All in the Family, Part 1

All in the Family, Part 1

Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! We’re all excited here for the upcoming release of Ultraman: Rising, set to premiere on Netflix on June 14th. Among other things, like spectacular animation, fun characters and a sincere reflection on the legacy of the franchise’s ideals, one of the most interesting elements of the movie seems to be an emphasis on family and how those legacies carry across generations. “Bonds” and relationships between people often play a central role in the stories of the Ultras, giving rise to the strength which allows them to overcome impossible odds in many of these shows. Over the next couple weeks, we wanted to highlight some of the most powerful examples of those kinds of stories.

So of course, where else could we start from, except the Ultra Family itself?

For those who may be new to the Ultraman Series, this refers to Father and Mother of Ultra, and their son Ultraman Taro and grandson Ultraman Taiga, but the bonds of their family go much deeper than that. The Ultra Brothers from the Land of Light, especially Ultraman Ace, and some heroes from the New Generation era also share close ties together. Many of these characters have deep personal bonds, have endured significant trials alongside one another, and have forged those bonds of family which continue to the modern day.

In other words, there’s a lot to talk about! This week, we’ll focus on Father and Mother of Ultra themselves, also known as Ultraman Ken and Ultrawoman Marie.

As a fun bit of trivia, nobody knew them by those names until 2009, when Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends the Movie was released! In fact, before the movie, there was precious little information about their story, how they had gained the titles of “Father” and “Mother”, and become such legendary figures within the Land of Light.

Father of Ultra was first introduced in the Ultraman Ace series, in episode 27, “Miracle! Father of Ultra!” After Ace and the other Ultra Brothers were defeated by a devious trap laid by Alien Hipporit, Father of Ultra shows up, explains nothing, rips out his color timer to revitalize the Ultra Brothers, and then promptly dies.


It’s just as abrupt as it sounds, trust me. That brief appearance, and his powerful example of sacrifice in order to save many lives made an equally powerful impression on the viewers. Even if we didn’t know why he was given the title “Father” at this point, that strength of compassion, to literally lay down his life without question for the sake of the Ultra Brothers and for humanity, represented an ideal of leadership everyone can look up to.

Thankfully, Father of Ultra didn’t stay dead for long, and returned later in Ace under the guise of a different father – Father Christmas – in episode 38. These two appearances are definitely memorable in the franchise, but the Mother of Ultra would go on to have an even more important role in the franchise in the following series, Ultraman Taro.


In fact, she’s the entire reason why Kotaro Higashi becomes Ultraman Taro in the first place! In the first episode of the show, she gifted the headstrong young man the “Ultra Badge” which allowed him to transform, and even continued to watch over him throughout the show. Many times when Taro was struggling, was knocked down and seemed to be out of the fight for good, Mother of Ultra was always close by to give him the loving – and often stern – advice or healing care needed to save the day. This is especially notable in the fight against Birdon, where both Taro and Zoffy took mortal damage from the Kaiju’s volcanic temper! Both of them would still be pushing up the Land of Light’s equivalent of daisies if Mother of Ultra wasn’t around to revive them!

Father of Ultra also makes a few appearances in this show as well, in unexpected ways. (One of which I really don’t want to spoil here, since it also is a big spoiler for the Ace series!) Unlike his debut in the previous series, Father of Ultra’s role was more like a mentor and example for the young Taro and for Kotaro’s friends on the defense team. Both he and the Mother of Ultra use their miraculous strengths to help others discover their own strengths, but are definitely still strong enough to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in some truly desperate situations.

They would both appear briefly in Ultraman Leo, but their first modern appearance wouldn’t come until Ultraman Mebius, almost thirty years later. In the first episode, Father of Ultra directly sent Mebius to the Earth on his mission – not just to protect the lives of human beings on the planet, but also to learn for himself what it truly means to be an Ultra Brother. Appropriately enough, Mebius’ teacher was Ultraman Taro, so it’s funny to see him learn the same sort of lessons as Taro in different ways during his own time on Earth.

Later on, Mother of Ultra lent her own miraculous abilities to help resurrect Hunter Knight Tsurugi, restoring him as Ultraman Hikari. Like her husband, both of them choose to use their strength in order to strengthen others, rather than trying to do everything by themselves. That is truly why I think they are called the Father and Mother of Ultra. Not just because they are parents to children in a literal sense, but the role of parenthood they represent is a responsibility they take very seriously, and has deeply impacted many other Ultra heroes through the franchise’s history.

But there was a time when they did not have these titles.


During the Ultraman Taro series, small details of their histories were explained – along with details regarding the history of the Land of Light itself! These details, including their actual names, were later filled in by other movies and specials. Even if we still don’t have a complete retelling of their origins, their story does reveal the strife of war endured by their entire planet over a period of time now called the “Ultimate Wars”. Many different aliens and Kaiju attacked them, which have since become legends in their own right – Alien Empera, Yapool, and Juda Spectre. Ken made a name for himself after fighting Empera to a draw, but his story would have ended there without Marie’s help as well.

In many ways, I think their relationship defines the greatest strengths of Ultra heroes in general. Both of them have achieved many remarkable things, and carry the highest level of respect, even among other Ultra heroes. Regardless, they still see their role in the way I have previously described – to use their strengths in order to allow others to be strong. Their respect and their honors come from their humility and wisdom, rather than simply their own personal strength.

Now, you might be wondering about another Ultra hero from the Ultimate Wars era who did not share their humility? That’s a story many of you are already likely familiar with, and would be the subject of an article for another time. Next week, however, we’ll look at how the Ultra Family has grown to include not just Ultraman Taro himself, but also the rest of the Ultra Brothers, and even the Brothers’ own legacies in the modern day. Until then, stay tuned right here at Ultraman Connection!