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-?
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 (Oct. 19)
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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Jeff left out a critical moment in Ultraman. 80 shrunk himself down and flew into the elephant kaiju's mouth. This was teased as the first time we see him reduce his size. 

Once 80 defeated Jacky and the trickster left the kaiju, 80 grew giant again changed it back into an elephant. He even carried it back to the zoo. 


Jeff of Earth-J said:

VISITOR FROM SPACE

Kaiju: Unnamed alien seashell/elephant hybrid.

Meanwhile, Jacky the seashell is flying around investigating. It comes to rest in the local zoo and is eaten by an elephant. the elephant is then transformed into a daikaiju elephant/seashell hybrid which Ultraman 80 has to subdue. The monster eats Ultraman, too, followed by an extended fight scene with the seashell in the monster's stomach. Takeshi's students exhibit enough positive energy that Aruma decides not to destry Earth, and she goes off merrily on her way. 



Tracy's right. I couldn't quite remember how he got into the kaiju, but the point was made than he shrunk himself for the first time. [NOTE: The original Ultraman was once shrunk, but it was against his will.] I figured Jacky and the elephant somehow merged, but there Jacky was in the kaiju's stomach, somehow grown to roughly man size. 

'nuff said. :) 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Tracy's right. 

In other words, I was...

DREADFUL GAS PANIC: "UGM battles the monster Medan. After the battle, UGM finds an innocent-looking shell on the beach."

Kaiju: Medan

New UGM vehicle: Space Mammy

The "shell" mentioned above is what regenerates into Medan. After the monster was defeated for the first time, Cap gives the UGM agent permission to frolic on the beach for a while. Harada finds a shell and gives it to Jono. As the monster grows, Harada and Jono are blamed for not knowing a kaiju from a sea shell, although all of the agents were present. Medan inhales natural gas and exhales carbon monoxide. Attacking it would cause it to explode. As UGM breaks off the attack, a thunderstorm rolls in. Despite being grounded, Harada flies the Sky Higher to the scene to act as a lightning rod, buying time for UGM to develop a freeze missile and Ultraman 80 to fly the frozen Medan into space and detonate it there. Afterwards, Harada is sentenced to six months of work with no days off, Jono one. (I'm guessing UGM has no union representation.) 

THE BEAUTIFUL TRANSFER STUDENT: "A beautiful young girl joins Takeshi's class. Hiroshi falls in love with her, but where is she really from?"

Kaiju: Gora

Aliens from the planet Vibros land their spaceship inside the volcano Mt. Asaga and plant a monster egg as prelude to invasion.

Hiroshi is one of the four main kids on the show. He is kind of nerdy, wears glasses and is usually referred to as "Professor." As the episode begins, he finds a note from a secret admirer in his locker/cubby. The note asks that he meet her in the park and is signed "M." But the note is a set-up, a practical joke played by Fashion and three of her friends. (I'm disappointed in Fashion, also one of the four main students.) Their plan is to put on monster masks and ridicule him when he shows. They have an ice cream bet riding on whether or not he shows.

He does show but, before they can spring their trap, a pretty little girl introduces herself as Milly Aoyama. She says is a transfer student from the Netherlands, her father is American, her mother is Japanese, and she wants to know if Hiroshi knows where she can get some ice cream. The next day at school, Fashion and her three friends show up wearing identical jackets. They pull Aoyama aside and one of them says. "These jackets really make you want to pick on someone." (The bullying angle again.) 

Hiroshi sees what's happening and intercedes. He says, "No matter what a sardine wears, it's not a goldfish." He extends the metaphor to the fact that sardines travel together in groups, then he takes Milly by the hand and leads her away, saying, "Come, my little goldfish."

What he doesn't know, however, is that Milly is part of the invasion force and has disobeyed her parents orders to come into town (and, apparently, enroll in school). She tries, unsuccessfully, to convince her parents to call off the attack, but the monster Gora is hatched anyway. Ultraman 80 defeats the monster and repels the invasion, but Milly and Hiroshi must part, leaving them both brokenhearted. 

KNOCKOUT! FORMATION YAMATO!: "The Caps of other UGM branches are being mysteriously assassinated. and Japan's cap has been accused of murder!"

Kaiju: Saramandra

Alien race: The Gorgons

The UGM Captains of Europe and North America have been assassinated and Japan's Cap is expected to be next. The monster Saramandra, controlled by the Gorgons and also behind the assassinations, attacks, but Yamato and Cap defeat it by one flying high while the other attacks the vulnerable point under its neck. Cap is put on leave for his own protection, but a Gorgon, disguised as a human, sweet talks her way in. Cap kills the Gorgon, but it reverts to it's human form in death. Witnesses jump to conclusions and cap is in trouble. A crowd of angry protests forms, but four of them are revealed to be Gorgon rabble-rousers. and Cap's innocence is proved. Again the Gorgons send Saramanda to attack and again Cap an Yamato defeat it with "Formation Yamato." 

TELPORTATION! THE MAN FROM PARIS: "Chief Ito comes to Japan to join UGM. He seems too good to be true, but puts the officers through harsh training."

Kaiju: Zarudon

Cap's old friend transfers from the French branch, but his plane vanishes upon approach, but then he mysteriously appears on the runway. Could the real Chief Ito have been replaced by an alien? Harada and Yamata decide to secretly follow him after hours. The Chief carries a gun attached to a pack on his back, and randomly teleports from place to place. The two UGM agents trace him to a warehouse where they find dozens of missing citizens who disappeared under mysterious circumstances standing entranced before a giant stone idol. When they touch them, they wander away aimlessly. Eventually, UGM learns the real story. that the "idol" is actually Zarudon, and alien who uses teleportation and hypnosis to capture its food. Chief Ito has studied and learned its teleportation techniques, and tracked it from Europe. do I really have to say Ultraman 80 eventually fights and defeats Zarudon? I think from this point will just accept as "read" that Ultraman defeats the kaiju.

I am in the process of reviewing this entire thread in preparation for meeting the exchange student from Japan our friends are hosting later this month. Back on September 6 of last year, while discussing Ultraman X,  I wrote...

"Episodes 14 & 15 are a two-parter in which a young man and a young woman from a different monster fighting organization appear on the scene. You know how every series has a different such organization with no mention that others exist? Well, this couple is from another dimension (and he is Ultraman Victory of that dimension)."

I had completely forgotten about that! Is this the same "Ultraman Victory" as featured in Ultraman Ginga? I'll have to go back and check. 

You realize that you almost certainly know early Ultraman continuity way better than some young student will?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I am in the process of reviewing this entire thread in preparation for meeting the exchange student from Japan our friends are hosting later this month. Back on September 6 of last year, while discussing Ultraman X,  I wrote...

"Episodes 14 & 15 are a two-parter in which a young man and a young woman from a different monster fighting organization appear on the scene. You know how every series has a different such organization with no mention that others exist? Well, this couple is from another dimension (and he is Ultraman Victory of that dimension)."

I had completely forgotten about that! Is this the same "Ultraman Victory" as featured in Ultraman Ginga? I'll have to go back and check. 

"You realize that you almost certainly know early Ultraman continuity way better than some young student will?"

Yeah, I thought of that. But she will likely be of an age to have grown up with the more recent Ultraman series and Baby Metal and whatnot. I am hoping to gain some insight into some of the cultural traditions I learned about via Ultraman and Lone Wolf & Cub, and I plan to ask her to translate some CD liner notes (not everything, just identify the tracks). 

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