|Ultraman: A Special-Effects Fantasy Series|
|Created by:||Tokyo Broadcasting System,
|Opening Theme:||Ultraman no Uta|
|Country Of Origin||Japan|
|Number Of Episode||39|
|Running Time||24 minutes (per episode)|
|Original Channel||Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS|
|Original Air Date||July 17, 1966|
|Preceed by||Ultra Q|
Ultraman (ウルトラマン, Urutoraman?) is a Japanese Tokusatsu Television series that first aired in 1966. Ultraman is a follow-up to the television series Ultra Q, though not technically a sequel or spin-off. The show was produced by Tokyo Broadcasting System and Tsuburaya Productions, and was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967, with a total of 39 episodes (40, counting the pre-premiere special that aired on July 10, 1966).Although Ultraman is the first series to feature an Ultra-Crusader, it is actually the second show in the Ultra Series. Ultra Q was the first. In fact, Ultraman opens with the Ultra Q logo exploding into the Ultraman logo. Ultraman ultimately became a major pop culture phenomenon in Japan. The show's success spawned dozens of sequels, spin-offs, imitators, parodies and remakes.
Ultraman's central characters were created by Eiji Tsuburaya from Tsuburaya Productions, a pioneer in special effects who was responsible for bringing Gojira/Godzilla to life in 1954. The show's predecessor was a series called Ultra Q, a black-and-white 28-episode series very much like the original Outer Limits, although some compare it to today's The X-Files or The Twilight Zone.
The Ultraman project had the following working titles/plots:
- WoO (ＷｏＯWū?): This story featured a corporeal space creature with two large eyes, who befriended a reporter named Jôji Akita, but the Self Defense Forces, who perceived the alien as a threat, went after them. This was basically the monster version of theBritish science fiction series Doctor Who (1963), and Woo's personality was also to be comical. The name Woo ended up being used for an otherwise unrelated, yeti-like monster, in episode 30 of Ultraman. Later, Tsuburaya Productions would ultimately produce a series dubbed Bio Planet WoO, in January 2006, but this series is very loosely based on the original concept.
- Bemular (ベムラーBemurā?), then retitled Scientific Special Search Party: Bemular (科学特捜隊ベムラーKagaku Tokusō Tai - Bemurā?): The main characters are a defense force (with the same Japanese name as the Science Patrol) disguised as an art/photography team. One of the members, little did anyone (even his teammates) know, gained the ability to transform into a giant birdlike humanoid monster called Bemular (this is not the same Bemular that Ultraman would fight in Episode # 1 of the actual series), who defends Earth from monsters, aliens and other threats. Unlike Woo, Bemular was a tough and righteous fighter, and he looked very similar in design to the title monster of the 1967 kaiju film Gappa, the Triphibian Monster. Allegedly the plot was scrapped when it was worried audiences might have trouble telling that one monster was good and the other evil.
- Redman (レッドマンReddoman?): The title hero of this project slightly resembled Ultraman as we know him, but he looked more demonic and had horns. He came to Earth after his planet was destroyed by aliens from Planet X. (Ultra Seven also shared this working title.)
Both Bemular and Redman were designed by Toru Narita, who also came up with the final design for Ultraman based on his Redman design, now resembling a less-scary Buck Rogers-style alien being, mixed with a bit of the iconic "Roswell Alien." The characteristic "Color Timer," more familiar to American audiences as the "warning light" on his chest, was added at the eleventh hour.
The first series begins when Science Patrol (Kagaku Tokusou Tai) member Shin Hayata is flying his plane and a red sphere of light crashes into his Mini-VTOL. The sphere turns out to be the transport (Travel Sphere) for a red-and-silver giant being who calls himself Ultraman. Feeling remorse for having killed the human, he merges his essence with Hayata to revive him. In return, Hayata serves as the human form for this being, and when danger threatens, he raises and activates a power-object and artifact called a "Beta Capsule" and transforms to Ultraman to save the day.
Monsters and heroesEditThe Ultraman series used various monster costumes, known as kaiju in Japan, prior to other series such as Kamen Rider and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. The principals were played by famous stunt actor Haruo Nakajima, who operated the original Godzilla. His apprentice, Bin "Satoshi" Furuya, started out as Ultraman. Nakajima had a martial arts background, but the earlier episodes used mostly wrestling-style fight choreography. However, in later episodes, sequences gradually evolved into more complex fighting.
Often costumes of famous monsters like Godzilla and Baragon would be recycled and altered, sometimes with nothing more than spray paint and often while the actor was still inside. Nakajima quipped once that the staggering gait of some of the monsters he portrayed was due less to his acting than to the fumes he had to endure. Some of the costumes could not be shown fully as his feet would then have been exposed, a necessary allowance to maintain balance in the often cumbersome outfits. Also, the expense of repairing the scale cities and landscapes used for battle scenes required economy of movement and meticulous planning.
The storyline begins in the near future, as referenced from the mid-1960s. In episode 23, "My Home Is Earth," it is definitively established that the series takes place in the early 1990s, via a plaque shown at the end of the episode dated 1993. Sinister aliens and giant monsters constantly threaten civilization during this period. The only Earth organization equipped to handle these disasters is the Science Special Search Party, or SSSP, a special worldwide police force equipped with high-tech weapons and vehicles, as well as extensive scientific and engineering facilities; this organization is called the Science Patrol, or the United Nations Scientific Investigation Agency, in the English-dubbed version syndicated in the United States. The branch of the Science Patrol that is focused on in the series is located in Tokyo, Japan. Led by Captain "Cap" Toshio Muramatsu (shortened to "Captain Mura" in the dubbed English-language version), the Science Patrol is always ready to protect the Earth from rampaging monsters, but sometimes it finds itself outclassed. When the situation becomes desperate, Shin Hayata, the Patrol's most capable member, holds the key to salvation in the form of the "beta capsule," which, when ignited, allows him to transform secretly into the super-humanoid-powered giant from space, who becomes known to the people of Earth as Ultraman.
When Hayata triggers the Beta capsule he is transformed at the speed of light into Ultraman. Ultraman remains until the threat is neutralized and then flies away to revert back to Hayata. This was shown twice by firing a ring of energy from his hands that would fly to safe location and then energy from it would materialize Hayata even as Ultraman fades away at the same time. Ultraman's victory is never assured however, as Ultraman's powers—his very life force—comes from rapidly depleted, stored solar energy. At the beginning of each transformation from Hayata-to-Ultraman, the "warning light" on the giant's chest begins as a steady blue color. Yet as Ultraman exerts himself, the "Color Timer," as it is also called, turns red, then blinks—slowly at first, then with increasing rapidity—as his energy reserves get closer to exhaustion. As the voice-over narration reminds the viewer, beginning with episode 2 and for each episode thereafter, if Ultraman ever reaches the point of total energy depletion, he "will never rise again."
In episode 39, "Farewell Ultraman," Ultraman fights an enemy called Zetton, leader of an army of monsters bent on destroying all the Ultra-Crusaders, who employs an unexpected weapon against Ultraman—one which damages his Color Timer/warning light and disables his ability to measure his power supply. As a result, Ultraman stays in his full-size form too long and collapses into a dormant state. Fortunately, despite this loss, the Science Patrol's members are able to defeat Zetton on their own. When Zoffy , Ultraman's superior, comes to retrieve the fallen hero, Ultraman pleads for Hayata's life and offers his life completely, so that Hayata may live as a normal man. Zoffy then says he has brought two life-forces and that he will give one to Hayata. He then separates them, giving Hayata new life, but Hayata seems to have no memory between the time he first collides with Ultraman's ship (in the first episode), and his standing outside Science Patrol Headquarters as he watches Zoffy take Ultraman home. This is a rather different finish to the series than stated in the English dub, which states both that Ultraman will return and that Hayata retains his beta capsule as he awaits Ultraman's return.
- Ultra Operation #1 (Alternate DVD Title: Ultra Operation Number One) (ウルトラ作戦第一号Urutora Sakusen Dai Ichigō?)
- Blast the Invaders (Alternate DVD Title: Shoot the Invader/Defeat the Invaders) (侵略者を撃てShinryakusha o Ute?)
- Science Patrol, Move Out (Alternate DVD Title: Charge Forth, Science Patrol/Sally Forth, Science Patrol!) (科特隊出撃せよKatokutai Shutugeki seyo?)
- Five Seconds to Detonation (Alternate DVD Title: Five Seconds Before The Explosion/5 Seconds Before the Big Explosion!) (大爆発五秒前Dai Bakuhatsu Gobyō Mae?)
- Secret of the Miloganda (Alternate DVD Title: Treasure of the Miloganda/Secret of Miroganda) (ミロガンダの秘密Miroganda no Himitsu?)
- The Coast Guard Command (Alternate DVD Title: Coast Guard Orders) (沿岸警備命令Engan Keibi Meirei?)
- The Blue Stone of Vallarge (Alternate DVD Title: The Blue Stone of Baraj/The Blue Stone of Baradhi) (バラージの青い石Barāji no Aoi Ishi?)
- The Wild Monster Zone (Alternate DVD Title: The Lawless Monster Zone/Monster Lawless Zone) (怪獣無法地帯Kaijū Muhō Chitai?)
- Operation: Uranium (Alternate DVD Title: Operation Light Speed/Operation Electric Stone Fire) (電光石火作戦Denkōsekka Sakusen?)
- The Mysterious Dinosaur Base (Alternate DVD Title: Mysterious Monster Base) (謎の恐竜基地Nazo no Kyōryū Kichi?)
- The Rascal from Outer Space (Alternate DVD Title: The Ruffian From Outer Space/The Rambunctious One From Space) (宇宙から来た暴れん坊Uchū kara Kita Abarenbō?)
- Cry of the Mummy (Alternate DVD Title: The Cries of the Mummy) (ミイラの叫び Miira no Sakebi?)
- Oil S.O.S. (Alternate DVD Title: none) (オイルSOSOiru Esu Ō Esu?)
- The Pearl Defense Directive (Alternate DVD Title: The Pearl Oyster Protection Directive/Pearl Oyster Defense Order) (真珠貝防衛指令Shinjugai Bōei Shirei?)
- Terrifying Cosmic Rays (Alternate DVD Title: The Space Ray of Terror) (恐怖の宇宙線Kyōfu no Uchūsen?)
- Science Patrol Into Space (Alternate DVD Title: The Science Patrol in Outer Space/Science Patrol to Space) (科特隊宇宙へKatokutai Uchū e?)
- Passport to Infinity (無限へのパスポートMugen e no Pasupōto?)
- The Brother from Another World (Alternate DVD Title: The Brother From Another Planet) (遊星から来た兄弟Yūsei kara Kita Kyōdai?)
- Demons Rise Again (Alternate DVD Title: The Demons Once More) (悪魔はふたたびAkuma wa Futatabi?)
- Terror on Route 87 (恐怖のルート87Kyōfu no Rūto Hachijūnana?)
- Breach the Wall of Smoke (Alternate DVD Title: Break Through The Smoke) (噴煙突破せよFun'en Toppa seyo?)
- Overthrow the Surface (Alternate DVD Title: The Underground Destruction Work) (地上破壊工作Chijō Hakai Kōsaku?)
- My Home is Earth (故郷は地球Kokyō wa Chikyū?)
- The Undersea Science Center (海底科学基地Kaitei Kagaku Kichi?)
- Rogue Comet Cyphon (Alternate DVD Title: The Dreaded Comet Tsuiphon/The Dreaded Comet Twenty-Four) (怪彗星ツイフォンKai Susei Tsuifon?)
- The Prince of Monsters: Part 1 (Alternate DVD Title: His Majesty Monster, Part 1/The Monster Prince, Beginning) (怪獣殿下 前篇Kaijū Denka Zenpen?)
- The Prince of Monsters: Part 2 (Alternate DVD Title: His Majesty Monster, Part 2/The Monster Prince, Conclusion) (怪獣殿下 後篇Kaijū Denka Kōhen?)
- Human Specimens 5 & 6 (人間標本5・6Ningen Hyōhon Go Roku?)
- The Challenge Into Subterra (Alternate DVD Title: Challenge To The Underground) (地底への挑戦Chitei e no Chōsen?)
- Phantom of the Snow Mountains (Alternate DVD Title: The Snowy Mountain of Illusion/The Phantom Snow Mountain) (まぼろしの雪山Maboroshi no Yukiyama?)
- Who Goes There? (Alternate DVD Title: Who Has Come?/Who Has Arrived?) (来たのは誰だKita no wa Dare da?)
- The Endless Counterattack (果てしなき逆襲Hateshinaki Gyakushū?)
- The Forbidden Words (Alternate DVD Title: The Forbidden World) (禁じられた言葉Kinjirareta Kotoba?)
- A Gift from the Sky (Alternate DVD Title: Present From The Sky) (空の贈り物Sora no Okurimono?)
- The Monster Graveyard (怪獣墓場Kaijū Hakaba?)
- Arashi, Don't Shoot! (Alternate DVD Title: Don't Shoot! Arashi) (射つな! アラシUtsuna! Arashi?)
- The Littlest Hero (小さな英雄Chiisana Eiyū?)
- The Spaceship Rescue Command (Alternate DVD Title: Spaceship Rescue Orders) (宇宙船救助命令Uchūsen Kyūjo Meirei?)
- Farewell, Ultraman (さらばウルトラマンSaraba Urutoraman?)
- Revive! Ultraman (甦れ!ウルトラマン Yomigaere! Urutoraman?) (This was a short film produced in 1996; it lacks the English language dubbing of the main series.)
The Science Patrol, or United Nations Scientific Investigation Agency
- Captain Toshio "Cap" Muramatsu (ムラマツ・トシオ（村松 利夫）Muramatsu Toshio?): The Science Patrol's leader. He is known as Captain Mura in the US version.
- Actor: Akiji Kobayashi
- Daisuke Arashi (アラシ・ダイスケ（嵐 大助）Arashi Daisuke?): The Science Patrol's rotund tough-guy marksman.
- Actor: Sandayū Dokumamushi
- Mitsuhiro Ide (イデ・ミツヒロ（井出 光弘）Ide Mitsuhiro?): The Science Patrol's somewhat comical inventor. Although he sometimes feels that Ultraman's intervention makes his role useless, his inventions have occasionally been critical in saving the day such as helping the superhero defeat particularly formidable monsters. He is known as Ito in the US version.
- Actor: Masanari Nihei, also known as Masanori Nihei
- Akiko Fuji (フジ・アキコ（富士 明子）Fuji Akiko?): The Science Patrol's radio/communications operator, and ostensibly their token female member. However, in most adventures, Fuji proves to be the most level-headed and capable member after Hayata.
- Actor: Hiroko Sakurai
- Isamu Hoshino (ホシノ・イサム（星野 勇）Hoshino Isamu?): A little boy. The Science Patrol's official mascot, he gets to hang out with the full-fledged members and is even issued a uniform later on. He often gets into trouble, and sometimes Ultraman would have to save him. He is known as Hoshino Fuji in the US version, which describes him as Akiko Fuji's younger brother.
- Actor:: Akihide Tsuzawa
- Shin Hayata (ハヤタ・シン（早田 進）?): The Science Patrol's brave, no-nonsense deputy captain. His life changed irreversibly when Ultraman accidentally crashed into his "Delta VTOL" with his TravelSphere and killed him, destroying both ships. To make amends, Ultraman merges his own life force into that of the Earthman before the brain functions of the latter are irreversibly terminated, thus reviving him. He then gives Hayata the power-object called the beta capsule, a microphone shaped cylinder device, with which he can transform into Ultraman by depressing a red push-button switch on its side with his thumb to ignite it.
- Actor: Susumu Kurobe; Ultraman himself is played by Bin "Satoshi" Furuya
- "Ultraman no Uta" (ウルトラマンの歌Urutoraman no Uta?, "The Song of Ultraman")