Kaiju-King42 wrote:Covid has brought me to this...
I think I'm ready to give the Ultraman series another shot. My instinct is to start at the very beginning, with Ultra Q...
Still, I don't know. There's more series than I could ever keep track of. I don't know which are good, or which are bad; which are confusing for a newcomer, and which aren't.
Any input on where I should start?
I was in about the same boat as you before Mill Creek opened the Ultra floodgates. I had barely dabbled in any of it and my exposure to other Japanese superheroes was almost nonexistent, even after so many years of being a fan of Godzilla, Gamera and kaiju movies in general. I had watched the 2004 reboot film Ultraman: The Next
and the tie-in series Ultraman Nexus
because it was a franchise relaunch aimed at general audiences and that appealed to my teenage edgelord sensibilities. They are really ambitious and well done so that's a great place to start if you want something made in the 21st century.
I tried watching the original Ultraman
in college but I didn't get past the second episode. It just wasn't the right time in my life for me to get into it. Since last Fall, though? I've taken the plunge into the tokusatsu deep end, especially with all of the time spent at home since the pandemic hit. Between Mill Creek's Ultra releases and Shout! Factory making Kamen Rider and Super Sentai shows available to stream, there's no shortage of content anywhere you turn!
I started my current ongoing marathon with Ultra Q
, then continued straight into Ultraman
, followed by UltraSeven
, and I'm really glad that I watched those first three shows in order. Those are the three that Eiji Tsuburaya oversaw before his tragic passing and they represent the pinnacle of his career in a lot of ways. They aired 116 episodes in total from the debut of Ultra Q
in 1966 to the conclusion of UltraSeven
in 1968. Watching all of that for the first time in sequence within a matter of months is quite the experience! You'll recognize the creative flow of ideas and resources from Tsuburaya's films into the sci-fi anthology approach of Ultra Q
, the kaiju-centric bonanza of Ultraman
and the space-age ambition of UltraSeven
Have you heard of the Tubi streaming service? Shout! Factory has had several of Toei's Super Sentai series available to stream on their Shout! Factory TV website for a few years now and earlier this year they launched a TV channel called TokuSHOUTsu on the PlutoTV application. That is cool but Tubi
is the more convenient streaming option for Shout! Factory's content, especially if you prefer using a game console or other device to stream content on your TV. Tubi is free, no subscription required, and the amount of advertising really is minimal. While I was in the middle of watching UltraSeven
early in the Summer, I also started watching both the original Kamen Rider
and Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger
on Tubi. Zyuranger
was the 16th Super Sentai series and the first to be adapted into Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
, which I watched the hell out of as a kid, so finally seeing this show in its original form was rewarding and fascinating.UltraSeven
is my favorite of the shows that I've watched so far. It really builds on everything Tsuburaya had done before. It aims for the stars and it hits saucers! On the other hand, Toei's original Kamen Rider
is just about the trashiest thing I have ever seen from this genre. I watched the first 26 episodes and I just got tired of the low-grade repetition, so I switched to watching Kamen Rider Kuuga
on Tubi instead, the first Heisei-Era Kamen Rider series. I found it captivating and I finished all 49 episodes in under two months. Between the widescreen format and the heavily serialized storytelling, it seems like a show that was ahead of its time and made for the streaming age.
Once I finished UltraSeven
, I rewatched the movie Ultraman: The Next
for the first time in years before proceeding with the delightful Return of Ultraman
. After Kamen Rider Kuuga
, I checked out the 2007 series UltraSeven X
, a late-night reimagining that ran for 12 episodes. It hasn't been released by Mill Creek yet but it's very easy to find online. After that I started rewatching Ultraman Nexus
By the time I finished Kamen Rider Kuuga
, I was also finishing the third disc of Return of Ultraman
, the first 25 episodes. Since both that show and Kamen Rider
debuted on Japanese television in April 1971, I've opted to give myself the authentic double-feature viewing experience. Beginning with the fourth disc of Return of Ultraman
, I've watched each episode for the first time back-to-back with the corresponding episode of Kamen Rider
that aired on that same weekend. It's been cool to see little things that lined up between the shows, like how they both aired episodes featuring jellyfish monsters on the second weekend of October 1971, and how they both incorporated Christmas elements into their holiday episodes.Return of Ultraman
, Kamen Rider
and Ultraman Nexus
are what I'm currently watching. I've only got five episodes of Return of Ultraman
left. I'm looking forward to starting Ultraman Ace
and I'm getting sick of Kamen Rider