Ultraman Taro (character)

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Ultraman Taro
Ultra Series character
UltramanTaroProfile.jpg
Ultraman Taro as seen in episode 11 of Ultraman Ginga.
First appearanceUltraman Taro (1973)
Created byTerui Satake
Akihiko Iguchi[1]
Portrayed byHiroshi Nagasawa[2]
Information
AliasUltraman No.6 (ウルトラマンNo.6, Urutoraman Nanbā Shikkusu)[a]

Ultraman Taro (ウルトラマンタロウ, Urutoraman Tarō) is the titular character of the 1973 Ultra Series entry, Ultraman Taro.[3] In the series proper, Ultraman Taro merged with Kotaro Higashi after losing his life during Astromons' rampage. Ever since then, Kotaro joined the battle as a ZAT member and utilized Taro's power when fighting against giant monsters, at the same time receiving assistance from either his fellow brothers-in-arms (Ultra Brothers) or his parents. Unfortunately in the final episode, Kotaro severed his connection to Taro and return the Ultra Badge, wanting to continue living his life as a normal human and was last seen travelling around the world.[2]

His titular show is the third entry in the Ultra Series' second phase during the Showa Era. Alongside Fireman and Jumborg Ace, the three celebrated the 10th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions despite airing in different television channels respectively. The presence of his parents (Father and Mother of Ultra) and the Ultra Brothers emphasizes the theme of family in the series as a whole.[4] Despite Taro's current popularity, long time fans in the Showa Era is more likely to not acknowledging this work.[1]

In the original series, Ultraman Taro is voiced by Saburo Shinoda, who is also Kotaro Higashi's actor. In subsequent media, Taro is frequently voiced by Hiroya Ishimaru (石丸 博也, Ishimaru Hiroya).[5] Meanwhile, his original suit actor is Hiroshi Nagasawa (長沢 寛, Nagasawa Hiroshi).[2]

Character conception[edit]

According to the second volume of Ultraman Taro DVD, the series' production was already conceived since the autumn 1972, with Ultraman Ace airing at the moment. The television network Tokyo Broadcasting System even planned in ending the Ultra Series with Ace itself.[6]

Design[edit]

Ultraman Taro was designed by Akihiko Iguchi (井口 昭彦, Iguchi Akihiko).[1] His figure is based on the body of Ultraseven, with the latter's Beam Lamp, red color and large projections. The Ultra Horns were inherited feature from the Father of Ultra, something that is well received to this day.[1] There was also plans to include ears on Taro's helmet, as seen in the original design but was removed in the finalized version.[7] The prototype of Taro's mask was molded by Terui Satake (照井 栄, Satake Terui) at the request of Kaigome Production (開米プロダクション, Kaigome Purodakushon). Terui even requested to the producer Kumagai for a 170 cm tall suit actor for Taro due to the Ultra's head sculpt.[8]

Naming[edit]

His name, Taro is said to came from either a stand-alone masculine Japanese given name/common name suffix, or one of the most typical name of a boy in otogi-banashis/Japanese fairy tales, the latter coincide with the fairy tale motif in Ultraman Taro series. However, in-universe, it is said that this was given by the Father of Ultra, as it meant "someone who has courage and loves justice" (勇気を持ち正義を愛する者, Yūki o mochi seigi o aisuru mono), which is similarly translated in the Earth culture.[9]

In original planning, Taro and his home series were meant to be named as Ultraman Jack (ウルトラマンジャック, Urutoraman Jakku), but this was cancelled due to the aircraft hijacking incidents at that time.[10]

History[edit]

Past[edit]

Taro's pasts and his exploits prior to arriving on Earth is explained in his academic journal from the 2003 magazine.[11] Some of these settings were not acknowledged in recent media.

At the time of his birth as a big healthy baby, his cry shocked his parents. As children in the Land of Light grow faster, Taro's groth rate is known to be remarkable. He is capable of walking in two weeks and talks in one month. At one point, he nervously cried when his father played a prank. During childhood, Taro played with his cousin Seven, who was 3,000 years old at that moment. Back then, Taro was rough and a bit rebellious, but changes to a kinder attitude when his father brought a benevolent monster from space. He loves to play and is rather popular with the children at the park. At the age of 8 years old, he demonstrated the ability to lift a rock weighing 12 tons.

Taro entered the school at the age of 3,000 years old. As his parents helped him in his study, he was also good in gymnastics, helped his classmates in their studies and even won an Olympic Games for children. He excels in robotics and space monster science, earning the full total of 750 marks. He was the first to graduate and the school principal at that time was Zoffy. Following his graduation, Taro visited various planets and fight evil monsters to hone his fighting skills. At one point, he fought against the 2 million ton monster Deathgadon (デスガドン, Desugadon) in LP Nebula and escorted Diaking (ダイヤキング, Daiyakingu) from Andromeda nebula to the Monster Graveyard. While entering the Plasma fusion device, he fought against the monster Gironga (ギロンガ). Zoffy chose Taro as the sixth Ultra Brother after observing his exploits and was sent to Earth with the events of his namesake series begun.

Ultraman Taro[edit]

In the original series, Taro was meant to be the Ultraman form of Kotaro Higashi, who was revived with the energy of Ultra Brothers by Mother of Ultra after his death from Astromons.[2] This as well explained his absence in Ultraman Leo when the rest of Ultra Brothers appear.

Following his first battle, Taro would face monster and alien attacks with the help of ZAT members and even the Ultra Brothers' occasional reappearances. In one of his battles, Taro was gravely injured and died from his fight against Birdon. Zoffy would carry his body to Land of Light for recuperation while he took the former's place in the monster bird, only to receive a similar fate as well. It wasn't until Taro returned and utilized his new weapon, the King Bracelet to gain an advantage and finally luring said monster back to Okumayama, this time sealing the volcano's entrance and destroy its eggs to prevent another reappearance.

During Mururoa's assault on Earth, Taro would call for the Ultra Brothers' help to bring the Ultra Bell from their home world to clear the monster's smoke and returning sunlight to Earth. He also confronted returning opponents that his predecessors fought before, such as Alien Mefilas II, Eleking II, Yapool, Bemstar, Verokron and Sabotendar. In a two parter episode, Taro and the five brothers were hunted by Temperor on Earth in order to continue their invasion on the Land of Light. By hiding on several toy capsules, they were thrown by the local children and ambushed the evil alien. The single Temperor was defeated by Taro's Neo Strium Ray while his leader (in their space saucer) eliminated by the combined attacks from the Ultra Brothers.

During Tyrant's assassination attempt on the members of Ultra Brothers, Taro and ZAT members were warned beforehand of its arrival. Taro managed to fight the combined monster and win the battle from using his opponent's own weapon against it. The finale episode saw Taro's final fight with Samekujira and the invader Alien Valky. Whereas the monster was already dealt with, Kotaro made his decision to remain as a human by returning the Ultra Badge back to the Mother of Ultra and prove himself by killing Valky with his own wits.

Ultraman Story[edit]

While Zoffy, Ultraman and Seven were fighting elsewhere, a young Taro trained himself in order to join the Ultra Brothers. After picking up a fight with a Dokkun, Mother of Ultra came and had them reconcile, while the Father of Ultra lecture him of how there are also benevolent monsters in existence.

As Taro grew into a young adult, his overconfidence get the best of him until he was lectured by his father while he grows mature from learning and watching the Ultra Brothers' battles. At one point, he was sent to deal with both Alien Mefilas and his Eleking on Earth after the two escaped from Ultraman and Seven. After receiving a premonition dream of an incoming threat, Taro endured the final phase of his training: to use his Ultra Horns in absorbing Father of Ultra's energies. This was crucial in order to fight against Juda, an old foe who his father fought in 50,000 years prior. With Father of Ultra injured in fighting Alien Hipporit, Taro dealt with another of Juda's accomplice, Enmargo on Earth whereas the rest of Ultra Brothers confront Grand King. Taro would join the Brothers in Planet Feralt and fused with them to defeat Grand King. They would return to the Land of Light as Father and Mother of Ultra awaited.[12]

The movie itself saw the first time Taro being voiced by Hiroya Ishimaru.[13] His childhood on the other hand is voiced by Masako Nozawa (野沢 雅子, Nozawa Masako).

Subsequent history in Showa Era[edit]

Heisei Era[edit]

  • Ultraman Mebius & Ultraman Brothers (2006): Taro and Zoffy appeared during the movie's climax to aid their fellow Ultra Brothers and Mebius in recharging their energies. With the Ultra Brothers united, they combined with Mebius to form Mebius Infinity to defeat Yapool and freed Kobe. Taro and Zoffy were last seen accompanying Mirai Hibino's Gun Winger before departing Earth.
  • Ultraman Mebius (2006): Taro was originally one of the few Ultras that witnessed Mebius gaining the Mebius Brace from the Father of Ultra. In episodes 29 and 30, Taro went to Earth to replace Mebius when the Inpelaizer started its attack on Earth. As Crew GUYS prepared a trap for the robot, Taro joined the battle when their plan failed and attempted to use his sealed technique Ultra Dynamite. Initially dismayed with Mebius' participation, Taro allowed him to join the battle and the latter proved victorious with his new form, Burning Brave. Under Crew GUYS' persuasion, Taro allowed Mebius to remain on Earth. In the three parter final episodes, Taro joined his brothers in cleansing the Solar System's sun from Alien Empera's sunspot.
  • Ultraman Mebius Side Story: Ghost Reverse (2009): After being lured to the Monster Graveyard by Hikari's Ultra Sign, Taro and Ace fell into a trap orchestrated by the Dark Four Heavenly Kings, whose assisted by a traitorous Hikari. As Mebius was forced to bring the Giga Battlenizer as a leverage, Hikari dropped the facade as he freed both captors and all four Ultras fought against the revived heralds of Alien Empera.[14][15][16]
  • Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy (2009): In the opening of the movie, Taro was seen as the instructor to a group of students who practiced their finishing beams. Following Ultraman Belial's escape, Taro led a squadron of Ultras to held the renegade Ultra in place but failed to do so as he fell into the surface of the Land of Light. As Belial escaped with the Plasma Spark, Taro sacrificed himself to contain the last light while firming his belief that his home world will return. This piece of light was given to Ultraman, Seven and Mebius to transform as they brought Rei along with them towards the Monster Graveyard and fought Belial's army of 100 monsters. As Ultraman Zero returned the Plasma Spark to its rightful place, Taro and his parents were unfrozen and went to hear Ultraman King's speech.[17][18] In the English dub of the movie, Taro is voiced by William Winckler.[19]
  • Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial (2010): Taro was among the Space Garrison members that studied the Darklop's remains and donated his light to Zero's travel sphere so that the youth could travel to an alternate universe.[20] William Winckler reprises his voice role as Taro in the movie's English Dub.[19]
  • Ultraman Ginga (2013): Alongside the Ultra Brothers, Taro was among the combatants of Dark Spark War but soon cursed into a Spark Doll by Dark Lugiel. However, Taro retains his sentience due to his fellow brothers in arms and parents shielding him, thus feeling guilty for being "selfish" at that time. Taro becomes a teacher to Hikaru during his time on Earth and even encouraged Tomoya when hearing of his personal problems. Due to his diminutive size as a Spark Doll, he can only utilize Ultra Psychokinesis (ウルトラ念力, Urutora Nenriki), retaining the ability to fly and even mass teleportation at the cost of draining his energies. When Ultraman Ginga fell at the hands of Dark Lugiel, Furuboshi Town residents had their Ginga Light Sparks restored Taro to his original state long enough to fend himself against Lugiel to revive Ginga. Following the destruction of Lugiel, he regained his original form and bids farewell to Hikaru and his friends.[21] As Hiroya Ishimaru reprised his voice role as Taro, the Ultra's younger self is voiced by Kenta Matsumoto (松本 健太, Matsumoto Kenta). Previously in 2013, Taro was among the Ultramen who were present in an award ceremony when the Ultra Series was nominated as the series with most spin-offs and sequels, while the original Ultraman held the certificate given by Guinness World Records with Takuya Negishi, Hikaru Raido's actor in Ultraman Ginga.[22][23]
    • Ultraman Ginga Theater Special (2013):[24] In the middle of Ultraman Ginga season break, Taro accompanied Hikaru and his friends in salvaging monster Spark Dolls in the Furuboshi mountainside and give additional detail regarding the monsters. Despite his attempt to attack Alien Icarus with Ultra Psychokinesis, the latter managed to claim all the Spark Dolls and merge into Tyrant, leading to a fight between Tiga and Jean-nine, later on Ginga himself against Dark Zagi. At the end of the day, Taro remarked that their mission is far from over as he is still trapped in the Spark Doll state.
    • Ultraman Ginga Theater Special: Ultra Monster Hero Battle Royal! (2014):[25] Ultraman Taro was among the sketches that Tomoya drew in his book until a strange cosmic energy wave took effect thus materializing Ultraman Tiga and other sketches into Spark Dolls. Taro was used by Misuzu when she and her friends tried to play using Ultra Warrior Spark Dolls until a software bug created a group of five dark Ultramen for them to fight. Misuzu/Ultraman Taro fought against Chaosroid T and won by firing his/her Strium Ray.
  • Ultraman Ginga S (2014):[26] As revealed in Shin Ultraman Retsuden, Taro was given the power of the other five Ultra Brothers and transform into the Strium Brace (ストリウムブレス, Sutoriumu Buresu), an item that allows Hikaru to transform into Ultraman Ginga Strium and gain access to all six powers of Ultra Brothers. Taro's arrival at that time was due to him sensing a new threat on Earth. In aftermath of the battle with Dark Lugiel, Taro left Hikaru as his mission had ended.[27][28] In an original planning, Ultraman Taro was meant to be brainwashed in the second half of the series and turned into Ultraman Taro Dark (ウルトラマンタロウダーク, Urutoraman Tarō Dāku).[29]
  • Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Taro was mentioned by Zero when addressing Hikaru and Sho. The cover of the Blu Ray release of the movie has Taro acknowledges the ambiguity of Ultraman Max's home world and only testify that he lives "somewhere in Nebula M78".[30]
  • Ultraman Orb (2016): Ultraman Taro was mentioned to be the sealer of Maga-Grand King in the Pacific Records before Jugglus released the King Demon Beast. Upon its defeat, his Ultra Fusion Card was acquired by Gai, who used it alongside Ultraman Mebius' card to transform into Ultraman Orb Burnmite.[31] During the final episode of the series, Taro and the other Ultra Fusion Cards in Gai's possession transformed into physical projections of their owner to assist Ultraman Orb in delivering the finishing blow to Magata no Orochi while Juggler held off the monster long enough to expose its weak spot.
  • Ultraman Geed (2017): In the cold opening of episode 1, Taro was among the members of Space Garrison that fought against Belial's reign of terror on Earth. After the evil Ultra detonated the entire universe and King merged with it to undo the damage, Taro's power was contained in the Little Star of Tetsuro Matsumoto, providing the boy pyrokinesis. This was later on harvested by Ultraman Geed, obtaining the Taro Capsule (タロウカプセル, Tarō Kapuseru) and allowing him to execute Strium Flasher when assuming Royal Mega-Master.
  • Ultraman Geed the Movie (2018): From Jugglus Juggler's recollection, Taro and a squadron of Ultras were sent to deal with Gilbaris and fought in Cyber Planet Kushia but due to the absence of the red steel, the rogue AI managed to escape unharmed and teleported elsewhere along with the entire planet.
  • Ultraman R/B (2018): Ultraman Taro's power dominated the R/B Crystal element of fire, which allows Ultramen Rosso or Blu to assume the fire oriented form Flame. The crystal was sent to the Minato brothers alongside Ginga Crystal as they first transform to fight against Grigio Bone's assault on Ayaka City.

Reiwa Era[edit]

  • Ultraman Taiga (2019): Ultraman Taro was revealed to have a son named Taiga, including the fact that he was estranged with his former friend, Ultraman Tregear.[32][33][34] 12 years prior, Taro joined the New Generation Ultras in preventing Tregear from returning to the Land of Light. With all junior Ultras incapacitated, Taro's fate remains unknown after his fight with Tregear. In the present day, his Taro-let (タロウレット, Tarō-retto) transforms into Hiroyuki's Taiga Spark, allowing the youth to transform into any of the Tri-Squad members.
  • Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes (2019): At some point of time in the past, Taro had fought Ultra Dark Killer, who was formed by the souls of past monsters defeated by the Ultra Brothers. When Dark Killer returned and threatened Ultramen X, Geed, Zero and Ultrawoman Grigio, he was forced to recruite the New Generation Heroes. The series would eventually lead to the cold opening of Ultraman Taiga, where Taro and the New Generations fought against Tregear.[35]

Profile[edit]

Ultraman Taro's statistics below were never mentioned in the original series, but were brought up in magazines and official websites. There are also certain succeeding series that deviate Ultraman's original statistics:[3][36]

  • Height: 53 m
  • Weight: 55,000 t
  • Flight Speed: Mach 20
  • Age: 12,000 years old
  • Birthplace: Nebula M78, Land of Light
  • Year Debut: 1973
  • First Appearance: Ultraman Taro (1973)
  • Family structure:

Description[edit]

As the official website of Tsuburaya Productions stated: "From Nebula M78 of the Land of Light came to Earth, the son of Mother and Father of Ultra had grown well. On Earth, he operated as a figure named Kotaro Higashi, member of the defense team ZAT. Taro is a member of the Ultra Brothers, lead instructor of the Space Garrison and even a mentor to Ultraman Mebius. His finishing move is Strium Ray, among others."[3]

Transformation[edit]

Kotaro transforms with the use of the Ultra Badge (ウルトラバッジ, Urutora Bajji), which was stored on the left shoulder of his ZAT uniform when not in use. Kotaro would first pull the Badge and spread his arms before drawing the item in the same position as his face and lift it towards the sky, shouting "Taro!". This is followed by Taro emerging from a black background as he rises towards the screen with silver rings accompanying him.[36]

Features and weapons[edit]

  • Beam Lamp (ビームランプ, Bīmu Ranpu): A feature that is shared with Ultraseven, which is a green lamp on his forehead.As Taro already had a Color Timer, the Beam Lamp does not notify him of the activity limit.
  • Ultra Horn (ウルトラホーン, Urutora Hōn): An inherited feature from the Father of Ultra.[1] They also participated in Taro's techniques, such as Arrow Ray (アロー光線, Arō Kōsen),[41] and Blue Laser (ブルーレーザー, Burū Rēzā).[42]
  • Taro Bracelet (タロウブレスレット, Tarō Buresuretto): Taro's normal weapon, worn on his left arm and used to transform into Bracelet Lancer (ブレスレットランサー, Buresuretto Ransā) and fires Set Ray (セット光線, Setto Kōsen).[43]
  • King Bracelet (キングブレスレット, Kingu Buresuretto): A new weapon given by the Mother of Ultra in episode 19. The Ultra Power Diamond (ウルトラ・パワーダイヤ, Urutora Pawā Daiya) absorbs sunlight energy whereas the Ultra Valve Star (ウルトラ・バルブスター, Urutora Barubu Sutā) allows multiple capabilities for the bracelet. It was originally meant to be used for Zoffy.[44] The King Bracelet also possess multiple abilities, including the ability to summon a bucket of water and even a reacher.[45]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Ultraman Taro was said to be the strongest Ultra Brothers at the time of his debut on Earth, evidenced by the fact that his Color Timer usually blinked only at the end of the battle and capable of surviving even after being stabbed by Depparas' tusk in the gut. He is also known as the hero with 11 skills.[46] In contrast to his brothers, he shouted most of his attacks' names. Taro's main finisher is Strium Ray (ストリウム光線, Sutoriumu Kōsen), which was done by charging his body with energy as his hands raised above and lowered to his waist as they took the "T" formation and fired an energy beam.[3] This firing ray is said to have twice the power as Ultraman Ace's Metallium Ray[47] and even outclassed those of Ultra Brothers.[48] A stronger version also existed, named Neo Strium Ray (ネオストリウム光線, Neo Sutoriumu Kōsen) by placing his hands in an "X" position.[d] Back in his childhood, the young Taro prefers using a finisher named as Taro Shot (タロウショット, Tarō Shotto).[50]

His strongest attack is the suicidal Ultra Dynamite (ウルトラダイナマイト, Urutora Dainamaito), as he charged his body with fire and ran towards the opponent.[48][51] It was once used against Alien Katan as his body reconstituted due to his Ultra Heart (ウルトラ心臓, Urutora Shinzō)[52] As a result of its dangerous nature, Taro sealed it until he was forced to use it again in Ultraman Mebius during a failed attempt to destroy Inpelaizer. In this scene, the explosion effect was added to appear as if parts of Taro's body were scattered as a result.[53]

In Ultraman Story, Taro merged with the rest of his five brothers with Ultra 6 Polymer (ウルトラ6重合体, Urutora Roku Jūgō-tai),[54] and became a Super Ultraman (スーパーウルトラマン, Sūpā Urutoraman).[55]

Human Hosts[edit]

Kotaro Higashi[edit]

Kotaro Higashi
Ultra Series character
UltramanTaroKotaroHigashi.jpg
Kotaro Higashi as he appeared in Ultraman Taro.
First appearanceUltraman Taro (1973)
Created byTsuburaya Productions
Portrayed bySaburo Shinoda[2]

Kotaro Higashi (東 光太郎, Higashi Kōtarō) is the protagonist of Ultraman Taro and was Taro's initial human host. Due to the original setting of the series at that time, Kotaro's case was an inversion of the original trope as he was supposed to become an Ultraman instead of fusing with them.

Kotaro was originally a traveler who returned to Japan from hitching a ride in the Hibimaru (日日丸) tanker ship. After saving the ship's crews from Oil Drinker, Kotaro planted the seed which grows into Tigris Flower and later on became the space monster Astromons. In order to fix his mistake, the man try to take on Astromons on his own, which resulted in falling several feet from the sky. After having his injuries healed in the next day, Kotaro joined the ranks of ZAT but loses his life when his aircraft was taken down. It was at this moment that his body was brought to the Land of Light and bestowed with the spirit of Ultra to become Ultraman Taro, taking down Astromons moments after the fight.[56] Under orders from his captain, Kotaro lives in the house of the Shiratori residence, whose patriarch is the same captain of Hibimaru which the former saved earlier. With Kiyoshi Shiratori frequently leaves on a business trip, Kotaro begins his new life as a ZAT member and Ultraman Taro.

Being an aspiring boxer, this even forced Kotaro at one point in a cruel diet which affecting his job. He also befriended several children he met after the Astromons incident. In the final episode, Kiyoshi Shiratori loses his life from the attack of Samekujira, a space monster commanded by the invader Alien Valky. While Ultraman Taro managed to deal with the monster, Kotaro severed his bonds to preserve his humanity, throwing the Ultra Badge to the sky. Alien Valky overheard this and try to assassinate Kotaro but the latter managed to kill it by luring said alien to an oil refinery. Kotaro in the end bids farewell to ZAT and his friends as he went travel abroad.

Kotaro Higashi is portrayed by Saburō Shinoda (篠田 三郎, Shinoda Saburō).[57] After auditioning for the role, he was first given a guest role Ichirō Shinoda (篠田 一郎, Shinoda Ichirō) in episode 20 of Ultraman Ace by producer Yōji Hashimoto (橋本 洋二, Hashimoto Yōji), who after seeing Saburo's suitability as a main character, decided to get a first impression on the actor at the filming site.[58]

Other hosts[edit]

In certain circumstances, Taro would possess or bonded to other people as substitute human hosts.

  • In episode 34, Taro/Kotaro bonded with a volleyball player to hide from Alien Emperor's attack, who unfortunately managed to see through their deception.
  • During the events of Ultraman Ginga Theater Special: Ultra Monster Hero Battle Royal!, Taro's Spark Doll was among the copies which created when Tomoya Ichijōji)'s sketchbook of Ultra Monsters radiated by strange cosmic waves. Misuzu Isurugi (石動 美鈴, Isurugi Misuzu) would later use the Spark Doll when playing with her comrades but later participated in a fight against a group of five evil Ultramen, facing Chaosroid T. Ultraman Taro and the other fake Spark Dolls would later reverted into Tomoya's sketchbook once the effects of cosmic ray radiation dried out.

Cultural Impact[edit]

  • The protagonist of Ultimate Muscle, Mantaro Kinniku, is revealed to have his name revolved around Ultraman Taro, which was acknowledged in-universe in the first volume of the manga.[59] Due to this, his name is often called in the anime adaptation as Kinnikuman Taro (キン肉マン・タロウ, Kinnikuman Tarō). Mantaro is well aware of this and even called his own name being lame.[60]

In other media[edit]

Anime and manga[edit]

  • Ultraman Taro made his guest appearance in the third season of Imagin Anime, complete with Hiroya Ishimaru reprising his role.[61]
  • Ultraman Taro is one of the characters of a popular manga series, Ultraman Chotoshi Gekiden. In the 1996 OVA, he is voiced by Ryō Horikawa (堀川 りょう, Horikawa Ryō).[62]
  • In the 2011 manga re-imagination sequel of the original 1966 Ultraman of the same name, Kotaro Higashi is written as a Japanese photographer working in New York City who lost his friend Dave to an alien terrorist attack. After being administered with a specialized medicine, Kotaro was bestowed with a strange power that allowed him to become a vigilante hero. His costume is directly based on the eponymous Ultraman Taro.[63]

Smartphone app[edit]

  • Ultraman Taro is part of the LINE application stamps alongside other characters of Ultra Series, commercialized both in 2013 and 2015.[64][65]

Stage shows[edit]

  • Ultraman Festival Live Stage:
    • 2016: Ultraman Taro appeared in the stage show as the Strium Brace, which allowed Ultraman Ginga to assume Ultraman Ginga Strium and defeated Dark Lugiel.[66]
    • 2018: As a result of the fan-submitted contest, Taro demonstrated two stage-show exclusive attacks; Cosmo Miracle Slash (コスモミラクルスラッシュ, Kosumo Mirakuru Surasshu) with Ultraman and Integrate Spark (インテグレートスパーク, Integurēto Supāku) with Ultraman Geed.[67] In this particular stage show, he is voiced by Miyu Irino (入野 自由, Irino Miyu), who also had a voice appearance as Jean-nine.[68]

Variety show[edit]

  • In 2017, Ultraman Taro made a guest appearance in the variety show Explore The Deep World Of Japanese Names! (人名探究バラエティー 日本人のおなまえっ!, Jinmei Tankyū Baraetī Nihonjin no onamae~!).[69]

Video games[edit]

  • Ultraman Taro appears in the 16th stage of City Shrouded in Shadow. Here, he teams up with Ultraman to fight against Belial and later on joined by Ultraman Zero.[70][71]

Reception[edit]

During the audition of Kotaro Higashi, Saburō reminisced that the role was also auditioned by a fellow actor named Ken Matsudaira among others.[72] While visiting the filming location of Ultraman Ace, he was impressed with Keiji Takamine's character (Seiji Hokuto) wearing a scarf and decided to do the same during his filming as well.[73] Saburō usually commute to the filming studio by train and at one point he woke up after falling asleep, finding himself surrounded by children who were fans of Taro.[74] At first, he had no awareness of the popularity of Ultra Series in the first place but finds enjoyment in working as an actor. One of the few people he met during the filming was Takashi Tsumura (working under the name Hidesuke Tsumura at that moment), the actor of Tetsuya Kitajima in same series, whose father, Hideo Tsumura was a famous movie critic. While reading the script for his character, Saburō portrayed Kotaro under the impression of a child when facing against monster attacks believing that the childhood nature is suitable for Taro.[75] When asked which monster is his favorite, he replied it as Depparas from episode 10 of Taro.[76] Despite his enjoyment for the show, he believed that Kotaro's decision to remain as a human being is a mistake.[77] In Tsuburaya's charity funding organization Ultraman Foundation, Saburō was among the actors that gave their encouragement messages.[78]

Saburō maintained a good relationship with the late Peggy Hayama, who in that series voiced the Mother of Ultra and her human form, Lady in Green. Befitting her role in the show, he even viewed her as a motherly figure and was surprised to see her working even in her old age. Following her death in 2017, Saburō mentioned that they have been meeting each others for 40 times since the end of the show.[79] They even met each others at a restaurant, went to Tokyo Station and went home together in a Shinkansen.[80]

In the present day, several actors of recent Ultra Series were known to be fans of Ultraman Taro, including Mamoru Miyano (Ultraman Zero) and Hideo Ishiguro (Ultraman Orb) among others.[81][82] Taiyo Sugiura, the actor of Musashi Haruno in Ultraman Cosmos mentioned that as a kindergarten student, he wrote his wish on a tanzaku that he "wanted to be Ultraman Taro".[83] Additionally, Taiyo Sugiura and Saburō Shinoda would star in a late night drama named The Last Dinner (最後の晩ごはん, Saigo no Ban Gohan), wherein co-star Yūichi Nakamura even express his delight to act alongside major Ultra Series actors.[84] Yuya Hirata (Katsumi Minato/Ultraman Rosso) of Ultraman R/B said that "Once I got the role of Ultraman, I looked back at the book and remembered how special Ultraman Taro was for me and realized that Ultraman was one of my starting points.".[85][86]

Popularity[edit]

In 2006, a character popularity poll was launched in response to the 40th anniversary of Ultra Series. Based on Oricon's list, Ultraman Taro ranked the third place in all three categories: total, men and women alike.[87] Five years later in the Ultra Series' 45th anniversary, Ultraman was placed ninth in the popularity poll and ranked tenth in 2013.[88][89]

In 2010, Taro and his parents are one of the main topic of "Parent and Child Interview" from the December 23, 2010 print of Mainichi Shimbun newspaper. Said article is related to the annual Oyako Day in Japan, including its founder Bruce Osborn.[90]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Said in the opening theme of Ultraman Taro.
  2. ^ Said to be related due to Seven's late mother is one of the Mother of Ultra's sibling.[38] However, some sources stated that this relationship is no longer relevant in today.[39]
  3. ^ Shared with Ultraseven, as Jack is married to one of Mother of Ultra's siblings.[38]
  4. ^ Some sources claimed it as Strium Ray Type B (ストリウム光線B型, Sutoriumu Kōsen Bī-gata).[49]

References[edit]

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  • てれびくんデラックス愛蔵版シリーズ(小学館
    • ウルトラ怪獣大全集. てれびくんデラックス愛蔵版. 小学館. 1984-09-10. ISBN 4-09-101411-9.
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    • ウルトラマンタロウ超全集. てれびくんデラックス愛蔵版. 小学館. 1991-09-01. ISBN 978-4091014269.
  • テレビマガジン特別編集 新・ウルトラマン大全集. 監修:円谷プロダクション. 講談社. 1994-10-01. ISBN 4-06-178418-8.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • タロウタロウタロウウルトラマンT(タロウ) : 検証・第2次ウルトラブーム. タツミムック. Tatsumi Publishing. 1999. ISBN 4886414389.
  • 画報シリーズ(Takeshobo
    • 竹書房/ブレインナビ編, ed. (2002-10-04). ウルトラマン画報 光の戦士三十五年の歩み. 上巻. 竹書房. ISBN 978-4-8124-0888-9.
    • 円谷プロ画報(1). 竹書房. August 2013. ISBN 978-4812494912.
  • ウルトラ博物館. 学年別学習雑誌で見る昭和子どもクロニクル1. 小学館. 2003. ISBN 4093874824.
  • 宇宙船編集部 編, ed. (2007-06-30). ウルトラマンメビウス アーカイブ・ドキュメント. ファンタスティックコレクションNo.∞. 円谷プロダクション 監修. Asahi Sonorama. ISBN 978-4-257-03745-3.
  • ウルトラマンタロウ1973. ジェネオンエンタテインメント. 2007-12-21. ISBN 9784862354556.
  • 語れ!ウルトラマン 兄弟激闘編. ベストムックシリーズ23. ベストセラーズ. 2013-10-31. ISBN 458420523X.
  • オール・ザットウルトラマンタロウ. ネコパブリッシング. July 2016. ISBN 9784777019250.
  • 学年誌ウルトラ伝説. 小学館. 2017-07-03. ISBN 978-4096822364.
  • 俺たちのウルトラマンシリーズ ウルトラマンタロウ 大人のためのタロウ読本。. HINODE MOOK 495. 日之出出版. 2017-10-28. ISBN 978-4-8387-9204-7.
  • Blu-ray『ウルトラマンギンガS Blu-ray BOX II』(バンダイビジュアル BCXS-0911)封入 作品解説書 SPECIAL NOTES(構成・文:島崎淳、監修:小林雄次)
  • Blu-ray『劇場版 ウルトラマンギンガS 決戦!ウルトラ10勇士!! Blu-ray メモリアル BOX』(バンダイビジュアル BCXS-0996)封入 作品解説書 SPECIAL NOTES(構成・文:島崎淳、監修:小林雄次 執筆協力:戸倉光治)
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External Links[edit]