Return of Ultraman

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All Monsters Attack – An excellent start to the series and one of the best introductory episodes of any Ultraman show. Goh’s sacrifice that leads to his merging with Ultraman is handled well (Though admittedly, his reason for making it is due to some very mild 70s sexism) and the new attack team MAT is properly introduced. We are also treated to not one, not two, but three monsters. Directed by Ishiro Honda, ironically sharing the title of his 1969 Godzilla movie. 4/5

Takkong’s Big Counterattack – Another great episode directed by Honda featuring the return of Takkong from episode 1. Right off the bat, Goh’s flaws are established, with his cockiness (somewhat hinted at in the previous episode) putting others at risk. Goh’s psychical capabilities are also shown to be incredible due to his merging with Ultraman, something that wasn’t really established with Hayata or even Dan. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-18h45m04s983Evil Monster Realm of Terror – An episode that dives deeper into the rocky relationship Goh initially has with his fellow MAT officers, with Kishida taking a particular dislike of him. For the first time ever, we learn about a host’s parent (Though All Monsters Attack did feature a brief flashback with Goh mentioning his mother), with a flashback of a young Goh witnessing his father go missing while exploring the mountains (Not unlike Captain Kato). Two monsters are featured, one great and one laughable. The great is Sadora, a monster that would go on to make several appearances in later shows, and the laughable is Detton, who is modified from a Telesdon suit (Whom he was originally meant to be until the condition of the suit changed their minds) and looks incredibly derpy with his mouth always gaping open. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-18h48m04s232Definite Kill! Comet Kick – An episode that further shows the difficulties Goh/Ultraman faces, with him losing against the monster Kingsaurus III at the beginning of the episode. Much of the episode involves Goh training while girlfriend Aki worries about him. The monster’s name Kingsaurus III might sound odd due to there never being a Kingasaurus I or II, but it was apparently called that due to being the third “King” monster (After Red King and Eleking. They apparently forgot about King Joe). It can theroized however, that Kingsaurus I and II were fought by MAT (or previous attack teams) in the past. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-18h48m57s504Two Giant Monsters Attack Tokyo/Battle! Monsters vs. MAT – The first two-parter of the show and an excellent one at that. Apart from having lots of great monster action (The sunset battle at the end of part 1 being a highlight) and tension, the episode further explores Goh’s relationship with MAT, with him having difficulties balancing his duties and personal life at Sakata’s auto repair shop and relationship with Aki. Susumu Fujita and Kenji Sahara return reprising their roles from Ultra Seven in all but name – Fujita’s character is stated to be member Kishida’s uncle. Kishida recognizes Gudon early on and later pulls out an English-language book about it and Twin Tail, which may indicate they attacked an English-speaking country in the past. During part 2, Sakata compares the current situation to an air-raid he witnessed during the war, claiming to have been three years old then (1945), firmly retconning the futuristic setting of the past two shows and placing the show in the then-present. 5/5 (both parts)

Operation Rainbow Monster – Another Ishiro Honda directed episode. Not an incredibly sophisticated episode, but still entertaining. The only real gripe is MAT’s treatment of the monster Gorbagos, who was simply minding his own business in the mountains until being discovered by Jiro, resulting in them making it their duty to exterminate the beast. This will become a pretty common theme for MAT, who are among the most brutal of attack teams. Ishiro Honda’s Toho creation Baragon appears in form of a toy and is even mentioned by name. 3/5

ticktockMonster Time Bomb – Another enjoyable episode where the worst possible outcome in a situation comes true – a monster with a ticking-time bomb in its belly that decides to take a nap right in front of an explosives factory. That said, the episode features another case of MAT discovering a monster that doesn’t seem to be causing any harm and immediately attacking it. Had they just left it alone, the dilemma of the episode likely would not have happened. Regardless, an entertaining affair, with plenty of fun sequences, most notably the “What-if” scenarios involving the monster. 3.5/5

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“Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright”

Monster Island S.0.S – Honda’s final episode until the series finale that’s somewhat reminiscent of an island-based Kaiju film. Some nice character development is provided for Minami and Goh, who’s decision to take off in the Gyro despite it not being completely fueled up may seem stupid, but lines up with his other brash moves made early on. 4/5

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Dinosaur Explosion Directive
– A combination of Space Ray of Terror (In basic plot and the children’s attachment to the monster) and The Monster Graveyard (In the monster itself). An enjoyable episode that actually has Goh and Minami question MAT’s need to kill every monster they see. Stegon is one of the “cuter” monsters in the series, despite him actually killing a few people. Godzilla, Rodan and King Ghidorah are all mentioned by name at one point, which leads to the question of whether they actually exist (Or existed) or are just film characters in the show. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h02m26s889Poison Gas Monster Appears – The last episode of any Ultraman show to be written by Tetsuo Kinjo (his only work for Return of Ultraman), who died in 1976. A dark episode that further develops Kishida, with him learning of a terrible family secret related to the monster of the week. The scene in which MAT watches a film of Jidaigeki actors dying from a toxic gas is not only disturbing but also showcases the threat perfectly. The only real gripe is Kishida’s absence from the final fight. Him delivering the final blow would have put a nice cap on his arc. 4/5

Revenge of the Monster Shugaron – An unusual episode featuring a monster that’s a combination of Woo (In being an avatar to someone), Hydra (In its hatred of cars. Hydra even cameos in the beginning) and possibly even Jamilla. The forest setting and cinematography are both great and the MAT training sequence early on is enjoyable, though there are a few too many plot holes preventing this one from being a classic. Most notably, how was the artist renowned for painting his daughter when he went into hiding when she was only 5? 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h07m48s889Terror of the Tsunami Monsters, Tokyo’s Big Pinch/Terror of the Two Tsunami Monsters, Tokyo’s Big Tornado – The second two-parter of the show and like the first, a superb set of episodes., filled with plenty of spectacle and destruction. MAT once again questions as to whether or not the killing of the monsters is justified, given that the two of them are simply protecting one another as mates. It starts a little slowly, the ending is a bit abrupt and the effect of Ultraman stopping the tidal wave is pretty laughable (Otherwise, the effects are top notch), but none of those things prevent it from being a classic. Akiji Kobayashi guest stars, who adds a great layer of sympathy to his character despite having few lines in a way a lot of other actors probably couldn’t. 4.5/5 (both parts)

Revenge of the Monster Boy – An often overlooked episode (Coming right after a grand two-parter), and while not a classic, an enjoyable romp with some good dramatic moments. The only real gripe is the main kid character’s behavior. Seeing his father killed by a monster only for everyone to insist it was just a simple train accident gives him a very good reason to be upset and do some bad things, but when he’s kidnapping a kid, tying him up and locking him into a car, it can get a little hard to sympathize with him. The very ending also features a minor plot point resolved in a very contrived fashion. The monster Eldortus is similar to Neronga in its invisibility ability, though unlike Neronga, it actually plays a part in the episode’s plot. 3/5

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Sadly, you’re more likely to die of boredom from these episodes than this monster.

Mystery of the Bird Monster Terochilus/Monster Bird Terochilus – Tokyo’s Big Aerial Bombing – A two-parter that should have been one. Some interesting ideas but the episodes run at a slow pace and aren’t particularly engaging. The character of Saburo is quite slimy, and while his backstory is sympathetic, it becomes hard to sympathize with him in the second part when he openly admitted to planting a bomb and showing no remorse for believing to have killed people. Part one gives us a brief glimpse of Goh smoking, something no other Ultra hosts have done prior. The Namahage sequence in part 2 is very well done and its a shame it didn’t appear in a better episode. 2.5/5 (Both parts)

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h27m59s064UltraSeven Arrives! – A Moby Dick-type story in which Kato must avenge the death of his friend by the space monster Bemstar. Bemstar (the first monster from space in this show) is very grotesque and possibly the strongest foe fought by Ultraman up to this point. The scene in which Kato shows up at his friend’s now-widow’s house is genuinely heartbreaking. As the title suggests, the first meeting of Ultras from two different shows, firmly establishing them as being set within the same continuity. Said meeting with Seven is a bit underwhelming, but obviously historically significant and hardly ruins this superb episode. Masaaki Yamamoto makes a small appearance during the cafe scene, who will go on to have a big role next season. 4.5/5

The Giant Invisible Monster that Came from Space – With a title like that, one must know what to expect. The plot point of a child at the hospital in critical condition whose spirit will regain if the show’s hero defeats the bad guy that put him there (Or mild variations) is really commonplace in Tokusatsu, but it works decently here since said kid is Jiro, a character we’ve gotten to know and like and is close to Goh. The titular invisible monster from space Sartan is very grotesque and unique. 4/5

The Monster is a Giant Shooting Star in Space – Another title that lets you know what to expect, though here it only occurs at the very end (So spoilers?). An above-average episode with a monster that seems impossible to kill. One thing noticeable throughout the show, including this episode, is the Earth Defense Organization’s (Formerly known as TDF) concern about MAT’s public image, frequently threatening to disband them if they fail to defeat a monster. The titular ending is funnily morbid, though I feel Ultraman should have let the monster Magnedon live once it was off of Earth, as it clearly just wanted to sleep and wouldn’t have done any harm up there. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h29m50s721Monster Channel – An offbeat episode with one of the show’s most unique monsters, Beacon. The idea of a monster manipulating what’s on the TV is the right kind of silly and its a shame Beacon hasn’t ever returned properly. Monster aside, the episode is unusual with several minutes of screen time being devoted to a drama a kid’s mother is watching. The scene in which Beacon causes a collision between two aircrafts is lifted from Return to the North! where a commercial airline collides with a TDF fighter (Assumed in this instance to be from the Earth Defense Organization). Doesn’t bring the episode down in anyway, though it was mildly lazy. 4/5

shakeI’ll Kill this Monster! – Nobuo Tsukamoto’s final appearance in the show (Who apparently left due to his commitment to stage work at the time), with Captain Kato leaving MAT’s Japan base for their space base (Presumably filling in for his friend killed by Bemstar). His replacement, Captain Ibuki from MAT’s New York branch (played by Jun Negami) doesn’t appear until the very end, leaving everything up to the other members for most of the episode. An enjoyable episode with a fun monster and bizarre opening involving a drunk clown. Captain Ibuki’s arrival to Japan is delayed due to another incident involving a monster inside a giant trash heap occurring in New York. A strange but amusing sound error occurs at the beginning of the episode where the MAT members are all yelling goodbye to Kato from a distance. As Oka yells, a man’s voice comes out of her mouth! One of those things that probably wasn’t visible when aired in 1971 but is when viewed on Blu-Ray. 4/5

jackinsideDark Monster, Spit Out the Stars! – An entertaining episode that features a pretty big threat – one capable of consuming planets. For the first time in a while, there’s a real sense of utter hopelessness, given it’s planet-eating nature. There are a lot of astrological elements to this episode which I tend to find ridiculous, though in the case of a show like Ultraman, I can buy it. In a rather rare occurrence for this show, the monster is spared by Ultraman, due to it simply being driven mad by the constellation-consumer. When Ultraman confronts the star-consuming entity, there are shown to be some organic compounds to it. It is a shame not more was revealed about it. Guest stars Hideyo Amamoto. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h37m02s702Horror! Birth of the Condo Monster – Quite possibly the weirdest title in the show, which is saying something. A pretty average episode featuring a monster quite reminiscent of Gavadon. The plot is very simplistic and the actor playing the main child of the episode isn’t very good (Child actors in these shows usually range from serviceable to really good). One thing worth noting is the beginning where MAT is ordered to kill an alien life form that doesn’t appear to be doing any harm out of fear. Though the life form would eventually become the monster, one must wonder if their killing of it was justified or not. 3/5

Leaving My Home Planet Earth – A pretty forgettable episode. Some backstory is provided for Minami and it is sort of neat how he is the one who bonds with the kid of the week (With parallels being drawn between his childhood and the kid’s current life) rather than Goh, but aside from that, a pretty dull affair. This episode features another monster that probably should have spared by Ultraman given that it just wanted to go home, but wasn’t. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h41m44s069Mystery Homicide Beetle Incident – An episode that does not involve the murder of John Lennon whatever the title may suggest. A pretty fun romp that shows the rocky relationship between Goh and Aki. The only real drawback is the lack of relevance to the plot it plays. The monster of the week (When in its smaller stage) gives Aki a good scare, but outside of that does little to her. It would have been better had it bitten and poisoned her or something along those lines in order to showcase Goh’s feelings for Aki and anger towards the monster better. The monster Nokogirin is still fun (It destroys Tokyo Tower like any good Kaiju) and is reminiscent of Antlar. A poster for Diamonds Are Forever can be seen in the lobby of a movie theater towards the beginning of the episode. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h42m15s443Go to Hell with this One Blow! – An enjoyable episode that shows Goh’s eagerness to help others despite duty frequently calling. The monster Gronken, while cool, kind of appears out of nowhere and has no given origin despite having saws for hands. Kickboxer Tadashi Sawamura appears as himself, further cementing the show’s then-present setting. 4/5

Ultra Special Attack – An episode written by the great Akio Jissoji but sadly not directed by him. Though written by the very talented Jissoji, the episode never quite manages to take off despite some very interesting scenarios. The monster, Varricane strangely has only one mobile eye, making it look like it has a lazy eye. Some development is provided for Nanbara, who admits to feeling sort of bad for the monster (Being a simple force of nature) and Goh having to say where he was when he was Ultraman. Certainly not a bad episode, but not one of the show’s best. 3/5

Jiro Rides a Monster – A lighthearted Jiro-centered episode that’s a lot of fun, with an enjoyable adventure for him to go on to retrieve a friend’s secret box (Insert Spongebob reference here), and showcases Goh’s occasional carelessness. This episode contains yet another example, however, of a monster undeserving of the fate Ultraman gives it, as all it wanted to do was live underground in a space station that was already busted. However, Ultraman (and therefore Goh)’s cruelty may showcase Goh’s deep care for Jiro, given the monster (Though unintentionally) put the boy’s life at risk. Was screened theatrically as apart of Toho’s annual Champion Festival alongside Godzilla vs. Gigan, Mirrorman‘s debut episode and an assortment of anime. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h47m44s740The Accursed Bone God Oxter – A rather eerie episode that focuses heavily on Ken and Jiro Sakata, with Goh and MAT not appearing until after the break. (Aki is not present in this or the previous episode, both which focused on the Sakatas). Though light on plot, there are more than enough good moments to make the episode worthwhile. The titular monster Oxter is among the more sympathetic beasts in the show, and is quite unique looking. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-19h57m30s414In Between a Devil and an Angel – One of the very darkest and most disturbing episodes of the series, featuring an alien threat in the form of a deaf human child who communicates to Goh through telepathy. With Goh being the only one to hear him, the other members of MAT are skeptical, especially Captain Ibuki, whose daughter happens to be best friends with the kid. Ibuki’s reluctance to tell his daughter due to him not wanting her to become weary and judgmental towards people plays a major part in the episode, raising the question of just how much of the truth one should be told and how much can be kept secret. Apart from his dastardly disguise, the alien’s plot is fairly clever, making this a near-perfect episode. 5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h00m33s005Decisive Battle Under the Setting Sun – A humorous episode with MAT going under cover to investigate earthquakes, which turn out to be caused by a farting insect monster. Apart from the frequent humor, the father’s mistake made is a fairly emotional one, and the relationship with his son is handled rather well. The farting monster King Maimai is one of the most underrated in all of Ultraman. A fun, laugh-out-loud episode from start to finish. 4.5/5

gohmobThe Monster User and the Boy – Rated by fans as the second greatest episode of any Ultraman show (Behind only UltraSeven‘s finale), and it’s easy to see why. Among the most tragic of tales in the show, with almost every supporting character treating the boy horribly, and much like The Phantom of Snow Mountain, they all wind up getting away with it. The people’s treatment of the boy and his adopted father is a clear metaphor for racism, particularly the discrimination faced by ethnic minorities (Including Okinawans, Ainu and Zainichi Koreans) prevalent in Japan at the time and still to this day (The message of course can resonate with any race). Writer Shozo Uehara, an Okinawan himself, is reported to have based much of the episode off of personal experience. Goh claims to be an orphan, which would mean his mother passed away sometime after the flashback shown in All Monsters Attack. Towards the end, Ibuki orders Goh to singlehandedly attack the monster, implying he might know his identity. Filled with great cinematography (Reminiscent of Akio Jissoji’s work) and a fight scene filmed largely in one shot, the episode is as good as everybody says it is. The episode would receive a sequel 35 years later in Ultraman Mebius, to mixed results. 5/5

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“HERE’S JOHNNY!”

The Life that Cannot Be Forgiven – An unusual episode that often times borrows the mad scientist tropes from old horror movies. The difference here, however, is the mad scientist, Mizuno, is a childhood friend of Goh’s and really isn’t that bad of a guy, crazy aspiration aside. The scene in which Goh reminiscences about his friendship with Mizuno as a child set to PYG’s “Flower Sun Rain” is one the show’s strongest. The writer for this episode was 16 year old Shinichiro Kobayashi, who would go on to write Godzilla vs. Biollante 18 years later, which contains several similar plot points to this episode. 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h15m11s769Atrocious! Light Monster Priz-Ma – An episode that features Goh following the trail of a threat in his own time, with a little help from Ken Sakata. The Sakata brothers (But once again, not Aki) are featured prominently in this episode, and it only figures given that it was penned by Shin Kishida himself. Noteworthiness aside, a cool episode with some visuals that are still amazing looking and a very unique enemy in the form of Priz-Ma. 4.5/5

The Glimmer of the Night – Definitely the weakest of this great lot of episodes, with a pretty predictable storyline, but still a fun romp and a good “Halloween” episode, somewhat reminiscent of Toho’s “Bloodthirsty” series of films from the same period. The idea of aliens posing as Vampires is silly enough to work (Aliens replicating Earth legends will be utilized again in this show), and their scheme is somewhat disturbing, if impractical. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h27m25s785Ultraman Dies at Sunset/When the Ultra Star Shines – An incredible pair of episodes that have all the workings of a perfect finale to the show. Similar in structure to The Seven Assassination Plan in the aliens’ method of testing Ultraman’s power and later holding him ransom, but with an even darker twist that still brings tears to my eyes (Thanks in large part due to Hideki Kawaguchi’s performance). The episodes introduce the Nackles, a race of aliens that will go on to become the franchise’s most prominent, with their leader being played by Masahiko Naruse, in his best, most slimy role. Oka is also given a chance to shine for the first time in a good while during the second part. Even a few minor flaws (Such as Ultraman’s fight with a revived Seagorath and Bemstar simply being stock footage from his first) cannot prevent this pair of episodes from being near-perfect. Guest stars two people who I will not dare give away. 5/5

Winter of Horror Series – The 20th Century Abominable Snowman – After an excellent two-parter, we are treated to a real dud of an episode that marks the beginning of the end for the show. The Varduck aliens are really bizarre looking (And have what look like testicles on their heads) and their plot to freeze Earth and then conquer it is pretty uninspired. Throughout the episode, people keep referring to the Varduck as an abominable snowman, despite it looking nothing like one. Also strange is Kishida and Minami not believing in Yetis (Citing them as 19th century myths), despite there being monster attacks and alien invasions on a weekly basis. Worth questioning is Ultraman’s destroying of what looks like the Varduck’s homeworld approaching Earth (Possibly committing mass-genocide)…Not inherently offensive, but very weak. 2/5

Winter of Horror Series – Phantom Snow Woman – The second Winter-themed episode based off of a popular legend, this time the Yuuki-ona, or Snow Woman. An improvement over the previous episode, as the main alien’s plot is more pronounced and the monster Snowgon is very cool (And is ironically a lot more Yeti-like than the previous monster who was constantly referred to as a Yeti) but still lacking. This episode really showcases the Ultra Bracelet’s ability to become an easy deus ex machina in a particular scene that makes for effective imagery, but is settled in a lazy manner. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h42m16s092The Revenge of Alien Baltan Jr. – A confusing sequel of sorts to either one of the Baltan episodes from Ultraman, with the supposed son of the original (It isn’t clarified which since there were so many Baltans seen) out for revenge, as the title suggests. His “revenge” plot isn’t very inspiring, and it’s made even more bizarre when taking into account that the Ultraman in this show is NOT the same as the one that killed his father. Also included is Jiro hearing his brother’s voice in his dreams and Goh having to prove to him that he is his “new brother”, which could have made for some good drama, but barely goes anywhere. The episode ends on a cliffhanger that as of 2017, has yet to be resolved in any capacity. 2/5

The Monster That Stands on Mt. Fuji – An improvement over the last couple of episodes that feels fairly reminiscent of earlier episodes with a somewhat interesting scenario and monster that actually leads to MAT harming people. What hampers the story though is another obligatory alien invader controlling the monster with a very generic world domination (To make the Earth a resort for his race, apparently) plan. Still, a decent, if unspectacular episode. 3/5

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Not Daimajin.

The Demon Howls at the Moon – After a slew of mixed bags, we are treated to a very entertaining episode focusing on Ibuki and his family (With his daughter returning). This episode features yet another alien playing off the superstition of people (Previously seen with Aliens Carmilla, Varduck and Black) by turning a statue of a god worshiped by a village into a giant. The alien Grotes is strange but oddly appealing looking and exhibits some funny traits. Not an absolute classic, but very fun. 4/5

To the Starry Sky with Love – Has the working of a good episode and succeeds in some areas, though fails in others. The plot feels reminiscent of an Ultra Seven episode, and the idea of Kishida falling in love with an alien has potential, but the fact their time together is barely seen at all (Kishida just returns from the hospital proclaiming he’s in love) makes it hard to believe. Not a bad episode, but could have used some work. 3/5

Assassinate Hideki Goh! – An episode that starts out strong beginning right away with a fun battle against a pretty cool monster, followed by several assassination attempts, as suggested in the title. But after the break, things take a dive in quality, with a rather pointless revelation that a certain character is an alien (Which I guess was done to show the villain of the week has conquered other worlds, though I have a difficult time in believing that) and quite possibly the worst-looking alien in the entire franchise, or at the very least in this show. An episode that showed promise, but didn’t live up to it in the end. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h46m29s336This One Blow Filled with Anger – A very solid episode with an engaging enough plot (And a fairly slimy plan by the obligatory alien of the week involving Goh being framed), some decent drama and a unique monster that reminiscent of monsters (Or Super Monsters, as they’ll be known) from the next series. The arbitrary alien is rather bad looking, but plays a key role to the plot and doesn’t partake in any major fights. Guest stars Jun Tatara. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h47m09s192The Targeted Woman – A welcome change of pace, as for the first time in a good while, the monster of the week is not controlled by an alien or even said to be from space. A strong episode focused on Oka and her mistakes made presumably from overworking that features very little Goh. Also showcased is the loyalty the members of MAT have to their job. Though the monster is not said to be from space, she still retains a spiritual element to her, which sadly goes mostly unexplored. The episode also reassures that MAT’s base is set underwater, something that hasn’t been seen since the beginning of the show. Despite some shortcomings, one of the strongest episodes of the latter portion of the show. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h47m34s430I’m Taking the Earth – Without a doubt, the best of the latter episodes. A very humorous look on the laziness exhibited by people, while also commenting on overworking. The alien’s plot of making everybody on Earth extremely lazy and then conquering it is ripe for comedy, and delivers. A highlight includes the MAT and Ultraman fight themes being sped up and slowed down to represent them when active and when lazy. 4.5/5

Space Warriors – Your Name is MAT – An episode with a title predating Space Warriors 2000 by 13 years. Directed by famed war film director Shue Matsubayashi, the episode certainly has some interesting ideas, mainly an alien race wanting to capture Ultraman and use him in their war and also contains concepts seen before, such as an alien wanting to peacefully live among humans and an evil alien manipulating a good one. Sadly though, the episode never really manages to take off, ending up as quite a bore, despite its impressive director. The ongoing war between the (very goofy looking) Mystellar aliens and the unseen Aterias is still said to be taking place in Ultraman Mebius 35 years later. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h50m15s446Invitation from Hell – Another episode directed by Shue Matsubayashi, and like the previous episode, has some interesting ideas and certainly tries to tell a compelling story, but never quite succeeds, though a slight improvement. The story focuses largely on Ueno, as if they were trying to give him some additional development and backstory before the show ends. The monster King Bockle may somewhat expand upon the concept of advanced underground humans introduced in Ultraman, but looks like low-rent Spectreman monster, and has the inexplicable ability to change sizes, despite being from Earth. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-01-26-20h51m42s483The 5 Ultra Pledges – Ishiro Honda returns to the series with the grand finale. While certainly has some of the elements of a good conclusion, it simply cannot compete with Ultraman Dies at Sunset/When the Ultra Star Shine. There isn’t a whole lot of tension throughout it, and much of what takes place occurs offscreen, most notably MAT’s undersea base being infiltrated and largely destroyed. Zetton is revived, but is not only portrayed as little more than another pet monster, but looks atrocious (The original had a large, hulking appearance and moved very little, whereas this version is frequently running around and has very floppy antennas). The final scene, however, of Jiro and Rumiko saying their goodbyes to Goh is among the show’s best, and its just a shame it wasn’t in a better finale. 2.5/5

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