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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THE DAY WHEN THE PLANETS ALIGN: "An unidentified object causes a solar eclipse. UGM investigates who launched the object, and discovers a lost civilization."

This episode begins like one of Snoopy's novels: there is an eclipse, a volcano erupts, and there is an earthquake. UGM investigates and finds a group of young campers being harassed by several people wearing white robes with hoods and white, plastic masks with no eyes. The UGM team enters a cave where a split opens in the ground and they fall into only to discover an underground civilization. I don't know how this jibes with Ultraman Victory, but Tracy read online that they went underground to avoid the Ice Age.

The Princess (I'll call her) shows the UGM agents photos of all the planets in the solar system, then a schematic of the solar system itself. the next slide shows all of the planets aligned in sysygy. Back at UGM HQ, one f the UNDA troops pulls Jono's sidearm and shoots his commanding officer (for some reason). A missile is sent to destroy whatever it is that's eclipsing the Sun. Ultraman 80 defeats a daikaiju that suddenly appeared and attacked the underground city. Above ground, the campers are grateful.

For the second episode in a row, Takeshi has stopped in the hallway at UGM HQ to speak to a pretty girl, who Tracy recognized as the secretary from the school where he teaches (or "used to teach," I should say). Checking online, Tracy learned that, due to increased kaiju activity, Takeshi was forced to quit his teaching job and devote his full time to UGM. (Now that I think about it), we haven't seen the kids or the school in several episodes.) The girl, BTW, is not the school secretary, but rather a lookalike. 

Match the Show with the Organization

1. Ultraman

2. UltraSeven

3. Ultraman Ace

4. Ultraman Taro

5. Ultraman Leo

6. Ultraman Orb

7. Ultraman Geed

8. Ultraman x

9. Ultraman 80

A. SSP

B. AIB

C. TAC

D. XIO

E. ZAT

F. MAC

G. UGM

H. SSSP

I. Ultra Guard

Answers:

1. SSSP (Science Special Search Party), Better known as simply the "Science Patrol," an offshoot of the United Nations Scientific Investigation Agency

2. Ultra Guard (a,k,a, "Ultra Garrison"), an offshoot of the Terrestrial Defense Force

3. TAC (Terrible-monster Attacking Crew)

4. ZAT (Zariba of All Territory)

5. MAC (Monster Attacking Crew)

6. SSP (Something Search People)

7. AIB (Alien Investigation Bureau)

8. XIO (Xeno Invasion Outcutters)

9. UGM (Utility Government Members)

I notice I forgot Ultraman Jack. That one is...

10. MAT (Monster Attack Team)

(Ultraman Ginga didn't have one.) 

Must be hard for the people doing the new ones, coming up with new names for these organizations.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Answers:

1. SSSP (Science Special Search Party), Better known as simply the "Science Patrol," an offshoot of the United Nations Scientific Investigation Agency

2. Ultra Guard (a,k,a, "Ultra Garrison"), an offshoot of the Terrestrial Defense Force

3. TAC (Terrible-monster Attacking Crew)

4. ZAT (Zariba of All Territory)

5. MAC (Monster Attacking Crew)

6. SSP (Something Search People)

7. AIB (Alien Investigation Bureau)

8. XIO (Xeno Invasion Outcutters)

9. UGM (Utility Government Members)

I notice I forgot Ultraman Jack. That one is...

10. MAT (Monster Attack Team)

(Ultraman Ginga didn't have one.) 

When Naomi Yumeno's mother pays a visit to SSP HQ in Ultraman Orb, she criticizes the grammar of the name, saying (what translates into English as), "'Something Search People'? It should be 'Search for Something People.'" Now that I have found out that a Baby Metal song title translates as "Strategy [ask for something]," I'm guessing [(verb) for something] must be an idiomatic expression in Japanese. 

SOS!! INVASION OF THE SPACE AMOEBA: "Space Amoebas have killed everyone aboard the Space 7. Can UGM prevent the Space 7 and its deadly cargo from reaching Earth?"

Remember Mattel's "Slime"? This episode must have used it (or something like it) by the barrel. 

The Space 7 looks like some sort of cargo tanker returning from space. A third crewman leaves the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit to go examine the cargo hold. He is shocked to see green slime running down the walls. Suddenly, large chunks of it break off and fly across the room, slapping his face like a ping pong paddle against naugahyde. Soon, UGM gets work that the Space 7 is in trouble. Takeshi and two others launch the Space Mammy to investigate. Takeshi goes EVA, sees the dead crew, returns. They talk about it, then Takeshi punches each one in the stomach, knocking them both out. He goes EVA again, but this time he boards the craft and takes off.

His fellow agents recover and pursue. I'm not sure where he's taking the Space 7, but he eventually crash lands on what looks like the Moon. (Tracy thinks it's the planet where the slime came from.) The "space amoeba grows to giant size and Ultraman 80 defeats it. Takeshi's friends land on what, again, looks like Earth's Moon, but they open their space helmets while on the surface, so who knows? Back at UGM HQ, the episode ends on a freeze frame of them both punching Takeshi in the gut.

Lots of (barely) "trick" photography was used to make the slime look more terrifying... or terrifying at all. they ran the film backwards at times to make it look as if it were moving from compartment to compartment; they flipped the camera upside down to make it look as if it were crawling up a wall rather than running down it. 

I forget to mention... the color of the "slime" is not the bright green of the Mattel product, but rather it is the color (if not the consistency) of guacamole. Later in the episode, it looks more like guacamole that has started to turn. 

THE PLANET OF TRAITOROUS ALIENS: "Aliens invite Earth to join the utopian Galactic Federation. UGM is suspicious of the aliens' offer."

The episode begins with a huge flying flying saucer hovering over Tokyo. A benevolent-sounding female voice broadcasts a message to a backdrop of utopian cityscapes and still photos of a little girl blowing soap bubbles. That follows is a series of meetings and talking heads scenes. At one point, the UGM agents are ambushed by what appear to be a small group of security guards but are, in fact, android robots. The UGM agents blast their gun arms off and throw them in a pile.

Next, government officials are shown meeting with the aliens face-to-face for the first time. They are wearing spacesuits, and their segmented heads display features both mechanical and organic. there is no daikaiju this episode; the flying saucer telescopes out a bit and Ultraman 80 fights that.

I definitely saw where "V" might have gotten inspiration from this episode. As soon as the spaceship stopped over the city and the female voice started talking, I was picturing both the 1983 and 2009 television debuts. 

Yeah, the beginning of V is very similar to the beginning of that episode (which is actually titled "The Planet of the Traitorous Androids," BTW), but Ultraman 80 uses that "Imperial flyby" from the opening of Star Wars every time the space Mammy is shown.

A BEAUTIFUL CHALLENGER: "Jun, a UGM cadet, keeps trying to outdo Emi. will Jun's challenges go too far?"

The episode begins with what looks like a high school girls' swim team practice. the scene shifts to the girls jumping rope and doing calisthenics in a gymnasium, when in walks Takeshi and Jono in uniform. One of the girls in particular, Jun, stands out. She is assigned a red cadet uniform and is taken to UGM for further training. Jono and Jun are flying maneuvers when some flying saucers attack. Jono shoots down one of them. Later, Jun finds the pilot and shelters him for some reason. (Because there are no subtitles, I don't know if she knows he's the pilot, but it's pretty obvious.) He signals his people. When the flying saucers return for him and attack UGM HQ, Jun apparently feels so guilty she steals a jet and attacks. Her plane is shot down but she is saved just in time by Ultraman 80.

For, like, the fifth episode in a row, Takeshi meets with the lookalike school secretary (whose name is Yuri, I gather) while going about their business. This is the last of the un-subtitled episodes I have to watch. 

All of these shows have earworm theme songs but, once we've made our way through a series, they tend to fade. But Tracy has been complaining that "Ultraman 80" has been stuck in her head for a solid week. 

Our cat's name, "Baby", can be substituted for "80", and "Baby Cat" for "UGM" so that...

Urutora Man 80

He comes to us from a star!

...becomes...

Ultra-Super Cat Baby

She comes to us from the yard!

...and...

Standby UGM!

Take off UGM!

Straight ahead UGM!

...becomes...

Standby Baby Cat!

Take off Baby Cat!

Straight ahead Baby Cat!

CHARGE!

Awesome.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

All of these shows have earworm theme songs but, once we've made our way through a series, they tend to fade. But Tracy has been complaining that "Ultraman 80" has been stuck in her head for a solid week. 

Our cat's name, "Baby", can be substituted for "80", and "Baby Cat" for "UGM" so that...

Urutora Man 80

He comes to us from a star!

...becomes...

Ultra-Super Cat Baby

She comes to us from the yard!

...and...

Standby UGM!

Take off UGM!

Straight ahead UGM!

...becomes...

Standby Baby Cat!

Take off Baby Cat!

Straight ahead Baby Cat!

CHARGE!

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