Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (1993– )

TV Series  -  Sci-Fi
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WINR member Kenichi Kai transforms into a new Ultraman to defend the Earth from giant monsters and aliens.

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Title: Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (1993– )

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Episodes

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1  
Unknown   1994   1993  
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Kenichi Kai (13 episodes, 1993-1994)
...
 Captain Edlund (13 episodes, 1993-1994)
...
 Rick Sanders (13 episodes, 1993-1994)
Robyn Bliley ...
 Julie Young (13 episodes, 1993-1994)
Sandra Guibord ...
 Theresa Beck (13 episodes, 1993-1994)
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Storyline

WINR member Kenichi Kai transforms into a new Ultraman to defend the Earth from giant monsters and aliens.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Sci-Fi

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Ultraman Powered  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon the success of his film Guyver (1991) (adapted from Yoshiki Takaya's successful manga and anime series), Steve Wang, a longtime fan of Japanese superheroes (especially Ultraman), was approached to helm this series, but turned it down after Tsuburaya Productions disapproved of the many radical changes he wanted to make to the Ultraman character. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ultraman: The Ultimate Disappointment
11 August 2010 | by (http://thexamtaroshowvault.blogspot.sg) – See all my reviews

Disappointing cannot begin to describe "Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero". There was zero publicity, zero promotion, and other than a few isolated broadcasts and pirated videos, there was never an official video release distributor. The series's largest selling point is that it was "made in Hollywood". But guess what, you can get a Beverly hills college student to film his dog and that film would still be called "made in Hollywood". Instead of hiring some reputable director , "A list" actors or even a decent production studio, Tsuburaya Productions decided to be total cheapskates. They hired a production team of mostly new comers, a first time director and some unknown production company called "Major Havoc Entertainment".

Sure, it would be easy to throw all the blame on Hollywood for how this show turned out. For a great show, any great show, you need expertise, experience and money. This show only had the first out of the three and it is apparent in the great looking creatures and sets. All the costumes for the various alien creatures look really convincing due to them being made out of sculpted foam latex and plastic instead of soft rubber. The monsters had animatronic heads that allowed lifelike movements in the eyes and mouth and the latex could be sculpted to mimic scales or armor plating. This version of the Ultraman character is possibly the best looking of all; no horns, no extra bling, just a leaner, meaner and more streamlined version of the original Ultraman design. The sculpted costume gave him a more muscular look and special effects that produced his powers, though dated by todays standards, was years ahead of Power Rangers.

A lack of experience and money is to blame for the show's failure. Starting with the story, Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero, or otherwise known as "Ultraman Powered", consists of 13 episodes which are essentially remakes of 13 of the better episodes from the original Ultraman TV show. The main focus is on the "Worldwide Investigation Network of Response" or WINR(pronounced "Winner") and their attempts to investigate and put down any alien activity. Their main enemy is the Baltans, a race of bug-like aliens who want to destroy earth and almost succeed at doing so with a giant Baltan warrior until the mysterious space giant "Ultraman" shows up. Ultraman is an intergalactic law enforcer who pursued the Baltans to earth and saves the life of WINR member Kenichi Kai by joining with his life-force. Now in times of danger, Kai can transform into Ultraman to do battle with other giant monsters.

Now though the story is made of up 13 separate stories taken from the original Ultraman series in the 60s, the writers have tied each episode together by having a back-story that each monster was an attempt by the Baltans to test Ultraman's abilities. The episodes themselves were of varying quality but episode 6 "A Father's Love" stands out as the most emotionally charged of all. THe flaw came in the overall "feel" of the show. THe writing and dialog took itself quite seriously, perhaps too seriously. Afterall this was a show where members of WINR flew about in a giant multi colored space ship and used ray guns. Perhaps a more realistic or down-to-earth set up would have worked better.

The inexperience of the production crew obviously shows despite the best efforts of the writers and the special effects team. The director has a tendency of choosing all the wrong camera angles and does not seem to know how to creatively mask props. For example, the director would constantly use a ground shot to give Ultraman a sense of scale. However this makes the hot wheel toys that the crew put in place of cars along the road very obvious. Star Wars also used props on strings yet director King Wilder's camera-work makes the plane props look like nothing but props on strings. Fight choreography is almost non-existent; Ultraman hardly punches or kicks anything, most of the time he just jumps about and lightly shoves monsters around. While the monsters themselves look great, they are extremely stiff. This makes for some really silly moments where a monster merely taps Ultraman on the back with a finger (perhaps the script called for a powerful swipe but since the monsters were so stiff, such a swipe came off as a tap) but it sends Ultraman careering into cliff-side.

Rumor has it that Tsuburaya Productions themselves refused to increase the budget or hire a more experienced production company. It is also said that they insisted that the sillier elements like the corny spaceship and ray guns be kept. It is as if they came to Hollywood expecting a blockbuster on the scale of Jurassic Park but forgot that to make a big show you first need a big budget.

Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero could have been much more than how it turned out. If you do not have time to check out the entire 50 episode 1966 Ultraman, then check out this show for an effective summary. If not, just check out this show for the fun of it.


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