WHAT IS NETFLIX’S ANIME ULTRAMAN?
The first season of Netflix’s Ultraman released in 2019 to critical acclaim and praise from fans, and it was quickly renewed for a highly anticipated second season. However, if you haven’t yet had a chance to watch it yet or are one of the many newcomers to the series, you may be asking yourself what the series is about exactly and how it connects to the larger Ultraman franchise. Well, we at Ultraman Connection are here to help, so here’s everything you need to know about Netflix’s Anime ULTRAMAN series.
A 3D computer-generated series produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Productio I.G, Anime ULTRAMAN is based on a Japanese manga of the same name written by Eiichi Shimizu and illustrated by Tomohiro Shimoguchi. The series (and the manga) takes place in an alternate continuity from the rest of the franchise except for the original 1966 Ultraman show. The action is marked by highly detailed character and creature design, dynamic lightning fast movements, and spectacular battles, often on an epic scale.
In the Anime ULTRAMAN universe, unlike in the mainline continuity, only the events of the original Ultraman took place, and no other Ultras came to Earth after Ultraman’s defeat at the hands of his greatest foe Zetton. Instead, in this universe, Shin Hayata went on to have a son named Shinjiro. The series begins with Shinjiro discovering that he has special powers and that his father was once Ultraman. After Shinjiro and his father are endangered by a mysterious foe called Bemular, the Science Special Search Party (SSSP), which has continued its operations in secret, gives him access to a prototype Ultraman suit that utilizes the power of Ultraman that he inherited from his father. With this high-tech new suit, Shinjiro becomes Ultraman for an entirely new generation.
This reinterpretation of the Ultraman universe offers a fresh take on the character and world while peppering in Easter eggs and lore for long-term fans. The series serves as a great entry point for newcomers too, as it is a streamlined version of the world that may be less intimidating for some than the complex lore of the mainline Ultraman universe. Anime ULTRAMAN boasts many differences from the rest of the franchise as well: for example, this Ultraman does not grow giant to fight Kaiju, and is instead focused on street-level crimes and battles on an Earth that has been infiltrated by a variety of alien races. The series also has a more mature tone and leans heavily into Ultraman’s sci-fi roots, with mysterious organizations and seedy alien underbellies.
Despite being a fresh interpretation of the Ultraman universe, Anime ULTRAMAN also draws lots of inspiration from the franchise, acting as an alternate sequel to the original 1966 Ultraman. In addition to Shinjiro Hayata, we see that specialist Mitsuhiro Ide of the original SSSP has taken on a leadership position in the modern, more covert version of the organization. We also see this universe’s versions of Dan Moroboshi and Seiji Hokuto, who get their own Ultraman suits heavily inspired in design by the original Ultraseven and Ultraman Ace. There are even versions of alien races very familiar to long-term Ultraman fans, and a character named “Jack” who has a very familiar-looking bracelet…
Anime ULTRAMAN also provides plenty of subtle nods to Ultra fans! When Shinjiro or Dan transform into their Ultraman suits, you can actually hear the transformation noises from the original Ultraman and Ultraseven shows respectively. If you’re really paying close attention, you might also notice that the first time Shinjiro wears the Ultraman suit, he mirrors Shin’s original transformation pose. Shinjiro’s suit even contains a spin on the original Ultraman’s Color Timer; when Shinjiro’s begins to flash red, rather than weakening, the young hero achieves a “Limiter Release” mode that grants him incredible power for a short period of time. Fans will also want to take a closer look at scenes in the SSSP headquarters, which has been renovated as an Ultraman Museum, containing many statues and dioramas of the original Ultraman.
AnimeULTRAMAN scored incredibly for Netflix, hitting the leaderboards as the network’s #1 anime for many weeks in 2019 and 2020. This led to a greater commitment to the Giant of Light by Netflix, which green-lighted a second season of the anime, as well as a recently announced unrelated feature-length animated Ultraman movie! If you haven’t gotten to the series yet, you can check out the first season right now on Netflix. Season 2 is currently in production and is coming soon, so for all news on AnimeULTRAMAN and more, stay tuned to Ultraman Connection!