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
Return of…(Jack) 1971-72
Ultraman Ace 1972-73
Ultraman Taro 1973-74
Ultraman Leo 1974-75
Ultraman 80 1980-81
Ultimate Hero 1995
Ultraman Tiga 1996-97
Ultraman Dyna 1997-98
Ultraman Gaia 1998-99
Ultraman Cosmos 2001-02
Ultraman Nexus 2004-05
Ultraman Max 2005-06
Ultraman Mebius 2006-07
Ultraman UltraSeven X 2007

Neo Ultra Q 2013
Ultraman Ginga 2013
Ultraman Ginga S 2014
Ultraman X 2015-16
Ultraman Orb 2016
Ultraman Geed 2017
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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SURPASS THE ULTRA BROTHERS!: While Kotaro teaches a young boy to ride a bike that is way too big for him, the monster Tyrant makes his way to Earth from Neptune. "Tyrant" is composed of three different kaiju costumes: one for the head, one for the torso, one for the legs. That's not the only cost-cutting measure on display. This is basically a clip show. On its way to Earth, it visits each planet in the solar system (which are conveniently aligned) which are for fome reason being "patrolled" by the five other Ultra-Brothers. Tyrant defeats each of them in turns, while the announcer shows clips and asks questions such as, "Do you remember this, from February 12, 1967?" 

THE MOTHER'S WISH, A MIDWINTER'S SAKURA BLIZZARD: This episode's kaiju comes from "Galaxy 81" and immediately "collides with Ursa Minor." I'm not quite sure how that could happen. (At least it wasn't "Kasterberous.") It has a unique method of defense (or would that be offense?).

This kaiju would bend over and fart on the ZAT vehicles. "Stinky!"

The monster first hid as an imprint on the side of the wall. A 10 year old boy saw the image and traced it into shape. I'm not surprised that its attack was a smelly fart. 

THE PHANTOM MOTHER IS A MONSTER MASTER!: (Try saying that five times fast.) Kotaro's friend's father lost his wife, Shingo, in a car accident 10 years ago, so he built an android replica of her (as one does). For some reason, he dressed her in a wedding gown. It comes to life with a hatred of all automobiles. During a thunderstorm, it is struck by lightning which it absorbs through its bouquet of roses. Then it redirects the electricity back out through the bouquet into the grave of the woman's pet parrot. (I don't write these, I just watch 'em.) The corpse of the dead parrot is transformed into a kaiju. After the the monster and android are defeated, Shingo herself appears, ascends to heaven, turns into a star, and serves as a beacon to space traffic.

This is a weird episode even for this show. 

PICKLE THE MONSTER IN SALT! is the actual name of this episode, but it might just as well be ANOTHER MONSTER FARTS! An alien race which wants to steal all of earth's Vitamin C sends an egg the size of a volleyball. It is found by a small boy whose father runs a fruit stand and who doesn't like to eat his vegetables. The egg hatches and out comes a small kaiju that looks like a baby crocodile. the boy feeds it his vegetables and it grows, first to the size of a dog, then a horse, then a giant. Because it eats only vegetables, its farts are particularly smelly. It seems to be having a good time, though, and isn't really doing all that much damage.

The boy's father tells him that if he fed the monster, then he is responsible for defeating it. They lure it with the vegetables from their stand, and the drool just pours from its mouth. Because the monster eats so many vegetables (I guess), Taro gets the idea to pickle it. He gets a large amount of salt from a factory and puts it insode an empty oil tank. The pickling process shrinks the monster back to normal size, the boy gives it a string of vegetables, and taro sends it off into space. After this, the boy learns to enjoy eating his vegetables. 

Tracy will be out of town next week but has given me permission to proceed with Ultraman Taro in her absence. Unfortunately, that means no more illustrative photos or color commentary. 

Well, we'll just have to rely on you to keep us up to speed on the monsters'  gastrointestinal peculiarities.

OH! TARO'S GOING TO BE EATEN!: This episode's cultural touchstone is Setsubun, the cultural tradition of throwing beans on the first day of Spring to ward off ogres and to bring good luck. The ogre Kisaragi is naturally upset at this tradition. She feels that, because Taro is an alien, he should not side with the humans and transforms herself into a kaiju and traps Taro inside a bean. Despite the vast number of beans consumed in this episode, no farting is involved. 

SHE WORE RED SHOES: This episode is based on a children's nursery song, Akai Kutsu. ZAT agent Kitajima finds a red shoe and remembers his childhood sweetheart, Mari, who was taken away by a stranger when they were both very young. She returns as an adult, but she is really a plant to infiltrate ZAT HQ. She turns into a kaiju and yes, it wears red shoes.

Here is a LINK to the song, lyrics and English translation. 

THE WHITE RABBIT IS A BAD GUY!: Another episode based on a children's nursery song. this episode's puppet-like kaiju looks like a Mexican Pinocchio and arrives on Earth after falling off the tail of a comet. Rather than me trying to explain the plot, why don't you just listen to the song?

Here is a LINK to a medley of two songs, the first about the white rabbit, the second about the moon. (Tracy, you will like the one about the moon.)

Those lyrics weren't imaginative. The moon is round like a tray. 

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