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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ULTRAMAN DYNA: I'm not sure what I watched, but it wasn't an origin episode. It was very much like Ultraman Tiga, but a bit sillier. the man who becomes Ultraman Dyna is Asuka and his team is not just GUTS, but Super-GUTS. I think I'm just going to post the lyrics to the theme song and leave it at that.

Wow wow, Dyna!
What is courage, Dyna?
What is the meaning of love?
Ultraman Dyna, oh!

The people of Earth are crying
The skies themselves recoil in fear
Our dreams stolen away from us

(Flash!) Ask for what reason
(Miracle!) Ask for whose sake
(Strong!) It is that you have that power

When the star of Ultra twinkles in the sky
A new light will come upon us
Of that you can be sure

Wow wow, Dyna!
Until your last breath, Dyna!
You must fight for righteousness!
Ultraman Dyna, Dyna!

The very ground trembles
The wind quivers
Our homes broken before our eyes

(Flash!) To protect this world
(Miracle!) To protect its people
(Strong!) You must never give up!

When we all believe in the star of Ultra
That is when our world shall find peace
Of that you can be sure

Wow wow, Dyna!
Until your last breath, Dyna!
You must fight for righteousness!
Ultraman Dyna, Dyna!

Super-GUTS has has it's own theme song, partially in English. I cannot find a translation of the Japanese lyrics, but here is an excerpt of the ones I found.

Super GUTS Super GUTS
Fly to sky

Super GUTS arata na yume e
Take off

Stop by GUTS ikou
Victory for my happiness
Come on to operation
Three two one FIRE!
Super GUTS hikari totomoni
Take off

"Someone's in the kitchen with Dyna..."

ULTRAMAN ZEARTH:

I actually watched this several weeks ago. It was apparently released in conjunction with the Ultraman 30th Anniversary and titled "The  Wonderful World of Ultraman." I thought it was only one show, but apparently there's a sequel on my DVD, too, which I have not watched yet. (I just haven't been in the mood.) Someone else watched it, though, and here's what he had to say about it:


The Baron said:

Re-watched the 1997 epic Ultraman Zearth 2: Battle of the Supermen – Light & Shadow. Ultraman Zearth is Asahi Katsuto, who works for Mydo, a sort of combination Science Police/gas station, which has the usual wise old commander, goofy fat guy and cute young woman, as well as a clam-headed monster mascot.  Zearth is beaten early in the picture by Shadow, an evil Ultraman under the control of Lady Benzen Alien, who wants to enslave humanity.  Katsuto spends most of the picture regaining his confidence by learning to kick a volleyball out of a tree, with the support of his standard-issue kid pal.

 

Overall, it’s mildly amusing kiddie fare, with heaping helpings of borderline grotesque overacting and a couple of the kinds of scenes  one finds in Japanese pop culture that make you cringe and think “What were they thinking, putting that in a kidfilm?”

According to Tracy, Ultraman Zearth (pronounced ZAY-ath) is a parody, which explains not only the obvious and way over-the-top sexual innuendo throughout (which is, I think, what Bob was alluding to above), but also why Ultraman Zearth is not on the list of Ultramen I found online. I probably will get around to watching Ultraman Zearth 2 at some point (plus I've got three discs of Ultraman Cosmos), but right now I've got Ultraman Leo waiting on deck. 

Yeah, the sexual innuendo made me cringe at times.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

ULTRAMAN ZEARTH:

I actually watched this several weeks ago. It was apparently released in conjunction with the Ultraman 30th Anniversary and titled "The  Wonderful World of Ultraman." I thought it was only one show, but apparently there's a sequel on my DVD, too, which I have not watched yet. (I just haven't been in the mood.) Someone else watched it, though, and here's what he had to say about it:


The Baron said:

Re-watched the 1997 epic Ultraman Zearth 2: Battle of the Supermen – Light & Shadow. Ultraman Zearth is Asahi Katsuto, who works for Mydo, a sort of combination Science Police/gas station, which has the usual wise old commander, goofy fat guy and cute young woman, as well as a clam-headed monster mascot.  Zearth is beaten early in the picture by Shadow, an evil Ultraman under the control of Lady Benzen Alien, who wants to enslave humanity.  Katsuto spends most of the picture regaining his confidence by learning to kick a volleyball out of a tree, with the support of his standard-issue kid pal.

 

Overall, it’s mildly amusing kiddie fare, with heaping helpings of borderline grotesque overacting and a couple of the kinds of scenes  one finds in Japanese pop culture that make you cringe and think “What were they thinking, putting that in a kidfilm?”

According to Tracy, Ultraman Zearth (pronounced ZAY-ath) is a parody, which explains not only the obvious and way over-the-top sexual innuendo throughout (which is, I think, what Bob was alluding to above), but also why Ultraman Zearth is not on the list of Ultramen I found online. I probably will get around to watching Ultraman Zearth 2 at some point (plus I've got three discs of Ultraman Cosmos), but right now I've got Ultraman Leo waiting on deck. 

"Yeah, the sexual innuendo made me cringe at times."

I do think it would go over the heads of most children, though. The kids would appreciate it on one level and the adults another.

ULTRAMAN LEO

I've had this set for a few weeks now but I've put off watching it because setting up a new series is so much work! I'm just going to hit the highlights in this post, though, and fill in the details as they become relevant. Whereas Ultraman Taro was colorful, with a light tone and often comedic stories, Ultraman Leo was  "darker in tone, featuring a tragic protagonist who faces challenges one after another and grows by overcoming them" and is presented as a show that "intensely conveys the toughness and sorrow in living." Another change from previous series is the increased use of serialized stories. All of the previous Ultra-brothers, except Taro, will be seen throughout the course of this series, plus a few new ones we'll deal with in their time. 

ALTER EGO: Gen Otori

TRANSFORMATION ITEM: Leo Ring

ORGANIZATION: MAC (Monster Attacking Crew)

CAPTAIN: Dan Moroboshi 

I will deal with other members of the MAC team as they are introduced.

THE DAY WHEN ULTRASEVEN DIES, IS THE DAY WHEN TOKYO SINKS!

As the first episode begins, UltraSeven has returned to Earth to continue his mission. He is fighting twin monsters Black Giras and Red Giras. They cripple him by wrenching his knee so badly he can no longer hold his Ultra-form. Gen Otori appears on the scene, transforms to Ultraman Leo and drives Black and red Giras from the scene. As Gen Otori, he introduces himself to Dan Moroboshi. Whereas all of the other Ultraman have been brothers from Nebula M78, Ultraman Leo is from Planet L77 which is located in the constellation Leo. When his world was destroyed, he relocated to Earth because of its similarity to his home planet L77. When Dan Moroboshi tries to transform into UltraSeven, his glasses (transformation item) melt. He becomes Gen Otori's mentor and asks that he join MAC.

Twinkling in space shines the emerald
Earth's end is coming, it is said
In this time someone must take a stand
In this time someone must move on!

Our peace must not be broken...
The future of all people must be protected

The eye of the lion is shining!
Ultraman Leo
Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo
Burn on Leo, Burn on!

Suddenly the tempest increases its scourge
Suddenly the flames blow up
As the prophecy comes true
As the end is being told

We must not forget courage!
We must not forget gentility!

The eye of the lion is shining!
Ultraman Leo
Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo, Leo
Burn on Leo, burn on!

Given The Lad's "real" name, now I want to find a download of that song, so I can play it randomly around the house and drive him nuts!
Mission Accomplished (with the expected result)!

There are many versions of the theme song on You Tube.

THIS is the one that's going to become stuck in my head for the next several weeks.

All of the Ultraman themes are earworms. Several years ago, Tracy bought a comprehensive CD of all of the Ultraman shows, but unfortunately it was composed almost entirely of intrumental music rather than the TV show themes. 

THE GREAT SINKING! TWILIGHT OF THE JAPANESE ARCHIPELAGO: I neglected to mention last time that Black Giras and Red Giras are controlled by a leotard-wearing alien called Alien Magma. The two Giras monsters can embrace and spin to form an impenetrable shield. They return and attack Tokyo. To illustrate the more graphic nature of this series, a man is set afire and a woman is crushed by a car. The woman is Mokomo, but I'm not certain if she is Gen's girlfriend or a member of MAC. Dan Moroboshi does the one thing he is able to do now that he can no longer transform into UltraSeven: he employs Ultra-psychokinesis, which is powerful but it shortens his lifespan each time he uses it. In order to counter the "Giras-spin," Gen must learn the "corkscrew-kick." Previous Ultraman have had a three-minute time limit in their giant forms but, for some reason, Leo's is 2:40. 

I see this episode was broadcast on April 19, 1974.  I wonder if it was inspired by Sakyo Komatsu's 1973 novel, Japan Sinks.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE GREAT SINKING! TWILIGHT OF THE JAPANESE ARCHIPELAGO: I neglected to mention last time that Black Giras and Red Giras are controlled by a leotard-wearing alien called Alien Magma. The two Giras monsters can embrace and spin to form an impenetrable shield. They return and attack Tokyo. To illustrate the more graphic nature of this series, a man is set afire and a woman is crushed by a car. The woman is Mokomo, but I'm not certain if she is Gen's girlfriend or a member of MAC. Dan Moroboshi does the one thing he is able to do now that he can no longer transform into UltraSeven: he employs Ultra-psychokinesis, which is powerful but it shortens his lifespan each time he uses it. In order to counter the "Giras-spin," Gen must learn the "corkscrew-kick." Previous Ultraman have had a three-minute time limit in their giant forms but, for some reason, Leo's is 2:40. 

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