Ultraman Connection Talks Ultraman: Rising — Part 2

Ultraman Connection Talks Ultraman: Rising — Part 2

As we stated yesterday, Ultraman Rising has made its way onto Netflix, and the hearts of the millions of people who have rocketed up the site’s charts. Again, we thank you for your support.

All of us at Ultraman Connection had words to say about Rising, what it means, what we think — Almost too many words, in fact. So this is the second part of our staff’s thoughts on the movie. Enjoy!

Candid Thoughts — Sarah Last

I deliberately avoided preview clips and spoilers ahead of the Ultraman: Rising premiere, so I wasn’t sure what kind of movie it would be, other than a family-friendly animated flick about the main character adopting an adorable baby Kaiju.

It was definitely that, and so, so much more.

To write a review, I could go into excruciating detail about how much I enjoyed this movie, how strong the characters are, the emotional power of its story and its depiction of Ultraman’s role as a heroic protector, and how the vividly illuminated animation fills every frame of its run-time with eye-popping memorable setpieces. I could do all of that and spoil all the twists and turns and the multiple scenes of the film that moved me to literal tears. But I want the readers to go watch it with fresh expectations, and simply follow it long for the ride, the same as I did.

Ultraman Rising is a home-run. If you’re a fan of the franchise, or if you just enjoy superhero stories in a gorgeous futuristic sci-fi setting, you won’t regret watching it. Trust me.


Looking Back on Rising — EJ Couloucoundis

It feels almost reductive to say that Ultraman: Rising represents a new frontier in what the Ultraman Series can be. I’ve been with Ultraman Connection since before it was even Ultraman Galaxy (to the maybe 100 people who remember that, we love you), and since those early days, in 2019, the idea of an “American Ultraman adaptation” was on our minds.

Personally, I, even more than anyone, was… nervous about the idea. More nervous than Tsuburaya was themselves, I think. I wanted it to happen so badly, I wanted everyone to know Ultraman like I knew him, but… I had lived through two decades of horrendous adaptations. You know them — we speak of them in hushed groans. I didn’t need an “Evolution” (If you know, you know) on my conscience, especially for the show I loved more than anything.

Then I read a treatment for a movie called “Made in Japan” by Shannon Tindle

It was good! It had heart, it had a point to it, and… Honestly, even then, I was still nervous. After all, “Made in Japan,” for its many, many virtues, wasn’t Ultraman. It was very clearly made by someone who loved Ultraman, and truly understood it — but the fear was still there. When Tindle created it, the idea of getting to actually create an Ultraman movie was a far-off dream, and so he made it a loving, original tribute.

Thankfully, that’s where Tsuburaya themselves came in, alongside Tindle himself. The long, dedicated effort of sculpting the setting and characters to join the at-the-time 52-year-old story universe of Ultraman. After that, I only heard bits and pieces — There were, uh… other things going on in 2020. Still, “Ultraman: Made in Japan” never left the back of my mind.

In 2022, Ultraman came to Anime Expo, and with it came Shannon Tindle and John Aoshima to show off the first few images of their stylized, gorgeous Ultraman.


It was colorful, intense — It was the image you saw again and again for two years as essentially the lone proof-of-concept of what was to come. I wanted to believe in it so much, and everyone there, audience and exhibitor alike, was captivated by it. And yet… I knew about as much as anyone in the audience what Tindle and Aoshima were actually making. I was still nervous, but a different kind of nervous — it was so ambitious what they wanted to do, a visual as intense and engaging as Spider-Verse. Could it actually be pulled off?

Cut to last year, New York Comic Con 2023. In the midst of an utterly enormous series of events where Ultraman (and Ultraman Blazar) took New York City, I peeked over and got a quick look at a gorgeous sequence of an animated Ultraman grappling with Neronga, and my jaw dropped. That was Made in Japan? That was… Well, it was Ultraman! It was indisputably, undeniably Ultraman! Nervousness turned to butterflies of anticipation. If the 15 seconds I saw was an indicator of the rest of the movie… Well, we’d really have something special on our hands.

Cut once again to the future — May 19th, 2024. I am sitting in a special industry screening in New York City. Shannon Tindle and John Aoshima are there with art director Sunmin Inn and production designer Marcos Mateu-Mestre, showing off the completed movie a month early. And the movie played.

And I cried. No, not just cried, bawled. Before the actual heartbreaking moments in the movie, no less! The man I was sitting with (Licensees and friends of the site John “Robo7” Bellotti and Chris Oglio of Seismic Toys) had to check on me because I was about to start sobbing!

Because they did it. Shannon Tindle, John Aoshima, Sunmin Inn, Marcos Mateu-Mestre, Christopher Sean, Gedde Watanabe, Keone Young, Tamlin Tomita — so many others that deserve their own spotlights (don’t you DARE skip those credits) — They’d done it, together. We had our American Ultraman story, quintessentially ours while not sacrificing the key elements that made it ULTRAMAN — THEY DID IT!

When I got a chance to talk to Director Tindle after the screening, I wish I had been able to present myself as a colleague, someone else in this business of bringing the Giant of Light to the whole world — but I could only offer the trembling hand of a deeply affected fan, having conquered a half-decade of nervousness and fear with two hours of pure joy.

And isn’t that just… everything, guys? Isn’t that why we congregate on this site, at conventions, on twitter and discord and anywhere we can connect with one another? To allow ourselves to be joyful, and celebratory, and just happy?

Ultraman: Rising is a triumph on its own, and a triumph in the eyes of the Ultraman Series. There is a love and sincerity to it that cannot be denied, should not be denied. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must. If you have… Well, I intend to watch it again.

How about you?