1 January 2013 | ebiros2
Fantstic Beginning of the New Heisei Ultraman Series
Japan has three long running super hero based series. One is the Sentai Series that started from the Go Ranger (known in the US as the Go Rangers), second is the Kamen Rider series, and third and the longest running is the ULTRA series which this TV series is a part of.
This is the first of what's known as the "Early Heisei Ultraman Trilogy". The others includes Ultraman Dyna, and Ultraman Tiga, but broadly, all the Ultraman series that was made in the Heisei period (Period of emperor Akihito's reign), is called the Heisei Ultra Series. This series is the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Ultra series that started with the Ultra Q, and first Ultraman series to appear in 16 year after the completion of Ultraman 80. In the Japanese version, the time line of the story is set between 2007 - 2010.
This is the first Ultraman that is indigenous to Earth, and not a space patrol from M78 nebula. Color change between red, blue, and purple was a strategy conceived to enhance the related toy product's sale, but contributed as the interesting feature of this series. Different suit actor played each of the different color version of Ultraman Tiga, and added to the realism of the action.
The series is experimental in many ways, and features several women squad members in active roles. This includes the captain of the team Megumi Iruma (Mio Takagi), and daughter of the actor who played the first Ultraman's alter ego Hayata (Susumu Kurobe), Takami Yoshimoto as Rena.
This is the most serious of the Heisei Ultraman Trilogy in terms of its mood. The series gains more humorous aspect as it evolves.
It's incredible that Japanese TV stations only pay the production company 20 - 30,000 dollars per episodes for these series. The Ultra Series is known to be expensive to produce costing around a quarter million dollars per episode, but this is still mere pittance compared to the US made TV series that routinely costs over 5 million dollar per episode. The recent bankruptcy of Tsuburaya Production is understandable under these conditions. I'm a big fan of the ULTRA series, so I sincerely hope that better and more fair financial reward system be incorporated into the Japanese TV production system.
I just love these newer Heisei Ultraman series, and this is a welcome return of Ultraman to the TV screen.