Looking Back at the Worst-Case Scenario: Silverbloome

Looking Back at the Worst-Case Scenario: Silverbloome

Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! Over the past few weeks we’ve taken a close look at many of the allies who have fought alongside Ultra heroes throughout the franchise’s history – and some of the villains who have fought against them. Despite the challenges faced by those heroes, it always seems like their steadfast allies, the various defense teams, along with their technological tools, weapons and vehicles, have been key parts of their eventual triumph. Indeed, the most dire battles faced by Ultra heroes often are not threats against their own lives. The times when those defense teams are under attack, when their secure bases, the integrity of their own organizations, and even their own ability to trust in their teammates comes under fire, make up some of the most intense moments in many different Ultraman series.

And if there’s one word I’d use to describe the Ultraman Leo series as a whole, it would be intense. From the beginning, the show makes the point that no one is spared from the horrific costs of war. Leo himself already begins the show burdened with loss from the aftermath of war, living on Earth as a refugee, thinking he was the sole survivor from the destruction of his homeworld of L77. In the same episode where he was introduced, Dan Moroboshi – Ultraseven, acting as the captain of the MAC defense team – was painfully crippled in the battle against Alien Magma, preventing him from fighting as Ultraseven for the rest of the show.

Even though Leo, with his human identity as Gen Ootori on Earth, would eventually stop Alien Magma’s invasion of his newly-adopted home, his battles did not end there. The steep cost of each successive victory would only increase as the show continued, culminating in one of the most dramatically tragic battles from Ultraman Leo. A word of warning might be appropriate for those readers who have not seen the entire show for themselves yet.This article will discuss major, open spoilers for Episode 40 of Leo, and also deal with some pretty dark subject matter regarding the casualties from this episode. 

Of course, if you’ve looked through even the episode titles from this series, it spoils the nature of the twist itself, but not the sheer magnitude of loss our characters experience. I mean, when you see “MAC Annihilated!” in the preview reel for the next episode, it sets a certain kind of expectation for the audience, I would think. However, at this point in the show, Gen and his friends have already been through so many challenges together. MAC has survived Alien Magma, evil space wizards, Alien Magma again, and even a group of misguided Ultra Brothers who tried to kill Leo and his brother Astra over a case of mistaken identity. 

Gen himself has grown stronger over all of these challenges, through all of the trials he has faced – thanks in part to Dan Moroboshi forcing him through greater trials with his various training regimens. But even the infamous extreme martial arts training which defined the early part of the show has abated by this point in Leo… somewhat. At the very least, Gen and Dan seem to have grown closer as friends and comrades, seeing each other more like equals. In this later part of the show, their relationship seems to have genuinely grown, compared to the early episodes where both of them sought to prove themselves in self-destructive ways, and took their own frustrations out on each other. 

You know what else has grown out? Dan’s hair. Seriously, look at that 70’s mustache he’s rocking in this episode. 

The mood at the start of the episode is downright jovial, as the MAC team celebrates a birthday on their secure space station. The title of the episode might warn of a new “Saucer Creature” Kaiju headed their way, but they have confidence in each other, in their own strength and fortitude, and the audience might even finally believe in their strength as well. After all, this wasn’t the first time a defense team’s base was attacked directly, and other teams like the SSSP, the Ultra Guard, and even MAT managed to pull through. 

How bad could things possibly get? 

Silverbloome’s attack is sudden, destructive and utterly horrifying. The Saucer Creatures aren’t just giant stompy monsters, but truly alien-appearing monstrosities engineered specifically for mass casualties. In some ways they’re like the Terrible-Beasts sent by Yapool, but often aren’t even recognized as living creatures. In the case of Silverbloome, it looks like a massive box jellyfish, and immediately engulfs the entire MAC space station with its tendrils. Aside from crushing the base itself, it ejects poisonous, acidic venom which crumples the walls around the MAC team like tinfoil. 

Dan gives the order to evacuate. Many of his teammates don’t even get the chance. The ones who do make it to the jets in time get wrapped up by more tentacles, and are literally dragged – still screaming – to be eaten by the Saucer Creature. 

Finally, Dan gives one last order, urging Gen to leave him behind. His line here, stating “Your life isn’t yours to give,” is a powerful final word summarizing everything Leo has been forced to learn over 40 episodes. In all of those previous trials, Gen had to learn to put his responsibilities as Ultraman over everything, especially his own ego and pride. Now, his role as Leo, the only hero who can stop Silverbloome’s rampage, has to come before MAC… and before his friendship with Dan himself. 

In less than five minutes, MAC has been well and truly annihilated, in every sense of the word. Silverbloome has destroyed their base, their ships, any resources Gen could have possibly used in his fight, along with every single one of his teammates. 

But that’s not the end of Silverbloome’s rampage. Oh no, dear reader. Remember, we are only five minutes into this episode. After completing its annihilation of MAC, the Saucer Creature takes off for Earth, with Leo in hot pursuit. 

He still doesn’t make it in time.

The same venomous tentacles which crushed the space station turn a block of downtown city buildings into rubble, coating everything in a fine mist of acrid yellow poison. The death toll is huge, and rarely in the Ultraman franchise do we see an emphasis on the sheer scale of these casualties. It’s heartbreaking to watch Gen and his sort-of adopted younger brother, Toru, fight through the crowds, desperately searching for their loved ones in an overwhelmed hospital. Even more wrenching is the moment when they find them – or at least their names, in black letters on a posted list of casualties.

Gen and Toru truly lose everything in this fight, which hits doubly hard when you consider how much they’ve already lost in the wake of other fights against Kaiju and invading aliens elsewhere in the series. But now, they only have each other, and Gen only has Dan’s final words haunting him. 

His life is not his own to give. He is the immortal Ultraman Leo, and must continue to fight on, even when he stands to gain nothing as Gen Ootori. From this point on in the series, that fight will be even more difficult, seemingly impossible at times. Many other Saucer Creatures will be sent to try and break him, and to break the people of Earth with attacks equally as horrific as what we witnessed with Silverbloome. However, through it all, Gen never gives up, and never stops fighting as Leo to protect the Earth he cares so dearly for, and the lives on that planet which so dearly depend on him. 

That dedication in the face of tragedy truly makes him immortal, and characterizes the undying flame of his heroic character. There’s a reason why Ultraman Leo – both as a character, and as a show – has made such a huge impact on the franchise and many viewers who witnessed these battles as children. Silverbloome may have annihilated MAC, but their legacy will never die as long as Leo lives on and continues to fight.