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The series begins when the alien Ultraman pursues an alien monster to Earth. In the pursuit, he crashes with Hayata, an officer of the Science Patrol who is investigating the chase. To make amends for the accident, the alien gives his life force to the human along with his regular form and powers should he ever need it. This linking proves to be a most fortuitous event as the monster being pursued is but the first of a wave of destructive monsters and aliens that attack the planet. Hayata investigates sightings of these beasts as part of the Patrol who fights these threats with the advanced weapons at their disposal. However, the monsters often prove too strong for the Earth forces to stop. When that happens, Hiyata uses the beta capsule given to him by the alien. When he activates it, he transforms to the giant superhero, Ultraman, who wields the power necessary to protect Earth. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The character of Ultraman went through many changes as pre-production went along. At first, the planned series "Woo" had a corporeal space creature with eyes, who befriended a reporter named Jôji Akita, but the Self Defense Forces were after him. This was basically the monster version of Doctor Who (1963), and Woo's personality was comical. Then they planned "Bemular" (retitled "Science Patrol - Bemular") about a defense force disguised as an art/photography team. One of the members, little did anyone know, gained the ability to transform into a giant birdlike humanoid monster called Bemular (this is not the same Bemular that Ultraman would fight in Episode 1), who defends Earth from monsters, aliens and other threats. Unlike Woo, Bemular was a tough and righteous fighter (Bemular looked very similar in design to the title monster of Daikyojû Gappa (1967)). This then evolved into "Redman," the title hero of which slightly resembled Ultraman as we know him, but he looked more demonic and had horns. Both Bemular and Redman were designed by Tôru Narita, who came up with the final design for Ultraman based on his Redman design, now resembling a less-scary Buck Rogers-style alien being (with a bit of the iconic "Roswell Alien" as well). The characteristic "ColorTimer" (the "warning light" on his chest) was added at the eleventh hour. See more »
In the Japanese version, the very beginning of the show (before the credits) has the same swirling-paint effect title shot from the previous TV series, Urutora Q (1965) (only in color), where the effect swirls into the "Ultra Q" title, and then, a sudden blast of red envelops the shot, with a white "Ultraman" appearing (The subtitle "A Special Effects Fantasy Series" then appears at the bottom). The US version has the very same effect, except that the English title "Ultra Man" is featured on both the swirling-paint effect and the red blast effect (both in the same font and instance). See more »
As a kid growing up in the 70's, I would rush home from school to watch Ultraman. My family cared not for this show and would frequently undermine my attempts to watch it. Sometimes through sheer force, I would get the television to myself and would revel in the exploits of the Science Patrol and Shin Hayata's alter ego/superhero Ultraman.
Every episode featured the same scenario. Alien invaders and or a giant monster would arrive and threaten Earths survival. It was up to the Science Patrol to counter this threat with their scientific knowhow. In most cases, this knowhow was not enough and Hayata/Ultraman would save the day.
By todays standards, this 'special effects fantasy series' will come off as cheap and primitive. It must be noted this was made in 1966 by Eiji Tsuburaya Productions. Tsuburaya was the special effects master behind the Godzilla movies and his expertise is in full swing. For the kids who watched this show, this was not some cheap entertainment. Ultraman was very real. Hayata was very real. The Science Patrol was a team worth rooting for. Some of the episodes are very advanced in terms of theme and story content.
There are two sets that can be purchased on DVD. Series One, Volume 1 and 2 is the set I own. The picture and sound quality are superb. The viewer has the option of watching this classic series dubbed in English or in Japanese with English subtitles. All episode are full length and uncut. The English dubs will have some scenes with Japanese language and subtitles. This is unavoidable and should not be too bothersome for the viewer. Better to watch Ultraman in it's original Japanese language.
Ultraman ran for one season with 39 episodes. Over the years, this show has garnered cult status. There is the Ultra Q series which came before and a slew of series spin-offs that followed. There are a number of Ultraman movies as well. In all, Ultraman has become a cultural pop phenomenon. If you remember this from childhood and wish to relive that childhood, or are looking for great entertainment for you own children, Ultraman comes highly recommended.
They simply do not make televisions shows like this anymore.
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