Planet Prince (遊星王子, Yūsei Ōji) is a 1958 tokusatsu superhero television series. Created by Masaru Igami and produced by Nippon Gendai and Senkosha, the series aired on NTV from November 4, 1958 to October 6, 1959, with a total of 49 episodes (divided into several segments). It was created to capitalize on the success of the Super Giant serials. In fact, the title hero (whose alter-ego was Waku-san, played by Toshio Mimura) bore a strong resemblance to Super Giant (Starman in US). It was filmed in black and white ToeiScope format.
Toei produced two movies that featured the character, but in a completely different, more streamlined costume (and goggled helmet). The hero was this time played by Tatsuo Umemiya. The films were titled:Planet Prince (遊星王子, Yūsei Ōji) Released: May 19, 1959Planet Prince - The Terrifying Spaceship (遊星王子 - 恐怖の宇宙船, Yūsei Ōji - Kyōfu no Uchūsen) Released: May 25, 1959
For release in America, these two Planet Prince movies were compiled into a 95-minute TV movie titled Prince of Space in 1962. It was also called Invaders from Space, The Star Prince, Planet Prince or Prince Planet.
As mentioned before, the TV version looks very similar to Super Giant, in that both wear cowled costumes and capes. Each character also has super powers and flies. The two-part movie version (produced by Toei) is different, as Prince of Space wears a streamlined costume, cape and helmet. In the edited US version he has no superpowers other than the invulnerability of his costume, but in a subplot unique to the Japanese version he is able to revert a man brainwashed by the Ginsei aliens to a peaceful state. He uses weapons (a wand-like laser gun) and flies a small spaceship.
In the TV version, just like Moonlight Mask, the Planet Prince persona was credited as being played by "?" (even though he never wore a mask).
In the film, Prince's enemy is Ambassador Phantom of Ginsei (銀星のまぼろし大使) (who also appeared in one of the series' story arcs), or in the US version, Dictator Phantom of the Planet Krankor. He (along with his henchmen) wears a prosthetic nose and cowl that gives him a decidedly chicken-like appearance, something that is constantly mocked in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. Phantom and his henchmen also appear to eschew undergarments, as is made painfully obvious in several shots.
A translation error in the English dub has Prince of Space declare "Your weapons are useless against me!", implying he is invulnerable to them. In the Japanese version, this line simply had him implying that their weapons were useless because he was capable of dodging them. The English line leads to confusion as the Prince is constantly shown running away from the lasers in spite of his stated invulnerability.
Prince of Space was also featured on the nationally syndicated television series Cinema Insomnia. On the show, there is a commercial for the album Candles, Krankor and You where the Dictator Phantom sings various cover songs to popular music as "Unforgettable" and "Summer Wind".
(Americanized names in parentheses)Planet Prince/Waku-san (Prince of Space/Wally) - Tatsuo UmemiyaAmbassador Phantom (Dictator Phantom) - Joji OdaHiroko MineTakashi KandaUshui SkashiNobu YatsunaKen Sudoh