Looking Back at the First Capsule Monster: Windam!

Looking Back at the First Capsule Monster: Windam!

Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! This week we’re continuing our look back on the elements of the Ultraman series which span across decades of the franchise. We all remember the different Ultra heroes themselves, of course. But those Ultra heroes never fight alone, and each of their allies from the different shows are just as memorable – and just as important in that fight to protect peace in the universe!

In previous weeks, we’ve mentioned many of the defense teams, the organizations of scientists, soldiers and oddball civilians who accompany Ultraman. Not all of Ultraman’s allies are ordinary people, however. Many times, Ultra heroes fight alongside Kaiju, robots, and other aliens. Which brings us to our subject this week… who sort of fits into all of the above categories!

Windam first appears in the very first episode of Ultraseven, debuting alongside Dan Moroboshi, the titular Ultraseven himself! The giant, metallic bird-like Kaiju is one of Seven’s “Capsule Monsters”, and helps him fight off an invasion from Alien Cool. Like the other Capsule Monsters, Windam is always there to give an assist to Dan when he’s unable to transform into Ultraseven, or when he’s facing a particularly challenging battle. Windam is no slouch in a fight, and can use its tough metal fists, or powerful laser beams to help tip the odds in favor of our heroes. 

And boy, does Ultraseven need the help! In the original Ultraseven series, the Earth faced many of its most sinister and dangerous threats. Who knows what fate might have befallen the planet if Seven couldn’t rely on Windam and the other capsule monsters?

Taking a cue from Ultraseven, several other teams throughout the Ultraman franchise have also relied on Windam as part of their defense. I mean that statement quite literally in the case of the GUYS defense team in Ultraman Mebius. Many of their weapons, vehicles and other tech is explicitly based on similar technology from other aliens which they have encountered in the past. This goes for the “Maquette” monsters as well, giant Kaiju summoned by the Crew GUYS members when they are most needed in battle. 

The GUYS defense team goes one step further and also engineers some brand-spanking new upgrades for everyone’s favorite funky robot chicken. The enhanced Fire Windam uses the data from many other Kaiju to add a massive flamethrower to its arsenal, and it goes on to use it effectively in many other battles in Mebius. 

While Crew GUYS relied on Windam as part of their defense force to protect the Earth, Windam still remains closely associated with Ultraseven himself. Whenever Ultraseven shows up, his capsule monsters aren’t far behind, following him into battle. We see Windam continue to fight alongside Seven in many of these stories, such as in the Heisei Ultraseven series, or movies like Ultra Galaxy Legends: Mega Monster Battle.  But the Ultraman Mebius series isn’t the last time Windam lends its strength to the defense teams of Earth. 

Unlike the GUYS defense team, the organization STORAGE from Ultraman Z seemed to create Windam completely independently of Seven’s original capsule monster! That’s quite a coincidence, especially considering STORAGE had already re-created another capsule monster, Sevenger, completely from scratch. It raises the question of where their engineers got the idea from, and whether Seven knows any good lawyers to sue for copyright infringement. 

Ahem. Anyways, Windam serves an important role on the defense team, but it doesn’t operate independently this time. Like STORAGE’s version of Sevenger, this version of Windam is a piloted mecha, and is usually manned by the team’s ace, Yoko Nakashima. Getting the colossal mecha up and running was truly a team effort in the show however, requiring the genius technical expertise of Yuka Ohta early on. But once Windam became operational, it remained as a key part of STORAGE’s defense efforts, just as Crew GUYS made use of Windam’s strength in Mebius.

It’s hard to imagine any problem that couldn’t be solved with the giant metal fists of a mechanical Kaiju like Windam, but throughout the series it has come to represent a kind of grit shared by both the human defense teams, and the Ultra heroes who fight alongside them. In another context, a similar mechanical Kaiju might have only been a cold, inanimate weapons platform. Instead, Windam is still popular and recognizable as an ally because of its many struggles and even the defeats it has suffered, just as much as its victories in its many battles over the years. Win or lose, Windam will always be around to help out our heroes in a pinch, a reliable ally that future heroes will surely be able to rely on for many years to come.