Looking Back at the Galactron/Gilvalis Saga

Looking Back at the Galactron/Gilvalis Saga

Heroes are nothing without some sort of conflict to define the strength of their courage, and Ultra heroes are no exception. Throughout the franchise, each of these heroes have faced down a huge range of threats; from colossal Kaiju, to alien invaders, destructive robots, and even other Ultras who have fallen into darkness. 

One of the most notable recurring threats in the New Generation Ultraman series, beginning from Ultraman Orb in 2015, is the mechanical “Judgementer” called Galactron. It’s hard to believe that such a pretty-looking mechanical beast could be something evil, but the name “Judgementer” wasn’t picked just because it sounds cool. Each time it shows up in an Ultraman series or movie, it also arrives with some of the most challenging trials for our heroes as a result.

Galactron’s first appearance in Orb seemed like a miraculous event at first. The pristine white armor, elegant draconic design and musical, choir-like sounds of its roars almost evoked something holy and pure. But Galactron’s intentions for the planet were quickly revealed to be anything but benevolent, even though it stated its desire to end violence and bring about peace. The purity of that aim meant that it could only accomplish it by eliminating humanity entirely!

In this two-part story, the challenge faced by Gai Kurenai – the titular Ultraman Orb – wasn’t so much about defeating the monstrous robot, as much as it challenged him to defeat it in a way which would not cause more death and destruction. Galactron arrived at precisely the worst moment in the course of the series, immediately after Gai had unlocked his most powerful fusion form using the power of the evil Ultraman Belial. He had to discover how to use that power for its proper ends, to protect other lives for their own sake, rather than just destroying Galactron utterly with no thought to others caught in the fallout.

The irony of Gai making use of a form with a starkly terrifying appearance, in order to defeat an opponent who appears as a pristine being of light, was very intentional. It’s also a big part of the overall arc of the Orb series, but Galactron shows up in several other places around the New Generation.

In the following year, during Ultraman Geed, the villainous Fukuide Kei made use of two Galactron robots in order to essentially hold a building of civilians hostage, forcing Ultraman Zero to give himself up. This also served as a significant test for Zero, who had spent most of his time as an Ultraman hero charging straight into fights with little caution for the consequences. 

Notably, he did not do that this time. Instead, he put his trust in Riku Asakura – Ultraman Geed – and his other friends on this version of Earth. If Galactron represented overwhelming destructive power, a sort of proof of righteousness through sheer violence, then Zero chose the better part of valor, and put himself and his own pride to the side in order to protect others. 

Of course, choosing your battles wisely isn’t the same as giving up, and Zero is definitely not a quitter. Still, “choosing battles wisely” is something I never would have accused Zero of in 20,000 years before the events of Ultraman Geed. This was a challenge which really proved how far he had come as a character since his first appearance, and marked the point where I started seeing him as a serious mentor and experienced leader, rather than just a hot-headed fighter. 

These three Ultra heroes, Orb, Zero and Geed, would all face down the threat of Galactron’s “judgment” once again in Ultraman Geed the Movie: Connect the Wishes! In this movie, we finally discovered where Galactron originated from. They were produced by the “Mechanical Brain” called Gillvalis, a computer system gone rogue, which judged all intelligent life in the universe as being fundamentally evil. It had targeted – and exterminated – the civilizations on many other planets before it set its sights on the version of Earth that Geed and his friends called home.

And while Orb, Zero and Geed had all fought against individual Galactron robots before this point, an army of upgraded “Mk2” versions almost proved to be an insurmountable challenge this time. Thankfully, just as Gai and Zero had discovered their true courage, and the true heart of compassion which defined their roles as Ultraman, facing Gillvalis helped Riku discover his own personal strength as Ultraman Geed. This is where we first see Geed’s “Ultimate Final” form; his strongest power and notably the only form he uses which is not a fusion of other Ultra’s powers. 

It also happens to look sick as hell, in my professional opinion.

Anyways, all of these encounters use Galactron – and Gillvalis – to make a specific point about Ultraman in general, not just about the New Generation heroes. As we’ve explained in many of these analyses, the real power of Ultraman comes from the compassion they hold for all lives, rather than often-vague ideals such as “peace” or “justice” abstracted away from the context of those lives. The proof of this fact, illustrated by the trials brought by Galactron’s indiscriminate “judgment”, is so persuasive that it has actually helped to redeem another erstwhile antagonist from the Ultraman franchise – Jugglus Juggler. 

The Ultraman Geed movie was also the first point where the audience sees him putting in some honest effort to… well, not be a completely untrustworthy troll, I suppose. Jury’s still out on whether you can call him a “hero”. At the very least, he sees Galactron’s threat as something too big to leave only to Gai and the other Ultra heroes, and tries to lend his own strength while fighting alongside them. 

I’m sure it was a huge shock to Yuka in this week’s episode of New Generation Stars, seeing her former “Captain” from STORAGE mug for the camera in these scenes, but it’s hilarious to the audience in retrospect. Who knows what trouble he’ll get into now, wandering around the universe unsupervised.

In conclusion, it’s not hard to see why Galactron has become such a significant recurring opponent across all these appearances. Whenever one shows up, our heroes’ greatest challenges are never far behind, but those challenges have also brought some of the most memorable moments of the New Generation series as a result. There are always new challenges and new enemies to face in each of these series though, and we’ll be looking at many other memorable moments throughout the history of the Ultraman franchise in upcoming weeks. Stay tuned until then!