Ultraman: 55 Years Of Giant Heroes, Kaiju And Tokusatsu Innovation

BBally81

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Japan's iconic giant hero franchise Ultraman is celebrating its 55th anniversary, along with announcing TSUBURAYA CONVENTION 2021 SPECIAL PROGRAM, a free online livestream event, set for December 13th, 2021 at the official Ultraman Connection site.

I figured in celebration of such an occasion, I should do a thread about the franchise and hopefully get people hooked on it especially since it's now becoming widely available to different markets outside Asia.

To anyone unfamiliar, Ultraman is a long running Science Fiction Superhero franchise originally developed by the late Eiji Tsuburaya, co-creator of TOHO's Godzilla and founder of Tsuburaya Productions.

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The franchise began in 1966 with the Sci-Fi/Horror series, Ultra Q, which was developed as anthology series in the style of The Twilight Zone but with monsters or "Kaiju", however the show was more like a precursor to The X-Files as several of its episodes featured a recurring cast of characters who investigate strange supernatural phenomena, including giant monsters, aliens, ghosts, and various other threats. Then when Ultra Q ended, Tsuburaya and his crew decided its follow up series would be a superhero show and thus Ultraman was born, broadcast on TV that same year and since then would end up becoming a long running franchise that would enter the Guiness Books of Records for "Most Spin-offs" for producing 31 shows plus movies and specials. The crew would get experiment especially during the Showa era with the first 4 shows having a scifi/mystery angle and some writers would even take advantage of this by using the show to tackle sensitive topics from dangers of nuclear arms or even bigotry.

Tsuburaya Productions is now finally making its shows available in the Western market after suffering a hurdle in the form of Thai film studio Chaiyo Productions over the rights after its founder lied about owning the rights. The below video explains the entire situation.

Tsuburaya are also uploading their Ultraman and non-Ultra shows on their Youtube channel with optional English subtitles including a weekly upload of their current airing series, Ultraman Trigger (though an episode from 2 weeks ago will be removed each week for certain series).



 

BAYLOR

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I have the original Ultra man series on dvd . It's fun watching Ultraman and the Science team do battle with giant monsters. :D
 

Grimward

Where matter vanishes...
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YOU are my new hero, Bally. I LOVED Ultraman when I was a kid. A big thank you from me, too.
 

BAYLOR

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Hm, They could do a Game of Thrones themed Utraman series.:whistle:
 

Jeffbert

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Thanks, BBally81! I have been a fan of ULTRAMAN since watching his adventures on channel 20 in Wash. DC area. Lately on CRUNCHYROLL, with newer series.
 

BBally81

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Tsuburaya Productions CEO Takayuki Tsukagoshi talks about the future of the Ultraman IP (In Japanese)



Translation:

"We are developing a different type of Ultraman. What will change is not the appearance and shape of Ultraman, but the content and workability. Adults will be impressed and satisfied with the work that has a message that is easy for children to understand."

"Universal works are compatible. I would like to make such a thing with Ultraman. However, the details will be announced a little later (laugh). On the other hand, we will also make works other than Ultraman."

"The future of Tsuburaya Productions is to create new original works using new technology." From the perspective of Europe and the United States, it has already been decided that most of the world-famous Japanese characters will be visualized by Hollywood major studios and global media groups. However, Ultraman does not belong there."

"The last big IP left in Japan may be Ultraman. There are many offers from overseas companies, but if you do the same thing in Hollywood when you go out to the world, Ultraman is a hero character with many. It will be buried in the world. In order to compete in the world, we will utilize the Japanese identity and Japaneseness as a strength in the story. It will lead to the creation of works."

"I want to send new and valuable works that have genes unique to us that are not in Hollywood standards from Japan to Asia and the world. Based on the works, products and I want to send a message to the event."

"I want to think about that concrete idea together with people from different industries."


Credit goes to this guy for the translation
 

Jeffbert

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I recall this one guy who used an electric tooth brush to transform into UM! Might have been a dream, though.
 

BAYLOR

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Ultraman did do a crossover with another series Kamen Rider .
 

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