The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly (1957)

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Credits for The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly

The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly
The Japanese poster for The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly
Alternate titles
Flagicon Japan.png Invisible Man and Fly Man (1957)
See alternate titles
Directed by Mitsuo Murayama
Producer Hidemasa Nagata
Written by Hajime Takaiwa
Music by Tokujiro Okubo
effects by
Toru Matoba
Distributor DaieiJP
Rating Not Rated
Running time 96 minutes
(1 hour, 36 minutes)
Aspect ratio 1.37:1
Rate this film!
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The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly (透明人間と蝿男,   Tōmei Ningen to Hae Otoko, lit. "Invisible Man and Fly Man") is a 1957 Japanese tokusatsu science fiction horror film directed by Mitsuo Murayama and written by Hajime Takaiwa based on an idea by Toshikazu Yamano, with special effects by Toru Matoba. Produced by Daiei, it was the studio's second film inspired by the novel The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, after The Invisible Man Appears in 1949. It stars Yoshiro Kitahara, Junko Kano, Ryuji Shinagawa, Ikuko Mori, Joji Tsurumi, Yoshihiro Hamaguchi, and Shozo Nanbu. The film was released to Japanese theaters by Daiei on August 25, 1957 as part of a double feature, first with Suzunosuke Akado: The Vacuum Slash of Asuka, and then with Headbutt and Karate Chop.[1]


Ryoki Watanabe, the president of Watanabe Construction, is murdered on a Japan Airlines flight. The killing took place in a bathroom none of the stewardesses can recall anyone else entering. None of the passengers interviewed by the police knew him, although one, Doctor Hayakawa, postpones his interview due to a recent heart attack. The police chief suggests a link to two equally unexplained bank robberies that took place in recent months. Chief Inspector Wakabayashi notes that the victims in all three cases offered no apparent resistance, and died in a state of character. Interviewing Hayakawa and his daughter Akiko, Wakabayashi alarms them by joking that the perpetrator must have been invisible. Working with Dr. Tsukioka, Hayakawa has just recently unlocked the key to invisibility while studying cosmic rays. Their assistant Sugimoto demonstrates their machine by turning a glass invisible, but says they have never tested it on anything living.

The bank robber strikes again, with no evidence the safe was even entered save for a matchbox from a nightclub called Asia. The owner, Tatsuya Kuroki, denies all involvement. He introduces Wakabayashi to Hajime, his bartender and a karate hobbyist. Soon after, another murder takes place: a man seems to materialize behind a woman named Noriko Maeda before stabbing her and vanishing. Detective Tada happens to be on the scene, and hears a buzzing sound as she points to the sky. Kuroki has an alibi; so does Maeda’s boss, Kusunoki.

Following Hajima as he walks to visit one of Asia’s dancers, Mieko, Wakabayashi watches him swat at what appears to be a fly. He too is fatally attacked after rounding a corner, with Wakabayashi arriving too late to see the murderer. He too hears a buzzing sound. His fellow investigator Hayama uncovers a connection between Watanabe and several earlier victims: all were assigned to the same secret military project at the end of World War II. After comparing notes with Wakabayashi, Tada brings up the buzzing sound they both heard. Wakabayashi calls Sugimoto, who considers a shrinking human theoretically possible, but unlikely in practice. Determined to prove that invisibility has practical applications, Sugimoto interrupts the Hayakawas’ dinner wearing an invisible cloak and gloves. The ray only worked on the parts of him less exposed to sunlight, so he needs the accessories to achieve the full effect.

The murderer, a twisted smile on his face, strikes again, stabbing Kuroki. He takes out a vial and releases the gas within, shrinking himself down to diminutive size. Buzzing through the air, he visits Kusunoki next — and the businessman sets down a pool of liquid which restores him to his normal size. Convicted as a war criminal and left stranded on the island where he helped develop the shrinking gas, Kusunoki has been using it to take revenge on his former associates, although he has almost run out of the ampules. His hitman, Yamada, has become addicted to it and more sadistic as a result, killing Maeda, Hajima, and Kuroki over his possessiveness of Mieko. His next victim is Hayama, who he outmaneuvers during a nighttime chase.

Tsukioka attempts to develop a machine to cure invisibility, but the ray it emits proves lethal when tested on rabbits. At Asia, Yamada uses another ampule to lust over Mieko undetected, though it backfires when she mistakes him for a fly and swats him away. Enraged, he kills her just before she walks on stage. Wakabayashi has no luck advancing his Human Fly theory before the police chief, and with the bodies piling up, he begs Tsukioka to turn him invisible to crack the case. The scientist refuses on moral grounds. As Hayakawa and Sugimoto continues to work on a cure, Yamada infiltrates the lab and kills them both. After the funeral, Tsukioka uses the invisibility ray on himself. He drops in on Yamada and Kusunoki, who are at odds over Yamada’s failure to steal the ray, and hears them plan a second attempt. Once inside the lab again, Yamada dives into a vat of chemicals, killing him instantly. The police discover his remains at normal size, but with no possible mode of entry besides the vents, Wakabayashi deduces that he was the Human Fly.

The detectives charge Kusunoki with the murders, but seem to have no proof until Tsukioka enters the office, offering his testimony. Asking to change in the next room before he goes down to the station, Kusunoki uncorks an ampule and escapes. With all of Tokyo on alert, Kusunoki kills a passer-by, then calls Wakabayashi and Tsukioka to demand the invisibility ray. When Tsukioka refuses, he sets off a bomb beneath a train, killing 790 passengers, and threatens to do it again the following week.

Wakabayashi meets Kusunoki atop the Marunouchi Building to hand over the device. The new Human Fly arrives by helicopter, allowing him to spot the soldiers surrounding the building. He reveals he has already set the next bomb to explode, then demands Tsukioka reveal himself. Instead, Wakabayashi attacks him during the handoff, foiling his efforts to set off an ampule, but loses his gun. As he flies away, he reveals that he planted the bomb far away on Christmas Island. To their surprise, he returns to the helipad moments later, held at gunpoint by Akiko, now invisible herself. He manages to disarm her, but Wakabayashi shoots him, causing him to fall off the roof.

Tsukioka, having perfected the invisibility cure, agrees to turn the machine over to the government, but not before using it one last time on himself and Akiko to give a group of reporters the slip.


Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.

  • Directed by   Mitsuo Murayama
  • Written by   Hajime Takaiwa
  • From a story by   Toshikazu Yamano
  • Based on characters created by   H. G. Wells
  • Executive producer   Hidemasa Nagata
  • Planned by   Osamu Yoneda
  • Music by   Tokujiro Okubo
  • Cinematography by   Hiroshi Murai
  • Production design by   Taijiro Goto
  • First assistant director   Kiyoshi Ishida
  • Director of special effects   Toru Matoba


Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.

  • Yoshiro Kitahara   as   Chief Inspector Wakabayashi
  • Junko Kano   as   Akiko Hayakawa
  • Ryuji Shinagawa   as   Dr. Tsukioka, the Invisible Man
  • Ikuko Mori   as   Mieko
  • Joji Tsurumi   as   Sugimoto
  • Yoshihiro Hamaguchi   as   Detective Hayama
  • Shozo Nanbu   as   Dr. Hayakawa
  • Bontaro Miake   as   chief of the Metropolitan Police
  • Ichiro Izawa   as   Kokichi Kusunoki, the Fly Man II
  • Shizuo Chujo   as   Yamada, the Fly Man I
  • Ko Sugita   as   Hajima
  • Tatsuo Hanabu   as   Director Tada
  • Yasuo Harumoto   as   Tatsuya Kuroki
  • Koichi Ito   as   chief detective
  • Shoichi Kawashima   as   detective
  • Kazuko Miyakegawa   as   policewoman
  • Teppei Endo   as   doctor
  • Ken Yamaguchi   as   professor
  • Kyoko Anan   as   maid
  • Chikayo Matsuo   as   waitress
  • Kan Takami   as   old bank custodian
  • Koji Matsuyama   as   Sadanaga, reporter
  • Shinji Takada, Ryuichi Ishi   as   reporters
  • Toshiko Hashimoto, Kinuko Mochidome   as   stewardesses
  • Kazuo Sumida, Eiichi Takamura   as   golfers
  • Toru Konoki   as   branch manager
  • Saburo Sakai   as   deranged man



  • Dr. Tsukioka
  • Kokichi Kusonoki
  • Akiko Hayakawa
  • Yamada

Alternate titles

  • Invisible Man and Fly Man (literal Japanese title)
  • Transparent Man and Fly Man (alternate English title)[2]

Video releases

Kadokawa DVD (2005)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Special features: Unknown

Kadokawa DVD (2014)

  • Region: 2
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Special features: Audio commentary and photo gallery

Arrow Video Blu-ray (2021)[3]

  • Region: A and B
  • Discs: 1
  • Audio: Japanese (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Special features: Booklet containing essays by Keith Allison, Hayley Scanlon, and Tom Vincent (first pressing only), interview with critic and genre scholar Kim Newman, trailer for The Invisible Man Appears, photo galleries
  • Notes: Packaged with The Invisible Man Appears.


  • This film shares part of its Japanese title with the Japanese release of the much better-known 1958 American science fiction film The Fly, which was released in Japan as Horror of the Fly Man (ハエ男の恐怖,   Hae Otoko no Kyōfu), though with the 'Fly' in "Fly Man" spelled in katakana rather than kanji characters. While both films feature "fly men," The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly actually predates the latter film by almost an entire year.


This is a list of references for The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]

  1. "透明人間と蝿男 - Wikipedia".
  2. Shoemaker, Greg (Spring 1972). Cinefantastique. vol. 2. p. 4. |volume= has extra text (help)
  3. "The Invisible Man Appears / The Invisible Man vs. The Human Fly Blu-ray". Arrow Films. 18 December 2020.


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