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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Never give an Ultraman access to stuff sticking out from your body. He will rip it off.

...and beat you with it. Case in point:

THE REVIVED MERMAN: Tthe episode opens with Gen, Momoko, Toru and Maoru taking a ferry to Hokkaido. On the beach, Alien Boze becomes entangled in a local fisherman's line. He drags the Boze to shore and graphically beats him to death with a clube for no particular reason. Meanwhile, another local is berating the son of the fisherman for fishing during festival season. He blames the man's death on "Umibozu," a local legend which doesn't appreciate people fishing during festival. 

Boze appears and kicks Gen's butt. Boze's right arm is a tentacle. Dan arrives and, using a whip to simulate the tentacle, whips Gen mercilessly. Then he gives the whip to Gen and has Gen attack him. Dan counters the whip by wrapping himself in it to draw him closer to Gen. Later, Ultraman Leo uses that technique on Boze. When he is close enough, Leo rips off Boze's tentacle and beats him with it.

Ultraman Day  to reunite some members of original cast.

Hiroko Sakurai... still as pretty as ever.

THE MYSTERIOUS BOY FROM URSA MINOR: (I dozed throughout this episode, so I'll leave it to Tracy to fill in any details I may have missed.) An explosion occurs in the constellation Ursa Minor, followed by two fireballs which make their way to Earth, landing just outside Sapporo. Dan and Gen go to investigate. they find a young boy with a pet bear cub on a chain. Dan recognizes the boy as a peaceful alien lifeform named Bock. When back landed, he accidentally killed the bear's mother. 

The other fireball is Dogue, from the constellation Taurus, an enemy of Bock. A number of human beings and cattle have been found mutilated. Dogue assumes the form of a villager, who riles the others up against Bock's bear cub. Dogue kills the bear cub (I missed that part), and I'm fuzzy on the ending, but I assume Dogue was defeated and Bock flew off into space. 

Leo does defeat Dogue but he loses his sight, temporarily, in the fight. Bock calls out directions to Leo so he can win.

This one was awful to watch. It wasn't MAC beating up on a sweet (foam) alien (costume) that doesn't harm anyone. No. This episode had real bear cubs with metal collars being dragged around on chains. They tried to make one scene look like play but the cub was clearly struggling and trying to get away. 

I SAW A GODDESS IN THE FAR NORTH!: Gen and MAC agent Kitaytama trace a spaceship which flies over the Olympic cauldron. Kitayama is a skier slated to compete in the Olympics. The spaceship was piloted by Alien Satan North (a name which itself raises all kinds of questions). Aliean Satan North fires energy  darts from its mouth which become solid upon impact. Kitayama is able to dodge the bolts and save a young woman who ends up being another alien, Goddess of Nike, on a mission of peace. 

Alien Satan North assumes giant size, and badly injures Kitayama's leg with one of his darts, now the size of a harpoon. Ultraman Leo fights Alien Satan North to a draw, but is unable to defeat it. Dan theorizes that Kitayama could avoid the creature's blasts because he was a slalom skier. Dan sets up a slalom course on a nearby hill. There's no snow, but he has apparently planted land mines at random spots among the flags. Gen runs down the hill, zigging and zagging while explosions are going off at his feet and generally looking like an idiot.

The training pays off, however. Alien Satan North is defeated and the Goddess of Nike continues on her mission of peace. 

THE LEO BROTHERS VS. THE MONSTER BROTHERS: On his way to confront the monster Gallon, Gen hears someone shouting, "Leo! Leo, help me!" He finds two boys, Leo and Asuka. Leo has been trapped by falling rubble, and a fire is moving closer. Gen saves Asuka and take him to the hospital. He tells the boys that he lost a brother under similar circumstances. Later, Dan upbraids Gen for not fighting Gallon as Ultraman Leo. Three MAC agents were killed and 17 wounded. 

When Gallon next appears, Leo flies off to confront it right away, but Gallon is joined by its younger brother, Litre (that is not a joke). Leo is taking quite a beating until a red ball of energy appears in the sky. The energy ball then transforms into (wait for it)... Leo's brother Astra! the brothers Leo and Astra defeat the brothers Gallon and Litre, and Astra flies off back into space raising several questions. How did astra survive the destruction of Planet L77? Where has he been since? And what has he been doing? 

Ultraman Astra is "Racer X" to Leo's "Speed Racer" (although Leo is the older brother). I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Ultraman Astra. Counting the boys Leo and Asuka, this episode features three sets of brothers. 

THE MISCHIEVOUS ALIEN WHO FELL OUT OF HIS BED: Alien Coru is a cheerful child alien who  loves music and pranks. He falls to earth out of his bed floating in space and is found by "Little MAC," a group formed by Toru and his friends. Alien Coru eats only donuts. He is dressed in a red leotard with a silver breat plate with a star on it, silver boots, and a silver helmet with floppy ears. He also has a tail with a red ball on the end which he uses to communicate with his pet kaiju, Renbolar. Renbolar is docile but, when one of "Little Mac" pulls off Coru's tail he loses control. His tail will take 20 hours to grow back, but he can speed the process by standing on his head and eating more donuts. Ultraman Leo battles Renbolar without really harming him until Coru's tail grows back and they both depart in peace. 

At the end of the episode, the little punks do try to get Coru to come back with loud music and lots of donuts on fishing poles. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE MISCHIEVOUS ALIEN WHO FELL OUT OF HIS BED: Alien Coru is a cheerful child alien who  loves music and pranks. He falls to earth out of his bed floating in space and is found by "Little MAC," a group formed by Toru and his friends. Alien Coru eats only donuts. He is dressed in a red leotard with a silver breat plate with a star on it, silver boots, and a silver helmet with floppy ears. He also has a tail with a red ball on the end which he uses to communicate with his pet kaiju, Renbolar. Renbolar is docile but, when one of "Little Mac" pulls off Coru's tail he loses control. His tail will take 20 hours to grow back, but he can speed the process by standing on his head and eating more donuts. Ultraman Leo battles Renbolar without really harming him until Coru's tail grows back and they both depart in peace. 

THE BEAUTIFUL VIRGO MAIDEN: A spaceship from a planet in the constellation Virgo crash lands on Earth. Aboard are two Sarlin Aliens, Dodole and his granddaughter Calorine (like "Caroline" with the l and r switched). They are being pursued by a giant robot which Dodole built and which devastated their planet. How they know their planet is in the constellation Virgo as seen from Earth (or why they would use that as a point of reference) I have no idea, but Calorine even wears the Earth symbol for Virgo on her tunic. At first, the robot appears as a spaceship, but then it sprouts a head, arms and legs, Gamera-style. 

"Repeat to yourself 'It's just a show, I should really just relax'."

Jeff of Earth-J said:

How they know their planet is in the constellation Virgo as seen from Earth (or why they would use that as a point of reference) I have no idea, but Calorine even wears the Earth symbol for Virgo on her tunic. 

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