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September 30, 2022

LATEST VEVE LIVE-ACTION ULTRAMAN DROP DETAILS REVEALED

If you’re anything like us, your shelves are already full of Ultraman figures. You might find yourself panicking, looking for the solution of how to expand your collection. Well, not to fear, VeVe has got you covered. 

On Sunday, October 2nd, VeVe will be dropping four officially licensed digital collectibles from the classic Live-Action Ultraman series in blind bag format! That’s right, your physical collection might be plentiful, but your digital collection has only just begun. 

VeVe has been doing a terrific and highly responsible job with their Ultraman collectible line and now we have some of the all-time greatest to pick up: Ultraman Zoffy, Ultraman Jack, Ultraseven and Ultraman Ace! They’re high quality, beautifully rendered, and showcase these characters’ awesome designs. Four dynamic poses, four epic suits. 

VeVe licensed digital collectibles come in limited edition releases, can be purchased, sold, and traded, upgraded, and customized, placed in virtual showrooms, shared on social and more, all through the VeVe app! 

You can learn more about the app and VeVe products here.

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The Ultraman series is a tokusatsu (“special effects”) TV series produced by Tsuburaya Productions. Beginning with Ultra Q and then Ultraman in 1966, the series has been running for over 55 years through 2022’s Ultraman Decker. The series is loved worldwide for its countless series featuring themes of courage, hope and kindness.

Zoffy appears in the final episode of the original Ultraman TV series having come to Earth to take Ultraman’s body back to Nebula M78 after he was defeated by Space Dinosaur Zetton. Recognized for his bravery, he was appointed the leader of the Inter Galactic Defense Force. Zoffy is also the leader of the Ultra Brothers, a group of veteran Ultra heroes recognized for protecting the peace in the universe. Zoffy’s special move is the M87 Beam.

Ultraman Jack is featured in the series Return of Ultraman after Ultraseven and at a time of peace on Earth. But the monsters and aliens wake up, and Ultraman Jack must defend Earth again. His power comes from the Ultra Bracelet which was given to him by Ultraseven. Ultraman Jack takes the human form of Hideki Go, a member of the MAT—Monster Attack Team. His Special Move is the Spacium Beam, as powerful as the Spacium beam of the first Ultraman.

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A wanderer from the Land of Light within the M78 Nebula, Ultraseven came to Earth because of its beauty. Each episode of the Ultraseven series, which premiered in 1967, would see Ultraseven and his human host Dan Moroboshi fighting giant monsters and alien hordes bent on human domination. A darker and more cerebral series, Ultraseven is one of the most popular Ultras. Ultraseven sees the consequences of his power and wonders how he can maintain his soul in the face of constant violence, even when it is necessary to protect Earth. The Emerium Beam is his special move.

The Ultraman Ace series followed Return of Ultraman. Ultraman Ace must defend the universe from the dreaded Yapool. Ultraman Ace is known for his many variations of beam movies, and he has two energy sources: the Color Timer located on his chest, and the Ultra Star located on his forehead. With these, he is considered to be able to use twice as much energy as other Ultra Heroes.

I think we’ve all wanted to always have our favorite heroes on deck, and now we can! Make sure to download the VeVe app for iOS and Android and start collecting the Live-Action Ultraman collection on Sunday, October 2nd at 8am PT and stay tuned here on Ultraman Connection for more!

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September 30, 2022

ULTRAMAN TO LAND AT NEW YORK COMIC CON 2022 ACROSS MULTIPLE EVENTS

Giant of Light to Appear at Marvel Entertainment Booth, Tamashii Nations & Viz Events, Exclusive Shin Ultraman Theatrical Screening Courtesy of Tsuburaya Productions 

The iconic global superhero Ultraman and his brother hero Ultraseven will appear in person across multiple events in and around the massive New York Comic Con, October 6 - 9, 2022. Expected attendance at the convention is more than 250,000 people.

Tsuburaya Productions will be bringing Ultraman, Ultraseven, and other live characters and presenting them at the Marvel Entertainment booth, where news on the Ultraman X Marvel super hero crossover comic book series will be announced by creators, writer Kyle Higgins and artist Francesco Manna. 

Japanese artists Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, creators of the ULTRAMAN: Final Season anime (to be distributed worldwide on Netflix) and who contributed to the latest Marvel series Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven, will also appear on the panel. 

Ultraman will also appear at the release of an event exclusive Tamashii Nations The Rise of Ultraman S.H. Figuarts ULTRAMAN high end collectible action figure based on the Marvel Comics version of the silver and red giant.  

On Saturday, October 8 at 7pm, Tsuburaya Productions will also be presenting an exclusive New York screening of Shin Ultraman, the recent blockbuster theatrical feature directed by Shinji Higuchi. 

The film will unspool at the AMC 34th Street 14 near Madison Square Garden. The film is not yet in general release in the United States marking this as a unique occasion for fans of Japanese cinema to catch this contemporary giant monster masterpiece. 

Tickets for Shin Ultraman have been offered to New York area members of Ultraman Connection and will be given away free of charge at the Marvel panel, the Ultraman Connection Live panel, and Ultraman Meet & Greet at the Tamashii Nations booth. (See details below.)

The Ultraman characters, including special surprises, will be appearing at special panels and licensee booths throughout the convention. The full schedule for the weekend follows!

ULTRAMAN @ NEW YORK COMIC CON 2022 – CHECKLIST

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM MARVEL LIVESTREAM LOUNGE

Guests: Francesco Manna (Artist), Kyle Higgins (Writer), Eiichi Shimizu (Manga Creator), Tomohiro Shimoguchi (Manga Creator)

2:00 PM ULTRAMAN SUIT TARO MEET & GREET

@ TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Purchase collectible toys, photo ops with TARO SUIT

Marvel Ultraman Figure on sale at TAMASHII NATIONS Booth

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM ULTRAMAN CONNECTION LIVE IN NY

Room 408 - Meet the team and get all the latest reveals!

Guests: Kyle Higgins, Francesco Manna, Jeff Gomez, EJ Couloucoundis, Evangelia “the Noob” Artemis

Ticket Point: Attendees can win free tickets to the Shin Ultraman screening on Saturday.

Autograph Point: Bring your S.H. Figuarts ULTRAMAN (THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN) to get autographs from Francesco & Kyle

Special Guest Appearances by Ultraman & Ultraseven!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

11:00 AM ULTRAMAN SUIT TARO MEET & GREET

@ TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Purchase collectible toys, photo ops with TARO SUIT

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM VIZ Official Panel Featuring ULTRAMAN

Room 405 - Anime ULTRAMAN on Netflix based on this manga!

Guests: Eiichi Shimizu (Manga Creator) Tomohiro Shimoguchi (Manga Creator)

Play games, win prizes, and witness major announcements!

Autograph Point: Shimizu & Shimoguchi

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM ULTRAMAN MEET & GREET

@ TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Purchase collectible toys, ULTRA ARTS series

Photo ops with Ultraman

Ticket Point: Win tickets for the Shin Ultraman screening!

1:30 PM – 2:15PM ULTRAMAN & MARVEL COMICS

Marvel Booth - Guests: Francesco Manna (Artist), Kyle Higgins (Writer), Eiichi Shimizu (Artist) Tomohiro, Shimoguchi (Artist)

Big news as Ultraman is set to meet Marvel’s Avengers!

Autograph Point: Free 2-sided lithos signed by the art team!

Ticket Point: Win tickets for the Shin Ultraman screening!

SHIN ULTRAMAN

AMC 34th Street 14 (Between 8th & 9th Ave)

Gate opens at 7PM / Show starts at 7:40PM

Special Guests & Autograph Session!

Get Tickets: Ultraman Connection Panel on 10/6 or TAMASHII NATIONS booth on 10/8

Must have tickets beforehand – no ticket purchases at theater!

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9

Ultraman Live Appearances!

Purchase Goods at These Booths and Take a Photo with Ultraman or Ultraseven.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM ULTRAMAN AT NERDS CLOTHING

Booth 1225 (Ultraman)

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM ULTRAMAN AT WHAT’S YOUR PASSION JEWELRY

Booth 1324 (Ultraseven)

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM ULTRAMAN AT NAKATOMI

Booth 1472 (Ultraman)

2:00 PM ULTRAMAN MEET & GREET (FINAL)

TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Ultraman at New York Comic Con 2022 is produced by Tsuburaya Productions, Iceberg Theory, The Licensing Group, and Starlight Runner Entertainment. Expect more Ultraman news from Tsuburaya Productions throughout the New York Comic Con weekend.

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September 30, 2022

PUREARTS ULTRAMAN VS. BLACK KING GRAND PRIZE WINNER ANNOUNCED

Earlier this summer, at Anime Expo 2022, the Tsuburaya Productions and Iceberg Theory engaged in one of its most ambitious projects ever, Ultraman Rising—the staging of a massive, weekend-long combination ARG and contest, across the LA Convention Center!

Fans attended panels and pursued terrifying (and occasionally hilarious, and always charming) aliens across exhibit halls in the “Hunt for Dada” campaign. You can watch highlights from the epic Kaiju Invasion below.

Amazing prizes were promised to fans who tagged their expo social media posts with the #Dada and #AX2022 hashtags, and with the massive Grand Prize, the colossal PureArts Ultraman Vs. Black King ¼ Scale Exclusive Edition Statue signed by the directors of the smash hit anime ULTRAMAN currently streaming on Netflix.

Here is a glimpse of Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama carefully signing the Ultraman portion of the statue during their visit to the Expo.

Well, that Grand Prize has found its home with a winner:

Jason Cressman

Jason Cressman managed to catch a snap of Alien Baltan and Dada and post to Twitter, where Iceberg Theory team members Corey Hughes and Rase Shelhart found it and verified it with Kristopher Anderson, General Manager of Ultraman Connection. Take one more look at this stunning beauty!

We’d like to thank Jason and all the other entrants in the competition. Prizes have been sent and some are still on the way, but for a BIG prize like this, we couldn’t resist showing off a few pictures of how COOL it is!

The Hunt for Dada may be over, but there’s still plenty of amazing stuff coming out every week from Ultraman Connection.

This includes the major arrival of Ultraman, Ultraseven, and friends at multiple events at New York Comic Con 2022. Check out the full itinerary here!

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September 28, 2022

Shin Ultraman at Iulm Sognielettrici Festival in Italy

Shin Ultraman is premiering in Sognielettrici | Electricdreams International Film Festival in  Milan, Italy on October 15!

The 4K remastered version of the original 1966 ULTRAMAN TV series will also be screened.

Details and dates are below:

Sognielettrici | Electricdreams International Film Festival

Address:
Sala dei 146 e Auditorium IULM Open Space Via Carlo Bo 7 M

Screening date of Shin Ultraman:
October 15 around 17:00

Screening date of 4K remastered original ULTRAMAN TV series:
October 15 around 14:00

Facebook: @sognielettrici
Instagram: @sognielettrici_festival

Look forward to Shin Ultraman flying its way to Italy!

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September 27, 2022

SHINJI HIGUCHI: THE SHIN ULTRAMAN DIRECTOR INTERVIEWED BY JEFF GOMEZ

Shinji Higuchi first showed up on my nerd radar in 1995 with the release of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. I was stunned by the special effects and learned that he was responsible for them. Higuchi was somehow able to make this giant turtle seem powerful, intimidating, and most of all…gigantic. His eye for how to photograph kaiju was the actualization of my fantasy of how giant monsters ought to be visualized. Higuchi gives his monsters scale but more so, he gives them majesty. 

Higuchi became a full-fledged film director some years later, entering his imperial phase with the Attack on Titan films and the contemporary classic Shin Godzilla. I devoured those films as a fan, but as someone who also produces and works in the entertainment industry, I also realized that Higuchi was not just a stylist but a visionary. His work conveyed deeper and sometimes scathing truths. 

Honestly, when I got the inside word from Tsuburaya Productions that Higuchi would be directing Shin Ultraman, I was a bit nervous. Would he darken the property the way Production I.G. did with the anime ULTRAMAN? Would he use the character to criticize Japan or Japanese popular culture? I take my Ultraman straight up, frankly, and hoped Higuchi would not mess with him too much.

I should have known! The film is a love letter to the original series, creator Eiji Tsuburaya, designer Tohl Narita, and the entire team that made the first spectacular year of Ultraman. But the film is also worthy of appraisal as a piece of world cinema because Higuchi captures and crystalizes hope and human aspiration in such a way as to directly challenge the darkness and chaos of the times. 

I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Higuchi while he was in my hometown of Manhattan for the Lincoln Center premiere of Shin Ultraman at the New York Asian Film Festival. There was a lot of noise and crosstalk, so I was only able to nerd out a bit with him. 

Toward the end of the evening, he showed me some photographs he’d taken of his Ultraman (Zoffy) action-figure in various locations around the city. This was his first trip to New York and naturally he memorialized in this unique way. I asked him if I could run the pictures on Ultraman Connection and he said sure!

My next encounter with Higuchi was quite recently at the Shin Ultraman premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. The film played to thunderous applause at the Alamo Drafthouse there and I was so pleased to see Higuchi being interviewed by the likes of IGN, Film School Rejects, and Gizmodo. When my pals at Tsuburaya offered me the opportunity to ask him a few questions, how could I resist?

The resulting interview was poignant and revealed a few surprising insights.

Gomez: Shinji, some of the talented people with unique creative vision that I’ve worked with had something striking happen to them when they were children. Something that pushed them out of themselves and made them see the world in a different way. Did something like this happen to you?

Higuchi: I was born near Tokyo, but where I was raised was more of a rural area. Being out in the boondocks, I used to play near farms in the fields. One day I saw a snake. I don’t know whether it was poisonous, but it was coming near me. Its head was the size of a Tic-tac box! I thought to myself, it’s either me or the snake. 

I grabbed the snake and shook it, whipping it around. I killed the snake, destroyed it. I was spattered with its blood and at that moment I felt I wasn’t human. I was something else. It was like an outer body experience! That was the moment I changed. When I came to, I didn’t remember what happened. I think it was because of this experience I went into filmmaking.

This was the first time I ever saw a snake. I was afraid but knew I needed to act. What should I do? It is almost like I became something else to face it. Like a monster.

Gomez: This leads me to ask about the focus of your creative fascination. Did you have a childhood love of henshin heroes and giant robots? My guess is that you have always been intrigued by monsters and fascinated by tokusatsu.

Higuchi: Instead of the superhero, I preferred the Kaiju. In my heart that was more impressive aspect of tokusatsu for me. I felt badly for the Kaiju. Why do we have to kill it? When you look at them, they’re actually pretty adorable. I felt sorry for the monster.

For every episode of the Ultraman series, you would see all these Kaiju and when they would die, you would see the light go out in their eyes. Some would close their eyes, but seeing those lights go out, seeing the life force go out of their bodies, I felt sadness. This happened in almost every episode. He was shutting off the light in these Kaiju. Some Kaiju had their heads chopped off. It was traumatic!

Gomez: Certainly, I felt the same way. But when I was a child, this kind of television program was very rare. More of my time was spent with Kaiju toys making up stories in my room. Shinji, did you play with monster and hero toys when you were a child?

Higuchi: I played with them a lot! I was the youngest child in my family, so my older sisters would give me anything I wanted. I amassed a huge collection of Kaiju toys, especially from Ultraman. Unfortunately, when I got to elementary school, my mother felt a distaste for the toys and said I was too old for them. She took my figures and threw them away.

Gomez: =GASP= No! No!

Higuchi (smiling): I was too young to think of the games I played as fully developed stories. I was not at a point in my life where I was thinking of them as characters in a movie or camera angles. The figures were from Bullmark. To be honest, they didn’t look all that much like what you saw in the TV shows and movies.

Gomez: Sometimes during Shin Ultraman the hero and Kaiju behaved in a similar manner to toy play. Like when Ultraman spins stiffly around, weaponizing his body against his opponent. Was this on purpose?

Higuchi: We did scans of the original Ultraman props, models, and costumes from Tsuburaya’s archives. Even in Japanese feature film productions the budgets are tight. When figuring out the movements, especially for moments like the spin, we test it in CGI to see what the spin would look like to try to keep the feeling of the original TV series. But then we tried to manipulate the CG model to make improvements, we couldn’t really make it work. Eventually to lock down the shot, we thought it looked better to have it more like the TV series than how a human would flip.

Gomez: But that’s the charm of the movie. Somehow it works and such moments are magical. What makes Shin Ultraman different from the other interpretations you’ve done of classic Japanese properties?

Higuchi: To be honest, I looked at the original series and films and felt they were kind of great already. I wasn’t comparing the character with other reboots. What was important is that the original concept was one of the best of all time, so it was just matter of respecting the original Ultraman series and working from there.

Gomez: There are many amazing set pieces in Shin Ultraman. Were there any that truly challenged your skills as a filmmaker?

Higuchi: The giant lady [Hiroko Asami] was the most challenging scene. It was challenging to have the actor [Masami Nagasawa] convey this notion of scale especially against a green screen. We had to balance a sense of humor and reality to the scene. It was tricky for the original filmmakers to do it in the Mefilas episode of the Ultraman series. I didn’t want to screw it up!

Gomez: Do you think your work with the character in Shin Ultraman is complete or would you ever consider revisiting the character with other stories?

Higuchi: If there was money that would be nice! I still follow the Ultraman characters and shows — all of them!

Gomez: Shinji, could you have predicted how in demand the film has been—not just by the Japanese people but by audiences at festivals and theatrical releases around the world? How you feel about how Shin Ultraman has been embraced?

Higuchi: In Japan the audience tends to be silent, so I felt as if maybe I’d failed. But in America audiences laughed and cheered, they were more vocal. I was very happy about that reaction.

Stay with Ultraman Connection for more coverage of Shin Ultraman!

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September 26, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER’S STRONGEST FORM “DYNAMIC TYPE” DEBUTS

Ultraman Decker’s strongest form “Dynamic Type” will be featured in Ultraman Decker for the first time this October!

Ultraman Decker’s Strongest Form: Dynamic Type

Until now, Ultraman Decker has shown the ability to Type Change into three forms: Flash Type, Strong Type, and Miracle Type. 

When faced with continuous monster attacks, Kanata finds himself in unexpected danger. His determination to never give up is expressed in his strongest form yet: Ultraman Decker Dynamic Type.

As the show reaches its mid-season, we can look forward to seeing Kanata, Decker, and the members of GUTS-Select learn and grow.

The story now enters a new chapter where we can expect more from Decker with the appearance of his stronger Dynamic Form, and at the same time feel an air of uncertainty growing as ever-stronger enemies appear before our heroes.

We hope you are excited to see all the new developments in Ultraman Decker!

Ultraman Decker Dynamic Type

Height: 55 meters

Weight: 45,000 tons

Ultraman Decker’s strongest from, born from Kanata’s strong determination to never give up.

Decker changes to the Dynamic Type when Kanata inserts the Dynamic Card to the Ultra D Flasher and shouts out the words “Gush Beyond! Dynamic!”

This form’s special attack is the “Dymude Beam” fired by crossing both arms. Decker can also summon a new versatile item, the “Decker Shield Caliber,” by raising his hand in front of the “Decker Crystal Horn” on his forehead.

Decker uses it to deliver a dynamic fighting style. He can block attacks in Shield Mode, cut enemies with dual blades in Caliber Mode, and use various other combat abilities.

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September 26, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 11 RECAP “MACHINE GOD DEPLOYED”

At first glance, Ultraman Decker episode 11, “Machine God Deployed”, couldn’t be more different from what we saw last week. Episode 10 was restrained, quiet and introspective. It focused mostly on the perspective and past of Vice-Captain Kaizaki and her conflicted relationship with her former mentor’s dangerous research. When that conflict escalated past the point of argument and into a realm of monstrous powers, only Ultraman Decker could protect her – and symbolically, the rest of humanity – from the uncontrolled destruction unleashed by Neomegas. 

Episode 11, on the other hand, was a spectacle from the very beginning. Immediately, the audience was introduced to the “new weapon” that was hinted at last week – the DG001, named “TerraPhaser”. We were also introduced to the threats it immediately drew as soon as the opening credits finished rolling, as the monster Gazort attacked right behind it! Episode 10 produced its emotional weight because of a slow build-up to the full, terrifying scope of the threat faced by the main characters. This week’s episode instead dropped in quite literally feet-first, with guns blazing. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the spectacle of giant robots in an Ultraman show. It isn’t even the first time the characters have seen giant robots in-universe either! Kanata pointed out that many of them were kids when King Joe STORAGE Custom first fell out of the sky from another dimension (back during the crossover between Ultraman Trigger and Ultraman Z last year). It made sense to explain their gleeful enthusiasm as they watched the TerraPhaser’s test-run here. Personally, I think the idea of giant super robot fights is just inherently cool all on its own. However, the extra effort put into the continuity helped to lend important verisimilitude to the setting, and it was also funny seeing Ryumon get just as fired up as Kanata in these opening scenes. 

Speaking of which, aside from the spectacle, this episode also did a great job of handling humor. The opening exposition between the main team and Professor Asakage about the TerraPhaser’s development was balanced with some genuinely hilarious comedic timing. Rather than just being a cut-and-dry “Well, as you know–” sort of recap, the audience got to see how the setting developed in response to the challenges humanity faced in Ultraman Trigger, as well as getting some insight into Professor Asakage’s character himself. 

Previously, he’s been a background character who has just showed up to exposit on new technology the team uses. And that’s sort of what he does here too. But like Kaizaki getting a chance to put those skills to work in an episode custom-tailored to her strengths last week, Asakage’s research came to the forefront here too. Before, he might have seemed straightforward and dry, but his genuine dedication – one might even say fondness – for his work was made obvious in those scenes.

In addition to his dedication to seeing the TerraPhaser’s development finished, that dedication also drove him to fight alongside the rest of the GUTS-Select team later in the episode. After the initial scuffle against Gazort, more Kaiju showed up to harry the TerraPhaser’s tests, and knocked out its main AI control unit, crippling the robot. The Professor could have retreated and drawn up new plans to rescue or repair the robot from the relative safety of the team’s headquarters. Instead, they devised a scheme to replace the control unit with Hanejiro, so he can pilot it and fight back! A truly slapstick scene ensued with the team tossing the tiny robot back and forth like a rugby ball, dodging monster attacks all while trying to get to the downed robot. 

Another thing that struck me about this whole sequence of events – in between bouts of laughter – was how seriously everyone took the idea of the TerraPhaser robot being their best hope to fight back against the monsters. Or rather, they wanted to fight to protect the robot, and prove that it could be valuable in their fight against those threats.

The stakes weren’t necessarily about saving their own skins, they all could have just run away and left it. However, it was important to Professor Asakage to prove that his life’s work developing the robot was not in vain, and because it was important to him, it was also important to the rest of the team. Including Kanata.

Yes, Kanata Asumi. The same guy on the team who can also turn into a giant being made of light and effortlessly toss enemies through wormholes before making them explode with lasers he shoots out of his arms. He could have done the same here, the moment they saw the TerraPhaser robot downed, and realized that the team members at the test site were in danger. Eventually, he did transform into Decker, although in slightly different circumstances compared to his usual fights.

Rather than trying to defeat the attacking monsters himself, facing them with his full strength and full size, Kanata transformed into a much, much smaller version of Decker. This was probably accidental on Kanata’s part – hardly surprising, since many of his abilities and actions as Decker in other episodes appeared to be instinctual rather than intentionally thought out. Not that Kanata exactly puts a lot of forethought into any of his actions anyways, but I’m getting off-topic. 

I’ve seen several pieces of speculation about why Decker fights at ground level in this episode, but I think the main reason is psychological. Kanata always fights as Decker to protect others, and the best way he could do that in this episode was to fight with his team-mates, on their own scale, against the human-sized versions of the Hinabasser Kaiju. 

Plus, just like the scheme with Hanejiro being tossed like a football, it also was the single funniest way they could have played out that scene.

Aside from the humor, this episode really stood out because of how little it focused on the titular hero. Decker himself played a relatively minor role; helping mostly to get Professor Asakage and Hanejiro to the downed TerraPhaser, then delivering the final blow against the monsters. If anything, this episode struck me as more like an episode from a classic super robot show – and I don’t just say that because it features a giant super robot in the first place. 

It’s because it featured a giant super robot that first appeared while being carried by tethers pulled by a fleet of helicopters. And is powered by vaguely defined energy particles that form fancy-looking wings when it powers up. And can also shoot heat-seeking, curving laser projectiles.

Yeah, I think it’s clear that the director and visual storyboard artists for this episode have done research into this genre.

Aside from the giant robots, the humor and spectacle also seem to put this episode in dramatic opposition to the tone from last week. Episode 10 dealt with some of the most crucial themes of the Ultraman franchise, but they’re also themes inherent to tokusatsu in general. What is humanity’s place in a universe where the very forces of nature seem to overwhelm us? To what extremes must human beings go to just ensure our survival? What about humanity is worth protecting considering the terrifying extent of those threats? 

The week was sold more by the simple joy of watching a group of characters come together to reach new heights and successes that they couldn’t attain on their own. That’s something I generally associate with the more heroic “super” robot series, but there’s a place for that spectacle in Ultraman as well. This is, ultimately, a franchise aimed at a younger audience and needs to sell cool-looking toys for them to get excited about. But the best part of this franchise, as I’ve said before, is its ability to handle multiple parallel themes on multiple parallel levels. 

There’s no reason why that spectacle can’t also serve a deeper thematic purpose beyond just eye-candy. I genuinely think that the “wow factor” of TerraPhaser’s debut, and the importance the other characters placed on its success, reflected some themes carried over from last week. The Professor in episode 10 was obsessed with creating a weapon to ensure humanity’s survival, regardless of the cost. It’s not hard to see how Asakage’s dedication to the TerraPhaser could easily be twisted to similar dark extremes. Will this new superweapon be a force for good, or evil? Will humanity use it to become like gods, or devils? Wait, I’m in the wrong franchise again…

I suppose we’ll just have to come back next week to find out what the future has in store for the TerraPhaser, and the GUTS Select team! 

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September 23, 2022

An Ultra-Heroic Collaboration Pioneers the World's First Ultraman Helmets!

Tsuburaya Productions and reputable helmet manufacturer Gracshaw have come together to oversee the design and creation of the world's first Ultraman bike/motorcycle helmets.

This limited edition collection in Gracshaw’s Gennex line consists of three of their Open Face Double Visor Helmet designs, the Gennex Ultraman Classic, Gennex Ultraman Taro and Gennex Ultraman Tiga.

Released in September 2022 and retailing at RM460, each helmet will only have a limited release of 1000 units per design, each one accompanied by a notated authenticity card. Every Ultraman Series helmet also features a unique serial number on the back (such as TAR 0001/1000 for the Gennex Taro)that matches the one on the authenticity card.

The Ultraman helmets offer a number of well-designed features, such as a double visor for enhanced protection from the sun and other external elements, as well as excellent air ventilation and an aerodynamic sculpt. The sizes range from M to XXXL to cater to all riders.

Tsuburaya Productions has been creating stories loved by fans everywhere since Ultra Q and Ultraman first aired in 1966. Alongside its classic characters, it also develops full-length films, TV series, manga, anime and live events for global audiences.

Established in 2006, Gracshaw is a Malaysian brand under the umbrella of Double Site Marketing Sdn Bhd. It produces a comprehensive range of high-quality helmets, including Full Face, Open Face, Demi Jet, Offroad and Touring.

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September 22, 2022

SHIN ULTRAMAN RELEASED IN THEATERS IN THAILAND FROM SEPT 22

Shin Ultraman has just been released in theaters in Thailand as of September 22!

This awesome original popcorn-bucket of Ultraman is available in the cinemas exclusively in Thailand!

A 10-meter statue was even flown in from Japan. See image at the top of this post!

You can meet Ultraman in the cinemas below!

  • Major Ratchayothin from September 19-30.
  • Major Rangsit from October 1-9.

Find other Shin Ultraman schedules in other regions here!

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September 21, 2022

THE NOOB REVIEWS MARVEL’S MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN #2

Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven issue #2 came out today and let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed. Writers Kylie Higgins and Mat Groom joined forces with penciller Davide Tinto and colorist Espen Grundetjern to pull us all even deeper into this wild adventure. Watch out though if you haven’t read the prior two issues, there’s some series spoilers ahead!

Last month’s cliffhanger left me itching for more action and luckily that itch was scratched with the issue’s intense opening scene. That’s right, we are launched into chaos from the jump, sharing Shin Hayata’s adrenaline as he hurls himself out of the VTOL, straight into the heart of a battle between Ultraseven and some familiar Kaiju! 

Variant cover by Tom Reilly

This issue balances energy beautifully by taking the form of a two-level narrative. We have a high-energy Kaiju fight breaking out full force, and at the same time, on the liminal plane of the same space, a passionate exchange unravels between Shin and Ultraman.

On one hand, we get to see the engaging battle sequence we all love in any Ultraman story, but on the other we are forced to acknowledge a truth we might not have previously allowed ourselves to consider: Ultras carry trauma too. Although the Ultra capacity for endurance might be greater than an average person’s, it becomes clear that they are not exempt from the effect thousands of battles might have on one’s psyche. Shin and Ultraman struggle to see eye to eye on how to address Ultraseven’s unjust acts of violence. 

The framing of this story feels like a great analogy for the split feeling of having to face the complexities of life while also trying our best to maintain our integrity. The tension of trying to make a moral decision while dealing with a demanding, high-pressure situation is familiar to all of us, especially when it comes to handling disputes with loved ones. 

With Shin, Ultraman, Ultraseven, and Dan Moroboshi all on edge, everything builds up to a shocking climax that anyone who lives in a chaotic environment with siblings can relate to. Sometimes one must go to extremes in the name of self-preservation and in the name of protecting others.  

Although the story takes place over the span of one dispute, the visuals do a fantastic job of conveying grand-scale mayhem. No matter who is winning, every fighting party has a glorious and majestic quality to him that serve as a great reminder for how high the stakes of these battles truly are. The use of light to differentiate different segments of the confrontation, the role the elements play in setting the scene, the juxtaposition of the dreamy liminal realm and the jarring real world—everything is calculated and works together to establish a space that is both tumultuous and contained. 

We get a special look into the different characters’ philosophies and how they handle fundamentally disagreeing with each other. And who doesn’t love when Ultraman gets philosophical? I always enjoy getting a closer look at a hero’s vulnerable side as it tends to be the aspect we all empathize with best. 

Aaaaanddd another cliffhanger! Is that an Ultra staple I don’t know about yet? Because it’s working on me… I need to know what comes of this unlikely conflict and I’m sure you do too. Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven #2 is available at comic shops and online right now. Issue #3 is coming October 26th, 2022. Stay tuned for more updates here on UltramanConnection.com! 

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September 30, 2022

LATEST VEVE LIVE-ACTION ULTRAMAN DROP DETAILS REVEALED

If you’re anything like us, your shelves are already full of Ultraman figures. You might find yourself panicking, looking for the solution of how to expand your collection. Well, not to fear, VeVe has got you covered. 

On Sunday, October 2nd, VeVe will be dropping four officially licensed digital collectibles from the classic Live-Action Ultraman series in blind bag format! That’s right, your physical collection might be plentiful, but your digital collection has only just begun. 

VeVe has been doing a terrific and highly responsible job with their Ultraman collectible line and now we have some of the all-time greatest to pick up: Ultraman Zoffy, Ultraman Jack, Ultraseven and Ultraman Ace! They’re high quality, beautifully rendered, and showcase these characters’ awesome designs. Four dynamic poses, four epic suits. 

VeVe licensed digital collectibles come in limited edition releases, can be purchased, sold, and traded, upgraded, and customized, placed in virtual showrooms, shared on social and more, all through the VeVe app! 

You can learn more about the app and VeVe products here.

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The Ultraman series is a tokusatsu (“special effects”) TV series produced by Tsuburaya Productions. Beginning with Ultra Q and then Ultraman in 1966, the series has been running for over 55 years through 2022’s Ultraman Decker. The series is loved worldwide for its countless series featuring themes of courage, hope and kindness.

Zoffy appears in the final episode of the original Ultraman TV series having come to Earth to take Ultraman’s body back to Nebula M78 after he was defeated by Space Dinosaur Zetton. Recognized for his bravery, he was appointed the leader of the Inter Galactic Defense Force. Zoffy is also the leader of the Ultra Brothers, a group of veteran Ultra heroes recognized for protecting the peace in the universe. Zoffy’s special move is the M87 Beam.

Ultraman Jack is featured in the series Return of Ultraman after Ultraseven and at a time of peace on Earth. But the monsters and aliens wake up, and Ultraman Jack must defend Earth again. His power comes from the Ultra Bracelet which was given to him by Ultraseven. Ultraman Jack takes the human form of Hideki Go, a member of the MAT—Monster Attack Team. His Special Move is the Spacium Beam, as powerful as the Spacium beam of the first Ultraman.

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A wanderer from the Land of Light within the M78 Nebula, Ultraseven came to Earth because of its beauty. Each episode of the Ultraseven series, which premiered in 1967, would see Ultraseven and his human host Dan Moroboshi fighting giant monsters and alien hordes bent on human domination. A darker and more cerebral series, Ultraseven is one of the most popular Ultras. Ultraseven sees the consequences of his power and wonders how he can maintain his soul in the face of constant violence, even when it is necessary to protect Earth. The Emerium Beam is his special move.

The Ultraman Ace series followed Return of Ultraman. Ultraman Ace must defend the universe from the dreaded Yapool. Ultraman Ace is known for his many variations of beam movies, and he has two energy sources: the Color Timer located on his chest, and the Ultra Star located on his forehead. With these, he is considered to be able to use twice as much energy as other Ultra Heroes.

I think we’ve all wanted to always have our favorite heroes on deck, and now we can! Make sure to download the VeVe app for iOS and Android and start collecting the Live-Action Ultraman collection on Sunday, October 2nd at 8am PT and stay tuned here on Ultraman Connection for more!

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September 30, 2022

ULTRAMAN TO LAND AT NEW YORK COMIC CON 2022 ACROSS MULTIPLE EVENTS

Giant of Light to Appear at Marvel Entertainment Booth, Tamashii Nations & Viz Events, Exclusive Shin Ultraman Theatrical Screening Courtesy of Tsuburaya Productions 

The iconic global superhero Ultraman and his brother hero Ultraseven will appear in person across multiple events in and around the massive New York Comic Con, October 6 - 9, 2022. Expected attendance at the convention is more than 250,000 people.

Tsuburaya Productions will be bringing Ultraman, Ultraseven, and other live characters and presenting them at the Marvel Entertainment booth, where news on the Ultraman X Marvel super hero crossover comic book series will be announced by creators, writer Kyle Higgins and artist Francesco Manna. 

Japanese artists Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, creators of the ULTRAMAN: Final Season anime (to be distributed worldwide on Netflix) and who contributed to the latest Marvel series Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven, will also appear on the panel. 

Ultraman will also appear at the release of an event exclusive Tamashii Nations The Rise of Ultraman S.H. Figuarts ULTRAMAN high end collectible action figure based on the Marvel Comics version of the silver and red giant.  

On Saturday, October 8 at 7pm, Tsuburaya Productions will also be presenting an exclusive New York screening of Shin Ultraman, the recent blockbuster theatrical feature directed by Shinji Higuchi. 

The film will unspool at the AMC 34th Street 14 near Madison Square Garden. The film is not yet in general release in the United States marking this as a unique occasion for fans of Japanese cinema to catch this contemporary giant monster masterpiece. 

Tickets for Shin Ultraman have been offered to New York area members of Ultraman Connection and will be given away free of charge at the Marvel panel, the Ultraman Connection Live panel, and Ultraman Meet & Greet at the Tamashii Nations booth. (See details below.)

The Ultraman characters, including special surprises, will be appearing at special panels and licensee booths throughout the convention. The full schedule for the weekend follows!

ULTRAMAN @ NEW YORK COMIC CON 2022 – CHECKLIST

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM MARVEL LIVESTREAM LOUNGE

Guests: Francesco Manna (Artist), Kyle Higgins (Writer), Eiichi Shimizu (Manga Creator), Tomohiro Shimoguchi (Manga Creator)

2:00 PM ULTRAMAN SUIT TARO MEET & GREET

@ TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Purchase collectible toys, photo ops with TARO SUIT

Marvel Ultraman Figure on sale at TAMASHII NATIONS Booth

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM ULTRAMAN CONNECTION LIVE IN NY

Room 408 - Meet the team and get all the latest reveals!

Guests: Kyle Higgins, Francesco Manna, Jeff Gomez, EJ Couloucoundis, Evangelia “the Noob” Artemis

Ticket Point: Attendees can win free tickets to the Shin Ultraman screening on Saturday.

Autograph Point: Bring your S.H. Figuarts ULTRAMAN (THE RISE OF ULTRAMAN) to get autographs from Francesco & Kyle

Special Guest Appearances by Ultraman & Ultraseven!

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7

11:00 AM ULTRAMAN SUIT TARO MEET & GREET

@ TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Purchase collectible toys, photo ops with TARO SUIT

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM VIZ Official Panel Featuring ULTRAMAN

Room 405 - Anime ULTRAMAN on Netflix based on this manga!

Guests: Eiichi Shimizu (Manga Creator) Tomohiro Shimoguchi (Manga Creator)

Play games, win prizes, and witness major announcements!

Autograph Point: Shimizu & Shimoguchi

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM ULTRAMAN MEET & GREET

@ TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Purchase collectible toys, ULTRA ARTS series

Photo ops with Ultraman

Ticket Point: Win tickets for the Shin Ultraman screening!

1:30 PM – 2:15PM ULTRAMAN & MARVEL COMICS

Marvel Booth - Guests: Francesco Manna (Artist), Kyle Higgins (Writer), Eiichi Shimizu (Artist) Tomohiro, Shimoguchi (Artist)

Big news as Ultraman is set to meet Marvel’s Avengers!

Autograph Point: Free 2-sided lithos signed by the art team!

Ticket Point: Win tickets for the Shin Ultraman screening!

SHIN ULTRAMAN

AMC 34th Street 14 (Between 8th & 9th Ave)

Gate opens at 7PM / Show starts at 7:40PM

Special Guests & Autograph Session!

Get Tickets: Ultraman Connection Panel on 10/6 or TAMASHII NATIONS booth on 10/8

Must have tickets beforehand – no ticket purchases at theater!

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9

Ultraman Live Appearances!

Purchase Goods at These Booths and Take a Photo with Ultraman or Ultraseven.

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM ULTRAMAN AT NERDS CLOTHING

Booth 1225 (Ultraman)

10:45 AM – 11:15 AM ULTRAMAN AT WHAT’S YOUR PASSION JEWELRY

Booth 1324 (Ultraseven)

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM ULTRAMAN AT NAKATOMI

Booth 1472 (Ultraman)

2:00 PM ULTRAMAN MEET & GREET (FINAL)

TAMASHII NATIONS Booth 2337

Ultraman at New York Comic Con 2022 is produced by Tsuburaya Productions, Iceberg Theory, The Licensing Group, and Starlight Runner Entertainment. Expect more Ultraman news from Tsuburaya Productions throughout the New York Comic Con weekend.

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September 30, 2022

PUREARTS ULTRAMAN VS. BLACK KING GRAND PRIZE WINNER ANNOUNCED

Earlier this summer, at Anime Expo 2022, the Tsuburaya Productions and Iceberg Theory engaged in one of its most ambitious projects ever, Ultraman Rising—the staging of a massive, weekend-long combination ARG and contest, across the LA Convention Center!

Fans attended panels and pursued terrifying (and occasionally hilarious, and always charming) aliens across exhibit halls in the “Hunt for Dada” campaign. You can watch highlights from the epic Kaiju Invasion below.

Amazing prizes were promised to fans who tagged their expo social media posts with the #Dada and #AX2022 hashtags, and with the massive Grand Prize, the colossal PureArts Ultraman Vs. Black King ¼ Scale Exclusive Edition Statue signed by the directors of the smash hit anime ULTRAMAN currently streaming on Netflix.

Here is a glimpse of Shinji Aramaki and Kenji Kamiyama carefully signing the Ultraman portion of the statue during their visit to the Expo.

Well, that Grand Prize has found its home with a winner:

Jason Cressman

Jason Cressman managed to catch a snap of Alien Baltan and Dada and post to Twitter, where Iceberg Theory team members Corey Hughes and Rase Shelhart found it and verified it with Kristopher Anderson, General Manager of Ultraman Connection. Take one more look at this stunning beauty!

We’d like to thank Jason and all the other entrants in the competition. Prizes have been sent and some are still on the way, but for a BIG prize like this, we couldn’t resist showing off a few pictures of how COOL it is!

The Hunt for Dada may be over, but there’s still plenty of amazing stuff coming out every week from Ultraman Connection.

This includes the major arrival of Ultraman, Ultraseven, and friends at multiple events at New York Comic Con 2022. Check out the full itinerary here!

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September 28, 2022

Shin Ultraman at Iulm Sognielettrici Festival in Italy

Shin Ultraman is premiering in Sognielettrici | Electricdreams International Film Festival in  Milan, Italy on October 15!

The 4K remastered version of the original 1966 ULTRAMAN TV series will also be screened.

Details and dates are below:

Sognielettrici | Electricdreams International Film Festival

Address:
Sala dei 146 e Auditorium IULM Open Space Via Carlo Bo 7 M

Screening date of Shin Ultraman:
October 15 around 17:00

Screening date of 4K remastered original ULTRAMAN TV series:
October 15 around 14:00

Facebook: @sognielettrici
Instagram: @sognielettrici_festival

Look forward to Shin Ultraman flying its way to Italy!

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September 27, 2022

SHINJI HIGUCHI: THE SHIN ULTRAMAN DIRECTOR INTERVIEWED BY JEFF GOMEZ

Shinji Higuchi first showed up on my nerd radar in 1995 with the release of Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. I was stunned by the special effects and learned that he was responsible for them. Higuchi was somehow able to make this giant turtle seem powerful, intimidating, and most of all…gigantic. His eye for how to photograph kaiju was the actualization of my fantasy of how giant monsters ought to be visualized. Higuchi gives his monsters scale but more so, he gives them majesty. 

Higuchi became a full-fledged film director some years later, entering his imperial phase with the Attack on Titan films and the contemporary classic Shin Godzilla. I devoured those films as a fan, but as someone who also produces and works in the entertainment industry, I also realized that Higuchi was not just a stylist but a visionary. His work conveyed deeper and sometimes scathing truths. 

Honestly, when I got the inside word from Tsuburaya Productions that Higuchi would be directing Shin Ultraman, I was a bit nervous. Would he darken the property the way Production I.G. did with the anime ULTRAMAN? Would he use the character to criticize Japan or Japanese popular culture? I take my Ultraman straight up, frankly, and hoped Higuchi would not mess with him too much.

I should have known! The film is a love letter to the original series, creator Eiji Tsuburaya, designer Tohl Narita, and the entire team that made the first spectacular year of Ultraman. But the film is also worthy of appraisal as a piece of world cinema because Higuchi captures and crystalizes hope and human aspiration in such a way as to directly challenge the darkness and chaos of the times. 

I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Higuchi while he was in my hometown of Manhattan for the Lincoln Center premiere of Shin Ultraman at the New York Asian Film Festival. There was a lot of noise and crosstalk, so I was only able to nerd out a bit with him. 

Toward the end of the evening, he showed me some photographs he’d taken of his Ultraman (Zoffy) action-figure in various locations around the city. This was his first trip to New York and naturally he memorialized in this unique way. I asked him if I could run the pictures on Ultraman Connection and he said sure!

My next encounter with Higuchi was quite recently at the Shin Ultraman premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. The film played to thunderous applause at the Alamo Drafthouse there and I was so pleased to see Higuchi being interviewed by the likes of IGN, Film School Rejects, and Gizmodo. When my pals at Tsuburaya offered me the opportunity to ask him a few questions, how could I resist?

The resulting interview was poignant and revealed a few surprising insights.

Gomez: Shinji, some of the talented people with unique creative vision that I’ve worked with had something striking happen to them when they were children. Something that pushed them out of themselves and made them see the world in a different way. Did something like this happen to you?

Higuchi: I was born near Tokyo, but where I was raised was more of a rural area. Being out in the boondocks, I used to play near farms in the fields. One day I saw a snake. I don’t know whether it was poisonous, but it was coming near me. Its head was the size of a Tic-tac box! I thought to myself, it’s either me or the snake. 

I grabbed the snake and shook it, whipping it around. I killed the snake, destroyed it. I was spattered with its blood and at that moment I felt I wasn’t human. I was something else. It was like an outer body experience! That was the moment I changed. When I came to, I didn’t remember what happened. I think it was because of this experience I went into filmmaking.

This was the first time I ever saw a snake. I was afraid but knew I needed to act. What should I do? It is almost like I became something else to face it. Like a monster.

Gomez: This leads me to ask about the focus of your creative fascination. Did you have a childhood love of henshin heroes and giant robots? My guess is that you have always been intrigued by monsters and fascinated by tokusatsu.

Higuchi: Instead of the superhero, I preferred the Kaiju. In my heart that was more impressive aspect of tokusatsu for me. I felt badly for the Kaiju. Why do we have to kill it? When you look at them, they’re actually pretty adorable. I felt sorry for the monster.

For every episode of the Ultraman series, you would see all these Kaiju and when they would die, you would see the light go out in their eyes. Some would close their eyes, but seeing those lights go out, seeing the life force go out of their bodies, I felt sadness. This happened in almost every episode. He was shutting off the light in these Kaiju. Some Kaiju had their heads chopped off. It was traumatic!

Gomez: Certainly, I felt the same way. But when I was a child, this kind of television program was very rare. More of my time was spent with Kaiju toys making up stories in my room. Shinji, did you play with monster and hero toys when you were a child?

Higuchi: I played with them a lot! I was the youngest child in my family, so my older sisters would give me anything I wanted. I amassed a huge collection of Kaiju toys, especially from Ultraman. Unfortunately, when I got to elementary school, my mother felt a distaste for the toys and said I was too old for them. She took my figures and threw them away.

Gomez: =GASP= No! No!

Higuchi (smiling): I was too young to think of the games I played as fully developed stories. I was not at a point in my life where I was thinking of them as characters in a movie or camera angles. The figures were from Bullmark. To be honest, they didn’t look all that much like what you saw in the TV shows and movies.

Gomez: Sometimes during Shin Ultraman the hero and Kaiju behaved in a similar manner to toy play. Like when Ultraman spins stiffly around, weaponizing his body against his opponent. Was this on purpose?

Higuchi: We did scans of the original Ultraman props, models, and costumes from Tsuburaya’s archives. Even in Japanese feature film productions the budgets are tight. When figuring out the movements, especially for moments like the spin, we test it in CGI to see what the spin would look like to try to keep the feeling of the original TV series. But then we tried to manipulate the CG model to make improvements, we couldn’t really make it work. Eventually to lock down the shot, we thought it looked better to have it more like the TV series than how a human would flip.

Gomez: But that’s the charm of the movie. Somehow it works and such moments are magical. What makes Shin Ultraman different from the other interpretations you’ve done of classic Japanese properties?

Higuchi: To be honest, I looked at the original series and films and felt they were kind of great already. I wasn’t comparing the character with other reboots. What was important is that the original concept was one of the best of all time, so it was just matter of respecting the original Ultraman series and working from there.

Gomez: There are many amazing set pieces in Shin Ultraman. Were there any that truly challenged your skills as a filmmaker?

Higuchi: The giant lady [Hiroko Asami] was the most challenging scene. It was challenging to have the actor [Masami Nagasawa] convey this notion of scale especially against a green screen. We had to balance a sense of humor and reality to the scene. It was tricky for the original filmmakers to do it in the Mefilas episode of the Ultraman series. I didn’t want to screw it up!

Gomez: Do you think your work with the character in Shin Ultraman is complete or would you ever consider revisiting the character with other stories?

Higuchi: If there was money that would be nice! I still follow the Ultraman characters and shows — all of them!

Gomez: Shinji, could you have predicted how in demand the film has been—not just by the Japanese people but by audiences at festivals and theatrical releases around the world? How you feel about how Shin Ultraman has been embraced?

Higuchi: In Japan the audience tends to be silent, so I felt as if maybe I’d failed. But in America audiences laughed and cheered, they were more vocal. I was very happy about that reaction.

Stay with Ultraman Connection for more coverage of Shin Ultraman!

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September 26, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER’S STRONGEST FORM “DYNAMIC TYPE” DEBUTS

Ultraman Decker’s strongest form “Dynamic Type” will be featured in Ultraman Decker for the first time this October!

Ultraman Decker’s Strongest Form: Dynamic Type

Until now, Ultraman Decker has shown the ability to Type Change into three forms: Flash Type, Strong Type, and Miracle Type. 

When faced with continuous monster attacks, Kanata finds himself in unexpected danger. His determination to never give up is expressed in his strongest form yet: Ultraman Decker Dynamic Type.

As the show reaches its mid-season, we can look forward to seeing Kanata, Decker, and the members of GUTS-Select learn and grow.

The story now enters a new chapter where we can expect more from Decker with the appearance of his stronger Dynamic Form, and at the same time feel an air of uncertainty growing as ever-stronger enemies appear before our heroes.

We hope you are excited to see all the new developments in Ultraman Decker!

Ultraman Decker Dynamic Type

Height: 55 meters

Weight: 45,000 tons

Ultraman Decker’s strongest from, born from Kanata’s strong determination to never give up.

Decker changes to the Dynamic Type when Kanata inserts the Dynamic Card to the Ultra D Flasher and shouts out the words “Gush Beyond! Dynamic!”

This form’s special attack is the “Dymude Beam” fired by crossing both arms. Decker can also summon a new versatile item, the “Decker Shield Caliber,” by raising his hand in front of the “Decker Crystal Horn” on his forehead.

Decker uses it to deliver a dynamic fighting style. He can block attacks in Shield Mode, cut enemies with dual blades in Caliber Mode, and use various other combat abilities.

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September 26, 2022

ULTRAMAN DECKER EPISODE 11 RECAP “MACHINE GOD DEPLOYED”

At first glance, Ultraman Decker episode 11, “Machine God Deployed”, couldn’t be more different from what we saw last week. Episode 10 was restrained, quiet and introspective. It focused mostly on the perspective and past of Vice-Captain Kaizaki and her conflicted relationship with her former mentor’s dangerous research. When that conflict escalated past the point of argument and into a realm of monstrous powers, only Ultraman Decker could protect her – and symbolically, the rest of humanity – from the uncontrolled destruction unleashed by Neomegas. 

Episode 11, on the other hand, was a spectacle from the very beginning. Immediately, the audience was introduced to the “new weapon” that was hinted at last week – the DG001, named “TerraPhaser”. We were also introduced to the threats it immediately drew as soon as the opening credits finished rolling, as the monster Gazort attacked right behind it! Episode 10 produced its emotional weight because of a slow build-up to the full, terrifying scope of the threat faced by the main characters. This week’s episode instead dropped in quite literally feet-first, with guns blazing. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the spectacle of giant robots in an Ultraman show. It isn’t even the first time the characters have seen giant robots in-universe either! Kanata pointed out that many of them were kids when King Joe STORAGE Custom first fell out of the sky from another dimension (back during the crossover between Ultraman Trigger and Ultraman Z last year). It made sense to explain their gleeful enthusiasm as they watched the TerraPhaser’s test-run here. Personally, I think the idea of giant super robot fights is just inherently cool all on its own. However, the extra effort put into the continuity helped to lend important verisimilitude to the setting, and it was also funny seeing Ryumon get just as fired up as Kanata in these opening scenes. 

Speaking of which, aside from the spectacle, this episode also did a great job of handling humor. The opening exposition between the main team and Professor Asakage about the TerraPhaser’s development was balanced with some genuinely hilarious comedic timing. Rather than just being a cut-and-dry “Well, as you know–” sort of recap, the audience got to see how the setting developed in response to the challenges humanity faced in Ultraman Trigger, as well as getting some insight into Professor Asakage’s character himself. 

Previously, he’s been a background character who has just showed up to exposit on new technology the team uses. And that’s sort of what he does here too. But like Kaizaki getting a chance to put those skills to work in an episode custom-tailored to her strengths last week, Asakage’s research came to the forefront here too. Before, he might have seemed straightforward and dry, but his genuine dedication – one might even say fondness – for his work was made obvious in those scenes.

In addition to his dedication to seeing the TerraPhaser’s development finished, that dedication also drove him to fight alongside the rest of the GUTS-Select team later in the episode. After the initial scuffle against Gazort, more Kaiju showed up to harry the TerraPhaser’s tests, and knocked out its main AI control unit, crippling the robot. The Professor could have retreated and drawn up new plans to rescue or repair the robot from the relative safety of the team’s headquarters. Instead, they devised a scheme to replace the control unit with Hanejiro, so he can pilot it and fight back! A truly slapstick scene ensued with the team tossing the tiny robot back and forth like a rugby ball, dodging monster attacks all while trying to get to the downed robot. 

Another thing that struck me about this whole sequence of events – in between bouts of laughter – was how seriously everyone took the idea of the TerraPhaser robot being their best hope to fight back against the monsters. Or rather, they wanted to fight to protect the robot, and prove that it could be valuable in their fight against those threats.

The stakes weren’t necessarily about saving their own skins, they all could have just run away and left it. However, it was important to Professor Asakage to prove that his life’s work developing the robot was not in vain, and because it was important to him, it was also important to the rest of the team. Including Kanata.

Yes, Kanata Asumi. The same guy on the team who can also turn into a giant being made of light and effortlessly toss enemies through wormholes before making them explode with lasers he shoots out of his arms. He could have done the same here, the moment they saw the TerraPhaser robot downed, and realized that the team members at the test site were in danger. Eventually, he did transform into Decker, although in slightly different circumstances compared to his usual fights.

Rather than trying to defeat the attacking monsters himself, facing them with his full strength and full size, Kanata transformed into a much, much smaller version of Decker. This was probably accidental on Kanata’s part – hardly surprising, since many of his abilities and actions as Decker in other episodes appeared to be instinctual rather than intentionally thought out. Not that Kanata exactly puts a lot of forethought into any of his actions anyways, but I’m getting off-topic. 

I’ve seen several pieces of speculation about why Decker fights at ground level in this episode, but I think the main reason is psychological. Kanata always fights as Decker to protect others, and the best way he could do that in this episode was to fight with his team-mates, on their own scale, against the human-sized versions of the Hinabasser Kaiju. 

Plus, just like the scheme with Hanejiro being tossed like a football, it also was the single funniest way they could have played out that scene.

Aside from the humor, this episode really stood out because of how little it focused on the titular hero. Decker himself played a relatively minor role; helping mostly to get Professor Asakage and Hanejiro to the downed TerraPhaser, then delivering the final blow against the monsters. If anything, this episode struck me as more like an episode from a classic super robot show – and I don’t just say that because it features a giant super robot in the first place. 

It’s because it featured a giant super robot that first appeared while being carried by tethers pulled by a fleet of helicopters. And is powered by vaguely defined energy particles that form fancy-looking wings when it powers up. And can also shoot heat-seeking, curving laser projectiles.

Yeah, I think it’s clear that the director and visual storyboard artists for this episode have done research into this genre.

Aside from the giant robots, the humor and spectacle also seem to put this episode in dramatic opposition to the tone from last week. Episode 10 dealt with some of the most crucial themes of the Ultraman franchise, but they’re also themes inherent to tokusatsu in general. What is humanity’s place in a universe where the very forces of nature seem to overwhelm us? To what extremes must human beings go to just ensure our survival? What about humanity is worth protecting considering the terrifying extent of those threats? 

The week was sold more by the simple joy of watching a group of characters come together to reach new heights and successes that they couldn’t attain on their own. That’s something I generally associate with the more heroic “super” robot series, but there’s a place for that spectacle in Ultraman as well. This is, ultimately, a franchise aimed at a younger audience and needs to sell cool-looking toys for them to get excited about. But the best part of this franchise, as I’ve said before, is its ability to handle multiple parallel themes on multiple parallel levels. 

There’s no reason why that spectacle can’t also serve a deeper thematic purpose beyond just eye-candy. I genuinely think that the “wow factor” of TerraPhaser’s debut, and the importance the other characters placed on its success, reflected some themes carried over from last week. The Professor in episode 10 was obsessed with creating a weapon to ensure humanity’s survival, regardless of the cost. It’s not hard to see how Asakage’s dedication to the TerraPhaser could easily be twisted to similar dark extremes. Will this new superweapon be a force for good, or evil? Will humanity use it to become like gods, or devils? Wait, I’m in the wrong franchise again…

I suppose we’ll just have to come back next week to find out what the future has in store for the TerraPhaser, and the GUTS Select team! 

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September 23, 2022

An Ultra-Heroic Collaboration Pioneers the World's First Ultraman Helmets!

Tsuburaya Productions and reputable helmet manufacturer Gracshaw have come together to oversee the design and creation of the world's first Ultraman bike/motorcycle helmets.

This limited edition collection in Gracshaw’s Gennex line consists of three of their Open Face Double Visor Helmet designs, the Gennex Ultraman Classic, Gennex Ultraman Taro and Gennex Ultraman Tiga.

Released in September 2022 and retailing at RM460, each helmet will only have a limited release of 1000 units per design, each one accompanied by a notated authenticity card. Every Ultraman Series helmet also features a unique serial number on the back (such as TAR 0001/1000 for the Gennex Taro)that matches the one on the authenticity card.

The Ultraman helmets offer a number of well-designed features, such as a double visor for enhanced protection from the sun and other external elements, as well as excellent air ventilation and an aerodynamic sculpt. The sizes range from M to XXXL to cater to all riders.

Tsuburaya Productions has been creating stories loved by fans everywhere since Ultra Q and Ultraman first aired in 1966. Alongside its classic characters, it also develops full-length films, TV series, manga, anime and live events for global audiences.

Established in 2006, Gracshaw is a Malaysian brand under the umbrella of Double Site Marketing Sdn Bhd. It produces a comprehensive range of high-quality helmets, including Full Face, Open Face, Demi Jet, Offroad and Touring.

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September 22, 2022

SHIN ULTRAMAN RELEASED IN THEATERS IN THAILAND FROM SEPT 22

Shin Ultraman has just been released in theaters in Thailand as of September 22!

This awesome original popcorn-bucket of Ultraman is available in the cinemas exclusively in Thailand!

A 10-meter statue was even flown in from Japan. See image at the top of this post!

You can meet Ultraman in the cinemas below!

  • Major Ratchayothin from September 19-30.
  • Major Rangsit from October 1-9.

Find other Shin Ultraman schedules in other regions here!

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September 21, 2022

THE NOOB REVIEWS MARVEL’S MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN #2

Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven issue #2 came out today and let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed. Writers Kylie Higgins and Mat Groom joined forces with penciller Davide Tinto and colorist Espen Grundetjern to pull us all even deeper into this wild adventure. Watch out though if you haven’t read the prior two issues, there’s some series spoilers ahead!

Last month’s cliffhanger left me itching for more action and luckily that itch was scratched with the issue’s intense opening scene. That’s right, we are launched into chaos from the jump, sharing Shin Hayata’s adrenaline as he hurls himself out of the VTOL, straight into the heart of a battle between Ultraseven and some familiar Kaiju! 

Variant cover by Tom Reilly

This issue balances energy beautifully by taking the form of a two-level narrative. We have a high-energy Kaiju fight breaking out full force, and at the same time, on the liminal plane of the same space, a passionate exchange unravels between Shin and Ultraman.

On one hand, we get to see the engaging battle sequence we all love in any Ultraman story, but on the other we are forced to acknowledge a truth we might not have previously allowed ourselves to consider: Ultras carry trauma too. Although the Ultra capacity for endurance might be greater than an average person’s, it becomes clear that they are not exempt from the effect thousands of battles might have on one’s psyche. Shin and Ultraman struggle to see eye to eye on how to address Ultraseven’s unjust acts of violence. 

The framing of this story feels like a great analogy for the split feeling of having to face the complexities of life while also trying our best to maintain our integrity. The tension of trying to make a moral decision while dealing with a demanding, high-pressure situation is familiar to all of us, especially when it comes to handling disputes with loved ones. 

With Shin, Ultraman, Ultraseven, and Dan Moroboshi all on edge, everything builds up to a shocking climax that anyone who lives in a chaotic environment with siblings can relate to. Sometimes one must go to extremes in the name of self-preservation and in the name of protecting others.  

Although the story takes place over the span of one dispute, the visuals do a fantastic job of conveying grand-scale mayhem. No matter who is winning, every fighting party has a glorious and majestic quality to him that serve as a great reminder for how high the stakes of these battles truly are. The use of light to differentiate different segments of the confrontation, the role the elements play in setting the scene, the juxtaposition of the dreamy liminal realm and the jarring real world—everything is calculated and works together to establish a space that is both tumultuous and contained. 

We get a special look into the different characters’ philosophies and how they handle fundamentally disagreeing with each other. And who doesn’t love when Ultraman gets philosophical? I always enjoy getting a closer look at a hero’s vulnerable side as it tends to be the aspect we all empathize with best. 

Aaaaanddd another cliffhanger! Is that an Ultra staple I don’t know about yet? Because it’s working on me… I need to know what comes of this unlikely conflict and I’m sure you do too. Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven #2 is available at comic shops and online right now. Issue #3 is coming October 26th, 2022. Stay tuned for more updates here on UltramanConnection.com! 

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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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September 15, 2022

MR.COOL’S DREAMS OF ULTRAMAN BROUGHT HIM INTO THE WORLD OF FILM

This week’s fan profile focuses on Mr.Cool, who definitely lives up to his screen name. Short film maker, internet personality, and Ultra-fan, Mr.Cool is best known in the Ultraman community for his role moderating the Ultraman Reddit and Discord. 

Mr.Cool’s Ultraman action figure wielding an Ultra Slash

Mr.Cool began his journey through the Ultraman Universe at a very young age, with his first entry point being the 1966  classic Ultraman series. The show served as a common ground for him and his father, who grew up watching as well. At the time, however, Ultraman wasn’t as accessible in the west so the two resorted to watching old VHS tapes of Ultraman Ace, Ultraman Taro, and The Return of Ultraman

Although the tapes were not in English, Mr.Cool found himself enamored by the “chaos” of the series. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t understand what was being said, the whimsical intensity was unlike anything he'd seen from shows made in the United States!

“I remember this one episode that was very formative for me. It was these Kaiju (Bad Baalon and Yapool) in a hot air balloon. They were stealing the souls of children or something. I couldn’t understand the dialogue, but I remember having to pick up on what was really going on and figuring it all out was exciting.” Editor’s note: this was an episode of Ultraman Ace, Airship Terrible Monster.

Inspired by these riveting stories, Mr.Cool taught himself the basics of filmmaking at only 10 years old by making stop-motion animation shorts starring his Ultraman and Kaiju figures. Using his Nintendo DSi, he would direct his own epic Ultra-adventures. Papier-mâché buildings, construction paper roads, and Hot Wheels cars served as the recipients for all of the Kaiju battle collateral damage. 

The set of one of Mr.Cool’s early short films

“Well at the time I only had access to Ace, Taro, and classic Ultraman. I’d see these great Kaiju figures on eBay and not know who they were because they were from Ultraseven or other newer series I’d never seen. I’d look up descriptions of the Kaiju online to find out more about them, getting information from Wikipedia and toy reviews. They had this mythical quality, I never thought I’d be able to see them in action.” 

Mr.Cool used what he’d learn about the characters online to inform his short films, essentially building his own version of Ultraseven before he’d even seen it. 

Gomora striking a pose mid-battle

“I had built Ultraseven up in my head to this high status and then when I finally watched it… It was even better than I had expected. It instantly became my favorite show of all time. It had this heavy subject matter and this artful quality that I just wasn’t used to seeing. It made me think a lot.” 

Ever since then, he’s been keeping up to date on all the new Ultraman releases and taking advantage of the new availability of older series. 

“I’m very excited about Ultraman’s expansion into the west. It’s incredible how things have changed.”

Mr.Cool found his place in the Ultraman community by starting as a passive content enjoyer. He began by finding blogs, Reddit threads, YouTube channels, and Twitter accounts that catered to his interest in Ultraman. As time went on and he found himself more and more immersed in the online subculture, he conjured the confidence to take on the position of a moderator on the Ultraman Reddit and then subsequently, on the Ultraman Discord. 

“I really enjoy reading and being part of the conversations on Ultraman. It’s something I’m passionate about so even if I don’t necessarily agree with some peoples’ opinions, I can appreciate their different perspectives. Sometimes those perspectives give me new things to think about and deepen my appreciation for the franchise.” 

He acknowledges that he has blind spots stemming from his American upbringing and how seeking out internet analysis has helped him build a cultural context for Ultraman. 

“I read about what current events were happening in Japan at the time of each series and even about some of the Japanese folklore and mythology that serve as inspiration for Ultraman themes and plot.” 

Through being open minded, explorative, and immersing himself in his passion for Ultraman, Mr.Cool has broadened his horizons and exercised his creativity impressively. Even with limited access to fellow fans and relevant content when he was younger, Mr.Cool sought out the Ultraman Universe and is definitely reaping the benefits of the community. 

He’s even bringing the people in his life closer to Ultraman, and they’re into it! 

“Not a lot of people I know are as into Ultraman as me but I recently brought my mom and sister to see the new Shin Ultraman movie and they really enjoyed it despite not having seen Ultraman before. I think it does a great job of being a stand-alone piece and maintaining those classic Ultraman themes.” 

When asked about the Ultraman themes that are most valuable to him, he answered with great sweetness and sincerity. 

Ultraman Jack and Ultraman Ace posing dramatically in a frame from one of Mr.Cool’s films

“Togetherness, humanity, not giving up… These are all integral concepts to Ultraman. It might seem like it’s about aliens, but it’s about all of us. I can’t express the positivity I get from Ultraman; it really means a lot to me. It makes the world feel less lonely. I’m definitely a lifelong fan.” 

Mr.Cool is now in school for filmmaking and has a portfolio of live-action, Claymation, and of course, stop-motion animated films that he’s written, directed, and acted in. Although he preserves his anonymity, you can connect with Mr.Cool through the Ultraman Discord as well as the Ultraman Reddit. 

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September 1, 2022

THE NOOB SUMMARIZES MARVEL’S ULTRAMAN SERIES

Based on what the Ultraman Connection social media team is telling me, a whole lot of Ultraman fans have finally discovered the Marvel Comics Ultraman series. Twitter especially has been lit up like a Christmas tree, because of how many callbacks to Ultraman lore can be found in the first issue of Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven—Father of Ultra, the Land of Light, Eleking, you name it! Took you long enough, I say.

Yes, there is nothing like coming across an undiscovered branch of your favorite franchise and throwing yourself directly through the first entry point you find. As the designated Ultra-Noob, this is usually my strategy as well, seeing something awesome and diving right in… 

However, I’ve come to find that so much of the beauty in many properties, especially Ultraman, comes from the lore! So, for all you eager Ultra-fans who have just found the Marvel’s unique but somehow essential take on Ultraman through The Mystery of Ultraseven by Kyle Higgins, Mat Groom, and Davide Tinto, I’m here to give you a little context. Spoiler alert!

It all began with Marvel’s The Rise of Ultraman, released in 2020. The story opens in 1966 with Agent Dan Moroboshi, who some of you are already well acquainted with, piloting his ship on a mission for the United Science Patrol (USP). Almost immediately his ship is intercepted by a giant explosion of light. Within it, we can make out a very familiar, very large silhouette… 

Flash forward to 2020, we are introduced to Kiki Fuji as she navigates her new job at the Japanese Headquarters of the USP. Fuji serves as a vehicle to educate us on how this world functions (i.e K-Rays are the tools highly trained USP members use to defeat Kaiju). While accompanying Captain Muramatsu on her first on-field mission, they are faced with subterranean Kaiju, Telesdon. When the attack is too much for them, Kiki’s old friend and formerly rejected USP position-holder, Shin Hayata comes to the rescue. 

Kiki and Shin share a fascination with the cryptic nature of the USP as well as a reverence for the USP’s ability to protect humanity from Kaiju, strange monsters who seem to come from other planets to torment Earth. When Kiki is called onto another emergency operation later that day, Shin tags along and the two are met face to face with a being that hadn’t been seen on Earth in over two decades… You guessed it, the myth, the legend: Ultraman! 

Shin is encouraged by Captain Muramatsu to attack, but as he follows through, he feels an overwhelming sense of forgiveness from Ultraman. He is drawn to the Ultra energy and submits to merging with him. We’re left alongside Kiki and the captain, equally confused about what this merge entails.  

The cliffhanger is picked back up in the second five issue mini-series, The Trials of Ultraman, released in 2021. First, however, we are informed by the executive director of the USP, Aude Morheim, that K-Rays are no longer a feasible way to keep Kaiju at bay. Ultraman is needed more than ever, and he delivers. Underwater, the now merged Shin and Ultra defeat the oil-consuming Kaiju, Pestar. It’s also made clear that Shin will be able to transform into Ultraman for limited time when trouble arises and still sustain his human form. 

While the world learns about the existence of the USP and panics in response to the new mass threat of Kaiju, Shin struggles to keep his double life a secret from his father, a deeply embittered man who holds Shin responsible for his kid brother’s accidental death many years ago. Elsewhere, we find the previously declared MIA Dan Moroboshi has been found alive and in the same condition he was in 1966. Like, exactly the same. The only problem? He was found by the wrong kind of people. 

Ultraman tells Shin that Dan Moroboshi was the last person known to see Ultraman’s brother, who vanished in the vicinity of Earth five decades earlier. With the incentive to find out what exactly happened in 1966, the USP sends Kiki and Shin to New Zealand where Moroboshi is being held hostage by an anti-USP conspiracy gang called the Joint Armed Disclosure Front (JADF). While trying to reclaim Moroboshi, the JADF releases a man-made robot replica of Kaiju, Star Bem Gyeron. Although Ultraman successfully defeats the “Kaiju” we are left wondering how a small New Zealand gang could have access to such technology… 

Well, the answer is engineer Professor Nikaido. This anti-government conspiracy theorist has been building robotic Kaiju with the belief that Kaiju have been a hoax all along and are just government weapons disguised as interstellar threats. 

Shin and Moroboshi bond over the weight of working for the USP and the burden of dealing with such grand scale issues, but Shin must put that aside when he and Kiki are sent to Iceland to disarm Professor Nikaido. A crowd of fellow conspiracy theorists surround him as he hypes up the unveiling of his robot Kaiju in an effort to prove that all Kaiju are illegitimate. 

While Ultraman battles Jirahs (who has been identified as a human-piloted mecha), a real Kaiju enters the battle: Zumbolar, the walking inferno! Now Ultraman must spare the human inside Jirahs, while preventing the mechanical monster from doing harm, and defeat Zumbolar at the same time!

Once the battle is over and Ultraman prevails once again, Shin and Kiki grapple with the complicated emotional aftermath. They are frustrated that the world has seen the truth of Kaiju and still refuse to believe it, but they decide ultimately that it’s their duty to protect the people of Earth despite their lack of support. 

In a rare and touching moment, Shin and Ultraman commiserate on the nature of loss, trauma, and healing but are interrupted when Dan Moroboshi approaches them. He apologizes in advance, but before Shin can finish asking him why, Moroboshi drains the Ultra essence from him—enabling him to transform into Ultraseven! 

Wait! Who is that in the foreground…?!

So, we’re here. The Mystery of Ultraseven. Shin has been left helpless (and powerless) after being targeted by Moroboshi, and the USP is frantically trying to piece together a gameplan for dealing with an Ultra that seems to have gone mad—Seven. The more answers we’re given, the more questions arise.

 

Take it from me, a noob, the Marvel Ultraman comic book collaboration has shaped up to be an enticing journey through the unknown. It’s the perfect introduction to understanding Ultraman’s lore and I would highly recommend it to any curious potential Ultra fans. Go out and read them if you can! But hopefully, now even if you haven’t read the first editions of the series, you’ll be ready to jump into The Mystery of Ultraseven with just enough background knowledge to set the stage! The comics are available everywhere and keep a lookout for updates on upcoming issues here on UltramanConnection.com! 

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August 31, 2022

ULTRAMAN WATCH CLUB – ANIME ULTRAMAN S1E3

EJ C

Hey all, and welcome back to Ultraman Watch Club. Today, we're continuing our watch of Netflix's ULTRAMAN Season 1, with episode 3, "Being Ultraman Isn't So Bad." I'm EJ, Editor-in-Chief of UltramanConnection.com.

Evangelia A.G. 

I’m Evangelia, a writer for Ultraman Connection.

Kyle Y.R. 

I’m Kyle, also a writer for Ultraman Connection.

EJ C

So we start the episode in the middle of what is probably a pretty scary meeting for anyone, with Shinjiro's hospital stay interrupted by Edo, the Alien Zetton. With him comes some shocking reveals about Earth's long-lasting peace since the original Ultraman show.

Kyle Y.R. 

I’d definitely be frightened, especially considering the kaiju Zetton is considered Ultraman’s greatest foe in the original series.

Evangelia A.G.

Yeah, we learn that Bemular represents not only his own destructive capability, but the potential of other alien invasions as well. As Edo stated at the beginning, Earth had been left alone as a result of an intergalactic peace treaty. So Bemular and those that may come after him aren’t just regular invaders, they’re deviants from the union of the other planets and in a way terrorists.

Kyle Y.R. 

What I'm curious about is whether Edo has a different philosophy from the original Alien Zetton we saw, or if it's merely a professional obligation for him. 

EJ C 

The fact that he's pursuing peace in any form with humans tells me that it kind of has to be the case.

Kyle Y.R. 

That's definitely true. I'm very curious about Alien Zetton politics, although I can't imagine there are very many of them left.

Evangelia A.G.

Which proves just how scary Bemular is. If even the Alien Zetton can agree to make peace, then Bemular and those who might come after him have to be ten times worse than that.

EJ C 

Considering the circumstances of the original show, Edo may even be the last Alien Zetton. Anyway, poor Shinjiro has, uh... other stuff to worry about than Edo, considering the condition his dad's in. Thankfully, he's going to recover.

Evangelia A.G.

I think a part of Shinjiro kind of knew he would be asked to step in for Ultraman once he realized his father had the job before him, but now the call to action is a reality and he’s faced with this huge destiny. Meanwhile he has to continue going to school and pretend to lead a normal life.

Kyle Y.R.

Yeah, Shin's condition is an easy way to toy with any Ultraman fan's heart, and I'm glad it looks like he's going to make it through this.

Evangelia A.G.

Shinjiro already has so much new information to take in and so many new expectations, I think it would be cruel of the writers to take away his father too. I’m also glad he’s on the road to recovery.

Kyle Y.R. 

Him having to step up as a new Ultraman while being a teenager is definitely a cool spin on the character. It's cool to see him develop as he finally gets to use his powers.

Evangelia A.G.

I think this episode grounded us after the last episode. It was more conventional in that it had multiple locations and focused more on Shinjiro’s heroic arc more, which was refreshing after the intensity of his battle with Bemular. I think that episode was extremely necessary but we did need a breath afterward.

EJ C 

You say "gets to use," I say "has to use," when a massive car crash happens, right?

Evangelia A.G.

Haha, good point.

Kyle Y.R. 

It's definitely a double-edged sword. When he fought Bemular, he said he finally gets to use his real strength, but I think in this episode he realizes that this new identity is accompanied by serious responsibility. 

Evangelia A.G.

Yeah, and it starts out with this, like, virtue binge. He was doing all the classic superhero things, and kind of starting to get into all the clout he was getting for it. Of course, that’s a short lived feeling because it foreshadows much bigger battles to come.

Kyle Y.R. 

Yeah, he still seems pretty happy about getting to be the hero, at least initially.

Evangelia A.G.

He might want to be everyone’s friendly neighborhood Ultraman, but he’s needed for bigger things.

Kyle Y.R. 

That is how the superhero gig goes.

EJ C 

Not to say that things aren't a little dodgy in the neighborhood. Who's this hooded, four-eyed guy running around?

Evangelia A.G.

Well… That last shot of him was was treacherous.

Kyle Y.R. 

Yeah, he's pretty suspicious. I really like the idea that in this interpretation of Ultraman, there are all these aliens blending into human society, and they're constantly all over the place.

Evangelia A.G.

It’s interesting that the aliens we’ve seen so far have had humanoid bodies. In the classic series Kaiju were, like, huge monsters. How long have the aliens taken this form in the Ultraverse? I’m a noob so you gotta clue me in.

EJ C 

Well, monsters and aliens are separate things, you know.

Kyle Y.R. 

There are definitely humanoid aliens throughout Ultraman.

Evangelia A.G.

It’s true, but there seems to be a bigger focus on aliens.

EJ C 

Though they're definitely skewing more humanoid on the whole here.

Kyle Y.R. 

You're right that this is much less Kaiju focused.

Evangelia A.G.

There’s something so unsettling about this new guy. I mean… besides his obvious antics. His design is just unnerving.

EJ C 

They're definitely hitting what I would call the "social outcast" vibes with him.

Kyle Y.R. 

He's got a hikikomori vibe for sure.

EJ C 

The criminalization of the "other", so to speak.

Evangelia A.G.

Can you elaborate on that?

EJ C 

Every initial portrayal of this guy (his species is Alien Igaru, spoilers) is halfway between "He's a threat who is an alien," and "Is he a threat because he's an alien?"

Evangelia A.G.

Ah, I see.

EJ C 

And that's kind of key to the series as a whole, right? We mentioned it in the first episode; this show is very much asking questions about human issues, transposed onto the extraterrestrial.

Evangelia A.G.

Yes, I think that theme is definitely brought to the surface in episode 4, but i’ll bite my tongue and save that for next time.

EJ C 

Well, we'll talk about that later, haha.

Kyle Y.R.

That's always been a theme in Ultraman, but this show definitely hits on it in a deeper and even more mature way than we've seen before.

EJ C 

Anyway, let's cap off our coverage today with the introduction of a pair of new main characters: Dan Moroboshi and Rena Sayama.

Kyle Y.R. 

Well, Dan Moroboshi is obviously a name that any classic Ultra fan will recognize. And without spoiling anything, part of the fun of this show is seeing the re-adaptation of fan-favorite characters, and what they change vs. what they keep.

EJ C 

Well, they certainly made some, ah... changes regarding Dan.

Evangelia A.G.

What kind of changes?

EJ C 

The fact that he seems totally human, for one thing.

Kyle Y.R. 

Well, he's definitely a kinder character in the original continuity too.

Evangelia A.G.

I like his attitude though, he’s to the point.

Kyle Y.R. 

The original Dan is sometimes stern, but not unfriendly.

EJ C 

Yeah, this Dan seems to outright dislike Shinjiro. Mostly because he's a greenhorn with superpowers!

Evangelia A.G.

I feel like he represents the skepticism that a lot of people clearly have for this new Ultraman.

Kyle Y.R. 

It's fun, because it kind of reverses the roles of Dan and Shin from the original shows, or at least the roles of their "counterparts."

Evangelia A.G.

It makes sense that someone who’s been functioning in a system that has maintained peace for so long would be a little peeved that there’s a new guy that needs to learn all the ropes, especially when they’re basically relying on the new Ultraman.

Kyle Y.R. 

He seems very competent as opposed to Shinjiro, who doesn't yet know what he's doing. Yeah, to be fair he does have to deal with the newbie.

EJ C 

Rena, meanwhile, is the exact opposite- she seems immediately into this new Ultraman.

Evangelia A.G.

I think she has a lil’ crush on him!

EJ C

I think it could certainly end up that way.

Kyle Y.R. 

She does seem awfully fond of someone she knows very little about.

Evangelia A.G.

She’s simply drawn to his ~vibes~ Kyle. Buuut yeah, I’d probably at least have to see what’s under the mask before I decide to pursue someone.

Kyle Y.R. 

I mean fair enough—to each her own.

EJ C 

I can agree with that.

Kyle Y.R. 

Given that she seems to be an idol or celebrity, it might benefit her to play the drama up.

EJ C 

The episode ends gruesomely, however, with Shinjiro encountering the first alien whose motives are unquestionably monstrous- the human-eating Alien Adacic!

Kyle Y.R. 

Yeah, that was straight-up disturbing. You could really see Shinjiro's reaction, and how he wasn't psychologically prepared for the harsher parts of this new job.

Evangelia A.G.

Yeah. It was pretty awesome, though. I’m a fan of the morbid and grotesque.

Kyle Y.R. 

Woah Evangelia, you're starting to scare me.

Evangelia A.G.

Ahaha…

Kyle Y.R. 

Are you sure you're not an alien imposter?

Evangelia A.G.

o_o

EJ C

That'll finish up our coverage for this episode, folks.  We need to see if Evangelia is wearing a rubber mask, after all.  Catch you next time, when we cover ULTRAMAN episode 4, "Release the Limiter!"

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August 24, 2022

DECKER’S SECRET PREDECESSOR

Ultraman Decker is the talk of the Ultraman community right now, and for good reason! The newest Ultraman on the block is a fantastic successor to 1998’s Ultraman Dyna, taking several the coolest elements of that series and telling a new, dynamic story with it. However, while Dyna is an obvious influence on Decker, a second series has been leaving an indelible mark on the show, one some fans may not have yet noticed…

That series, of course, is 1967’s Ultraseven, celebrating its 55th anniversary! Seven’s fingerprints are all over some of the coolest elements of the series thus far. To help keep you, the fans, informed, we here at Ultraman Connection have decided to share just a couple of these references, to help you start catching them on your own!

The initial, perhaps most obvious reference to Seven lies in Decker’s arsenal. Beyond the Ultra Dimension Cards that allow Kanata Asumi to transform into Decker himself, the hero is equipped with a trio of Monster Cards. Three familiar Monster Cards: Miclas, Windam, and Agira. These Kaiju have shown up countless times in various series thus far, but they achieved their fame due to their connection with Ultraseven, as his original Capsule Monsters! (Fun fact: Ultraman Z’s beloved Sevenger is also based off his own Capsule Monster predecessor, the original Sevenger from Ultraman Leo.)

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Miclas has been the primary Kaiju helper used so far, including in a battle against one of Seven’s most famous foes: Eleking! Episode 5, “The Glutton of the Lake” was a major sendup of Ultraseven episode 3, “The Secret of the Lake,” bringing in the Ele’s original master, the Alien Pitt as well. The episode even starts the same way as its predecessor, with an old man having his fishing ruined by extraterrestrial interference—though the old man in Decker got a much bigger surprise when Eleking himself rose out of the water to spook him!

More references to Seven will come as the year—and Seven’s 55th Anniversary—continues. Let’s see what we can catch as we watch Ultraman Decker together, every Friday night on YouTube and ad-free on Ultraman Connection!

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August 12, 2022

SHIN ULTRAMAN – THE ULTRAMAN CONNECTION REVIEW

Be advised, this article contains several HEAVY spoilers for Shin Ultraman. Please do not read if you want to be surprised by the film.

The final cut was very quick, was the first thought through my head as the opening notes of Kenichi Yonezu’s M87 rang out into the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. I would not get to hear the next minute or so of the song due to the overwhelming din of the audience’s applause. Shin Ultraman had just ended its Monday, July 25h encore screening at the New York Asian Film Festival, the first time such a screening had been made necessary in the history of the event. It was packed to the rafters, standing room only to the point where people were sitting on the stairs. To tell you that I, a member of the press who literally works with Tsuburaya on the Ultraman franchise, was unable to get a ticket to the first screening on Saturday the 23rd should tell you how prized the tickets were.

In the moment, though, that was not on my mind. Instead, I was seated there, as others were standing up around me and applauding, wondering why I was so… upset by the sudden cut to end the movie, where Shinji Kaminaga, his life returned to him by Ultraman’s sacrifice, wakes up in the company of his friends in the SSSP. After a few more moments, it hit me, almost laughably obvious: I was upset that the movie had ended. Not that I was unsatisfied, by any means, but in the course of 112 minutes, I had been locked, enraptured, in the struggles of this world, these people, and the giant that protected them from dangers without and within, and though the movie had come to an end, those lives had not, at least to me. The ending of the movie, the opening of Kaminaga’s eyes as a human for the first time since the movie had begun, was only the beginning.

All of this is to say that Shin Ultraman might be one of the most effective and engaging stories ever told with the Giant of Light in any form. Directed by Shinji Higuchi and produced by Hidaeki Anno, the team behind Shin Godzilla, this reinterpretation of many of the original concepts and ideas that shaped 1966’s Ultraman is the most successful Japanese movie of the year, and it’s very easy to see why. As a longtime fan, I could not ignore the love for all 55 years of the series’ history oozing from every moment of the film, interpreted through the lens of the world that has developed since July 10th, 1966.

One of Anno’s first works was a fan made short film sendup of the series Return of Ultraman, a heavy tale with a fitting tokusatsu flare, starring Anno himself in a stylish jacket in the role of the titular Giant of Light, Ultraman Jack. Watching the movie, I could feel not just the same passion, but the same urgency that defined that short. The series was beloved, and thus Shin had a standard to live up to. Personally, I feel the movie met that standard and then some.

Starting from the very first frame, we learn that the movie we are watching isn’t truly the starting point of the universe; much like the original 1966 Ultraman, the movie begins with the movie’s title bursting from the unearthly swirls of its predecessor, Ultra Q. And the references to Ultraman’s predecessor series don’t stop there, as the first Kaiju shown to be menacing the country of Japan (and only Japan) is Gomess, a double reference thanks to the monster’s near-identical appearance to the Shin iteration of the original Gomess’ base suit, Godzilla.

From there, the opening continues to reference Q while establishing a unique world of its own, showing how each Kaiju—and its eventual defeat—comes to shape the society we’re joining. The classification of Kaiju as “S-Class Species” and the formation of the S-Class Species Suppression Protocol Enforcement Unit, aka, the SSSP, establishes our main characters, formed not of pulp-style adventurers like in the Classic era of the series, but analysts. These are the “eggheads” that make observations, and then plans, leaving their execution to Japan’s Self-Defense Forces.

And the SSSP are good at their jobs. Under the auspices of Chief Munakata, the team is logical, yet flexible, and of course very professional. They genuinely feel like the best people for the job; something that is contrasted by the general feckless and spineless demeanor of the various governmental bigwigs we see over the course of the movie, a shot at the Japanese government that Higuchi and Anno have been taking since Shin Godzilla.

When the latest Kaiju, the energy-eating Neronga, proves to potentially be too much of a threat for the SSSP and their allies, however, help comes crashing down from above, in the form of a silver giant.

As the first real visual shown of the movie back at TsubuCon 2019, the Shin iteration of Ultraman has been discussed at length all over the world. It obviously shares a number of similarities with the beloved Classic suit design, but looking closer, stark differences begin to appear. In addition to the slightly alien proportions of Ultraman’s body in general, a number of key aspects of the original Ultraman’s design are missing, including the Color Timer, the fin on his back, and even the dots in his eyes. 

All these design elements were added to Tohl Narita’s original vision for the Giant of Light for various reasons, including the mechanics of the actor wearing the suit and the needs of the production. Higuchi and Anno deliberately sought to remove these features, using Narita’s painting Incarnation of Truth, Justice, and Beauty as their model in order to fittingly achieve the “true” Ultraman that the Shin title can represent. However, the removal of these elements, added to allow a human to function as Ultraman, thus further distances this design from humanity, and closer to not simply the alien, but to the divine—and since another reading of “shin” can be “deity/god,” such a choice certainly seems deliberate.

Divinity is truly a good term for the feeling I, as a viewer, got watching the first appearance of the Ultra here. I was reminded of the words of the angels, as they appeared to humans: “Be not afraid,” a statement often used jokingly when describing the absurd and upsetting, but chillingly fitting here. Certainly, Ultraman arrives and defeats Neronga easily, but there is an unreality to the Giant, from his tremendous power to his unearthly movements, some outright defying physics. Ultraman walks a line here between absurd and intimidating, and yet pursues the path of righteousness just as firmly as any Ultra to have come before him. 

At the same time, the giant’s arrival has immediate consequences. The first Spacium Beam we see not only kills Neronga, but tears through the countryside, giving humanity a firsthand look at what this new being seems to be capable of. In addition, the giant’s touchdown inadvertently causes the death of Shinji Kaminaga of the SSSP, causing the giant to merge with him and adopt his identity out of penance, in turn blending the perspectives of both alien and man.

From here, the movie endeavors to tell a story with the scale, breadth, and width of the original Ultraman series, all within 112 minutes. In another world, Shin Ultraman could have been a 5-episode miniseries, as the narrative comfortably breaks into five distinct “chapters,” each with their own threat. More than that, however, each segment puts real work on examining the relationship between Ultraman and humanity, the threats faced by the human race, and even his own people.

Much of that comes from the interplay between Ultraman-as-Shinji and his counterparts in the SSSP, especially analyst Hiroko Asami, the newest member of the team. Both outgoing and inquisitive, she, in many ways, is the heart of not just the SSSP, but the movie itself. From the moment she asked Ultraman-as-Shinji if he was her new “buddy,” (the actual word they use even in the Japanese script!) for his version of the story, she becomes the Giant of Light’s link to not just humanity, but a co-protagonist in her own right.

The whole of the SSSP, though not getting the level of focus as Hiroko and Shinji (to give them such would be impossible within the timeframe of the movie, as tightly packed as it is) are well-characterized using environmental elements. Biologist Yumi is fully realized not through text, but through minor moments, habits like playing with her wedding ring and a serious snacking habit. Unparticle Physicist Taki is an unrepentant sci-fi geek, filling his corner of the SSSP’s otherwise sterile office with merchandise from Star Trek, a contemporary of the original Ultraman series, and Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds (a fandom Taki shares with Eiji Tsuburaya, the “God of Tokusatsu” and original creator of the Ultraman Series.)

It was little moments and touches like these that made the movie just as much as the larger moments. The battle against the subterranean, radiation-eating Kaiju Gabora was engaging, but I was similarly entertained hearing about how the creature was named (as with all previous Kaiju) by Disaster Prevention Agency’s minister, who is keen to put his mark on the Kaiju incidents the few moments we see him.

This is what I mean when I say that the world of the movie continues past the ending. The narrative may conclude with Hiroko welcoming Shinji back, and the sonorous voice of Yomezu, but it is merely closing the door on a world that truly feels like it will keep on going while the viewer isn’t looking. Potential future elements are intentionally left ambiguous; you don’t know what humanity will do now that Ultraman has revealed the secrets of the Beta System to them. A new observer has taken the place of Ultraman, and Zōffy carries a different perspective to his predecessor. As a viewer, I want to see what happens next, but like any fantasy, it can only exist for a short while. 

At least, until I get to see it again. Here’s hoping that day is soon.

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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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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 19, 2022

SEVENGER - ULTRAMAN VINYL ODYSSEY ON SALE FOR ONLY UNTIL AUGUST 31

The universally beloved giant robot Sevenger is the second Kaiju figure in the Ultraman Vinyl Odyssey toy line, and he’s only available for two more weeks! Sales on this fantastic Seismic figure end on August 31, 2022.

You can purchase Sevenger at this link.

One of Ultraman Z’s most powerful allies, Sevenger stands 9 inches tall and features a special Ultraman 55th anniversary edition colorway. The figure comes with an extra set of interchangeable eyes to allow you to shift Sevenger’s mood from sad to stern. He comes with a limited-edition Lucky Trading Card, and a numbered Head Card.

Sevenger was sculpted by Michael Lambert with header card illustration by D.J. Crumrine. Actual shipping starts this wintertime, so we’ll all have to stay patient. The high-end collectible figure retails for $200, but the site allows you to pay in installments.

Ultraman Connection has a special relationship with Sevenger, since our very first Ultraman Connection Live event featured first-run episodes of Sevenger Fight! We adore this guy, so if you’re buying Sevenger, you’d better hurry—we’re snapping up a few of these Ultra babies ourselves!

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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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