Looking Back at Geed and Zero — Power Borne from Struggle

Looking Back at Geed and Zero — Power Borne from Struggle

Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! We’re back for another trip down memory lane, looking at the many parts of Ultraman history covered in this week’s episode of Ultraman New Generation Stars. While discussing the previous episode, I noted that crossover episodes often make for some of the strongest stories within the Ultraman franchise, for the fact that it provides unique opportunities for characters to interact with, and react to new circumstances outside of their usual wheelhouse.

This week focuses on a number of different parts of previous series, movies and specials, but one theme unites all the different glimpses we see from those stories. Beginning with a short clip from Episode 7 of Ultraman Z, it focuses mostly on exploring Ultraman Geed, also known as Riku Asakura, and Ultraman Zero. 

Both characters have a lot of things in common, not the least of which is having complicated relationships with their respective dads. I only mean that semi-jokingly, since both Geed and Zero (and even Ultraman Z, who fights alongside them in his own show) represent the continuation of a legacy borne out from the classic M78 Land of Light and the Ultra heroes who hail from it. 

You wouldn’t get that just from watching this episode of Ultraman New Generation Stars though! This week, Ignis recruits Yuka’s technological and scientific expertise to help him accomplish… something which involves making new Hyper Keys based on info about other Ultra heroes. He’s quite vague on the details, which I’m sure is just fine and won’t turn out to be a dangerous, risky gamble that will backfire later on in the show. Of course not, he’s a completely trustworthy treasure hunter, after all. 

Both of Yuka and Ignis’ experiences are mostly confined to their respective universes, but they have help from a mysterious dimension-crossing android named Mountain Gulliver II-V to fill in the blanks. It seems to have a lot of information on both of their worlds, but also the powers and backstories of the other Ultra heroes. This is where we get our info on Geed and Zero for this week!

Puzzlingly, that info seems to be limited to just outlining their powers and various forms. It’s a pretty flashy sizzle reel, admittedly, showing off some of Geed and Zero’s most memorable special moves, as well as their most climactic battles. Considering the context of those climactic battles reveals some interesting connections, however. 

When we had a chance to revisit episodes 7 and 8 from Ultraman Trigger last week, I better appreciated how crossover episodes contribute to the Ultraman franchise. Likewise, this week made me realize how much characterization is tied into these characters’ form changes and various fusion powers! 

For example, the info we got on Ultraman Geed somehow missed one of the most important details about him – the fact that he’s a clone of the evil Ultraman Belial! The major conflict he faced in his own series didn’t come from a struggle to gain the power to defeat Belial and other threats which faced the Earth. Rather, it was a struggle for him to find and prove his own strength apart from simply copying the powers and abilities of others. His struggle was one to claim an identity as an Ultraman hero, rather than just the powers of one. 

In fact, the one form used by Geed which is truly his strongest “enhanced” special form, isn’t Royal Mega Master! Instead, it’s his “Ultimate Final” form, which he gains in Ultraman Geed: The Movie. Unlike his other fusion forms, this one isn’t based on the powers of other pre-existing Ultra heroes. It’s purely an expression of his own heroic willpower, his own personal strength fully realized.

Ultraman Zero is another character who shows up a lot in other Ultraman shows, and was a major recurring character in Ultraman Geed. Despite his frequent appearances throughout the “New Generation” Ultraman series, Zero never had a weekly television series to himself. His character was established in, and developed through, several movies and special features which were produced during the five-year interim between the end of Ultraman Mebius and the beginning of Ultraman Ginga. 

So it’s safe to say that he gets around, especially thanks to the Ultimate Aegis armor we see shown off in this week’s clips. Again, however, Yuka and the audience are missing quite a bit of context as to how Zero gets these multiple forms. 

To put it mildly, Zero has earned every single power he has by literally going through hell and back. 

Multiple times.

I don’t want to spoil all of those stories here, because many of them are among my favorite parts of the franchise, but also because they’re all easily available to watch yourself. All of the clips used here either come from his appearance in episode 7 of Ultraman Z, episode 20 of Ultraman Geed, or from the Ultra Zero Fight special which is part of Ultraman Zero the Chronicle, a compilation of many of his appearances in movies and other show cameos.

Yeah, imagine trying to recommend a watch order list for this guy back before there were official releases of all these specials and series! You kids don’t know how easy you have it now.

Right, was I? Oh yeah, Zero literally dying and coming back to life multiple times, gaining god-like power but still being unable to prevent the death and destruction of lives he holds precious in new conflicts. I said that Geed’s struggle was more about finding his own identity, than it was about finding the power to overcome threats against the Earth. Zero takes that concept as well, and puts it on a whole different level. 

Again, I don’t want to spoil everything about Ultra Zero Fight, so I’ll just point out there’s a reason why Zero had to use his power to literally reverse time and bring all of his friends back to life. And it’s absolutely heartbreaking to watch.

Sometimes Zero gets a bad rap as being overpowered or too over-exposed in the franchise, but I’ve always appreciated his character for these reasons. There’s a real serious emotional core that underlies his development – both in terms of his powerful forms, and his characterization through all his scattered special appearances and cameos. Both he and Geed are Ultra heroes who have experienced tragedy in so many ways, but still find ways to overcome it. They can move forward, and serve as an example to help other new Ultra heroes overcome tragedies and challenges of their own. 

After all, the real power of Ultraman isn’t about the cool, flashy forms or weapons they wield. It’s about the heart, the compassion, courage and hope that they hold on to, even through those tragedies. That’s always been the real key to the franchise– or rather, Hyper Key, get it, that’s a joke – and Zero and Geed both exemplify those ideals in evocative ways. I highly recommend you check out their respective journeys, and experience those stories for yourself.