|Ultraman: Towards the Future|
|Ultraman: Towards the Future is the 10th entry in the Ultra Series|
|Created by:||Tsuburaya Productions, The South Australlian Film Corporation|
|Starring:||Dore Kraus, Ralph Cotterill, Gia Carides, Rick Adams, Lloyd Morris, Grace Parr, Robert Simper, Steve Apps|
|Opening Theme:||ULTRAMAN, We Are Great|
|Ending Theme:||The Earth Has Been Waiting For You|
|Country Of Origin||Australia, Japan|
|Number Of Episodes||13|
|Running Time||25 mins|
|Original Channel||First-run syndication, Tokyo Broadcasting System|
|Original Air Date||United States: 4 January - 28 March 1992|
Japan: 8 July - 30 September 1995
|Preceded by||Andro Melos|
|Succeeded by||Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero|
Ultraman: Towards the Future (known also as Ultraman Great (ウルトラマンＧ（グレート） Urutoraman Gurēto?) is a Tokusatsu SF/kaiju/superhero TV series produced in 1990 in Australia by the South Australian Film Corporation and Tsuburaya Productions (the creators of the original Ultraman character), making it the tenth series in the franchise. There were 13 episodes filmed (the first 6 episodes were the "Gudis Threat" story arc). At the time, eco-awareness was at a high, and many episodes included environmental themes. Ultraman's three minute time limit is also attributed to "Earth's polluted atmosphere" in this version.
Although simply called "Ultraman" in the original Australian version, the series was titled Ultraman Great for its Japanese release; the 13-episode show was originally featured on home video and Laser Disc there on 25 September 1990, and was later broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System from 8 July to 30 September 1995. The show was distributed in the United States by Sachs Family Entertainment, and broadcasted in weekly syndication from 4 January to 28 March 1992.
The series generated a merchandise line including toys, comic books and a video game.
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.
UMA (Universal Multipurpose Agency)
- Main article: UMA (Universal Multipurpose Agency)
Pronounced "Yuma", 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. Grant also serves as the narrator of the story.
- 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 Kyomoto 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.
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.
- Goudes/GudisGudis, 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."
- Gerukadon, shown in "The Child's Dream," where he was merged with a clone of a character named Jimmy.
- Degunja/Degola, shown in "The Storm Hunter."
- Barrangas, shown in "Blast from the Past."
- Gazebo/Zebokon, shown in "The Forest Guardian."
- Majaba and Majama, 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."
- UF-0, spoken as "UF-Zero," shown in "The Survivalists."
- Kodalar/Kudara, shown in "The Age of Plagues" and "Nemesis."
- Kilazee/Shiralee also shown in "The Age of Plagues" and "Nemesis."
- Main article: Ultraman: Towards the Future Episodes
- "Signs of Life"
- "The Hibernator"
- Monster: Gigasaurus
- "The Child's Dream"
- "The Storm Hunter"
- Monster: Degunja (AKA: Degola)
- "Blast from the Past"
- Monster: Barrangas
- "The Showdown"
- Monster: Gudis (Super Form)
- "The Forest Guardian"
- Monster: Gazebo (AKA: Zebokon)-not killed by Ultraman Great, it was put to rest.
- "Bitter Harvest"
- Monster: Majaba(and Majama} (possibly male and female versions of the same monster), and various younger phases of the locust-like monsters - some were killed by the UMA.
- "The Biospherians"
- Monsters: Bios, The Vegoids
- "Tourists from the Stars"
- "The Survivalists"
- Monster: UF-0 (UF-Zero)-not killed by Ultraman Great, flew into space after being hit by Ultraman Great's attack.
- "The Age of Plagues"
The music was composed by Sinsuke Kazato and released by Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd (COCC-9745) in 1992. The soundtrack is very rare, it went quickly out of print and can now only be found used. The music was performed by The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
- English: The sliver giant in the Ultraman Great Soundtrack (short version) by Sinsuke Kazato
- Japanese: (OP) Bokura no Great by Masaki Kyoumoto, (ED) Chikyuu wa kimi wo Matteiru by Masaki Kyoumoto
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). However, Gudis was mentioned on the packaging of all the figures.
The entire series was released on Blu-Ray in Japan. Unforutnately, in this case, the "HD Restoration" is merely a concept, since the included episodes are merely upscaled DVD releases. Even more unfortunate; all of the episodes features hardsubbed Japanese subtitles.
Emotion released the entire series on Laserdisc. In Japan, Ultraman Great's voice was replaced with the standard Ultra kiai.
There were two video releases in the West. In 1990, New World Entertainment distributed two feature versions - Ultraman - The Alien Invasion and Ultraman -The Battle For Earth, which were released in Canada by Malofilm Video. They were slightly letterboxed and some limited post production video effects were added as well as replacing the original narrator John Bonney with Gus Mercurio. In 1993, L.A. Hero released the entire series in 13 voulmes. Some of the releases were taken from the television syndication video masters and still had the commercial bumpers.
- Main article: Ultraman: Towards the Future (video game)
A video game based on the series was released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. 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.
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 8 issues (most of these issues had different collectible cover variants, a trend prevalent in the "Speculator Boom" at the time), the comic series was canceled once Harvey Comics went out of business the next year.
- Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends The Movie (2009), Great along with other M78 Ultra Crusaders 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".