I’ve been slowly making my way through the blu-ray sets of Ultraman that Mill Creek has been putting out. I’ve finished Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultraseven, and now I’ve been watching some of the newer stuff before I go back and check out Return of Ultraman and Ace. Streamed all of Ginga (blu-ray isn’t out yet) and just finished Ultraman X. The newer stuff aims for a much younger audience and has some of the most shameless merchandising I have ever seen in my life (the heroes can summon or harness the powers of past Ultramen and Monsters by straight-up using figures from the actual toyline) but it still somehow comes across as incredibly, childishly earnest. Like on every level, making the show for them is like smashing monster toys together,
I remember watching a documentary from NHK where they interviewed the crew for whichever Ultra show was running at the time (I think it was X), and one of them said “it’s literally the same thing every episode, every season, but we just never get tired of making it.” You can really feel that spirit in every episode. It’s a toy commercial for five-year-olds but they still keep finding new ways to stage the action or composite the monster fights in new ways to sell the illusion of scale. There was an episode of Ultraman X shot almost entirely documentary style. It looked like an episode of Cops. The kaiju battle is almost entirely from the perspective of ground-level handheld cameras, weather cams, and highway dash cams. That’s nuts! They didn’t have to go that hard but they went for it!
Anybody else like monster suit wrasslin’?