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 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!
I would also say that "chan" is also a bit informal with "san" being the most formal. My customers who got to know me better back in the day would eventually start calling me Travis-chan over Travis-san.
I was distressed to learn recently that Tracy is not enjoying Ultra-Q as much as I am.
I last night’s episode, a supersonic jet falls through some sort of dimensional rift. They “land” in a cloud-like region populated with a variety of WWII-era aircraft which were lost under “Bermuda Triangle” circumstances. There are a variety of character types to play off against each other, including a criminal handcuffed to his guard/escort. What really makes the episode click is that they passengers are menaced by a giant, prehistoric walrus.
We have only one episode left to watch. :(
When I first heard this news, I posted it to a discussion of its own on July 11. I completely forgot about this thread discussing UltraSeven and Ultra-Q, which I re-discovered while searching for Bob’s discussion of the current Ultraman manga series. I’ve moved the link here and deleted the other discussion. I can see myself really getting into these series, following other long-term viewing projects such as Dark Shadows (US), Doctor Who (UK) and Prisoner: Cell Block H (Australia). The news has inspired us to re-watch the Ultra-series we already own (except Ultra-Q at this time). We have already finished Ultraman and are well into UltraSeven our second time around. I was going to post something about UltraSeven, but I’ve just re-read this entire thread and discovered there’s really no need. When we finish UltraSeven, I do have something else in mind, though.
Inspired by the above announcement, I decided to re-watch Ultraman and Ultra Seven, then move on to some other “Ultras” I have acquired over the years in anticipation of Ultra Jack, the next in the series following Ultra Seven. (I figured I might have to wait a while for the first three series (including Ultra Q) to be released by this new source before they caught up.) tracy and I blasted through Ultraman (the second time together), but we kind of stalled 5/6 of the way through Ultra Jack the second time. We recently knocked out the remaining eight episodes and I was ready to take a break, but Tracy discovered two other “ultra” series are currently available: Ultra Orb and Ultra Geed. Right now they’re sitting in our Amazon cart awaiting purchase, but here’s a “heads up” that we plan to get to these early in the New Year if anyone would care to watch alone.
I can be very persuasive.
Oh, that should have been "Ultra Seven the second time."
And the new DVDs are Ultraman Orb and Ultraman Geed.
"Right now they’re sitting in our Amazon cart awaiting purchase..."
Scratch that. Right now they're in my posession. Tracy handed them to me when she walked in the door. each of these Ultramen has a series followed by a movie. "Orb" comes first.
I have an Ultraman movie on VHS somewhere. I should dig it out and see which one it is.
Don't let Jeff paint a picture of complete devotion. I watch the episodes. I make fun of the plots and monsters. I usually grumble over the way the female characters are written. (Sometimes I'm on my phone texting.) However, I love the kaiju monster films so Ultraman is in my appreciation wheelhouse.
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Not only is there no chance that I could ever talk The Lovely and Talented to watch even a single episode of one of these series, but the words "the second time" in your last post suggests you and I aren't even living in the same marital universe.
Sometimes, when Tracy has had a hard day at work, she comes home and watches the dai kaiju fight scene from Destroy All Moinsters. she finds it very cathartic. I also have a DVD of all the Godzilla trailers, in order, which she uses for the same purpose.
“There no chance that I could ever talk The Lovely and Talented to watch even a single episode of one of these series”
That’s what The Lad is for, yes?
“We plan to get to these early in the New Year if anyone would care to watch alone.”
“If anyone would care to watch along,” I meant to say. No one expressed any interest, so we went ahead with Ultraman Orb. Unlike Doctor Who, which also started in the ‘60s and also has lasted five decades, “Ultraman” is still very much a children’s show, at least Ultraman Orb is. But it’s aimed at a wholly different generation of children. First of all, the special effects are phenomenal, better than any “suitmation” kaiju I have ever seen. The gymnastics are better than on the original show, and so are the martial arts.
But so much of this show is designed to sell toys! First of all, instead of a beta capsule or a pair of ultra-glasses, this Ultraman has a hand-held device with a lighted ring on the end. [See LINK] He also has a series of six “trading cards” of previous Ultramen (Ultraman Jack, Ultraman Ace, Ultraman Tiga, etc.) which he inserts into the ring so that he may “borrow the power of [their] lights!” He doesn’t transform into them specifically, but he can mix and match them to become Ultraman Orb Spacium Zeperion, Ultraman Orb Hurricane Slash, Ultraman Orb Burnmite, Ultraman Orb Thunder Breastar or Ultraman Orb Orb Origin, all of which have different specific looks and powers and weapons (38 of them by my count), such as the Orb Slugger Lance
He has a complicated backstory, which is revealed in dribs and drabs. Known as Gai Kurenai on Earth, he hangs out with the Something Search People, three teenagers who self-finance their own website dedicated to investigating kaiju and paranormal phenomena. Their leader is Naomi Yumeno, most often referred to as “Cap.” Cap is shown working a variety of odd (sometimes very odd) jobs to finance the website. The other two are Jetta Hayami and Shin Matsudo. One is science-oriented and one is computer-oriented, but they are both strictly comic relief. Cap’s uncle, the token adult, is a member of the official kaiju agency. In his giant form, Orb speaks more than any of his predecessors I have ever seen, and the SSP do not know his identity.
Ultraman Orb’s arch enemy is Jugglus Juggler, who used to be his friend until Gai was granted the power of light. (Think Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.) Juggler also has a hand-held device which he uses to summon kaiju. Card playing a big part of the show, usually played by alien invaders. So the cards can be used by fans to pretend with their toy ring-devices, or slightly older kids can play games with them or collect and trade.
Although aimed at children, Ultraman Orb is quite imaginative and addictive.