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-?
Ultraman Dyna 1997-98 - p.26
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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Sing! Big Monster Match -

Of course I'm missing some seriously weird episodes. That episode sounds bizarre! 

There are only four to go!

THE MONSTER SIGN IS V!: This episodes monster, Garaking, can roll himself into a ball. He lands on Earth and immediately begins attacking Tokyo International Airport, causing a panic. A young woman, Yuki, is there to become a flight attendant. As she is running away, she finds a young boy named Mo-chan who has fallen and hurt himself. She carries the boy piggy-back and makes pretty good time because she's wearing sensible shoes. At one point she turns and scolds Garaking for causing a panic, and surprisingly, this seems to work. ZAT arrives and Kotaro begins to scold her for not running away. She tells him that there's a nursing home next door and that he should do something about helping the old folks inside who can't run. 

She carries Mo inside in an attempt to help the old people. ZAT drives Garaking away and she is sad because she always roots for the underdog and kaiju are cute. Her stewardess test is not until tomorrow, so she stays to help out at the nursing home until then. When it comes time for her to leave, an old man pretends to be sick to get her to stay. She overhears a conversation between two of the elderly that their grandchildren never visit and if only the children in the playground next door would come over. 

Yuki goes to the playground where the children are playing volleyball and announces that she is going to be their coach. She drills them mercilessly, but they do get better. Then she announces that the children are going to play a game against the old folks, which she quickly organizes. While the seniors are playing the juniors, Garaking returns and we learn that he's afraid of jet engines. He loves playing with balls and ball-like objects, though, and begins playing with a spherical fuel take, endangering everyone. 

She goes outside and challenges Garaking to a game of Volleyball, and plays a good game. Ultraman Taor arrives and beats Garaking pretty badly, to the point its whimpering and rolls itself up into a ball. Yuki begs Taro not to kill Garaking, so Taro picks it up and "serves" it into space. When it comes time for Yuki to leave to take her test, all of the seniors and children fake illnesses and injuries to get her to stay. when she realizes how much she is needed, she gives up her dream of becoming a flight attendant to become a nurse in the old folks' home. 

Oh! I didn't explain the significance of the title to yesterday's episode (not that anyone asked). During one of the volleyball games, Yuki taught the children a cheer that spelled V-I-C-T-O-R-Y and their sign is "V".

FATHER OF ULTRA AND THE BRIDE HAVE COME!: Kotaro's fellow ZAT agent, Tadeo, is nearly killed in a kaiju attack. Later, when he visits his mother, she has a surprise for him. His childhood friend, Tamako (or Tama-chan, as he calls her) is visiting. Her father has recently died, and she has come to Tokyo to fulfil the arringed marriage their fathers made between them when they were babies. She hangs around for a couple of days, but eventually comes to realize that Tadeo has no interest in getting married.

On the day she is to leave, they visit the site where the kaiju Rindon lay dead. (I guess the plan is just  to leave it there until it decomposes...?) Anyway, it's attracting quite a crowd. Suddenly, it comes back to life! Tama-chan seeks shelter in the same building Rindon chose to take a rest. Kotaro is about to make the change to Taro, but Tadeo's mother throws her arms around him insisting that he help Tadeo rescue Tama-chan. Somehow knowing that Taro cannot change (I guess), Father of Ultra appears and slays Rindon.

Unfortunately, Tama-chan was mortally wounded. She now understands what it means to be the wife of a ZAT member, and that knowledge alone, she feels, will get her into heaven. Tadeo says he already considers her to be his wife, and she dies happy in his arms. Then the Father of Ultra brings her back to life! The next scene is what I assume to be a traditional Shinto wedding. At the end of the ceremony, the priest says, "Done! In short, the two of you are married from today. Join hands and work hard!" 

Ha! We should have someone say that to us on our anniversary. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

At the end of the ceremony, the priest says, "Done! In short, the two of you are married from today. Join hands and work hard!" 

You wouldn't go with "Hold hands, you lovebirds!" ?

Tracy of Moon-T said:

Ha! We should have someone say that to us on our anniversary. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

At the end of the ceremony, the priest says, "Done! In short, the two of you are married from today. Join hands and work hard!" 

"You wouldn't go with 'Hold hands, you lovebirds!'?"

We used that at our wedding.

This would not surprise me.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

"You wouldn't go with 'Hold hands, you lovebirds!'?"

We used that at our wedding.

STEAL THE LIFE OF ULTRA!:

Set-Up; ZAT's Captain disappeared after the first couple of episodes, leaving the chubby, long-haired lieutenant in charge. The Captain has shown up in random episodes since, but nothing is every said about where he has been or where he goes. He's been in maybe five or six episodes total. Now, after the lieutenant finally got a haircut, the Captain returned in the previous episode with another lieutenant in tow.

This lieutenant reminds me a of character I've seen in a Toho movie, but I can't remember which one. the guy I'm thinking of is older, skinny, wears horn-rimmed glasses and has a moustache. He also wore a pith helmet. (I'm thinking he was in either King Kong vs. Godzilla or Mothra.) Anyway, this new lieutenant looks like him, but he's also missing a few teeth.

It seems odd to introduce a new character so close to the end of the run, but in this episode here's in charge, and the captain and original lieutenant are gone. He is in such frail health that at first it seems as if he's going to die of a heart attack. Later, when held hostage by this week's kaiju, he tries (but fails) to commit suicide. Later he helps to save the day.

Episode: The monster Dorobon defeats Ultraman Jack out in space and proceeds to Earth. He walks around with a lantern, calling Taro's name. Jack appears in human form and warns Kotaro that their is a war being fought out in space, and Dorobon may use the new lieutenant, Nitani Kazumi, as hostage to get Taro to fight in the war of Dorobon's side. 

Jack transforms into his giant form, and is defeated. Dorobon twists the light from Jack's chest and affixes it to his own. Jack's empty suit and helmat fall to the ground. Now Dorobon wants to steal Taro's power as well. But Taro knows the power has a limit, and he tricks Dorobon into using all his energy. (This is the same strategy later used by Rocky Balboa against Clubber Lang.) Taro twists the light off Dorobon's chest, re-affixes it to Jack's empty suit, sprays him with energy and brings him back to life.

Taro flies Jack into the Sun, and Lt. Kazumi finishes off Dodobon. Later, at ZAT headquarters, Kotaro and the others pledge their loyaly to the new lieutenant. 

Maybe Tako from King Kong vs. Godzilla?



Jeff of Earth-J said:

This lieutenant reminds me a of character I've seen in a Toho movie, but I can't remember which one. the guy I'm thinking of is older, skinny, wears horn-rimmed glasses and has a moustache. He also wore a pith helmet. (I'm thinking he was in either King Kong vs. Godzilla or Mothra.) Anyway, this new lieutenant looks like him, but he's also missing a few teeth.

"Maybe Tako from King Kong vs. Godzilla?"

Yeah, that's who the new lieutenant looks like (minus the pith helmet).

I knew I could count on you!

I met this guy today. He's not a kaiju but he was friendly. 

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