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August 10, 2022

NEW ULTRAMAN TIGA FIGURE FROM ALPHAMAX ANNOUNCED

Tsuburaya Productions and the Japanese action-figure company Alphamax are happy to announce the first product from the new Ultraman pre-painted action figure series—Ultraman Tiga.

The Ultraman Tiga action figure stands approximately 16.5cm in height. It is fully articulated with over 42 articulation points, and the figure is covered with a detailed paint suit made of a special material to help prevent any possible wear under normal circumstances. The eyes and Color Timer come equipped with LED lights with a magnetic sensor control in its chest, and the figure can stand on its magnetic base in different poses. Accessories include interchangeable hands, two Zeperion Beam effect pieces, a Sparklence, and the magnetic base.

Ultraman Tiga is available for pre-order now and will be sold in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Shipping is scheduled to begin around the 4th quarter of 2022.

For more product photos, please visit the website listed below.

https://alphamax.jp/

*This product is under development and yet to be finalized. The final version may differ.

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August 9, 2022

Making Waves in North America! SHIN ULTRAMAN International Release Dates Confirmed!

Since its first broadcast in 1966, the Japanese symbol “Ultraman” has been broadcast in over 100 territories, and the popular hero is reborn as a feature film Shin Ultraman! The film was produced and written by Hideaki Anno, who has described himself as a fan of the Ultraman Series, and was directed by Shinji Higuchi, who has brought a number of masterpieces into the world together with Anno. The movie also gathered top-notch Japanese film stars and made headlines when it was revealed Kenshi Yonezu had written its opening theme song “M87”! Revisiting the ideas and concepts of the original Ultraman, Shin Ultraman is a moving and engaging film that depicts a world where “Ultraman” is witnessed by human eyes for the first time.‍

It released in 401 locations (including IMAX) around Japan on May 13th (Friday). By August 8th (Thu), 88 days after its release, the film has been enjoyed by a diverse audience including men and women from children to senior citizens, currently recording 29.52 million viewers and grossing 43.8 billion yen.‍

The film then made its way overseas to premiere in July’s Fantasia Film Festival (shown Montreal, Canada July 21st) and the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) (shown July 23rd). Both festivals were great successes, with the Fanatasia venue filling its 700-person capacity, and some even standing at NYAFF. Ultraman’s onscreen appearance was greeted with applause, both venues were filled with laughter at the lines shared between the SSSP members and the dialogues of extraterrestials Zarab and Mefilas. On the other hand, audiences trembled as they witnessed the battle in the second act unfold.‍

Shinji Higuchi took to the stage after the premiers to address the audience and was greeted with standing ovations and great appraisal by fans. The film is planned to be released at yet many more film festivals.‍‍‍

Finally, it is confirmed that Shin Ultraman will receive an international release!

Starting in Singapore on September 1st, Shin Ultraman is coming to 37 countries and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa with plans to release in Europe and North and South America coming soon. As of today, it is still available for viewing across Japan.

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Brunei

Egypt

Hong Kong

India

Indonesia

Iraq

Israel

Jordan

Kenya

Kuwait

Laos

Lebanon

Malaysia

Mongolia

Morocco

Myanmar

Nepal

Nigeria

Oman

Pakistan

Philippines

Qatar

Rwanda

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

South Africa

Sri Lanka

Taiwan

Tanzania

Thailand

Turkey

Uganda

United Arab Emirates

Vietnam

Zambia‍‍‍

Shin Ultraman Product Overview‍

Starring: Takumi Saitoh, Masami Nagasawa, Daiki Arioka, Akari Hayami, Tetsushi Tanaka / Hidetoshi Nishijima, Koji Yamamoto, Ryo Iwamatsu, Kyusaku Shimada, Toru Masuoka, Keishi Nagatsuka, Hajime Yamazaki, Soko Wada

Produced and Written by: Hideaki AnnoDirected by: Shinji Higuchi

Composed by: Kunio Miyauchi, Shiro SAGISUTheme Song: “M87” performed by Kenshi Yonezu

Presented by: Tsuburaya Productions, TOHO, khara

Production Companies: TOHO STUDIOS, Cine Bazar

Distributed by: TOHO‍

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August 3, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 4 RECAP “THE DESTRUCTIVE MONSTER AWAKENS!”

Last week on Ultraman Decker, Kanata took on new responsibilities as the GUTS Falcon’s newest pilot, but also discovered a new ability as Ultraman Decker—the powerful Strong form. Just like the previous episode, this week’s story touches on points of continuity that provide momentum for our main cast of characters, their development, and the overall fight against the Spheres. Episode 4, “The Destructive Monster Awakens” continues to build on this foundation, focusing on Kanata’s friendly dynamic with HANE2, now nicknamed Hanejiro. 

It would be easy to look at the adorable yellow robot and think he would just be a cutesy, marketable mascot—and let’s face it, he is. More than that, however, the back-and-forth banter in this episode helped Hanejiro feel like an actual character, a dynamic member of the team alongside Kanata and the others. Hanejiro even kept the same casual, friendly tone of conversation after Kanata’s request at the end of the last episode.

Though Kanata probably regrets it, after he is utterly roasted by Hanejiro for messing up a training mission in this episode’s cold open.

The main plot this week also helped to highlight their dynamic, showing how the two of them come together to defeat Mons-Ahgar after it appears and attacks a hot springs resort. This nasty Kaiju first appeared in canon back in Ultraman Dyna, the series that most closely matches Ultraman Decker

The plot itself was very straightforward. A tourist location which was already down on its luck, put into an even worse situation when an alien capsule burst from the ground and released a monster designed—and marketed—to destroy human civilization! (Mondays, am I right, people?) 

Within that straightforward plot, however, was a lot of room for fun riffs on an otherwise-familiar story. Between the earnestly corny sales pitch accompanying the “Destructive Monster Mons-Ahgar Series”, Hanejiro trying his best to imitate Kanata’s goofy over-eagerness over the radio, and bits of pitch-perfect comedic timing from Decker’s fight against the bespoke Kaiju weapon, this episode was genuinely hilarious to watch.

Aside from setting up punchlines, this episode also introduced a new feature for the GUTS Falcon and Hawk jets. The audience, along with the rest of the team, found out the jets were originally designed to join, to provide even greater firepower against the different threats the GUTS-Select team may face in the future. 

It’s only appropriate that Kanata immediately geeked out over the idea of piloting giant machines that combine, since this whole episode was so reminiscent of a Super Robot show! Many of his arguments with Hanejiro this week sounded like scenes taken straight out of that genre of anime, as they debated whether a hot-blooded spirit or a cooler and more rational judgment would be best when fighting monsters. 

Of course, the answer ended up being “both”. To defeat Mons-Ahgar, Kanata had to use his own hot-blooded spirit to charge into danger as Ultraman Decker, but also relied on Hanejiro’s careful observation and strategy. Their cooperation allowed them to overcome impossible odds to save the day, just as we would expect from a story like this—regardless of whether our main protagonist fights as Ultraman or by piloting a giant combining Super Robot.

The ability for Ultraman shows to adapt different elements from other science fiction tropes has always been one of its best strengths. It’s wonderful to see that tradition of remixing and remastering various influences continue here. Overall, it makes Ultraman Decker feel at once very familiar—with a monster attacking an old hot springs resort—while also engaging new audiences with original characters, styles and unique elements drawn from other sources. 

There are plenty of other elements that helped this episode to stand out. We haven’t even mentioned how the other members of GUTS-Select are given small but effective ways to contribute to the team. For example, there’s Ichika’s knowledge of local folklore and legend, or Captain Murahoshi’s steadfast faith in his team hidden behind a deceptively stern-looking and commanding demeanor. The team might pretend to be a group of serious professionals, but it was also very funny to see how excited they became when the newly christened GUTS Gryphon combined for the first time. I don’t blame them though, it does look very, very cool.

And while this whole episode was a very fun spectacle to watch, it also laid the groundwork for some other worrying questions in the background. Now we know that the Spheres aren’t the only threats against the Earth, and there are other alien beings in the universe that want to destroy human civilization! The threat of the Spheres themselves also continues to hang—literally—over the heads of GUTS-Select. How long before they make another move, and will they try to assimilate and use another Kaiju, or try to control an even greater weapon against humanity? What other aliens might attack the Earth in the meantime? Or will something else rise against humanity that is completely unforeseen?

Even though this episode took a step back into some comedic relief, the anticipation for what the future holds has only grown more intense. Next time, watch along with us on Ultraman Connection as we head towards that future, with Ultraman Decker!

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August 3, 2022

THE “WAKE UP DECKER!” MUSIC VIDEO IS GLORIOUS

Last month the music video for the Ultraman Decker theme song “Wake up Decker!” performed by the unit SCREEN mode, consisting of YOU (voice actor Yuu Hayashi) and Masatomo (music producer Masatomo Ota) was released on YouTube and the fan response has been… Epic. 

With almost one million views, the comment section alone is filled with Ultraman fans admitting this bop will be added to their ‘gym motivation’ playlists, and I gotta say, I can understand why. The metallic jewel-tone work-out wear, the high energy sound, the dynamic choreography, the enthusiastic lyrics… I might have to make my first trip to the gym this year, too! 

Fans have even gone as far as to make delightful parody videos overlaying the song over footage from vintage workout tapes. 

And the fan reactions are not confined to YouTube. Twitter has also been blowing up with hilarious raving reviews. 

I think it’s safe to say that video director 森田和樹 (FirstCall) has outdone himself with this one. It’s always a pleasure to see creators lean into the playfulness and upbeat nature that the Ultraman franchise so often encapsulates. Plus, we here at Ultraman Connection can never get enough of the fan responses, so keep the memes coming! 

Make sure to stream Ultraman Decker weekly with multi-language subtitles and no commercial interruptions right here on UltramanConnection.com.

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August 1, 2022

ULTRAMAN WATCH CLUB – ANIME ULTRAMAN S1E2

“AN INEVITABLE FATE”

EJ Couloucoundis (EJC)

Hey all, and welcome back to Ultraman Watch Club. It’s been a while, but we’re back to go through the ULTRAMAN anime series together and share our thoughts and feelings! Today, we're continuing our watch of Netflix's ULTRAMAN Season 1, with episode 2, "An Inevitable Fate." I'm EJ, Editor-in-Chief of Ultraman Connection.

Kyle Yamagishi-Rodstein (KYR)

I’m Kyle Yamagishi-Rodstein, a writer for Ultraman Connection, and I’m excited for our discussion today!

Evangelia Artemis-Gomez (EAG)

I’m Evangelia Artemis-Gomez, writer for Ultraman Connection, and wow what an episode!

EJC

What an episode is right! Most fights in the original Ultraman series were about three minutes long; this one was almost the whole episode! Before that, however, we get the classic sight of a loving father throwing his son directly into a helicopter. For his own protection, of course.

KYR

Yeah, seeing Hayata in action like this was definitely awesome as a longtime Ultraman fan. And in such a different way than we’re used to! 

EAG

I feel like Hayata flinging Shinjiro at full force was a real testament to his faith in his son it took me back to that scene in the first episode where Shinjiro took that epic fall as a child. Also, may I add—Hayata looks awesome in the Ultra suit. It’s refreshing to see an older man decked out in sexy armor!

KYR

I definitely agree, and we see that Shinjiro is surprised about this, but Shin knew about their shared power and connection to Ultraman. He definitely is rocking the all-silver look.

EAG

Silver fox, maybe. 😉

The fight scene was crazy. It feels so different from classic Ultraman battles, probably because of the new capabilities they have with animation. They did not shy away from gore. I really didn’t expect Hayata to be attacked so gruesomely, but that’s part of the shock factor that’s been making this show so intriguing.

KYR

Yeah, I think what’s really unique about the show is how much they do deviate in certain ways from the original Ultraman lore and formula.

EJC

Yeah, the gore was a little disconcerting, honestly. I could have sworn that Bemular punched straight through Hayata's chest. Meanwhile, Shinjiro learns that his family friend Ide is still in the alien-fighting business and gets a spiffy suit of his own.

KYR

I absolutely love the design of Shinjiro’s suit! A running theme throughout the show is gonna be these awesome reinterpretations of different hits from legacy series, and each one is so exciting to see.

EAG

Yeah, it did look like Hayata was done for, I honestly thought that was it for him. The transformation sequence was super cool. The energy of watching him take form like that for the first time created a sense of hope and adrenaline that helps the audience recover from the severity of the battle with Hayata. I think this is when we start to trust Shinjiro on another level.

KYR

The covert organization feel of Ide’s operation was so interesting too, with him trying to work from the shadows to protect the world from aliens.

EAG

Ide feels like he’s gonna play the role of a second father figure/mentor to Shinjiro.

KYR

I agree, he definitely feels like he'll have an important role going forwards.

EJC

That transformation is only the first part of the fight's coolness to me. After all, Bemular RECOGNIZES the energy he's giving off, and though Shinjiro is doing a lot better than his dad is, the "First Enemy," as he's calling himself, is not exactly threatened by the new hero. Even after one of the biggest, most violent Spacium Beams we've seen in any iteration of the franchise—which takes his ARM—he seems fine.

KYR

Also, Shinjiro does the classic Ultraman pose when having the suit beamed down onto him, which was amazing.

EAG

The fact that Shinjiro, with no training yet, is such a worthy opponent to Bemular really shows us just how much power he’s capable of harnessing.

KYR

I feel like there's almost a sense that Bemular is toying with him, in the way anime villains often like to do.

EJC

Maybe not toying, but certainly testing.

EAG

Exactly! The way he ended things was eerie to say the least. I know if my arm had just been blown to smithereens, I would not be saying “is that all you’ve got?”

EJC

I remember reading the original manga, and the interpretation of this scene, with Bemular's arm destroyed, was REALLY different in the anime. In that, he was visibly bleeding, and the mask was cracked and damaged, revealing a reptilian face.

KYR

Bemular himself is intriguing too, as it's unclear what his motivations are, but he definitely seems to want something specific, as opposed to just being enigmatic.

EAG

It’s definitely foreshadowing even more vicious battles to come.

EJC

The fact that all those aspects have been changed or outright removed tells me that this Bemular might be something or somebody different than the plan in the original manga…

EAG

That’s very interesting. It seems like they want to prolong the mystery more in the show than in the manga.

KYR

His semi-resemblance to Ultraman's suit is what really creeps me out.

EJC

Yeah, about that…

EAG

I feel like it’s all gonna pay off well, though. This episode showcases the attention to detail they’re paying, considering it was a full 20 minutes on the battleground. I really appreciate how they did that, and how it juxtaposes against the first episode, which gives a much bigger picture idea of the setting. It feels like super fleshed-out, multi-level storytelling.

KYR

I agree, Evangelia. The world they're building is so interesting. Especially seeing which parts carry over from the original 1966 series, and which parts are changed slightly or sometimes drastically.

EJC

Once more, we get another big divergence in the anime here. In the manga, there was actually another suit Bemular used in this fight that much more closely resembled the actual monster he's named after, with him upgrading to this suit later. This time, we're starting with the Ultraman-like one. We actually used that image in the previous Watch Club episode; you can see the differences there.

EAG

That’s fascinating. Maybe a tribute to the questions of identity and self-exploration they seem to be delving into with Shinjiro’s character? Fighting someone who looks like another Ultra is much more difficult, I think, than fighting a conventional Kaiju.

EJC

Agreed.

KYR

Yep.

EJC

Anyway, after the big Spacium Beam, Bemular leaves, and poor Shin passes out from the exertion. When he wakes up, he's met with by someone you wouldn't think would be on the side of the heroes: Edo, the Zettonian.

KYR

This take on a Zettonian is so interesting to me, considering that he's basically considered to be Ultraman's greatest foe in the original show. I also wonder what the differences in design between this Zettonian and the original might mean.

EAG

I love his character design so much; I need a figure of him for my shelf.

EJC

Edo? You have a weakness for big cyclopean bad boys in suits, eh Evangelia?

EAG

Hey, what can I say?

EJC

Listen, I'm not judging. I love his voice so much, it's so funky.

Speaking of, we should take a second to talk about the voice cast for the show. Ryouhei Kimura is the voice of Shinjiro in the original Japanese, but the English dub is using Josh Hutcherson. I remember seeing the dub first and going "Peeta???"

EAG

Ahaha!

KYR

Wow, that's incredible! I watched it in Japanese, so I didn't even realize Josh Hutcherson did his voice.

EAG

I’ve been watching it with subs up to now, but it may be worth looking into if it’s Peeta…

EJC

Yeah, they have a fantastic voice cast. Edo in the dub is voiced by D.C. Douglas, AKA Wesker from the Resident Evil games. And while I love Shigeru Ushiyama's delivery in the original Japanese, nobody does unsettling baritone like D.C. Douglas.

KYR

It's really fun how you see your favorite voice actors pop up in everything, and don't even notice because they blend into their characters so well.

EJC

Hell, Bemular himself might have the most in-vogue VA right now, considering Matt Freaking Mercer, Mr. Critical Role himself, is playing the guy.

EAG

Every villain needs an awesome voice. That’s half the fun!

EJC

Anyway, next time on Watch Club, we'll be checking out episode 3, and all the introductions within. If you want to watch along with us, Season 1 of ULTRAMAN is available on Netflix now. And for everything else, stick close to UltramanConnection.com!

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July 29, 2022

TRIGGER EPISODE Z IS DECKER EPISODE ZERO

Spoilers for Ultraman Trigger Episode Z and Ultraman Decker!

We’re now weeks into Ultraman Decker, and the stakes have continued to raise as the battle against the Sphere invaders is finally starting in earnest. Kanata Asumi and the reborn GUTS-Select have formed an elite team to shatter the barrier covering the Earth and free humanity. 

However, this is not the first threat this Earth has faced of this magnitude; remember that Decker is a sequel to Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, and that it has been nine years since the threats of that series ended. What happened after the events of that series, that left GUTS-Select in need of reformation? The answers can be found in Ultraman Trigger Episode Z.

Episode Z opens two years after the events of Trigger, eight years before first contact with the Sphere in Decker. The looming threats of the Dark Giants and Megalothor has been ended, and the human hero who saved the world from these creatures as Ultraman Trigger, Kengo Manaka, seemingly sacrificed himself in order to stabilize the infinite energy source known as the Eternity Core. Seemingly, a lasting peace is finally here.

However, the mysterious Layrah cult has emerged from that peace with sinister intentions. Together with the team’s new captain, Ryuichi Tokioka, and other-dimensional allies Haruki Natsukawa and Ultraman Z, GUTS-Select plans to free Kengo from his confinement for one last adventure as Trigger. However, the Layrah have plans of their own, and a mastermind is pulling all the strings to enact a plan 30 million years in the making…

Though we don’t want to spoil the movie for you, the fact is that Episode Z truly is the end of Ultraman Trigger’s destined battles, and with his conflicts over, Earth was able to focus on expanding outwards into the stars. With the threat of Kaiju no longer a constant danger, vigilance began to diminish, defense technology was automated, and GUTS-Select as a team ended…and unfortunately, that’s where the TPU found itself when the Sphere descended on Mars, and later Earth. It all ties together!

We can’t tell you where Ultraman Decker is going, but rest assured, as the battle against the Sphere intensifies, figures from the past, both enemy and ally, will start to come out of the woodwork. So, to be prepared for that, rent Ultraman Trigger Episode Z on Ultraman Connection today, and keep watching Ultraman Decker on Ultraman Connection (commercial free!) and the Official Ultraman YouTube Channel!

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July 28, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 3 RECAP: “MOVE OUT GUTS-SELECT”

Spoilers for Ultraman Decker episode 3, “Move Out, GUTS-Select!”

Last episode, Ultraman Decker highlighted the resolve of the three newest recruits to the elite GUTS-Select squad. Each of these characters—Asumi Kanata, Ichika Kirino and Soma Ryumon—showed a strong sense of determination which drove them to struggle and fight against obstacles in their paths, and sometimes against each other. Now, that resolve has brought them to the GUTS-Select team, where they fight alongside each other to protect the Earth.

Since Decker has established our main cast, it makes sense to let them loose into new situations each week. Rather than just being disconnected episodes with small, static threats however, these new challenges provided the characters with new opportunities to learn from each one.

In other words, we’ve built up the foundation of the team, but any strong building needs more than just a foundation. This week started the task of constructing the rest of the skyscraper, complete with steel supports, rebar, adequate plumbing—and this metaphor might just be getting slightly carried away. However, it must be emphasized how this episode effectively and economically builds on top of what the audience saw from the previous two episodes.

First, the characters continued to develop in consistent, meaningful ways. Kanata, Ichika and Ryumon were given a challenge to overcome once again, learning how to pilot the GUTS Falcon, alongside the new GUTS Hawk. And like the previous episode, Kanata and the others didn’t find their place on this team just by becoming perfect soldiers without any possibility of failure. 

Kanata was the first one to make a breakthrough while struggling with this training, because he discovered a new approach—he tried to make friends with the Falcon’s pilot, HANE2! Even if the robot happened to be an artificial intelligence (an incredibly adorable one at that), he was still a member of the team, and Kanata treated him like it. They all learned more about each other and their new co-pilot and created a bond which allowed them to work together even more effectively.

In addition to these three young recruits and their new robot buddy, the GUTS-Select team also has older members who provided a different perspective in this episode. Captain Murahoshi, Vice-Captain Sawa Kaizaki, and newly-introduced scientist Yuichiro Asakage, all lent their expertise to the team’s mission. 

In addition to discussing his high expectations for the team, Captain Murahoshi also provided some insight into the rest of the world around them. He mentioned the fact that people are still wary of Ultraman’s appearance, not knowing where he appeared from or what role he has yet to play in the drama of the Sphere’s invasion.

In fact, the captain seemed to be wary of Ultraman himself in the first two episodes. But by the end of this episode, he wholeheartedly threw himself and the rest of his team into helping fight alongside the Giant of Light, so maybe the rest of humanity will follow the same example as the show continues.

A few other interesting details, which were only implied earlier, were also mentioned in this episode. Vice-Captain Sawa clarified that the barrier around the Earth was actually made from the same Spheres which invaded a year ago. The audience also learned that the GUTS Falcon was retrofitted with cockpits to be manually piloted after the Spheres’ attack. The original model seen in Ultraman Trigger was remote-controlled, so an explanation for the change is welcome, and made for some tense, high-stakes scenes with the characters when they piloted it directly into danger. 

These details provided some interesting continuity, showing how the setting has changed over the past year since the Spheres’ attack. However, they also proved to be more significant to the story than just aesthetic afterthoughts. These pieces of exposition and character development all tied into the major conflict of this episode.

That conflict kicked into high gear when Gomora appeared, seemingly for no reason. Almost every time Gomora appears in other Ultraman series, it’s because the monster is woken up by human interference. This could be another connection to last week’s episode, where Sawa also noted that Deathdrago’s appearance was an aggressive display because of feeling threatened. That threat revealed itself this time, since the Spheres appeared for the first time since their initial invasion, infesting this Gomora and sending it on an even more dangerous rampage! 

Whether it’s being rudely woken up by humans, airlifted to become a museum exhibit, suffering from hay fever, or now this, poor Gomora just can’t catch a break!

No one in GUTS-Select or the TPU could have predicted that the Spheres could take over and assimilate other monsters. Despite that, Captain Murahoshi warned about this kind of unexpected new danger in the beginning of the episode, and his fears were realized here. This was why he wanted to train the new rookies on the team in the first place!

Unfortunately, Kanata’s un-honed skills as a pilot weren’t enough to defeat the Synthetic Sphere monster, and he was faced with the age-old dilemma of all Ultraman heroes—how does he fight as Ultraman while keeping his place on the team? Luckily, he didn’t have to choose one over the other. Kanata’s own resolve drove him to fight as Ultraman Decker in previous episodes, and now against the Sphere-infested Gomora. He was only able to push himself to his limits and beyond, however, to call on Decker’s power in the first place, because of the support of his team!

Kanata didn’t just trust HANE2 with piloting the GUTS Falcon in his place when he transformed in this episode, but also trusted him with his secret as Ultraman! Again, this sort of support was only possible because of the bonds Kanata built with the rest of the team throughout the challenges they faced together.

Those bonds of trust go both ways too. Kanata relied on the rest of the GUTS-Select team when he went out to fight as Decker, but they also relied on Ultraman in this episode! They trusted Decker to stop the monster from destroying a hospital during the attack. And when Kanata feared his own strength might not be enough to stop Gomora’s rampage, his determination to prove himself—both as a member of GUTS Supreme and as Ultraman—revealed itself as a new power. 

A very, very cool looking new finishing power. Decker Strong type showed off this impressive physical talent by punching through the monster until it exploded dramatically, and the day was saved. Quite unusual for an Ultra…and very satisfying. 

It was wonderful to see the team happily celebrating together at the end of the episode—as a team of friends, rather than just coincidental coworkers. However, the events of this episode also raised more uneasy questions. What are the Spheres’ goals? What other forms of life could they seize control of? Are they sending Kaiju attacks like this against Mars? The fight against these mysterious invaders will surely escalate even further as the show continues. But for now, at least the members of GUTS-Select—and the audience—can have hope that the characters will continue to work together, grow even stronger, and overcome these threats in the future. 

And when that future arrives, you’ll be able to learn alongside the rest of the world here on Ultraman Connection.  See you then!

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July 26, 2022

RISE OF ULTRAMAN PUZZLE BRINGS US KAIJU IN 1000 PIECES

Fans of the various Ultraman Marvel Comics miniseries all agree that dthe Arthur Adams variant cover for Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman #2 comic series is one of the coolest Ultraman illustrations ever. Now, it can belong to you in the form of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, available on the Factory Entertainment website! 

Take a close look at the original Arthur Adams cover image for name checks on all Kaiju in this puzzle.

This insanely detailed piece features our beloved classic Ultraman surrounded by a plethora of Kaiju and aliens including Dada, Alien Baltan, Red King, Dodongo, the Friendly Monster Pigmon, and many more. Can you name them all without squinting at the artwork above? Put the pieces together and find out!

The cover art was drawn the traditional way; pencils and inks on paper rather than digitally. “On average, my covers take approximately a week,” Adams told Ultraman Connection. “And that one was a pretty solid ‘seven day’ cover. There's a lot going on...just keeping track of reference, and Tsuburaya Productions wanting me to draw Ultraman’s face properly. And they were right. The first one I drew, you still clearly see Ultraman, but he was a little more expressive than they wanted him to be.” 

The finished artwork was beautifully colored by Jason Keith, with minor revisions to guarantee the monster colors were accurately presented.

When assembled, the puzzle is roughly 27.5 inches tall xd 19.7 inches wide, making it the perfect poster size if you want to get crafty and glue those pieces down. Not to mention the awesome box, whose face is just a full render of the image. We would use the box alone as a cool decoration, but maybe that’s just us… 

The Rise of Ultraman puzzle retails for $24.99 and can be found at Factory Entertainment (which offers giftbox packaging) here:

https://www.factoryent.com/Ultraman-Rise-Of-Ultraman-Puzzle-p/408714.htm

Shop up today and work alongside your fellow Ultraman fans to put together this stunning picture. Don’t forget to stay tuned here at UltramanConnection.com for more!

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July 25, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 2 RECAP: KANATA’S RESOLVE

Spoilers for Ultraman Decker Episode 2, “Kanata’s Resolve”

In its premiere episode, Ultraman Decker introduced audiences to the latest Ultraman hero, Asumi Kanata. We clearly saw his unfailing drive to go above and beyond expectations, always jumping wholeheartedly into whatever challenge he faced for better or worse. So, it wasn’t surprising to see this episode begin as Kanata continued with that same passion, training as a member of GUTS-Select, newly-revitalized as a Monster Response Team. 

What might be more surprising for viewers, however, is the one-year passage of time between these episodes. For a whole year, the barrier isolating Earth from the rest of space has remained in place, and the Spheres have not been heard from since the day of their invasion. Humanity has seemed to be waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. More concerningly, the Ultra D Flasher, and thus, the power of Decker, has not appeared to Kanata Asumi since that day either. Facing this kind of anxiety, it would be understandable to see why even Kanata’s characteristic passion started to flag a bit.

His concern for his parents, presumably stranded on Mars during the Sphere’s attack, drove Kanata to continue his hard work. But he still had his doubts. The question Kanata asked during the show’s cold open—wondering why he was chosen to become Decker, and why he couldn’t use that power now—also drove the focus of this episode’s story.

That may seem like an obvious point; the title of the episode is “Kanata’s Resolve,” after all. However, Kanata isn’t the only character in this show, and isn’t the only one who fights to protect the Earth in this universe either. To really understand the “resolve” that characterizes him as an Ultraman hero, we should also consider the resolve of the rest of the cast, and how they united by the end of the story.

In the previous episode, the audience was only briefly introduced to the other two Monster Response Department trainees—Ichika Kirino and Soma Ryumon. A lot could already be inferred about their characters just from those short appearances, however. We already knew Ichika desperately desired to join her friends in space as an astronaut, a dream that seems impossible now with the Spheres’ barrier still in place. Ryumon appeared immediately to be highly self-serious, even as a trainee. He quickly jumped to organize others around him during the Sphere’s attack, taking charge of a dangerous situation.

Both characters contrasted Kanata’s more carelessly cheerful enthusiasm, but all three of them also shared the same aspirations to join the newly reformed GUTS Supreme team, as well as the same dedication to meet its exacting standards.

However, those similarities became a challenge for the trio, when they were assigned together on their final training exercise. Ryumon immediately assumed his role as a team leader, but his idea of “leadership” apparently involved just being ahead of everyone else. He barely paused to even consider his teammates following him, even after Kanata was injured during the exercise. 

That injury might have seemed like a small setback to viewers, but the thought of falling short of perfection in this test was enough for Ryumon to simply give up. Kanata, of course, still tried to continue the hike even on his injured leg. He wanted to push himself to his limits heedless of the risks involved. 

Both characters have a point; Ryumon is right about Kanata being injured, but Kanata is also reasonably certain that he can continue, which Ryumon refuses to accept. Neither one of them is exactly wrong, but both of their perspectives collided in this scene. Ryumon’s pragmatism and exacting standards faced off against Kanata’s impulsive, but earnest push to attempt the impossible. 

Thankfully, there’s a third member of this team—Ichika. She resolved this argument as a peacemaker, and her heartfelt speech in this scene helped Ryumon and Kanata understand each other, not as obstacles to be overcome, but as teammates who all share the same passion.

As she pointed out, they all want to fight, not just to win, or to prove themselves as the strongest, or even to overcome the impossible. She wanted to continue to fight “because it’s the right thing to do.” If that heartfelt speech was all there was to this episode, it would still be a very charming piece of development for our core characters. Of course, this is still Ultraman, and there still needs to be a giant monster to fight by the end of the story. 

Rather than being an afterthought, however, Ultraman series always use these fights to reflect and reinforce such character developments, just on a much, much larger scale. With explosions. 

Ichika and Kanata had both just expressed their desire to fight against impossible odds only a minute before Deathdrago’s appearance. It’s fitting, then, that they were also the first ones who ran to a nearby town to help civilians caught in the monster’s path of destruction. Then, when the TPU’s attack failed to stop the Kaiju, Ichika’s words also encouraged Kanata to run into danger—yet again. 

One wouldn’t think he would particularly need encouragement to do that, but her speech reoriented the way Kanata—and the audience—might understand his role as Ultraman. He didn’t throw himself into the path of the Spheres in the first episode just because he had a death wish. Instead, he fought his hardest because he wanted to protect the lives around him. Even if he were to fail at that mission, he still chose to fight because it’s the right thing to do. 

That was the resolve that Decker’s power responded to in his first fight, and it was also how Kanata called it forth again here. But Decker’s power alone wasn’t enough to defeat Deathdrago. Luckily, Kanata’s resolve also called forth other powers to help him out. 

First, we have our introduction to the three monsters that can be called from Kanata’s Dimension Cards, all of which will look very familiar to viewers who have seen Ultraseven. These three monster buddies, Agira, Miclas and Windom, appeared to Kanata, and Miclas joined the fight himself to help Decker gain an advantage against Deathdrago.

As was stated earlier, Ultraman series always use spectacular large-scale fights to reflect much smaller character developments. And so, another power made apparent by Kanata’s resolve while fighting as Decker, happens to be the resolve of his teammates with the TPU. 

Not just Ryumon and Ichika, either. Captain Taiji Murahoshi joined the battle by personally piloting one of the GUTS Falcon jets. It was quite funny to see him chastise the three trainees for recklessly endangering their lives, when he pulled the exact same stunt this episode. At the end of the day, however, Captain Murahoshi recognized that recklessness for the same sort of resolve he holds as well. 

It’s no surprise to see that he selected the three trainees to finally join his team as a result. In addition to Vice-Captain Sawa Kaizaki, and AI pilot HANE-2, all six together now make up the new GUTS-Select team. More than just being a group thrown together by chance, or chosen for perfect test scores or fighting ability, this episode demonstrated the resolve of our main cast. Kanata himself was picked to become Decker because of his resolve, but it is equally shared by every other member of this team—a bond that unites them.

In this episode, the audience could see that our main characters—despite each having wildly different personalities, strengths, and flaws—still made an effective team. In a similar way, this episode was able to effectively show that growth as a team by combining wildly different tones, using the quieter, more personal struggles of its cast to emphasize the bigger, more dramatic struggles against earth-shakingly huge monsters. As the show continues, hopefully the other members of the team, Vice-Captain Kaizaki and HANE-2, can be the focus of similar personal stories. But it will surely be exciting to see where GUTS-Select can go from this foundation, and what challenges they will face together.

Ultraman Decker can be seen each week when the latest episode gets uploaded, for free, on Ultraman Connection, every Friday night. And for more Decker and Ultraman Series news, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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July 25, 2022

SHIN ULTRAMAN PREMIERES AT NYAFF LINCOLN CENTER

Shin Ultraman had its United States theatrical premiere in the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center on Saturday, July 23, 2022, as one of the most anticipated movies of the New York Asian Film Festival. The showing drew a standing room only crowd, a mix of ardent Ultraman and tokusatsu fans as well as cinephiles who have heard that the film is an artistic accomplishment worthy of serious consideration.

Director Shinji Higuchi Greeted by Full House, Thunderous Applause

Director Shinji Higuchi was present for the screening, choosing to remain in the auditorium to watch the reaction of the crowd to the film. He got more than he bargained for as American audiences can be quite effusive! 

Naturally, the crowd roared with every familiar character’s appearance, inclusive of several Shin-ified Kaiju, as well as Ultraman himself. But what was unexpected was the crowd’s laughter at the witty dialog and chemistry between the members of the SSSP. A certain villain’s penchant for human aphorisms was also well received. Many appreciated the excellent script translation for the subtitles.

After the film, Higuchi took questions from the audience, where we learned that the extra production time afforded by pandemic delays for the film’s release allowed the director to refine the special effects and become quite satisfied with the film’s final cut. 

Photo by @LissTanukis, Founder & President of @TokusenPeru

When asked about the fact that the Ultraman of the film’s universe has an actual formal name, Lipia, Higuchi said that it was only reasonable that the character would have a name, as do all others from his world. The name Lipia was chosen because it has no clear roots in any Earth language, and “didn’t show up in Google.” 

Though Higuchi warned that the film continued in the Shin Godzilla tradition of needling America, most audience members felt the film was more than fair to Americans.

Photo of NYAFF Ultraman swag by Andrew Wong

After the film and Q&A, the real fun began for Ultraman Connection as a total of nearly 30 members convened in the audience to share their reactions to the film and meet UC producer Jeff Gomez. They noted the powerful support of Tsuburaya Productions for Ultraman Connection since everyone in attendance was given an oversized card promoting the site with a QR code to become a free member.

UC Member Andrew Wong & Jeff Gomez

A picture containing person, ceiling, indoor, crowdDescription automatically generated
UC Members Raymond Lui & artist John Bellotti Jr.

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UC Member Matt Gonzalez & Jeff Gomez

Speaking purely personally, I can clearly remember walking the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side singing to myself the lyrics to Ultraseven, “Far among the galaxyyyy!” Not another living soul knew what an Ultraman was, and most people I knew looked down on the tokusatsu that I so dearly loved. I felt alone in the world. 

Now, I was at Lincoln Center, in a movie theater that screened the great cinematic works of the world, the capital of New York culture—and Ultraman was flying across the screen in all his cinematic glory! What was once considered kitsch is now seen to be a global treasure. We are alone no longer.

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August 10, 2022

NEW ULTRAMAN TIGA FIGURE FROM ALPHAMAX ANNOUNCED

Tsuburaya Productions and the Japanese action-figure company Alphamax are happy to announce the first product from the new Ultraman pre-painted action figure series—Ultraman Tiga.

The Ultraman Tiga action figure stands approximately 16.5cm in height. It is fully articulated with over 42 articulation points, and the figure is covered with a detailed paint suit made of a special material to help prevent any possible wear under normal circumstances. The eyes and Color Timer come equipped with LED lights with a magnetic sensor control in its chest, and the figure can stand on its magnetic base in different poses. Accessories include interchangeable hands, two Zeperion Beam effect pieces, a Sparklence, and the magnetic base.

Ultraman Tiga is available for pre-order now and will be sold in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Shipping is scheduled to begin around the 4th quarter of 2022.

For more product photos, please visit the website listed below.

https://alphamax.jp/

*This product is under development and yet to be finalized. The final version may differ.

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August 9, 2022

Making Waves in North America! SHIN ULTRAMAN International Release Dates Confirmed!

Since its first broadcast in 1966, the Japanese symbol “Ultraman” has been broadcast in over 100 territories, and the popular hero is reborn as a feature film Shin Ultraman! The film was produced and written by Hideaki Anno, who has described himself as a fan of the Ultraman Series, and was directed by Shinji Higuchi, who has brought a number of masterpieces into the world together with Anno. The movie also gathered top-notch Japanese film stars and made headlines when it was revealed Kenshi Yonezu had written its opening theme song “M87”! Revisiting the ideas and concepts of the original Ultraman, Shin Ultraman is a moving and engaging film that depicts a world where “Ultraman” is witnessed by human eyes for the first time.‍

It released in 401 locations (including IMAX) around Japan on May 13th (Friday). By August 8th (Thu), 88 days after its release, the film has been enjoyed by a diverse audience including men and women from children to senior citizens, currently recording 29.52 million viewers and grossing 43.8 billion yen.‍

The film then made its way overseas to premiere in July’s Fantasia Film Festival (shown Montreal, Canada July 21st) and the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) (shown July 23rd). Both festivals were great successes, with the Fanatasia venue filling its 700-person capacity, and some even standing at NYAFF. Ultraman’s onscreen appearance was greeted with applause, both venues were filled with laughter at the lines shared between the SSSP members and the dialogues of extraterrestials Zarab and Mefilas. On the other hand, audiences trembled as they witnessed the battle in the second act unfold.‍

Shinji Higuchi took to the stage after the premiers to address the audience and was greeted with standing ovations and great appraisal by fans. The film is planned to be released at yet many more film festivals.‍‍‍

Finally, it is confirmed that Shin Ultraman will receive an international release!

Starting in Singapore on September 1st, Shin Ultraman is coming to 37 countries and regions in Asia, the Middle East and Africa with plans to release in Europe and North and South America coming soon. As of today, it is still available for viewing across Japan.

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Brunei

Egypt

Hong Kong

India

Indonesia

Iraq

Israel

Jordan

Kenya

Kuwait

Laos

Lebanon

Malaysia

Mongolia

Morocco

Myanmar

Nepal

Nigeria

Oman

Pakistan

Philippines

Qatar

Rwanda

Saudi Arabia

Singapore

South Africa

Sri Lanka

Taiwan

Tanzania

Thailand

Turkey

Uganda

United Arab Emirates

Vietnam

Zambia‍‍‍

Shin Ultraman Product Overview‍

Starring: Takumi Saitoh, Masami Nagasawa, Daiki Arioka, Akari Hayami, Tetsushi Tanaka / Hidetoshi Nishijima, Koji Yamamoto, Ryo Iwamatsu, Kyusaku Shimada, Toru Masuoka, Keishi Nagatsuka, Hajime Yamazaki, Soko Wada

Produced and Written by: Hideaki AnnoDirected by: Shinji Higuchi

Composed by: Kunio Miyauchi, Shiro SAGISUTheme Song: “M87” performed by Kenshi Yonezu

Presented by: Tsuburaya Productions, TOHO, khara

Production Companies: TOHO STUDIOS, Cine Bazar

Distributed by: TOHO‍

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August 3, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 4 RECAP “THE DESTRUCTIVE MONSTER AWAKENS!”

Last week on Ultraman Decker, Kanata took on new responsibilities as the GUTS Falcon’s newest pilot, but also discovered a new ability as Ultraman Decker—the powerful Strong form. Just like the previous episode, this week’s story touches on points of continuity that provide momentum for our main cast of characters, their development, and the overall fight against the Spheres. Episode 4, “The Destructive Monster Awakens” continues to build on this foundation, focusing on Kanata’s friendly dynamic with HANE2, now nicknamed Hanejiro. 

It would be easy to look at the adorable yellow robot and think he would just be a cutesy, marketable mascot—and let’s face it, he is. More than that, however, the back-and-forth banter in this episode helped Hanejiro feel like an actual character, a dynamic member of the team alongside Kanata and the others. Hanejiro even kept the same casual, friendly tone of conversation after Kanata’s request at the end of the last episode.

Though Kanata probably regrets it, after he is utterly roasted by Hanejiro for messing up a training mission in this episode’s cold open.

The main plot this week also helped to highlight their dynamic, showing how the two of them come together to defeat Mons-Ahgar after it appears and attacks a hot springs resort. This nasty Kaiju first appeared in canon back in Ultraman Dyna, the series that most closely matches Ultraman Decker

The plot itself was very straightforward. A tourist location which was already down on its luck, put into an even worse situation when an alien capsule burst from the ground and released a monster designed—and marketed—to destroy human civilization! (Mondays, am I right, people?) 

Within that straightforward plot, however, was a lot of room for fun riffs on an otherwise-familiar story. Between the earnestly corny sales pitch accompanying the “Destructive Monster Mons-Ahgar Series”, Hanejiro trying his best to imitate Kanata’s goofy over-eagerness over the radio, and bits of pitch-perfect comedic timing from Decker’s fight against the bespoke Kaiju weapon, this episode was genuinely hilarious to watch.

Aside from setting up punchlines, this episode also introduced a new feature for the GUTS Falcon and Hawk jets. The audience, along with the rest of the team, found out the jets were originally designed to join, to provide even greater firepower against the different threats the GUTS-Select team may face in the future. 

It’s only appropriate that Kanata immediately geeked out over the idea of piloting giant machines that combine, since this whole episode was so reminiscent of a Super Robot show! Many of his arguments with Hanejiro this week sounded like scenes taken straight out of that genre of anime, as they debated whether a hot-blooded spirit or a cooler and more rational judgment would be best when fighting monsters. 

Of course, the answer ended up being “both”. To defeat Mons-Ahgar, Kanata had to use his own hot-blooded spirit to charge into danger as Ultraman Decker, but also relied on Hanejiro’s careful observation and strategy. Their cooperation allowed them to overcome impossible odds to save the day, just as we would expect from a story like this—regardless of whether our main protagonist fights as Ultraman or by piloting a giant combining Super Robot.

The ability for Ultraman shows to adapt different elements from other science fiction tropes has always been one of its best strengths. It’s wonderful to see that tradition of remixing and remastering various influences continue here. Overall, it makes Ultraman Decker feel at once very familiar—with a monster attacking an old hot springs resort—while also engaging new audiences with original characters, styles and unique elements drawn from other sources. 

There are plenty of other elements that helped this episode to stand out. We haven’t even mentioned how the other members of GUTS-Select are given small but effective ways to contribute to the team. For example, there’s Ichika’s knowledge of local folklore and legend, or Captain Murahoshi’s steadfast faith in his team hidden behind a deceptively stern-looking and commanding demeanor. The team might pretend to be a group of serious professionals, but it was also very funny to see how excited they became when the newly christened GUTS Gryphon combined for the first time. I don’t blame them though, it does look very, very cool.

And while this whole episode was a very fun spectacle to watch, it also laid the groundwork for some other worrying questions in the background. Now we know that the Spheres aren’t the only threats against the Earth, and there are other alien beings in the universe that want to destroy human civilization! The threat of the Spheres themselves also continues to hang—literally—over the heads of GUTS-Select. How long before they make another move, and will they try to assimilate and use another Kaiju, or try to control an even greater weapon against humanity? What other aliens might attack the Earth in the meantime? Or will something else rise against humanity that is completely unforeseen?

Even though this episode took a step back into some comedic relief, the anticipation for what the future holds has only grown more intense. Next time, watch along with us on Ultraman Connection as we head towards that future, with Ultraman Decker!

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August 3, 2022

THE “WAKE UP DECKER!” MUSIC VIDEO IS GLORIOUS

Last month the music video for the Ultraman Decker theme song “Wake up Decker!” performed by the unit SCREEN mode, consisting of YOU (voice actor Yuu Hayashi) and Masatomo (music producer Masatomo Ota) was released on YouTube and the fan response has been… Epic. 

With almost one million views, the comment section alone is filled with Ultraman fans admitting this bop will be added to their ‘gym motivation’ playlists, and I gotta say, I can understand why. The metallic jewel-tone work-out wear, the high energy sound, the dynamic choreography, the enthusiastic lyrics… I might have to make my first trip to the gym this year, too! 

Fans have even gone as far as to make delightful parody videos overlaying the song over footage from vintage workout tapes. 

And the fan reactions are not confined to YouTube. Twitter has also been blowing up with hilarious raving reviews. 

I think it’s safe to say that video director 森田和樹 (FirstCall) has outdone himself with this one. It’s always a pleasure to see creators lean into the playfulness and upbeat nature that the Ultraman franchise so often encapsulates. Plus, we here at Ultraman Connection can never get enough of the fan responses, so keep the memes coming! 

Make sure to stream Ultraman Decker weekly with multi-language subtitles and no commercial interruptions right here on UltramanConnection.com.

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August 1, 2022

ULTRAMAN WATCH CLUB – ANIME ULTRAMAN S1E2

“AN INEVITABLE FATE”

EJ Couloucoundis (EJC)

Hey all, and welcome back to Ultraman Watch Club. It’s been a while, but we’re back to go through the ULTRAMAN anime series together and share our thoughts and feelings! Today, we're continuing our watch of Netflix's ULTRAMAN Season 1, with episode 2, "An Inevitable Fate." I'm EJ, Editor-in-Chief of Ultraman Connection.

Kyle Yamagishi-Rodstein (KYR)

I’m Kyle Yamagishi-Rodstein, a writer for Ultraman Connection, and I’m excited for our discussion today!

Evangelia Artemis-Gomez (EAG)

I’m Evangelia Artemis-Gomez, writer for Ultraman Connection, and wow what an episode!

EJC

What an episode is right! Most fights in the original Ultraman series were about three minutes long; this one was almost the whole episode! Before that, however, we get the classic sight of a loving father throwing his son directly into a helicopter. For his own protection, of course.

KYR

Yeah, seeing Hayata in action like this was definitely awesome as a longtime Ultraman fan. And in such a different way than we’re used to! 

EAG

I feel like Hayata flinging Shinjiro at full force was a real testament to his faith in his son it took me back to that scene in the first episode where Shinjiro took that epic fall as a child. Also, may I add—Hayata looks awesome in the Ultra suit. It’s refreshing to see an older man decked out in sexy armor!

KYR

I definitely agree, and we see that Shinjiro is surprised about this, but Shin knew about their shared power and connection to Ultraman. He definitely is rocking the all-silver look.

EAG

Silver fox, maybe. 😉

The fight scene was crazy. It feels so different from classic Ultraman battles, probably because of the new capabilities they have with animation. They did not shy away from gore. I really didn’t expect Hayata to be attacked so gruesomely, but that’s part of the shock factor that’s been making this show so intriguing.

KYR

Yeah, I think what’s really unique about the show is how much they do deviate in certain ways from the original Ultraman lore and formula.

EJC

Yeah, the gore was a little disconcerting, honestly. I could have sworn that Bemular punched straight through Hayata's chest. Meanwhile, Shinjiro learns that his family friend Ide is still in the alien-fighting business and gets a spiffy suit of his own.

KYR

I absolutely love the design of Shinjiro’s suit! A running theme throughout the show is gonna be these awesome reinterpretations of different hits from legacy series, and each one is so exciting to see.

EAG

Yeah, it did look like Hayata was done for, I honestly thought that was it for him. The transformation sequence was super cool. The energy of watching him take form like that for the first time created a sense of hope and adrenaline that helps the audience recover from the severity of the battle with Hayata. I think this is when we start to trust Shinjiro on another level.

KYR

The covert organization feel of Ide’s operation was so interesting too, with him trying to work from the shadows to protect the world from aliens.

EAG

Ide feels like he’s gonna play the role of a second father figure/mentor to Shinjiro.

KYR

I agree, he definitely feels like he'll have an important role going forwards.

EJC

That transformation is only the first part of the fight's coolness to me. After all, Bemular RECOGNIZES the energy he's giving off, and though Shinjiro is doing a lot better than his dad is, the "First Enemy," as he's calling himself, is not exactly threatened by the new hero. Even after one of the biggest, most violent Spacium Beams we've seen in any iteration of the franchise—which takes his ARM—he seems fine.

KYR

Also, Shinjiro does the classic Ultraman pose when having the suit beamed down onto him, which was amazing.

EAG

The fact that Shinjiro, with no training yet, is such a worthy opponent to Bemular really shows us just how much power he’s capable of harnessing.

KYR

I feel like there's almost a sense that Bemular is toying with him, in the way anime villains often like to do.

EJC

Maybe not toying, but certainly testing.

EAG

Exactly! The way he ended things was eerie to say the least. I know if my arm had just been blown to smithereens, I would not be saying “is that all you’ve got?”

EJC

I remember reading the original manga, and the interpretation of this scene, with Bemular's arm destroyed, was REALLY different in the anime. In that, he was visibly bleeding, and the mask was cracked and damaged, revealing a reptilian face.

KYR

Bemular himself is intriguing too, as it's unclear what his motivations are, but he definitely seems to want something specific, as opposed to just being enigmatic.

EAG

It’s definitely foreshadowing even more vicious battles to come.

EJC

The fact that all those aspects have been changed or outright removed tells me that this Bemular might be something or somebody different than the plan in the original manga…

EAG

That’s very interesting. It seems like they want to prolong the mystery more in the show than in the manga.

KYR

His semi-resemblance to Ultraman's suit is what really creeps me out.

EJC

Yeah, about that…

EAG

I feel like it’s all gonna pay off well, though. This episode showcases the attention to detail they’re paying, considering it was a full 20 minutes on the battleground. I really appreciate how they did that, and how it juxtaposes against the first episode, which gives a much bigger picture idea of the setting. It feels like super fleshed-out, multi-level storytelling.

KYR

I agree, Evangelia. The world they're building is so interesting. Especially seeing which parts carry over from the original 1966 series, and which parts are changed slightly or sometimes drastically.

EJC

Once more, we get another big divergence in the anime here. In the manga, there was actually another suit Bemular used in this fight that much more closely resembled the actual monster he's named after, with him upgrading to this suit later. This time, we're starting with the Ultraman-like one. We actually used that image in the previous Watch Club episode; you can see the differences there.

EAG

That’s fascinating. Maybe a tribute to the questions of identity and self-exploration they seem to be delving into with Shinjiro’s character? Fighting someone who looks like another Ultra is much more difficult, I think, than fighting a conventional Kaiju.

EJC

Agreed.

KYR

Yep.

EJC

Anyway, after the big Spacium Beam, Bemular leaves, and poor Shin passes out from the exertion. When he wakes up, he's met with by someone you wouldn't think would be on the side of the heroes: Edo, the Zettonian.

KYR

This take on a Zettonian is so interesting to me, considering that he's basically considered to be Ultraman's greatest foe in the original show. I also wonder what the differences in design between this Zettonian and the original might mean.

EAG

I love his character design so much; I need a figure of him for my shelf.

EJC

Edo? You have a weakness for big cyclopean bad boys in suits, eh Evangelia?

EAG

Hey, what can I say?

EJC

Listen, I'm not judging. I love his voice so much, it's so funky.

Speaking of, we should take a second to talk about the voice cast for the show. Ryouhei Kimura is the voice of Shinjiro in the original Japanese, but the English dub is using Josh Hutcherson. I remember seeing the dub first and going "Peeta???"

EAG

Ahaha!

KYR

Wow, that's incredible! I watched it in Japanese, so I didn't even realize Josh Hutcherson did his voice.

EAG

I’ve been watching it with subs up to now, but it may be worth looking into if it’s Peeta…

EJC

Yeah, they have a fantastic voice cast. Edo in the dub is voiced by D.C. Douglas, AKA Wesker from the Resident Evil games. And while I love Shigeru Ushiyama's delivery in the original Japanese, nobody does unsettling baritone like D.C. Douglas.

KYR

It's really fun how you see your favorite voice actors pop up in everything, and don't even notice because they blend into their characters so well.

EJC

Hell, Bemular himself might have the most in-vogue VA right now, considering Matt Freaking Mercer, Mr. Critical Role himself, is playing the guy.

EAG

Every villain needs an awesome voice. That’s half the fun!

EJC

Anyway, next time on Watch Club, we'll be checking out episode 3, and all the introductions within. If you want to watch along with us, Season 1 of ULTRAMAN is available on Netflix now. And for everything else, stick close to UltramanConnection.com!

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July 29, 2022

TRIGGER EPISODE Z IS DECKER EPISODE ZERO

Spoilers for Ultraman Trigger Episode Z and Ultraman Decker!

We’re now weeks into Ultraman Decker, and the stakes have continued to raise as the battle against the Sphere invaders is finally starting in earnest. Kanata Asumi and the reborn GUTS-Select have formed an elite team to shatter the barrier covering the Earth and free humanity. 

However, this is not the first threat this Earth has faced of this magnitude; remember that Decker is a sequel to Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, and that it has been nine years since the threats of that series ended. What happened after the events of that series, that left GUTS-Select in need of reformation? The answers can be found in Ultraman Trigger Episode Z.

Episode Z opens two years after the events of Trigger, eight years before first contact with the Sphere in Decker. The looming threats of the Dark Giants and Megalothor has been ended, and the human hero who saved the world from these creatures as Ultraman Trigger, Kengo Manaka, seemingly sacrificed himself in order to stabilize the infinite energy source known as the Eternity Core. Seemingly, a lasting peace is finally here.

However, the mysterious Layrah cult has emerged from that peace with sinister intentions. Together with the team’s new captain, Ryuichi Tokioka, and other-dimensional allies Haruki Natsukawa and Ultraman Z, GUTS-Select plans to free Kengo from his confinement for one last adventure as Trigger. However, the Layrah have plans of their own, and a mastermind is pulling all the strings to enact a plan 30 million years in the making…

Though we don’t want to spoil the movie for you, the fact is that Episode Z truly is the end of Ultraman Trigger’s destined battles, and with his conflicts over, Earth was able to focus on expanding outwards into the stars. With the threat of Kaiju no longer a constant danger, vigilance began to diminish, defense technology was automated, and GUTS-Select as a team ended…and unfortunately, that’s where the TPU found itself when the Sphere descended on Mars, and later Earth. It all ties together!

We can’t tell you where Ultraman Decker is going, but rest assured, as the battle against the Sphere intensifies, figures from the past, both enemy and ally, will start to come out of the woodwork. So, to be prepared for that, rent Ultraman Trigger Episode Z on Ultraman Connection today, and keep watching Ultraman Decker on Ultraman Connection (commercial free!) and the Official Ultraman YouTube Channel!

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July 28, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 3 RECAP: “MOVE OUT GUTS-SELECT”

Spoilers for Ultraman Decker episode 3, “Move Out, GUTS-Select!”

Last episode, Ultraman Decker highlighted the resolve of the three newest recruits to the elite GUTS-Select squad. Each of these characters—Asumi Kanata, Ichika Kirino and Soma Ryumon—showed a strong sense of determination which drove them to struggle and fight against obstacles in their paths, and sometimes against each other. Now, that resolve has brought them to the GUTS-Select team, where they fight alongside each other to protect the Earth.

Since Decker has established our main cast, it makes sense to let them loose into new situations each week. Rather than just being disconnected episodes with small, static threats however, these new challenges provided the characters with new opportunities to learn from each one.

In other words, we’ve built up the foundation of the team, but any strong building needs more than just a foundation. This week started the task of constructing the rest of the skyscraper, complete with steel supports, rebar, adequate plumbing—and this metaphor might just be getting slightly carried away. However, it must be emphasized how this episode effectively and economically builds on top of what the audience saw from the previous two episodes.

First, the characters continued to develop in consistent, meaningful ways. Kanata, Ichika and Ryumon were given a challenge to overcome once again, learning how to pilot the GUTS Falcon, alongside the new GUTS Hawk. And like the previous episode, Kanata and the others didn’t find their place on this team just by becoming perfect soldiers without any possibility of failure. 

Kanata was the first one to make a breakthrough while struggling with this training, because he discovered a new approach—he tried to make friends with the Falcon’s pilot, HANE2! Even if the robot happened to be an artificial intelligence (an incredibly adorable one at that), he was still a member of the team, and Kanata treated him like it. They all learned more about each other and their new co-pilot and created a bond which allowed them to work together even more effectively.

In addition to these three young recruits and their new robot buddy, the GUTS-Select team also has older members who provided a different perspective in this episode. Captain Murahoshi, Vice-Captain Sawa Kaizaki, and newly-introduced scientist Yuichiro Asakage, all lent their expertise to the team’s mission. 

In addition to discussing his high expectations for the team, Captain Murahoshi also provided some insight into the rest of the world around them. He mentioned the fact that people are still wary of Ultraman’s appearance, not knowing where he appeared from or what role he has yet to play in the drama of the Sphere’s invasion.

In fact, the captain seemed to be wary of Ultraman himself in the first two episodes. But by the end of this episode, he wholeheartedly threw himself and the rest of his team into helping fight alongside the Giant of Light, so maybe the rest of humanity will follow the same example as the show continues.

A few other interesting details, which were only implied earlier, were also mentioned in this episode. Vice-Captain Sawa clarified that the barrier around the Earth was actually made from the same Spheres which invaded a year ago. The audience also learned that the GUTS Falcon was retrofitted with cockpits to be manually piloted after the Spheres’ attack. The original model seen in Ultraman Trigger was remote-controlled, so an explanation for the change is welcome, and made for some tense, high-stakes scenes with the characters when they piloted it directly into danger. 

These details provided some interesting continuity, showing how the setting has changed over the past year since the Spheres’ attack. However, they also proved to be more significant to the story than just aesthetic afterthoughts. These pieces of exposition and character development all tied into the major conflict of this episode.

That conflict kicked into high gear when Gomora appeared, seemingly for no reason. Almost every time Gomora appears in other Ultraman series, it’s because the monster is woken up by human interference. This could be another connection to last week’s episode, where Sawa also noted that Deathdrago’s appearance was an aggressive display because of feeling threatened. That threat revealed itself this time, since the Spheres appeared for the first time since their initial invasion, infesting this Gomora and sending it on an even more dangerous rampage! 

Whether it’s being rudely woken up by humans, airlifted to become a museum exhibit, suffering from hay fever, or now this, poor Gomora just can’t catch a break!

No one in GUTS-Select or the TPU could have predicted that the Spheres could take over and assimilate other monsters. Despite that, Captain Murahoshi warned about this kind of unexpected new danger in the beginning of the episode, and his fears were realized here. This was why he wanted to train the new rookies on the team in the first place!

Unfortunately, Kanata’s un-honed skills as a pilot weren’t enough to defeat the Synthetic Sphere monster, and he was faced with the age-old dilemma of all Ultraman heroes—how does he fight as Ultraman while keeping his place on the team? Luckily, he didn’t have to choose one over the other. Kanata’s own resolve drove him to fight as Ultraman Decker in previous episodes, and now against the Sphere-infested Gomora. He was only able to push himself to his limits and beyond, however, to call on Decker’s power in the first place, because of the support of his team!

Kanata didn’t just trust HANE2 with piloting the GUTS Falcon in his place when he transformed in this episode, but also trusted him with his secret as Ultraman! Again, this sort of support was only possible because of the bonds Kanata built with the rest of the team throughout the challenges they faced together.

Those bonds of trust go both ways too. Kanata relied on the rest of the GUTS-Select team when he went out to fight as Decker, but they also relied on Ultraman in this episode! They trusted Decker to stop the monster from destroying a hospital during the attack. And when Kanata feared his own strength might not be enough to stop Gomora’s rampage, his determination to prove himself—both as a member of GUTS Supreme and as Ultraman—revealed itself as a new power. 

A very, very cool looking new finishing power. Decker Strong type showed off this impressive physical talent by punching through the monster until it exploded dramatically, and the day was saved. Quite unusual for an Ultra…and very satisfying. 

It was wonderful to see the team happily celebrating together at the end of the episode—as a team of friends, rather than just coincidental coworkers. However, the events of this episode also raised more uneasy questions. What are the Spheres’ goals? What other forms of life could they seize control of? Are they sending Kaiju attacks like this against Mars? The fight against these mysterious invaders will surely escalate even further as the show continues. But for now, at least the members of GUTS-Select—and the audience—can have hope that the characters will continue to work together, grow even stronger, and overcome these threats in the future. 

And when that future arrives, you’ll be able to learn alongside the rest of the world here on Ultraman Connection.  See you then!

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July 26, 2022

RISE OF ULTRAMAN PUZZLE BRINGS US KAIJU IN 1000 PIECES

Fans of the various Ultraman Marvel Comics miniseries all agree that dthe Arthur Adams variant cover for Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman #2 comic series is one of the coolest Ultraman illustrations ever. Now, it can belong to you in the form of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, available on the Factory Entertainment website! 

Take a close look at the original Arthur Adams cover image for name checks on all Kaiju in this puzzle.

This insanely detailed piece features our beloved classic Ultraman surrounded by a plethora of Kaiju and aliens including Dada, Alien Baltan, Red King, Dodongo, the Friendly Monster Pigmon, and many more. Can you name them all without squinting at the artwork above? Put the pieces together and find out!

The cover art was drawn the traditional way; pencils and inks on paper rather than digitally. “On average, my covers take approximately a week,” Adams told Ultraman Connection. “And that one was a pretty solid ‘seven day’ cover. There's a lot going on...just keeping track of reference, and Tsuburaya Productions wanting me to draw Ultraman’s face properly. And they were right. The first one I drew, you still clearly see Ultraman, but he was a little more expressive than they wanted him to be.” 

The finished artwork was beautifully colored by Jason Keith, with minor revisions to guarantee the monster colors were accurately presented.

When assembled, the puzzle is roughly 27.5 inches tall xd 19.7 inches wide, making it the perfect poster size if you want to get crafty and glue those pieces down. Not to mention the awesome box, whose face is just a full render of the image. We would use the box alone as a cool decoration, but maybe that’s just us… 

The Rise of Ultraman puzzle retails for $24.99 and can be found at Factory Entertainment (which offers giftbox packaging) here:

https://www.factoryent.com/Ultraman-Rise-Of-Ultraman-Puzzle-p/408714.htm

Shop up today and work alongside your fellow Ultraman fans to put together this stunning picture. Don’t forget to stay tuned here at UltramanConnection.com for more!

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July 25, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 2 RECAP: KANATA’S RESOLVE

Spoilers for Ultraman Decker Episode 2, “Kanata’s Resolve”

In its premiere episode, Ultraman Decker introduced audiences to the latest Ultraman hero, Asumi Kanata. We clearly saw his unfailing drive to go above and beyond expectations, always jumping wholeheartedly into whatever challenge he faced for better or worse. So, it wasn’t surprising to see this episode begin as Kanata continued with that same passion, training as a member of GUTS-Select, newly-revitalized as a Monster Response Team. 

What might be more surprising for viewers, however, is the one-year passage of time between these episodes. For a whole year, the barrier isolating Earth from the rest of space has remained in place, and the Spheres have not been heard from since the day of their invasion. Humanity has seemed to be waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop. More concerningly, the Ultra D Flasher, and thus, the power of Decker, has not appeared to Kanata Asumi since that day either. Facing this kind of anxiety, it would be understandable to see why even Kanata’s characteristic passion started to flag a bit.

His concern for his parents, presumably stranded on Mars during the Sphere’s attack, drove Kanata to continue his hard work. But he still had his doubts. The question Kanata asked during the show’s cold open—wondering why he was chosen to become Decker, and why he couldn’t use that power now—also drove the focus of this episode’s story.

That may seem like an obvious point; the title of the episode is “Kanata’s Resolve,” after all. However, Kanata isn’t the only character in this show, and isn’t the only one who fights to protect the Earth in this universe either. To really understand the “resolve” that characterizes him as an Ultraman hero, we should also consider the resolve of the rest of the cast, and how they united by the end of the story.

In the previous episode, the audience was only briefly introduced to the other two Monster Response Department trainees—Ichika Kirino and Soma Ryumon. A lot could already be inferred about their characters just from those short appearances, however. We already knew Ichika desperately desired to join her friends in space as an astronaut, a dream that seems impossible now with the Spheres’ barrier still in place. Ryumon appeared immediately to be highly self-serious, even as a trainee. He quickly jumped to organize others around him during the Sphere’s attack, taking charge of a dangerous situation.

Both characters contrasted Kanata’s more carelessly cheerful enthusiasm, but all three of them also shared the same aspirations to join the newly reformed GUTS Supreme team, as well as the same dedication to meet its exacting standards.

However, those similarities became a challenge for the trio, when they were assigned together on their final training exercise. Ryumon immediately assumed his role as a team leader, but his idea of “leadership” apparently involved just being ahead of everyone else. He barely paused to even consider his teammates following him, even after Kanata was injured during the exercise. 

That injury might have seemed like a small setback to viewers, but the thought of falling short of perfection in this test was enough for Ryumon to simply give up. Kanata, of course, still tried to continue the hike even on his injured leg. He wanted to push himself to his limits heedless of the risks involved. 

Both characters have a point; Ryumon is right about Kanata being injured, but Kanata is also reasonably certain that he can continue, which Ryumon refuses to accept. Neither one of them is exactly wrong, but both of their perspectives collided in this scene. Ryumon’s pragmatism and exacting standards faced off against Kanata’s impulsive, but earnest push to attempt the impossible. 

Thankfully, there’s a third member of this team—Ichika. She resolved this argument as a peacemaker, and her heartfelt speech in this scene helped Ryumon and Kanata understand each other, not as obstacles to be overcome, but as teammates who all share the same passion.

As she pointed out, they all want to fight, not just to win, or to prove themselves as the strongest, or even to overcome the impossible. She wanted to continue to fight “because it’s the right thing to do.” If that heartfelt speech was all there was to this episode, it would still be a very charming piece of development for our core characters. Of course, this is still Ultraman, and there still needs to be a giant monster to fight by the end of the story. 

Rather than being an afterthought, however, Ultraman series always use these fights to reflect and reinforce such character developments, just on a much, much larger scale. With explosions. 

Ichika and Kanata had both just expressed their desire to fight against impossible odds only a minute before Deathdrago’s appearance. It’s fitting, then, that they were also the first ones who ran to a nearby town to help civilians caught in the monster’s path of destruction. Then, when the TPU’s attack failed to stop the Kaiju, Ichika’s words also encouraged Kanata to run into danger—yet again. 

One wouldn’t think he would particularly need encouragement to do that, but her speech reoriented the way Kanata—and the audience—might understand his role as Ultraman. He didn’t throw himself into the path of the Spheres in the first episode just because he had a death wish. Instead, he fought his hardest because he wanted to protect the lives around him. Even if he were to fail at that mission, he still chose to fight because it’s the right thing to do. 

That was the resolve that Decker’s power responded to in his first fight, and it was also how Kanata called it forth again here. But Decker’s power alone wasn’t enough to defeat Deathdrago. Luckily, Kanata’s resolve also called forth other powers to help him out. 

First, we have our introduction to the three monsters that can be called from Kanata’s Dimension Cards, all of which will look very familiar to viewers who have seen Ultraseven. These three monster buddies, Agira, Miclas and Windom, appeared to Kanata, and Miclas joined the fight himself to help Decker gain an advantage against Deathdrago.

As was stated earlier, Ultraman series always use spectacular large-scale fights to reflect much smaller character developments. And so, another power made apparent by Kanata’s resolve while fighting as Decker, happens to be the resolve of his teammates with the TPU. 

Not just Ryumon and Ichika, either. Captain Taiji Murahoshi joined the battle by personally piloting one of the GUTS Falcon jets. It was quite funny to see him chastise the three trainees for recklessly endangering their lives, when he pulled the exact same stunt this episode. At the end of the day, however, Captain Murahoshi recognized that recklessness for the same sort of resolve he holds as well. 

It’s no surprise to see that he selected the three trainees to finally join his team as a result. In addition to Vice-Captain Sawa Kaizaki, and AI pilot HANE-2, all six together now make up the new GUTS-Select team. More than just being a group thrown together by chance, or chosen for perfect test scores or fighting ability, this episode demonstrated the resolve of our main cast. Kanata himself was picked to become Decker because of his resolve, but it is equally shared by every other member of this team—a bond that unites them.

In this episode, the audience could see that our main characters—despite each having wildly different personalities, strengths, and flaws—still made an effective team. In a similar way, this episode was able to effectively show that growth as a team by combining wildly different tones, using the quieter, more personal struggles of its cast to emphasize the bigger, more dramatic struggles against earth-shakingly huge monsters. As the show continues, hopefully the other members of the team, Vice-Captain Kaizaki and HANE-2, can be the focus of similar personal stories. But it will surely be exciting to see where GUTS-Select can go from this foundation, and what challenges they will face together.

Ultraman Decker can be seen each week when the latest episode gets uploaded, for free, on Ultraman Connection, every Friday night. And for more Decker and Ultraman Series news, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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July 25, 2022

SHIN ULTRAMAN PREMIERES AT NYAFF LINCOLN CENTER

Shin Ultraman had its United States theatrical premiere in the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center on Saturday, July 23, 2022, as one of the most anticipated movies of the New York Asian Film Festival. The showing drew a standing room only crowd, a mix of ardent Ultraman and tokusatsu fans as well as cinephiles who have heard that the film is an artistic accomplishment worthy of serious consideration.

Director Shinji Higuchi Greeted by Full House, Thunderous Applause

Director Shinji Higuchi was present for the screening, choosing to remain in the auditorium to watch the reaction of the crowd to the film. He got more than he bargained for as American audiences can be quite effusive! 

Naturally, the crowd roared with every familiar character’s appearance, inclusive of several Shin-ified Kaiju, as well as Ultraman himself. But what was unexpected was the crowd’s laughter at the witty dialog and chemistry between the members of the SSSP. A certain villain’s penchant for human aphorisms was also well received. Many appreciated the excellent script translation for the subtitles.

After the film, Higuchi took questions from the audience, where we learned that the extra production time afforded by pandemic delays for the film’s release allowed the director to refine the special effects and become quite satisfied with the film’s final cut. 

Photo by @LissTanukis, Founder & President of @TokusenPeru

When asked about the fact that the Ultraman of the film’s universe has an actual formal name, Lipia, Higuchi said that it was only reasonable that the character would have a name, as do all others from his world. The name Lipia was chosen because it has no clear roots in any Earth language, and “didn’t show up in Google.” 

Though Higuchi warned that the film continued in the Shin Godzilla tradition of needling America, most audience members felt the film was more than fair to Americans.

Photo of NYAFF Ultraman swag by Andrew Wong

After the film and Q&A, the real fun began for Ultraman Connection as a total of nearly 30 members convened in the audience to share their reactions to the film and meet UC producer Jeff Gomez. They noted the powerful support of Tsuburaya Productions for Ultraman Connection since everyone in attendance was given an oversized card promoting the site with a QR code to become a free member.

UC Member Andrew Wong & Jeff Gomez

A picture containing person, ceiling, indoor, crowdDescription automatically generated
UC Members Raymond Lui & artist John Bellotti Jr.

A picture containing person, indoor, person, standingDescription automatically generated
UC Member Matt Gonzalez & Jeff Gomez

Speaking purely personally, I can clearly remember walking the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side singing to myself the lyrics to Ultraseven, “Far among the galaxyyyy!” Not another living soul knew what an Ultraman was, and most people I knew looked down on the tokusatsu that I so dearly loved. I felt alone in the world. 

Now, I was at Lincoln Center, in a movie theater that screened the great cinematic works of the world, the capital of New York culture—and Ultraman was flying across the screen in all his cinematic glory! What was once considered kitsch is now seen to be a global treasure. We are alone no longer.

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July 19, 2022

ULTRAMAN CONNECTION LIVE: ULTRAMAN DAY 2022 - WHAT HAPPENED?

On July 10th, 2022, which we celebrate here as Ultraman Day, the 10 Days of Ultraman ended with a bang, with Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day! Coming right on the heels of Ultraman Rising: The TokuSHOUTsu Ultraman Day Special, fans took to Ultraman Connection, where the biggest show of the year so far was starting! 

Maria Theresa Gow, who played Georgie Leland in Ultraman Gaia, took over hosting duties for the day from Sean Nichols, who was still on his way back from Ultraman’s massive takeover of Anime Expo earlier in the week. Thus, this special show was celebrating multiple milestones at once, including the premiere of the latest entry in the Ultraman Series, Ultraman Decker!

The show began with Maria Theresa welcoming the audience while explaining the history of Ultraman Day, the now-56th anniversary of Ultraman’s first appearance on television. She then introduced the panel for the event: four of the stars of Ultraman Decker! Hiroki Matsumoto (Kanata Asumi/Ultraman Decker), Yuuka Murayama (Ichika Kirino), Nobunaga Daichi (Soma Ryumon), and Sae Miyazawa (Sawa Kaizaki) all greeted fans in a combination of Japanese and English, immediately expressing their appreciation for the global audience that was watching their show on Ultraman Connection and the Ultraman Official YouTube channel.

The first segment of the show was a quiz game for the four panelists, the Ultra Dimension Challenge. The game involved drawing a mystery Ultra or Kaiju figure whose series is celebrating an anniversary and completing a corresponding quiz challenge. This hilarious segment had the actors answering trivia questions, drawing Ultras, miming Kaiju, with each actor trying to collect the most Dimension Card prizes from Ultraman Decker. After a tight race, Hiroki Matsumoto was ultimately crowned the winner with three Dimension Cards.

Next was a segment all about the plot and characters of Ultraman Decker. This involved the panelists reacting to clips from the show involving their characters, reflecting on what Ultraman means to them, and discussing their experience making the show. The four also recounted their reactions to being cast in Ultraman Decker, and their excitement for their new roles. The segment concluded with a trailer for the next episode of Decker, which will be streaming on next week and every week!

Suddenly, the studio was attacked by deadly Kaiju! Luckily, Matsumoto rushed onto stage with his character Kanata’s transformation device, the Ultra D Flasher, and transformed into Ultraman Decker. Almost immediately, the true masterminds of this Kaiju invasion, Absolute Tartarus and Yapool, arrived! (This was the first appearance of Yapool, archnemesis of Ultraman Ace that we can remember in a stage show.) The evil duo intended to travel back in time and prevent Ultraman Tiga from being revived, placing the entire timeline of the Ultraman Universe in jeopardy! Decker battled through wave after wave of monsters and aliens to stop this insidious plot, but he wasn’t alone! 

As if drawn by the power of their bonds, heroes from all across the 56-year history of the franchise arrived to help! First, the Ultra Force of 1987’s Ultraman: The Adventure Begins, Chuck, Beth, and Scott arrived, helping Decker fight off Yapool’s initial assault. Ultraman Cosmos and Justice, of 2002’s Ultraman Cosmos 2: The Blue Planet were next to come to Decker’s aid, followed by the heroic Reionics Reimon and his partner Gomora from 2007’s Ultra Galaxy: Mega Monster Battle

When Cosmos found himself targeted by Tartarus and old enemies Alien Bat and Hyper Zetton, his allies, Ultraman Zero and Ultraman Dyna arrived, and the three Ultras combined their power to create the mighty Ultraman Saga, last seen ten years ago, in the hero’s 2012 eponymous movie, and annihilated Bat and Zetton! 

His pawns lost, Yapool attempted to destroy Decker one last time with his own claws, only to be destroyed yet again by his most hated foe, the Ambassador of the Galactic Federation, Ultraman Ace! The gathering of heroes was too much for Tartarus, who declared with some consternation that Ultras will appear in every dimension, before retreating to enact his next plan…

The studio segment concluded with the panelists thanking fans again for their support of Ultraman Decker! However, there was an extra treat for fans: a new announcement from Seismic Toys. Building off of the success of last year’s vinyl Jirahs, a beautiful new Sevenger vinyl was announced as part of the Ultraman Vinyl Odyssey collection! Also revealed to be on the way were Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman’s very first foe, Bemular. 

Thus concluded Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day and The 10 Days of Ultraman, but fear not: more Ultraman is on the way. The first episode of Ultraman Decker is available now on UltramanConnection.com and the Ultraman Official YouTube Channel, and new episodes will stream weekly on Ultraman Connection. And of course, for all things Ultraman Day and Ultraman Decker, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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July 7, 2022

TOKUSHOUTSU TO STREAM “ULTRAMAN RISING” SPECIAL ON ULTRAMAN DAY

The fan favorite tokusatsu streaming network TokuSHOUTsu will be running Ultraman Rising: The Ultraman Day Special on Sunday, July 10, 2022, at 8pm EST.

You can watch the show on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Pluto TV, and other platforms by downloading the Shout! Factory app and searching for TokuSHOUTsu.

Hosted by Sean Nichols and Mike Dent, and featuring appearance by Ultraman Connection personalities Jeff Gomez, EJ Couloucoundis, and Evangelia “the Noob” Artemis, the special will be packed with surprises and a boatload of never-before-seen footage guaranteed to thrill fans of any incarnation of the Giant of Light.

Ultraman Rising: The Ultraman Day Special will have plenty in store for fans. There will be special announcements on upcoming projects from Marvel Comics, Netflix, and Production I.G., a spotlight on anime ULTRAMAN, previews of upcoming Ultraman series on TokuSHOUTsu, new Spark Doll Theater, and a spectacular Ultras Vs. Kaiju floor show made exclusively for this special. The combatants will be linked with the summer Ultraman slate of the TokuSHOUTsu network—so if you want to know who will appear, just check the listings!

Universes collide at Anime Expo 2022 as Sean White (Sean Nichols) and UCL Agents Bright (RickJackson) and Hughes (Jaclyn Albergoni) welcome (anime) Ultraman to the stage.

Ultraman Rising gets its name from the massive activation that recently unfolded at Anime Expo 2022, and that’s right—you will get to see highlights from the events that comprised the Hunt for Dada storyline that took place onstage, in panels, and across the expo floor.

Ultraman Rising successfully heralded the arrival of the Ultra Heroes and universe to North America, exposing the franchise to hundreds of thousands of fans live at the convention, with millions more impressions on social media. The TokuSHOUTsu special will be the only venue for seeing this footage for quite some time!

The story of Ultraman Rising has the fearsome Dada and Alien Baltan join forces to use the Los Angeles Convention Center as a launch site for a global takeover. They are hunted by the UCL (Unidentified Capture League) who recruit fans to photograph and triangulate the location of the Kaiju. But the villains thwart our heroes to the very end, at least before the triumphant arrival of a pair of citizens from the M78 Nebula!

And don’t forget, once the Ultraman Rising: The Ultraman Day Special is over, jump over directly to the Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day 2022 featuring Ultraman Decker at 9pm EST for more exclusive Ultraman action!

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July 6, 2022

TIX FOR ULTRAMAN CONNECTION LIVE: ULTRAMAN DAY SPOTLIGHTING DECKER ON SALE NOW

The Ten Days of Ultraman are well underway, with Anime Expo having just concluded, and every day until July 10 set to further excite fans. It’s time now to announce the grand finale of the festivities: Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day 2022!

Tickets are on sale now just click on this line!

Note that this event takes place on UltramanConnection.com after the Ultraman Rising special on TokuSHOUTsu. That happens at 8pm EST, and the UCL: Ultraman Day event happens at 9pm EST! Yes, that’s two major Ultraman events in one night!

Hosted by Maria Theresa Gow, best-known for playing Georgie Leland on Ultraman Gaia, who last hosted alongside Sean Nichols on the Ultraman Connection Live Holiday Special, this year’s festivities are not only a celebration of the last 56 years of Ultraman, but a celebration of the new series, Ultraman Decker!

Joining Ms. Gow on the stage will be the members of Decker’s GUTS-Select team:

Lead actor Hiroki Matsumoto, who plays our hero Kanata Asumi.

Yuka Murayama, who plays heroine Ichika Kirino.

Daichi Nobunaga, who plays Asumi’s friendly rival Soma Ryumon.

And Sae Miyazawa, who plays GUTS-Select’s Vice-Captain, Sawa Kaizaki and once played the character Sawa in 2012’s Ultraman Saga.

Together, the five will discuss the first episode of the series, freshly aired that weekend, as well as the venerable history of the Ultraman Series. Of course, like every Ultraman Connection Live, there will be plenty of surprises for fans and guests alike!

Ultraman Connection Live: Ultraman Day 2022 airs at 9 PM EST on July 10th, exclusively on Ultraman Connection for a $10 admission, so get your tickets today! And don’t forget to check out Tsuburaya Productions & Iceberg Theory Present Ultraman Rising - The TokuSHOUTsu Ultraman Day Special, hosted by Sean Nichols and Mike Dent on TokuSHOUTsu one hour earlier at 8pm EST! And for everything Decker, Ultraman Day, and beyond, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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June 29, 2022

WHAT YOU MISSED! ULTRAMAN CONNECTION LIVE 1ST ANNIVERSARY: ULTRAMAN MAX SPECIAL

On June 17, 2022, Ultraman Connection Live 1st Anniversary: Ultraman Max Special was hosted exclusively on UltramanConnection.com. The event was an epic celebration of both Ultraman Connection Live and Ultraman Max, featuring an epic Max cast & staff reunion, a surprise live appearance of Ultraman Max, Xenon and other Max Kaiju, the continuation of the Ultraman Connection exclusive UCL story, and much more!

The show opened, as is now Ultraman Connection Live tradition, with a new chapter of the UCL story. Continuing the narrative that has been told throughout the past year, UCL focuses on a world in which humans have not yet gained the protection of the Ultras but have nevertheless taken steps to combat alien threats.

Sean Nichols, reprising his role as Ultraman Max’s Sean White, made contact with the Unidentified Capture League, identifying himself as a member of another Earth’s defense team, Max’s Team DASH, and offered his services as the humans of the UCL begin taking their first steps into a grand unknown future…

Next, Sean Nichols (as himself) rang in the festivities of Ultraman Connection Live’s first anniversary by introducing the audience to several of his old colleagues and castmates, including Sota Aoyama (Kaito Touma/Ultraman Max), Hitomi Hasebe (Mizuki Koishikawa), and producer, director, and series composition Takeshi Yagi!

Sean Nichols (Sean White)
Sota Aoyama (KaitoTouma/Ultraman Max)
Hitomi Hasebe (Mizuki Koishikawa)
Director Takeshi Yagi

As the group began to speak, it became clear that despite the seventeen years that have passed since Ultraman Max ended, all of the panel members have managed to keep in contact with each other, never forgetting the friendships forged on the set. The four then went on to reflect on the making of the series, speak about what made it special to each of them, and discuss what fans still love about it today.

Following this, fans were treated to a special watch party of Yagi’s favorite episodes, Episode 27: The Stolen Max Spark, with commentary from the panel! The Discord chat allowed fans to participate in the fun as well, reacting to the episode’s most iconic moments alongside the cast and director.

Director Takashi Miike

After that, Sean introduced renowned Japanese director Takashi Miike, responsible for creating dark modern classics in Japan such as Audition, Ichi the Killer, the Dead or Alive trilogy, and Zatoichi, and a director for two episodes of Max! Wearing sunglasses and what fans called “the greatest shirt of all time,” Miike joined the other four panel members to discuss his experience working on the series, and his favorite moments.

With his blessing, fans and the panel got to watch Episode 15: Miracle of the Third Planet, a hauntingly beautiful story which Miike directed, that left few dry eyes among the panel, or the audience. Scenes such as Ultraman Max gently lifting a car or his comforting a small child have become classic images in the franchise canon. After the episode concluded, Aoyama, Hasebe, and Sean all selected their favorite episodes of the show, sharing their beloved memories of the story they all created together.

Kaito encounters Alien Metron
Sean White springs into action!
Kaito transforms!

The camera then cut to the stage, with a voiceover from original Ultraman Max narrator Shiro Sano explaining the Kaiju threat on Earth. As if on cue, a tide of vicious monsters attacked! However, Max returned to the fray for the first time for global viewers since Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy, using his tremendous speed and skill to combat his foes.

Ultraman Max Battles Eleking and Red King

When the monsters started to overwhelm the hero, however, he found himself aided by his longtime partner, Ultraman Xenon, fresh from Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad! Together, the two struck back against the Kaiju, defeating them with teamwork, and the legendary weapon known as the Max Galaxy!

Ultraman Xenon joins Max!
Max and Xenon Battle Bugdalas and Kesam

As the live appearance ended, there was a special video message from Max narrator Shiro Sano, thanking fans for their love of the series and for the opportunity to narrate Ultraman Max for the first time in seventeen years. Before the show fully concluded, however, there was one last surprise: Hiroko Sakurai (who played Yukari Yoshinaga in Ultraman Max and Akiko Fuji in the original Ultraman) appeared to thank the panel and fans for their support of the Ultraman franchise. The panel joined her and waved goodbye to the fans, concluding the live event.

Cast of Ultraman Max (including Hiroko Sakurai)in Beam Pose!

Once the event ended, there was a short teaser for the future of the UCL story, taking place nine years after the last chapter, moving forward in time alongside the transition between Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga and its successor, Ultraman Decker. Here, fans were treated to the sight of a developed UCL with their own base in outer space, advanced fighter ships, and uniforms, preparing to take on the next threat…

Ultraman Connection Live 1st Anniversary: Ultraman Max Special may be over, but there is still plenty of Ultraman content on the way. If you want to see Ultraman Max’s most recent appearance, all three Ultra Galaxy Fight movies are available free and for rent on UltramanConnection.com. And of course, to stay up to date on our UCL narrative, our live events, and all things Ultraman, stay tuned to Ultraman Connection!

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June 6, 2022

ULTRAMAN CONNECTION LIVE 1ST ANNIVERSARY: ULTRAMAN MAX SPECIAL ANNOUNCED!

It’s been almost a whole year since Ultraman Connection Live debuted on the global stage with Ultraman Connection Live: Sevenger Fight. That initial virtual event helped to reintroduce the fun and excitement of the Ultraman Series to a stalwart group of fans, setting the stage for the major comeback that Ultraman has staged in the ensuing twelve months.

At such an auspicious time, we at Ultraman Connection feel that it’s only right to celebrate with you, the fans, and with perennial fan-favorite host, Sean Nichols. So, we are announcing Ultraman Connection Live 1 st Anniversary: Ultraman Max Special, featuring the series that brought Sean to the world! The show will stream on Friday, June 17 at 9pm EST, 6pm West Coast.

Tickets are now on sale right here!

Ultraman Max began airing on July 2nd , 2005, during the Ultraman Series’ Generation 2 period. The series was in a world very similar to ours, where threats like the changing climate spawned dangerous monsters, as well as alien invaders seeking to take advantage of the chaos to steal Earth for themselves.

To stand against these threats, the heroic Team DASH battled to protect civilization, including engineer Sean White, the first foreign member on an Ultraman defense team. But, one member of Team DASH, Kaito Touma, has a secret: he has bonded with the lightning-quick Giant of Light, Ultraman Max, to defeat the foes that humans alone cannot stop.

SEAN NICHOLS

Ultraman Connection Live 1st Anniversary: Ultraman Max Special will be a grand celebration of the groundbreaking series, as well as a whole year of Ultraman Connection events! Sean Nichols will introduce fans all over the world to several his old colleagues and castmates, including Kaito’s actor, Sota Aoyama, and Hitomi Hasebe, who played DASH’s ace pilot Mizuki Koishikawa!

SOTA AOYAMA

HITOMI HASEBE

In addition, fans will get to speak with some of the legends behind the camera, as Max series producer/director/series compositor Takeshi Yagi and director Takashi Miike will be sharing some of the amazing stories they helped weave, and their own feelings on their art and the Ultraman Series. Miike has gone on to become one of Japan’s most renowned artists, having directed such dark modern classics as Audition, Ichi the Killer, the Dead or Alive trilogy, and Zatoichi.

TAKESHI YAGI

TAKASHI MIIKE

Ultraman Max Special will also include Ultraman Connection’s traditional intro and outro videos, dubbed UCL (Unidentified Capture League) set in a universe of Kaiju and aliens but where no Ultraman has arrived on Earth. But the UCL glimpsed a figure of hope last episode: Sean White himself! In this episode Sean explains how the universe of Ultraman Max relates to the world of the UCL.

Stay tuned for more surprises!

June 17th will be the date for this incredible event a whole year in the making, and with tickets on sale here at only $10, the whole world will be watching as we celebrate how far we’ve come and look forward to the exciting future of Ultraman Connection Live. To get your tickets as soon as they are available, become a member for FREE right on UltramanConnection.com.

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June 2, 2022

WHAT YOU MISSED! ULTRAMAN CONNECTION WATCH PARTY: THE DESTINED CROSSROAD

On May 26th, 2022, Ultraman Connection Watch Party: The Destined Crossroad was hosted exclusively on UltramanConnection.com (and on our Ultraman Connection Discord server), free to members. The event was a nonstop adrenaline ride for international Ultra fans and featured screenings of all three Ultra Galaxy Fight films, two separate panels, a continuation of the Ultraman Connection exclusive UCL story, and much, much more!

The pre-show featured the director’s cuts of Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes and Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy for fans that needed to catch up, with the Discord chat allowing for everyone to discuss (and sometimes toss in hilarious comments on) the ongoing story. The official watch party began soon after, starting with the first half of a special Watch Party Roundtable, featuring Ultraman Connection creative Producer Jeff Gomez and Editor-in-Chief EJ Couloucoundis. Special guests were Peter Tatara, the founder and event director of the Anime NYC convention, and Evangelia Artemis, Ultraman Connection’s resident “Noob”!

The four discussed a variety of topics, including the rise of Ultraman’s popularity in the west, how new fans might get into Ultraman, and the success of the Anime ULTRAMAN on Netflix. Finally, the four shared their own unique stories of how they first encountered the characters and world of Ultraman. For Evangelia, it was The Rise of Ultraman trade paperback from Marvel Comics, which is a lesson that any great content on any medium can be a gateway to the M78 universe for a new fan.

Next was the first half of a UCL (Unidentified Capture League) short film called Return to Narak Tower. Continuing the narrative that has been told throughout the Ultraman Connection Live events, UCL focuses on a world in which humans have not yet gained the protection of the Ultras but are now faced with a nefarious scheme of the evil Powered Dada. This was the best UCL short yet, bridging to the Absolutian narrative of Ultra Galaxy Fight with the birth of a new Science Patrol in another universe!

Following this, fans were treated to panel hosted by Sean Nichols, who also voiced Ultraman Chuck in Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad. Joining him for the panel was Ultra Galaxy Fight director Koichi Sakamoto, Raiga Terasaka (Kengo Manaka/Ultraman Trigger), and Kohshu Hirano (Haruki Natsukawa/Ultraman Z)! They discussed their favorite Ultra heroes, teased the mysterious Ultraman Regulos, and discussed the threat of the Absolutians. Before screening the movie, the panel did a segment where they reacted to hidden scenes from the film, as fans tried to guess what happened based on their expressions!

After that, it was time for the main event: Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad was screened in its entirety for the first time, even before Japan! We won’t spoil anything for you here, but some of the highlights included multiple father-son team-ups, the return of alternate versions of Ultraman Tregear and Ultraman Belial, the formal introduction of the mysterious Ultraman Regulos, and a climactic battle that was one of, if not the biggest in Ultra series history! If you missed the massive, multi-hour epic, however, all is not lost, as you can still rent the movie for $6.99 on the Ultraman Connection site.

Once the main event was complete, the show continued with the second half of the Watch Party Roundtable, where they discussed their reactions to Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad. In addition, Jeff Gomez delivered twin bombshell reveals that Ultraman Connection team members have seen Shin Ultraman (and loved it!), and that Ultraman Connection is preparing to have a special presence at the Anime NYC convention this year!

Finally, to cap off the event, the second half of Return to Narak Tower was shown, which tied into the exclusive Ultraman Connection mini-game Mission: Narak Tower. The short film concluded with a surprise appearance from Sean Nichols, reprising his role as Sean White from Ultraman Max and teasing the future of the UCL narrative! This incredible stinger caused an explosion of responses on Discord from the huge number of fans who managed to stay on with the show to such a late hour!

Ultraman Connection Watch Party: The Destined Crossroad may have ended, but there is still plenty of amazing Ultraman action in store. All three Ultra Galaxy Fight movies are available now on UltramanConnection.com. And of course, to stay up to date on the UCL narrative, our live events, and all things Ultraman, stay tuned to Ultraman Connection!

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May 18, 2022

ULTRAMAN CONNECTION WATCH PARTY: THE DESTINED CROSSROAD IS ONE OF UC’S BIGGEST SHOWS YET!

May 26th is fast approaching! Ultraman Connection Watch Party – Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad is just a couple weeks away and we’re here to tell you that this FREE show promises to be the biggest, most bombastic event we’ve ever held! Here’ what you’re gonna get:

• The pre-show starts at 6 PM EST, with a stream containing both Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes – Director’s Cut and Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy – Director’s Cut to help prepare viewers new and old for what they’ll be watching later that evening. After that, viewers can watch the first part of a special Watch Party Roundtable discussion featuring (“Thank You”) Jeff Gomez, Ultraman Connection Editor-in-Chief EJ Couloucoundis, and guests, covering Ultraman’s ongoing presence in the west, and setting up the night’s big screening.

• At 9 PM EST, the show starts in earnest, with the first half of a special UCL short film, Return to Narak Tower, continuing the narrative that began in March’s Ultraman Connection Watch Party: Episode Z.

• Once that ends, a special interview with Ultra Galaxy Fight director Koichi Sakamoto will lead up to the premiere of The Destined Crossroad! In addition to insights from one of the franchise’s most dynamic directors, the interview, to be conducted by Sean Nichols, will have surprise guests, so you won’t want to miss it.

• Then, all of us will take in a viewing of Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad, the turning point in the interdimensional conflict between the Absolutians and the Ultras, in its epic entirety before anyone else!

• When that titanic event concludes, the night isn’t over yet, as the second part of the Watch Party Roundtable commences! Jeff, EJ, and special guests will discuss what we all just witnessed, as well as upcoming projects and more! Finally, the evening finishes up with part two of this month’s UCL short film Return to Narak Tower. A game changer!

• This massive event is free for all Ultraman Connection members—which itself is free to join—and starts at 6 PM EST on Thursday, May 26th.

• After the event, Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad will go on sale at 12 AM EST on Friday, May 27 as a TVOD for $6.99, available with subtitles in 10 different languages; an Ultra-sized selection for fans across the globe:

o English (Dub Script)

o Japanese

o Korean

o Thai

o Indonesian

o Malaysian

o Brazilian Portuguese

o South American Spanish

o Vietnamese

o Tagalog

Fans around the world, we’ll see you at Ultraman Connection Watch Party: The Destined Crossroad! And for more Ultra Galaxy Fight and Ultraman Series news and more, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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May 5, 2022

ULTRA GALAXY FIGHT: THE DESTINED CROSSROAD WATCH PARTY AND TVOD DETAILS ANNOUNCED

Fans around the world have been waiting patiently for Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad and with the announcement that the Ultraman event of the season would initially be exclusive to Ultraman Connection and Tsuburaya Imagination, viewers have been eager to find out more!

Today, we are here to tell you exactly how you can order the third installment in this epic story—as well as announce a FREE Watch Party for all Ultraman Connection members!

That’s right! By special arrangement with Tsuburaya Productions, on Thursday, May 26 at 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific time, Ultraman Connection Watch Party: The Destined Crossroad will be streamed to all Ultraman Connection members completely FREE!

If you have a free membership to Ultraman Connection, you’ll be able to watch a special presentation of The Destined Crossroad, as well as a special UCL Universe short film (people, you don’t want to miss this one), and other surprises! More information will come as we approach the event but save the date now!

Members will also be given ultra-deep discounts at the Ultraman Connection Merch Store in tandem with the event.

For everyone who can’t make it or wants to watch the 2-hour event on their own time, the TVOD will be up for sale for $6.99 immediately after the event with subtitles available in multiple languages. With the entire universe in the balance this is your chance to experience the greatest battle in Ultraman history!

  1. English (Sub)
  2. English (Dub Script)
  3. Japanese
  4. Korean
  5. Thai
  6. Indonesian
  7. Malaysian
  8. Brazilian Portuguese
  9. South American Spanish
  10. Vietnamese
  11. Tagalog

These events are still developing, so if you want to stay up to the minute regarding the Watch Party, the TVOD, Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad, or anything Ultraman, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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April 21, 2022

EXCLUSIVE ULTRA GALAXY FIGHT: THE DESTINED CROSSROAD & WATCH PARTY ANNOUNCED

If you attended the Ultraman Connection AMA on Discord, April 21, you got the very first announcement of the upcoming Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad transactional video on demand (TVOD). If you weren’t there, first off, boy did you miss a good time! But don’t despair, as we have those exclusive details here for you now!

The initial run of the full series of Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad will be an Ultraman Connection exclusive event. Fans outside of Japan will be able to experience this major development in the Ultraman universe only on the site. There may be a sneak preview on the Official Ultraman channel on YouTube, but only Ultraman Connection registered members will be able to see the whole thing.

Preorders for the $6.99 event will be opening in the coming days, and members will be contacted by email as soon as they’re available. One of our patented Ultraman Connection Watch Parties for the series will also be announced soon.

Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad (TVOD) debuts on Ultraman Connection on May 27, time to be determined, and as the date approaches, more will be announced. To ensure that you don’t miss a single thing, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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March 23, 2022

UC WATCH PARTY ULTRAMAN TRIGGER EPISODE Z: WHAT HAPPENED?

Friday, March 18 marked a major paradigm shift in the trajectory of the Ultraman franchise, as Ultraman Trigger Episode Z premiered globally through Ultraman Connection within 24 hours of its premiere on Tsuburaya Imagination and select theatres in Japan! This statement of commitment to the global potential of the Ultraman Series by Tsuburaya and Iceberg Theory was accompanied by Ultraman Connection Watch Party: Ultraman Trigger Episode Z, a one-time live screening of the film along with some massive guests, and tons of huge surprises. Let’s take a closer look at what happened and what this huge event may mean for the future of Ultraman Connection, and the Ultraman Series as a whole.

The Watch Party experience started well before the live stream itself, with the opening of the new Ultraman Connection Discord channel (which members can join right now). Fans poured in from around the world in advance to excitedly discuss not just the coming event, but their own personal Ultraman experiences, a major step in building the community.

As the time approached 9PM Eastern, the many fans who had purchased the special event ticket alongside the movie rental poured into Ultraman Connection. Excitement reached a fever pitch across the chat as the countdown clock ticked down. What the audience was greeted with, however, was perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening; a completely original short film opened the event. Following on the storyline introduced in various previous UC Live intro and outro films, this one looked bigger and better than ever. Fans were introduced to Eric Bright, a young man tormented by the loss of his father, whose discovery of an alien machine puts him on a collision course with the mysterious UCL.

Some fans immediately observed that the storyline is not messing around! References were made to King Joe Custom STORAGE and to Absolute Diavolo. We are definitely within the continuum of the Ultraman universe here. This short was the latest entry in the UCL mythos, original stories that have up to this point only been available to attendees of the various Ultraman Connection Live events, and as interest continues to grow, the only way to catch the latest entries will be to attend the newest shows!

After the UCL short, the show began in earnest, with perennial Ultraman Connection superhost Sean Nichols greeting fans before welcoming the four special guests from Episode Z: Raiga Terasaka, Shunya Kaneko, and Runa Toyoda from Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, and Kohshu Hirano from Ultraman Z! The four greeted the fans online, speaking excitedly about the show to come, before doing something brand new—joining the fans in the Discord to watch the movie!

The personalities of each of the actors were reflected wonderfully and created some unforgettable moments in the chat. (If “Meatball” becomes a meme in the Ultraman fandom, you can blame Kohshu Hirano for that!)

Of course, the event was the premiere of Ultraman Trigger Episode Z itself! Coverage of the special can be found here

After Episode Z concluded, the show returned to Sean and the actors, where the four answered some of the most pressing questions from the fans in the chat, and talked about their favorite moments, both to watch and to have performed.

Though the live show began to wind down after this point, the surprises were not over, as Sean declared that Tsuburaya Productions had something new to show everyone before they signed off for the evening. A short trailer played, revealing a new Ultraman, reminiscent of Ultraman Dyna. His name? Ultraman Decker. While there’s little more we can reveal right now, you can be certain that all the information will be here on Ultraman Connection.

With that, Sean and the actors finally bid adieu to their fans worldwide, and the live show ended, but even that wasn’t the end of the festivities, as the second half of the UCL short from the beginning played, answering questions raised prior, and revealing anew foe for the Unidentified Capture League—Dada (Powered). This fan favorite who originally debuted in the western-produced Ultraman: Towards the Future seems to have some nefarious plans on UCL Earth, a world that does not have its own Ultra! The short ends with all of Los Angeles blacked out!

Ultraman Connection Watch Party Episode Z has ended, but fans can still check out the long-awaited finale to the Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga story (one of the best movies in all the New Generation Heroes if you ask us) through VOD! For a limited time can rent the video exclusively right now here for $6.99. This allows you to watch the movie unlimited times in a 24-hour period, with a 7-day duration. And to watch all sorts of other awesome Ultraman Series entries, including the entire run of both Ultraman Z and Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, register to become a member of Ultraman Connection today! It’s free!

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October 15, 2021

ULTRAMAN DYNA SERIES RELEASED BY MILL CREEK IN TIME FOR BIG ULTRAMAN CONNECTION SHOW

Ultraman Dyna, the second series of Mill Creek Entertainment’s epic three-part Ultraman DVD collection that started with Ultraman Tiga and will end with Ultraman Gaia, is to be released on November 16, 2021 and we cannot wait! Since the release of Tiga, we’ve been hungry for more content and now, with the addition of Ultraman Dyna to the collectible spine mural, we can’t wait to dig in.

 

In the series we follow Shin Asuka, human host to Ultraman Dyna and member of the defense organization GUTS (Global Unlimited Task Squad) as he navigates a post-Ultraman Tiga society in which humanity has begun to expand their influence across the galaxy. Life is interrupted, however, when a massive Kaiju attacks a Martian village and Ultraman Dyna must battle it for the safety of the universe. Ultraman Dyna continues his adventures and eventually teams up with Ultraman Tiga in Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna: Warriors of the Star of Light (which is included in this DVD set).

Unlike Tiga, Dyna can only transform twice in battle, his third form is inaccessible, giving him a unique obstacle that only proves his competence. He is just as strong and capable of fighting as other Ultras despite this limitation because he can choose which alternate form to embody during his transformation. The series is also widely appreciated for its attention to character development and the focus on multiple characters’ perspectives.

 

Ultraman Connection has special plans to celebrate the release of Ultraman Dyna and Ultraman Gaia — an Ultraman Connection Live event in November, which will include interviews with the stars of the series direct from Tokyo and a live floor show! You will not want to miss this. Be sure to register to be the first to know when the specific details of this fantastic event become available by clicking on the Operations Room at the top of this Ultraman Connection page!

 

Ultraman Dyna includes 51 episodes of the series, as well as movies Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna: Warriors of the Star of Light and Ultraman Dyna: Return of Hanejiro. It features Japanese audio and English subtitles, not to mention a full episode guide for the entire 6-disc set. All of these special features make that $34.99 money worth spending! The disc trailer is available below, stay tuned for more updates on the Mill Creek Entertainment three-part collection!

Check it out here!

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October 9, 2020

PROVING THE POWER OF FAMILY WITH ULTRAMAN R/B: THE COMPLETE SERIES+MOVIE

Continuing their glorious output of the New Generation Ultraman series, Tsuburaya Productions and Mill Creek Entertainment have brought western audiences the tale of the newest brother Ultras, Ultraman Rosso and Blu, in Ultraman R/B the Complete Series+Movie.

In the small town of Ayaka, brothers Katsumi and Isami Minato find themselves endowed with incredible powers when they become the mighty Ultraman Rosso and Ultraman Blu, to fight the terrifying Grigio Bone after he upends their lives. With no mentors to rely on to teach them how to be heroes, the brothers find strength in one another, their loving father, Ushio, and their mysterious but good-hearted sister, Asahi. Together they take on threats, big and small, as well as their own differences. They also must try to solve the mystery of the origin of their powers, and how it connects to their disappeared mother.

To make things more difficult for the still-learning—and often feuding—brothers, their foes are practiced hands at all manners of villainy. Twisted Ultra “fan” Ultraman Orb Dark (Noir Black Schwarz…whew, what a mouthful!) despises the brothers for not adhering to his twisted ideals of heroism. And standing behind him is the mysterious immortal, Saki Mitsurugi. And beyond them, waiting in the dark, pulling strings and manipulating hearts, is the mysterious Ultraman Tregear, who’s theatricality and origins in the deep mythos of the Land of Light has turned him into a fan favorite.

Balancing humor, action, and heartwarming moments, R/B truly embodies the all-ages feel that makes Ultraman a hit with viewers young and old. Even with that, however, the show stands out even among its fellow New Generation entries in a number of ways, from its dual heroes, to the introduction of the first new female Ultra of the entire New Generation Era! (Who is she? Watch Select! The Crystal of Bonds to find out!)

Ultraman R/B the Complete Series+Movie is another sterling addition to Mill Creek’s New Generation Ultraman line, with 6 Blu-ray disks containing not only the 25 episodes of the show, but the accompanying movie, Ultraman R/B Select! The Crystal of Bonds. In addition, the collection comes with a story booklet that acts as a guide to both the powers held by Rosso and Blu, as well as all the episodes. Finally, the collection comes with a code to allow viewers to stream a digital version of the entire series on MovieSpree!

What’s next in the “Ultraman Universe?” To find that out, keep your eyes on UltramanGalaxy.com—and don’t forget to pick up all of the other New Generation and Classic Ultraman collections from Mill Creek Entertainment!

Watch the Ultraman R/B Series+Movie trailer here!

And watch the Ultraman R/B Movie trailer here!

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August 30, 2020

FIRE UP YOUR SPARK DOLL! ULTRAMAN X:THE COMPLETE SERIES + MOVIE ARRIVES

Mill Creek Entertainment has further expanded its series of Ultraman media with the Blu-ray/DVD release of Ultraman X: The Complete Series + Movie!

Originally airing in Japan in 2015, after the success of Ultraman Ginga S, Ultraman X aimed to create a new story evocative of the best of the franchise’s classic era while embracing new techniques and looks that would become hallmarks of the New Generation series. Daichi Oozora is a monster-loving member of Xio (Xeno invasion outcutters), a group attempting to safeguard the human race from emerging Kaiju. A near-death experience brings him into contact with Ultraman X, who “Unites” with him to rise and defeat threats to the Earth, using his ability to capture monsters via the amazing Spark Dolls: small, action-figure-sized miniatures that are capable of containing the essence of the aliens, monsters, and heroes they represented.

These strange devices were invigorated by the Ultra Flare, a violent upheaval of the sun a decade and a half prior to the action of the series. The event had awakened monsters all over the world from the Spark Dolls, which held these beings in stasis. Now Daichi must uncover the mystery of the Flares and use the power of these devices if he is to save the planet!

Ultraman X, in contrast to other New Generation series, eschewed a specific, ongoing narrative in favor of episodic adventures with light serialization. These include some fan favorite episodes that are still talked about to this day, highly reminiscent of the best of Classic Ultraman:

  • The desperate battle between X and the young Goldian, tE-rU, against the genocidal monster Gargorgon.
  • The tragedy of the peaceful monster Houlinga, manipulated by uncaring humans until it could not help but lash out.
  • The lighthearted tale of the Nebula crew, a trio of friendly aliens attempting to make their way on Earth.

These and many more are among the best science fiction tales of the series, showcasing the storytelling potential of the franchise.

In addition, the show is perhaps best known for its strong crossover stories with previous Ultra Heroes. Ultraman X would come to fight alongside a diverse crew of senior warriors, including Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Max (who celebrated his 10th anniversary at the time, and his 15th this year), and Ultraman Nexus.

Ultraman X: The Complete Series + Movie is a dynamite production from Mill Creek, featuring 22 fantastic episodes across five discs. It also includes the English-language home media premiere of Ultraman X the Movie: Here He Comes! Our Ultraman on a sixth disc, in which Ultraman X teams up with the heroes of the past (inclulding Ultraman Tiga and the original Ultraman) in order to stop an ancient evil from destroying Earth!

Each set also comes with a ten-page booklet featuring Ultraman X, his various powers, the Ultras he fought alongside, and synopses of each episode and the movie. In addition, the movie comes in Japanese with English subtitles as well as the theatrical English dub, originally available during a special double-feature in American theatres.

Ultraman X: The Complete Series + Movie is only one of many Ultraman releases, with more to come. Look forward to more New Generation entries, as well as Classic Ultraman stories, from Mill Creek Entertainment and Tsuburaya Productions.

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August 25, 2020

MILL CREEK’S GOT THE ULTRA-TOUCH WITH ULTRAMAN ACE: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Continuing their ongoing Classic Ultraman series releases, Mill Creek Entertainment has added another hallmark series to their library of Blu-rays with Ultraman Ace: The Complete Series!

Ultraman Ace was the fifth entry in the Ultraman franchise, hitting airwaves during a particularly action-packed and effects-heavy time for the tokusatsu genre. Ace was conceived to be the most exciting series yet in order to cement Ultraman as the king of the genre.

In a unique twist, the series featured both a male and female host for the latest incarnation of the Giant of Light—the hotheaded Seiji Hokuto and the kindhearted Yuko Minami. They used the leaping “Ultra Touch” to combine into the titular hero: the first double-bonded human team in the franchise. Ultraman Ace himself was a flashier fighter compared to his predecessors, augmenting the traditional, judo-inspired martial combat with a massive arsenal of creative and varied special techniques.

Ace Beam

Ace is also notable for introducing the first long-running villain to the Ultraman Series, the other-dimensional tyrant, Yapool. A dynamic hero needed a powerful villain to match him, after all. Yapool’s zeal to conquer Earth was matched only by his determination to personally destroy Ultraman Ace. To that end, Yapool crafted the horrifying terrible-monsters (Choju), cyborg abominations far stronger than any natural creature. Though aliens and traditional monsters were still a threat, the vast majority of the menaces to Earth during Ace’s tenure were these twisted combinations of flesh and metal.

Against such beings, a single Ultraman may not have been enough, but Ace was never alone. He allied himself early on with TAC (Terrible-Monster Attacking Crew), the human defense team protecting the Earth from Yapool’s invasion. Ace also teamed up with his predecessors in the Inter Galactic Defense Force. Dozens of fantastic episodes highlight these over-the-top conflicts:

  • The first Terrible-Monster attack by the missile-launching Verokron
  • The assault of the sky-shattering Vakishim
  • The debut of the mighty Father of Ultra against the vile Alien Hipporit
  • The uniting of all five Ultra Brothers (Ultraman, Zoffy, Seven, Jack, and Ace) against the golden claw of the robotic copycat, Ace-Killer

Ace Rise

Each one of the 52 episodes of Ultraman Ace is loaded onto one of six Blu-ray discs, the first time the show has received an official English-language release, and in crisp hi-definition to boot. In addition, the set features a 24-page booklet with episode synopses, monster profiles, character bios, and more. For those who want more than just a physical edition, each set comes with a code that allows you to redeem the series on MovieSpree in a digital format.

With Ultraman Ace: The Complete Series, Mill Creek has made its way into the second half of the Classic era. Look forward to more great Ultraman products coming soon from Mill Creek Entertainment and Tsuburaya Productions.

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July 11, 2020

SHOUT! FACTORY AND MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCE MAJOR ULTRAMAN STREAMING DEAL


Shout! Factory, a multi-platform media company, and Mill Creek Entertainment announced a landmark distribution alliance to bring Tsuburaya Productions’ iconic ULTRAMAN superhero library to streaming entertainment platforms in North America.

The multi-year alliance provides Shout! Factory and its multi-platform streaming service, Shout! Factory TV with exclusive SVOD and AVOD digital rights in the U.S. and Canada to Tsuburaya’s expansive catalog of ULTRAMAN properties including more than 1100 episodes and 20 movies.

Iconic series and popular movies include ULTRA Q, ULTRAMAN, ULTRASEVEN, RETURN OF ULTRAMAN, ULTRAMAN ACE, ULTRAMAN TARO, ULTRAMAN GAIA, ULTRAMAN GAIA: THE BATTLE IN HYPER SPACE, ULTRAMAN COSMOS, ULTRAMAN NEXUS, ULTRAMAN MAX, ULTRAMAN MEBIUS, ULTRAMAN MEBIUS & ULTRAMAN BROTHERS, MEGA MONSTER BATTLE ULTRA GALAXY: THE MOVIE, ULTRAMAN SAGA, ULTRAMAN GINGA, ULTRAMAN GINGA S, ULTRAMAN X, ULTRAMAN ORB, ULTRAMAN GEED, and a long list of notable titles.

Shout! Factory TV plans an aggressive rollout of ULTRAMAN pop culture properties on its new TOKUSHOUTSU™ streaming channel this year, including individual programs as well as complete series. As excitement builds, Shout! Factory TV, in collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions and Indigo Entertainment, will announce additional news and activities in forthcoming months.

“A colossus of the tokusatsu genre, Ultraman is one of the most beloved and enduring pop culture brands in the world and, amazingly, it’s still growing. So it’s particularly exciting to present nearly 60 years of TV series and feature films to North American audiences, much of it for the first time. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and we aim to help that happen,” stated Jordan Fields, Vice President of Acquisitions at Shout! Factory.

“We’re incredibly excited about this new relationship with Mill Creek Entertainment and Indigo Entertainment. Tsuburaya Productions’ Ultraman continues to stand as a seminal pop-culture phenomenon to this day. Over the years, Shout! Factory TV has presented Ultraman Leo and multiple seasons of other popular Japanese tokusatsu series to incredible fan reception. We look forward to bringing these highly entertaining Ultraman series and movies to our streaming program lineup for Shout’s TokuSHOUTsu™ channel, available on Pluto TV,” stated Gene Pao.  “As we actively expand our reach in streaming and digital platforms, this deal exemplifies the type of pop culture content we plan to pursue, which taps into the interests and passions of our loyal fanbase.”

”We are thrilled about this collaboration with Shout! Factory,” stated Jeff Hayne, SVP of Mill Creek Entertainment. “Their passion for tokusatsu content combined with the reach their digital channels have to fans will create further awareness of the Ultraman content library and the collectible SteelBook® and Blu-ray products that Mill Creek Entertainment will continue to release.”

The classic Ultraman live-action television series of the 1960s and 70s, produced by Tsuburaya Productions, established new heights of quality adventure and special effects-driven entertainment and built a worldwide audience for the property. Hailing from the distant Nebula M78, Ultraman is a Giant of Light who protects Earth and the human race from an endless array of invading aliens and terrifying monsters together with the crew of the Earth-based defense team using advanced high-tech weapons and vehicles.

Ultraman battles monsters that cause endless mayhem and destruction on Earth. With the ability to extend his height to over 130 feet, Ultraman merges with a human and only emerges in times of extreme danger to save people and the Earth. The popularity of Ultraman—and the aliens and monsters—has enabled the series to persist to this day, generating over $50 million per year in toys and merchandise in Japan.

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July 7, 2020

THE BIRTH OF ULTRAMAN COLLECTION EXCLUSIVE BLU-RAY RELEASE FOR ULTRAMAN DAY JULY 10, 2020!

Exclusive Release for Ultraman Day
Features Cover Art by Alex Ross!

Mill Creek Entertainment is pleased to announce The Birth of Ultraman Collection, a Blu-ray set containing some of the best episodes of the original Ultraman series. It includes both the original Japanese language and the classic English dub audio tracks, plus the amazing video rarity: The Birth of Ultraman – Ultraman Pre-Premiere Special, the very first appearance of the hero that would become famous across the world as Ultraman.

This exclusive Blu-ray release also features art created by Alex Ross. This art is also featured on the first issue of Marvel Comics’ The Rise of Ultraman series, due out in September 2020, which is a collaboration between Marvel Publishing and Tsuburaya Productions.

In this new package, Mill Creek Entertainment offers a selection of Ultraman episodes in high definition video with DTS-HD Master Audio of the original Japanese soundtrack as well as the uncut United Artists English dubs. Each episode will also come with two English subtitle options; one for the Japanese audio and a second matching the English audio track.

The Birth of Ultraman Collection will include the following episodes…

Episode 1 – Ultra Operation No. 1 – Our story begins as the heroic alien Ultraman pursues the Space Monster Bemular to Earth, leading to a fateful encounter with Shin Hayata, an agent of the Science Special Search Party.

Episode 2 – Shoot the Invader – Ultraman’s iconic foes, Alien Baltan, make their first appearance in a tale narrated by Ide, the Patrol’s genius inventor.

Episode 19 – Demons Rise Again – An ancient time capsule unleashes the red-skinned monster Banila and his blue-skinned rival, Aboras, who wage a titanic battle in National Stadium.

Episodes 26 & 27 – The Monster Highness Parts 1 & 2 – The only 2-part Ultraman story features the Ancient Monster Gomora, who escapes captivity and overwhelms Ultraman as it rampages towards Osaka.

Episode 33 – The Forbidden Words – When Alien Mefilas tries to convince a boy to give him the Earth, even Ultraman may not be able to stop him.

Episode 37 – A Little Hero – Ide suffers a crisis of faith as the Friendly Monster Pigmon warns that the evil creature Geronimon is reviving an army of monsters to destroy Ultraman and the Science Special Search Party!

Also included is The Birth of Ultraman – Ultraman Pre-Premiere Special. Airing in Japan on July 10th, 1966, one week before the original series premiere, this stage show was filmed before a live studio audience and introduced viewers to the story, cast, and characters of Ultraman. This initial debut of the Ultraman character on television is now celebrated annually and known throughout the world as “Ultraman Day.” Never before released in America, this presentation is presented in black & white in standard definition with Japanese audio and English subtitles.

The Ultraman series itself premiered on Japanese television on July 17, 1966 and was an immediate ratings smash. The North American rights were licensed to United Artists, who in-turn produced the English dubbing of the show. The English language version was syndicated to American television and went on to air in various markets across the country.

The Birth of Ultraman Collection Blu-ray will be sold exclusively on DeepDiscount.com as part of the launch of a dedicated Ultraman storefront that will offer up all of Mill Creek Entertainment’s current Blu-ray/SteelBook® releases.  Available July 10, 2020, the set retails for $25.99.

For July 10 only, Mill Creek is offering a discount of 20% for the Blu-ray.

Use the Code SPACIUMBEAM when checking out.


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May 26, 2020

ULTRA EYE SPARK! MILL CREEK BRINGS ULTRASEVEN THE COMPLETE SERIES TO NORTH AMERICA

After the first wave of smash-hit collections of Ultraman content, Mill Creek Entertainment has struck while the iron is hot and released one of the most beloved entries in the Ultraman Series: Ultraseven.

Premiering in late autumn of 1967, Ultraseven further explored the boundaries of its genre. Combining incredible effects that had further evolved from previous series with more complex storytelling, it struck a chord with audiences and helped turn the entire franchise into a global icon when it eventually became a hit in the United States (among other nations). Some have compared the work to science fiction hallmarks like Doctor Who and Star Trek, but Ultraseven’s quality and distinctive look was all its own, allowing it to find a cult following beyond its native Japan.

While it has been a cult hit in the west thanks to a syndicated dub of the series in the 1990s, a complete, high-definition Blu-Ray collection of this landmark series has never been available in the North American market. In July 2019, Tsuburaya Productions announced that Mill Creek Entertainment would become a premiere licensee of the Ultraman franchise. It is no wonder that they soon turned to this fan favorite in the form of Ultraseven: The Complete Series.

For the first time in 30 years, western fans can experience legendary moments, like the first emergence of the Space Monster Eleking at the beck of its lady masters, or the desperate battle between Ultraseven and King Joe in the waters of Kobe. Even the Greatest Invasion in History, the final battle of ‘Seven’s initial tenure, is now accessible to fans. And for the first time ever, the tragic tale of the Pegassan aliens will be shown in the west: an episode lost in the original dub.

The collection is available in two elegant styles: Standard Edition and Steelbook Edition. Each is cast in the classic series’ trademark red and white. Forty-eight engrossing episodes are divided across six Blu-Ray discs, each one featuring stunning, high-definition remasters of the original Japanese production, complete with English subtitles. In addition to physical copies of the material, each set comes with a digital download code for the whole series, redeemable through MovieSpree.

Embossed with a #3 on the spine, this is indeed the third part of the classic Ultraman Series collection sure to occupy shelves in fans’ homes for years to come, but as it is self-contained, new fans can quickly jump in without prior knowledge of the franchise.

For die-hard Ultra fans, the collection comes with a 24-page guidebook, featuring behind-the-scenes and production information on the show, as well as episode guides and profiles of the most memorable Kaiju, vehicles, and technology used in the series.

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July 15, 2022

MARVEL COMICS PREVIEWS SPECTACULAR ART FROM THE MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN

Marvel Versions of Land of Light, Father of Ultra, Eleking & Aron Appear for the First Time

Marvel Comics revealed three key pages from Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven #1, the latest comic book miniseries to come out of the landmark collaboration between Tsuburaya Productions and Marvel Entertainment. The pages appeared Friday morning on the front page of Marvel.com, the official source for all things Marvel. 

The unlettered pages featured spectacular artwork by popular Italian artist Davide Tinto and reveal a quartet of major surprises for fans of the Ultraman franchise. The first page depicts the Land of Light, home world of the Ultras in the M78 Nebula, beautifully realized from the TV series themselves. We can even catch a glimpse of the Plasma Spark Tower in the background of one of the panels. 

On that same page, we can also see the spectral form of none other than Father of Ultra, who fans know as the Top Commander of the Inter Galactic Defense Force, ostensibly the lead of all Ultras. In the panel, Ultraseven seems to be pleading his case to Father of Ultra, also known as Ultraman Ken. This is the first time we have seen the character in the continuity of the Marvel storyline.

The second page boasts a titanic battle between Ultraseven and one of his greatest Kaiju foes, Eleking (This time, its appearance is closer to its Ultraman Max counterpart). We glimpsed Eleking in the E.J. Su artwork for the cover of this issue, but nothing can prepare us for the visceral quality of this clash. It is everything we could want from a Marvel depiction of a duel between Ultra and Kaiju. 

The third page seems to take us back to the Kaiju Limbo that was introduced in previous Marvel Ultraman series. It seems we will be diving deeper into the secrets behind the pop culture icon’s fascinating mythology in an adventure that will thrill longtime fans of the global phenomenon and welcome Ultraman newcomers. 

To boot, there is a surprise attack on Ultraseven by the winged Kaiju, Aron. The monster first appeared in the Ultraseven TV series, a minion of the Alien Guts meant to test Seven’s powers, but the beast has rarely recurred in the franchise.

Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven #1, on sale August 17, will be a double-sized issue (the first of five) written by Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom. The issue will also feature an additional story spotlighting Ultra Q, as well as more fun with the instructional Kaiju Steps by Gurihiru. You can grab these comics and more digitally or at your favorite local comic book shop.

And stick with Ultraman Connection as we cover each issue as they come out!

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July 3, 2022

MARVEL SUPER HEROES WILL CROSSOVER WITH ULTRAMAN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN UPCOMING COMIC BOOK MINISERIES

Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain Marvel to Battle Kaiju & Super Villains with Ultraman and Ultraseven in Historic Team-Up

Avengers Assemble! Schuwatch! Marvel Comics and Tsuburaya Productions have announced a major comic book crossover miniseries featuring heroes from the Marvel Universe entering the Ultraman Universe. The announcement was made by series co-writer Mat Groom before a cheering crowd in the Main Event Hall during Anime Expo 2022 at the Ultraman Arrives: Super Anime Extravaganza at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

This will be the first time that the celebrated Giants of Light, Ultraman and Ultraseven, and their Kaiju foes will appear side by side with Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and their super villain nemeses.

The as-yet untitled Ultraman/Marvel Universe crossover will be the fourth title to come out of the collaboration between Tsuburaya Productions and Marvel Comics. Previous series include The Rise of Ultraman, The Trials of Ultraman, along with the much-anticipated upcoming series The Mystery of Ultraseven, on sale this August.

Fans have been clamoring for a meeting between these unique sets of heroes, and so Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski, VP & Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, Transmedia Producer Jeff Gomez and series co-writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom have come together to make this happen. The deal was negotiated by Danny Simon of The Licensing Group.

The crossover series will take place within the continuity of the current Marvel Ultraman comics, drawing on thematic comparisons between the stoic heroism of the Ultras and Marvel’s Earthly champions. No Kaiju or super villains were announced, but concept art unveiled during the Anime Expo event teased classic spiked Kaiju, Bemular. Further details of the storyline are still under wraps.

Created by Eiji Tsuburaya in 1966, the Ultraman series have spawned an evergreen franchise in Japan, making the 40-meter-tall silver and red being from the M78 Nebula one of the most widely recognized characters in the world. In addition to over 1400 episodes and dozens of feature films, Ultraman is on the rise worldwide.

A second season of the ongoing anime ULTRAMAN recently dropped on Netflix, a feature in production with ILM and Netflix, dozens of North American licenses have been activated, live events stream on fan hub Ultraman Connection, and millions of fans subscribe to the Ultraman Official YouTube channel. Live-action feature Shin Ultraman is currently breaking box offices records in Japan.

The Ultraman and Marvel Universe comic book crossover is set to premiere sometime in 2023.

About Tsuburaya Productions

Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd. is an independent television and film production company founded in 1963 by well-known special effects man Eiji Tsuburaya. Their most famous program is the Ultraman TV and film series, begun in 1966, has been seen in over 100 territories worldwide and has spawned over 3,000 licensed products. Besides Ultraman, Tsuburaya Productions is a fully integrated production, marketing, and events company.

About Marvel Entertainment, LLC

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.

For more information visit marvel.com. © 2022 MARVEL

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May 17, 2022

ULTRAMAN RETURNS TO MARVEL COMICS IN ULTRAMAN: THE MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN

Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom continue their Ultraman saga in a new series this August

New York, NY— May 17, 2022 — Following the two acclaimed limited series The Rise of Ultraman and The Trials of Ultraman comes a brand-new chapter In Ultraman’s Marvel Comics adventures—Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven!

This latest installment brought together by the landmark collaboration between Marvel Comics and Tsuburaya Productions will once again feature the amazing storytelling skills of writing duo Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom. Joined by rising star artist Davide Tinto, the pair will continue to dive deep into the secrets behind the pop culture icon’s fascinating mythology in an adventure that will thrill longtime fans of the global phenomenon and welcome Ultraman newcomers!

In addition, the double-sized debut issue will include an additional story spotlighting the history of Ultra Q and more instructional Kaiju Steps by Gurihiru!

Giant Kaiju roam. A sinister conspiracy consolidates power. And there’s nobody left to stop it — because Ultraman is GONE! How did the situation go so wrong…? And how can the United Science Patrol claw their way back from the brink? The answers lie in the appearance of an enigmatic new Ultra, and a secret that has remained hidden for decades. From distant stars to lost dimensions, untangling this twisted web will require Shin Hayata to go farther and fight harder than ever before!

"Kyle and my reimagination of this universe started with a long-term masterplan — which is why we featured Dan Moroboshi's mysterious disappearance in the very first pages of The Rise of Ultraman," said Mat Groom. "It's so exciting to have reached the stage where we can now pull back the curtain on that mystery... and its world-shaking implications!"

Strap in — The Mystery of Ultraseven unfolds now! Check out the cover of the debut issue below and pick up Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven #1 when it hits stands in August!

ULTRAMAN: THE MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN #1 (OF 5)

Written by KYLE HIGGINS & MAT GROOM

Art by DAVIDE TINTO, DAVID LOPEZ & GURIHIRU

Cover by E.J. SU

On Sale 8/17

About Marvel Entertainment

Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media. © 2022 MARVEL

For more information visit marvel.com.

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October 4, 2020

MARVEL’S RISE OF ULTRAMAN #2 ALL COVERS REVEALED

The Rise of Ultraman issue #2 from Marvel Comics arrives at comic shops everywhere Wednesday, October 7! For this issue, fans will have five incredible covers to choose from, ranging from standard releases to limited editions. Let’s take a look at them all!

JORGE MOLINA

The standard cover is a beautiful montage featuring Ultraman in his Spacium Beam pose, Kiki Fuji wielding a United Science Patrol K-Ray gun, and the return of classic orange Science Patrol uniform. Also featured is a truly vicious rendition of classic Ultraman foe, the Ancient Monster Gomora. The cover is drawn by comics artist and product designer Jorge Molina, the main artist for the 2018 Spider-Man crossover event Spider-Geddon and the all-female Avengers comic A-Force (a team referenced during the final battle of Avengers: Endgame). Molina is proof that Marvel is pulling no punches on the Ultraman books. His Marvel credits also include various issues of the X-Men titles and covers for series such as Avengers Assemble and New Mutants. Molina will return to The Rise of Ultraman with a cover for issue #3.

ARTGERM

The first variant cover is a digital painting of Ultraman in battle with one of his most popular foes, the Space Ninja Baltan. The artwork was created by Stanley Lau, a Hong Kong-based illustrator and concept artist who goes by the professional name “Artgerm.” Lau is the co-founder and creative director of the digital art studio Imaginary Friends Studios, which has produced digital artwork for Marvel, DC, Capcom and other clients. A lifelong fan of Ultraman, Artgerm recently tweeted his excitement over creating a variant cover for The Rise of Ultraman #2, stating, “Never would have imagined drawing something official for my favorite childhood hero.” Note that the Kaiju featured on these covers are not always the ones featured in that issue’s storyline.

ARTGERM VIRGIN VARIANT

Artgerm’s The Rise of Ultraman cover will also be available as a “virgin” variant; a textless version (save for the Marvel logo) allowing the artwork to be viewed cleanly without the series title and credits. This edition is a retailer incentive and rarest of the covers; stores will only receive one (1) virgin variant for every 100 copies ordered, making it the hardest to find of the issue #2 covers. But one look at that spectacular artwork proves it’s well worth the search!

ARTHUR ADAMS

Arthur Adams burst on the comics scene in 1985 with the Marvel mini-series Longshot and quickly became one of the most popular artists in the industry, acclaimed for his work on the X-Men and Spider-Man titles, Fantastic Four, Batman, Action Comics, Hulk and many other comics. Adams is well known for his love of kaiju and tokusatsu, having co-written and illustrated the Godzilla Color Special producing numerous Godzilla comic book covers, and sneaking Godzilla and Ultraman monsters into his other works. His first official Ultraman artwork is this explosive variant cover featuring the Hero of Light and 19 classic creatures from the 1966 television series! Only 1 in every 25 copies will use this cover, so if you see it, don’t miss out! To find out more about this cover, check out out previous article.

MASAYUKI GOTO

The final variant cover is by Masayuki Goto, the second Japanese artist contributing to The Rise of Ultraman (following Yuji Kaida’s art for issue #1). Goto is certainly no stranger to Ultraman, having worked for Tsuburaya Productions as their lead character designer for new Ultra Heroes since the 2009 feature film Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie. His designs include the various forms for Ultraman Zero, all of the New Generation Ultra Heroes, including the new hero Ultraman Z, the Ultimate Force Zero team, and fan favorite villains like Ultraman Belial and Jugglus Juggler. He also redesigned Tsuburaya’s hero Gridman for the 2018 anime series SSSS.Gridman. Goto’s colorful cover illustration shows Ultraman firing his Spacium Beam directly at the viewer!

Share your thoughts about these covers or anything else about Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman comics on Twitter with hashtag #TheRiseofUltraman or mention us @TsuburayaGlobal.

The Rise of Ultraman #2 goes on sale on October 7th, 2020, at comic shops everywhere. Make sure to pick it up, and keep your eyes glued to UltramanGalaxy.com for more news from Tsuburaya Productions and Marvel Entertainment!

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September 14, 2020

RISE OF ULTRAMAN #2 PREVIEW: THE MAKING OF ART ADAMS’ KAIJU COVER


Art Adams

Fans have been hotly anticipating the release of Marvel’s comic book miniseries The Rise of Ultraman. As more details and images have been revealed, one particularly praised piece is the stunning cover art for issue #2 depicting the hero surrounded by several iconic monsters from the 1966 TV series.

That cover was created by Arthur Adams, the popular artist known for his work on X-Men, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and Godzilla. He is also a big fan of Kaiju and would race home after school each day to watch Ultraman on television while living on Northern California’s Travis Air Force Base in the early 1970s. As a professional, he would even sneak Godzilla and Ultraman characters into his comics work.

Adams explained that he got the Rise of Ultraman cover assignment from the book’s editor, Tom Breevort, saying, “I’ve often drawn Ultraman stuff in the backgrounds, so maybe he noticed that.” He sent several concept sketches to Breevort, who made the final pick.

Adams starts with a series of layout sketches to show Tom his general vision for the cover.

Everyone agreed his third sketch “C” was the best.

“Because I love the first season of Ultraman, I wanted to draw as many of my favorite monsters as I could. So, it wasn’t difficult; it was more a matter of deciding which ones to leave out and which ones to put in. I had to get Antlar, Baltan and Red King in. I love Pestar, but I couldn’t fit him. He’s a very big guy…well, two guys. Dodongo’s also big, but I got him in there.”

Rare shot of the unfinished inks to The Rise of Ultraman #2 variant cover by Art Adams.

Notice Ultraman himself is still in pencils.

He also included the Friendly Monster Pigmon. “I was quite amused with myself that I got him in there because I’ve never liked that monster. My favorite episode was the one where [Geronimon] makes all the monsters come back to life. There’s one scene where Dorako gets annoyed with Pigmon and squishes him. That’s always how I think of Pigmon.”

For accuracy’s sake, Adams turned to photos of the monsters from the original series and the later Ultraman shows. He also referenced models and figures from X-Plus and Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts.

Rare uncropped image of the cover. Note the names of the Kaiju in the margins.

Art is a true super fan!

The cover was drawn the traditional way; pencils and inks on paper rather than digitally. “On average, my covers take approximately a week,” Adams said. “And that one was a pretty solid ‘seven day’ cover. There’s a lot going on…just keeping track of reference, and Tsuburaya Productions wanting me to draw Ultraman’s face properly. And they were right. The first one I drew, you still clearly see Ultraman, but he was a little more expressive than they wanted him to be.”

The finished artwork was beautifully colored by Jason Keith, with minor revisions to guarantee the monster colors were accurately presented.

Adams was pleased with the opportunity to do his first Ultraman cover, stating, “I was super happy they asked me to do one, but I would definitely liked to have done more.” The experience, along with feedback from fans, has been an inspiration: “I just started drawing more Ultraman monsters because it was fun.”

Here is the final Arthur Adams cover!

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September 9, 2020

SHUWATCH! THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN #1 ARRIVESCOVER YOUR BASES WITH ALL MARVEL COVERS

The Jet VTOL’s fueled, the K-Ray is operational, and the Beta Capsule is primed: The Rise of Ultraman issue #1 is ready to go! When you pick your copy up from comic shops everywhere Wednesday, September 9, you’ll have a stunning nine covers to choose from! (Note: Some will be scarcer than others!) We’re here to go through them all now to help you decide which one you want to take home…that is, if you don’t end up nabbing them all! And let’s celebrate with Ultraman’s iconic battle cry: “SCHUWATCH!!!”

ALEX ROSS

This is the flagship cover, and with art by the inimitable Alex Ross, it’s no wonder! Featuring a realistic, gorgeously drawn Ultraman standing over a throng of astonished civilians, the style and scale promises the reader that a momentous occasion is waiting just a page flip away. To find out more about this cover, check out our previous article!

JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER

The first variant is an Ultraman-style spin on the classic Marvel Action Figures cover, drawn by John Tyler Christopher. Look to the fourteen points of articulation (a necessity to be able to make that classic + pose), a swappable Color Timer, a Spacium Beam, and an Ultra Slash: if only this toy could be found on shelves…maybe someday! Pick this gorgeous cover to add it to your Marvel Figure cover collection.

ED MCGUINNESS

Next up is a colorful, eye-catching action pose by artistic titan Ed McGuinness! Fittingly, this pose, taken of Ultraman as he transforms from his host and partner, Shin Hayata, is called “The Rise.” McGuinness is a self-avowed Ultraman fanatic and has drawn a hero ready to take on whatever may threaten Earth. At only one in every 50 copies, this is a must-have rarity for your collection, but you’ll have to find it first!

YUJI KAIDA

Yuji Kaida is a legendary Japanese artist, known for his gorgeous, near-photorealistic art of various famous entertainment franchises such as Gundam, Godzilla, and, of course, Ultraman. One of two artists currently living in Japan to be selected to create special covers for The Rise of Ultraman, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief is a big fan and has stated that he is honored the Yuji Kaida accepted the assignment. This cover has a dark, moody feel: fitting, considering the subject matter. Fans are taken back to the burning ruins of the Classic-era SSSP headquarters, where Ultraman fought his final, desperate battle against one of the most powerful monsters ever to menace the universe, the dreaded Zetton. The sense of scale is immense, equally depicting danger and excitement. Only one in every 25 copies depicts this pitched battle, so if you see it, don’t miss out! Rest assured, more Japanese artists will be doing their takes on upcoming issues.

SKOTTIE YOUNG

Skottie Young is known for a hyper-emotive, expressive style that’s often mixed with high-octane action. He’s successfully applied his skills to a number of different series and genres, from Marvel superheroes to comic book adaptations of the Oz series, and even his own (not for kids!) series, I Hate Fairyland. Here, that manic approach has brought to life a pitched battle between Ultraman and Gomess, the very first kaiju to appear in the Ultraman Series (or more accurately, its predecessor, Ultra Q.) Gomess looks a little… bigger than his most recent appearance (in episode 1 of this year’s Ultraman Z), but Ultraman is clearly undeterred, rushing forth to combat the destructive beast in front of the setting sun—a classic tableaux in the Ultraman Series.

ADI GRANOV

Adi Granov is responsible for one of the most distinctive superhero designs in the modern age, having been the man who designed the eponymous suit for the 2008 Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, Iron Man. When he’s not helping to usher in multibillion-dollar movie franchises, he lends his talents to astonishing comic series…like this one, with a scene of terrible destruction—the flooded ruins of a city devastated by the dreaded Alien Baltan. Hues of dark blues and greys threaten the end of everything, but front and center, Ultraman, resplendent in silver and red, strikes at the Space Ninja to return light and hope to the world. This variant is the hardest to find (a 1-in-100 copy release), but it’s well worth the search!

OLIVIER COIPEL

Olivier Coipel is a French artist who is no stranger to drawing heroes. He’s responsible for the critically acclaimed Marvel mutant series House of M, as well as parts of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Perhaps that was why he was chosen to bring together two titans of the superhero genre for the first time, with Spider-Man himself sitting on the shoulder of his newest neighbor in the Marvel Comics line, Ultraman himself. Unfortunately, this meeting is just a what-if, as Spidey does not appear in the issue, and there are no plans to bring the Giant of Light into the main Marvel universe. At least, not yet…

PHOTO COVER

What’s a better introduction to a new Ultraman story than a classic Ultraman story? Taken from Episode 33 of Ultraman, “The Forbidden Words,” this cover depicts the hero grappling one of his most dangerous foes, the insidious and cunning Alien Mefilas. This cover originated as a file photo from the archives of Tsuburaya Productions, and was lovingly restored for its Marvel Comics appearance by Starlight Runner’s own Creative Director Chrysoula Artemis. To see the episode that this cover is taken from, fans can pick up Ultraman: The Complete Series from Mill Creek Entertainment!

Our final cover is…well, blank! Perfect for autographs, art, and making it your own!

The Rise of Ultraman #1 goes on sale on September 9th, 2020, at comic shops everywhere. Use this website to find one today! No matter which cover (or covers!) you pick, the story within is guaranteed to satisfy, so don’t miss it!

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September 6, 2020

RISE OF ULTRAMAN PREVIEW, PART 2:THE CREATIVE TEAM ANSWERS FAN QUESTIONS


The debut of Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman is just around the corner on September 9! We’re back today with co-writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom and artist Francesco Manna, in the second part of an interview, with questions from fans, about their new comic book miniseries!

Q: How involved was Tsuburaya in regards to crafting the story for Marvel’s series? Were there any restrictions or were you free to play in the universe of Ultraman?

Mat: The people at Tsuburaya have been very involved. They care so deeply about Ultraman. I think the thing I was really struck by, when we started this project, was that above and before anything else, they were so passionate about ensuring everyone involved understood the heart of Ultraman. What Ultraman means, and why Ultraman matters.

I think most people when they think of license holders for a brand would think of someone making sure the logo was the right size or whatever, but that’s not Tsuburaya at all, at least in our experience. And no, I don’t think there have been any ‘hard’ restrictions, or at least any that we’ve come across yet. Really, everything is just a conversation about whether what we’re doing serves the ideals of Ultraman. Which has been fantastic, because it has given us the freedom to reimagine and reinterpret, but also the confidence to know that if we stray too far from the core ideas that are important, Tsuburaya will guide us back in.

Because this is not the universe of the original show, and we’re taking a lot of familiar elements in totally new directions, it’s never about technicalities, about ‘actually this happened between this date and that date’ or ‘this should be a certain color’—it’s always about ‘does this mean what an Ultraman story should mean?’

Q: How quickly will you expand on the Ultra universe, which has a wide range of modern designs and stories to explore, as opposed to focusing on “reinventing the original” with a nostalgic approach?

Mat: It seems from your question you might be expecting or hoping that characters and stories from the Second Generation or Third Generation will appear, and we’re not really going there. But we’ll be expanding on the original universe right away. Immediately. Right from issue #1, there will be totally new characters and story elements. We’re not interested in treading old ground. And we’re very interested in contributing to the greater Ultraman lore, contributing fresh elements to it.

Q: What’s your favorite Ultra Kaiju/Alien/Mech?

Kyle: Oh man, that’s a tough question! So far, I have to say that the more I learn about Ultraman Ace and the threats that the series explored, the more excited I get.

Q: We have seen hints about Dan Moroboshi and Ultraseven in Rise #1. What is Ultraseven’s role going to be in the series?

Mat: Rather than answer the question, could I perhaps (with my inside knowledge) suggest a better question: “What role will Ultraseven’s absence play in The Rise of Ultraman?”

Q: How is Francesco leveraging the medium of comic books? What will the comics incarnation offer that we haven’t yet seen, or possibly couldn’t ever see, from the live-action versions? Did he look at any of the other comics, either Japanese or American, for inspiration during the development?

Francesco: Comics have a big advantage over live-action—the ‘special effects’ have no cost.

Because I’ve been given the creative freedom to build a whole new world, I tried to push to spectacular levels the visual choices in every detail—always wanting to show something that we haven’t seen before in the different versions of Ultraman, while still always respecting the classic traditions of this world.

As I previously mentioned (in the last article), I took whatever techniques I thought most useful from the comics of different cultures. For example, French artists are great at using different angles and making the most of the space on the page, and Japanese artists helped me learn so much about creating dynamic sequences with dynamic moments—they have truly great skills when it comes to showing such cool action in such tiny spaces! I tried to merge all these elements with what is my artistic background, American comics, and it was really fun! It’s very stimulating to keep studying, and try to create something that has never been seen before in comics!

Be sure to look out for The Rise of Ultraman #1¸on shelves September 9! Look for your local comic shop here, and keep checking back with Ultraman Galaxy as we continue to share all kinds of info and intel on your favorite Hero of Light!

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September 2, 2020

RISE OF ULTRAMAN PREVIEW: THE CREATIVE TEAM ANSWERS FAN QUESTIONS

Writers Mat Groom & Kyle Higgins, and Artist Francesco Manna

The debut of Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman comic book miniseries is just around the corner on September 9. Ultraman Galaxy has received many questions about the series from fans through social media and direct email to the site, and co-writers Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom and artist Francesco Manna have agreed to answer some of them.

Q: What is the team’s favorite aspect of Ultraman lore that they’re most excited to explore?

Mat Groom: It’s probably not great to start cheating from the very first question, but I’m going to have to pick two, because I really can’t decide.

The first one is Ultraman himself—but specifically as the Ultra and the man (Shin) bonded together. There’s something so fascinating about taking two beings, who have surprisingly similar goals, but have vastly different perspectives, and are from vastly different cultures, and bonding them together, and challenging this new combined entity (both physically and intellectually) before they even really have much of a chance to come to terms with each other. They can only succeed if they operate in unison, but the odds are so severely stacked against them, in ways they won’t even come to understand for some time. It’s like a three-legged race, but with civilization-defining stakes.

My other choice is the Science Patrol. The wild thing about the Science Patrol is they’re so interesting that, in the original Ultraman TV series, you really could’ve had a fantastic and enjoyable TV show even if Ultraman never came to Earth. They’re paranormal investigators. They’re researchers reaching way past the borders of human understanding. They’re monster fighters. They have this incredible technology. They’re part of an international network. Every question you could ask about this group leads you to two more (even more interesting!) questions. So that’s given us so much rich material to work with.

Q: Kyle Higgins has crafted some outstanding stories for the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comics. How does Ultraman differ as a hero compared to the Rangers? Do they have similar motivations, aside from “saving the world?”

Kyle Higgins: Well, for starters, Rangers is built on a collection of relationships—they’re a team, at the end of the day. Ultraman, by comparison, is built on one fundamental relationship, that between the Ultra and Shin Hayata. Additionally, our take on The Kaiju Problem is quite a bit different than anything I ever explored with Rangers. I do think that both are looking to help society become the best version of itself, though the way they go about it—and the nature of the threats they face—are quite a bit different. All that being said, one thing that both books have in common is the narrative scope. Mat and I have built out this version of Ultraman in a big, bold way. The simplest way to put it is…everything in the book is planned. If you see it in the book, it’s going to matter down the line.

Q: In the artwork, was it difficult to scale the figures to 50 meters in relation to their environment (perspective, buildings, landscapes)?

Francesco Manna: Actually, playing with scale is the most enjoyable and satisfying thing I’ve ever done in comics. It’s just about matching the mood of the story, and understanding what visual impact you want to have with the story. For The Rise of Ultraman, I especially focused on ideas found in disaster films, using some large camera angles that show the huge scale of the catastrophe—but contrasting that with the tiny people affected by the catastrophe. It’s a visual way of reminding people that the potential costs of these huge catastrophes are something the (comparatively) tiny people just can’t afford.

I mixed this approach up with various concepts from French, Japanese and American comics. They helped me find ways to get the right use of the angles, dynamism and narrative rhythm.

Q: When will Spider-Man meet Ultraman for reals?

Mat: Olivier Copiel did an excellent variant cover for issue #1 featuring Spider-Man and Ultraman together—but that was to celebrate, symbolically, Marvel and Tsuburaya working together, it wasn’t intended to tease story elements. To be totally transparent with you, Kyle and I don’t have any plans to do anything of that nature at this stage.

Who knows what could happen in the future, but right now we’re focused on building out this entirely new Ultraman universe and making it compelling and engaging by itself, rather than bringing in Marvel superheroes.

Q: Will the comic center around the Japanese branch of the SSSP only, or do we get also a more international touch with the progress of the story?

Mat: Actually, in our universe, we don’t have an ‘SSSP’, we have a ‘USP’—a United Science Patrol. This name speaks to the international nature of the organization (and you’ll get to see some of that international-ness right from issue #1). But it also speaks to the fact that this is an organization that, in our universe, spans eras. In the original shows, the defense force would change with each new show, and with each new Ultra hero. But in this world, there’s just been one organization, for decades—so we wanted to have a name that acknowledged that our Science Patrol actually stands in for the many organizations that existed in shows.

Having said that, there could be other roles for other defense forces to play…!

Look for the continuation of this article tomorrow as we count down to the release of The Rise of Ultraman! Be sure to look out for Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman #1¸on shelves September 9! Look for your local comic shop here and keep checking back with Ultraman Galaxy as we continue to share all kinds of info and intel on your favorite Hero of Light!


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August 28, 2020

MARVEL’S THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR…

Only a few more weeks remain before The Rise of Ultraman #1 arrives on shelves at comic book stores. Around the world, fans of both Ultraman and Marvel Comics wait eagerly for this massive collaboration between giants of entertainment (one a literal giant!). No mere retelling of the classic Ultraman story, Marvel and Tsuburaya Productions have crafted a new universe, with mysteries around every corner and answers just on the horizon, let’s nail down what we’ve learned from promotional material, issue previews, and future covers, to be best prepared to join the Hero of Light on his newest adventure!

Just a warning: this article contains potential spoilers for The Rise of Ultraman, so if you want to go into the book completely blind (and we wouldn’t blame you for that!) head out now.

A TRAGIC BEGINNING

The first official pages that Marvel revealed covered events set fifty years in the past: A defense team pilot has a violent encounter with an extraterrestrial visitor in a glowing red sphere. This ill-fated pilot was not the original Ultraman series’ Shin Hayata, but Dan Moroboshi, who fans of the classic series might recognize as the alter-ego of the mighty Ultraseven. This adds another wrinkle to the tale, as in the classic series, Dan Moroboshi never existed, merely being a human disguise for the Ultra.

However, before that thought can be taken to any logical conclusions, it appears that poor Dan’s time is short, as the meeting between he and the interstellar stranger ends in a violent explosion, with the Ultra barely able to speak a few words in an alien tongue before both are gone. It’s a shocking introduction to this world, and from the looks of it, Ultraman may have to contend with more than just Kaiju…

THE USP

It seems this Ultraman, like his forebears, won’t be defending Earth by himself but will aid a human organization dedicated to dealing with potentially dangerous phenomena, monstrous creatures, and extraterrestrial threats. Called the United Science Patrol (USP), it is a multinational group of highly trained agents who operate covertly, occasionally making moral compromises so as to not raise alarm among the masses.

This is a sharp contrast to the original Science Special Search Party, better known as the SSSP or Science Patrol.  The Science Patrol was a highly public agency known even to children. Comparatively, the USP depicted in the new Marvel series is a ghost, with any trace of its existence covered up with near-military precision, in hopes of keeping the general population from hysteria due to the existence of Kaiju.

The USP cannot cover all of its tracks, of course, and it looks like a few dedicated parties have picked up their trail. Who knows what will happen when the organization’s dirty laundry is finally aired?

SHIN HAYATA

The original Shin Hayata was a dignified, experienced member of the Science Patrol whose sense of justice allowed him to bond with the friendly alien from the Land of Light. Marvel’s Shin Hayata does not appear to be a USP member. He has inherited a lot of the original Shin’s key traits, however—a kind nature, deep inquisitiveness, and intelligent, thoughtful demeanor—but he is now untested, inexperienced, and still learning about the world. This Earth is facing a Kaiju threat far more insidious than anyone realizes, so Hayata may need more than the powers of Ultraman to keep everyone safe.

KIKI FUJI

Kiki Fuji is the first main character introduced in The Rise of Ultraman, even before lead Shin Hayata, and she’s sure to leave quite an impression in fans’ minds. A childhood friend of Shin and a member of the USP, Kiki follows in the footsteps of capable Ultraman Series heroines like her original Ultraman counterpart, Akiko Fuji, and Ultraseven’s Anne Yuri.

Kiki’s skills lay in engineering due to her analytical mind, but she has nevertheless found difficulty reconciling the potentially amoral deeds of the USP with her own internal code. As secrets and hidden dangers begin to come to light, Kiki will be forced to make hard choices and pick sides. Who can say where she’ll end up?

KAIJU

The Kaiju of The Rise of Ultraman are perhaps the biggest mystery the series has to offer. They appear to be classic foes like Telesdon and Aboras—fittingly feral creatures that suit the more clandestine battles waged by the USP, over the more famous Kaiju that rang in the classic series.

But these monsters seem somehow more malicious than their predecessors, and come in different shapes and sizes. The modern world somehow has little to no knowledge of these violent beasts despite the danger to society that they pose, thanks to the efforts of the USP. It is only when Ultraman finally makes his appearance on Earth that the dreadful truth of the Kaiju may be revealed

With The Rise of Ultraman, every answer seems to generate new questions, and open up new storytelling avenues. We at Ultraman Galaxy can’t for you to see what Marvel will show the world when The Rise of Ultraman #1 drops on September 9th, 2020. For the latest news on Rise and the Ultraman Series in general, make sure to keep checking UltramanGalaxy.com!

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August 17, 2020

MARVEL RELEASES RISE OF ULTRAMAN TRAILER

Marvel Entertainment recently released a terrific trailer for The Rise of Ultraman #1, which arrives in comic book stores on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

The trailer, which boasts some limited animation, a heartrending soundtrack, and awesome sound effects taken directly from various Ultraman Series, runs one-minute and seven seconds. It already has nearly 300,000 views, with 10,000 likes, and 3,100 comments, nearly all of which are positive. Many sharp-eyed fans point out the appearance of Ultraseven in the video.

The blurb for the trailer reads as follows:

In darkness there lurks Kaiju – terrifying and unfathomable monsters. Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Mat Groom (Self/Made) and Francesco Manna (AVENGERS) reimagine the classic origin of a pop culture icon as THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN begins!

Stay with Ultraman Galaxy for exclusive interviews and coverage of Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman comic book series.

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July 29, 2022

TRIGGER EPISODE Z IS DECKER EPISODE ZERO

Spoilers for Ultraman Trigger Episode Z and Ultraman Decker!

We’re now weeks into Ultraman Decker, and the stakes have continued to raise as the battle against the Sphere invaders is finally starting in earnest. Kanata Asumi and the reborn GUTS-Select have formed an elite team to shatter the barrier covering the Earth and free humanity. 

However, this is not the first threat this Earth has faced of this magnitude; remember that Decker is a sequel to Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, and that it has been nine years since the threats of that series ended. What happened after the events of that series, that left GUTS-Select in need of reformation? The answers can be found in Ultraman Trigger Episode Z.

Episode Z opens two years after the events of Trigger, eight years before first contact with the Sphere in Decker. The looming threats of the Dark Giants and Megalothor has been ended, and the human hero who saved the world from these creatures as Ultraman Trigger, Kengo Manaka, seemingly sacrificed himself in order to stabilize the infinite energy source known as the Eternity Core. Seemingly, a lasting peace is finally here.

However, the mysterious Layrah cult has emerged from that peace with sinister intentions. Together with the team’s new captain, Ryuichi Tokioka, and other-dimensional allies Haruki Natsukawa and Ultraman Z, GUTS-Select plans to free Kengo from his confinement for one last adventure as Trigger. However, the Layrah have plans of their own, and a mastermind is pulling all the strings to enact a plan 30 million years in the making…

Though we don’t want to spoil the movie for you, the fact is that Episode Z truly is the end of Ultraman Trigger’s destined battles, and with his conflicts over, Earth was able to focus on expanding outwards into the stars. With the threat of Kaiju no longer a constant danger, vigilance began to diminish, defense technology was automated, and GUTS-Select as a team ended…and unfortunately, that’s where the TPU found itself when the Sphere descended on Mars, and later Earth. It all ties together!

We can’t tell you where Ultraman Decker is going, but rest assured, as the battle against the Sphere intensifies, figures from the past, both enemy and ally, will start to come out of the woodwork. So, to be prepared for that, rent Ultraman Trigger Episode Z on Ultraman Connection today, and keep watching Ultraman Decker on Ultraman Connection (commercial free!) and the Official Ultraman YouTube Channel!

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July 18, 2022

THE NOOB EXPERIENCES ULTRAMAN RISING

My journey as the Ultraman Noob began over a year ago when a friend loaned me The Rise of Ultraman Marvel Comics trade paperback. She knew I was an anime fan but that I might appreciate the book, and she was right. I was roped in by the electric aesthetic, engaging plotline, and what I felt to be truly virtuous message. 

Since then, I’ve reviewed a plethora of Ultraman movies and series for Ultraman Connection, I’ve written releases on merch and events, and I’ve even gotten the opportunity to interview members of the online community for the site’s fan profiles segment. 

I’ve felt nothing but support from the fanbase, especially from those who are far more seasoned than me. But with all the Ultraman content out there, I still have a long way to go before I can retire my Noob title! Even so, the opportunities that I’ve gotten to engage with enjoyers of this truly special franchise have been remarkable. 

I was made more aware of this than ever during my trip to help produce the Ultraman Rising event at Anime Expo 2022 and appear on TV in Ultraman Rising! The TokuSHOUTsu Ultraman Day Special on the Shout Factory OTT network. 

Traveling to Los Angeles for Anime Expo with the Ultraman Connection team was exciting all by itself, let alone getting an inside perspective on every aspect of the event. It all became real at the Opening Ceremony when the festivities were crashed by Kaiju and aliens! 

Alien Baltan and Dada arrive to menace Sean Nichols

But then to thunderous applause, Ultraman arrived on the United States mainland for the first time in history (yes, we know about him visiting you Hawaiians in the 1970s!) to fight them in front of a live audience, but alas a few monsters escaped… 

Ultraman arrives on the North American mainland

Thus began the Kaiju Invasion in which the terrifying Dada and Alien Baltan rampaged through the exhibition hall each day of Anime Expo while our UCL Agents urged conventiongoers to help hunt them down for the chance to win prizes. Attendees were encouraged to take photos of the loose Kaiju and upload them with the hashtags #AX2022 #DADA in order to help the Ultras find them. 

Yeah, Dada’s nefarious but he also can be hilarious

You could imagine my excitement to find that the grand prize for the Hunt for Dada was the gorgeous $850 PureArts statue of Anime ULTRAMAN battling Black King that I had previously written about for Ultraman Connection! Poor EJ had to haul that statue around to get it signed by co-directors Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamayama—it weighed like 30 pounds! (And yes, all you hunters, winners will be announced very soon.)

Assembling the awesome PureArts Ultraman Vs. Black King statue for a photo op

Amidst the chaos of the expo, the Bandai booth ended up being a place of refuge. Fans lined up and took photos with the beautiful, life-sized, classic Ultraman statue that stood firm at the Bandai booth. Not to mention the guest appearances by the authentic Tsuburaya Anime ULTRAMAN Suits such as Suit Ace and Suit Taro. Each day, a different Ultra Suit hero posed for photos and shook hands with adoring fans, me being one of them.

We saw many recurring fans visit each event, including the AX Cinema Nights event at the Regal Cinema, hosted by Iconic Events. Kamiyama-san and Aramaki-san sat for a panel after the screening of the theatrical version of Anime ULTRAMAN Season 1. I’m a huge fan of both of their work—the riveting Eden of the East was one of my earliest introductions to anime—so meeting them in person was truly a treat. 

Who says Baltan never appears in stage shows!

And who could forget the glorious main event? The 4000-seat venue was filled, some being eager Ultraman fans and some noobs curious to see something special. Thousands of eyes were glued to the stage as Ultra Heroes engaged in an elaborate battle with Kaiju. If that isn’t cool enough, it was all set to an awesome soundtrack produced by DJ Teddyloid. The audience erupted in deafening cheers whenever justice was served. It was exhilarating! 

Sean Nichols, Kenji Kamiyama, and Shinji Aramaki—can’t get better than this.

The cheers didn’t stop there, though. Nothing beat seeing the smiling faces in the audience of the Marvel Comics & Ultraman panel in which host Anna Vanston (who I watch on the New Rockstars YouTube channel), writer Mat Groom, artist E.J Su, and Ultraman Connection producer Jeff Gomez announced the upcoming comic book crossover between Ultraman and the Avengers. 

Look at the note of triumph on the faces of UCL Agents Bright and Hughes as they encounter the Ultras for the first time!

Later at the Ultraman Connection panel, it’s a good thing former Ultraman Max cast member Sean Nichols was there. Without his gut instinct that the panel was in grave danger, the Ultras might not have made it in time to save us from yet another Kaiju attack! 

Luckily, he was there and Ultraseven and Ultraman (backed by UCL Agents Bright and Hughes, played by the awesome actors Rick Jackson and Jaclyn Albergoni) saved the day and stuck around for photo ops and prize giveaways to honor the brave audience. This was the first panel I’ve ever been on and let me tell you, I was nervous! 

I, of all people, am serving as a representative for a franchise so many different people hold near and dear? 

Those nerves were eroded, however, by the influx of questions, comments, and recommendations everyone had for me. I always knew you Ultraman fans were a group of good eggs, but I was truly honored to be met with such respect and praise. Many can acknowledge that being a noob in most demographics is looked down upon, but it seems that the Ultraman family is much more focused on spreading the love than gatekeeping. For that I am truly grateful. 

A person standing next to two people in clothingDescription automatically generated with low confidence
Some great memes came out of the Ultraman Rising activation—this is the one I identify with the most.

Production I.G & Netflix’s Anime ULTRAMAN closed off the panels for the weekend. Kenji Kamiyama and Shinji Aramaki returned along with the armored versions of the anime Ultra Heroes to take photos with eager fans. The Suits are truly marvelous, and fans were thrilled. I served mic duty running across the theater to take questions from fans and hand out prizes with EJ. 

Finally, the Closing Ceremony had the entire Main Event Hall filled to overcapacity with over 4,000 people. My job was to take photos of the stage show, and when I looked back at the crowd it was breathtaking. The sheer scope of what Tsuburaya Productions and Iceberg Theory were doing really hit home with me. 

Onstage, Sean expressed his appreciation for how so many people helped snap pics of the Kaiju so that the UCL can catch them. We would later learn that there were many thousands of social media posts tagging Ultraman and the Hunt for Dada! But then, the crafty Kaiju burst onto the scene in one final effort to take control of Los Angeles and turn it into (as Dada put it), Kaiju Land! 

A picture containing stage, indoor, scene, televisionDescription automatically generated

Everyone chanted and yipped as that familiar theme music started to play and both classic Ultraman and Ultraseven arrived to thrash and clothesline and beam those beasts back to the Kaijū Hakaba. To everyone’s delight on the Ultra Team, the Anime Expo hosts then awarded Ultraman the honor of signing the Daruma, a tradition of good luck granted to the top guest of the year. Ultraman and Ultraseven were present with Sean doing the signing. (I later learned that Ultras, even on stage, are imagined to be giant-sized and so cannot hold human items like Sharpies!)

Ultraman Connection member and cosplayer supreme Sean Sumagaysay, @ProjNautilusCos, shows off the Daruma signed by Sean Nichols on behalf of Ultraman.

Hanging out with Agents Bright and Hughes, getting chased by Alien Baltan and Dada in the dealer’s room, being interviewed by Mike Dent along with EJ and Jeff, and finally getting to see all our adventures and interviews compiled into Ultraman Rising! The TokuSHOUTsu Ultraman Day Special was like a fever dream! 

TokuSHOUTsu host Mike Dent

The surrealism of it all was emphasized by the hilarious Spark Dolls Theatre skits and bits wedged throughout the show between the event coverage. There was also an exciting floor show during the special, featuring the return of those nasty villains the Absolutians, that used some special effects we hadn’t seen before here at Ultraman Connection. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend the watch!  

I thought being thrown into a real-life microcosm of the US Ultraman fanbase would be intimidating. But even though the event was mindbogglingly huge and the challenge of our team getting so many events and activations right was truly daunting, everyone at Iceberg Theory and Tsuburaya Productions came through. I even got to meet some of the actual Suit Actors, and they were so talented and friendly, I’ll never forget them.  

At the end of the day, seeing the passion everyone there held for the Giants of Light reminded me what Ultraman is all about and why I was so drawn to this universe in the first place. 

We got to see every conceivable kind put aside their differences and allowed themselves to let their imaginations run wild, be free with their bodies and personas, and be unapologetically inspired by something much bigger than their individual selves. I’d like to think this experience helped me learn to do the same. 

The Noob is Evangelia Artemis, a New York-based writer and otaku who works on staff at Ultraman Connection. She is currently profiling Ultraman super-fans. Watch for her at upcoming UCL events!

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July 13, 2022

TOKUTEXAS COSPLAY SPREADS THE JOY OF ULTRAMAN

TokuTexas Cosplay (aka, @TokuTxCosplay, aka Dan, self-named after Ultraseven’s human host Dan Moroboshi) is a tokusatsu cosplayer, blogger, reviewer, diorama builder, and memorabilia collector from Laredo Texas. He’s best known for cosplaying Ultraseven on his social media, documenting his worldwide adventures alongside his Ultraman action figure, and uploading tokusatsu-related videos on his YouTube channel. Most importantly, he is a very active member of the Ultraman Connection community! 

Something I found very cool about Dan’s story is that unlike most Ultraman fans, he didn’t grow up watching the series. In fact he only came across the franchise in 2014. After having engaged with other tokusatsu shows and films, Dan found himself searching for more action-packed Japanese monster content and boy did he hit the jackpot! 

Starting with Ultraman Ginga and Ultraman X, Dan was immediately roped in by the special effects, fun characters, thought-provoking messages, and family-friendly nature. Although he wishes he could’ve seen more of Ultraman earlier in life, he expresses a lot of gratitude toward Tsuburaya Productions and Ultraman Connection’s recent efforts to bring Ultraman to the west. 

“I wanna give a big shoutout to Tsubaraya for making the newer Ultraman series available on YouTube… Thank you so much for letting us in other countries enjoy Ultraman!”

Later in 2015, Dan began an Instagram account where he posted tokusatsu related photos and news. After having grown the account for a year he decided to start cosplaying in 2016 and going from convention to convention as Ultraseven. He then expanded his presence to Twitter and YouTube after engaging with other toku enthusiasts’ posts, livestreams, and videos.

“For me, it’s not about popularity, it’s about spreading the joy of Ultraman.”

Through keeping up with the tokusatsu niche, especially the Ultraman community, he was introduced to UltramanConnection.com where he has since enjoyed having so much content in one place, and the Ultraman Connection Discord server where he could interact with other fans of the same interests. 

“Unfortunately, where I live there aren’t many people who are into tokusatsu and Ultraman. The people l work with and see regularly are mostly into sports, cars, and other mainstream things. Ultraman isn’t as mainstream yet so most of the toku fans I know are friends I’ve made online.”

Sharing different perspectives, discussing their thoughts on the shows, trading recommendations and bonding over a love for the franchise has kept TokuTexas, and many others like him, on the roster as well-known fan contributors. 

“I work as hard as I can to make sure I don’t miss an Ultraman Connection Live event!”

When asked what his favorite Ultraman series is so far, Dan stated that as a rule he has always been a fan of series that feature monster attack teams like Ultraman X, the original 1966 Ultraman, or Ultraseven. However, Ultraman Orb is his overall favorite because in his opinion it stays the truest to the essential elements of Ultraman. 

“Ultraman is about being the best person you can be and trying to help others despite the challenges that we as people face.”

Dan also made a point of identifying how part of the beauty of Ultraman is that every main character (and even many secondary characters) begin as foundationally good people but they all grow to learn that being a good person goes beyond having good values. Being truly good means taking action and putting yourself on the line to defend others using said values. 

“Just like the Ultras, we gather strength in ourselves, get help from others, use the power of friendship to upgrade ourselves into new forms, and are able to make it through the day.”

He admires in Ultraman the fact that characters do make mistakes and are faced with difficult decisions but at the end of the day are able to make peace with themselves. 

“We all have our own struggles in life. We may not have to fight giant Kaiju like Ultraman does but in a metaphorical sense, some of our problems can be like monsters that rampage through our lives.”

As someone in my 20s who has only recently discovered the beauty of Ultraman, it was very inspiring to hear that Dan began his journey at my age and in only a few years has already come so far in cultivating a community. In recent years Dan even traveled to Ultraman Town in Japan where he documented his trip to the Ultraman Café, the various Ultraman statues, and many other amazing Ultra-sights! 

You can see all of it and more for yourself on his various social medias linked below. A big thank you to TokuTexas Cosplay for being such an active member in our community. Stay tuned here on UltramanConnection.com for more fan profiles to come! 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TokuTxCosplay

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tokutexascosplay/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsJzdYe04q3VqWAObJxZy-Q

The Noob is Evangelia Artemis, a New York-based writer and otaku who works on staff at Ultraman Connection. She recently guest-starred on Ultraman Rising! on TokuSHOUTsu, and has been writing fan profiles here on the site.

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June 26, 2022

WRITER-ARTIST JESSIE ELIAS (ZELTRAXMILLENNIUM) DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM THE GIANT OF LIGHT

Jessie Elias, also known as ZeltraxMillenium, is a devoted Ultraman fan, video host, voice actor, article writer, and artist. Jessie is a full-time staff member of HeroClub and hosts the ZeltraxMillenium YouTube channel boasting a couple of thousand subscribers and a Twitter following of nearly the same. HeroClub is co-owned by Editor-in-Chief Billy Doyle (also known as WheelChair21 on Twitter and Facebook) along with Brian Benjamin (Ben_Odinson on Twitter). Jessie even interviewed Ultraman Connection’s very own Jeff Gomez on his show!

Jessie’s first interaction with Ultraman was the 4kids dub of Ultraman Tiga on cable in the early 2000s, way before Ultraman had permeated the American cultural canon. He was enamored by the general themes of hopefulness and overcoming adversity. As an autistic person who has struggled to feel accepted, Ultraman served as a beacon of hope for Jessie. From that point on, he dedicated himself to finding anything else from Tsubaraya Productions.

“I am always a proponent of supporting official releases. Now more than ever we’re getting so much Ultraman stuff in America and I know everyone on the other end is working their butts off to make it all more accessible to us. We’ve gotta support!”

Through this effort, Jessie began collecting all the Ultraman memorabilia he could get his hands on. Some of his most prized items include the Ultraman Orb and Ultraman Geed Blu-ray sets.

“I love those two because they explore the idea that it doesn’t matter where you came from before, it’s what you do now that defines you.”

One of Jessie’s many collectibles

Ultraman has inspired Jessie to realize that he is in charge of his fate and the difficulties of the past do not undermine his potential. He has applied this philosophy to many aspects of his life and has made changes for the better. At one point he didn’t believe he could be an interviewer, but with the confidence he gained from Ultraman, he harnessed his power and now has great conversations with some of the top voice actors and creators in the community.

“I really like how all the Ultras and their hosts have such neat support systems. All the different science and military organizations want to help them. They all think before they act and work together.”

He doesn’t only do interviews, though. In one of his recent videos, Jessie drew attention to the impact of inflation on the toy market and the repercussions of inaccessibility. While he generally doesn’t get political on his platforms, he feels it’s important to pay attention to how real-world issues affect the franchises he loves.

Although he can have strong opinions on various aspects of the toy and collectible industry, he tries not to let himself get dragged into too many online battles. (That wouldn’t be the Ultraman way, after all!) He also does reviews, hauls, list videos, and vlogs and has been posting consistently since 2011.

Jessie has cultivated quite the community from his engagement with Ultraman fandom. He is a regular participant in various Discord groups, including Ultraman Connection, in which he and friends discuss theories, air their grievances, give each other reviews on content, and take part in the inevitable camaraderie that any Ultra-fan group develops.

“We talk a lot about the differences between each Ultraman series and how they manage to be so versatile and yet keep the same themes. Ultraman R/B was so comedic and yet it came out right after Geed which was such a deep, emotional story. It’s just cool how two shows can be so opposite in tone but still have the same message.”

Jessie is responsible for recruiting a multitude of new Ultraman fans through his reviews, articles, and videos and for that we at Ultraman Connection are always grateful!

Jessie has also branched out into taking commissions for custom painted figures. If you’d like to commission a piece from him, or just connect with him in general, you can reach him by email at elias_jessie@yahoo.com or on his social medias which are linked below. Stay tuned for more on UltramanConnection.com!

https://twitter.com/ZeltraxMilleniu

https://www.facebook.com/ZeltraxMillennium

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uagFIxU2NKs

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June 16, 2022

ARTIST KLENDA V FINDS BEAUTY AND HUMANITY IN THE ULTRAS

The Ultraman fan community is a very special place. It’s one of nostalgia, theories, events, art, and a mutual appreciation for the deeper philosophy of the Ultraman universe. One of the people who contributes greatly to the community is artist Klenda, aka @Klenda_V on Twitter.

Klenda began her journey as many have; by growing up watching the 1966 classic Ultraman series. After having lost touch with the franchise over the years, she was reintroduced as an adult by her brother who gave her a copy of Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends The Movie, which featured Ultraman Zero, after a trip to Japan. The nostalgia engrossed her and during the pandemic, Klenda immersed herself into Ultraman Taiga, which had been running weekly on the Ultraman Official channel on YouTube.

Klenda was touched by the sentiment of Ultraman. She had grown tired of the grittiness and moral ambiguity of many western superheroes and felt that Ultraman represented the honor of upholding morals with gratitude.

The thing about Ultraman is that it’s really a love story,” Klenda smiled. “The Ultras love humanity despite the humans’ apathy, negligence, and hopelessness. Despite everything they always choose to connect.

Klenda especially expressed admiration for Ultraman Nexus. “It shows us what hope can look like in a world that has given up.” A theme we both agreed is extremely pertinent in the current state of the world.

With her background in fine arts and her affinity for comic books, Klenda has developed a unique and refined creative style. Her work is unique and stands apart from other Ultraman fan art because of the almost romantic and at times familial nature to her design choices. Klenda gives us glimpses into the home life of Ultras, embracing their children, going on dates. She sometimes Tweets that she could watch a whole series about the relationships of the Ultras, set entirely in the Land of Light.

Geometrically pleasing psychedelic scenes, vibrant tableaux, portraits that capture the stoicism of Ultraman himself—Klenda definitely has range, but all her pieces share a mesmerizing intensity.

Ultraman is supposed to be beautiful. I want to represent that beauty, that’s what I hope to do in my work.

While she does take plenty of inspiration from 1990s - 2000s era Ultraman series such as Tiga, Gaia, Max, Nexus, and Agul, one of her recent inspirations has been Takahiko Waki who designed Absolute Tartarus’ suit for the more recent Ultra Galaxy Fight series.

In fact, Klenda found herself slipping through the looking glass in December of 2021 during the Ultraman Connection Live: Holiday Special. In the middle of the livestream event, the Absolutians invaded Tsuburaya Productions’ Tokyo studio, and Absolute Tartarus began directly addressing fan messsages. I asked her to tell us what happened.

For context: as soon as Tartarus was announced to be answering questions, the comment section went crazy; people asking Tartarus what gym he went to, what beauty regime he kept, etc. I thought, ‘surely he wouldn’t answer one of THESE,’ and joined in with ‘Why are you so handsome?

At which point they selected the question, to which he replied: ‘Ohohohoh, Klenda…Klenda. You have potential. Someone like you, must feel lonely on this planet, full of Land of Light believers. You, are always welcome, in the Kingdom.’

Firstly, thank you Walter Roberts for ruining my life. Second, that might be the most surreal moment of my life. It took a while to process that part of Ultraman—something I’ve been watching since before my memory begins—had reached out and poked me, specifically. It was awesome, it definitely made me more invested in Tartarus as a character and a villain, and I’m pretty sure I’m now legally obligated to go visit a live Tartarus show and take a photo with him."

I dearly wish I had a recording of the rest of this encounter; his other answers were also amazing, including him attempting to read out a keyboard-smash. It was a great time and that alone was more than worth the price of admission!

One of Klenda’s other favorite Ultra-muses is Zoffy because of how iconic his suit is.

I think a good way to tell how well a character is designed is if a child can draw it and you can tell who it is. If a child drew Zoffy, you’d know right away.

When asked if there was any other reason, she connected to Zoffy, Klenda admitted she was raised in a large family and relates to the different bonds Zoffy has with each of the Ultra Brothers. She felt represented by his ability to tap into various parts of himself to help his siblings respectively.

However, Klenda isn’t the only one who developed this kind of kinship with Ultraman. Through posting her work, Klenda came in touch with fellow fan artists and writers and has become a part of a thriving Ultraman fan community, many of whom are also women. They use Twitter and Discord to discuss their pressing questions, dissect the mythology of the franchise, and display their fan art.

Over the 56 years that it’s been around, Ultraman has been so internally consistent. It keeps to its core principles of compassion, mercy, and hope. No matter what iteration of Ultraman you watch, it’s coming from a foundation of love.

As of now, Klenda doesn’t sell prints of her work, but she does take private commissions and she can be reached on twitter @Klenda_V and her website Klenda-V-Portfolio.carrd.co.

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May 31, 2022

THE NOOB ON SHIN ULTRAMAN: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

If you’re an Ultraman fan (or even an Ultra-noob like myself) you’ve more than likely heard the news… Shin Ultraman is now in release in Japan!  Shinji Higuchi, director of beloved classics such as Shin Godzilla, Attack on Titan (2015), and many more, has outdone himself again.

As a noob, I don’t have enough experience with the Ultraman franchise to determine the all-time best Ultra film, but judging from what I have seen, Shin Ultraman serves as the most encapsulating contemporary addition to the property. You don’t have to take it from me though, so far Shin Ultraman is the highest grossing live-action movie in Japan this year and has been deemed the most commercially successful movie in Ultraman history. Let’s talk about why (minimal spoilers).

The story follows the S-Class Species Suppression Protocol (SSSP) as they attempt to handle the recent serial invasion of earth by Kaiju. When one of their battles is taken over by Ultraman, the Kaiju is defeated but SSSP member, Shinji Kaminaga, is killed along the way. Ultraman somehow preserves Shinji’s soul by taking his form and periodically switching back and forth between Shinji and the true Ultra form. Ultraman assumes Shinji’s role in society and continues to protect humanity from further threats, some of which take the form of Kaiju and aliens that any Ultraman fan will be excited to see.

What makes the structure of Shin Ultraman so special is that it’s basically a four-part episodic that’s been elegantly smushed into one two-hour epic. While the film does have a lot going on, the fast pacing and overarching themes create an effortless flow.

At times it even has an almost art film quality. With dynamic angles, distinct camera work, a soundtrack comprised of music from the days of classic Ultraman, and the use of vintage sound effects in modern fight scenes, Shin Ultraman is an amalgamation of all our favorite Ultraman quirks with a modern spin. Its cinematic motifs don’t take away from the obvious love that Shinji Higuchi has for the franchise. He still commits to the Ultraman narrative structure that we all know and love but with a more serious lens to the visual narration.

Shin Ultraman deals with major topics like misinformation, the question of morality as a hero, corruption in high places, fearmongering, and much more. The film wasn’t afraid to draw parallels to real life issues, and that is very on brand for the franchise, considering Ultraman himself was originally created as an icon to ignite hope for a post-World War II Japan. I think Shin Ultraman does a great job of resurging the nature of Ultraman and refreshing the idea of what Ultraman movies can look like.

Ultimately, Shin Ultraman has ranked as one of my all-time favorite Ultraman experiences and I can guarantee it’ll be on your list too. Shin Ultraman is currently only available in Japan, but we are all hoping for international releases in the coming months, so stay tuned here on UltramanConnection.com for more!

The Noob is Evangelia Artemis, a New York-based writer and otaku who works on staff at Ultraman Connection. She attended a closed screening of Shin Ultraman with the staff of Ultraman Connection.

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May 27, 2022

A NOOB REVIEWS ULTRA GALAXY FIGHT: THE DESTINED CROSSROAD

The time has finally come… Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad is here! This is the third series

of the Ultra Galaxy Fight saga, but if you haven’t seen the first two, never fear, the Noob is here to tell

you—you don’t have to! The Destined Crossroad is powerful enough to stand alone and still make

perfect sense. This review is based on the Ultraman Connection Watch Party screening of the entire

UGFDC series uncut—which was attended by a record number of you by the way! The movie was in

English, but the TVOD will offer subtitles in various languages for international fans.

The story follows the Ultras as they battle their all-time nemeses the Absolutians, spearheaded by the

almighty Absolute Tartarus. The Ultras must protect the Land Of Light against the threats of the

Absolutians along with many other foes, old and new, recruited by them. With the help of Ultras from

every corner of the franchise, the battle is epic, enthralling, and jam-packed with action!

A movie as fast-paced and intense as Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad could easily have been

confusing to a newcomer, but between the recap at the beginning and the clarity of the story

throughout, I felt prepared to enter the battlefield alongside the Ultras. I felt I could trust the film to

bring me along for the ride, and I was not disappointed. Psychedelic visuals, entrancingly choreographed

fight sequences, insane costumes, and awesome sound effects worked together to build a delectable

narrative for any Ultra-fan to dissect.

Although there were certainly some references that would be better appreciated by a seasoned

Ultraman enjoyer, even as a noob I could recognize the intricacy of the character relationships. The

focus on the interactions between some of the female Ultras, the camaraderie of some of the more

playful Ultras, even the communication between the Ultras and Absolutians offered great insight into

the inner network of the Land of Light. It was extremely rewarding to see how the Ultras function

amongst themselves outside of a human-centric context.

The Destined Crossroad works to further the Ultraman philosophy of unity creating strength. Although

the passion exerted by individual Ultras in each fight exemplify the importance of ‘giving each effort

your all’ and ‘believing in yourself’, the Ultras aren’t unique for their willpower.

The distinction between the fighting style of the Absolutians and the fighting style of the Ultras is that

when faced with overwhelming challenges, the Ultras share in the strength of their bonds and even

merge with one another to increase their power. They work together and cheer each other on. The

Ultras prioritize teamwork while their foes often pursue highly individualistic concerns indulging in their

own best interests sometimes at the expense of one another.

When Tartarus shows the slightest bit of concern for Absolute Diavolo, for example, warning that

Diavolo has expended one of the last of his remaining “lives,” for example, Diavolo literally smacks his

leader’s hand away and grunts that he knows. The Absolutians, it seems, have little comprehension of

kindness or negotiation (which would have solved their whole crisis a lot less violently).

In the Ultraman franchise we usually see Ultras and their enemies battle on Earth, one on one, so

getting the opportunity to see the social interactions, politics, and emotional relationships between

their people on such a large scale was definitely a treat.

All in all, for me, the most important takeaway from Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad was a

reminder we all need from time to time:

“Do not fight with anger in your heart.”

Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad is available now to registered members of Ultraman

Connection as a 24-hour Timed Video On Demand rental for $6.99 in the Operations Room. Rent the

movie now and you can also have a 24% discount off any Ultraman item in the Merch Store! Registration

for membership is FREE so be sure to sign up and stay tuned for more updates on

UltramanConnection.com!

The Noob is Evangelia Artemis, a New York-based writer and otaku who works on staff at Ultraman

Connection. Her first live appearance was at the Watch Party Round Table for UGFDC.

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May 24, 2022

SHIN ULTRAMAN – JEFF GOMEZ’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS

By special arrangement with Tsuburaya Productions, several Ultraman Connection team members got to see Shin Ultraman, the new theatrical feature recently released in Japan, directed by Shinji Higuchi. Although we don’t want to get into spoilers, we did want to share our impressions of the film with you and proudly assure all fans of Ultraman that it is indeed a special experience.

One of the meanings of the term “shin” in Japanese is “essence” and the filmmakers have truly captured both the fundamental meaning and narrative of the original Ultraman series. There are cosmetic differences, of course, and the film very much takes place in its own universe, but the very elements that first drew me to Ultraman as a hero—his otherness, his stoicism, his nobility—are all here.

A central theme in the film is that we must ask ourselves what a being such as Ultraman sees in us and what we see in ourselves. Despite our selfishness and our predicaments are we worth saving? I am fascinated by the fact that the answers are not easily forthcoming in the film. They are subtle and don’t always turn out as we could have hoped. At the same time Shin Ultraman retains a sense of optimism that distinguishes it from its predecessor Shin Godzilla.

The story is a fascinating, action-packed, and affectionate distillation of Ultraman. But what initially appears episodic does get sewn together in an exciting and novel way by screenwriter Hideaki Anno. To this end, the movie is more expansive than the trailers let on, giving the scenario an epic scope.

Finally, Shin Ultraman is elevated by a warm and subtle cast, as well as a dry wit that cocks its head at some of the series’ stranger and more fantastical tropes. Higuchi’s stylish eye, aided by cinematographers Osamu Ichikawa and Keizō Suzuki, hearkens to the best of Japanese and European cinema of the late-1960s and early ‘70s.

So, the concepts and action (and Kaiju!) are allowed to be way out there, but the filmmakers are taking the story and story world quite seriously. To me, this elevates the film to be worthy of serious consideration not just in Japan or to the core fan base, but to the entire world. Shin Ultraman is undoubtedly a work of art.

In an interview in Japan, Shinji Higuchi said, “I think the original Ultraman had a world where a wonderful future awaited. Of course, people had their problems and troubles, but they faced them with a carefree spirit that surpassed their worries and problems. When I decided to make Shin Ultraman, I wanted to create a story about such people and a wonderful team…and depict the intelligence, courage, and ability to solve problems that are necessary to depict such a future.

“In this day and age, we don’t need the darkness of the heart, at least not in this Ultraman. The Ultraman of the past was a shining jewel without price, and I wonder how much of that can be achieved with today’s cast. I want to do my best to make it all the way through to the end."

I couldn’t agree more, and with Shin Ultraman, achievement unlocked.

Jeff Gomez is the key creative Producer behind Ultraman Connection. Editor-in-Chief EJ Couloucoundis and the Noob, Evangelia Artemis, will file their own impressions shortly.

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March 26, 2022

A NOOB WATCHES ULTRAMAN TRIGGER EPISODE Z

As an official representative of the Ultraman noob community, I felt it was my duty to make Ultraman Trigger Episode Z the next stop on my journey through the Ultraman universe. Directed by Masayoshi Takesue, Episode Z is the most recent Ultraman release, streaming on Tsuburaya Imagination in Japan and made available as a rental on Ultraman Connection a short time ago. The film serves as a continuation of the Ultraman Trigger series and picks up two years after the final battle for the Eternity Core had taken place.

Immediately we are thrown into the action, which was both disorienting and exhilarating at the same time. Within the first ten minutes we get intense Kaiju combat flashbacks, we witness a haunting interaction between Yuna Shizuma and Kengo Manaka in which he begs her for help from the liminal space, we receive a cryptic message from the cult of Rylar, and we are beckoned to harvest the energy of the sun in order to save Kengo from irreversible damage. Talk about mile-a-minute plot beats!

Although it was a lot of information to absorb at once, it wasn’t hard to pick up on the context and move right alongside the team. The combination of the GUTS crewmates’ camaraderie, electric energy, and unwavering passion for protecting humanity made me feel welcome and eager to learn the lore without any prior knowledge of the Ultraman Trigger series.

Yeah, sorry guys, I haven’t gotten to it yet! Why go straight to the movie without taking in the show, you ask? Well, I love the Ultraman Connection Live events and watch all of those. (I’m big into the new UCL story canon.) Doing it last week meant seeing Episode Z and the team here at UC wondered what I thought coming in cold!

This was also in part due to the clarity of the existing rules of science within the Ultraman universe. In order to prevent the light of Ultraman Trigger’s from fading out and fusing with the Eternity Core, GUTS was asked to harness the Ultra-Ancient Sparklence relic, gather and amplify the light of the sun, channel that light into the core to charge Trigger’s powers and enable him to fight once again.

Not only is this ritual beautiful conceptually, but it is enriched even further by the requirement that it be conducted by all the GUTS members together (even if it led to some negative consequences!). Gathering at the altar gave the teammates a platform to manifest their love for Kengo (AKA Ultraman Trigger) in synchronicity. This helped me appreciate Kengo before even formally meeting his character simply because his teammates' concern for him was a testament to what a valuable person he must be.

This setup also made space for other characters' stories to unfold before the main plot even took form. I appreciated this especially in the case of Yuna whom I was instantly drawn to. In only a few minutes of screen time it was very clear that Yuna is an empathetic person, entirely fit to wield the power of her ancestor, Priestess Yuzare. At the same time, that empathy can cause powers to become a burden as she is constantly worried for Kengo’s fate, and the expectations set upon her. Her internal struggle with her abilities is subtle but prevalent enough to make her character complex and interesting. The Ultraman franchise in its entirety seems to do a very good job at shining a light on the dimensions of their female characters which is extremely refreshing.

Yuna, however, is not the only character who was faced with power related complexities. Once Kengo is revived and his ability to turn into Trigger is compromised, he admits in his conversation with new GUTS commander, Ryuichi Tokioka, that being the incarnation of light comes with an inherent darkness as well. He identifies that this is what makes him human because the coexistence of lightness and darkness is what the human condition is ultimately composed of. Tokioka responds to this by posing the jarringly existential question, if he can no longer tap into the lightness in totality and transform into Ultraman then who is he really? How will he survive?

I think it’s really important for these ideas to be addressed considering they seem to have been underlying themes throughout the Ultraman story world. Balancing the power we hold as individuals with the power we can harness as a collective, ensuring that we know who we are despite our special abilities and circumstances in order to maintain a strong moral base. It doesn’t stop there, however, these principles are continuously explored in the film with the introduction of Evil Trigger and the space parasite Celebro. Evil Trigger’s goal is to gain power through causing mayhem and Celebro infects beings on various planets, “sowing fear that leads to arms races and self-destruction.” These antagonists are extremely topical and are in line with current events on many levels.

In this context I think we can all relate to Kengo and resonate with his feelings of helplessness. He lacks his Ultra powers when he needs them most. In a way, we are all looking for our scattered Hyper Keys in these times of uncertainty. In the state he found himself in, Kengo could not restore peace on his own. But with the help of his team (including Dark Trigger and Ultraman Z, who has piqued my interest—and whose entire series just landed on Ultraman Connection for free) and the persistence true optimism, Kengo is able to pursue a positive outcome through the power of unity. We can all learn something from that.

As Mr. Mitsukuni said best, “Anyone can become the light but perhaps they cannot shine on their own. That which connects people, that’s the light.”

Evangelia Artemis

March 2022

Evangelia is now a member of the Iceberg Theory team, producers of Ultraman Connection. She is a New York-based writer who also draws underground comics, loves anime, and is working on her first novel.

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March 23, 2022

ULTRAMAN TRIGGER EPISODE Z - THE REVIEW

Though I was very young when I started watching Ultraman Tiga, I initially only had a small selection of episodes to enjoy and finding more was difficult for an American kid in the early 2000s. It took me almost a decade to catch the rest and they were rarely in order. In fact, the last episodes I watched on my initial journey through the series were episodes 43 and 44, “Land Shark” and “Inheritance of Shadows,” which introduced Evil Tiga. Imagine my surprise when I first saw the trailer for Ultraman Trigger Episode Z and realized that I would be completing my journey through Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga the same way! I consider the Evil Tiga story to have been one of the peaks of the Tiga narrative; could Episode Z reach the same heights?

Warning, Spoilers for Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga and Ultraman Trigger Episode Z ahead!

Short answer? Yes! Episode Z is at least this reviewer’s favorite story in the entire Trigger saga. Drawing on the best aspects of not only the show it preceded, but of massive fan-favorite series Ultraman Z, the story told in this special feels like a perfect epilogue to this recent era of Ultraman television.

The story takes place two years after the final episode of Trigger. The world has changed since Kengo Manaka went into the Eternity Core. GUTS-Select has evolved its arsenal with a host of new weapons, and a new captain! Ryuichi Tokioka is an Ultra-Ancient Civilization researcher with deep ties to Akito and Chairman Mitsukuni, who has become team leader after former Captain Tatsumi’s promotion and reassignment. Under him, GUTS-Select has managed to protect the planet from the odd monster attack without the aid of any Ultraman.

However, though the menacing specter of the Giants of Darkness has passed, new threats are still ready to rear their ugly heads. When a change in Kengo’s stasis puts his life in danger, GUTS-Select begin a bold operation to rescue him, returning him to the waking world. However, his rescue comes at the cost of his ability to transform. Thankfully, Haruki Natsukawa and Ultraman Z have crossed universes once again, and are here to help Kengo until he can become Trigger again. However, Haruki’s appearance and Kengo’s circumstances are all part of a much darker plot, 30 million years in the making…

Episode Z is a fantastic showcase of all of Trigger’s best qualities. Raiga Terasaka, Shunya Kaneko, and Runa Toyoda form the emotional core of the film with their bond, having taken their chemistry from the original show and allowed it to mature significantly, despite how little time has passed since Trigger was shot. Kaneko and Toyoda especially get to explore new qualities in the performance they honed over 25 episodes, both serious and comedic. Raiga Terasaka has managed to, over the course of his tenure as Ultraman Trigger, make “Smile, Smile!” a rallying cry for fans and casual watchers alike, and he brings his signature blend of sincerity and lightheartedness to the finale of Kengo’s story.

Kohshu Hirano is one of the most beloved performers to ever wave a transformation device, and fans who lamented the lack of an Ultraman Z movie should be sated by this story. During the special, Hirano’s acting is put to the test when his portrayal of Haruki is inverted due to the circumstances of the greater threat, providing a challenge that the actor proves more than a match for. Tokusatsu veteran Yuichi Nakamura brings his prodigious talent to the role of Captain Tokioka, and villain Zabil delivers what may legitimately be one of the most gloriously unhinged performances in the entire Ultraman Series.

Episode Z is directed by Masayoshi Takesue, best known for helming the direction for Ultraman R/B, and his influence is clear as crystal throughout the special. Takesue’s talent for naturalistic, earnest character writing is on full display, and works exceptionally well to bridge elements from Trigger and its multi-million-year timeline, as well as Z. The fight scenes run the gamut from desperate, destructive battles to even a tag-team wrestling match in a ring made of power lines, and all of them look fantastic, matching the best episodes of Trigger with no major lulls.

If all this has you excited to see Ultraman Trigger Episode Z yourself, take heart; you can still rent the VOD right now, right here, for $6.99.  A purchase gets you unlimited plays within 48 hours of first play, with a 7-day period to watch. Don’t miss out on the finale to the Ultraman Trigger story—or the teaser to what comes next in the Ultraman Series at the end… And for more Ultraman media, news, and reviews, stick close to Ultraman Connection!

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April 29, 2020

ULTRAMAN’S 6 MOST FRIENDLY KAIJU

Not all of the monsters in Ultraman are diabolical creatures bent on death and destruction, nor are they all mindless beasts. Every so often in the Ultraman Series, a kaiju comes along who just wants to chill—or even help defend and protect humanity. Here are six of the most well-known friendly kaiju from throughout the Ultraman franchise.

ALBOOM-TIGRIS

Alboom-Tigris appeared in Ultraman Gaia, Episode 38 (“Ground-Breaking Tusks”) as a monster that habited underground. It was the target of the Earth Piercing Bomb, even though the monster had not inflicted any harm to humanity. The Tigris would succumb to wounds during the ensuing conflict, but two more incarnations of this Kaiju would return to defend the Earth from alien invaders.

ALIEN FANTON

Unlike most aliens encountered by Ultra Heroes, Alien Fanton cared little for fighting and destruction. Instead, his priorities were of the gluttonous variety. Fanton was first encountered in Ultraman Mebius, Episode 7 (“Fanton’s Lost Item”): he would go on to eat all of GUYS food, though he returned the favor by giving them critical information. He would also help in the battle against Alien Empera, though not through physical intervention, of course. Individual Fantons would appear in Ultraman X (as Dr. Gourman, who worked with XIO’s research and development lab) and Ultraman Taiga, aiding humanity in both cases.

RABBIDOG

Although his appearance was brief, the adorable space dog who is also Taro’s fluffy friend leapt onto the screen and into our hearts in Ultraman Taro, Episode 24 (“This Is the Land of Ultra!”). The monster showed audiences that the residents of the Land of Light kept dog-like creatures as pets. As for cats, well, the jury is still out…

RON

Ron was separated from Ultraman Leo after the insidious Alien Magma destroyed that hero’s homeworld of Planet L77. Being forced to wander through space, Ron grew both in size and fury. Luckily, the only thing that proved to be more powerful than Ron’s temper was his connection to Ultraman Leo. The two were reunited in Ultraman Leo, Episode 10 (“The Monster that Wanders in Sorrow “).

GUARDIE

The ancient companion to the giant who would become Evil Tiga, Guardie first appeared in Ultraman Tiga, Episode 44 (“Inheritance of Shadow”). After awakening in the present day to find his companion merged with an evil entity, Guardie did what any good friend would do and fought to free his tainted ally. Sadly, Guardie died at the hands of its former friend, but he was honored by Tiga, who flew the fallen giant to space.

PIGMON

And the top spot goes to…Pigmon! Not only is this Kaiju Ultraman’s oldest non-human ally—appearing all the way back in Ultraman, Episode 8 (“The Monster Anarchy Zone”)—but it has proven itself time and time again by returning to help, even sacrificing its life to save Ultraman and its allies. To Pigmon, we say, “thank you!” May it continue to live (and die) for the good people of Earth.

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April 24, 2020

ULTRAMAN ZERO: A HISTORY OF ONE OF TSUBURAYA’S MOST POPULAR HEROES

In the decade since his first appearance in 2009, Ultraman Zero has become one of the most popular heroes in the entire Ultraman franchise. To celebrate this milestone and thank all the fans who have supported Zero, Tsuburaya Productions recently announced that the “Ultraman Zero 10th Anniversary Project” has launched!

ULTRAMAN ZERO 10TH ANNIVERSARY PROJECT

Ultraman Zero first appeared in Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie, which premiered on December 12th, 2009. Since then, the unique personality of the son of Ultraseven has distinguished himself from other Ultra Heroes and made him beloved by fans all around the world.

Watch the short message from Ultraman Zero here! (English subtitles available)

Over the past 10 years, he has both been supported by countless friends and allies, and built unbreakable bonds across galaxies and universes alike.

Let’s take a look back at Ultraman Zero’s battles since his first appearance!

Chronology of Ultraman Zero Appearances

2009

Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie

Ultraman Zero stood against the first evil Ultraman in history, and saved the Land of Light from disaster. It was here that he debuted his signature line: “My name is Zero, Ultraman Zero! Son of Ultraseven!”

2010

Ultra Galaxy Legend Side Story: Ultraman Zero Vs Darklops Zero

Ultraman Zero stopped the evil plot of the Alien Salome on the planet Cheney. During the battle, Zero fought against Darklops Zero, a robot duplicate of himself, as well as imitations of the Ultra Brothers, including his father, Ultraseven.

Ultraman Zero: Revenge Of Belial

To stop the invasion plan of the revived Belial, who created an empire in another universe as Kaiser Belial, Ultraman Zero gathered a group of new allies, including Glenfire, Mirror Knight, and Jean-Bot. Entrusted with the Ultimate Aegis from Ultraman Noa, he foiled and defeated Belial once again. Afterwards, he founded the “Ultimate Force Zero” supergroup with his new comrades.

2011

Ultraman Zero Side Story: Killer the Beatstar

To stop Beatstar’s plan of destroying all organic life in the universe, the Ultimate Force Zero reunited to fight against the mad AI’s Mecha Robot Army. By the end of the battle, they recruited a new member, Jean-Nine, to the team.

2012

Ultraman Saga

To save the alternate “Future Earth” of a universe without Ultras, Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Dyna, and Ultraman Cosmos (each hailing from a different universe) came together to form a single being, Ultraman Saga, and defeated the powerful menace Hyper Zetton

Ultra Zero Fight Part 1

To fight against monsters controlled by the evil Alien Bat, Ultraman Zero became Strong Corona Zero and Luna Miracle Zero with the power inherited from Ultraman Dyna and Ultraman Cosmos!

Ultra Zero Fight Part 2

The Ultimate Force Zero reunited once again to stop the “Darkness Five,” an army serving under the returned Ultraman Belial. In the middle of the fight, Zero himself was possessed by Belial and became “Zero Darkness.” Just before his consciousness was fully subsumed by Belial, the voices and love of his comrades allowed him to expel Belial’s spirit, reviving Zero as Shining Ultraman Zero! With this new power, Zero defeated the Darkness Five.

2015

Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Warriors!

Chasing the evil Etelgar, Ultraman Zero came to the Earth protected by Ultraman Ginga. He trained Hikaru Raido (a.k.a. Ultraman Ginga) and Sho (a.k.a. Ultraman Victory) so that they could become Ultraman Ginga Victory, using the power of the Ultra Fusion Brace entrusted to them by Ultraman King.

Ultraman X, Episode 5

Ultraman Zero came to the universe of Ultraman X, battling together with his contemporary against the evil Nackle, Bandello. To come to Zero’s aid, X was able to obtain the “Ultimate Zero Armor.”

2016

Ultraman X the Movie: Here He Comes! Our Ultraman

To save Ultraman X from the crisis brought about by the evil Zaigorg, Ultraman Zero appeared once again, fighting an army of monsters with Ultraman Max, Nexus, Ginga, and Victory.

2017

Ultraman Orb the Movie: Let Me Borrow the Power of Bonds!

Ultraman Zero helped Ultraman Orb defeat Galactron in Hawaii, before flying to another universe.

Ultra Fight Orb

Zero teamed with Ultraman Orb to defeat Reibatos, the Ghost Sorcerer, and his undead monster army. Together with his father, Ultraseven, Zero trained Orb and helped him find his new form, “Emerium Slugger.”

Ultraman Geed

To retrieve the Ultra Capsules stolen from the Land of Light, Zero went to the Earth located in the universe known as “Side Space,” where he met with Ultraman Geed. As Ultraman Zero Beyond, he defeated Ultraman Belial together with Geed, hopefully once and for all.

2018

Ultraman Geed the Movie: Connect the Wishes!

Ultraman Zero united with Ultraman Geed and Ultraman Orb once again to save all universes from the Gigantic Mechanical Brain, Gillvalis.

2019

Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes

Ultraman Zero went to save Ultrawoman Grigio from the hands of Ultra Dark-Killer, only to be taken hostage by the evil giant along with her. With the help of the New Generation Heroes, he became Ultraman Zero Beyond once again and defeated Zero Darkness, who was created by Ultra Dark-Killer.

Ultraman Taiga, Episode 23

Ultraman Zero appeared in front of Ultraman Taiga when he was overwhelmed by Imit-Ultraman Belial. Entrusting the Plasma-Zerolet to Taiga, they stopped the conspiracy planned by Tregear together.

2020

Ultraman Z

From Zero to Z (Zett)! We look forward to meeting Ultraman Zero’s disciple in the all-new series Ultraman Z, later this year! More information coming soon…

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To avoid missing any Ultraman Zero updates, don’t forget to subscribe to the Official ULTRAMAN YouTube Channel!

https://www.youtube.com/user/tsuburaya

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April 14, 2020

A MESSAGE FROM ULTRAMAN: THE 5 ULTRA OATHS 2020

“To protect the peace on Earth, now is the time for all of us to unite!”

These are the words of Ultraman himself, who has delivered a heartfelt message to the children of the world and their parents in the midst of the coronavirus global pandemic. In the video, released with English subtitles on April 12, 2020, Ultraman projects sympathy and confidence, acknowledging the difficult times we are all experiencing. He revisits the “5 Ultra Oaths,” which were first featured in the final episode of The Return of Ultraman series way back in 1971. The oaths were originally designed to promote good habits in children.

Produced by the Ultraman Foundation, a children’s charity affiliated with Tsuburaya Productions, the new video of Ultraman is meant to reassure young people and their parents that “there are many people all over the world fighting to protect us” and that “we want everyone to challenge themselves to do what they can.” The new oaths directly address personal hygiene, and physical and psychological safety during these weeks of uncertainty.

Feel free to share the video, which was viewed over 150,000 times in its first 24-hours.

A message from Ultraman: The Five Ultra Oaths 2020【ULTRAMAN FOUNDATION】

A printable poster of The 5 Ultra Oaths 2020 can be downloaded here:

https://m-78.jp/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ULTRA_KIKIN_2020_EN.pdf

Check out the Ultraman Foundation in English here:

http://www.ultraman-kikin.jp/en/

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March 25, 2020

ULTRAMAN ZERO: LINK BETWEEN THE GENERATIONS

Since his debut in 2009’s Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie, Ultraman Zero, the Son of Ultraseven, has proven himself to be one of the greatest heroes to emerge from the home world of the Ultras, the Land of Light. Appearing toward the end of the Second Generation of the Ultraman Series, Zero’s flamboyant style and tremendous power helped to usher in the Third Generation’s (also called the New Generation Heroes) through a trilogy of movies starring him and his allies—Ultra Galaxy: The Movie, Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial, and Ultraman Saga.

Zero’s popularity makes sense; after all, he is the inheritor of the legacy of two of the most beloved Ultra Brothers of the Ultraman Classic era, being both the son of the eponymous hero of 1967’s Ultraseven, and the student of Seven’s most famous protégé, Ultraman Leo. Unaware of his legendary parentage, Zero’s youthful exuberance got him into significant trouble in his early life. Exiled by his father from the Land of Light, Zero was taken in by Leo, who began to train him, much as Seven once had.

After Leo tempered his power with an unshakeable sense of justice, Zero was sent back to the Land of Light to save not only his father, but every Ultra, when the evil Ultraman Belial returned to conquer the universe. Defeating the tyrannical Belyudra, the dark giant that Belial created after merging with over a hundred monsters, Zero was welcomed back home by Seven, who proudly embraced his son.

Zero’s role in the Ultraman Series is a unique one. He is a representative of all three generations. As the son of one of the greatest heroes of the Ultraman Classic First Generation, Zero’s introduction heralded the end of the experimental Second Generation of the series, and set the tone and stage for the more serialized, shared-universe New Generation that has continued to this day.

Since his debut, Zero has, like the great heroes before him, acted as a mentor to many of his contemporaries, especially the young Ultraman Geed, son of his nemesis Belial. Acting as a surrogate older brother to Geed, as well as other heroes of the modern age, Zero has slowly begun to find himself in a role similar to his father and teacher.

Now, it has just been announced that Ultraman Zero will find himself directly training a new young Ultra—Ultraman Z! In the premiere episode of the upcoming series Ultraman Z, Zero and Z stand as the vanguard of protection for the Land of Light against an evil force from the distant past. After a fierce battle, the pair are separated, and it is up to the fierce but relatively inexperienced Z to save a now-threatened Earth. But more than likely, we haven’t seen the last of Ultraman Zero!

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August 10, 2022

NEW ULTRAMAN TIGA FIGURE FROM ALPHAMAX ANNOUNCED

Tsuburaya Productions and the Japanese action-figure company Alphamax are happy to announce the first product from the new Ultraman pre-painted action figure series—Ultraman Tiga.

The Ultraman Tiga action figure stands approximately 16.5cm in height. It is fully articulated with over 42 articulation points, and the figure is covered with a detailed paint suit made of a special material to help prevent any possible wear under normal circumstances. The eyes and Color Timer come equipped with LED lights with a magnetic sensor control in its chest, and the figure can stand on its magnetic base in different poses. Accessories include interchangeable hands, two Zeperion Beam effect pieces, a Sparklence, and the magnetic base.

Ultraman Tiga is available for pre-order now and will be sold in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. Shipping is scheduled to begin around the 4th quarter of 2022.

For more product photos, please visit the website listed below.

https://alphamax.jp/

*This product is under development and yet to be finalized. The final version may differ.

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July 26, 2022

RISE OF ULTRAMAN PUZZLE BRINGS US KAIJU IN 1000 PIECES

Fans of the various Ultraman Marvel Comics miniseries all agree that dthe Arthur Adams variant cover for Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman #2 comic series is one of the coolest Ultraman illustrations ever. Now, it can belong to you in the form of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, available on the Factory Entertainment website! 

Take a close look at the original Arthur Adams cover image for name checks on all Kaiju in this puzzle.

This insanely detailed piece features our beloved classic Ultraman surrounded by a plethora of Kaiju and aliens including Dada, Alien Baltan, Red King, Dodongo, the Friendly Monster Pigmon, and many more. Can you name them all without squinting at the artwork above? Put the pieces together and find out!

The cover art was drawn the traditional way; pencils and inks on paper rather than digitally. “On average, my covers take approximately a week,” Adams told Ultraman Connection. “And that one was a pretty solid ‘seven day’ cover. There's a lot going on...just keeping track of reference, and Tsuburaya Productions wanting me to draw Ultraman’s face properly. And they were right. The first one I drew, you still clearly see Ultraman, but he was a little more expressive than they wanted him to be.” 

The finished artwork was beautifully colored by Jason Keith, with minor revisions to guarantee the monster colors were accurately presented.

When assembled, the puzzle is roughly 27.5 inches tall xd 19.7 inches wide, making it the perfect poster size if you want to get crafty and glue those pieces down. Not to mention the awesome box, whose face is just a full render of the image. We would use the box alone as a cool decoration, but maybe that’s just us… 

The Rise of Ultraman puzzle retails for $24.99 and can be found at Factory Entertainment (which offers giftbox packaging) here:

https://www.factoryent.com/Ultraman-Rise-Of-Ultraman-Puzzle-p/408714.htm

Shop up today and work alongside your fellow Ultraman fans to put together this stunning picture. Don’t forget to stay tuned here at UltramanConnection.com for more!

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July 20, 2022

FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT LIGHTS UP SDCC WITH NEW ULTRAMAN PLUSHES

San Diego Comic Con has begun, and along with countless cool reveals of new movies and comics, there is of course new toys and merch for the masses to enjoy. Among this cavalcade of endless nerdy stuff is Factory Entertainment’s new Ultraman plushes, including a special 2-pack deal!

This new set of toys is a delightfully cartoony reinterpretation of the original 1966 hero and one of his greatest foes, the Prince of Monsters Gomora.  Soft and super-deformed, the most noticeable feature of these adorable plushes is the light-up eyes, generating an effect reminiscent of their original suits.

These two plushes are available at the Factory Entertainment booth at SDCC, #2743. For this period, a limited deal is going on, making both available as a set for $40.  These Ultraman plushes will be around for longer than 3 minutes, but don’t expect them to stick around for long! And don’t forget that amazing Beta Capsule, also available at the booth!

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July 20, 2022

WHAT’S YOUR PASSION LAUNCHES NEW ULTRAMAN PIN COLLECTION AT SDCC

There are many hidden jewels at San Diego Comic Con this year, and nobody knows jewels better than designer jewelry brand What’s your Passion. This year, What’s Your Passion has partnered with Tsuburaya Productions to produce a brand new set of Ultraman pins, available at the convention for the first time!

The 6-pin set brings some of the most popular “chibi” Ultraman designs to your lapel. Ultraman and Ultraseven stand ready to fight inch-tall evil. Powerful foes Alien Baltan and Gomora can stand against them, or next to them! And friendly kaiju Pigmon promises to keep your backpack safe if you leave him there. Finally, join the Science Patrol yourself with the SSSP Comet Logo Badge.

These pins are for sale right now at the What’s Your Passion booth at SDCC, #929!  Pick them up before they’re all gone and bring a Special Effects Fantasy to your look!

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July 11, 2022

SEVENGER IS NEXT TOY IN ULTRAMAN VINYL ODYSSEY LINE - ULTRAMAN TIGA & BEMULAR TEASED

Last year, Seismic launched the Ultraman Vinyl Odyssey toy line with Jirahs and Clear Jirahs. This year, on Ultraman day, Seismic announced that the line is continuing with a brand new Sevenger - Ultraman 55th Anniversary Edition toy available for pre-order now until August 30th. Here’s the announcement video:

Sevenger stands 9 inches tall and is cast in premium red glitter vinyl with a metallic finish. The toy is meant to evoke Ultraman’s color palette, with a bright blue energy core simulating Ultraman’s ‘color timer’ to celebrate 55 years of the Ultraman series. 

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Sevenger comes packed with swappable eye parts and a special collectible card

The toy has 11 points of articulation and offers a second set of eyes so you can swap Sevenger’s emotion from “sad” to “angry.” The toy also comes packed with a brand-new feature to the Ultraman Vinyl Odyssey series: a lucky trading card. Randomly inserted into each purchase is a special Sevenger trading card to add a unique touch to the figure! Sevenger is sculpted by Mike Lambert with header card art by DJ Crumrine.

A red and blue robotDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

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“Sevenger represents a new step forward for us.” Seismic Chief Creative Officer Alex Rushdy explained. “It’s our most fully-featured toy yet, and we’re incredibly proud of how he turned out. To be able to celebrate the Sevenger character with a colorway celebrating the entire Ultraman series is something we are really excited about.”

Sevenger is an anti-monster robot first appearing in Ultraman Leo (1974) and then returning in Ultraman Z (2021). This toy is based on the Ultraman Z version of the character.

Sevenger - Ultraman 55th Anniversary Edition is expected to ship by the end of this year with pre-sale now available for $200.00 USD + S&H. Orders can be placed directly from Seismic Toys, as well as some of your favorite soft vinyl toy Retailers.

In addition to the Sevenger announcement, Seismic offered glimpses at the next two figures in the toyline.

First was a sneak peek at Ultraman Tiga in his multi-type form. Sculpted by Mike Lambert, this figure will be released in 2023.

Next is Bemular- the first foe Ultraman faced on Earth. Bemular is designed by John Bellotti Jr of Robo7 and sculpted by Chris Hillseth of Last Bastion Studios

Check out images of Sevenger, Ultraman Tiga, Bemular, as well as Ultraman Vinyl Odyssey branding assets here.

About Seismic, LLC.

Seismic is an independent premium soft vinyl toy company creating bold, colorful, nostalgic

pieces that will “shake up your collection.” The company is the brainchild of Alex Rushdy and

Christopher Oglio- two lifelong fans of kaiju and soft vinyl toys. They released their first

figure, Megadon, in 2019 in partnership with 13AM Games.

https://www.seismictoys.com/  

seismictoys@gmail.com

https://www.instagram.com/seismictoys/

https://twitter.com/seismictoys 

About Tsuburaya Productions

Tsuburaya Productions, the Japanese entertainment studio founded in 1963 by special

visual effects pioneer Eiji Tsuburaya, is best known for producing the Ultraman Series. “To

spark viewers’ imaginations, provide hope for the future, and cultivate kindness in young

viewers’ hearts” was the wish of the company’s founder. His words strongly express his

passion and attitude toward both creating a world which no one has ever seen, as well as

delivering warmth and kindness through his creations to all viewers.

Inheriting his desire, Tsuburaya Productions has evolved into a global entertainment

company providing content, products and services full of creativity and innovation to people

around the world. The goal is to build a brand that will not only fascinate viewers with the

enthralling Ultraman and Kaiju characters, but will also cultivate, enjoy and acknowledge the

virtues of “Courage,” “Hope” and “Kindness.”

For more information visit: https://en.tsuburaya-prod.co.jp/ 

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April 11, 2022

NEW NAKATOMI PRINT OFFERS A RETRO VISION OF THE GIANT OF LIGHT

Nakatomi Incorporated has been a supplier of some of the best-looking and highest-quality art prints to the Ultraman fandom for years now, and as the 55th Anniversary of Ultraman comes to a close, a brand-new print is here!

Created by Matt Ferguson, the print features Ultraman himself, cast in a gorgeous contrast of teal green and rust red, with the sky and land matching those colors. Offered in an 18” by 24” silkscreen, only 140 of these hand-printed, hand-numbered pieces will be sold!

In addition, a special, even more limited-edition print is also being sold, with a classic Ultraman-colored red tint! Only 55 of these silkscreen prints will be available, with both it and the original print shipped within 1-2 weeks, in Nakatomi’s special “Ultra-Red Tubes” marked with special Tom Whalen-designed tube top stickers!

The prints are available HERE and should be available as of the release of this article.

At quantities of only 140 and 55 respectively, they won’t be available for long!

For more cool Ultraman deals and news, stay close to Ultraman Connection!

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December 13, 2021

MILL CREEK’S ULTRAMAN GAIA DVD COMPLETES THE TGA TRILOGY

With the holidays upon us, the question we’ve all been grappling with is, “What do you get an Ultraman fan who has it all?” Well, look no further! On December 7th, 2021 Mill Creek Entertainment dropped the third series in the three-part “TGA” Ultraman collection. That’s right, the complete Ultraman Gaia series was released as the newest edition to the collectible spine mural that also includes Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna.

In addition to all 51 episodes, the Ultraman Gaia package also includes special releases Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna & Ultraman Gaia: The Battle in Hyper Space, and Ultraman Gaia: Gaia Once Again.

When the emergence of a wormhole threatens Earth’s atmosphere and Kaiju begin to invade major cities, a global defense force under the name GUARD is assembled to protect humanity. Passionate 20-year-old, Gamu Takayama is then recruited by GUARD’s frontline defense team, X.I.G. as a technical advisor but his role doesn’t stop there. When Takayama falls into a light tunnel during the attacks on Earth, he and Gaia become one and he is granted the responsibility of facing Hiroya Fujimiya, a fellow young man with the capability to transform into Ultraman Agul, a mega warrior whose morals and desires become muddled with time. Gaia encounters many other Ultras including Tiga and Dyna in the included feature film, The Battle in Hyper Space.

As with its two predecessors, this celebrated series boasts extraordinary special effects, and is unique in that it takes place in an alternate universe from the original Ultraman show. It is the first to include two Ultra Heroes as the main characters, not to mention each with drastically different philosophies and approaches to humanity. The tension between Gaia and Agul is one of extreme intensity and deals with nuances that the classic Ultraman vs. Kaiju plotline doesn’t necessarily have. This makes for a riveting story arc and a satisfying emotional journey like no other.

Ultraman Gaia features Japanese audio with English subtitles and a full episode guide to navigate the entire 6-disc DVD collection. For $34.99 you can either gift this awesome set to your closest Ultraman-buddy or do the smart thing and treat yourself!

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November 17, 2021

RARE CLEAR JIRAHS VINYL ON SALE AT UC LIVE DYNA & GAIA

5 Translucent Jirahs Vinyls On Sale for the First Time in Merch Store During

Ultraman Connection Live Featuring Dyna & Gaia

After the success of the last Jirahs drop from the Ultraman Vinyl Odyssey line, Seismic Toys has decided to impress us all once again! This new release, however, isn’t your typical fig. The new Seismic Jirahs toy is a beautiful homage to the tradition of DIY clear soft vinyl figures that originated in Japan in the 1970s.

A fan favorite and one of Ultraman’s most notorious enemies, the wildly frilled Jirahs is noted for having a similar appearance to another famous Kaiju. (We won’t tell!) Most recently, Jirahs did battle with heroic robot Sevenger in the miniseries Sevenger Fight!

Clear figures offer the option of unpainted variants either for customized painting or simply for enjoying the beauty of pure vinyl. Clear Jirahs encapsulates this in the truest form with gold translucent vinyl that plays with ambient light it in all the right ways.

Sculpted by Michael Lambert, standing at 9 inches 23 centimeters with four points of articulation, this limited-edition figure is in high demand, so we all need to get ready to grab them fast—there are only 20 units for sale. We repeat: 20 UNITS ONLY.

Clear Jirahs will be available this winter for $137 USD (plus shipping). It will be available internationally, except for Japan and China. However, they will be on sale exclusively this Thursday night, November 18, 2021 in the Merch Store for attendees of Ultraman Connection Live Featuring Dyna & Gaia. Special price will be $130 plus shipping.

But ONLY FIVE UNITS of Clear Jirahs will be available in the Merch Store during the event. Don’t forget to register and purchase your ticket for the event here. And stay tuned to Ultraman Connection for all the latest information on Ultraman toys and merchandise!

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September 18, 2020

ULTRAMAN AND IT’S A SKIN TEAM UP TO ULTRA-FY YOUR DEVICES

After 55 years, Tsuburaya Productions and The Licensing Group have endeavored to bring ULTRAMAN not just to western shores, but to western walls with a selection of top-notch images from It’s a Skin!

Founded in 2006 by two brothers in Huntington Beach, California, It’s A Skin is North America’s premier supplier of decals and graphic merchandise for walls, laptops, phones, and dozens of other devices. The company has since built a reputation for creating crisp, high-quality ways for their customers to personalize the things they own with the things they love.

We may be biased, but we think the new ULTRAMAN line includes some of the finest products sold by It’s a Skin:

DECALS

The decal line, an appealing mix of realistic depictions as well as colorful, cartoonish redesigns, comprises a diverse range of characters, from a cel-shaded look at the eponymous hero himself, to a photorealistic look for his fellow Ultra Brother Zoffy, to a delightful series of super-deformed “chibi” characters that include Ultraman and a pair of the weird and bizarre Kaiju that the Heroes of Light have faced—King Joe and Dada.

POSTERS

The poster line is highly reminiscent of classic pop art, with sharp renders of various characters against contrasting colors that help the visuals pop. While several selections are perfect recreations of the dignified heroes and villains, there are also a number of “chibi” designs on offer, including one with a whopping 16 Kaiju, including monsters and aliens: a veritable who’s-who of terrific, tiny titans.

LAPTOP

The laptop skin series is one of the most eye-popping collections of images ever to grace the back of a computer.  With imagery taken right from the show, fans can choose either singularly special moments, including the dramatic scene in which Ultraman breathes his last before his sworn brother, Zoffy, or some of the legendary arsenal of the SSSP, like their signature sedan, or the evocative SSSP shooting-star badge.

SOCKS

Finally, It’s A Skin swaps out decorating your walls and devices for adorning your feet, with its fun and creative line of socks. Featuring a number of highly creative designs, customers can choose either a pic of the hero himself, or more eclectic choices, like the countless replicating Baltans, or Ultraman’s saw-like Ultra Slash, or even every Ultra fan’s dream: dozens of the beloved monster Pigmon’s faces to grace your tootsies!

No matter how you want to decorate or accessorize, It’s A Skin has the perfect items to “Ultra-fy” your space.  Check out their catalog and see for yourself at itsaskin.com, and for more licensed products and Ultraman news, keep your eyes glued to UltramanGalaxy.com.

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August 14, 2020

ULTRAMAN BETA CAPSULE ONLY FROM FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT

Lucky ULTRAMAN fans are receiving a limited time offer to pre-order the ULTRAMAN Beta Capsule at a discount, compliments of Factory Entertainment!

Introduced first to ULTRAMAN fans July 10 on the live-stream celebration of ULTRAMAN DAY, fans went wild, causing one supporter to message, “Here, take my money!”

This stunning 1:1 scale prop replica of the Beta Capsule, officially licensed by Tsuburaya Productions, was created after many hours carefully studying and examining images and footage of the prop to ensure the highest levels of accuracy.

The main body is crafted from aluminum and accented with metal and plastic fittings. A handsome display stand, designed to suggest the Science Patrol emblem and laser-cut from jet black acrylic, is also included and features the edition number of each replica on the underside.

The replica includes a sound and light feature, which emulates Shin Hayata’s transformation sequence and features ‘Beta Spark’ audio specially remastered by Tsuburaya Productions.

LIMITED TIME EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT

Regular Price: $349.99

Early Bird Price: $299.99

For a limited time, all Beta Capsule Prop Replicas ordered through FactoryEnt.com will receive early bird pricing of $299.99 each!

Early Bird Discount Expires September 15th

Shipping Spring / Summer 2021

FactoryEnt.com

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