Tag Archives: Ultraman

Whatcha Watchin’ – 09/14/16

Hey guys, Grant here with another quick check in to see where we are at in terms of our regularly scheduled programming.

Exercises like this are a way to track progress across the various shows that we attempt to watch. It is helpful to not only measure progress, but also to see where we might go from here. If you are anything like me, then your list of “to-watch” grows a lot faster than the list of completed titles. Hopefully, this will encourage me to buckle down and finish more shows, rather than jump around too much.

So, what am I watching?

Thunderbolt Fantasy

thunderbolt

Service: Crunchyroll

Episode: 8

Feelings: Thunderbolt Fantasy is an absolutely fantastic show, and I am still continuing to enjoy it. I have lagged behind a bit, as life has gotten a bit in the way here lately. Nevertheless, I am ready to hop back into the fancy fighting puppets and see more absurd things happen to pretty dollies.

 

Ultraman Orb

orb

Service: Crunchryoll

Episode: 8

Feelings: This is actually my favorite show I am watching right now. The comedic elements, kaiju action, and genuine joy of watching this show never disappoints. Again, life has me behind, but this is the one I look forward to every week. I legitimately feel like this is a great way to start the Ultra series if you have never seen it before.

 

Macross

sdf1

Service: Amazon Prime

Episode: 2

Feelings: This is a back-burner project, so I am not really pushing myself too hard on this one. I have seen Robotech easily a dozen times, but the original Macross I have only ever watched once completely. Since it is streaming I have told myself I need to rewatch the entire show. It’s as great as I remember, but the print damage is really becoming obvious. This show needs some remastering, desperately.

 

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

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Service: Crunchyroll

Episode: 20, Season 2

Feelings: So I’m nearly halfway through the Stardust Crusaders arc, and I’m still a bit mixed. I really enjoyed the second arc, so my hype and energy levels were pretty high going in. The problem is that the “baddie of the week” format is only as good as the villain. I don’t feel like the narrative is building like it was in the prior season. Still, I will finish it, because it is a great show, I just need to muscle through more than one episode in a sitting.

 

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

MMPR_Rangers.jpg

Service: Netflix

Episode: 30, Season 3

Feelings: This is another rewatch project I have going. As a kid I really only stuck around for about two seasons or so, but since every single season is on Netflix I challenged myself to see if I could make it all the way to the modern day. I don’t know if that is possible, but the nice thing is that Power Rangers isn’t a show that demands a ton of my attention. I basically passively watch it every morning as I have breakfast, and that theme song gets me jazzed every time. It’s goofy and dumb, but super vibrant and I enjoy every second of it. I’m also pretty intrigued to see what happens as I get further into the seasons I know nothing about.

 

Legend of Korra

korra_the_legend_of_korra

Service: Amazon Prime

Episode: 10, Season 3

Feelings: This show is phe-no-me-nal. I loved Avatar, but wow this show is completely blowing me away. I really could gush about it for hours. The advantage here is that my wife is watching this with me, so I don’t have to fight to find spare time to watch it. It is a shared activity we are doing together every night. Truthfully, I feel like this has done nothing but build each season and I look forward to it every night. Some of the best animated work to come out of the US.

 

So that’s the long, ridiculous list of the shows I am working through, from the every day routine watches to the “eh, when I get to it” shows. What do you guys think? What are you watching right now? Let me know your progress down below.

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Ultraman – Respect the Red and Silver

Ultraman turned 50 years old this year. The brainchild of Godzilla special effects director Eiji Tsubaraya, the original series aired in 1966 on Japanese television and has had the kind of impact one would expect from a spandex-clad giant wrestling lobsters on mainstreet. One of the early tokusatsu works, this show cleverly blended superheroes, spies, kaiju, and a dash of Twilight Zone/Outer Limits style strangeness. It is really no surprise that it was such a smash hit.

ultraman_and_zetton_episode_31

Of course you choose this over the evening news, honestly it’s probably less crazy.

His cultural importance in the eastern hemisphere cannot be understated. With over 25 series in the Ultraman franchise and 8 movies, as well as countless video games and other merchandise, he truly is an endearing cultural icon. Much like Superman and Batman are infused with popular western conceptions of what a superhero is, Ultraman is the mold from which many eastern superheroes are forged.

Why is he such an unknown here in the west, then?

Part of the problem stems from the fact that to many he is “just another superhero.” Essentially viewed as a something of an off-brand Power Ranger, Ultraman seldom gets taken very seriously here in the west.

Another issue is syndication and visibility. In the United States, Ultraman has not been on the air in 20-30 years. While many Latin American countries have a much stronger history of showing Ultraman (and a lot of other things, like Mazinger Z – bless you Latin America), and I am unsure of Europe, there is always something to be said for keeping a property alive in the U.S. market because it will inevitably filter out to others due to the sheer number of viewers and amount of money involved.

Most distressing is the consistently frustrating legal battles that Tsubaraya Productions has had with Chaiyo over licensing issues. The agony here is worth a few blog posts in and of itself (and perhaps I should do that at some point, though far greater men than I have explained it quite thoroughly).

Ultraman Sad

The mask hides my Ultratears.

Thankfully, the Ultra franchise is in one of the best places it could possibly be in terms of access. The original series is on Hulu, Shout Factory has both the dvds and free streams for a number of Ultra shows (including the magnificent Ultra Seven), and Crunchyroll has a metric ton of Ultra shows ready to be watched. In fact, Ultraman Orb is releasing new episodes every week as of this posting. I love everything about the classic series and many of its successors, either for the strange aliens, awesome kaiju battles, or sometimes outright corny special effects.

Lawl

Behold, in episode 11 Ultraman faces down a foe while waiting for the bus.

So Rogues Gallery, I leave you with this. To celebrate 50 years of Ultramannery, have any of you watched or enjoyed the red and silver hero from a distant nebula? Have you tried and not liked it, or completely passed it over? Let me know in the comments below, Rogues! (Or just give me the loudest SHA! you can muster).