[[quoteright:293:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Ultraman_Retsuden_9898.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:293:[-Some of the many Ultra Heroes (and two villains).-][[note]]From left to right, then top row to bottom row:Ultraman Belial, Ultraman King, Dark Clops Zero; Ultra Father (Ken), Ultra Mother (Mari); Zoffy, Ultraman Taro, Ultraman Ace; Ultraman Jack, Ultraman Leo; Ultraman Noa, Ultraman Gaia, Ultraman the Original, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Max; Gren Fire, Mirror Knight, Janbot; Ultraman Cosmos, Ultraman Zero and Ultraman Dyna.]][[/note]]

->''"Born in the nebula known as M78, together they fight for peace and justice throughout the galaxy. Warriors of great compassion and courage."''
-->-- '''Opening narration''', ''Film/MegaMonsterBattleUltraGalaxyLegends''

In America, there is {{Superman}}. In Japan, there is {{Ultraman}}.

Created by the pioneer special effects team Tsuburaya Productions, famously responsible for Godzilla, and with the reputation and cultural impact comparable to StarWars and {{Superman}} in its native land, the live-action Japanese {{toku}}satsu-superhero [[SeriesFranchise franchise]] is a juggernaut spanning through generations since its creation in 1966, rivaling other [[TheVerse 'verses]] with expansive lore and merchandizing that go from toys to museums to golf-caddies and beyond.

Based around humans who attain the power of gigantic, light-based alien heroes and fight [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever attacks of the fifty foot]] [[MonsterOfTheWeek monster/alien of the week]], often with the help of scientific paramilitary organizations with multitude of cool and futuristic gadgets along the way.

Ultraman spawned a mini-genre of half-hour {{Kaiju}} action shows, such as ''Series/AmbassadorMagma'' (''The Space Giants'') which actually came 3 months before ''Ultraman'', ''Johnny Sokko and the Flying Robot'' (a.k.a.: ''Manga/GiantRobo''), and ''Series/{{Spectreman}}'', as well as several shows that extended the Ultraman lore, and helped transitioning {{toku}}satsu from the big screen features dominated by giant destructive monsters to great heroes fighting for peace and justice on television sets.

While in the west, many of its aformentioned imiators and successors are quite popular in Japan, no other Kaiju-based shows have even been replayed with anywhere near the frequency as ''Ultraman'' in syndication in the United States, or even hoped to receive several attempts at western -based releases (Ultraman USA, Ultraman Towards the Future, Ultraman The Ultimate Hero, even several attempts at an unmade American Ultraman movie).

!!The Franchise has undergone the following installments[[labelnote:*]] Stars indicate the absence of an Ultraman from the series[[/labelnote]]:

[[index]]
* Series/UltraQ * (1966)
* Series/{{Ultraman}} (1966-1967)
* Series/UltraSeven (1967-1968)
* Series/ReturnOfUltraman (''Kaettekita Ultraman'', a.k.a. ''Ultraman Jack'') (1971-1972)
* Series/UltramanAce (1972-1973)
* Series/UltramanTaro (1973-1974)
* Series/UltramanLeo (1974-1975)
* Anime/TheUltraman (a.k.a. ''Ultraman Joeneus'') (1979-1980) {{Anime}} series co-produced with {{Sunrise}}
* Series/UltramanEighty (1980-1981)
* Anime/UltramanTheAdventureBegins (a.k.a. ''Ultraman USA'') (1987) [[FiveEpisodePilot Four-part animated pilot]] co-produced with Creator/HannaBarbera
* Series/UltramanTowardsTheFuture (a.k.a. ''Ultraman Great'') (1990) Co-production with Australia
* Series/UltramanTheUltimateHero (a.k.a. ''Ultraman Powered'') (1993) Co-production with USA
* Film/NTVUltraSevenSpecials (1994) Two TV specials.
* Film/UltramanZearth (1996 - 1997) A pair of movies.
* Series/UltramanTiga (1996-1997)
* Series/UltramanDyna (1997-1998)
* Series/UltramanGaia (1998-1999)
* Series/HeiseiUltraSeven (1998 - 2002) Direct-to-DVD series.
* Advertising/UltramanNice (1999 - 2000) Infomercial series that aired following reruns of ''Tiga''.
* Series/UltramanNeos (2000-2001) Direct-to-DVD series.
* Series/UltramanCosmos (2001-2002)
* Series/UltraQDarkFantasy * (2004)
* Series/UltramanNexus (2004-2005)
* Series/UltramanMax (2005-2006)
* Series/UltramanMebius (2006-2007)
* Series/UltraSevenX (2007)
* Series/UltraGalaxyMegaMonsterBattle (2007-2009)
** Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey
* Franchise/UltramanZero (2009-)
* Series/NeoUltraQ (2013) 12 episodes.
* Series/UltramanGinga (2013)
[[/index]]

!! Movies related to the series include
[[index]]
* Film/HanumanVs7Ultraman
* Film/UltramanZoffyUltraWarriorsVsTheGiantMonsterArmy
* Film/UltramanStory
* Film/UltramanZearth
** Film/UltramanZearth2
* Film/UltramanTigaAndUltramanDynaWarriorsOfTheStarOfLight
* Film/UltramanGaiaBattleInHyperspace
* Film/UltramanTigaTheFinalOdyssey
* Film/UltramanCosmosTheFirstContact
* Film/UltramanCosmos2TheBluePlanet
* Film/UltramanCosmosVsUltramanJusticeTheFinalBattle
* Film/UltramanTheNext
* Film/UltramanMebiusAndTheUltraBrothers
* Film/SuperiorUltraman8Brothers
* Film/MegaMonsterBattleUltraGalaxyLegends
* Film/UltramanZeroTheRevengeOfBelial
* Film/UltramanSaga
* Film/UltramanGingaSpecial
[[/index]]

!! Related series developed by Tsuburaya include

[[index]]
* Series/MightyJack (1968)
* Series/{{Mirrorman}} (1971 - 1972)
* Series/SilverKamen (1971) (Produced by Nippon Gendai, but carried over most of Ultra Seven's staff, including composer Toru Fuyuki, director Akio Jissoji and writer Shozo Uehara)
* Series/{{Redman}} (1972) 138 five minute segments part of a children's variety show.
* Series/IronKing (1972 - 1973) All 26 episodes can be watched [[http://www.goohead.com/category/television/ironking/ here]]. (Not produced by Tsuburaya, but many of the staff carried over)
* Series/{{Fireman}} (1973)
* Series/JumborgAce (1973)
* Series/DenkouChoujinGridman (1993 - 1994)
* Series/BioPlanetWoO (2006)
[[/index]]

The many incarnations over time vary widely over tone, shifting into DarkerAndEdgier territory with ''Ultra Seven'', ''Ultraman Leo'', ''Ultraman Gaia'', and ''Ultraman Nexus''; others, like ''Ultraman Cosmos'' were much LighterAndSofter; finally, series such as ''Ultraman Tiga'' maintained a balance between the two extremes. Tonal shifts were sometimes brought on by ExecutiveMeddling, ie. ''Cosmos'' being toned down due to [[TooSoon current events]] or ''Nexus'' becoming edgier in an attempt to reverse declining ratings.


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!!The Franchise in general provides examples of the following tropes:

* AntiHero: While most Ultramen fall under the MessianicArchetype, some also have anti heroic attitude. Most notably: Ultraman Agul from Ultraman Gaia, Hunter Knight Tsurugi/[[spoiler: Ultraman Hikari]] from Ultraman Mebius and most recently, Ultraman Zero from the new Ultra Galaxy movie.
* AlienInvasion: ''Ultra Seven'' has almost nothing BUT alien invaders, but subverted itself on occasion in having the Aliens be sympathetic on occasion and even had Ultra Seven question why he would protect humans since HumansAreTheRealMonsters.
* AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs: As faithful a tradition here as it is with SuperSentai.
* AnimatedAdaptation: One in its native Japan and a co-production with Hanna Barbera.
* {{Badass}}: Pretty much of all the Ultramen in one way or another. Special mention goes to the original Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Leo, Ultraman King, Ultraman Zero and the evil Ultraman Belial
* BadassCrew: All the human support teams have their moments. The new Ultraman Zero the movie take this to new levels by featuring a team of giant beings formed by Ultraman Zero, called the Ultimate Force Zero
* BadassFamily: Father of Ultra, his wife Mother Of Ultra and son Ultraman Taro. In the new Ultra Galaxy movie, we have Ultra Seven and his extremely powerful son, Ultraman Zero. The Ultra Brothers themselves count as well, while they may not be truly related by blood they still treat each other like one.
* BadassGrandpa / CoolOldGuy: The human forms of the Showa Ultras. All of them are around their 50s and 60s, but that doesn't stop them from looking awesome and badass. The Ultra Galaxy movie takes this even further for Hayata/Ultraman and Dan/Ultra Seven. In the movie, stuck in human form, they still manage to kick ass, HARD. To be specific, Ultraman uses a fucking assault rifle to blast an alien, while Seven used hand to hand combat and Ultra Willpower to the same alien.
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Not just with the Ultras; some of the monsters rely on this.
* BigBad: Used sometimes. [[LargeHam YAPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!]] in ''Ultraman Ace,'' Baltan in ''Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero'', Zogu in ''Series/UltramanGaia'', Chaos in ''Series/UltramanCosmos'', Emperor/Enpera in ''Series/UltramanMebius'', and Ultraman Belial in the ''Ultra Galaxy'' movie.)
* BigGood: In the Showa Timeline, this is role is held by [[PhysicalGod Ultraman King]], though the Ultra Father also counts, as while beneath Ultraman King, he's still the direct leader of the Ultra Garrison while King rules the planet.
* {{Brainwashed}}
* BroadStrokes: A canon timeline is... questionable, to say the least. Most of Showa takes place together in one universe, but has a tendency to not line up because of TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture dating systems and general inconsistencies -- not to mention ''Series/UltraSeven'' wasn't even in the canon originally, and ''Series/UltraQ'' is still an oddity. The Heisei ''Ultra Seven'' and ''Ultra Q'' series are related to the series they're sequels to, but they're not entirely in the timeline either. Then there's ''Ultraman Dyna'' and ''Tiga'', which are connected and apparently in an alternate universe, at least until they're not. And now the ''Ultraman Zero'' movies and ''Ultraman Ginga'' have everyone thrown together into one universe. It's just best not to think about it...
** And the AnimatedAdaptation TheUltraman seems to be in its own disjointed continuity as well, with classic foes appearing with origins intact, but the hero from a different star system.
* BusmansHoliday: The now-defunct fansite Absolute Ultraman used to joke that whenever a team member went on vacation something strange was bound to happen.
* ChestInsignia: The Color Timer, which measure how long how long an Ultraman can safely fight before needing to revert to human form and reacharge, is generally located on the Ultraman's chest.
* ClipShow: A mercifully brief sequence in the episode, "The Monster Graveyard". Aniversary Series Ultraman Mebius does this too, but manages to pay homage to a classic episode in the series.
* CoolStarship: The Art-Dessai of Tiga.
* CostumeCopycat
* CrucifiedHeroShot: In many of the Showa series
* CursedWithAwesome: The Ultramen were once mundane HumanoidAliens. When they built the Plasma Spark to replace their dying sun, it somehow mutated them into the silver giants. According to Mebius, they weren't happy with this at first, but believe that there must be meaning for them to gain such power, and decide to use it for peace of universe.
* DarkerAndEdgier: ''Series/UltraSeven'', ''Series/UltramanLeo'', ''Series/UltramanGaia'', ''Series/UltramanNexus'' and ''Series/UltraSevenX'' are much darker and have a more adult tone than the other series' in the franchise. Recetly, a manga adaptation by the creator of ''Manga/KuroganeNoLinebarrel'' have been announced and will be published in a {{Seinen}} magazine, meaning it will be the second property in the franchise to be aimed exclusively for an adult audience after ''Ultra Seven X''.
* DemonicPossession: This happens from time to time, about as much as {{Brainwashed}}.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Lots of this. Almost literal example with [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Gatanazoa]].
* TheDragon: Many intelligent aliens bring powerful kaiju to use against ultramen. Bonus point for Zetton, who has the subtitle ''Space Dragon'' despite not looking like one.
* DrillTank
* DittoAliens: The Baltans. Justified, as they're apparently some sort of gestalt entity, able to separate & recombine at will.
* EldritchAbomination: Lots of them. Gatanazoa, Chaos, and many others.
* EvilCounterpart: There are several fake Ultramen, but they're mostly aliens in disguise or robots though. A more subtle example is Ace Killer/Mebius Killer, who doesn't look like Ultraman but has similar powers.
* {{Expy}}: Each member of the Ultimate Force Zero (other than Zero, obviously) are modeled after Tsuburaya's giant heroes outside of Ultra Series, update with [[TookALevelInBadass some level in badass]]. [=GlenFire=] is ''Series/{{Fireman}}'', Mirror Knight is ''Mirrorman'' and Jean-Bot is ''Jumborg Ace''.
* FallenHero: Belial was once a mighty and noble hero like most Ultramen. However, he become obssessed with seeking more strength to uphold the order of universe. So he directly touched the plasma spark, [[DrunkWithPower and become the demon we known]].
* FamilyUnfriendlyDeath / FamilyUnfriendlyViolence
** Mostly in the '70s series, with both Kaiju and Ultras being sliced to bits, decapitated, stabbed, blinded, and even eviscerated.
** A young kid getting shot in the face in the Thai/Japan coproduction film.
* FinishingMove: It's a required part of the Ultraman arsenal, usually a variation on a KameHameHadoken that makes the MonsterOfTheWeek explode spectacularly. Although not every episode ends with the monster being blown up.
* FirstEpisodeResurrection: More often than not, the explanation for the protagonists' human forms.
* FlungClothing
* FourthWallObserver: Ide talks to the audience in episode 2.
* FunWithAcronyms: With exception of ''Series/{{Ultraman}}''[='=]s Science Patrol and ''Series/UltraSeven''[='=]s Ultra Garrison, the anti-monster teams almost always have [[GratuitousEnglish fancy]] acronym names.
* GagDub
** ''Tiga'''s dub is chock-full of unfunny, mood-destroying jokes and loads of {{Bowdlerization}}. Surprise! It's from [[FourKidsEntertainment 4Kids]]!
** This happened even earlier, with ''Space Warriors 2000'', an unauthorized recut made using footage from the films ''Six Ultra Brothers vs. the Monster Army'' and ''Ultraman Zoffy''. Due to it's unofficial nature, it was quickly pulled from television by Tsuburaya's lawyers. Here is a "hilarious" excerpt: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTG8llop3LU]]
* GivingSomeoneThePointerFinger: Zero uses this quite a lot whenever he's facing his enemy.
* GondorCallsForAid: Many of the [[GrandFinale Grand Finales]] have many of the heroes' allies return to aid them. In some cases such as ''Cosmos'' and ''Gaia'', this included the kaiju. Gaia was noteworthy as it made a token effort to avert WhatMeasureIsANonHuman towards its end and the kaiju showed it while coming forwards and facing off against Zogu's army.
* GrandFinale: Each series tends to end with the Ultraman being faced with an uber-strong opponent, with weakening powers or both (as for poor Ultra Seven) but ''Mebius'', the Aniversary series, went all out and did a three-episode long finale/love letter to the entire series.
* GreenAesop: Occurs infrequently; a later series, ''Ultraman Great'', would thrive on this trope.
* GreenLanternRing: Ultraman Jack's Ultra Bracer takes the shape of any weapon needed.
* HandBlast
* HeartLight: Ultraman, no matter the incarnation, always has one of these. The faster it's flashing, the closer he is to running out of power.
* HeroKiller
** Once or twice a season, a horribly powerful monster will defeat Ultraman. He gets better, and usually with a shiny new upgrade.
** Ultraman Belial. The only ''two'' Ultras in the entire universe capable of even fighting him without being [[CurbstompBattle curbstomped]] are [[PhysicalGod Ultraman King]] and [[spoiler:Ultraman Zero, who'd spent several years undergoing TrainingFromHell at Ultraman Leo's hands.]]
* HongKongDub: Some of the later Ultra series were dubbed in Malaysia; the bad voice acting and extremely thick accents make the dubs almost incomprehensible to Western viewers.
* HumanAliens
* HumansAreSpecial: The reason that the Ultramen put Earth on very high priority. Humans are just identical to them before Plasma Spark turned them into current form, so they think of humans as reflection of themselves.
* KaijuDefenseForce: Despite the trope's name, the JSDF usually leave the heroes to deal with Kaiju. When they appear, they usually use only [[TankGoodness conventional tanks]]. In most of these appearances, they are either [[RedShirt wiped out after few minutes]] or [[EvilArmy shooting the harmless kaiju that Ultraman is trying to save]].
* KidHero: Honshino occasionally gets to save the day rather than merely serve as an annoyance.
* LawyerFriendlyCameo
** One MonsterOfTheWeek is none other than the Franchise/{{Godzilla}} costume from ''Film/MothraVsGodzilla'', renamed, with a large frill added to his neck. Possibly as a subversion of the trope, during the obligatory fight scene, Ultraman actually ''rips off the extra piece of the costume'' and thus the rest of the fight is with 100% pure Franchise/{{Godzilla}}.
** The BigBad of ''Ultraman Tiga'' is none other than [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Ghatanothoa]] ([[SpellMyNameWithAnS Gatanazoa]]), complete with petrification ability.
* {{Leitmotif}}: The "Wandaba" scat theme that is used for the science patrol teams. Modified versions appear in Series/{{Fireman}}, Mirrorman and Jumborg Ace.
* LightIsGood: The Ultramen are beings of light, after all.
* LongRunners: The entire ''Ultraman'' series has been running for 44 years and still seems to be going. The number of episodes is so mind-boggling huge that why would you even bother to count?
* LovecraftLite
** Some of the monsters are truly Eldritch in nature, you just won't realise it as Ultraman (nearly) always averts their effect. Sometimes though, not even Ultraman is immune to the monstrosity.
** ''Tiga'' and ''Cosmos'' seemed to ''love'' this trope, an EldritchAbomination taking the role as BigBad in the latter, with a healthy dose of TheVirus.
* MeaningfulName
* TheMovie: Several of these.
* MultiformBalance: Tiga, Dyna and Cosmos.
* MythologyGag: Lots of monsters reference earlier seasons' beasties.
* NotUsingTheZWord
* OnlyMostlyDead
* OurDemonsAreDifferent
** Tiga's "Kileroid" line of monsters from deep beneath the Earth. Borders on being a minor EldritchAbomination.
** Enomena has also been described as looking similar to a Majin.
* PhantomZone: The Monster Graveyard, Series/UltramanAce's bubble-shaped barrier for Alien Metron Jr. and [[Series/UltraSeven Alien Icarus' Fourth Dimension]]. [[Series/UltraSeven Alien Wild's camera]] is a PhantomZone projector.
* PsychoticSmirk - Often whoever's the EvilTwin of the titular giant(Once a season) makes this expression. Some kaiju seem to enjoy doing this too, Enomena from Tiga being a prime example, thanks to the wonders of CGI.
* PhysicalGod: Ultraman King. Not only is he considered to be god of the Ultras, throughout his appearance he is shown to be all-knowing and omnipotent. He is even shown capable of [[spoiler:reviving a dismembered Ultraman Leo]] without breaking a sweat. In the new ''Ultra Galaxy'' movie, he is able to easily defeat Ultraman Belial who managed to [[spoiler:defeat every Ultraman except Zero]] and form a space prison around him -- which also acts as a moon to the Land of Light -- singlehandedly.
* PlantAliens
* RedOniBlueOni: Ultraman Gaia and Ultraman Agul from ''Series/UltramanGaia''.
* {{Retcon}}: As of 2011, most of the Ultra Shows have been retconned into one continuity, with most Ultras coming from or claiming M78 as their home. More like, it has confirmed there are AlternateUniverse counterparts for all these Ultras in the M78 continuity. The latest ''Franchise/UltramanZero'' movie confirms that the Ultraman {{multiverse}} exists.
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter
** Hanejiro in ''Dyna''.
** Rimu Eleking in ''Mebius''.
* SceneryPorn
** The new ''Ultra Galaxy'' showed, for the first time, The Land of Light -- the home planet of the Ultras -- in its full glory, and it is gorgeous.
** The sequel, ''Ultraman Zero'' the Movie, has this by the boatload. Prime example being the betsu no uchu (another space-bascially a multiverse) scene and the Mirror World.
* SlasherSmile: Some kaiju manage to pull this off beyond just being toothy. Gazoto ([[SpellMyNameWithAnS Gazort]]) and Fake Agul glide smoothly to mind.
* SpaceWhale: One flies up in Cosmos, gentle as can be. Then Chaos shows up...
* SpellMyNameWithAnS: Many of the monsters' names, especially for the series that haven't been localized for English speaking countries -- which is pretty much all of them. This can make a massive headache out of dub watchers trying to hunt around for info on kaiju from this series.
* TankGoodness: Series/UltraSeven once fought a monster called the Dino-Tank. It was about [[http://pulog1.exblog.jp/1424309/ what you'd expect]].
* ThrowingOffTheDisability
* TrainingFromHell: Series/UltramanLeo, anyone? Intresting because it was almost always self inflicted. [[spoiler:He later used this on Ultraman Zero, complete with restraining armor. It really paid off because it made Zero strong enough to do battle with the evil [[HeroKiller Ultraman Belial]].]]
* TheVirus: Chaos, from Cosmos, also an EldritchAbomination. Almost exclusively infects kaiju, making them into horrific travesties of their former selves. Also Godish from Ultraman Great.
* WhamEpisode: In the original series, an episode called "The Prince Of Monsters" shocked the viewers because it was the first time he actually LOST a fight. Same for when Zetton nearly killed him at the end of the first series with "Farewell Ultraman".

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