ULTRAMAN NEW GENERATION STARS Episode 13 Review “Origin of the Two: From Today, We Are Ultraman”

ULTRAMAN NEW GENERATION STARS Episode 13 Review “Origin of the Two: From Today, We Are Ultraman”

ULTRAMAN NEW GENERATION STARS Episode 13 "Origin of the Two: From Today, We Are Ultraman" opens with the immediately endearing, high-energy banter of brothers Katsumi and Isami Minato of the Ultraman R/B series in their Ultra forms; Ultraman Rosso and Ultraman Blu. Their dynamic reflects the classic Japanese manzai archetype of a comedic duo made up of the straight man (Katsumi) and the funny man (Isami). Their differing personalities are identifiable right off the bat as Isami tries desperately to crack open the Dimensionizer with reckless abandon and Katsumi tries with equal desperation to reel him in. Despite their alternate energies, however, the two share a wholesome brotherly love that shines through the episode and embodies the heart center of the New Generation Stars series. 

While Katsumi’s black cat disposition might have him rolling his eyes at Isami’s golden retriever restlessness, Katsumi never ceases to support Isami’s passion for cosmoarcheology, bringing him late night snacks as he works towards filling the shoes of their mother who went missing pursuing her career. Katsumi’s admiration for his brother’s enthusiasm is clear, but while he loves Isami’s quirkiness and childlike wonder, he also fears these traits might’ve been the very same that lead their mother down a path of no return. 

This complicated duality of wanting to nourish the undeniable light and power of a loved one while also constantly trying to harness it for their own sake is a balancing act that many of us might find ourselves dealing with on a regular basis. Sometimes the very things we appreciate in a person are the same things we fear might lead to us losing them. Passion for one thing can turn to negligence of another, curiosity can become obsession, pursuit of the truth can be dangerous. 

Katsumi faces this dilemma on a larger scale than ever before in their relationship when Isami, against Katsumi’s better judgment, decides to hunt down the mysterious Grigio, who is said to rise up from Mount Ayaka and terrorize Ayaka City. Katsumi follows his brother to protect him but is unable to prevent them both from getting caught in a stream of fire expelled from the returned Grigio Bone’s lungs. In what the two brothers assume to be their final moment alive, all judgment dissipates and the two lock hands, exchanging the pure energy of brotherly love. 

This powerful moment of bonding transcends the two to a liminal plane in which they are given access to the R/B Gyro, a transformation device that allows Katsumi to become Ultraman Rosso, channeling the element of fire, and Isami to become Ultraman Blu, channeling the element of water. I think their respective elements make perfect sense for their personality types with Isami embodying the fluidity of water and Katsumi the hot intensity of fire. 

This sequence is unique to the Ultraman franchise as it is the first time we ever get to see two human hosts take on the role of equal protagonists and both transform into Ultras at the same time. The brothers’ differences allow them to approach Lord Grigio from multiple angles and their equal determination to protect each other and humanity allow for them to transcend their awkwardness and total lack of practice. 

The two clumsily try their best to succeed and while Katsumi’s combat is superior to Isami’s, it’s the fact that Katsumi entertained his brother’s out-of-the-box idea that saved the day. In fact, it was Katsumi that refused to let Isami give up and instead empowered him by asking for advice. Without the confidence of his brother’s support, Isami might’ve never thought to trade crystals and channel each other’s elemental powers to take advantage of their differing beam shapes. 

Ultimately the two defeated Grigio Bone by the skin of their teeth and in reminiscing on the success of their trial and error, the brothers were able to revisit the origin of their partnership as Ultras and remind themselves of the power of trusting in each other’s authentic selves. 

With that, the two activated the Dimensionizer and decided to try and get their sister, Asahi (Ultrawoman Grigio)’s card as well. Tune in next week to unpack Asahi’s episode here at UltramanConnection.com, and make sure to stay updated on New Generation Stars!