Series: Return of Ultraman
After a long while of hiatus, the tokusatsu series
Ultraman came back in 1971's Return of Ultraman
. Created by Tsuburaya Productions, this time the series was spearheaded by Eiji Tsuburaya's son Hajime Tsuburaya, and brought the series back to traditional monster-fighting after the more experimental Ultra Seven
and into mainstream popularity once again. The show played a big part during Toku
's transition from movies to television, and a big player during the "Henshin Boom" era launched by Kamen Rider
Plotwise it goes like this: After 3 years without an Ultra warrior to defend Earth, the Monster Attack Team is commissioned to battle various giant creatures, and has achieved limited success, but with an ever growing array of opponents, the human race is getting overwhelmed in a new "Second Age of Monsters".
Suddenly, an Ultra warrior appears that looks similar to the original Ultraman, which leads people to believe that the original has returned to help Earth. In reality, this Ultra warrior's containment suit has some subtle differences, and is a whole new Ultra, whose name is Jack, which is unbeknownst to everyone. The Japanese public and M.A.T. simply call him "Ultraman" or "New Man".
Jack battles one of the creatures rampaging and during his battle, race car driver Goh Hideki heroically rescues some innocents from the destruction, but is killed doing so. After Jack defeats the monster, Jack feels remorse about Goh's death and merges with him, leading to a recovery and a subconscious command to join M.A.T. in order to help out the brave humans who came to aid him during his first fight on Earth.
With a new purpose in his life, Goh balances his life in three ways — to be a heroic member of M.A.T., a race car driver who loves his girlfriend very much, and a human guide for Jack to ease his mission on Earth against the hordes of evil monsters and alien invaders.
Return of Ultraman provides examples of the following tropes
- Action Girl: Oka
- Alien Abduction: Alien Black's plan in Episode 40.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Twice. In Episode 38, after Alien Knackle jams all communications to the MAT base, he uses the phrase just before blowing up the MAT Space Station. In the last episode, Alien Bat destroys the MAT base.
- An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Episodes 37 & 38.
- Artifact Title
- Arch-Nemesis: Zetton from the original series returns to fight Jack after being revived by Bat. However, Jack manages to defeat Zetton and Bat in the end.
- Big Bad: Many aliens throughout the series, although the ones that come to mind are Knuckle (episodes 37 and 38) and Bat (last episode)
- Big, Badass Bird of Prey: Tenochtitlus in Episodes 16 & 17, as well as gas-guzzling Bemstar in Ep. 18.
- Big Damn Heroes: MAT pulled this almost every episode. Oka pulled one by herself on her teammates to save Goh in Episode 38.
- Blessed with Suck: Hideki Goh's personal life is more affected by being an Ultra than most human hosts.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: M.A.T. in episode 38. Oka and Goh set them straight.
- Butt Monkey: Poor Jack. Throughout the franchise he's been subject to several abuses...
- A second monster sneaking up on him during a fight (a few times)
- Fighting to exhaustion (as in, color timer going out)
- Crucifixion (the first time happened after transforming and using up his powers twice in twenty-four hours, a big no-no for the original)
- Freezing solid (led to decap and Literally Shattered Lives)
- Having his Ultra Bracelet turn on him
- Covered in tar and paralyzed in Ace.
- Being deflated from having his Color Timer removed in Taro.
- Getting whooped and gagged in Leo.
- Lost two of his friends in a cruel attack meant to hurt his spirit.
- Calling Your Attacks: An early franchise example in Episode 51.
- Chekhov's Gunman/Irony: The doctor who declared Goh dead in the first episode is the same doctor who declared Aki and Ken Sakata dead in "Ultraman Dies at Twilight".
- Continuity Reboot
- Sort of a complicated example of this. Ultra Seven is still debated among fans to be in its own separate continuity, however this series creates a new timeline that establishes Ultra Seven took place in 1967 instead of the 1980s like it was originally stated. It was originally supposed to be the original returned to Earth.
- This can apply to the original Ultraman series as well, which was said to have been set in 1993 in an episode.
- Cue the Sun
- Goh's conversation with Ultraman Jack at the end of the first episode, set to a sunrise on a mountain top.
- Jack's defeat against Gudon and Twin Tail (beginning of episode 6).
- Alien Knackle and Black King's double-teaming Jack, ending at sunset with a couple of vessels taking a crucified Jack away (episode 37).
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Jack vs. Alien Knackle + Black King (he turns this around on them later). Before that, Jack vs. Gudon and Twin Tail.
- Creepy Child: The alien boy from episode 31, the same one who turns the Ultra Bracelet on Ultraman Jack. He was so devious, even Captain Hibiki wouldn't believe Goh when he first became suspicious of the kid. All the same, Hibiki saved the day.
- Darker and Edgier: Although not actually tonally darker than Ultraseven, the characters reacted to events around them far more realistically than previous Ultra series.
- Deus ex Machina: The Ultra Bracelet was this in episode 40, after Jack lost to Snowgon. Ultra Seven was this in Episode 18, when he delivered it.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Aliens Knackle and Bat, as well as Bemstar.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Jack in episode 23 as he destroys the planet eating cloud Vacuumon by going inside of him and using the Ultra Bracelet to chop him up (causing him to explode of course).
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Alien Knackle jammed communications at the M.A.T. base and showed his true face to M.A.T. this way in episode 38.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In episode 37, Goh jumped off the roof of a hospital, only to transform as he fell. Otherwise, it looked like he was trying to kill himself.
- Evil Doppelganger: Hideki Goh had one in Episode 10 of Ultraman Ace.
- Evil Twin: The plot of episode 49 with the Mystellar brothers.
- Eye Lights Out: The hero had this happen to him a few times.
- Fantastic Racism: Said about Ultraman Jack in Ep. 37:
"Not quite human, not quite alien... He's a freak!"
- First Episode Resurrection: On par for the course...
- Flaw Exploitation: Alien Knackle had Aki and Ken Sakata killed to push Ultraman over the edge and force him into a fight he couldn't win.
- Heroic BSOD: Goh had such a moment in Ep. 37.
- Heroic Second Wind: Inspired by Seven and Ultraman's rescue, Jack stands up and delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Black King and Alien Knackle.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: In-universe and meta-example. Episodes 37 & 38 take place around Christmas (Jiro wishes "Merry Christmas" to Goh at one point), and aired Dec. 17 and 24 in 1971 (Christmas Eve in America) note Now it wouldn't be hard to picture just how miserable Goh and Jiro were...
- Turns out Christmas in Japan holds special meaning for couples, especially sweethearts. Poor Goh.
- Humans Are Bastards: Episode 33 featuring benevolent alien call Meits, who came to Earth for observation. He took care of an orphan boy, who often got bullied by villagers. When the boy was accused of being an alien, he showed up to protect him and got beaten to death. You can't blame Goh for just standing there and watch as the alien Muruchi, previously trapped in a pocket dimension of Meits's psychic, caused havoc on the town.
- Ice Queen: Snowgon
- Idiot Hero: Goh was this in episode 2, acting like he was all that, long before he had control over his transformations. His pride got him fired. See What an Idiot in YMMV.
- Kansas City Shuffle: The Big Bad's plan in episode 37 from Goh's point of view, until his BSOD.
- McGuffin: Satan-Z in episodes 37 and 38.
- Meaningful Echo: From Episode 37
Aki: Don't worry. I'll get the best watchmaker on the case right away.
- Ms. Fanservice: Aki Sakata. And briefly, Yuriko Oka.
- Mythology Gag
- Kingsaurus III from episode 4 is referred to as "The Third" as he is the third "king" monster of the franchise (after Red King from the original series and Eleking from Seven). Very few fans are aware of this, though.
- Detton from episode 3 is also referred to as the brother of Telesdon from the original series considering the same suit is used with a different head.
- The appearances of Aliens Zetton and Baltan.
- The plot of a certain two-part episode is similar to Episodes 39 and 40 of the previous show.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: An object for a change. Satan-Z, or "Hell on Earth", an explosive compound 6000 times more powerful than nitroglycerin. Created by humans for peaceful purposes (like blowing up mountains along western Japan to produce a cooler climate across the archipelago), coveted by Knackle aliens for their planned invasion of Earth.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Goh saves Jiro, a second kid, and a dog from Zazahn and Takkong. For his trouble, he gets pinned down in a cave-in, dies (temporarily), and his favorite race car is burned down to honor him. On the other hand, Ultraman Jack revived him, and he joined MAT.
- A very dark example was the death of Aki Sakata, as she was on her way back from having Goh's watch fixed at the jeweler's when Alien Knackle and his mooks grabbed her, threw her in a car, terrorized her, and dragged her as she tried to jump off the moving vehicle. Not to mention, Ken was run over as he tried to stop them.
- No Sell: Against Bemstar (before he got the Ultra Bracelet) and Black King (with the Ultra Bracelet!). Speaking of which, in Episode 31 the Ultra Bracelet acted up and attacked Ultraman Jack.
- Not Himself: In Episode 48, an alien spread some kind of spore that had all of MAT in a daze, not caring about anything or having the energy to do anything. Even the MAT theme was playing slower and slower and Jack was lethargic, too!
- Our Hero Is Dead: Episodes 37, 40, and 51
- Our Vampires Are Different: The alien monster Draculas in episode 36, it possesses the corpse of a woman (dubbed "Vampire Woman") and Jack even kills him by impaling him in the heart with a lance from the Ultra Bracelet.
- Put on a Bus: A Father to His Men Captain Katou in Episode 22. Captain Hibiki, his replacement, was more strict and stern.
- Recycled Soundtrack: There's a few themes from Ultra Seven used throughout.
- Red Shirt
- The crew of the M.A.T. Space station in episode 18.
- Goh was this to his teammates in the last episode, but Jiro and Rumiko got to say goodbye to him afterwards.
- ReTool: The series took a turn toward sci-fi and alien threats beginning with "Ultra Seven arrives".
- Retronym: The protagonist was originally meant to be the original Ultraman. When it was retconned that he was a different Ultrabeing, he was referred by a series of nicknames such as the "New Ultraman" or "Ultraman II" before the name Ultraman Jack was officially decided years after the fact.
- Sacrificial Lions / Stuffed into the Fridge: Aki and Ken Sakata. Ken Sakata's actor, Shin Kishida later appeared in Faiyaman and narrated Ultraman Ace, both shows from Tsuburaya.
- Scare Chord: Used every now and then.
- Sinister Geometry: Priz-Ma in episode 35 complete with drug inducing powers.
- The So-Called Coward: In "When the Ultra Star Shines", Captain Hibiki, under alien Mind Control, accuses Goh, who just returned from the crucifixion ordeal in space, of hiding when Black King attacked Ultraman. Goh is taken outside to stand before a firing squad, and would have been shot if Oka hadn't gotten suspicious of her teammates and pulled a Big Damn Heroes on them, knocking Hibiki unconscious.
- Spoiler Title: "Ultra Seven arrives!". Played with in "Ultraman dies at twilight"
- Swiss Army Weapon / Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Ultra Bracelet.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Rumiko to Aki.
- Symbiotic Possession: Started out just like in Ultraman, but the longer Goh was a host, the more the two beings merged into one, so they became inseparable at the end of the show. Hayata's own situation was Retconned in one of the movies to be similar to Goh's.
- Theme Music Power-Up: Its name was "The Ultraman Who Rises at Twilight" and came in at least three versions: vocal (rare and unused in the show proper); an instrumental march; and the better-known, shorter instrumental version (played in a lower key; also used in episode previews). A fourth version (slow with a trumpet solo) was played occasionally at the aftermath of a fight.
- To Know Him, I Must Become Him: Alien Knackle studies, not just Ultraman or even Hideki Goh, but MAT as a whole, to further his alien invasion agenda.
- Tragic Keepsake
- Goh's watch, which Aki had taken to the watchmaker that day to get a new band for it; she is clutching it and gives it to Goh as she is dying after Alien Knackle's kidnapping and vicious attack. No word on how long Goh carries it after the episode in question.
- Averted with Goh's car at the beginning of the show. The Sakatas burned his race car down when they thought he'd been killed.
- Transformation Sequence: Somehow Ultraman Jack (aka "Shin Man" or new "Ultraman") started it from within, until Goh learned to do it spontaneously. Looked like Jack was always in control, to the point that Goh couldn't transform in front of Alien Bat as the "New Man" could sense the danger it entailed.
- Transformation Trinket: None, Jack is the only Ultra with a human host in the entire franchise that had no transformation item.
- Wedding Smashers: Rumiko dreamed she was in the middle of her wedding to Goh, with MAT (in traditional garb) and Jiro as guests, when somebody whispered in Captain Hibiki's ear, and everybody but Jiro tore off their wedding garb to reveal their uniforms and marched off on the Captain's order. Rumiko runs after Goh. Alien Bat appears and she screams, only to wake up in a sports stadium, where Alien Bat had her and Jiro prisoner.
- Wham Episode: 1 (Goh's life has a new meaning), 2 (Goh gets a swell head and gets fired from MAT), 18 (Ultraman Jack has a new weapon, and the show goes into a Sci-Fi direction), 37 (Tearjerker)
- You Are Number Six: Hideki Goh is MAT member # 6 and a Sixth Ranger.