Battle Sequence 002: Fireman (1973)

Fireman (aka Faiyâman/Magma Man) is an interesting tokusatsu series featuring a kyodai hero (giant hero) that aired in Japan on Nippon Television in 1973. It was made by Tsuburaya Productions, who was also responsible for the popular Ultraman series and Fireman had many things in common with that show.

In the series, the handsome Japanese actor Naoya Makoto (Goranger, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, etc.) plays the powerful hero Fireman. Fireman belongs to a race of unusual beings that live deep inside the earth. When earth is attacked by giant monster-like aliens (kaiju), Fireman rises to the surface, takes a human form and joins Japan’s Scientific Attack Force (S.A.F.) so he can help defeat the evil invaders. Much like Ultraman, Fireman is able to grow and become giant size in order to fight the various kaiju monsters he encounters. He also has many special powers and weapons.

Fireman was directed by Jun Oki and written by Bunkou Wakatsuki. Jun Oki had previously worked on various science fiction shows for Tsuburaya Productions such as Ultraseven (Urutora sebun, 1967), Ultraman Returns (Kaettekita Urutoraman, 1971) and the wonderful mystery/horror series Operation: Mystery! (Kaiki daisakusen, 1968), which I hope to write about in more detail soon. With Fireman, Oki was in control of the direction of the series as well as the special effects, which were often very impressive. Like Silver Kamen which I briefly reviewed here earlier, Fireman was a bit more adult than other similar shows that were airing in Japan at the time. The series often contained more mature stories and some unpredictable twists that were rather unusual for a show typically aimed at a young audience.

Fireman ran for 30 episodes and features a great soundtrack by Toru Fuyuki that was undoubtedly one of the Japanese composer’s best efforts. In the “Battle Sequence” featured in the clip below you can hear some of the terrific music that Toru Fuyuki composed for the series while Fireman fights a kaiju monster called Dorigoras. You’ll cheer, you’ll laugh, and you might even cry, but whatever your expectations are, few things can prepare for you for the action-packed wonder that is Fireman!


Battle Sequence 002: Fireman – Episode #2 (S.A.F. Weapon is Science) – 1973

11 thoughts on “Battle Sequence 002: Fireman (1973)

  1. Jonathan Lapper says:

    I love the slo-mo when Dumbosaur finally goes down. You can totally tell this came from the makers of Ultra-Man. They even have the same baton type thingy they hold up in the air, only it appears here that someone else is holding it up to summon him. I used to use an old microphone we had to “turn into” Ultra-Man.

  2. cinebeats says:

    Glad you enjoyed the clip Jonathan. Ultraman and Fireman have a lot in common and you’d probably enjoy the show if you get the chance to see it. As I mentioned above, it’s a little more adult and violent then the original Ultraman series and you get to see plenty of grown men in costumes fight!

  3. robertmonell says:

    This sounds really interesting. I have episodes of MIRRORMAN, RETURN OF ULTRAMAN, ZONE FIGHTER, which I think are all TOHO product. And I have these short GREENMAN, GODMAN, etc things which seem to be filler. You know more about this than me but I sure enjoy watching them. I only have them on tapes made for me. I wish they were on R1 DVD, including this. I do have the boxset of ULTRAMAN, which has a lot of glitches. Thanks again, Kimberly. I need to be educated on this genre.

  4. Keith says:

    This is so cool. I loved that video. I’ve got to see this and other tokusatsu. It sounds really awesome. What would be the best of any of these to start with?

  5. cinebeats says:

    Robert – I’m glad you find these tokusatsu posts interesting. I figured they’d only appeal to a small group of people, but I’ve been fascinated with theses types of shows and films since I was a kid. My earliest nightmares involved Godzilla! It’s funny that you mentioned Godman since I really like that program. Only in a Shinto/Buddhist country like Japan would they get away with naming a TV superhero Godman. It’s a shame that it was only as you mentioned a “filler” show, with very brief 5-10min. episodes. I wish it had been a full-length program. I’m afraid I only have VHS copies of many of the shows I’ll be writing about myself, but some of them are being released in Japan on DVD. It’s a shame that we don’t get more of these shows released in the US, but at least JN Productions/Kikadia Generation and BCI/Eclipse have been releasing some great old Japanese TV shows on DVD with English subtitles in recent years.

    Keith – I think you’d have fun with these types of shows if you enjoy Japanese sci-fi or giant monster movies. Sadly, there are very few shows available in the U.S. with English subs, but I highly recommend the JN Productions/Kikaida Generation DVDs for terrific shows like Kikaida and Kamen Rider V3. You can find info about them here and they should be available for rent online at places like Netflix and Greencine I would assume.

  6. Damon says:

    These posts are awesome! As someone who is totally infatuated with tokusatsu, it’s nice to finally see the genre getting some decent exposure over here. I highly recommend the recent BCI release of IRON KING (http://www.navarre.com/prodhome.aspx?ItemNumber=2225546&Prod=video) as the show is crazy, the transfer is good (the show looks its age, but the discs are subtitled and uncut), the entire series is included in the box (26 episodes) and the price cannot be beat – $39.98 retail (about $20 if you know where to look online). The Generation Kikaida DVDs are also very nice but more expensive and harder to obtain. I hope people support the official releases as I would love to see more shows get brought over here. Like this:

  7. cinebeats says:

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts Damon! I want to try and spotlight shows that haven’t got a lot of coverage in the U.S. I totally forgot about the Iron King release which is well worth a look. You also reminded me that Super Robot Red Baron was released as well and that show is a lot of fun too.

    That clip you shared is from Robot Keiji K and I’ve heard that the series will be getting released by JN Productions/Kikadia Generation sometime in the future, but I haven’t come across a release date yet. I’m looking forward to that since Robot Keiji K is one of my favorite tokusatsu shows, but I’ve only got Japanese videos of the episodes with no subs. Hopefully we’ll get an official release date for the show soon!

  8. Damon says:

    Super Robot Red Baron has been pushed back to April – looking forward to that set quite a bit (even though I have never seen the show beyond YouTube clips).

    My only exposure to Robot Keiji K has also been limited to YouTube, but what little I’ve seen has blown my mind. I had no idea that JN Productions was planning a release! Be still my beating heart. I still need to save up for their Kikaider and Kamen Rider sets.

  9. Bryan says:

    Thanks for this article it was great. I may be young, 13 to be exact, but I still love a lot of the classic Tokusatsu out there, and for someone who didn’t grow up with some of these shows dubbed over here in the U.S.(Ultraman for example)I would love to see some DVD releases.

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