I was a big fan of Ultraman when I was a kid. In the early ‘90s I discovered there was a new “Ultraman” show, but unfortunately I was more interested in acquiring episodes of the old show on VHS than I was episodes of the new one. Somewhat later I discovered that there have been many, many “Ultraman” series over the years, rivaling Doctor Who in its longevity. A brief search of the internet yields the following results (but I’ve probably missed a few).

Ultra-Man 1966-67
Ultra-Seven 1967-68
Ultra Fight 1970-71
Return of… 1971-72
Ultraman Ace 1972-73
Ultraman Taro 1973-74
Ultraman Leo 1974-75
Ultraman 80 1980-81
Ultimate Hero 1995
Ultraman Tiga 1996-97
Ultraman Dyna 1997-98
Ultraman Gaia 1998-99
Ultraman Cosmos 2001-02
Ultraman Nexus 2004-05
Ultraman Max 2005-06
Ultraman Mebius 2006-07

Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster 2007-08
Ultraman Retsuden 2011+

We’ve been discussing other tokusatsu series in this forum lately, and because those series were produced later than Ultraman, I expected them to be technically better, but I ended up being somewhat disappointed in Super Robot Red Baron and Iron King. I enjoyed them, but I didn’t like them as much as I hoped to. Now I’ve started watching Ultraseven, and it’s everything I hoped it would be.

As the liner noteson the DVD set point out, “the difference in the overall quality in production between Ultraman and Ultraseven was marked, and made the show memorable 45 years later. According to Wikipedia, “Such is his popularity that Ultra Seven (or simply 'Seven') has appeared or at least made cameos in nearly every Ultra Series following his own and has had far more exposure than even the original Ultraman (though the original Ultraman is without a doubt the face of the Ultras).”

My wife and I disagree about the relative merits of Ultraseven in comparison to SRRB/IK. I would like to start the discussion with a look at the opening title sequence and music, then open the floor for rebutal.

The title sequence of Ultraman, as you will recall, looks as if it had been spelled out in a can of paint, slowly stirred, then run backwards. Ultraseven looks more like it had been spelled out in brightly colored confetti, placed atop one of those old electric football games, shaken apart, then run backwards. Whereas the soundtrack of Ultraman is jazzy, that of Ultraseven shows more of a classical influence.

Here is the English translation of the lyrics…

Seven… Seven… Seven… Seven…

Seven! Seven! Seven!
Seven! Seven! Seven!

A distant star was once his home
Ultra Seven! Fighter Seven!
Ultra Seven! Seven! Seven!

Onward to the edge of the galaxy
Use your Ultra-Eye and… STRIKE!
Seven! Seven! Seven!
Seven! Seven! Seven!

Dan Moroboshi is his borrowed name
Ultra Seven! Hero Seven!
Ultra Seven! Seven! Seven!

Defeat the great fire-breathing monster
Use yout Ultra-Beam and STRIKE!

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Terochilus 

In the episode we watched last night, Ultraman got his @$$ handed to him pretty bad by the kaiju du jour (to mix two foreign phrases). He beat a strategic retreat and flew toward the Sun to replenish his energy. Suddenly, a voice was heard warning him not to fly too close to the Sun lest he be caught in its gravitational pull. Too late! He’s caught, and begins to plummet into the fiery surface. Just then, a familiar fanfare is heard, followed by the words…

Seven… Seven… Seven… Seven…

Seven! Seven! Seven!
Seven! Seven! Seven!

…and Ultra-Seven flew to his rescue!

Tracy and I stood up and cheered!

Seven gave Ultraman (Jack) an ultra-bracelet, a new weapon to add to his arsenal, to use whenever he finds himself in that much trouble again. It’s pretty lethal.

Everyone, meet Snuffleupagus! 

This monster has something else in commpon with Snuffleupagaus in that he was (at first, anyway) invisible to all but Jiro.

Tracy also pointed out he looks like the aardvark from the Pink Panther cartoons.

Me, I think he bears a striking resemblance to another well-know aardvark.


One thing I noticed was the snout seemed to grow longer when he fought Ultraman. It grew long enough to wrap around Ultraman's neck to choke him. 

Surprisingly, Ultraman did not rip it off and beat him with it.

KAIJU DU JOUR: MAGNEDON

This monster controls magnetism as well as heat from volcanic magma. The red horns on its back generate heat like a bar-b-que grill (as Ultraman learned when he was flipped atop it). This is one of the monsters I feel particularly sorry for, because all it really wanted to do was to sleep. But it was near a hydroelectric dam so first MAT then Ultraman attacked it mercilessly.

MAT reduced Magnedon to bits. Then Ultraman flew it into space and beat it to a pulp. The pieces burned up in reentry. No peaceful dormancy in space for Magnedon. 

Something special for Friday: a clip of all the Ultramen.

I've seen these for Doctor Who but not Ultraman.

Thanks to Tracy for finding this!

KAIJU DU JOUR: BEAKON

This monster feeds on radio waves and television signals and has the unique ability to broadcast its attacks on television late and night when all the stations are off the air. (Remember those days?)

To defeat Beakon, MAT authorized all radio and television programs to cease in Tokyo in order to protect it, then the plan was to lure the monster out to sea with radio waves. the plan almost went awry when a little kid fired up his ham radio to contact his friend George in the United States.

The spoke only Japanese, and I wondered who in the U.S. he could be talking to, but I was assuming his friend was his own age. Tracy suggested he might be communicating with George Takai. I don't know if George Takai was a ham radio enthusiast or even if he speaks Japanese, but I like that explanation.

In the episode we watched Sunday, MAT's commander was reassigned to the MAT space station and their new commander was reassigned from the New York branch. (He's still Japanese, though, not American.)

Last night's episode was pure fantasy. A star-eating monster was "eating" the stars of the Big Dipper as well as the consellation Cancer. The monset who lived there (who just happens to be crab-shaped) fled to Earth. Ultraman fought it, but eventually realized the real problem was the monster eating the stars. He flew off into space and defeated it, then return and gave the not to the crab-monster that it was safe to return to its home in the stars... not before having ripped off its claws, though. Perhaps they'll grow back.

KAIJU DU JOUR: Kupukupu and Kingstron

A cute, harmless monster comes to Earth and MAT decide to put it to death just in case. They put it in a cage and blow it to bits in front of a group of school children. One of them picks of a fragment of Kupukupu, takes it home and, through the power of imagination, transforms it into a truly fearsome creature he names Kingstron.

KUPUKUPU:


KINGSTON:

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