Ultraman: The Next

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Ultraman: The Next
UltramanNextPosterA.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKazuya Konaka
Produced byKiyoshi Suzuki
Written byKeiichi Hasegawa
StarringTetsuya Bessho
Kyoko Toyama
Nae Yuuki
Music byTak Matsumoto
CinematographyShinichi Ooka
Production
company
Distributed byShochiku
Release date
  • December 18, 2004 (2004-12-18)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Budget$6.3 million[1]

Ultraman: The Next, released in Japan simply as Ultraman (ウルトラマン, Urutoraman) is a 2004 Japanese science fiction superhero film directed by Kazuya Konaka and produced by Tsuburaya Productions. The film is a reimagining of the Ultraman character and franchise, part of the "Ultra N Project", a three-phase experiment aimed to reinvent the franchise for an older audience.[1] Ultraman: The Next was released in Japan on December 18, 2004 and had its American premiere at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood on June 25, 2005.[2]

Ultra N Project[edit]

Tsuburaya Productions started the "Ultra N Project" in 2004, in an attempt to revitalize the Ultra franchise. The project consisted of a press conference unveiling of Ultraman Noa, the airing of the new Ultra Series Ultraman Nexus, and this movie featuring Ultraman Next. Ultraman Next resembled a lifelike insectoid version of Nexus (with insect-like body armor and organic tissue-like skin underneath). This was the first Ultraman ever to possess this sort of characteristic, a departure from the traditional "clean and shiny" look. BEING GIZA artists provided the theme songs for ULTRAMAN and Ultraman Nexus.

Plot[edit]

First Lieutenant Shunichi Maki of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force is a prestigious F-15 Eagle jet pilot. A lifelong fan of flying since he was a child, being a pilot is his ultimate dream. Unfortunately, his duties distance himself from his wife, Yoko, who feels neglected, and his son, Tsugumu, who has a possibly terminal congenital blood disease.

Maki decides to quit the Air Force to devote more time to his family and to spend whatever time is left with his son. He takes a part-time job as a commercial tour guide for a kindly group of people who allow him time to take care of his family.

Prior to quitting, Maki and his flight partner Yamashima are alerted to a strange red light streaking towards Japan, and Maki's plane passes through the red light seemingly without any damage. He suffers no ill effects other than strange images briefly playing out in his mind. He later discovers that the images are telepathic messages from a strange being that exists in the red light.

Production[edit]

Design[edit]

Veteran Ultraman designer Hiroshi Maruyama stressed the difficulty of reinventing the Ultraman design, stating, "Ultraman is a very simple design. This, unfortunately, removes some of the simplicity which is a big part of the design’s charm. But it really can’t be helped. If you tried to remove anything form that design what would you have? It would look like Pepsi Man!" Maruyama originally wanted to give Ultraman "transparent skin" with "glowing streams of red energy" but stated that the executives found the idea "a bit too shocking".[2]

Cast[edit]

Main characters[edit]

  • Shunichi Maki (真木 舜一) / Ultraman the Next (ウルトラマン・ザ・ネクスト): Played by Tetsuya Bessho.
  • Sara Mizuhara (水原 沙羅): Played by Kyoko Toyama (遠山 景織子).
  • Takafumi Udou (有働 貴文) / Beast the One (ビースト・ザ・ワン): Played by Kenya Oosumi (大澄 賢也).

Supporting[edit]

  • Nae Yuuki (裕木 奈江)
  • Ryouhei Hirota (広田 亮平)
  • Toshiya Nagasawa (永澤 俊矢)
  • Daisuke Ryu (隆 大介)
  • Masao Kusakari

Original soundtrack[edit]

Ultraman Original Soundtrack
Ultraman ost.jpg
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedJuly 20, 2005
RecordedBirdman West, Rodeo Recording, Giza Hills Studio, Green Way Studio, Cock and Bottle Studio
GenreHard rock
Length56:29
LabelVermillion Records
ProducerTak Matsumoto, Sussie Tamagawa, Hiroshi Suzuki, Ryo Watabe

The original soundtrack was produced by Tak Matsumoto (of B'z), under his Vermillion Records label (which is in turn, a part of the Being Giza group). It was released in Japan on July 20, 2005. The catalogue code for the album is BMCV-8015.

Theme songs[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ballard, James. "Tsuburaya Productions, 2004: A Year In Retrospect". Scifi Japan. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Ultraman: The Next Press Notes". Scifi Japan. May 15, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2015.

External links[edit]