Thursday, May 2, 2019

Anime Recommendation: Ultraman

It's like the child of a tokusatsu show and the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

If you watch a lot of anime or are a fan of Japanese pop culture, you have probably heard of Ultraman at some point. I've heard of Ultraman a few times in the past but never knew anything about the character or franchise besides the name "Ultraman". This Spring season, Ultraman is a sequel to the original tokusatsu series and is currently airing on Netflix. Even though I'm not an Ultraman fan and still don't know much about the franchise, I think Ultraman is worth watching this season.

Ultraman is about Shinjirou Hayata, the son of the original Ultraman. Shinjirou has inherited the strength and powers of Ultraman and he's been chosen by the SSSP (Science Special Search Party) to become the next Ultraman and protect the earth from alien invaders. It's a pretty simple premise and plays out like a lot of with Marvel movies like Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger.

Ultraman actually hits a lot of the same beats that you can find in those Marvel movies. It's an origin story with a main character who learns what it means to be a hero while also discovering the full extent of his powers. A lot of the antagonists in Ultraman are also just evil versions of the main hero. And there's a love interest that has kind of complicated feelings for the hero. It really is like a Marvel movie...maybe there can be an Ultraman/Iron Man crossover in the future?

Immediately going into this series, I couldn't help but compare Ultraman to two other recent anime series. The first is SSSS.Gridman. The two are both anime adaptations of older tokusatsu shows and both are kind of sequels to the originals. I think that SSSS.Gridman works better as an original series, while Ultraman is a definite sequel since it focuses on the son of the original Ultraman.

And because Ultraman is also a "Netflix Original" anime, I ended up comparing it to Devilman: Crybaby. There really is no other reason to compare these two anime besides their link to Netflix and I think comparing them only led to Ultraman disappointing me a little. It wasn't as much of a spectacle as Devilman and definitely wasn't as much of a hot topic in the anime community.
While Ultraman failed to grab my interest and love like Devilman: Crybaby and SSSS.Gridman, it is still a really good anime. I would recommend it to anyone who likes action anime, and highly recommend it to anyone who loves superhero stories.  I may not be attached to the series, but I would be happy to watch a second season. 

If you have watched Ultraman, let me know what you thought? And if you know of any other superhero anime or anime inspired by old tokusatsu shows, definitely let me know so I can check them out.

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