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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PLANET OF THE DINOSUARS: "Earth is attacked by a race of aliens called the Naga. A cyborg dinosaur contains a neutron bomb capable of wiping out half of all life!"

Kaiju: Weaponizer

This episode has an interesting premise if one doesn't think about it too hard. First of all, the cyborg dinosaur is discovered first. Then the alien race who created coincidentally reappears after 100 million years. The Naga also took several dinosaur specimens with them when they left eons ago and evolved them into "dinosauroids" (which look exactly like human beings except they have the arms and claws of dinosaurs). One of them, Adam, is a scientist placed as a spy on Earth. (He keeps his identity secret by keeping his hands in his lab coat pockets and refusing to shake hands.) Another, Eve, came with the Naga when they returned. Adam is in control of Weaponizer (the cyborg dinosaur), but GUTS convinces Eve to switch sides by pointing out the Naga want to destroy life on Earth including the dinosauroids, and she is in control of Weaponizer II. 

GO! MONSTER EXPEDITION SQUAD!: "Ridoma City is experiencing a phenomenon. the monster behind it is heard by a bunch of children who often lie and cause trouble for adults."

Kaiju: Litmalus

Eh.

THE DEVIL'S JUDGEMENT: "An angel appears over the skies of Metropolis. However, GUTS members feel that something sinister is lurking behind the angel."

Kaiju: Kyrieloid

Now this is more like it. the Captain, we learn, has a young son of about ten. Four years ago, while she was on assignment in Brazil, her husband was killed in an accident. She was unable to return at that time, so her husband's mother took the boy in, vowing that her daughter-in-law would never see the boy again. It's now four years later and a fuzzy image of an "angel" appearing over the city attracting the public's attention. It is against this backdrop that the boy hacks into GUTS' communication network and begs his mother to "save grandma." The "angles" are actually other-dimensional beings staging an invasion. This episode's vibe reminds me a whole lot of Doctor Who's "Army of Ghosts" (but, of course, "The Devil's Judgement" came first). 

Forgot to post yesterday so I've got two summaries today.

THE MYSTERICAL MONSTERLAND: "A family has wandered into another dimension. It is a terrifying world where the monsters Gagi and Silvergon are out on a rampage!"

Kaiju: Gagi and Silvergon

I SAW OBIKO!: "Demon Obiko has appeared and is terrifying people ever night. GUTS is asked to investigate, but Obiko toys with one member after another."

Kaiju: Obikoboushi

These were both pretty good episodes. Setting aside the word "mysterical" for a moment, a family on vacation drives their car trhough some sort of dimensional portal (as one does). The "monsterland" is roughly cube-shaped with transparent walls. In the next one, Obiko is sort of a local spirit about to be displaced by new construction over the site which used to be a village. Obiko has been living in the body of an elderly midnight noodle vendor. Tiga has to defeat him, but soft, sad music plays during the battle. 

ONE VANISHING MOMENT: "Before a plan to exterminate a group of troublesome critters is executed, Monster Jobarieh appears."

Kaiju: Jobarieh

The capsule summary above may say "critters" but the actual translation of the creatures is "Clitters,"  which made for a lot of unintended double entendres ("We've got to find the Clitters!"). The main story dealt with a young GUTS agent who is very gung ho. The Captain is also gung ho, in contrast to agent Rena, who is pacifistic. There is also a young medic who is very pacifistic. The young medic and the young agent are sweet on each other, but are of different philosophical bents. The medic's views are pretty extreme. She believes that the very existence of GUTS is actually drawing monsters, that if they would stop fighting, monsters would stop invading. Inthe end, Jobarieh is dealt with violently and the Clitters are handled peacefully. The young lovers lock eyes as their hands touch.

A WHITER SHADE OF PALE: "Shinjo has changed since his accident during the test flight, becoming strangely obsessed with the popular pop star Maya Kurusu."

Kaiju: Alien Natarn

A continuity implant layered atop an EYKIW. (Or is it the other way around?) Maya is revealed to be GUTS agent Shinjo's long lost sister, BUT... they are both aliens. When their ship crashed on Earth years ago, the girl alien's life force was fused to the body of a little girl who was killed in a car accident caused by the crash of the aliens' ship. "Shinjo" and his family were forced to leave his sister behind when they returned to their planet because reasons. He later returned to Earth to search for his missing sister and joined GUTS at that time. 

THE MONSTER ZOO: "Daigo and Rena take their first day off in a long time and a monster suddenly appears at the zoo. GUTS deploys immediately."

Kaiju: King Molrat

The zoo visited by Daigo and Rena not only includes giraffes and gorillas and other exotic animals, but also a barnyard full of cows guests can milk. We learn that cows are shy and gentle creatures which must be treated gently. Suddenly, a kaiju appears. (We learn later that it was a mole grown to enormous size after being subjected to radioactivity.) GUTS is scrambled but, when Rena notices the monster is crying, she begs the commander to call off the attack. Currently the monster, used to the dark, is immobilized by the light of the sun, but it is feared it will go in search of food (the cows) after the sun sets.

Sure enough, it does. Daigo becomes Ultraman Tiga, but Rena again intervenes, eventually convincing Tiga to use in atom compression beam to restore the monster to normal size, at which point the farmer adopts it as a pet and they all feed it fresh milk. Because it is a combination of a mole and a rat, they cleverly name it "Molrat" (or "Molie" for short). The original Ultraman would have killed it no matter what; he wouldn't have had any choice in the matter. 

GUTS BASE UNDER ATTACK: "A creature from planet Bizarmo is found inside a meteor at the South Pole. But it is only concerned with its own reproduction."

Kaiju: Bizarmo

The creature starts out as a kind of slime, which finds a way to communicate with the GUTS team by slithering into a laptop computer. the first thing it does is to beg for mercy. It turns out that this creature consumes pollution and industrial waste turning it into pure oxygen. It was an artificially created lifeform which fled to Earth when its home planet was destroyed. (It claims no knowledge of what led to the planet's destruction.) A mutually beneficial relationship would seem to be indicated, but the creature has no interest in peaceful coexistence; it's going to overrun the planet in any case. 

I feel as though that's the story that GUTS told everyone after they killed the thing.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

A mutually beneficial relationship would seem to be indicated, but the creature has no interest in peaceful coexistence; it's going to overrun the planet in any case. 

THE BATTLE OF ZELDA POINT: "A strange bird heads to the location where the deadly Zelda Gas is contained. A pet bird has come back after being transformed into a monster."

Kaiju: Sheila

 20 years ago, a little girl was killed in an explosion caused by Zelda Gas. She was playing with her pet parakeet at the time. She was able to shoo the bird, Sheila, out the window just before the house exploded. The bird, however, was badly singed in the explosion. Now, 20 years later, a daikaiju is seen flying to the an area where Zelda Gas is know to exist. Fearing a disaster, GUTS attacks. And, as usual, GUTS has completely misinterpreted the situation. The kaiju is actually Sheila, now transformed into "Sheilakeet" by the gas, and its intention is to prevent an explosion. Sheilakeet neutralizes the threat, but not before being mortally wounded. The original show would have left it there, but in this version, Tiga flies its body out into space where it dissolves, reforms and is reunited with the little girl who flies on its back into space. 

"Zelda Gas"?

"Urp. 'Scuse me."

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE BATTLE OF ZELDA POINT: "A strange bird heads to the location where the deadly Zelda Gas is contained. A pet bird has come back after being transformed into a monster."

Kaiju: Sheila

 20 years ago, a little girl was killed in an explosion caused by Zelda Gas. She was playing with her pet parakeet at the time. she was able to shoo the bird out the window just before the house exploded. The bird, however, was badly singed in the explosion. Now, 20 years later, a daikaiju is seen flying to the an area where Zelda Gas is know to exist. Fearing a disaster, GUTS attacks. And, as usual, GUTS has completely misinterpreted the situation. The kaiju is actually Sheila, now transformed into "Sheilakeet" by the gas, and its intention is to prevent an explosion. Sheilakeet neutralizes the threat, but not before being mortally wounded. the original show would have left it there, but in this version, Tiga flies its boby out into space where it dissolves, reforms and is reunited with the little girl who flies on its back into space. 

VAMPIRE CITY: "The Magazine writer Onada reveals to Munakata that vampires are behind disappearances, and that his former partner is among the suspects."

Kaiju: Kyuranos

Japanese vampires are the coolest. 

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