is a tokusatsu
series that aired from September 5, 1998 to August 28, 1999 on TBS. It is the thirteenth entry in the Ultra Series
, with Chiaki Konaka
as head writer.Ultraman Gaia
takes place in yet another universe, one that is totally different from the world of the original Ultramen(the inhabitants of the Land of Light), as well as the world of Ultraman Tiga
and Ultraman Dyna
. It is the first series to feature two Ultramen as the main characters — Ultraman Gaia and Ultraman Agul, both having conflicting philosophies in regards to defending the Earth
from a mysterious, malevolent and extremely intelligent cosmic entity.
The first half of the series explores the growing tension between them, and their eventual clash. The second half has them reconcile their differences so they can defeat their common enemy.
Ultraman Gaia provides examples of the following tropes:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The CRISIS integrated-circuit supercomputer. Although it manages to predict in 1997 that Earth would be annihilated by something known as "Kongenteki Hametsu Shorai Tai" (Entity that Brings Radical Destruction), it calculations had been sabotaged by the monster Zorlim, and it gets infected by a computer virus in episode 27.
- Averted by Gamu's PAL, which works perfectly as an auto-pilot and even survives being shot down.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Hiroya invades Arial Base with surprising ease in episode 18, by taking advantage of Agul's ability to teleport through certain materials and just transforming back to save power.
- Later, in episode 27, a computer virus manages to completely override XIG's computer systems.
- Alternate Universe: From the Showa-era Ultras (Ultraman to Ultraman Eighty) and Tiga/Dyna's universe.
- Anti-Hero: Hiroya Fujimiya / Ultraman Agul is a Type V. Though he occasionally helps Gaia in certain battles, he reminds Gaia that their alliances are merely because it is his duty to protect Earth (the planet, not the humans on it) due to his belief. After suffering an Anti-heroic BSOD in episode 26, he is presumably killed by Zorlim and doesn't appear until ten episodes later, and only leaves this trope for good when he finally gets his powers back in episode 41.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: It's an Ultra Series. Standard procedure.
- The nature of the series means that the threats tend to be towards Earth rather than just humanity (there aren't any serious invasion attempts in the show), and so the 'Whatever' tends to be a few orders of magnitude larger than just 'fifty feet' far more frequently than is comfortable.
- Badass: Gaia and Agul, naturally.
- Badass Bookworm: Gamu Takayama. A scientist who can assume a superhero form to fight monsters. Hiroya Fujimiya too, but Gamu is the more obvious example. Something of a subversion for the franchise, as this is only time The Smart Guy(s) transforms into the Ultra.
- Badass Crew: XIG. The individual Teams even more so.
- Bash Brothers: Gaia and Agul, after solving their differences.
- Big Bad: Zogu
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Agul's Agul Blade
- Blob Monster: Apatee (episode 3), Algyuros (episode 16) and Meemos (formed from the DNA of previous two in episode 27).
- Boisterous Bruiser: Team Hercules. Their MO boils down to 'drive up to the Kaiju and shoot it'; when that fails, it becomes 'fight the Kaiju on foot'.
- Busman's Holiday: Gamu gets one in episode 5. He is ordered to take a day off and go inform his parents in Chiba that he's joined XIG (and quit the university). On that same day, the monster Bokurag appears to attack that very place.
- The Cape: Ultraman Gaia
- Critical Annoyance: In a subversion of the trope as it usually plays out in the franchise, the Life Gauge on Gaia and Agul's chests begin blinking only when they run low on energy.
- Crossover: In every movie Gaia appears in.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to both its predecessor and most of the Ultra Series. It's never something you couldn't show to children, but the threats tend to be on a planetary scale on a regular basis.
- Deuteragonist: Hiroya Fujimiya / Ultraman Agul
- The Doll Episode: Episode 19 — Lilia's Maze.
- Everything Is Online: XIG's control systems, which is why a rogue computer virus was able to severely disrupt the Aerial Base. After Atsuko manages to eliminate it, the virus went to Geobase, merged itself with the DNA samples of previously defeated monsters Apatee and Algyuros and transformed itself into an imitation of Ultraman Gaia.
- Evil Twin: Played with by several Monsters of the Week in this series.
- Episode 3 has Gaia fighting against Apatee, said monster has a Life Gauge identical to Gaia's, even imitates Gaia's fighting pose at the start of their battle.
- Later on in episode 16 Algyuros transforms itself into an imitation of Ultraman Agul, but with red eyes and a creepy smile.
- Then in episode 27, Meemos, a monster which contains the DNA of both the previously mentioned monsters, manages to transfrom itself into an imitation of Ultraman Gaia Version 1.
- Yet another imitation of Ultraman Agul appears to fight Gaia in episode 38 after being summoned by the Queen Mezard.
- The most obvious example - Episode 42: Gamu vs. Gamu.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Gamu. He designed the Esplender, as well as the repulsor lifts that allow Aerial Base and the XIG fighters to defy gravity.
- Kaiju: Two types. Those from Earth and those from space.
- Meaningful Name: Ultraman Gaia appropriately gets his name from the Gaia hypothesis, which states that the Earth functions like a giant, living creature.
- Monster of the Week: Following the tradition of a typical Ultra series.
- The Movie: Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna & Ultraman Gaia: Battle in Hyperspace (1999) and Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers (2008), both unrelated to the series' storyline.
- Mundane Utility: The nature of Gaia/Agul's powers and transformation means that Hiroya can easily infiltrate the Arial Base control room and lock everyone out... and Gamu can just teleport in as Gaia (episode 18).
- Mythology Gag
- Next Sunday A.D.: The series is set in the year 2000, with flashbacks to key events taking place in the late 1990s.
- People in Rubber Suits
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Gamu Takayama / Ultraman Gaia and Hiroya Fujimiya / Ultraman Agul. Just look at their respective skin colors when they are Ultramen.
- Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Happens a few times with Kenji Tabata and his videotapes.
- Running Gag:
- Every time Team Hercules lands in the Stinger, they knock at least one bicycle over.
- Science Hero: Gamu Takayama, who gets help from his friends at Jonan University too.
- Stone Wall: The Stinger, often used by Team Hercules, is unusually tough and reliable, but slow as molasses.
- Superpowered Alter Ego: Averted, surprisingly. Gaia and Agul are Gamu and Hiroya, imbued with power and in giant form.
- Super Mode: Gaia's Supreme Version and Agul's Version 2.
- Symbiotic Possession: Between both Ultras and their human hosts. Par for the course for Ultramen (unless they make them up) - but subverted here as it's the humans who take over the giants' forms.
- Theme Song Power Up: Happens in episode 49.
- Transformation Trinket: Gaia's Esplender and Agul's Agulator.
- Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Subverted. Despite most monster attacks taking place in Japan, Gaia has fought monsters in Canada, United States and Germany.