Smoke and explosions can be seen rising from a metropolis as a huge, alien-like monster stomps and crashes about in Japanese Kaiju Glory. A group of officers, dressed in Orange Uniforms, fire lazers at the monster from Energy Pistols but don’t seem to be effecting him any. All of a sudden, one of the officers holds up a blinking wand and, in a technicolor flash, grows into a red and silver, glowing eyed avenger called Ultraman. Ultraman, the avatar the officer has become, is an alien from the Planet Ultra, located in the Nebula M78. Now that the officer had become this alien avenger, he engages in an epic battle with the monster, subduing him in the nick of time with his “Attack Ray”. Ultraman then flys off to a safe location, away from his fellow officers to return to his human form, and maintain his Alien secret.
The storyline is fairly homogenous from episode to episode but the Ultraman Series maintains a entertaining, light-hearted nature one rarely encounters in the present. The show, a visual effects pioneer of it’s time, contains some of the best in Kaiju movie effects and repeatedly shows how effective a man in a rubber suit, smashing around a model city can be.
I have been a huge fan of this series, the character and ALL of its MANY spinoff’s, since I first stumbled across the complete Ultraman Hayata Collection in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. I had never heard of the show but I’d always had a huge soft spot for Japanese Media and old, classic cinema so I figured I’d buy it (plus, it was only $5.00). As a ninety’s kid, baptised by The Ninja Turtles and The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, this show hit a special spot for me. It screamed to my inner child and they became fast friends. I found myself watching the episodes over and over, switching disks when finished and later coming back to the very same disc after all the others were completed. The Complete Collection became one of my most valuable possessions, and one of my most valuable DVD’s. Not for its monetary value but for it’s sentimental value. I had become an Ultraman fanatic. I quickly branched out and learned as much as I could about the character, about it’s universe, and about the brilliant minds that gave the idea life.
Ultraman is a Japanese Tokusatsu (Meaning: “Special Filming” or Special Effects Film) T.V. series that origionally aired in 1966. Ultraman is a successor to the T.V series “Ultra Q”, allthough not technically a sequel or spin-off. The show was produced by theTsuburaya Productions, and was broadcast from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967, and had a total of 39 episodes (40, counting the pre-premiere special episode that aired on July 10, 1966).
Although Ultraman is the first series to feature an Ultra-Hero, it is actually the second show in the Ultra Series. Ultra Q was the first. In fact, the Ultraman show opens with the Ultra Q logo morphing into the Ultraman logo. Ultraman was a huge hit and became a major pop culture phenomenon in Japan, spawning dozens of sequels, spin-offs, imitators, parodies and remakes. Variants of the show are still being made today… and they are amazing.
If you get the chance, I would highly suggest you search around YouTube, Hulu, Netflix or Google for an episode of the show and do yourself the favor and treat yourself to some good, classic entertainment.