The SSSP kaiju defense taskforce, led by Kimio Tamura (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is dealing with tons of monsters that have made their way to Earth. Luckily, they are soon joined by Ultraman, perhaps the greatest enemy of giant monsters ever.
I spent much of my childhood making Ultraman’s beam hand motion and watching and rewatching every single episode of the show. Every time I met a Japanese person as a kid, I wanted to know more about Ultraman and imagine my surprise when I learned how many more shows there were that — in the pre-internet times — we never got here.
I got that same childhood wonder and joy from this movie, which was made by the same team that created Shin Godzilla — there will also be a Shin Evangelion Theatrical Edition and Shin Kamen Rider — director Shinji Higuchi and writer, editor and motion capture performer Hideaki Anno.
Shinji Kaminaga (Takumi Saitoh) is killed in the line of duty as Ultraman battles Neronga. The robot feels badly so he takes the man’s place and soon learns that he feels plenty of love for the human race, despite the fact that some of them don’t trust him. There are a lot of interplanetary political machinations in this story yet it never gets slow or boring. If anything, it feels like an entire season of Ultraman jammed into one movie.
There’s Zarab, the evil Ultraman, as well as Mefilias, the world-destroying Zetton, Gomess (a modified Godzilla from Shin Godzilla, just like how the original was a Godzilla suit when he was on Ultra Q), a Mammoth Flower, Larugeus, the Ultra Q monster Peguila, Kaigel, Pagos and Gabora (who along with Neronga were all made up of the Toho Baragon suit on the original Ultraman and Ultra Q), as well as cameo appearances from vehicles — often in the background or as models on desks — of Gohten from The War In Space, Alpha and Black Shark from Lattitude Zero; the Mole, FAB 1, Fireflash and the five Thunderbirds from Thunderbirds; and the Enterprise from Star Trek.
This is also the first Ultraman movie to be made by Toho. Does that mean we’ll ever see Godzilla versus Ultraman for real? One can hope.
The best part of this movie? It’s so episodic that there’s a new monster or crisis nearly every thirty minutes. Man, this is great. If you love kaiju, Ultraman or just want to have some fun at the theater, make sure you see this when it comes out in American theaters this fall.
You can watch Shin Ultraman with a Fantastic Fest virtual badge here.