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If I was asked who my favorite superhero was, along with Spider-Man,
the Hulk and the Incredibles, it'd be Ultra Seven.
We know ULTRA Q and ULTRAMAN (both 1966) are tokusatsu sci-fi TV classics in Japan, but the very peak of Tsuburaya Productions' famed Ultra Series was reached with ULTRA SEVEN, which Japanese fans have, to this day, hailed as the all-time best Ultra Series, and for good reason! It is basically the JAPAN of Japan (long before shows like SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO/STAR BLAZERS). Even underneath the wild battles between the red & silver alien from M78 and his alien foes, this is a very serious and thought-provoking sci-fi drama. Especially in the human scenes, with our protagonists, the Ultra Garrison. This is a very different series from its aforementioned two predecessors. Later Ultra Series like ULTRAMAN TIGA and the more grown-up ULTRAMAN NEXUS would duplicate this formula.
Seven himself is different from Ultraman (who is a mysterious godlike being), as he's become the greatest archetype for the high-tech Japanese superhero. His powers/weapons are incredible (who *doesn't* love his flying boomerang-like Eyeslugger weapon?)! But underneath his cool exterior, he has even more heart, personality and depth than his famous predecessor. And the transformation from Dan Moroboshi (Kouji Moritsugu) to Ultra Seven, each time he puts on the "Ultra Eye" glasses, is without a doubt my favorite Japanese superhero transformation ever. I would also say that Ultra Seven is technically more like Japan's answer to Superman than Ultraman (who is more like the Green Lantern), only "Clark Kent" *puts on* his glasses to become Superman!
The Ultra Garrison's not half-bad either. Very different from the Science Patrol from Ultraman. The team uniforms (helmets, jumpsuits and rayguns) are memorable, so much that they have become pretty much the template for the defense forces in all future Ultra Series (and few of the series would copy them closely, like the 1979 anime series THE ULTRAMAN). And the mecha is awesome. I really love the Ultra Hawk, which splits into three different jet vehicles (ULTRAMAN DYNA had something like this, too)! Of course, just like in ULTRAMAN, the team members have similar personalities, but Dan Moroboshi (Seven's human alter-ego) is a different person from ULTRAMAN's Hayata. He's still a tough member, but he's also very considerate. And even in human form, he's well equipped to fight alien invaders, from having X-ray vision/telepathy to being equipped with miniature "Capsule Monsters" (Windom, Miclas and Agira), which are like tiny capsules that, when thrown like a grenade, explode and transform into giant monsters (and Dan can call it back into a capsule any time). I wonder which two anime series did *this* later on . . .
The music score and theme song, composed by the great Tooru Fuyuki (who would compose for many future Ultra Series and other Tsuburaya shows) are absolute classic, and one of the best soundtracks ever. Quite a different case from Kunio Miyauchi's jazzy score for ULTRAMAN, Fuyuki's orchestral score for this series evokes more power, ranging from neo-classical to avant-garde. The "Song of Ultra Seven" theme song is one of the best superhero theme songs ever. In a way, this score recalls Barry Gray's famous music for many of Gerry & Sylvia Anderson's "Supermarionation" shows (like THUNDERBIRDS and CAPTAIN SCARLET).
And, of course, there's the bizarre and imaginative alien & space monster threats! Some of my favorites include Eleking (a fan-favorite), Dankan, the Guts-Seijin and Seven's final foe, Pandon.
Sadly, this was also the final Ultra Series by creator Eiji Tsuburaya, who originally wanted this to be the final Ultra Series. (And the heart-rending farewell finale couldn't have emphasized it more!) Due to this series' unbelievable popularity, a new Ultra Series was planned in late 1969 (ULTRAMAN CONTINUES), but Eiji died (in 1970) before production began. The said project later became RETURN OF ULTRAMAN in 1971, when Eiji's first son Hajime Tsuburaya took over the studio (until his untimely death in 1973). But needless to say, Seven himself (and his alter-ego Dan) continues to make appearances in future Ultra Series, and due to fan response, got some TV specials and direct-to-DVD series.
This series was originally seen in the US in Hawaii in 1975 (the dub of which is now lost, but two episodes still remain), and on TNT in 1994 (from a somewhat comically-dubbed 1985 dub by Cinar in Canada), but ULTRA SEVEN is a series that truly deserves the same revisiting as ULTRAMAN in the US. If fans of Japanese pop-culture know what's good for them, they must watch ULTRA SEVEN! Disregarding it is like sci-fi fans disregarding, say, STAR TREK or DOCTOR WHO.
No more words need to be said, ULTRA SEVEN is a true Japanese sci-fi classic. But to quote LeVar Burton, "You don't have to take my word for it."
Very good tv series. The best seriate Japanese of the gender, in my opinion and the best of the "ultraman". The character's transformation in ultraseven for the placement of the "special glasses" is brilliant!
Ultra 7 was very much ahead of its time. A few years back it was playing on TBS at 3am on Saturdays. It was very cool watching it as an adult and still enjoying it. I am not sure if it was brought back in the late 70's but that is when I was watching it as a kid. I lived in Hawaii for a few years growing up and was fortunate enough to watch other Japanese "superhero" television...Getaroba G, the Five Rangers (pre power ranger), raydene, robot man etc.. All were great in my opinion. Would love to see some of them today. I remember back and think that the subject matter was a little more adult than some of the knock offs today are??? Anyways if you get the chance to see any of these enjoy them.
"Ultra Seven" appears to be the overall best entry in the entire
"Ultra" series, which began with "Ultra Q" and achieved massive
popularity with "Ultraman." Fan coverage seems to confirm the belief
that the third entry in the series, "Ultra Seven," is indeed the best.
The stories often focused a lot more on characters and story than
previous entries did; they also probed a number of social and ethical
issues relevant to contemporary society - not just Japanese society but
everywhere, with the overall intent being an introspective examination
of who/what we are as a species. The entire "Ultra" series focused on
the adventures of alien superheroes saving Earth from all threats,
terrestrial and extraterrestrial. This incarnation finds the
intergalactic space traveler Ultra Seven assuming the form of an
injured mountain climber, and thus becomes the human Dan Moroboshi
(Koji Moritsugu), the honorary seventh member of the Terrestrial
Defense Force (TDF), which protects Earth from all forms of
extraterrestrial menace (and whose ranks include two cast members from
"Ultraman"). The focus of any of the various "Ultra" films were the
creative kaiju/daikaiju monster designs and showdowns, courtesy of Eiji
Tsuburaya (1901-1970) and his company Tsuburaya Productions (which was
also behind the hugely popular Showa-era "Godzilla" film series).
Ultra Seven is now my second-favorite Japanese superhero, behind The Guyver.
The third in the "Ultra" series by Toho, and Tsuburaya Production, this
series is often acknowledged as the best of the Ultraman series even to
Dan Moroboshi (Koji Moritsugu) was an observer from M78 nebula visiting the earth. He was masquerading as a vagrant but due to his support of the Ultra squad in the first episode, he gets recruited into it. The members of the Ultra squad seeing Ultra Seven battle the alien, names him "Ultra Seven" as the seventh member of the Ultra squad.
The popularity of this series increased as years went by, and both the Seven, and its two stars Koji Moritsugu, and Yuriko Hishimi have gained even bigger star status than when the series aired for the first time in 1967. Eight subsequent specials/series have been made some commemorating 30, 35th, and 40th anniversary of the original series. It is now known that Dan and Anne married in their later life.
Koji Moritsugu reprised his role as Dan Moroboshi in Ultraman Leo (1974), this time as the captain of the Ultra squad.
This series has a different take compared to other sagas of the "Ultra" series, namely that Ultra Seven only battles aliens, and no monsters that originates from earth. This set the stage for in depth introspection of our own culture in the way Star Trek did with its encounter with other space fairing race. It also introduced innovative weapons that Ultra Seven wields such as the capsule monsters, eye slugger (boomerang type weapon), and Emerium ray (emitted from Seven's forehead). Although not mentioned, the amount of time Seven can stay in his form on earth seems to be 3 minutes which is consistent with that of Ultraman. The tone was darker, and acting was more serious than that of the previous Ultra series. This was in part due to the request of the program's sole sponsor Takeda Chemical's request to draw more adults to the program.
Even for the famous Ultra series, few has seen increased popularity over the years like this one which attests to its originality, and far reaching concept of its producers. Ultra Seven is still popular character and sees frequent revisits to earth as a member of the Ultra Brothers that now has over 16 members, and still counting.
I have to say this is the best of the Japanese gender of all time! The bad monsters the cool sunglasses and Ultra 7 the greatest Japanese superhero of all time. Dan Moroboshi puts on these sunglasses and turns into ultra 7 awesome! It goes perfect along with cartoon planet! The best episodes that you have to see are: shrubs from space terror of the lake Island in the sky Brilliant! The show was part of the ultra man series the started with ultra Q you must watch these characters face these odd looking monsters. Every Friday night on TNT and then cartoon planet afterwords. This show was the best of ultra man series said by most critics.
I loved this TV show "Ultra Seven"(1967-68) when i was a kid, I saw it
before knowing Ultraman was the original, but for me Ultra Seven is
much better, It was cool, he transformed by wearing a pair of
"sunglasses", and he didn't have the time limit that Ultraman had.
Unlike Ultraman, Ultraseven can make himself, giant, normal, or
miniature in size. And he had a very cool weapon, a very sharp
"boomerang-blade" on top of his helmet.
And the stories were very nice written for a show mostly done for kids (writters: do not under estimate kids) and "Gozilla" fans. Some of the shows were very impressive for me,I had to turned off the TV when he made himself miniature and entered in the nose and lungs of a girl to save her life, well I was a kid. The show was filled with good drama, acting, lot of monsters, space gadgets, and cool monster-kicking action. I think they made a remake of Ultra Seven in the late 70's but I'm no sure, I just say it because the second time I saw the show,the stories where the same but it looked different than I remembered (maybe it just the memory of a 6 year old to blame), it does not matter any way.
I think Ultra Seven and Ultraman inspired the Power-Ranger series (not my favorite show), but if you like them do not miss the originals, they are fun to watch.
I watched it when I was a kid many years ago. The best show of the ultra family.It was a disappointed when TNT aired a chopped version of the series. The effects were great for that time.It was so good that the studios made some special movies until a few years ago. If you watch Ultra Seven or any of the Japanese fiction series (like Johnny Sooko and his giant robot,Ultraman, The MJ, etc.), you will see how the Power Rangers is a cheap copy of the pioneer work of the Japanese studios. I wish the series will came available on DVD for the USA market, uncut with all the episodes (one episode was deleted of the official line up). I know there are a legion of fans of this genre.
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