Growing Up With Ultraman

Growing Up With Ultraman

To all our global Ultraman Connection members, hello! With amazing entertainment like Ultraman Rising on the horizon, the Ultraman Series is about to be discovered by a bunch of new fans, of all ages. Many of them will be children experiencing a new hero for the first time, in an interpretation exciting and different from the hero we grew up with — certainly the hero I grew up with.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I was a kid who grew up with Ultraman Tiga. I am an adult now, who has had the benefit of coming to work for the series that impacted me most as a child. However, I need to be clear — I was an American child in the 90s who grew up with Ultraman Tiga. Until a certain dub aired in 2002, the only way any of my friends knew about Ultraman was if they came to my house and watched the VHS tape I’d worn out to nothing. 

One of the big surprises of my life, of course, became learning just how popular Ultraman is globally. That education started when my father brought back a gift from a business trip to Singapore — the DX TPC Dive Hangar Base, complete with all the GUTS Wings, the Artdessei, even the Dolphar. I didn’t know what the Dolphar, or even Artdessei was at that time, but that just made it more mystifying — there was so much more to Tiga than I even knew. And then, of course, came the stories.

My father had found dozens of stores worth of Ultraman, or so he told me. Soft vinyl figures as far as the eye could see, deluxe jets and vehicles and Kaiju I knew nothing about — even Ultraman was different in the pictures he showed me. Granted, at the time, I had no idea who Dyna, Gaia, or Cosmos were, so I just assumed Tiga had a bunch of forms past Power and Sky Type. He showed me posters and postcards, merchandise from a whole Ultraman theme park, which I later learned were from the now long-gone but fondly remembered Nara Dreamland.

All of this catalyzed something for a lonely child, not yet 10 years old at the time — If I couldn’t find friends to talk about Ultraman with here, I would find them elsewhere in the world, somewhere. I just had to grow up, keep the love for the show in my heart, and I’d find new friends somewhere, sometime. Then, of course, came the internet as I became a young adult, and I found those friends real quick. 

There are kids today who have access to the internet already — most of them, even! When those kids check out Ultraman Rising and fall in love with the series like I did, they might jump online to talk about the things they loved, and learn about the greater series as a whole. I’m hoping that what they find is a joyous and welcoming space full of kind people — like the wonderful folks on the UC Members’ Discord. 

There’s never been a better time to find Ultraman, whether you’re growing up or already fully grown. Let’s keep on traveling to the Land of Light together, and have a great time doing it. Thanks for reading.