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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I thought it was one of the male crew massaging the male commander... or the female commander. Or maybe it was the female agent (Rena) massaging the female commander. I thought they switched it up. In any case, there's a lot of massaging going on at GUTS HQ. I think Tracy's exact words were, "Bob better not tell me it's customary for female subordinates to give their male bosses massages in Japan." 

I've never heard of that happening, but who knows?

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I thought it was one of the male crew massaging the male commander... or the female commander. Or maybe it was the female agent (Rena) massaging the female commander. I thought they switched it up. In any case, there's a lot of massaging going on at GUTS HQ. I think Tracy's exact words were, "Bob better not tell me it's customary for female subordinates to give their male bosses massages in Japan." 

Yikes! It's been four months since we stopped watching Ultraman (Tiga). Now that TV is off the air for awhile, we figured it was time to get back in the groove. Here's what you need to know:

  1. GUTS is the monster-fighting organization
  2. Daigo is Ultraman Tiga

PHANTOM DASH:

Kaiju: Gazort II

"Monster Gazort returns and is stronger than ever. Mayumi is put in danger when she goes out to meet her boyfriend."

Mayumi is the sister of Tetsuo, one of Daigo's fellow GUTS agents. She is eager for her brother to meet her boyfriend, Takuma, who is flying in from another city. He is a motorcycle racer. Before his plane can land, however, it is wrecked by Gazort. GUTS goes to engage the monster and are joined by a mysterious, black-clad rider on a black motorcycle. Because Gazort energy is plasma-based and because souls are basically plasma, the spirit of Takuma was able to manifest long enough to avenge his own death. 

THE REVIVED DEMON: "Legend says a demon was trapped on Mt. Sukuna. When raiders steal the magic sword from the temple, the Mt. Sukuna demon is resurrected."

Kaiju: Sukunaoni

Sukunaoni is a (partially) clothed, sword-wielding demon. It has two horns on its head and a single, Cyclopian eye. It also breathes fire. It has stringy white hair but, when it flips its hair, a second face is revealed on the back of its head. Good kaiju design. 

THE BATTLE BETWEEM RED AND BLUE: "Cases of mysterious disappearances have been occurring late at night. GUTS begins and investigation and meets an alien helping an old lady."

Kaiju: Standel Redol and Standel Abolbus

In order to share the resources of their home planet, the Blue aliens (Redol) use it only during the day, and the Red aliens (Abolbus) only at night. (I don't know if those are their names or the names of their respective races.) Now the Red aliens want to invade the day, but they need to recruit fighters from Earth who can exist in both night and day. A Blue alien follows a Red alien to Earth, but is wounded in his initial battle and ends up being looked after by a lonely old woman who must be half senile because she doesn't seem to realize Redol is an alien. The Standels look like robots but are probably aliens in armor (or perhaps cyborgs). When Tiga realizes Abolbus is sensitive to light, he drives him away with his chest beam. 

GOLZA STRIKES BACK!: "The dormant Mt. Kiriki erupts. GUTS is suspicious of the magma's inexplicable flow, and deploys Underground Tank Beaver to investigate."

Kaiju: Golza

This is a very by-the-numbers episode, unremarkable except for the revelation that GUTS' subterranean vehicle is called "Underground Tank Beaver." 

GUTS INTO SPACE (PART 1): "A group of robots are causing people to panic. Rena spots a mechanical island in space; danger is closing in on Earth."

Kaiju: Gobnu (Giga)

Some might refer to an "island in space" as an asteroid. Japan is overrun by an army of what looks like men in armor or robots. They are pretty easy to blast apart, but the suits are empty. GUTS uses bulldozers to gather them into a big pile, which eventually becomes a dai kaiju

GUTS INTO SPACE (PART 2): "Tiga barely survives Giga's plot. GUTS stidies Giga's recovered parts and learns an entity is looking to destroy the Maxima Overdrive."

Kaiju: Gobnu (Ogma)

These past few episodes have become very "space-oriented"; that is, a large part of the action takes place in outer space , albeit in near-Earth orbit. (The "Maxima Overdrive" is GUTS' "starship.") Tracy has noticed that, in GUTS HQ, the round meeting table sometimes revolves... for no particular reason

Cue Bob Cobert music sting.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Tracy has noticed that, in GUTS HQ, the round meeting table sometimes revolves... for no particular reason

No, it's mechanical (not supernatural) but it's a round table. Just sit somewhere else. What were the engineers who built thinking? If someone wanted to see a particular viewscreen or something, he could simply (I don't know) turn his head. No, instead let's design the table to rotate so it will look more "interesting" on TV.

DEBAN'S TURN!: "Demon Enomena, who attacks the human brain and sends people into a violent rampage, is followed by a group called the Happy Friends."

Kaiju: Debandadeban and Majin Enomenha

Wherever Majin Enomenha appears, people are driven insane. GUTS notices that a troupe of clowns has been at the scene of all four attacks and concludes that they are controlling the monster. Travelling with the clowns is a little monster, Deban, that everyone thinks is a guy in a costume. (He looks like a cross between Pigmon, a fire hydrant and the top of the Chrysler Building.) He has two horn-like devices one his head (helmet?) which emit soothing waves which actually help to drive the Majin away. As one might expect (Pigmon), Deban gives his life defeating the Majin but, we learn in the end that the clown troupe faked his death so that he may go on traveling and performing with them.

THE FOG IS COMING: "The Space Observation Center is experiencing a strange magnetic field, and the nearby village has been turned into a ghost town."

Kaiju: Magmia

Another space-oriented episode. We had an SOC at my old job, too, but it stood for "System Operations Control."

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