Ultraman Leo

Originally reviewed December 2017

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h35m41s538The Death of Seven! Tokyo is Sinking!/The Big Sink! The Last Day of the Japanese Archipelago – The opening two-parter that almost immediately establishes that the show will be a lot darker than Ultraman Taro, with Ultra Seven’s legs being broken, Dan’s Ultra Eye destroyed, images of Tokyo being washed away from a tsunami and images of people dead or dying from the destruction. Ultra Seven is said to have returned to Earth to protect it from its invaders, with Dan joining MAC and becoming its captain thanks to his past experience. For the first time since Dan, Gen Otori appears to simply be the human disguise of the Ultra as opposed to a human possessed by him. Dan takes Gen under his wing to train, and certainly takes no shortcuts. Leo hails not from M-78, but L-77, which is said to have been destroyed by the Magma aliens about a month prior (That date will later be contradicted). Though it maybe gets a little repetitive (With Magma and the Gilas brothers attacking a grand total of four times), a great start to the show. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h38m30s438A Farewell to Tears/A Vow Between Men – The second two-parter of the show, and one that continues to showcase it’s darker, more violent tone. Though Kaoru appeared last episode, her older brother Tooru and their father are introduced here, with their father meeting his end in a very gruesome way towards the beginning. Also introduced and quickly disposed of is MAC officer Suzuki. The alien not having any real ulterior motive other than to kill people and possibly frame Leo for it (Coming across as an intergalactic serial killer) signifies the darker tone, though isn’t really enough of a plot to warrant two parts. Also introduced is the first of many aliens with the ability to transform into giant monsters that bear little resemblance to their human-sized forms. Dan’s harsh training of Gen is also showcased. A good pair of episodes, even if they probably could have been one part. 4/5

Don’t Cry! You’re a Man – Another strong episode with a fairly standard “try, try again” message done well. Tooru’s recent loss of his father from last episode is a central plot point as is Gen’s inability to console him due to his job as a MAC member (Karou seems to have taken it a lot better, possibly due to her younger, more naive age). The martial arts theme of the show is further explored here with a training machine used by Gen being filled with blades. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h39m07s978You’re a Man! Burn On! – An enjoyable episode with another psychotic alien that seems to have no motive other than to kill people, including the girlfriend of MAC member Shirato. The only problem is the predictable plot of “Leo tries to stop alien, fails, undergoes serious training” that’s been done every episode so far. The episode features one of the more infamous training sequences in which Dan runs Gen over with a jeep numerous times, though not before whacking him in the face with his cane. Dan tells Gen that they are the only two aliens on Earth. Apparently, he didn’t see Space Directive M774. 3.5/5

A Beautiful Man’s Will – Alright, though not really a stand out. Dan becomes angry at Gen after he allows Karou to keep a flower fallen from space despite knowing it wasn’t of-Earth instead of destroying it. Dan’s suspicions turn out to be true (He recognizes the flower and knows that aliens have used it as a weapon before), but his wanting of Gen to destroy it is a bit of a far cry from the Dan of Ultra Seven. There’s another brutal training sequence, this time with Dan throwing boomerangs at Gen. During it, Dan makes a rather infamous remark telling Gen that men must fight for women to pick flowers, though it can be assumed he was simply riling him up. The monster is among the goofiest, looking like the lovechild of Takkong and an artichoke, with a flower on top. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h41m07s494Certain Kill! Monster Challenger! – A standard but entertaining episode. Gen’s training with the monk is predictable but enjoyable and reminiscent of a Kung fu movie. The monk seems to know Dan and remarks that Gen isn’t the first person he’s sent to train with him. Unseen adventures of Goh, Hokuto or Kotaro’s? MAC also seems familiar with the monster, indicating that they’ve encountered it before or it previously attacked a different country. 3.5/5

“He told me he was 18…”

The Bridge of Friendship in Space – The first dud of the series, with not much of a plot and Dan acting really out of character (At least from when we saw him in Ultra Seven). Tooru insists that the Giro alien (Who creepily takes him to his dimension) means no harm, while Dan doesn’t believe it, having apparently encountered the race before, figuring them all to be the same. This seems out of character for him, who during Ultra Seven, seemed open to giving outcasts a chance, especially when he was one himself and encouraged positive race relations. Has his time stuck on Earth made him more cynical? The “twist” at the end regarding Giro is lame as well, though not unpredictable given the structure. Giro’s dimension is somewhat neat, and features the background to the opening of Ultra Seven, as is the monster carnival early on, which features several past monsters, including ones from Fireman and Jumborg Ace, but a pretty weak affair. 2/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h44m44s894The Wandering Monster of Sorrow – A rather depressing episode about Gen encountering who may be the only other survivor of L-77 – his pet, who has mutated into a violent monster. Dan tells Gen to put aside his feelings (Stating he does not belong in MAC if he can’t), scolding him for not attacking when told, but doesn’t necessarily order him to kill Ron if other options are available, showing he has sympathy. MAC member Aoshina expresses annoyance at Gen’s reluctance and tells Dan to kick him off the team, having previously been annoyed by his actions in Certain Kill! Monster Challenger! The already heartwarming ending may be sadder when you take into account the dog is never seen again, possibly indicating those were its last days. 3.5/5

Easy, Breezy, Beautiful

One Man Covered in Mud – Another crazed alien-on-the-loose story with Gen training to defeat him. Pretty similar to the others, though still enjoyable enough. The alien commits not one but two murders that greatly affect a child, the second of which is among the most senseless in the show, almost to a comedic point. Gen brings up Magma killing his family, showing he hasn’t been forgotten about. 3/5

The Adventure Nut Arrives! – The first of the several comedic episodes that feel very out of place in the show, almost like the were unused Taro scripts. Not particularly funny and the titular adventure nut, Saburo, is somewhat irritating, though his appearance marks the first major role for a foreign member since Ultraman, coming from an African MAC branch. Features on the dumbest climaxes that reveals both the MAC uniforms and monster are inflatable. Not unwatchable, but not very good. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h48m52s654Massive Explosion! Two Desperate Aliens – A great episode that shows Dan’s commitment to protecting the Earth along with his relationship with Gen, willing to stand up for him when he’s framed for murder. His dilemma of not being able to transform into Seven is further explored here, opting to sacrifice himself in order to defeat the alien, having learned its weakness on his own. The alien is another murderous psychopath that frames Gen for murder twice by turning invisible and quickly moving his weapons in hand. 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-21h53m32s374Deadly Fists! The Boy Who Calls Forth a Storm – An episode with almost nonstop action and a monster with a unique twist, even if its revealed almost right away. The members of MAC begin to question Dan’s special treatment of Gen, with the entire training exercise being centered around him. From here on out, the show’s theme song is now “Fight! Ultraman Leo”, a fine tune, but not nearly as cool as the first opening, and it certainly doesn’t help that the song will be heard almost every fight scene. Opening themes have had slight variations (In Ultraman and Ultraman Ace, slightly different renditions are heard), but never has the song been outright changes. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-22h02m24s544Deadly Designs in Darkness! Attacking with Fighting Spirit – Another episode that requires Gen to get training from an outside source, this time in the form of a mysterious young man named Tsuyama that both Gen and Dan (Despite he being the one that orders Gen to train from him) seem suspicious of. Momoko also appears to be going out with Tsuyama, even washing his clothes for him, in a somewhat confusing subplot. The alien of the week is another one with no real motive other than to obliterate MAC and Leo that’s based off of the Baltan aliens (With its ability to multiply and laugh), while also incorporating design elements from Mephilas and Hipporito. An unnamed MAC member is killed while battling the alien. We hardly knew ‘ya. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-22h04m30s684The Woman Who Faded Into the Night – An extremely creepy episode with an alien that poses a serious threat. Most of the MAC members laugh at Tooru’s claims of hearing a ghost despite the existence of plenty of other supernatural beings. Marks the last appearance of several MAC members including Aoshima (Yuichi Yanagisawa) and Akihisa (Kenji Oshima), the few members with any bit of development, who can be assumed perished in Atler’s rampage. Dan mentions encountering the Atler aliens before, referencing an unseen event that presumably took place during the events of Ultra Seven in which several Earth Defense Force (Or in that case TDF) members were turned to wax. Weirdly, Momoko is staying at a friend’s apartment and Tooru and Kaoru appear to be living with a friend of theirs. Doesn’t affect the episode at all, but a slightly odd choice. The ending is a bit rushed, but a great, bone-chilling episode. 4.5/5

I saw Lon Cheney walking with the Emperor

Behold! Ultra Horror Series – Bride of the Werewolf – The first in a series of horror-oriented episodes. An alright, mildly creepy episode somewhat hampered by the titular werewolf, who may very well be one of the worst, cheapest looking aliens in the entire franchise. The wolf alien’s possession powers are a little odd, as (to the best of my knowledge) that ability seems more reserved for a demonic entity or even a vampire. The ending is kind of a cop-out as well. Not bad, but not one of the better ones. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-22h06m40s794.pngBehold! Ultra Horror Series – Vampire! Bat Girl – Sort of similar in concept to the previous episode (With the alien wanting blood and transforming into a giant-fanged monster), though a mild improvement. Tooru solidifies himself as one of the smarter Kennys knowing something is clearly up with the injured young woman Momoko takes in. The vampiric alien and her giant form (Who is actually one of the better looking Leo monsters) is quite similar to Karmilla from The Glimmer of the Night. 3.5/5

Behold! Ultra Horror Series – The Revived Mermaid – Alright once it gets going, though it does take a while. There’s a minor anti-superstition message possibly present, with Dan initially telling Gen not to interfere in the villager’s sacred traditions, only for the villagers to later decide to put them to an end. Dan gives Gen more Hell during training, this time using a whip. The scene in which the Boze alien attacks is pretty creepy, and is his death is very bizarre. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-22h14m14s832Behold! Ultra Horror Series –The Mysterious Boy of the Ursa Minor – A different but enjoyable episode, most notably for the reason that Dan and Gen are friends for the whole thing, with Dan never scolding Gen or putting him through a harsh training sequence. Dan/Seven has met the titular boy of Ursa Minor before, and seems familiar with his plight against Dogyuh, adding a nice bit of familiarity to the episode, even if we the audience have never met him before. 4/5

Behold! Ultra Horror Series – I Saw a Goddess in the Far North! – The final of the three episodes filmed in Hokkaido (Along with the last in the Ultra Horror Series) and certainly one with interesting concepts, though none that fully pay off. MAC member Kitayama, who was a former Olympic skier is introduced for the first and last time, which puts a minor hamper in the episode’s drama given we’ve never met him prior (Though in fairness, almost none of the MAC members aside from Gen and Dan receive any development). The Goddess Nike, in actuality an Alpha alien is said to come to Earth every four years to bring it good luck, but is constantly attacked by aliens referred to as Satan (Or “Northsatan”), in some probable religious symbolism. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-22h14m58s144The Leo Brothers vs. The Monster Brothers – The introductory episode of arguably the show’s most wasted concept Astra. The ending even alludes to the various questions surrounding him (Such as how he survived, where he was and where he is when he’s not there) and seems to hint at answers, but alas, we never get them. His introduction is still great, as is the rest of the episode, with it putting an emphasis on the importance of siblings and exploring some of Leo’s past. MAC seems familiar with the monster Garon (Who causes a great deal of death and destruction, possibly killing some MAC members), with Gen apparently even knowing how to defeat him as Leo. A very enjoyable episode, even if the questions raised go answered. The final appearance of Yu Fujiki as Omura. 4/5

MAC’s initial plan was 100 tons of Skittles.

The Mischievous Alien Who Fell Out of Bed – Another lighthearted episode that feels very out of place in Leo and a lot more suited to Taro, but a relatively enjoyable one, as goofy as it is. Not a whole lot of laughs (Apart from the fight scene which is set up like a boxing match), but enough charm and zany moments to make a cute, if jarring episode. In a mildly disturbing scene, the child-looking Coro states to be the father of 43 children, grandfather to 64 and even have a few great-grandchildren. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-22h56m30s243The Beautiful Virgo Maiden – A strong, occasionally emotional episode that feels rather reminiscent of an Ultra Seven story. The potential romance between Gen and Carolyn feels somewhat arbitrary (Given Momoko’s existence, who he even turns down a movie date with), but does make for some decent drama towards the end. Dan proves to be the guy from Seven we know and love when he attempts to assist the escaped Sarin aliens avoid capture by their robot overlords. A Vibe and Northsatan alien can be seen fleeing on the planet Sarin during it’s destruction in a flashback sequence. Guest stars Hideyo Amamoto. 4.5/5

Meet the Beetle!

The Rhinoceros Beetle is a Space Invader – A bizarre episode with a staunch anti-nuclear weapon and pollution message, at times feeling like the companion piece to Super Weapon R-1. Though mankind is clearly at fault for the nuking of a planet with life on it (With Dan clearly less than thrilled with their decision), the ending has a minor revelation that makes the exact message of the episode a bit confusing, though perhaps that was the intention. (While what the Earth Defense Organization did was wrong, the Clean aliens may not be entirely innocent either) The dream sequences had by the boy Jiro where he is visited by an alien from the Clean planet are very strange and add to the confusion of just who or what to trust. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h02m28s988Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – Ultraman King vs. The Magician – The first of the Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series episodes, with it being based off of Issun-boshi (Or One-Sun-Boy), and the introduction of Ultraman King, a legendary Ultra said to have powers far greater than any other. Like Astra, a lot of the questions surrounding King (Such as why it him this long to reveal himself) will go unanswered, but his intro here is pretty cool. The episode itself is the right mix or silly and serious, with the space wizard Pressure being both terrifying and comical. The scenes of tiny Leo, having been shrunken by Pressure, are somewhat reminiscent of The 1/8 Project. 4/5

Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – Mighty Momotaro! – A pretty dumb, unfunny episode that would be even weirder to those unfamiliar with the story it’s parodying (Momotaro). The ending features one of the stupidest climaxes seen in the entire franchise (With Leo pulling out a power so ridiculous, it would make Ace chuckle) and the final scene with the gang marching to Momotaro’s anthem feels like it will never end. Would be a poor Taro episode, and is just embarrassing as a Leo. 1.5/5

Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – The Return of the Bearded Captain! – The second attempt by the franchise to retell the tale of Urashima Taro (With the first being Grow Turtle!) and perhaps a slightly more straightforward adaptation, but with plenty of liberties still taken, such as the turtle saved being an alien boy apart of a race ready to kill humans for what they did (The scene in which the fishermen attack the alien boy as he pleads for them to stop is rather disturbing), figuring the captain to be the only good one. The ending, like in Grow Turtle! is really only there because its from the original story. Tooru and Kaoru’s inclusion is somewhat pointless (Especially when they’re away from home without Momoko in sight), other than having someone the captain can deliver exposition to. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h03m31s495Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – Fated Reunion! Dan and Anne – Quite possibly the most frustrating episode of the series (Challenged only by the one to follow), with the return of Anne…possibly, bringing along an awful alien child said to be hers. The woman denies being Anne, but she clearly displays familiarity with Dan, likewise him with her. Her supposed child, Ury is among the most annoying child characters in the show and causes lots of destruction. There are times where Ultras will kill monsters that don’t really deserve it (Jack is notorious for this), but the fact Leo lets him live is criminal, even if he’s just a child. The woman who may nor may not be Anne claims to have adopted him, but just when or why she did it isn’t elaborated upon (There have been theories, such as Ury being the illegitimate child of Dan and Anne, with the mismatched DNA contributing to his mental instability). One thing the episode is good at is making the audience feel sorry for Dan. He’s extremely happy to see Anne again (Claiming to have looked for her when he returned to Earth), only for her to deny being Anne and bringing along a nightmarish child. Certainly not an awful episode, but has way too many issues to be considered a good one. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h08m03s341Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – The Monster’s Favor – Another contender for most frustrating episode, though more for what it could have been. A loose adaptation of Tsuru no Onagaeshi (The Crane’s Return Favor) that sees the return of alien Magma, who has gone from the one to kill Leo’s parents and help destroy L-77 to someone trying to persuade a giant bird monster to marry him and destroying her hand-crafted pinwheels when she refuses (It is possible that this Magma is a different individual from the one previously seen, though Gen states that he killed his parents). Also a major letdown is its guest stars, Susumu Kurobe and Hiroko Sakurai, making it a reunion of Hayata and Fuji (Much like last episode’s reunion of Dan and Anne)…except they aren’t playing their respective characters. It’s especially odd in Kurobe’s case considering Moritsugu reprises his role as Dan and Jiro Dan will return to the show as Goh. Had it been another alien in Magma’s place (Or at least established that it is a different Magma) and another actor in Kurobe’s role (With Kurobe being saved to play Hayata later on), the episode would be more than tolerable, but with that much potential wasted, it’s not one of the better ones. 2.5/5

Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – The White Flower That Protects the Earth – Based loosely on Hanasaka Jiisan, a very flower-oriented episode that features one of the creepiest characters in all of the series in the form of an old man that gives kids flowers. The alien’s plot (To cover the Earth in flowers after being disgusting by all of the pollution and industrialization) is silly but somewhat poignant. One of the funnier scenes in the show occurs when Tooru destroys Kaoru’s flower pot after she refuses to get him a glass of water while he chokes. The White Flower spirit adds almost nothing to the plot, and seems to just be there to adapt the story a bit closer. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h08m55s960Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series – Farewell, Princess Kaguya – The final of the Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series based off of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Thanks to its source material, more is revealed about the colony of human-like beings from the moon. A great disaster was said to have occurred on the moon 15 years ago (As in the tale its based on), which could potentially be Yapool’s invasion of it, though Minami’s account of Lunatyx’s destruction seems to imply it took place long ago. It’s slightly odd that MAC would deem reports of a teenage girl at the gym staring at the moon frequently a big enough case to investigate, but who knows. Strangely, the regular military is deployed when the monster from the moon approaches. 3.5/5

“Put that thing back where it came from, or so help me!”

The Leo Brothers vs. The Space Demon Alien – A fun “haunted house” episode with little in the way of plot but enough fun and scares to keep you entertained from start to finish. The titular “Space Demon Alien” Akumania is among the more memorable foes in the series. Astra returns, and once again, nothing is revealed about where he came from and where he goes (The narrator even states its a mystery). Tooru (and Kaoru) is revealed to have a cousin that lives with his mother, yet strangely Momoko (a 20-something single gym employee) is one who got custody of the kids. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h14m07s329The Ultra Brothers’ Eternal Vow – The return of Ultraman Jack/Hideki Goh who comes to Earth to bring Dan a little gift and bring back the Ultra Eye for repair. What took any of the Brothers so long to come to Earth and assist Dan is never revealed, but his reaction to seeing Jack’s message for help seems to imply he figured they thought he was dead, as him being stuck in human form would likely prevent him from telepathically reaching M-78 (It’s possible the Ultras got word of his survival from Astra given we know so little about where he goes). Goh’s ability to speak is hampered for most of the episode, but his relationship with Dan and his determination to help him is great, as is his tag-teaming with Leo. Goh also gives Dan a Monster Ball (Similar to his Capsule Monsters) that contains the robot Svenger, who’s very powerful but lasts only a minute and takes 50 hours to recharge. Unsurprisingly, this is its only appearance. Seen for the first and only time is MAC’s Tokyo headquarters, which is presumably the place Gen (and others) go to board fighters and get arsenal when not in the space station (And also the place where the many one-off MAC members may reside). I’m probably a bit biased here as Jack and Leo/Goh and Gen are among my favorites, but an awesome romp. 4.5/5

I’m the Monster General! – The last of the comedic episodes that feel more at home in Taro. Like The Mischievous Alien Who Fell Out of Bed, its not an unpleasant watch, but not funny or clever enough to make any mature viewer do much else other than quietly smirk (Unless urine being spilled all over an alien makes you laugh out loud). Gen and MAC don’t appear until after the break. Dan displays clear sympathy towards the alien Taishoh and tells Gen to take him home as Leo. Mika Katsuragi once again cameos as a teacher. 2.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h17m01s984Fly Leo Brothers, Save the Space Base! – An excellent episode that feels reminiscent of an Ultra Seven story. Lots of tension throughout, most notably the dilemma in which both Dan and Gen know that newly-appointed MAC member Uchida is an alien with the intent of destroying their base, but are unable to do anything about it, helped in no way by the fact he’s the fiance of the commander’s daughter. Dan’s reliance on Gen is really showcased with Gen still being assigned to stop Uchida even after being suspended from MAC. The narrator once more asks just where Astra goes when he isn’t assisting his brother. Guest stars Tetsuo Narikawa (Who’s essentially playing a reversal of his role in Spectreman). 4.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h17m45s548Mystery! The Devil Lives in the Mirror – A creepy and occasionally emotional episode focusing on the late mother of Tooru and Kaoru that’s a bit vague at times, though that was likely the intent. The alien woman living within the mirror world having had a daughter resembling Kaoru would suggest parallels between both worlds. Gen’s commitment to rescuing Kaoru shows that he cares for them like family. Though not quite her last appearance, a very good sendoff for Kaoru. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h21m58s862Showdown! The Leo Brothers vs. The Ultra Brothers/The Leo Brothers, The Ultra Brothers, The Moment of Victory – A rip-roaring two-parter with lots of tension and some emotion. Both sides of the conflict, Leo and the Ultra Brothers can be seen, as what Astra supposedly did is clearly awful, but Leo’s wanting his brother and only other survivor of L-77 to stay live is of course understandable. The brothers seem familiar with Astra, which could give a hint at what he was doing when not helping Leo, and also where they got word of Seven’s survival. MAC having little choice other than to destroy the approaching Ultra planet is a bit similar to TAC having to destroy the subspace containing the brothers in Execution! The Five Ultra Brothers/The Five Stars Scattered Throughout the Galaxy, but is made even more effective when it may be Dan having to partake in it. Though his Ultra Eye is supposedly being fixed (Though Jack doesn’t mention anything about it when we see him) and King even offers to take him back to M-78, Dan seems to regard Earth as his new home and intends to die alongside it as MAC’s captain. There are parallels to be had with Dark Zone, mainly the notion of a planet (or giant colony) being unable to control its orbit like normal and needing to be destroyed by Earth as a result. The way in which the orbit-controlling Ultra Key is fixed is a bit of a crock and there is one big elephant in the room that’s never addressed – Where’s Taro? But minor faults like those are not enough to hamper this excellent two-parter. 5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h22m51s623Terror of the Saucer Race Series – MAC Annihilated! The Flying Saucer is Alive – The first episode of the show’s final arc and one that completely hits the viewer hard with the total destruction of MAC’s base and several character deaths minutes in. Shown for the first time in a while are the real repercussions such an attack would have on people and their families. The being responsible, Silver Bloome is a jellyfish-like saucer creature that devours things whole, making it one of the more horrific entities in the show’s history. The episode takes a step backwards after the break, indicating some time has passed, with the plot of children finding what appears to be a hibernating Silver Bloome not being especially interesting, but the final fight between the creature and Leo is one of the show’s best and most emotionally-charged. A real gut-punch of an episode. 4.5/5

Terror of the Saucer Race Series – The Saucer Creature from the Evil Planet is Here! – The second in the Terror of the Saucer Race series and already it feels like a bit of a rehash of the first, with the saucer beast causing great harm to a child’s family (Though in this case, it only injures) them and hiding in the ground until ready to strike again. The university Izumi attends (and where the saucer beast hides) is Jounan University, a nonexistent school that’s commonly used in film and television (Most notably in the Kamen Rider series). Not bad, but a little stale. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-13-00h01m38s452Terror of the Saucer Race Series – Leo is in Trouble! The Assassin is a Saucer Creature – Another variation on the saucer beast hiding in a smaller form, though this time in the hands of a young boy who treats injured animals, refusing to let Gen or Tooru see it knowing they want to kill it. The kid, despite obviously being in the wrong about the saucer beast is still sympathetic due to his love of animals. The unearthliness of the saucers is really showcased when compared to the animals in the boy’s care and its purpose to do nothing other than kill is showed off during the climax (Which isn’t recommended for animal lovers). Good, but the formula is getting old. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h24m59s796Terror of the Saucer Race Series – Terror! Challenge of the Blood-Sucking Saucer – The same basic premise as the previous episodes with the saucer beast hiding in a smaller form, but with the fresh (Though disturbing) addition of it committing various murders to challenge Gen. The police are tasked with investigating its murders and tracking it down (With Gen’s help, being a former MAC member), almost making the episode seem a like a proto-Kamen Rider Kuuga. A raw, but enjoyable fare. 4/5

Terror of the Saucer Race Series – The Shooting Star from Hell! – As with all the previous Saucer episodes, another story involving a saucer beast shrinking and falling into the hands of someone who thinks its harmless, though here with the added tension of that someone being the father of a kid Tooru has beef with. Tooru’s violent behavior early on is a clear indication that the child is becoming unhinged, having lost so many loved ones over the course of the show and Gen hardly being an ideal father figure. The saucer beast is a lot different from the previous ones, taking on a much more humanoid form that’s more in vain to a traditional monster. Guest stars Kenji Sahara. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h26m04s316Terror of the Saucer Race Series – The Phantom Girl – Another episode showcasing how unhinged poor Tooru has really become, with him becoming fixated with a young girl resembling Kaoru despite her clearly being suspicious. For the first time, the saucer beast does not take a smaller form and hide among mankind; its killings of the scientists studying the beasts is accomplished in a different manner. The message at the end is a nice change of pace given how “You’re a man! Man up!” Leo tends to be. 4/5

Terror of the Saucer Race Series – The Leo Brothers Fight! The End of the Saucer Creature! – A fairly standard “man sees monster, greedy business owner doesn’t believe him (Apart from Gen, with his MAC experience being cited)” story, though with enough good scenes and characters (Particularly the two brothers) to make it worthwhile. When consoling the younger brother, Gen mentioned having had an older brother that was killed by a saucer beast, almost definitely meaning Dan. Astra, in his final appearance in the show completely saves Leo’s behind in a pretty clever attack. 3/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h28m31s900Terror of the Saucer Race Series- The Girl Who Collects the Devil’s Stardust – One of the more disturbing and gory episodes of the show. The first half or so mostly focusing on the little seashell collecting girl drags on a bit and adds little to the plot (Other than her giving the killer seashells away), but once things get going, there’s a lot of Grindhouse-level violence to be had (Though we are treated to a small taste of it in the beginning). Not recommended for those sensitive to violence in the eye. The police are once again tasked with dealing with the saucer beast. Starts a bit slowly and lacks a whole lot of plot, but fun in the violent, demented way only Leo can be. 3.5/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h30m17s617Terror of the Saucer Race Series- The Great Bird Saucer Attacks Japan’s Archipelago – A very good “Gen-only” episode that introduces Hiroshi, Gen’s friend at the sports center when he first arrived on Earth prior to the show. The uneasy friendship between Gen and Hiroshi and Hiroshi’s ex’s feelings are handled very well, but there is a rather large continuity error present throughout the episode. Gen states its been three years since he and Hiroshi last met, yet in the first episode, Gen claims to have been on Earth for about a month (Three years don’t seem to have gone by as future shows will establish, but also the fact Tooru hasn’t aged much). Despite MAC’s absence, the Earth Defense Organization is still attempting to combat the saucer beasts, having set up a large missile base in Kyushu. The climax in which Leo tries to prevent a building housing hundreds of thousands from collapsing is one of the tensest in the series, and really brings out the worst in people, with most opting to leave a woman and a baby to die. Guest stars Yosuke Okada. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h59m45s242Terror of the Saucer Race Series – The Red Assassin Brings Death! – Another shining example of just how miserable Tooru is, first being bummed he doesn’t have any parents to take to school for parents’ day and then have Gen cancel on him when a saucer beast appears. The Miyama family’s attempts at integrating him into the family, with Sakiko even insisting he is now her son. Really makes you feel for the kid who has been through so much in the show. The saucer beast Nova is arguably the most popular, having appeared in several other shows since. 4/5

vlcsnap-2018-02-12-23h38m10s072Terror of the Saucer Race Series – Leo’s Life! The King’s Miracle! – The episode that properly introduces the one behind all of the saucer attacks, Commander Black. Despite wielding great power, Black appears to be weak-minded, having not know Ultraman Leo was Gen Otori (Whereas various invaders throughout the franchise often seem to know who the Ultraman’s human host is right away) until being told by the Bunyo alien. The Bunyo alien is very gross and acts goofy, though partakes in some pretty terrifying actions. The whole episode, at least during Sakiko’s capture and the torture sequence feels like a horror movie. Izumi questions Leo’s presence on Earth, thinking that Commander Black simply wants him dead and if he were to leave, the saucer attacks would stop. Sakiko is clearly catching on to Gen being Leo. 4.5/5

“Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me!”

Terror of the Saucer Race Series – Farewell Leo! Setting Off for the Sun – The series finale and a very good one at that. Gen takes a mild annoyance to Tooru’s over-reliance on Leo and refuses to transform in front of him afraid of exposing his identity even when the city is under attack. Momoko and Kaoru are mentioned throughout the episode by Tooru, who wants revenge on Black Star. An old friend pays Leo a visit in what may or may not be a dream. Commander Black’s ultimate demise may appear to be somewhat of an anticlimax, but it shows that despite him wielding great powers in the form of the saucer beasts, he himself is weak. Tooru’s fate in the end is rather sad knowing how much the child has been through, though it’s doubtful there could have been much of an alternative. Not the absolute greatest, with some stuff going unexplained, but a very good finale. 4/5