Ultraman Nexus 20 Years Later

Ultraman Nexus 20 Years Later

“The light is a bond. Someone will inherit it, and it will shine again.”

On October 2nd, 2004, Ultraman Nexus, the 17th Ultraman Series television show, began airing with episode 1, “Night Assault - Night Raid -”. Coming after 2001’s Ultraman Cosmos, Nexus pursued a new interpretation of the legendary story of Ultraman, one made with more serious themes and a harder edge. While one of the shorter entries in the second generation of the Ultraman Series due to those themes, in the 20 years since, Nexus has become a genuinely beloved and fondly remembered story, with fans all over the world, and discussion, debate, and interpretation that continues to this day.

When the topic of “serious themes” is broached, one may think of gore, violence, and similarly shocking narrative tools bolted onto an optimistic series like Ultraman — in truth, the more mature tone and atmospheric designs and sets were core to posing a single question to the fans and to itself — Do Ultraman’s themes work in reality, or are they simple platitudes?

In significant contrast to previous entries in the series, Nexus brings us into a world of secrecy and fear — where a “defense team” called the Night Raiders strikes against nightmarish Space Beasts in a secret war. Where a massive, mysterious machine known as Lethe drains the memories and trauma of the human race to keep them from learning more. And where a massive conspiracy looms over the entire planet… opposed only by a fragile, wonderful light.

That light is Ultraman, the silver giant full of mysteries himself. In another major divergence from previous Ultraman heroes, this Ultraman is seemingly just the power — a power shared, and grown, by passing from hand to hand, between hosts known as Deunamists. Jun Himeya, Ren Senjyu, Nagi Saijyo, and beyond — through each of these new hosts, Ultraman grows and becomes more powerful, as they triumph over their own personal demons, watched by the idealistic Kazuki Komon. Ultraman’s Light connects each of these people, leading it towards ever-greater heights, even in the darkness of this bleak world.

However, a bright light casts darker shadows, and Nexus also had a cast of terrifying Dark Giants pulling the strings of this bleak world to fight against Ultraman. Dark Mephisto, Dark Faust, and the mysterious Unknown hand all benefited from the dire state of the Earth, manipulating humanity and Space Beast alike to further their villainous goals. Lives were lost, goodness trampled on… And still, Ultraman fought. 

We’ve intentionally avoided as many spoilers as we can for this piece, because Nexus is a show that should be watched if you consider yourself an Ultraman Series fan. A brilliant deconstruction that exists to reinforce the base truths that make the Ultraman Series great, Ultraman Nexus is available in its entirety, alongside its prequel movie, ULTRAMAN, as part of a box set from Mill Creek right now. Pick it up when you can — and to learn more about the secrets of the Ultraman series, Nexus and otherwise, stay close to Ultraman Connection.