ULTRAMAN WATCH CLUB – ANIME ULTRAMAN S1E2

ULTRAMAN WATCH CLUB – ANIME ULTRAMAN S1E2
“AN INEVITABLE FATE”

EJ Couloucoundis (EJC)

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

Kyle Yamagishi-Rodstein (KYR)

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

Evangelia Artemis-Gomez (EAG)

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

EJC

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

KYR

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

EAG

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

KYR

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

EAG

Silver fox, maybe. 😉

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

KYR

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

EJC

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

KYR

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

EAG

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

KYR

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

EAG

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

KYR

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

EJC

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

KYR

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

EAG

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

KYR

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

EJC

Maybe not toying, but certainly testing.

EAG

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

EJC

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

KYR

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

EAG

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

EJC

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

EAG

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

KYR

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

EJC

Yeah, about that…

EAG

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

KYR

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

EJC

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

EAG

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

EJC

Agreed.

KYR

Yep.

EJC

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

KYR

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

EAG

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

EJC

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

EAG

Hey, what can I say?

EJC

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

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

EAG

Ahaha!

KYR

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

EAG

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

EJC

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

KYR

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

EJC

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

EAG

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

EJC

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