J.D. Lafrance
Ultraman: The Complete Series DVD Review

Ultraman: The Complete Series

October 14, 2009

Starring: Susumu Kurobe, Akiji Kobayashi, Hiroko Sakurai, Iyoshii, Masanari Nihei,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

Ultraman was originally shown on the Tokyo Broadcasting System from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967 for a total of 39 episodes, all of which have been collected in their original, uncut form in this new box set for an insanely affordable price. The show was massively popular in Japan, spawning all kinds of imitators, several sequels and remakes.

Created by Eiji Tsuburaya, a special effects innovator who had a hand in the creation of Godzilla in 1954, Ultraman focuses on the adventures of the five-member Science Special Search Party of the International Science Police Organization. They are stationed in Japan investigating unusual phenomena while protecting Earth from alien invaders from outer space.

While investigating a UFO, deputy captain Shin Hayata’s (Kurobe) jet plane is taken out by a strange spherical object. Hayata’s unconscious body is enveloped by an alien red sphere where he is confronted by a being from the M78 nebula. The alien has been pursuing another extra-terrestrial known as Bemular, a “devilish monster who disturbs the peace of space.” The M78 nebula alien merges with Hayata so that when he is trouble he can transform into this powerful being known as Ultraman.

The show has fairly cheap production values, including shots of fighter jets that look like models right out the Thunderbirds, and stiff acting but this only adds to Ultraman’s charm. All of the episodes follow the same basic formula: a strange alien monster threatens Earth forcing Hayata to transform into Ultraman and stop it. There are also a lot of snazzy gizmos, cool weapons and neat vehicles that you couldn’t get enough of when you were a kid. The rubber-suited monsters evoke the ones made popular by the Godzilla films only on a much smaller budget. As a result, it is a lot of fun to see Ultraman slug it out with one of these things.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
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Rating: 75%



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