Ultra Series Superhero Ultraseven Featured in Urban Revitalization Project in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A statue of Ultraseven unveiled at Kinuta 8-chome Children’s Park in the Soshigaya area of Setagaya Ward, Tokyo

The Soshigaya and neighboring Shimokitazawa areas of Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward are hosting an urban revitalization project focusing on the superhero Ultraseven, along with the unveiling of a new statue of the hero, street art featuring related characters and other activities.

Soshigaya is the original home of Tsuburaya Productions Co., which produces the Ultra series, a popular tokusatsu special effects science fiction franchise. Ultraseven is part of the lineup.

This history has made the Ultraman Shotengai shopping district in Soshigaya a must-see destination for Ultra fans.

The urban revitalization event, called Shimokita Soshigaya Ultra Town Fes, was organized due to the connection between Soshigaya and Tsuburaya Productions, which is currently based in Shibuya Ward. The event runs through the end of the month.

An unveiling ceremony was held on Nov. 3 for a 3.3-meter-tall statue of Ultraseven in his iconic attack stance. It is set in Kinuta 8-chome Children’s Park, near the Ultraman Shotengai shopping street. Many fans filled the park and took photos of the statue.

“I like the Ultraseven series best [among the Ultra series],” said a 48-year-old company employee who lives nearby. “I’m really happy to have such a cool statue in my neighborhood.”

Ultraseven was first broadcast on TV from October 1967 to September 1968. It is widely considered to be the best of the Ultra series and is beloved for its unique sci-fi and setting as well as deep storylines, which go beyond simple battles between good and evil.

Tsuburaya Productions planned the event to promote Ultraseven to mark the 55th anniversary of the series’ debut.

The event is taking place in Soshigaya, which has been using Ultraman as a local attraction, and shopping areas around Shimokitazawa Station on the Odakyu Line. Soshigaya-Okura Station on the line runs through the Soshigaya area.

Promoting diversity

Ultraseven has always strived for “a future in which people can understand each other” even when hurt, falling down or running out of strength.

Tsuburaya Productions says the series’ elements of dialogue with aliens with differing values can encourage people to reflect on today’s diverse society. Shimokitazawa was chosen as a venue for the event as the concept is well-suited to the area, where youth culture, arts and more come together.

Around Shimokitazawa Station, eight spots in the six shopping areas are featured in the event. Artworks of monsters and aliens from the Ultraseven series, such as Alien Guts and Eleking, drawn by young artists, are displayed as street art on the windows and walls of restaurants and clothing shops. Visitors can enjoy finding the images and solving riddles while strolling in the shopping areas.

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Top: A King Joe artwork
Bottom: An artwork of Alien Metron that visitors can find.

The street art project runs through Dec. 25, while the urban revitalization event concludes at the end of this month.

“We feel that Ultraseven and the areas share something in common, so we planned the project,” said the chairman of Shimokita Shotengai Shinko Kumiai, an association of shopping areas in Shimokitazawa. “We hope people will visit and see how they blend together.”