodes – full of action, destruction and awesome monsters. Silly episodes (let’s be honest, they’re all a bit silly) – a bit shit, but still entertaining enough. And awful episodes – dull, meandering and story-less episodes where the majority of the running time is focused on boring human activity. But then there’s “The Ruffian from Outer Space” – also known as “The Rambunctious One from Outer Space” (it’s credited as this on the DVD disc, but as “The Ruffian” in the menu). Unlike any episode of Ultraman, “The Ruffian from Outer Space” is total madness and stupidity – in other words, it’s fucking great.

The “The Ruffian from Outer Space” has a bonkers plot before the kaijū even appears. Some kids find a colourful ball – or stone or… whatever – that morphs into what they wish for. Turns out Japanese kids of the 1960s’ deepest desires are marbles and cake. So they turn it into marbles, and then a cake and dance around it before deciding to hand it over to the government. Some scientists inform the media that the ball/stone/something is indeed a living entity from outer flippin’ space! It can turn into anything, as long as you’re close enough to it (this rule is broken a few times for story writing convenience). A journalist is allowed to test it out, which leads to this amazing scene:

The ball is then stolen by some guy. He is excited about the prospects of the magical ball – he could turn it into millions of yen or food… anything he wants! Instead he decides to turn it into a monster. Yes, a monster. So he can take over the world, you ask? No, to play fucking pranks on people. The monster his tiny mind creates is Gyango. Gyango’s design is as chaotic as the episode itself. The Ultraman team threw everything they had at this outfit – except for any sense of restraint and intelligence. Looking like a cross between Godzilla stars Gabara and King Caesar (although he predates them by quite a few years), Gyango has constantly rotating ears – that make a nonstop irritating noise – and a weird patterned chest. I don’t know what’s going on with that colourful chest, but it looks like some sort of hipster art installation. As far as monsters go, he’s as harmless as they come. For the majority of the episode, Gyango is human-sized. He also doesn’t leave the hotel that his wacky creator is staying at. He spends his time at the hotel frightening the staff (who often go cross-eyed and faint when they see him) and taking part in synchronised swimming routines. Comedy gold! The montage of Gyango frightening people (which can be seen at the bottom of this article) has to be seen to be believed.

Not exactly Ultraman's most threatening foe

All goes well for Gyango, until his creator stupidly decides to make Gyango gigantic. Now, at classic kaijū size, Gyango destroys the hotel putting the man that thought him up in a coma. Until the man wakes up, Gyango can’t return to his original ball-form. Like a giant hyperactive child, Gyango fools around outside the hotel and destroys a few buildings. The army tries to deal with him and – even though they manage to blow off one of his stupid ears – fail. Hayata transforms into Ultraman and beats the living shit out of Gyango. Ultraman’s fight with Gyango is particularly slapstick – even by Ultraman standards. Some of its highlights includes Gyango’s remaining ear being violently karate-chopped off, Gyango sitting on Ultraman, lots of posing and Ultraman splashing water from a pool into Gyango’s face. Yes, guys, this is good stuff. I don’t believe Gyango made any other appearances in Ultraman – although a toy version of him can be seen in a later episode (how cool is it that you can get a toy of an obscure character like this? I want one!) – but his performance in “The Ruffian from Outer Space” will never be forgotten. Gyango can hold his moronic head high, standing proudly as Ultraman’s most ludicrous adversary.

Now watch below for what is undoubtedly the greatest kaijū montage in televisual history…