Ultraman Z: The Dub Review

Ultraman Z: The Dub Review

We at Ultraman Connection talk a lot about specific Ultraman Series episodes and entries, and as fantastic as the Ultraman Z dub is, fans don’t need us to comment on it, generally — after all, you can watch it yourself. However, there are a few episodes that aren’t just good, but are special — milestones in the series itself that take on a new life of their own under the talented hands of Okratron 5000 and Kocha Sound. This episode, “His Majesty’s Medal,” is one of those episodes.

Back when the first episode of Z’s dub came out, we, just as much as anyone else, were stunned when Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku, was playing Ultraman Zero! Schemmel’s portrayal was pitch-perfect, a slightly rough voice that belies a combination of now-learned experience as well as hot-headed confidence that you never quite grow out of. It left a major impact on viewers, despite being a relatively small cameo for the one scene.

In “His Majesty’s Medal,” Zero returns, and Schemmel gets to really flex his interpretation of the character — not just against Z this time, but against Kevin K. Gomez’s Riku Asakura, AKA Ultraman Geed!

Gomez (No relation to UC’s Jeff Gomez!) actually debuted in the previous episode, a great romp that proves Gomez as a perfect fit for the role of Riku — a perfectly friendly, almost comical demeanor that can easily dip into serious when the time comes, matched fantastically to Tatsuomi Hamada’s body language. Here, Gomez gets to flex the latter half of the role, particularly in a heartbreaking moment where he begs to let RIku’s father, the evil Ultraman Belial, rest after his very DNA is harvested for use by the evil space parasite Celebro.

Riku, and the team-up of him, Zero, and Haruki/Z against the genocidal alien AI Gilvalis that brought him to Earth in the first place, is the centerpiece of this episode. The promise of a team-up the episode teases relentlessly across the story comes to fruition, and it’s a great one, enhanced like so many other moments by the chemistry between Schemmel, Gomez, and Zeno Robinson and Matt Shipman, who play Haruki and Z. In fact, this chemistry between seasoned professionals continues to be the most propulsive element of the dub.

There’s no denying that the script adaptations make the disconnect between the original actors and the English-language voice actors easier to handle from a suspension-of-disbelief point of view. However, what makes this episode — this SHOW — continue to work and be believable is how tightly those well-crafted lines are delivered, and how naturally they’re received and responded to. For that, once again, props have to be given to the voice actors, but also to the fantastic editors who fix the timing and match lip flaps — something considerably more difficult in live-action as compared to animation.

Episode 7, “His Majesty’s Medal,” is a high point in the episodes so far, but not even close to the only good episode. The series continues to improve as time goes on, and it becomes harder and harder to choose a favorite between it and the original Japanese as the show continues. Check it out, and check out all sorts of other Ultraman Z content, dub or sub, on Ultraman Connection.