Ultraman

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This article is about the Japanese television series. For the manga sequel, see Ultraman (manga). For the DC Comics character, see Ultraman (comics).
Ultraman
On a red background, white text reads "Ultraman: A Fantasy Tokusatsu Series" in Japanese.
On a red background, white text reads "Ultra Man" in block English letters.
Top: The Japanese title card for Ultraman, reading "Ultraman: A Fantasy Tokusatsu Series"
Bottom: The title card used in the United Artists-produced syndicated English-language dub
Genre Tokusatsu
Kaiju
Superhero
Science fiction
Action
Adventure
Created by Eiji Tsuburaya
Written by
Starring
Opening theme "Song of Ultraman" (ウルトラマンの歌 Urutoraman no Uta?) by the Misuzu Children's Choir
Composer(s) Kunio Miyauchi
Country of origin Japan
Original language(s) Japanese
No. of episodes 39
Production
Running time 24 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel TBS
Original run July 17, 1966 (1966-07-17) – April 9, 1967 (1967-04-09)
Chronology
Preceded by Ultra Q
Followed by Ultra Seven

Ultraman (ウルトラマン Urutoraman?) is a Japanese Tokusatsu television series that first aired in 1966. Ultraman is a follow-up to the television series Ultra Q, though not technically a sequel or spin-off. The show was produced by the Tsuburaya Productions, and was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967, with a total of 39 episodes (40, counting the pre-premiere special that aired on July 10, 1966).

Although Ultraman is the first series to feature an Ultra-Crusader, it is actually the second show in the Ultra Series. Ultra Q was the first. In fact, Ultraman opens with the Ultra Q logo exploding into the Ultraman logo. Ultraman ultimately became a major pop culture phenomenon in Japan. The show's success spawned dozens of sequels, spin-offs, imitators, parodies and remakes.

To distinguish him from subsequent characters named "Ultraman", Ultraman is referred to as the Original Ultraman (初代ウルトラマン Shodai Urutoraman?), the First Ultraman, or Ultraman Hayata; this last is a reference to his host's surname.

Series background[edit]

Ultraman's central characters were created by Eiji Tsuburaya from Tsuburaya Productions, a pioneer in special effects who was responsible for bringing Godzilla to life in 1954. The show's predecessor was a series called Ultra Q, a black-and-white 28-episode series very much like the original Outer Limits.

The Ultraman project had the following working titles/plots:

  • WoO (WoO ?): This story featured a corporeal space creature with two large eyes, who befriended a reporter named Jôji Akita, but the Self Defense Forces, who perceived the alien as a threat, went after them. This was basically the monster version of the British science fiction series Doctor Who (1963), and Woo's personality was also to be comical. The name "Woo" ended up being used for an otherwise unrelated, yeti-like monster, in episode 30 of Ultraman. Later, Tsuburaya Productions would ultimately produce a series dubbed Bio Planet WoO, in January 2006, but this series is very loosely based on the original concept.
  • Bemular (ベムラー Bemurā?), then retitled Scientific Special Search Party: Bemular (科学特捜隊ベムラー Kagaku Tokusō Tai - Bemurā?): The main characters are a defense force, with the same Japanese name as the Science Special Search Party, but disguised as an art/photography team. One of the members, little did anyone (even his teammates) know, gained the ability to transform into a giant birdlike humanoid monster called Bemular (not the same Bemular that Ultraman would fight in Episode # 1 of the actual series), who defends Earth from monsters, aliens and other threats. Unlike Woo, Bemular was a tough and righteous fighter, and he looked very similar in design to the title monster of the 1967 kaiju film Gappa, the Triphibian Monster. Allegedly, the plot was scrapped when it was worried audiences might have trouble telling that one monster was good and the other evil.
  • Redman (レッドマン Reddoman?): The title hero of this project slightly resembled Ultraman as he came to be known, but he looked more demonic and had horns. He came to Earth after his planet was destroyed by aliens from Planet X. (Ultra Seven also shared this working title.)

Both Bemular and Redman were designed by Toru Narita, who also came up with the final design for Ultraman based on his Redman design, now resembling a less-scary Buck Rogers-style alien being, mixed with a bit of the iconic "Roswell Alien." The characteristic "Color Timer," more familiar to American audiences as the "warning light" on Ultraman's chest, was added at the eleventh hour.

The first series begins when Science Special Search Party (科学特別捜査隊 Kagaku Tokubetsu Sōsa-tai?) member Shin Hayata is flying his plane and a red sphere of light crashes into his Mini-VTOL. The sphere turns out to be the transport (Travel Sphere) for a red-and-silver giant being who calls himself Ultraman. Feeling remorse for having killed the human, he merges his essence with Hayata to revive him. In return, Hayata serves as the human form for this being, and whenever danger threatens, and the resources of the Science Special Search Party are not enough to counter it, he raises and activates a power-object and artifact called a "beta capsule" and transforms to Ultraman to save the day.

Monsters and heroes[edit]

Ultraman, left, fights the monster Gyango from episode 11 "The Ruffian from Outer Space".

The Ultraman series used various monster costumes, known as kaiju in Japan, prior to other series such as Kamen Rider and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. The principals were played by famous monster suit actor Haruo Nakajima, who performed as the original Godzilla. Another Toho actor, Satoshi "Bin" Furuya, was sought out for the role of Ultraman, because of his tall stature and perfect proportions.

Nakajima had an outdoor-sports and martial-arts background, and they decided that Ultraman would not seem alien if he was using earth-bound martial arts techniques. So Ultraman's fighting style was a mixture of grappling, Greco-Roman wrestling, and some Japanese martial arts, which evolved during the course of the series.

Often costumes of famous monsters like Godzilla (as Jirass/Keyra in "The Mysterious Dinosaur Island") and Baragon would be recycled and altered, sometimes with nothing more than spray paint and often while the actor was still inside. Nakajima quipped once that the staggering gait of some of the monsters he portrayed was due less to his acting than to the fumes he had to endure.

Some of the quadrupedal monster costumes could not be shown fully as his legs dragging on the ground would have been exposed, a necessary allowance to maintain balance in the often cumbersome outfits. Also, the expense of repairing the scale cities and landscapes used for battle scenes required economy of movement and meticulous planning.

See also: Ultra Monsters

Story[edit]

The storyline begins in the near future, as referenced from the mid-1960s (in episode 23, "My Home Is Earth," it is definitively established that the series takes place in the early 1990s, via a plaque shown at the end of the episode dated 1993). Sinister aliens and giant monsters constantly threaten civilization during this period. The only Earth organization equipped to handle these disasters is the Science Special Search Party, or SSSP, a special worldwide police force equipped with high-tech weapons and vehicles, as well as extensive scientific and engineering facilities; this organization is called the Science Special Search Party, or the United Nations Scientific Investigation Agency, in the English-dubbed version syndicated in the United States.

The branch of the Science Special Search Party that is focused on in the series is located in Tokyo, Japan. Led by Captain "Cap" Toshio Muramatsu (shortened to "Captain Mura" in the dubbed English-language version), the Science Special Search Party is always ready to protect the Earth from rampaging monsters, but sometimes it finds itself outclassed. When the situation becomes desperate, Shin Hayata, the Patrol's most capable member, holds the key to salvation in the form of a power-object and artifact called the "Beta Capsule," which, whenever activated, allows him to transform secretly into the super-humanoid-powered giant from space, who becomes known to the people of Earth as Ultraman.

Ultraman remains until the threat is neutralized and then flies away to revert to Hayata. (This was shown, twice, by Ultraman firing a ring of energy from his hands that would fly to a safe location, and then energy from it would materialize Hayata even as Ultraman fades away at the same time.) Ultraman's victory is never assured, however, as Ultraman's powers and, indeed, his very life force, come from rapidly depleted, stored solar energy.

At the beginning of each transformation from Hayata-to-Ultraman, the "warning light" on the giant's chest begins as a steady blue color. Yet as Ultraman exerts himself, the "Color Timer," as it is also called, turns red, then blinks—slowly at first, then with increasing rapidity—as his energy reserves get closer to exhaustion. As the voice-over narration reminds the viewer, beginning with episode 2 and for each episode thereafter, if Ultraman ever reaches the point of total energy depletion, he "will never rise again."

In episode 39, "Farewell Ultraman," Ultraman fights an enemy called Zetton, leader of an army of monsters bent on destroying all the Ultra-Crusaders, who employs an unexpected weapon against Ultraman—one which damages his Color Timer/warning light and disables his ability to measure his power supply. As a result, Ultraman stays in his full-size form too long and collapses into a dormant state. Fortunately, despite this loss, the Science Special Search Party's members are able to defeat Zetton on their own.

When Zoffy, Ultraman's superior, comes to retrieve the fallen hero, Ultraman pleads for Hayata's life and offers his life completely, so that Hayata may live as a normal man. Zoffy then says he has brought two life-forces and that he will give one to Hayata. He then separates them, giving Hayata new life, but Hayata seems to have no memory between the time he first collides with Ultraman's ship (in the first episode), and his standing outside Science Special Search Party Headquarters as he watches Zoffy take Ultraman home. This is a rather different finish to the series than stated in the English dub, which states both that Ultraman will return and that Hayata retains his beta capsule as he awaits Ultraman's return.

Characters[edit]

Science Special Search Party[edit]

  • Captain Toshio "Cap" Muramatsu (ムラマツ・トシオ(村松 利夫) Muramatsu Toshio?): The Science Special Search Party's leader. He is known as Captain Mura in the US version.
  • Daisuke Arashi (アラシ・ダイスケ(嵐 大助) Arashi Daisuke?): The Science Special Search Party's rotund tough-guy marksman.
  • Mitsuhiro Ide (イデ・ミツヒロ(井出 光弘) Ide Mitsuhiro?): The Science Special Search Party's somewhat comical inventor. Although he sometimes feels that Ultraman's intervention makes his role useless, his inventions have occasionally been critical in saving the day such as helping the superhero defeat particularly formidable monsters. He is known as Ito in the US version.
  • Akiko Fuji (フジ・アキコ(富士 明子) Fuji Akiko?): The Science Special Search Party's radio/communications operator, and ostensibly their token female member. However, in most adventures, Fuji proves to be the most level-headed and capable member after Hayata.
  • Isamu Hoshino (ホシノ・イサム(星野 勇) Hoshino Isamu?): A little boy who is friends with the local kids. The Science Special Search Party's unofficial mascot, he also tends to visit the Science Special Search Party's headquarters to hang out with the full-fledged members. He often gets into trouble, and sometimes Ultraman has to save him. Later on, his courage during one of the Science Special Search Party's missions allows him to be issued a Science Special Search Party uniform and to go on some of their other missions. He is known as Hoshino Fuji in the US version, which describes him as Akiko Fuji's younger brother.
    • Actor: Akihide Tsuzawa
  • Shin Hayata (ハヤタ・シン(早田 進) Hayata Shin?): The Science Special Search Party's brave, no-nonsense deputy captain. His life changed irreversibly when Ultraman accidentally crashed into his "Delta VTOL" with his TravelSphere and killed him, destroying both ships. To make amends, Ultraman merges his own life force into that of the Earthman before the brain functions of the latter are irreversibly terminated, thus reviving him. He then gives Hayata the power-object called the beta capsule, a microphone shaped cylinder device, with which he can transform into Ultraman by depressing a red push-button switch on its side with his thumb to activate it.
    • Actor: Susumu Kurobe; Ultraman himself is played by Bin "Satoshi" Furuya

Ultraman's special powers[edit]

This list covers powers used in and outside the series.

  • Spacium Ray (スペシウム光線 Supeshiumu Kōsen?): Ultraman crouches slightly forward and crosses his wrists together, with his right forearm vertical and left forearm horizontal in front of it, and the thumb edge of his hands facing his body, to shoot from the outer edge of his right hand a particle/light-ray that kills most opponents. The effect is either an explosion or a fatal burn. The ray can be reflected (see Alien Baltan II) but loses intensity once reflected. The ray can also be negated by similar energy (see Alien Mephilas). Spacium is actually a substance found on Mars that itself is deadly to at least one monster species (the Baltans), as established in Episode 2 ("Shoot the Invader"), most of which Masanori/Masanari Nihei narrates as Mitsuhiro Ide/Ito in flashback. The Spacium Ray—indeed all of Ultraman's Spacium-type energy attacks—may be based on that substance, but this is never stated as the case in the series. Regardless, the Spacium Ray is perhaps Ultraman's most powerful single weapon, and very few of the monsters he fights are immune to it; Antlar, Keronia, Kiyla, and Zetton are among those few. In Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider, Ultraman uses it in conjunction with a giant Kamen Rider 1's Rider Kick to destroy Sasori-Gadoras, who had managed to absorb the ray earlier. (This weapon was used on nearly all opponents.) In Ultraman Mebius, he used this to destroy Mephilas's blasts. In the movie, he used this on Ukillersaurus, and combined it with Ultra Seven's Wide Shot in an attempt to defeat alien Guts. The name has been mistranslated as "Specium"; but the root word, "Supe" (スペ in Japanese), comes from スペース (Supessu) a distortion of the English word, "Space" (as in "Outer Space").
  • Ultra Slash (ウルトラスラッシュ Urutora Surasshu?): Ultraman fires a saw-like Spacium-energy ring (a Cutting Halo (八つ裂き光輪 Yatsuzaki Kōrin?)) from his hand. This Halo can slice his opponent in half. The Cutting Halo does have drawbacks, however; a Baltan alien was able to deflect a Halo with his barrier, Gubira was lucky enough to catch a second Halo on his nose rather than be sliced by it, and Keelar was just as lucky to catch a third Halo with his tail. Alien Mephilas destroyed a fourth Halo with his Bare Hand Beam, and a fifth Halo shattered after striking Zetton's barrier. In Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider, Ultraman used this to sever Sasori-Gadoras's tail after Kamen Rider 1 had been struck. (This was used against RedKing and Alien Baltan II, among other opponents.) In the Mebius movie, he used it cut Ukillersaurs' tentacles during the final battle. In Episode 47 of Ultraman Mebius (Urutoraman Mebiusu, 2006), Alien Mephilas was able to evade a pair of the halos Ultraman sent at him for a while, before shattering them with his bare hands.
  • Electrical Immunity: When attacked by Neronga in Episode 3 of the series, and by Alien Mephilas in Episode 47 of Ultraman Mebius, Ultraman evidences immunity to electrical or lightning attacks. Not all Ultra-Crusaders have this immunity.
  • Ultra Attack Beam (ウルトラアタック光線 Urutora Attakku Kōsen?): By focusing energy from his left hand into a spiral energy beam around his right arm, then directing the energy at a target creature, Ultraman can induce a temporal stasis, in effect paralyzing the target. This is a rare power, Ultraman only used it once, against Keronia in Episode 31, when the Spacium Ray had failed him. Resembles a Karate "Seiken-zuki."
  • High Spin (ハイスピン Hai Supin?): Ultraman can counter temporal/spatial attacks or can damage opponents by spinning rapidly in an upright position. The attack is remote, and does not involve beams, but it can rip space on a local level, cause remote explosions, or create immobilizing rings of force. He used it against Bullton successfully; he also used it against Zetton, who interfered with the attack.
  • Ultra Psychokinesis (ウルトラサイコキネシス Urutora Saikokineshisu?): Ultraman's telekinetic power. Used before the Ultra Air Catch Version I. It is also called Ultra Willpower (ウルトラ念力 Urutora Nenriki?).
  • Ultra Air Catch (ウルトラエアキャッチ Urutora Ea Kyatchi?) Version I: Using narrow beams from his index fingers, Ultraman can paralyze objects suspended in mid-air. This is followed by a Cutting Halo that divides in two to cut the suspended object into thirds. (He used this power against the second RedKing, who had swallowed a quantity of bombs, so that he could carry the top third, containing the missing bombs, into outer space where they could explode harmlessly.) It is also called Ultra Anti-Gravity Beam (Urutora Han Jūryoku Kōsen?).
  • Ultra Air Catch (ウルトラエアキャッチ Urutora Ea Kyatchi?) Version II: With considerable concentration, Ultraman can converge two parallel swirls of energy originating from his palms to lift an opponent off the ground and repel it. This power also may involve a remote attack, as it was followed by explosive destruction of the target. He used it against Keelar.
  • Flight (飛行能力 Hikō Nōryoku?): Ultraman can propel himself in a controlled manner through the air. Apparently it takes little energy to do this, as he almost always is able to launch at the conclusion of a fight and get out of sight to change back into his human host. Book sources indicate this is possibly due to special jet boots, but that effect is never in evidence on the television programs.
  • Teleportation (テレポーテーション Terepōtēshon?): In dire emergencies when flying to a location would be too slow, Ultraman can teleport to it instead. Ultraman used this power to return to Earth from Planet R, in order to combat an invading Baltan force in Episode 16. However, this power has a high energy demand and his warning light will usually turn red and/or begin to blink as soon as he arrives at his destination. In the English-language dubbed version only, a peculiar symptom of Ultraman's preparation to teleport is manic laughter. When Ultraman teleports, he leaves behind Hayata's body in its comatose state, and the two cannot re-merge until they are in sufficient proximity. NOTE: Despite the statement in the show that teleportation is a major drain of his energy, when Ultraman teleported from Planet R to Earth his warning light was still blue, and this was also after having destroyed Baltans on Planet R.
  • Ultra Current (ウルトラ水流 Urutora Suiryū?): Ultraman can direct a high-pressure stream of water from his fingertips by touching his hands together. This may not actually be water from Ultraman's body, but rather a forced condensation of water in the atmosphere channeled into a stream. It was used to kill Jamila, whose body was water-soluble, and to extinguish the fires caused by Pestar.
  • Dynamic Size Change (巨大化能力 Kyodaika Nōryoku?): Ultraman can control his molecular structure, phasing from human-size to giant-size. He places his hands in front of his chest at 45 degree angles, thumb edge facing inward, and then sharply gestures outward. This is not the same as his transformation from human form as Shin Hayata. He used this power only once, to counteract Dada's micronizer ray.
  • Clairvoyance Beam (透視光線 Tōshi Kōsen?): Ultraman's vision extends into a wider range of the electromagnetic spectrum than that of humans, at least into infra-red and ultraviolet, and probably further to include gamma rays and X-rays. One manifestation of this power is a beam of energy, resembling a spotlight, that is emitted from Ultraman's eyes, and which renders electromagnetic cloaking devices used by shielded objects and beings inoperative. (Ultraman used it to spot the Baltan spaceship in Earth's atmosphere at night, and the Dada when it attempted to remain invisible.)
  • Ultra Chop (ウルトラチョップ Urutora Choppu?): A standard karate chop, though a more powerful version is accompanied by a flash of energy on impact. Ultraman used an example of the latter to defeat the monster Jirass/Keyra. It is also called Ultra Mist Cut (Urutora Kasumi Kiri?).
  • Ultra Punch (ウルトラパンチ Urutora Panchi?): This is a basic punch, but since Ultraman possesses super-humanoid physical strength, it "has the power of 50 Indian elephants."
  • Ultra Kick (ウルトラキック Urutora Kikku?): Ultraman has a shoe size of 320 mon and Three-Fold Joints (Sanjū Kansetsu?).
  • Ultra Swing (ウルトラスウィング Urutora Suwingu?): Ultraman swings an opponent around several times before letting go, much like a giant swing in professional wrestling. It was used against Keronia and defeated the first RedKing and Terresdon.
  • Ultra Eye Spot (ウルトラアイスポット Urutora Ai Supotto?): When Alien Baltan II's barrier deflected Ultraman's Cutting Halo, Ultraman used this eye beam to neutralize the barrier. It is also called Ultra Discernment (Urutora Gankō?)
  • Slash Beam (スラッシュ光線 Surasshu Kōsen?): In his battle against Alien Mephilas, Ultraman used this line of chevron-like bolts fire from his fingertips while the two where in flight, and Mephilas countered with his Bare Hand Beam, which resulted in Ultraman being temporarily blinded.
  • Catch Rings (キャッチリング Kyatchi Ringu?): Ultraman, spinning at high speeds, can produce three yellow energy rings to bind an opponent. It was used on Z-Ton, who managed to break free. It is also called Paralysis Beams (Kanashibari Kōsen?).
  • Operation: Star of Ultra (ウルトラの星作戦 Urutora no Hoshi Sakusen?): In The Return of Ultraman Episode 38, Ultraman and Ultra Seven used this tactic to free Ultraman Jack.
  • Ultra Separation (ウルトラセパレーション Urutora Separēshon?): In the 1996 movie Revive! Ultraman, Ultraman created four duplicates of himself to fight various monsters simultaneously.
  • Marine Spacium Beam (マリンスペシウム光線 Marin Supeshiumu Kōsen?): A rainbow-colored Spacium Ray used to defeat Zetton in Revive! Ultraman.
  • Energy Transfer Beam:In Ultraman Tiga Episode 49, Ultraman used this to replenish Ultraman Tiga's stamina.
  • Final Cross Shield (ファイナルクロスシールド Fainaru Kurosu Shīrudo?): In the prologue of Ultraman Mebius & Ultraman Brothers, Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Jack, and Ultraman Ace used this to imprison U-Killersaurs and Yapool in the sea at the cost of their ability to transform.
  • Energy Exposure (エネルギー照射 Enerugī Shōsha?): In Ultraman Mebius and Ultraman Brothers, Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Jack, and Ultraman Ace gave energy from four directions to Ultraman Mebius, who had been imprisoned by Alien Guts.
  • Giga Spacium Beam (ギガスペシウム光線 Giga Supeshiumu Kōsen?): In the PlayStation 2 video game Ultraman: Fighting Evolution Rebirth (released in 2005), Ultraman, who had been pummeled by the Chaos Spacium Beam (Kaosu Supeshiumu Kōsen) of Chaosroid U (Kaosuroido Yū) (but survived) and empowered by the light of the Plasma Spark, used this extremely powerful version of the Spacium Ray to destroy Chaosroid U and save the Land of Ultra from Alien Mephilas's invasion.
  • Beta Capsule Transformation: Ultraman's cohabitation within Shin Hayata's body is not entirely unlike the religious or spiritual concept of possession.[citation needed] However, Ultraman does not attempt to control Hayata's decision-making. Instead, Shin Hayata's mind and spirit control his body under ordinary circumstances. Yet it is possible, as evidenced by the many close calls to Hayata's life, that Ultraman can intercede in some way to protect Hayata's body, presumably in the form of accelerated healing of injuries as Hayata would be injured in some episodes. However, injuries that Hayata sustains are not transferred to Ultraman when Hayata activates the Beta Capsule, and Hayata can still be shown as wounded when Ultraman reverses the change, such as one episode when Hayata was knocked off a cliff, injured his left arm, and was shown with his arm in a sling after the fight, and another episode had Hayata blinded by a monster attack but his eyes were restored at the end of the episode. Also, any injuries that Ultraman receives do not transfer to Hayata after Ultraman reverses the transformation. When Hayata was hypnotized by underground aliens in an effort to control Ultraman, the plan failed since they did not count on the fact that Ultraman would be immune to their mind control or, indeed, that the transformation would generate light of such strength that it would totally destroy them. Only the Beta Capsule can trigger the physical transformation from Hayata to Ultraman. Where the Beta Capsule goes when Ultraman is active is not known, but during his first battle with Gomora (Gohora in US version) the Beta Capsule was somehow separated from him by a strong attack from the monster. This also revealed that the Beta Capsule only works for Hayata, as the child who retrieved the capsule tripped its activator switch and nothing happened to either the child or Hayata. When Hayata activates the capsule, Ultraman does not have to appear precisely where Hayata was standing, but he usually does appear very close to that location, and often, but not always, in a similar pose. Should Hayata use the Beta Capsule inside a building, Ultraman can choose to appear from within it or outside of it, even projecting himself during transformation through the specially-reinforced walls of Science Special Search Party Headquarters. One occasion demonstrates the variability: Hayata was atop a building during a mission where Alien Baltan was attacking, and the Beta Capsule fell out of his reach and landed on a ledge below. With Hayata needing to transform immediately and having no way to reach the device safely, he took an extraordinary gamble by throwing himself headfirst off the building, and managed to grab the capsule and activate it as he fell. Ultraman then appeared on the ground, safely standing on his feet. Ultraman is able to change back to human form by beaming a spiral of energy from his hands to a point on the ground. Hayata's body materializes within this spiral, and Ultraman's body vanishes. The only episode that showed Hayata split from Ultraman and laying in a coma was when Ultraman teleported from a planet he had destroyed some Baltans on back to Earth so that he could finish off the rest off them. For unknown reasons, Hayata's body was left behind in a deep coma state, possibly in stasis, until Ultraman returned. Either the teleportation power somehow split them apart or else Ultraman left Hayata's body behind to maintain the secret identity.

Despite all these amazing powers, Ultraman has one main weakness: Since Earth's atmosphere leeches away his solar energy, Ultraman can only physically exist on Earth for approximately three to five minutes of Earth time. To signal this, a warning light in Ultraman's chest (called the Color Timer (カラータイマー KarāTaimā?) in the Japanese-language version) starts out at blue. At the 1 minute mark it starts to blink, and then turns red and blinks faster at the two minute mark. Some sources have given 2:10 as the mark where the timer begins to blink. If the Color Timer/warning light stops, Ultraman will "never rise again." Obviously, at whatever point the blinking begins, Ultraman typically has only a short amount of time left to defeat his foe and return to his human host. However, Ultraman has occasionally been able to extend his operating time by flying towards the Sun and "recharging."

In the 2006 movie, Ultraman Mebius and the Ultra Brothers, it was stated that Ultraman, UltraSeven, Ultraman Jack and Ultraman Ace had sealed the monster Yapool behind a barrier at the cost of being unable to transform again due to the constant energy drain needed to maintain the barrier. They told Mebius that if they transformed again while the barrier was up that they risked permanent death. Despite this, and the fact that their color timers began flashing soon into the battle, any time limits or risk of actual death were not in evidence. With the destruction of the barrier and Zoffy and Taro reenergizing the four of them, they were restored to their full power. This would seem to support the idea that the Color Timer acts more as a "fuel gauge," and that the three-minute time limit that Ultra-Crusaders operate under on Earth is more of an average time limit, rather than an absolute.

When Zetton defeated Ultraman, his timer was still faintly flashing but he was too drained to fight and collapsed and would have had his timer go out completely if Zoffy had not arrived to recharge him. Subsequent Ultra series have had other Ultra-Crusaders experience total energy loss and their timer and eyes going dark, yet still being revived by an infusion of energy. It is likely that once the timer goes out, the time needed to infuse new energy into the dying Ultra-Crusader is short, and that permanent death is still possible.

Ultraman rarely engages in conversation, and when he does it seems to be in a telepathic manner. In Episode 1, as he reveals who he is and what he must do to keep Hayata alive, his discussion with the clearly unconscious, and obviously dying, Hayata in the damaged TravelSphere can only be explained via telepathy. His conversation with the monster Mephilas does not follow this pattern. Zoffy also speaks to Ultraman in the final episode while the two are in Zoffy's TravelSphere, though it is not made clear if this is telepathic. Otherwise, Ultraman does engage in vocalizations, specifically the shouts and barks he makes in reverberating human-like cries ("kiais") while fighting a monster. Although these sounds and other grunts of exertion are most common, Ultraman also has one oft-repeated, and now extremely iconic phrase that he clearly utters: "Shuwatch" (シュワッチ Shuwatchi?), which he shouts when jumping into the air to fly. In Japanese pop-culture, "Shuwatch" or 'Shoowatch' has been the phrase most associated with Ultraman.

Ultraman is one of the few Ultra-Crusaders who remains connected with his human host; despite being separated by Zoffy in Episode 39. Ultraman would return to recombine with Hayata after Ultraman had his warning light, which Zetton had damaged, replaced. In this case, Shin Hayata still serves as a vessel for the mighty alien warrior, as first revealed in Episode 38 of the Return of Ultraman series, in Episode 34 of Ultraman Taro, and Episode 47 of the Ultraman Mebius series and movies. NOTE: Ultra Seven, Ultraman Leo, Ultraman 80 and Ultraman Mebius used their powers to create human forms for their use and did not share their existences with any human host.

The Science Special Search Party[edit]

In the Ultraman television show, the Science Special Search Party is the name of the fictional organization which seeks out the monster of the week. One of its members is named Shin Hayata, and as he is secretly Ultraman's host, the monster is always defeated.

The symbol of the Science Special Search Party is the outline of a five-pointed star with the outline of a conventional rocketship having its nose in the center of the star.

The Science Special Search Party operates many different vehicles, most of which are depicted by models. But their car is a customized 1961 rear engine air-cooled Corvair sedan, one of the smallest cars Chevrolet ever made.

The uniforms of the Science Special Search Party are noteworthy. These are international orange in dominant color, and based on those used in the film Forbidden Planet in having a mantle that descends from each shoulder in front with a curved hem. However, they wear white shirts and orange four-in-hand ties instead of a ribbed imitation of a sailor's striped shirt. Their tie tacks are emergency detectors; each flashes and beeps when a monster is near. They wear plastic airmen's helmets with the insignium in the middle, which also appears on both descending parts of the mantle. As a precursor to the later Star Trek's communicator being incorporated into the insignium, theirs functions as a two-way radio once a tiny antenna is raised from the star on the insignia on the left.

The Science Special Search Party's arsenal[edit]

The Patrol personnel wear international-orange field uniforms under a regular duty blue business suit uniform with white trousers or skirts. When the order to go into the field is given, the outer suit is designed to be quickly removed in favor of the field uniform. Accompanying the field uniform are special helmets with ear fixtures that improve the reception of their communicator pins, and visors that provide visual aid, such as when using weapons. The field uniform/helmet combination also provides a degree of protection from radiation—even enough to allow a human to operate in space.

  • The Jet VTOL is the Science Special Search Party's iconic principal craft, and is frequently just called the "VTOL." (The prop for the Jet VTOL was originally from the 1962 Toho SF epic, Gorath, but repainted and probably modified for this series. It should be noted that the Gorath prop was slightly pointier than the rounded VTOL.) Up to three are seen. A hydrogen-rocket modification is later built for it, allowing it to go into space. It is generally armed with missiles of varying quality, depending on the episode.
  • The Sub-VTOL, a smaller, triangular version of the Jet VTOL, is actually an STOL with no VTOL capabilities. This was the vehicle piloted by Shin Hayata when he crashed it into Ultraman's "TravelSphere" ship in "Ultra Operation Number One," the first episode, and destroyed both. It is generally not used to attack monsters, as it lacks the heavier firepower and carrying space of the Jet VTOL.
  • Submarines S16, S21 and S25 are the Science Special Search Party's short-range, high crush-depth underwater submarines, all of which are airlifted by the Jet VTOL to lakes or other bodies of water one at a time.
  • The Underground Tank Pelucidar is the Science Special Search Party's subterranean vehicle with a huge drill at the front. Similar to the Mole from Thunderbirds, it is named after the underground world from Edgar Rice Burroughs's At the Earth's Core. It appears to have its own incidental music when it is first used.
  • The Science Special Search Party Car is a silver 1961 Chevrolet Corvair four-door sedan with the Science Special Search Party logo on the doors and roof.
  • The Supergun is the basic sidearm carried by each Science Special Search Party member. When unholstered, the barrel flips out from the handle and the gun is ready to fire. The weapon discharges either a wave of what looks like electricity or, alternatively in some episodes, a thin beam of energy. Three of them can be combined for a "triple shot," which is powerful enough to take down a (revived) monster. It returns for an episode of Ultraman Dyna as an "older model."
  • The Spider-Shot is the heavy atomic gun that Daisuke Arashi uses frequently; it is his favorite weapon. Fashioned as a two-handed weapon—somewhat like a submachine gun with a massive barrel—it is clearly more powerful than the standard Supergun sidearm, and visually more impressive. It has at least three settings; stun, red-heat, and heavy damage. It is called the "gamma-ray gun" in the English dub.
  • The Mars 133 is a gun, invented by Mitsuhiro Ide/Ito, that works on the same principle as Ultraman's Spacium Ray, and is thus mortally effective against Baltans. The name is read "Mars ichi-san-san" (one-three-three) in Japanese.
  • The QX Gun is a two-handed blaster, which attacks a monster's nervous system. Stands for "Quickly eXtinguish Gun." Called the "M-Ray Gun" in the US version.
  • The Mad Bazooka is a large shoulder-mounted bazooka, also created by Matsuhiro Ide/Ito.
  • The Spark 8 is an attachment for the Supergun invented by Matsuhiro Ide/Ito, and used by him, that enables the gun to fire rapid shots. The effect is best described as a Gatling gun that disintegrates its target in parts. It is easily the most effective handheld weapon the Science Special Search Party has in its arsenal, yet Matsuhiro Ide/Ito only uses it twice; against a revived monster (Dorako II) and Geronimon.
  • The Monster Translator was invented by Matsuhiro Ide/Ito to translate any monster's language. It was used to communicate with the friendly monster Pygmon, in the second of the two episodes he appeared in. A more modern (i.e.: no tape reels) version is invented early on in Ultraman Tiga.
  • The "Science Special Search Party Shuriken." Shin Hayata hurls a shuriken or shaken shaped like the Science Special Search Party's logo at the man-sized version of the monster Baltan in episode 2. (On the DVD, it can actually be seen bouncing off before the film is edited to show it sticking into the monster.)
  • Communicator Pin. Each Science Special Search Party officer is equipped with a small pin shaped as the organization's emblem that has a radio transmitter of considerable power and range for its size—or one that relies on a dense network of radio-communications relays. All the operator has to do is pull out the small antenna at the top of the pin to activate it and send a message.

The monsters[edit]

Every episode featured a kaiju, a seijin, or both; many of these were used in future series. Two monsters (Ragon and Kemur) from Ultra Q, the series' predecessor, make a reappearance.

Episodes[edit]

  1. Ultra Operation No. 1 (Alternate DVD Title: Ultra Operation Number One) (ウルトラ作戦第一号 Urutora Sakusen Dai Ichigō?)
  2. Blast the Invaders (Alternate DVD Title: Shoot the Invader/Defeat the Invaders) (侵略者を撃て Shinryakusha o Ute?)
  3. Science Special Search Party, Move Out (Alternate DVD Title: Charge Forth, Science Special Search Party/Sally Forth, Science Special Search Party!) (科特隊出撃せよ Katokutai Shutugeki seyo?)
  4. Five Seconds to Detonation (Alternate DVD Title: Five Seconds Before The Explosion/5 Seconds Before the Big Explosion!) (大爆発五秒前 Dai Bakuhatsu Gobyō Mae?)
  5. Secret of the Miloganda (Alternate DVD Title: Treasure of the Miloganda/Secret of Miroganda) (ミロガンダの秘密 Miroganda no Himitsu?)
  6. The Coast Guard Command (Alternate DVD Title: Coast Guard Orders) (沿岸警備命令 Engan Keibi Meirei?)
  7. The Blue Stone of Vallarge (Alternate DVD Title: The Blue Stone of Baraj/The Blue Stone of Baradhi) (バラージの青い石 Barāji no Aoi Ishi?)
  8. The Wild Monster Zone (Alternate DVD Title: The Lawless Monster Zone/Monster Lawless Zone) (怪獣無法地帯 Kaijū Muhō Chitai?)
  9. Operation: Uranium (Alternate DVD Title: Operation Light Speed/Operation Electric Stone Fire) (電光石火作戦 Denkōsekka Sakusen?)
  10. The Mysterious Dinosaur Base (Alternate DVD Title: Mysterious Monster Base) (謎の恐竜基地 Nazo no Kyōryū Kichi?)
  11. The Rascal from Outer Space (Alternate DVD Title: The Ruffian From Outer Space/The Rambunctious One From Space) (宇宙から来た暴れん坊 Uchū kara Kita Abarenbō?)
  12. Cry of the Mummy (Alternate DVD Title: The Cries of the Mummy) (ミイラの叫び Miira no Sakebi?)
  13. Oil S.O.S. (Alternate DVD Title: none) (オイルSOS Oiru Esu Ō Esu?)
  14. The Pearl Defense Directive (Alternate DVD Title: The Pearl Oyster Protection Directive/Pearl Oyster Defense Order) (真珠貝防衛指令 Shinjugai Bōei Shirei?)
  15. Terrifying Cosmic Rays (Alternate DVD Title: The Space Ray of Terror) (恐怖の宇宙線 Kyōfu no Uchūsen?)
  16. Science Special Search Party Into Space (Alternate DVD Title: The Science Special Search Party in Outer Space/Science Special Search Party to Space) (科特隊宇宙へ Katokutai Uchū e?)
  17. Passport to Infinity (無限へのパスポート Mugen e no Pasupōto?)
  18. The Brother from Another World (Alternate DVD Title: The Brother From Another Planet) (遊星から来た兄弟 Yūsei kara Kita Kyōdai?)
  19. Demons Rise Again (Alternate DVD Title: The Demons Once More) (悪魔はふたたび Akuma wa Futatabi?)
  20. Terror on Route 87 (恐怖のルート87 Kyōfu no Rūto Hachijūnana?)
  21. Breach the Wall of Smoke (Alternate DVD Title: Break Through The Smoke) (噴煙突破せよ Fun'en Toppa seyo?)
  22. Sabotage Terrene (Alternate DVD Title: The Underground Destruction Work) (地上破壊工作 Chijō Hakai Kōsaku?)
  23. My Home is the Earth (故郷は地球 Kokyō wa Chikyū?)
  24. The Undersea Science Center (海底科学基地 Kaitei Kagaku Kichi?)
  25. Strange Comet Cyphon (Alternate DVD Title: The Dreaded Comet Tsuiphon/The Dreaded Comet Twenty-Four) (怪彗星ツイフォン Kai Susei Tsuifon?)
  26. The Prince of Monsters: Part 1 (Alternate DVD Title: His Majesty Monster, Part 1/The Monster Prince, Beginning) (怪獣殿下 前篇 Kaijū Denka Zenpen?)
  27. The Prince of Monsters: Part 2 (Alternate DVD Title: His Majesty Monster, Part 2/The Monster Prince, Conclusion) (怪獣殿下 後篇 Kaijū Denka Kōhen?)
  28. Human Specimens 5 & 6 (人間標本5・6 Ningen Hyōhon Go Roku?)
  29. The Challenge Into Subterra (Alternate DVD Title: Challenge To The Underground) (地底への挑戦 Chitei e no Chōsen?)
  30. Phantom of the Snow Mountains (Alternate DVD Title: The Snowy Mountain of Illusion/The Phantom Snow Mountain) (まぼろしの雪山 Maboroshi no Yukiyama?)
  31. Who Goes There? (Alternate DVD Title: Who Has Come?/Who Has Arrived?) (来たのは誰だ Kita no wa Dare da?)
  32. The Endless Counterattack (果てしなき逆襲 Hateshinaki Gyakushū?)
  33. The Forbidden Words (Alternate DVD Title: The Forbidden World) (禁じられた言葉 Kinjirareta Kotoba?)
  34. A Gift from the Sky (Alternate DVD Title: Present From The Sky) (空の贈り物 Sora no Okurimono?)
  35. The Monster Graveyard (怪獣墓場 Kaijū Hakaba?)
  36. Arashi, Don't Shoot! (Alternate DVD Title: Don't Shoot! Arashi) (射つな! アラシ Utsuna! Arashi?)
  37. The Littlest Hero (小さな英雄 Chiisana Eiyū?)
  38. The Spaceship Rescue Command (Alternate DVD Title: Spaceship Rescue Orders) (宇宙船救助命令 Uchūsen Kyūjo Meirei?)
  39. Farewell, Ultraman (さらばウルトラマン Saraba Urutoraman?)
  • Special film: Revive! Ultraman (甦れ!ウルトラマン Yomigaere! Urutoraman?) (This was a short film produced in 1996; it lacks the English language dubbing of the main series.)

Theme song[edit]

  • "Ultraman no Uta" (ウルトラマンの歌 Urutoraman no Uta?, "The Song of Ultraman")
    • Lyrics authorship: Kyōichi Azuma
    • Music composition: Kunio Miyauchi
    • Performing artist: Misuzu Children's Choral Group

Home media[edit]

In 2006, BCI/Eclipse officially released Ultraman on DVD under license from then rightsholder Chaiyo Productions. These releases featured the original Japanese soundtrack and the English dub. When Navarre folded BCI/Eclipse in December 2008,[2] the series was shuffled over to Navarre's other home video label, Mill Creek Entertainment. In June 2009, Mill Creek re-released the complete series set on September 29, 2009, in a 4-disc set with the same special features.[3] In Japan, there have been numerous releases in numerous home video formats over the last 25 years (from VHS to DVD) on several labels, including Bandai's various home video divisions, including Bandai Visual.

On April 2013, Tsuburaya held a press conference announcing the new Ultra Series show and character, Ultraman Ginga, where they also announced that the original 1966 show will be given an HD remaster treatment in Japan. On July 2013, Tsuburaya released an HD transfer of Ultraman on Blu-ray titled, Ultraman HD Remaster 2.0, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions.[4] Tsuburaya plans to release the series on three separate box sets, each containing 13 episodes. The first box set was released on July 10, 2013, the second on October 25, 2013 and the final set is planned for January 29, 2014.[5]

Adaptations[edit]

Harvey Comics Entertainment published two short comic book series based on Ultraman in 1993 and 1994.

Bandai published the video game PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64 for the Nintendo 64 in 1997.

In 2011, a manga adaptation simply titled ULTRAMAN began serialization in Shogakukan's Monthly Hero's magazine. It serves as a sequel to the television series.

Malaysian book ban[edit]

The government of Malaysia banned the printing of an Ultraman book in March 2014, although the reason was originally unknown.[6][7] After the ban was made public, Malaysian social network users noted that the book in question compared the character of Ultraman King (from the film Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy) with "Allah". The Ministry of Home Affairs later stated that the comparison may "confuse Muslim children and damage their faith". The ban is part of a larger ban to prevent non-Muslims in Malaysia from using the word "Allah" despite its common usage in the Malaysian language to refer to any "God", and a suit from the Catholic Church of Malaysia over its usage.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ragona, August (2007). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman and Godzilla. Chronicle Books. p. 120. ISBN 9780811860789. 
  2. ^ "Site News DVD news: Navarre shutters BCI Eclipse division". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  3. ^ "Ultraman - Rights to The Complete Series Picked Up". Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  4. ^ "Ultraman Blu-ray Box I Blu-ray (Japan)". Blu-ray.com. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  5. ^ "“Ultraman” Blu-ray Box Sets to Begin Releasing on July 10, “Ultraman Day”". Otakumode.com. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  6. ^ "Ultraman comic falls to Home Ministry ban | Malaysia". The Malay Mail Online. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  7. ^ Sharon Tang Latest Mar. 6, 2014, 6:21 PM (2014-03-06). "Home Ministry Bans Ultraman Comic Book | Business Insider". Businessinsider.my. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  8. ^ David Stout (2014-03-07). "Malaysia Bans Ultraman Comic Book Over the Use of Word ‘Allah’". TIME. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  9. ^ Agence France-Presse in Kuala Lumpur (2014-03-07). "Malaysia censors Ultraman comic for 'irresponsible use of the word Allah' | World news". theguardian.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  10. ^ "Malaysia bans Japanese comic book Ultraman over use of "Allah"". Channel NewsAsia. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  11. ^ "Ultraman comic banned in Malaysia, possibly for its use of the word "Allah"". Straitstimes.com. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  12. ^ "Ultraman comic banned in Malaysia because its hero is referred to as 'Allah' | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  13. ^ March 7, 2014 9:31 AM (2014-03-07). "Malaysia bans Ultraman book over use of Allah - Yahoo Celebrity". Celebrity.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  14. ^ March 7, 2014 (2014-03-07). "Muslim Malaysia Bans “Ultraman” so Kids Don’t Confuse Him with Allah | FrontPage Magazine". Frontpagemag.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  15. ^ Tomas Jivanda (2014-03-07). "Malaysia bans Ultraman comic for referring to character as Allah - Asia - World". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  16. ^ "Malaysia bans comic book for using 'Allah' - Asia-Pacific". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  17. ^ Mar 7, 2014 (2014-03-07). "Malaysia Bans Ultraman Comic for Using the Word Allah - Southeast Asia Real Time - WSJ". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  18. ^ Grudgings, Stuart (2014-03-07). "Comic superhero Ultraman slain by Malaysian censors". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  19. ^ "Home Ministry bans publication of ‘Ultraman The Ultra Power’ over usage of "Allah" - Nation | The Star Online". Thestar.com.my. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  20. ^ Malaysian, The (2014-03-06). "Comic ‘Ultraman the Ultra Power’; banned by Home Ministry, superhero called ‘Allah’; - MSN Malaysia News". News.malaysia.msn.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  21. ^ Sapa-dpa (2014-03-06). "Malaysia can't take the ultra power, bans Ultraman comic". Times LIVE. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  22. ^ Yasmine Hafiz. "'Ultraman' Comic Banned By Malaysia For 'Allah' Reference". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  23. ^ By ETSUSHI TSURU/ Correspondent. "Malaysian censors slap ban on 'Ultraman' comic for Allah reference - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun". Ajw.asahi.com. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  24. ^ "Malaysia bans Ultraman book over use of Allah". The Jakarta Post. 2014-03-07. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  25. ^ Source AAP UPDATED 3:54 PM - 8 Mar 2014 (2014-03-08). "Malaysia bans Ultraman book | SBS News". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 

External links[edit]