Ultra Q

003

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Godzilla stars in the hit Broadway musical CATS.

Defeat Gomess! (ゴメスを倒せ!) – The very first episode aired, and while not spectacular, a good start, with a good mystery and atmosphere. The two monsters are both very memorable, even if the final fight is a tad underwhelming. Worth noting is the character of Jiro, who is the very first “Kenny” of the franchise. Guest stars Godzilla as Gomess and Rodan’s skeleton as Litra. 3/5

Goro and Goroh (五郎とゴロー ) – A fun and lighthearted, if simplistic episode with a sympathetic monster. Despite being only episode 2, Yuri doesn’t appear until midway through. Guest stars Yoshio Tsuchiya, King Kong as Goroh and in a small role, Masanari Nihei, who will be seen again. 3.5/5

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The Gift from Space (宇宙からの贈りもの) – The very first alien threat in the series in the form of the slug monster Namegon, and a very good one at that. Slow, but atmospheric. The monster’s method of defeat is somewhat predictable, but still a great episode. Guest stars Jun Tazaki. 4/5

Mammoth Flower (マンモスフラワー) – The first episode filmed, but held back as the pilot in favor of Defeat Gomess!, and for good reasons. Not horrible, but very mundane with a pretty pathetic threat in the form of the Mammoth Flower. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-18h57m20s192Peguila is Here! (ペギラが来た!) – An arctic-based adventure similar in vein to John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?. Well-paced and with a memorable monster, though a bit lacking in development in some spots with some unbelievable elements (Such as the scientist being gone for three years and his dog still managing to survive). Jun is the only regular character to appear. 3/5 

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“I will travel across the land, searching far and wide…”

Grow Turtle! (育てよ! カメ) – A parody of Urashima Taro (With elements of Gamera) with the main characters only making a cameo. Very surreal and funny, even if the moral at the end is unclear, having somewhat of a “don’t lie” message, except the kid really doesn’t lie, only daydreams and slacks off on school work, spending too much time taking care of his turtle. (It should be noted that the final scene is present in the original story, though feels arbitrarily added on here). The first episode in the franchise centered on a kid. Guest stars Masahari Nihei once again, and Manda as the dragon. 4/5

S.O.S. Mount Fuji (SOS富士山) – Nothing amazing and somewhat inconsistent in tone (And with some unusual editing, particularly in the minor subplot about kids launching a toy rocket), but a decently-paced episode that indicates the show is finding its footing. The plot regarding Takeru, the wild boy, is strange, but merges well enough with the monster plot. Roars of Toho monsters were and still are used very frequently in these shows, but the monster Gorgos having Godzilla’s feels odd and sticks out, likely due to how iconic it is. 3/5

Terror of the Sweet Honey (甘い蜜の恐怖) – A pretty strong and consistent episode that indicates the show has become comfortable with its formula. The first of many episodes (airdate wise) to be written by Tetsuo Kinjo, and a good start. Guest stars Susumu Kurobe, who will go on to play a rather big role in the next series. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h00m12s363Baron Spider (クモ男爵) – A classic haunted house story. Atmospheric, suspenseful and an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare. Rather cliched, but in all the right ways. The history behind the titular spider is quite disturbing. One of the best. Guest stars Akiko Wakabayashi. 4.5/5


vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h01m41s070The Underground Super Express Goes West (地底超特急西へ)
– A lighthearted episode that’s also a lot of fun. The concept of the artificial lifeforms could have been realized a bit more, however. Would receive a sequel 49 years later in the form of Ultraman X’s nineteenth episode. Guest stars Nobou Tsukamato, who will play another role in a few years to come. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h06m42s677Balloonga (バルンガ) – An atmospheric episode with a decent mystery and a more dire threat than usual. Being such a big threat, it’s mildly surprising Balloonga has never since returned in the series, especially given the doctor’s theory regarding it and others like it. Tetsuo Kinjo’s second episode written (to be aired) and proof of his talents as a writer. 4/5

I Saw a Bird (鳥を見た) – A very good, heartwarming “boy and his dog (or bird)” story. The only criticism is the plot point about an ancient sailing vessel making its way to the present-day via time travel (Bringing the ancient bird along with it), which ultimately goes nowhere and just feels like padding (They probably would have been better off just having the egg be found buried underground, frozen in ice or whatever). The ending is certainly among the show’s more tearful. Guest stars Akihide Suzawa (Who will go on to play a recurring role next season) and Rodan’s skeleton (Previously used for Litra) as Larugeus. The episode ironically features quite a bit of stock footage from Rodan, during the scenes of destruction. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h08m00s263Garadama (ガラダマ) – The debut of arguably the show’s most popular monster, Garamon. Somewhat slow and light on plot, but a good “monster from space” story with some great destruction and a real sense of dread throughout. Future prolific voice actor (Including several roles in Tokusatsu) Ryusei Nakao appears as the young boy that finds the strange meteor. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h10m09s012Tokyo Ice Age (東京氷河期) – Peguila’s second appearance, and definitely the stronger of the two. Well-paced with many exciting scenes and a fairly engaging plot involving a child and his alcoholic father makes this one a winner (Mr. Seki also gets some time to shine as well). The reason for Peguila’s migration is said to be climate change, still making the episode relevant today. 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h10m47s969Kanegon’s Cocoon (カネゴンの繭) – Another episode introducing a contender for most iconic monster in the series, and one of my very favorites. A surreal story involving children like Grow Turtle! that teaches a valuable lesson about greed. The main cast is nowhere to be found here (Whereas they cameoed in Grow Turtle!). Godzilla is mentioned by name early on, making one wonder if he exists for real in this world or is simply a film character. Masanari Nihei makes one last appearance in the show, before going on to co-star in the next series. 5/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h12m28s886Garamon Strikes Back (ガラモンの逆襲) – The return of Garamon, only this time there are two! Anything wrong with his first episode is made up for here. Nonstop fun from beginning to end, making this one of the very best in the series. Worth noting is the alien at the end of the episode (The first sentient being from another world to be seen in person) and his boss’ spaceship, which will be making another appearance in the next series.Guest stars Akihiko Hirata. 5/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h20m09s375The 1/8 Project (1/8計画) – The fourth in a line of winners. An outlandish idea of shrinking people to save space with an ever-growing population handled in a somewhat believable way. Features a very amusing scene that is a play on the typical formula of a giant monster attacking a city. Also worth noting is a scene stating residents of a city shall be referred only by a number, predating The Prisoner by over a year. Some have also pointed out the similarities in plot to the 2017 Matt Damon flop Downsizing. Great fun. 5/5

The Rainbow Egg (虹の卵)– A bit of a mixed bag, but an overall decent episode. The plot involving children searching for the titular egg is a bit too “cutesy” and doesn’t merge too well with the monster storyline, but everything involving Pagos (Filling in for who was meant to be a returning Gomess) is pretty solid. Guest stars Baragon as Pagos, who will be guest starring as quite a few more monsters in the future. 3/5

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“COPS is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement.”

Challenge from the Year 2020 (2020年の挑戦) – A very sci-fi-oriented story, and a good one at that, with some very atmospheric scenes. Some parts feel a little odd, however, (Such as the crew not believing Yuriko’s story) almost feeling as if the episode was meant to be aired earlier into the show’s run (Despite it reportedly being the 21st produced). The alien’s motivations are also unclear (Though it is implied to be an evolutionary step for mankind) and the similarity between the incident at the book appear just to be coincidental. Minor faults aside, a fine episode. Guest stars Akiji Kobayashi, who will go on to have a big role next series. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h25m10s840The Undersea Humanoid Ragon
(海底原人ラゴン) 
– One of the show’s eeriest episodes, and also one of the best. Ragon, though similar to the Gill-man from Creature from the Black Lagoon are among the creepiest monsters in the show that still maintain a dose of sympathy. A slightly typical “superstitious villagers” story, but very well made and creepy. 4/5

Space Directive M774 (宇宙指令M774) – An episode written by Shozo Uehera, who would go on to become one of the most prolific writers for not only Ultraman, but Tokusatsu in general. Sadly, not the strongest start for him. Interesting ideas and scenes are present, but overall a pretty weakly executed episode, especially by its climax. The monster Bostang never displays itself as a threat, to the point where one could feel kind of bad for it. The climax also draws on for far too long, helped in no way by the monster’s inability to really do anything. Guest stars Susumu Fujita. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h27m03s205Metamorphisis (変身) – An episode shot early on (Hence Professor Ichinotani’s presence), though it doesn’t stick out in comparison to later ones. A decent episode with one of the show’s more tragic monsters, even if the reason for his state of being is borderline unexplained, as is the reason for his “defeat”. Though not the first aired, the first Tetsuo Kinjo story to be produced. 3/5

Fury of the South Sea (南海の怒り) – A very generic “tropical island” story that seems to be in every 60s television show, and a pretty weak one at that, with the monster having almost no contact with the main cast, who in general feel tacked on (Even more so than usual). Guest stars Akira Kubo (Who sadly wasn’t in a better episode) and the giant octopus from King Kong vs.Godzilla (Which the episode uses a large amount of footage from) and War of the Gargantuas. The island girl Anita bears a resemblance to the character Dayo from Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster played famously by Kumi Mizuno. Anita is portrayed by Noriko Takahashi, who ironically enough, was originally slated to portray Dayo before being replaced by Mizuno. 2/5

vlcsnap-2018-08-24-16h32m02s453The Idol of Goga (ゴーガの像) – A very fun, spy-oriented (Which I am a sucker for) episode with nonstop action and a superstitious vibe, with the valuable statue from the ancient Alanka empire said to bring despair to anyone that removes it (Spoiler: it does in the form of a giant snail). The second episode to be written by Shozo Uehera, and a definite improvement over his first. The monster is almost a bit too similar to Namegon to the point where I’m inclined to believe it was originally was meant to be the return of everybody’s favorite slug from Mars. Regardless, a fun episode. Bin Furuya plays a henchman, and will be playing a pretty substantial role next show, and the one after that. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h30m14s206Devil Child (悪魔ッ子) – Another episode shot early on (Hence the presence of Professor Ichinotani and the two comic-relief reporters from Metamorphisis along with the fact it doesn’t involve a giant monster) but aired late into the series. Regardless, a very creepy episode that has elements one would find a modern J-Horror film (Not only Lily but also her shady father). The reasoning for young Lily’s state is hard to follow, but nevertheless a good episode. 4/5

Blazing Victory (燃えろ栄光) – An offbeat episode that’s both humorous and tragic with some unique visuals (Particularly in the transition department). Also worth noting are Peter’s growth effects which are very well-done. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h31m51s926The Disappearance of Flight 206 (206便消滅す) – A fun “airplane in distress” story with dimension-transporting and a giant walrus! It isn’t stated if the giant walrus Todora is native to the dimension or was simply trapped inside of it. The strange dimension isn’t represented quite as well as probably intended, but still makes for an enjoyable episode. Guest stars Hiroshi Koizumi and Maguma (from Gorath) as Todora. Would be the last “new” episode of Ultra Q aired until a year and a half later, due to The Birth of Ultraman special airing in its intended space. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-05-10-19h35m14s637Open Up! (あけてくれ!) – The final episode of the series, not aired until July of 1967, despite being one of the earlier episodes produced. A very Twilight Zone-esque episode and one of the more depressing of the series (Showcasing the harsher side of everyday life), making it a somewhat gloomy note to end the show on. Regardless, a great episode. Worth noting are Ippei’s final moments (aired), which have him being ditched by Jun and Yuriko, and later cleaning an airplane without attempting to make eye contact with the two. Kind of a sour note to end on. Guest stars Hideyo Amamoto. 4/5

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