I finally got around to watching the complete season of Ultraman. This series can be found for small money most places, and for that tiny dime is huge entertainment for anyone interested in Kaiju, or the particular version of giant monsters which habitually attack Japan.
The series is a sequel of sorts to a science fiction show called "Ultra Q", which had no superheroic elements. In the first episode the alien Ultraman follows a deadly monster to Earth and is for all practical purposes killed alongside a member of the Science Patrol named Hayata. In an effort to save both their lives Ultraman bonds with Hayata giving him the ability to transform into the giant hero when the need arises, which it does regularly.
Along with Hayata is a nice assembly of fellow officers. Muramatsu is the no-nonsense captain, a father figure of sorts; Arashi is the fiery marksman; Ide is the often goofy but brilliant inventor; Fuji is the lovely token female member and reliable agent; and Hoshino is the kid mascot who pops in and out of the stories.These five core members along with Hayata and several other semi-regulars create a nice cast of fun folks to watch.
|Muramatsu, Ide, Fuji, Arashi, and Hayata|
My favorite is a beautiful fantasy which features a lovely young girl who loses her mother in the mountains but is able to call upon a giant Yeti-like creature called a "Woo" who comes to her protection. The lovely snowy mountain setting makes this one stand out and the story is elegantly told. Another that stands out is about an unfortunate boy who is killed on the highway in a hit-and-run accident and whose spirit evokes an ancient dragon who seeks justice but who unleashes quite a bit of destruction too.
All the stories offer up a monster. Sometimes they are aliens, sometimes they are legendary beasts, sometimes they are products of man's technology run amok. Always the threat is identified and solved by the end of the episode, as good solid kid's entertainment should do. But a few linger with messages rather heavy for this kind of TV, or so I'd have thought.
The monsters sometimes pose a threat to mere commerce, but they are nonetheless expunged, such as the beast which only wants to sleep in the middle of Tokyo's streets, or the creature which seeks to eat as much of the rich pearl trade as possible. There's no shame demonstrated here, as commerce seems central to the Science Patrol's mission.
|Godzilla's Fashion Statement|
|Most Dangerous Car Known to Kaiju|
Overall, I found Ultraman a light-hearted entertainment, good stuff and greater food for thought than one might expect from material of this sort.