If you have seen the TV series ULTRASEVEN, you know that the heroine of the show is "Anne Yuri" (called "Donna" in the now nigh-forgotten Cinar English dub aired on TNT), played by the lovely and talented Yuriko Hishimi. In fact, Hishimi embodies Anne so well that it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role.
But suppose that wasn't always the case?
I have a theory, and I will be the first to admit that I know of no anecdotal support for it. Still, circumstantial evidence for it seems to point to...well, something. My theory is that Yuriko Hishimi was not the first choice to play Anne Yuri in ULTRASEVEN.
Well then, who else might have played the part? This woman.
Anne Mari is not well-known even among Japanese film fans in the West, but it appears she had carved out an impressive career for herself by 1967. So much so, I don't think it would be a stretch to imagine Tsuburaya Productions wanting her as a regular on one of their shows. Plus, there is the fact that she had already played a similar role ("Patra", from Science Patrol India) in an episode of ULTRAMAN.
Also - Anne Mari, Anne Yuri? Is this just chance? Maybe, maybe not.
So, why did Anne Mari not play the part of Anne Yuri, if it was offered to her? Who knows? Maybe she wanted to maintain her film career and felt it might interfere. Whatever the reason, Yuriko Hishimi ended up as the heroine of ULTRASEVEN and it wound up being the defining role of her career. Personally, I like them both.
2010 Commentary : An earlier version of this piece ran on my old Livejournal on September 12, 2005. The omission of a link for my friend M.Y. Chong is mainly because I have no idea what (if any?) site she currently uses.
This article gained an interesting second life after I posted it, and is one of those times when you have to file things under "You just never know!" Why's that? This is why. At least, I think that is the original, as I seem to recall it got a lot of mileage.
Sadly, my own translation attempts and inquiries to others better-versed in Japanese all indicate that Japanese fans are unaware if my theory is true or not. They do, however, appear to be intrigued by it. I wonder if I am the first person to suggest it?
Also, please note that the Japanese blog author felt the need to provide a special translation for the phrase "ended up." Who woulda guessed THAT would be the part that got "lost in translation?"