Ultraman: Towards the Future

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Ultraman: Towards the Future
Also known as Ultraman Great
Genre
Written by
Directed by Andrew Prowse
Starring
Voices of
Theme music composer Shinsuke Kazato
Composer(s) Patrick Thomas
Country of origin
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Production
Executive producer(s) Noboru Tsuburaya
Producer(s)
Editor(s)
Location(s)
Cinematography Paul Dallwitz
Running time 25 mins
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original network
First shown in
  • United States:
  • 4 January - 28 March 1992
  • Japan:
  • 8 July - 30 September 1995

Ultraman: Towards the Future, released in Japan as Ultraman Great (ウルトラマンG(グレート) Urutoraman Gurēto?), is a Japanese Australian tokusatsu television show co-produced by Tsuburaya Productions and the South Australian Film Corporation. It is the 10th show in the Ultra series, the first Ultraman show to be produced during Japan's Heisei period, and the first Australian-produced Ultraman show: the first production in the franchise to be entirely filmed outside of Japan.[1]

Despite being co-produced by an Australian studio and filmed in Australia, Ultraman: Towards the Future never aired in Australia and instead was released on home video and LaserDisc however, the show did air in North American in 1992[2] and in Japan in 1995 under the title Ultraman Great.[3]

Story[edit]

Jack Shindo and Stanley Haggard are members of the first manned expedition to Mars, and on the red planet find a giant slug-like monster, Goudes/Gudis. Suddenly the giant warrior, Ultraman, arrives and fights Goudes, but is knocked down for a period. Shindo is pinned by a rockslide and Haggard tries to escape in their ship but is blown up by Goudes. It is then that Ultraman gets up, and when he is on the verge of victory Goudes changes into a virus and travels to Earth, where it plans on corrupting all life, mutating other creatures into monsters and awakening existing ones. Needing a human host to survive on Earth, Ultraman joins with Jack, allowing him to become the mighty alien when all seems lost. He joins the Universal Multipurpose Agency, or UMA, in order to help them battle the monsters.

Halfway through the series Goudes reappears, more powerful than before. It imprisons Ultraman, but Jack distracts it by ultimately showing it the futility of its mission. Even if it does manage to corrupt all life, eventually there will be nothing else to corrupt. The distraction allows Ultraman to break free and destroy Goudes once and for all. For the rest of the series the environmental themes are stronger and the monsters usually arise from human pollution.

In the series finale, a doomsday scenario begins with the appearance of three powerful monsters: Kilazee, Kodalar, and the Earth itself, which tries to wipe out the human race for abusing it. Ultraman is defeated by Kodalar, but Jack survives. Ultimately the humans use an ancient disc to destroy Kodalar by reflecting its own power at it and Ultraman defeats Kilazee and carries it into space, separating Jack from him and restoring him on Earth as a normal human. The victory is seen as another chance for the human race.

Characters[edit]

UMA (Universal Multipurpose Agency)[edit]

Pronounced "Yuma" (or sometimes just "Uma", as in actress Uma Thurman), the Universal Multipurpose Agency is a high-tech defense force with a huge base situated on an island off the coast of Australia.

  • Colonel Arthur Grant (Ralph Cotterill, voiced by Akiji Kobayashi) - The head of UMA. When General Brewer arrives at UMA headquarters, Grant contests command and triumphs.
  • Jean Echo (Gia Carides, voiced by Yoshiko Sakakibara) - One of the two female members of UMA and a love interest for Jack Shindo.
  • Lloyd Wilder (Rick Adams, voiced by Kōichi Yamadera) - The toughest member of UMA. Also the most skeptical member of the team, especially when it comes to Shindo's behavior.
  • Charles Morgan (Lloyd Morris, voiced by Shingo Yanagisawa) - UMA's scientific/technical expert and the team's comedy relief. Has a thing for Jean.
  • Kim Shaomin (Grace Parr, voiced by Fumi Hirano) - An Asian girl, one of the two female members of UMA. An excellent pilot.
  • Jack Shindo (Dore Kraus) and Ultraman (Great) (Robert Simper and Steve Apps, voiced by Matthew O'Sullivan; both are voiced by Masaki Kyōmoto in the Japanese dub) - An astronaut who, on his expedition to Mars, lost his partner Stanley Haggard in a fight between Goudes and Ultraman Great, who, after defeating the monster (who escapes to Earth), combines with Shindo to save him from being stranded on Mars. After mysteriously returning to Earth, Shindo joins UMA as a member, although his astronaut work was somehow related to UMA, to help the team with the Goudes threat, among other monster/alien-related calamities, since he shares Great's psyche. Although somewhat reluctant to be combined with Great, as he does not like being constantly under his teammates's suspicion, he nonetheless takes this responsibility. Shindo transforms into Ultraman Great by activating the Delta Plasma Pendant, which is shaped like Great's Color-Timer warning light.

UMA vehicles[edit]

There are two main vehicles, which are mass-produced.

  • Hummer - The red-colored jet vehicle. Fires laser beams.
  • Saltop - The tech-equipped jeep. Has an energy cannon.

Ultra-Monsters[edit]

All the Ultra-Monsters in Ultraman (Great): Towards The Future were operated by Australian stuntmen Mike Read and Johnny Halliday. They were:

  • Goudes/Gudis, who was shown in both "Signs of Life" and, in his final form, in "The Showdown."
  • Brodz/Bogun, also shown in "Signs of Life."
  • Gigasaurus, shown in "The Hibernator."
  • Gerugadon, shown in "The Child's Dream," where he was merged with a clone of a character named Jimmy.
  • Deganja/Degola, shown in "The Storm Hunter."
  • Barrangas, shown in "Blast from the Past."
  • Gazebo/Zebokon, shown in "The Forest Guardian."
  • Majama and Majaba, who might have been male and female versions of the same monster, who were shown, along with younger phases of the locust-like creatures, in "Bitter Harvest."
  • Bios, shown in "The Biospherians."
  • The Vegoids, also shown in "The Biospherians."
  • Ryugulo, shown in "Tourists from the Stars."
  • Veronica, also shown in "Tourists from the Stars."
  • UF0, spoken as "UF-Zero," shown in "The Survivalists."
  • Kodalar/Kudara, shown in "The Age of Plagues" and "Nemesis."
  • Shiralee/Shilagi aka Shiralee/Kilazee, also shown in "The Age of Plagues" and "Nemesis."

Episodes[edit]

  1. "Signs of Life"
    • Monsters: Goudes (AKA: Gudis), Brodz (AKA: Bogun)
  2. "The Hibernator"
    • Monster: Gigasaurus
  3. "The Child's Dream"
    • Monsters: Gerugadon, Clone Jimmy-not killed by Ultraman Great, Jimmy took control and flew away together as it bid farewell to Ultraman Great.
  4. "The Storm Hunter"
    • Monster: Deganja (AKA: Degola)
  5. "Blast from the Past"
    • Monster: Barrangas
  6. "The Showdown"
    • Monster: Goudes (Final Form)
  7. "The Forest Guardian"
    • Monster: Gazebo (AKA: Zebokon)-not killed by Ultraman Great, it was put to rest.
  8. "Bitter Harvest"
    • Monster: Majama and Majaba (possibly male and female versions of the same monster), and various younger phases of the locust-like monsters - some were killed by the UMA.
  9. "The Biospherians"
    • Monsters: Bios, The Vegoids
  10. "Tourists from the Stars"
    • Monsters: Ryugulo, Veronica-not killed by Ultraman Great, Ryugulo reverted to his human form after Ultraman Great convinced him to stop fighting.
  11. "The Survivalists"
    • Monster: UF0 (UF-Zero)-not killed by Ultraman Great, flew into space after being hit by Ultraman Great's attack.
  12. "The Age of Plagues"
    • Monsters: Kodalar (AKA: Kudara)-only monster to defeat Ultraman Great, Shiralee (AKA: Shilagi, Kilazee)
  13. "Nemesis"
    • Monsters: Kodalar-not killed by Ultraman Great; the UMA used an artifact to reflect its own attack back at it. Shiralee-unknown, but heavily implied to be dead; Ultraman Great carried him off into space after separating himself from Jack.

Production[edit]

Principal photography lasted for four months.[4] Terry Larsen provided the environmental and ecological themes for the show.[5] Unlike previous installments, spandex were used for Ultraman instead of a rubber suit.[3] Director Andrew Prowse stated that the decision to employ spandex instead of the traditional rubber suit was made so that the "actor could move in it" and "reduce the risk of heat exhaustion" however, the suit actor passed out one day in the spandex suit.[6] Steve Apps and Robert Simper performed the Ultraman suitmation sequences.[7] Vicky Kite constructed the suits while Andrew Blaxland oversaw the production design.[6]

Merchandising[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The music was composed by Shinsuke Kazato and performed by The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Most of the melodies and motifs are based on very similar music used in the 1987 anime "Ultraman USA" (aka Ultraman: The Adventure Begins), which was also scored by Shinsuke Kazato.

The Ultraman G soundtrack was first released by Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd in 1992 as stock number COCC-9745. It was re-released in 2007 as part of Nippon Columbia's "ANIMEX2000" series of inexpensive album reissues, under stock number COCC-72238.[8] As of 2016, this version is still available for order from Japanese record stores.[9]

Toy line[edit]

The series also received an equally short-lived toyline from DreamWorks toys. The figures were 10" tall and included Ultraman, who came with a mini Jack Shindo, as well as his enemies Bogun, Barrangas, Majaba, Gerukadon and Kilazee. Also released was a toy of the Hummer vehicle which included a mini figure of Charlie Morgan. A toy of the Saltop was advertised on the back of all boxes, though it was never released or produced according to a Bandai representative. Despite their unique size, the toys were not without their problems. Jack, Charlie and the Hummer were well out of scale with the other toys, while the Ultraman figure lacked articulation. Also, despite being the main villain for the first story arc, neither version of Gudis was released as a toy in the DreamWorks line (although one did appear in Bandai's Japanese vinyl Ultraman line).

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the series was released for Super Nintendo Entertainment System/Super Famicom. It is thought to have awkward controls and an unfairly high level of difficulty by many. It was based around the same engine as a Japanese Ultraman game based on the original series. In the game Ultraman fights Gudis, Bogun, Degola, Barrangas, Gudis II, Zebokon, Majaba, Kodolar, and Kilazee.

Comic book[edit]

A comic book retelling of/sequel to the series, published in early 1993 by Harvey Comics' short-lived "Nemesis" label, was printed in the United States. However, the comic treats Ultraman Great as the same Ultraman from the original 1966 series. The comic has also been known to confuse Ultraman: Towards the Future with the subsequent American-produced series, Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (which was released as Ultraman Powered in Japan), of which the comic had included plenty of full-color publicity pictures in many issues to generate interest. After 4 issues (5 if you count the "Minus-one" issue), the comic series was canceled once Harvey Comics went out of business the next year. (Most of the issues had different collectible cover variants, a trend prevalent in the "Speculator Boom" at the time.) Another unrelated comic book series, "Ultraman Tiga", was later published by Dark Horse Comics in 2003 (ten issues).

Media[edit]

Cameo[edit]

  • Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy (2009), Great along with other M78 Ultra Warriors fight against the evil Ultraman Belial. However, this series does not reference other Ultramen that came to Earth and Ultraman Great is not a member of the "Ultra Brothers".

International broadcast[edit]

In Thailand this series aired on Channel 9 (is currently Channel 9 MCOT HD) in 1993 on Saturdays and Sundays at late in the day. Sachs Family Entertainment distributed the show for American television via weekly syndication between January 4, 1992 and March 28, 1992.[2]

References[edit]

  • Holden, August (2014). Looking Back at Ultraman: Towards The Future. Shadowland Magazine. 
  1. ^ Holden 2014, p. 46.
  2. ^ a b Holden 2014, p. 48.
  3. ^ a b Holden 2014, p. 47.
  4. ^ Holden 2014, p. 58.
  5. ^ Holden 2014, p. 55.
  6. ^ a b Holden 2014, p. 56.
  7. ^ Holden 2014, p. 64.
  8. ^ http://columbia.jp/prod-info/COCC-72238
  9. ^ [1] CD Japan order page as of March 1, 2016

External links[edit]