The series begins when the heroic alien Urutoraman pursues an alien menace to Earth. In the pursuit, he collides with Hiyata, 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. Thus Hiyata is returned to Earth alive and merged with the alien. 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. Hiyata 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 a beta capsule given to him by the alien. When he activates it, he transforms into the giant superhero, Urutoraman, who has the power necessary to protect Earth. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When directing Episode 36, "Gift from the Sky", Akio Jissoji played a humorous prank on star Susumu Kurobe by making him mistake a spoon for the Beta Capsule when transforming into Ultraman. This became a popular in-joke to many fans of the show (even American fans like cartoonist Jeff Nicholson, who made an Ultraman parody called "Ultra Klutz", in which the title superhero transforms using a spoon). See more »
During the show's opening credits, black silhouettes of the show's various characters (Ultraman, some of the show's monsters, and the Science Patrol logo) are shown against a colorful smoky background. In the US version, most of the silhouettes are featured, sans credits. See more »
I'm 24, going on 25. I know that since I can remember, I have always loved Japanese monster movies (kaiju-eiga), and the films in that genre that featured Godzilla and Gamera. I know that for much of my life, I've always had a fascination with Japan in general. As far as Japanese superheroes are concerned, Ultraman was my second favorite (behind The Guyver, created by Manga artist Yoshiki Takaya).
"Ultraman," which debuted on television in 1966 in Japan, was one of those shows that I loved when I was a kid, but for some reason I could never watch it because it was hardly ever on, but I knew what it was about because I collected the action figures. Luckily, TV-on-DVD has worked wonders for TV shows long forgotten in the annals of showbiz history, which is how I came across "Ultraman" in all its original Japanese-language/bad-English-dubbed glory four years ago.
"Ultraman" features the members of Earth's (mainly Japan's) Science Patrol, who go around investigating all sorts of bizarre scientific phenomena. One of its members, Shin Hayata (Susumu Korobe), has a lethal close encounter of the third kind with an alien being that costs him his life, but said being resurrects him and gives him its powers, thus becoming the gigantic alien superhero Ultraman. Hayata is pretty adept at keeping his super-heroics a secret from his team members, since he conveniently disappears whenever Ultraman shows up to defeat some giant monster or giant monsters (one of whom, I understand, was actually a modified Godzilla costume). (Shame that his members never pick up on Hayata's dual life, but hey, it's a kid's show, after all.)
This is a great show, not just for those who love Japanese monster movies but those who love fantasy, science fiction, and comic books. In fact, Japan is notorious for putting sci-fi/fantasy spins on a lot of their Manga and Anime' material, so the most rabid sci-fi and fantasy fans are most likely to be pleased by "Ultraman." I know it's cheesy, the English-language dubbing is hilariously awful, and the special effects pale in comparison to today's overblown CGI effects-laden spectacles. Like most kaiju-eiga spectacles from that time, however, if you can put CGI out of your mind for 30 minutes, the fight scenes will simply take your breath away because of their "realism" and awesome displays of unparalleled monster-mashing destruction.
I have no idea why this show only lasted one season in Japan, yet during its time it still somehow managed to spark a massive pop culture phenomenon in the country that would later spark a world-wide craze for all things related to Ultraman. That craze has lasted all the way up to the time of this writing. I'm glad that I got this show on DVD four years ago. It's been a while since I had the opportunity to watch it, but guarantee that just writing about "Ultraman" right now is making me eager to break out the DVD set right now.
I hope that us greedy Americans don't get the idea to do an American update.
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