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 Q  
Ultraman 1966-67
UltraSeven 1967-68 - pp.1-5
Return of…(Jack) 1971-72 - pp.10-13
Ultraman Ace 1972-73 - pp.14-15
Ultraman Taro 1973-74 - pp.16-25
Ultraman Leo 1974-75 - pp.26-33
Ultraman 80 1980-81 - p.25, 38-46
Ultraman USA (The Adventure Begins) 1987
Ultraman Great (Towards the Future) 1990-91 - p.25
Ultraman Powered (The Ultimate Hero) 1993 - p.25
Ultraman Hero 1995
Ultraman Zearth (parody) 1996-97 - p.26
Ultraman Tiga 1996-97 - p.25, 46-50
Ultraman Dyna 1997-98 - p.26, 50
Ultraman Gaia 1998-99
Ultraman Nice 1999-00
Ultraman Neos 2000-2001
Ultraman Cosmos 2001-02 - p.34
Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy 2004
Ultraman Nexus 2004-05
Ultraman Max 2005-06
Ultraman Mebius 2006-07
Ultraman UltraSeven X 2007
Ultraman Retsuden 2011-13
Neo Ultra Q 2013
Ultraman Ginga 2013 - pp.34-36
Ultraman Ginga S 2014 - pp.36-38
Ultraman X 2015-16 - pp.15-16
Ultraman Orb 2016 - pp.6-8
Ultraman Geed 2017 - pp.8-9
Ultraman R/B 2018
Ultraman Taiga 2019
Ultraman Z 2020
Ultraman Trigger 2021

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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MONSTER GAME: "Asuka is attacked by an alien! Super GUTS! is on high alert, but nothing happens. Then one day, Asuka investigates further." [What a crappy, uninformative capsule summary!]

Kaiju: Alien Chein

A big company which manufactures video games sponsors a contest which is played via the consoles it manufactures. The point of the game is for players to create their own monsters and pit them against one another online. The stats used can be from real monsters, or ones the kids make up themselves. Sometimes they start with a real monster then add additional features of their own imaginations. One boy's creation, Demagorg, is particularly formidable. When it wins the contest, the game manifests the monster in reality and takes over the boy's mind. It's really a clever concept. The monster displays  the characteristics of a two-dimensional video game, and Dyna must find a way to defeat it without harming the boy. 

FOREST OF THE APE-MAN: "Descendants of the giant ape man were discovered in West asia. But a team excavating tries to wipe out the ape men obstructing their work."

Kaiju: Gigantes (male and female)

The Japanese don't do giant simians very often, but when they do the results are always memorable. Asuka crash lands in the forest where the giant apes live. The male is aggressive, but the female saves his life. Later, when Dyna appears, the male tries to assert dominance. Knowing the score, Dyna allows himself to be defeated.

For the past couple of episodes, Ultraman Dyna has had a new closing theme song, Ultra High. It's kind of heavy metal. Here are the lyrics in English.

Ultra, Ultra, Ultra high!
Ultra, Ultra, Ultra

The hot lightning that cuts through the darkness
Is a shining light

Fly, oh fly fly
Higher Ultra

Love and peace
To protect love and peace
Oh Oh Dyna, wherever he is

Ultra, Ultra, Ultra high!
Ultra, Ultra, Ultra

Dyna, unsullied eyes
Are projecting dreams that are shining

Continuing to seek distant dreams
Is the journey of light

The invincible power
Hidden in your Ultra chest

Love never dies
The more you encounter a strong opponent
Oh Oh Dyna,
Burn up

Ultra, Ultra, Ultra high!
Ultra, Ultra, Ultra

Dyna, with unshakable force
Fly to the burning sky

Ultra, Ultra, Ultra high!

IN THE LIGHT OF FATE: "Asuka is ordered to go to Moon Base Garowa. He's assigned to the Zero Drive Project, the cause of his father Kazuma's disappearance."

Kaiju: Gaigaraid

This is a very sentimental episode. the officer in charge of the zero Drive Project is the same one who delivered the news of his father's death to Asuka when he was a boy. He is very hard on him, but Azuka rises to the challenge. While on the flight, Azuka encoubters a kaiju, which is more of an intrusion than a plot development. 

INVASION SCENARIO: "After the monster factory plan fails, the Alien Meiji lose their means of getting home, so they hide out in a cheap apartment."

Kaiju: Kogaraon

Three human-looking aliens from previous episodes team up. 

A writer for a movie or TV show about "Taruman" has his script rejected because the special effects would be too expensive to film. In desperation, he throws it away but the aliens find it and hire him to write a plot in which Ultraman Dyna can be defeated. He is reluctant at first, but the three aliens pay his six months back rent. Individually, these aliens were threatening; together they become the Japanese Three Stooges.

I don't know if any of you have movie theaters that run Fathom Events nearby, but they're doing a 2-night screening of Shin Ultraman on Jan 11 & 12. I'm planning on going on the 11th. Anyone else?

Ooh, thanks for the heads up! We haven't been to a movie since COVID. This may break the logjam.

BATTLE TO DEATH! DYNA VS. DYNA: "Four giant pillars suddenly waro out to the R2 District and Monsarger appears. Asuka tries to turn into Dyna, but a man in all black appears."

Kaiju: Monsarger, Gregore

Again, that's a crap capsule summary. Monsarger, a kaiju Dyna has defeated before, reappears, but it has been "upgraded." Before Asuka can transform, "Ultraman Dyna" appears on the scene and drives it off. A young girl had been taking photgraphs of Asuka, and she is the only eyewitness who realizes that wasn't the real Dyna. Gregore appears to Asuka. He is the one who upgraded Monsarger and who transformed into the duplicate Dyna. He has come to challenge Dyna to a martial arts duel. (He didn't appear in his real form because he didn't want to end up fighting GUTs.) Asuka doesn't want to fight, but the girl photographer gives him a pep talk. When Monsarger reappears, it defeats the real Dyna, then the fake Dyna defeats it. The "pillars" (which like more like giant swords) are actually the boundries of a fight ring. Dyna fights and, remembering the girls words, wins.

THE SINGING EXPLOSION ROBOT: "The moon Sorvino is discovered. the robot TM-39 is sent there and is adored due to its adorable character, receiving the name Lovemos."

Kaiju: Lovemos/Satan Lovemos

Sorvino is a newly discovered moon orbiting Saturn. Lovemos is a robot that is supposed to evoke R2-D2 but is in reality more like K-9. It malfunctions and if brought back to Earth, where it rebels and takes over Super GUTS HQ, drawing equipment into itself and growing to giant size. Mai reaches it with her love for the original Lovemos. Most of the Ultraman kaiju have been organic, either alien of from ancient Earth; it's refreshing to see a giant robot once in a while (not to mention a singing explosion robot!). 

STAR OF PEACE: "The reporter Hasumi was asked by a girl named Sonoka to investigate her friend who turned into an alien."

Kaiju: Menopha, Alien Narziss

This episode is unusual in that it is told almost entirely from the POV of an investigative reporter distrustful of Super GUTS. After a press conference, the story follows him back to his apartment. The next morning he is awakened by a little kitten ("Sella," as it happens) crawling across his face and a teenage girl in his room. She explains that her friends are acting out of character and that she suspects them of being aliens and wants him to investigate. Instead of explaining that that's just  the onset of puberty, he shoos her away but she leaves the cat. 

That night, she goes to her boyfriend's house, tells him she had an argument with her father, is running away from home and asks to spend the night, but he turns her away. If you've ever been a teenage boy, you know how unlikely a scenario that is! She goes back to Hasumi's pad and he lets her spend the night, which sets off all kinds of bells and whistles in my mind. Nothing happens, but the optics are not good. 

In a surprise twist, Sonoka's father turns out the be the commander of Super GUTS! What has happened is, the alien  Narziss has perfected a way to drain all of the negative emotions out of teenagers and combine them into a daikaiju, so Dyna ends up fighting a ball of adolescent angst called Menopha. Interesting. 

We got our tickets to see Shin Ultraman January 12. We were going to go tonight but the best seating was picked over. 

You're probably better off seeing it dubbed. The talky scenes are shot weirdly -- you'll see what I mean -- where the only visual element on the screen is often on the top left or top right of the screen, so your eyes are pulled both to that and the subtitles. I'm normally a subtitle guy, but this was a bit of a strain. 


"You're probably better off seeing it dubbed."

Was that the difference between Wednesday and tonight? We weren't aware of that. We picked tonight simply because of the seats; otherwise, had we known, we probably would have chosen the subtitled one, too. In any case, the version we saw tonight was dubbed... pretty well, too. I really liked it. I'm glad that that was the first movie we saw in the theater in three years. 

Yeah, Wednesday's show was subtitled, and Thursday's was dubbed.

And what a fun time! I'm looking forward to seeing it again when I can watch it at home.

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