Ultraman Arc Episode 1 Review “Arc to the Future”

Ultraman Arc Episode 1 Review “Arc to the Future”

Hello and welcome, Ultraman Connection readers! Can you believe that it’s already time for a new Ultraman series? It only feels like yesterday when we discussed the finale of Ultraman Blazar. There’s been quite a lot to discuss since the series ended in January, between the New Generation Stars anthology retrospectives, and the release of Ultraman: Rising on Netflix.

Now it’s time to get excited for the brand-new debut of Ultraman Arc, which is now available in two different places. Rather than the Ultraman Connection website, there are two different YouTube channels where you can follow Arc each week! There’s the original Ultraman Official Youtube channel, which hosts the original Japanese audio along with subtitles in many different languages, including English. Alongside that channel, there is now an Ultraman Official English  Channel where the English dub will be hosted. This version of the episode will also have English-specific title cards, and translated text on-screen to fit with the dubbed audio! Personally, I loved the English dubs that were produced for Ultraman Z and Blazar, so I’m thrilled to see the same level of quality, and attention to detail devoted to the most recent series as well.

There’s plenty more to love about the first episode of Arc than just technical specifications though! I tried to go into this premiere without spoiling myself with trailers or preview hints ahead of time, in order to appreciate the show on its merits, without any sort of preconceived opinions. It only seemed appropriate for a show that focuses on the idea of imagination, right? I wanted to see the imagination of the directors, writers, producers, and special effects artists involved in the series!

And boy, the first episode of Arc did not disappoint.


The first scene of the show immediately thrust the audience into the action, with almost no context or build-up. We were introduced to a massive wave of Kaiju attacks, during which Arc faced down a terrifying – and strangely familiar-looking – opponent. Many lives were caught in the middle of this attack, but Arc’s fight made it clear that he was there to protect those lives, and went out of his way to save them from falling buildings in one heart-stopping moment of the scene.

The episode fills in some of those details as the story continues. We learned that the Kaiju first began appearing during an event called “K-Day” 16 years previous, and that Arc had also recently appeared to fight against them. Although at this point, nobody had named him “Arc” yet, that moniker wouldn’t come until the end of this first episode.


Also during this episode, I really enjoyed how the characters in “SKIP” (That stands for ‘Scientific Kaiju Investigation and Prevention center’, for the record!) were all introduced here. Obviously, there’s our protagonist, Yuma Hize, their rookie member and resident Kaiju biology expert. One interesting detail about his position on the team – he says that he only joined three months ago, which coincidentally is also when Arc started appearing to fight the Kaiju!


In addition to Yuma, there’s the chief of SKIP, Hiroshi Ban. His speciality is stated as “geology” which comes in handy when trying to track down an alien parasite that eats limestone minerals for breakfast. The other more-experienced member of the team is Rin Natsume, the cheerful mechanical and engineering expert. Her expertise comes in handy when working with the fourth member of the team, YouPi. This robot is actually a duo – made of “You-Bot” and “Pi-Body” which can separate from each other when needed.


Quirky robot buddies are definitely not a new addition to Ultraman, or to tokusatsu series in general, but the energetic pair fit perfectly with the quirky, casual feel of SKIP in general. It’s a big departure from the regimented, more militaristic feel of SKaRD and their operations, and I appreciate this sort of fresh team dynamic in the show. If anything, SKIP reminds me a lot of EGIS, the “defense team” from Ultraman Taiga, which was actually a small private security company, rather than an extension of a governmental program.

Even though SKIP is definitely not military, they still have an official public presence, one which doesn’t involve fighting the Kaiju at all. In other defense teams, fighting the Kaiju may not have been their primary motivation, but it was still an option – one which tragically was required more often than not. SKIP is only equipped to study the Kaiju, track their movements, and use their findings to advise emergency responses and evacuate citizens when needed.

Speaking of which, this episode introduces another rookie member to their team, to add a different branch of expertise. Shu Ishido comes from the Global Defense Force’s “Space Science Division”, and seems like a spooky secret agent at first, with his cool demeanor, glasses and a polished lapel pin. He joins forces with SKIP to help track the “Oo-Ze”, an alien parasite which has taken over a terrestrial Kaiju to cause a rampage.

I thought there would be more friction between these two different jurisdictions being forced to work together on this case, but Shu also fits right at home with SKIP’s vibe, and soon the rest of the team and the audience find out at least one of his major character flaws – a crippling coffee addiction.


All I can say is… man, same.

The team’s cooperation can’t seem to slow the Kaiju’s attack enough to save the civilians in its path, however. When all hope seems lost, when lives hang in the balance, and the defense team has reached their limits, there’s only one thing left to do…

Trust in the power of Ultraman.


The first part of this episode was a fun, character-driven exposition which did a great job of fleshing out the new world the audience will be returning to each week. But the actual fight between Ultraman Arc and the Ooze-controlled Shagong stole the entire show. Arc’s fighting style from the get-go is precise, controlled and acrobatic, distinguishing him from Blazar.

Yuma and Arc work together in a different way compared to last year’s season as well. Gento and Blazar couldn’t speak to each other, and learning to communicate in an effective way was a challenge across the entire season. Here, Arc speaks to Yuma directly – or rather, through a mirror reflection – asking him to transform and fight. During the fight, when they start losing ground against Shagong, Arc tells Yuma to “unleash” his imagination… which results in a very creative use of the classic “energy shield”, breaking it into shards to use as weapons against the Kaiju.


Okay, so that’s one thing Arc has in common with Blazar, unique uses of energy weapons in the middle of their fights!

There’s another notably unique aspect to this fight and its cinematography. This scene was shot as if it were a single long-take, with no breaks in the action. In addition to that, a running timer in the corner of the screen even kept track of how long Arc had been fighting!

Readers, I have seen single long-take fight scenes in Ultraman before – it doesn’t happen often, and is always a noteworthy feature, but it’s not new. However, I have never seen an explicit timer for Ultraman’s transformation in a fight before. I can only assume its inclusion now speaks to the possibility of real consequences for when time runs out at some point in the future.


This first episode of Ultraman Arc genuinely impressed me with the attention to detail paid to the cinematic shots, the special effects, the character interactions, and especially with the numerous burning questions left in the viewers’ minds about these events. How did Yuma and Arc first meet each other? Why is Arc on Earth in the first place? What drives these Kaiju appearances, and how do the “Space” Kaiju tie into it? And most importantly… Where can I get one of those coffee machines Shu buys at the end of the episode? Seriously, that thing looks nice.

For the questions and more, stay tuned right here to Ultraman Connection!