Originally airing on Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 4, 1979 to March 26, 1980, the fifty episodes of The Ultraman are the eighth story of Ultraman and take place four years after Ultraman Leo’s adventures.
The first animated version of Tsuburaya’s iconic superhero, The Ultraman was one of the earliest cartoons from Sunrise, which is better known for the other cartoon they released the same year as this, Mobile Suit Gundam.
At some point in the 21st century, the Earth Defense Forces form the Science Guard Agency led by Captain Akiyama. Their goal is to solve the strange glowing objects in the form of letters from an unknown language that are appearing in the sky. Earth Defense Forces member Choichiro Hikari is making his way back to Earth to join the team when he encounters and bonds with Ultraman Joneus.
Beyond the monsters, the bad guys are the Heller Empire, a renegade faction of Ultra People who have learned how to use the Ultra Mind for evil.
If you’ve seen this before in America, it may be because it was condensed into two movies, 1981’s The Adventures of Ultraman and 1983’s Ultraman II: The Further Adventures of Ultraman. The fourteenth episode also aired on New York superstation WOR as part of their Japan Tonight! seven-hour event which was hosted by noted Japanese actor Telly Savalas. I kid, I kid.
Sponsored by Bandai, the episode was introduced by Japanese actress/author/talk show host Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, who told American audiences that Ultraman was “very, very popular in Japan. He’s like your Superman.” Plenty of geeks like me knew all about Ultraman, as the show aired in syndication here from 1966 until the mid 80s.
Now you can get the entire series — all in one gorgeous package — from Mill Creek. I love that they’ve been putting so much love into these releases. They also look incredible all sitting on one shelf.
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