In a world threatened by huge prehistoric creatures and invading aliens, the high-tech Science Patrol defends civilization with its sophisticated weaponry and spacecraft. But, unbeknownst to the rest of the team, patrol member Hayata can transform himself into Ultraman — a metallic superhero who steps in and saves the day when the team is unable to stop their foes. A Japanese cult favorite.
Out of the long past days of obscurity comes a series that I remember well as a child. The important thing to remember is these were the days before alot of high tech…so as I call them the “Godzilla” days, This was a time when monster suites and cheap fx gags were pretty much the norm. To clarify that more, Star Wars arrived onto the scene in 1977. Ultraman was a series shown in 1966 – 1967.
I’m guessing that many teens will just find this silly rather than nostalgic, however us older generation might appreciate it for the memories it brings. Back in a time when TV was really trying to find its grasp on young audiences, Ultra man was as cool as it got. Leave it to Japan to give us a daily does of creatures, big battles and sci fi all rolled into one. Ultraman was essentially a hero. The only hero for that matter large enough to combat these city crushing beasts. The series usually aired about the time when school kids got home for the daily kid shows. My recall on the series was that it aired right before a similar Japanese series titled “Johnny Sokko and the Giant Robot“. Like Ultra man, the premise was pretty much the same.
So where did he comes from and what’s the deal? Well in this particular set, we get the advantage of all 30 episodes including the first original episode. When Earth is under attack from a sea / land creature, our main character Hayata goes to investigate . In his quest he encounters a glowing space orb that essentially teleports Hayata inside. A vision of ultraman appears to him which announces his regret in bringing this evil to the world. In exchange he gives his life to Hayata in which they will share the same body and aid when he is called upon. The element of transformation is called a “Beta Capsule”, which transforms Hayata into a giant robot warrior. The name Ultraman is actually given when his team first encounters this aid. His team dubbed Science Special Search Party (SSSP), call there branch the Science Patrol . Apparently they were created to combat these invasions and problem-some beasts that threaten mankind.
Ultra man has a weakness though. His energy color timer he wears eventually runs out of steam. Once it starts to blink he must return to human form. If he ignores this he risks total energy depletion which can become a literal death for Ultra man.
“Ultraman” is a series that while mostly scifi is comedic in its approach and use of materials. Ships fly thru the air on strings, action figures appear fronm the waters, Suited up creatures battle out in a wrestling/ martial arts kind of confrontation and cheesy rays shoot out from eyes, hands and whatnot. The FX are as old school as they get, but for the time were a advancement in TV shows shown. Every episode is highly predictable in a 3 act presentation. A monster or spaceship appears, the monster attacks, and then Ultra man take them down. Tthe episodes would try and mix stories a bit and always introduce a new threat. The series became more of a “monster of the day” kind of show but was fun nonetheless.
The series was at one point overdubbed but now comes equipped with voiceovers. This is probably more important to the younger ones who might not be able to read each line.
Now several generations later I can say there is a special bond I still hold for these old series. Loony, silly and not as cool they still stand on their own. Upon watching the series my younger daughter of 6 was entirely enthralled, which means the point they served in the past still holds up to the youngsters. For TV fans, this is a prime example of true nostalgic scifi that is as important as anything else that followed. Ultra man has survived the test if time, give it a whirl especially if you love cheesy old science fiction shows.
Ultra man complete series is available from Mill Creek Entertainment
Ultraman (TV Series) (Complete) (1966)
Ultraman – Complete Series (1966)