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).

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-?
Ultraman Great 1990 - p.25
Ultraman Powered 1993 - p.25
Ultraman Hero 1995
Ultraman Zearth (parody) 1996-97 - p.26
Ultraman Tiga 1996-97 - p.25 (Oct. 19)
Ultraman Dyna 1997-98 - p.26
Ultraman Gaia 1998-99
Ultraman Neos 200-2002
Ultraman Cosmos 2001-02 - p.34
Ultraman Nexus 2004-05
Ultraman Max 2005-06
Ultraman Mebius 2006-07
Ultraman UltraSeven X 2007
Ultraman Retsuden 2011

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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THE DAY WHEN THE PLANETS ALIGN: "An unidentified object causes a solar eclipse. UGM investigates who launched the object, and discovers a lost civilization."

This episode begins like one of Snoopy's novels: there is an eclipse, a volcano erupts, and there is an earthquake. UGM investigates and finds a group of young campers being harassed by several people wearing white robes with hoods and white, plastic masks with no eyes. The UGM team enters a cave where a split opens in the ground and they fall into only to discover an underground civilization. I don't know how this jibes with Ultraman Victory, but Tracy read online that they went underground to avoid the Ice Age.

The Princess (I'll call her) shows the UGM agents photos of all the planets in the solar system, then a schematic of the solar system itself. the next slide shows all of the planets aligned in sysygy. Back at UGM HQ, one f the UNDA troops pulls Jono's sidearm and shoots his commanding officer (for some reason). A missile is sent to destroy whatever it is that's eclipsing the Sun. Ultraman 80 defeats a daikaiju that suddenly appeared and attacked the underground city. Above ground, the campers are grateful.

For the second episode in a row, Takeshi has stopped in the hallway at UGM HQ to speak to a pretty girl, who Tracy recognized as the secretary from the school where he teaches (or "used to teach," I should say). Checking online, Tracy learned that, due to increased kaiju activity, Takeshi was forced to quit his teaching job and devote his full time to UGM. (Now that I think about it), we haven't seen the kids or the school in several episodes.) The girl, BTW, is not the school secretary, but rather a lookalike. 

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