Series / Ultraman Gaia
"On Earth, there are kaiju and Ultramen. So we want to love this planet even more."
— The closing words at the end of Ultraman Gaia

Ultraman Gaia 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.

Available for streaming on Crunchyroll in all territories except Asia. It is the seventh Ultra series installment made available on the site.

Ultraman Gaia provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Team Seagull in episode 9, Team Crow in episode 10.
  • 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), its 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.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Aerial Base.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Hiroya invades Aerial 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.
  • Apocalypse Cult: There is one that makes sporadic appearances throughout the series. They give out a lot of leaflets.
  • 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 the only time The Smart Guy(s) transforms into the Ultra until Ultraman X.
  • Badass Crew: XIG. The individual teams even more so.
  • Bar Brawl: Fujimiya and Reiko gets into one in episode 25. The morons who started it only helped to fuel Fujimiya's Humans Are Bastards mindset.
  • Bash Brothers: Gaia and Agul, after solving their differences.
  • Big Bad: Zogu
  • Big Fancy Castle: Gamu meets up with Catherine Ryan in one when he was in Germany in episode 42.
  • 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, Bokurag appears to attack that very place.
  • The Cape: Ultraman Gaia.
  • Call Back:
    • In episode 24, just as Gaia is about to perform his Finishing Move on Zonnel II, he recalls the agonizing last moments of C.O.V. (episode 1), Psycho Mezard II (episode 19) and Pazuzu (episode 22). He decides not to destroy Zonnel II, instead using a beam to calm the kaiju.
    • Episode 27 has a scientist mentioning how Meemos was created from the DNA of Apatee (episode 03) and Algyuros (episode 16).
  • 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. It made even obvious by the generally serious tone of the series, which is in stark contrast to the upbeat and light-hearted atmosphere of its predecessor.
  • Deuteragonist: Hiroya Fujimiya / Ultraman Agul
  • The Doll Episode: Episode 19 — Lilia's Maze.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs:
    • Episode 20 has Geschenk, based on a Velociraptor.
    • Algona in episode 35.
  • 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 transform 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.
  • Finishing Move
    • Ultraman Gaia's Photon Edge and Quantum Stream.
    • Ultraman Agul's Photon Crusher.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Gamu. He designed the Esplender, as well as the repulsor lifts that allow Aerial Base and the XIG fighters to defy gravity.
  • Going Down with the Ship / Suicide Attack: Commander Akio Ishimuro stays back to use the almost destroyed Aerial Base to ram into Mokian in episode 47 in a last-ditch attempt to destroy the kaiju. Luckily, Gaia bails him out in the nick of time. As a bonus, Mokian is successfully destroyed.
  • Guardian Entity: The Ultramen, who in this universe aren't aliens but guardians protecting the Earth.
  • Henshin Hero: Minus their ability to transform into Ultramen, Gamu and Fujimiya are just regular humans.
  • Humans Are Bastards: This is Hiroya Fujimiya's mindset at the start of the series.
    • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Death God reveals in episode 47 that the Big Bad feels that humans are a threat to the universe. The solution is to remove them from the equation.
  • 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.
    Gamu (to Atsuko): "Some people say that the Earth is a living being named Gaia..."
    Atsuko: "Gaia?"
    Gamu: "What do you think of 'Ultraman Gaia' for the giant's name? Gaia's a cool name, right?"
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Probably holds the record for being the Ultra Series with the most number of characters. This trope comes into play mainly due to the nature of XIG. Unlike the defense teams of previous entries in the Ultra Series which usually has one team of about five members as the sole focus of the series, XIG consists of multiple three-person teams with specialized roles. There are also three commanders and three Bridge Bunnies(though one is a support recruit). Then there are the members of G.U.A.R.D. (the American division and the Japanese division). Then there is the trio from KCB, the Alchemy Stars Network and Gamu's peers at Jounan University. And the list goes on.
  • Mind Screw: What happens to Gamu in episode 6, courtesy of Gan Q.
  • 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 was first aired from 1998 to 1999, but is set in the year 2000, with flashbacks to key events taking place in the late 1990s.
  • Oh Crap!: Agul's reaction in episode 5 when Bokurag reveals its Healing Factor powers.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Agul attacks the Death God in episode 48, he transfoms into Zebub. From this to this.
  • People in Rubber Suits: It is a Toku series after all.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Fujimiya saves a young girl, Yuki from a collapsing building during Geschenk's attack in episode 20.
    • A bigger example in episode 24, when he saves an entire hospital from the wrath of Geel II. He had awakened that monster earlier in the episode, having a change of heart when he saw the fear of the fleeing patients and staff, as well as a young boy who looked up to the Ultramen as heroes.
  • Product Placement: One of the Team Crow members is seen listening to rock music using a Panasonic CD player in episode 10.
  • Put on a Bus: After the events of episode 26, Fujimiya / Agul is not seen again for quite a while.
    • The Bus Came Back: Fujimiya returns in episode 36. Having given his powers to Gamu, it is only in episode 41 that Agul makes his comeback with a new Super Mode.
  • 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 Jounan University too.
  • Secret Chaser: Kenji, Reiko, and Michifumi from KCB are constantly trying to uncover the identity of both Ultramen and the true cause of the wave of monsters. They end up succeeding with dire consequences. : Gamu and Hiroya's de-transformation are broadcasted to the world.
  • Secret Identity: Downplayed, though Gamu does a decent job of keeping quiet about being the alter ego of Gaia. Fujimiya, on the other hand, does not really give a damn.
  • Shout-Out
    • Catherine "Cat" Ryan dresses up like Sarah Connor.
    • Episode 42 has Gaia engaging in a swordfight with Bizorm using laser beams.
    • Episode 5 feature monster call Bokurag. The direct-to-DVD Gaia, Once More has a flying monster called Byakhee and underwater city Celephais. Yeah, tributes to Cthulhu Mythos.
      • It helps that the series writer is actually a contributing Chthulu Mythos author.
  • Stone Wall: The Stinger, often used by Team Hercules, is unusually tough and reliable, but slow as molasses.
  • Story Arc: Despite retaining the traditional Monster of the Week format and having most episodes having a somewhat self-contained story, Ultraman Gaia is the first Ultra Series to make use of continuing story arcs.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Good English:
    • Courtesy of Georgie Leland. Her actress, Maria Theresa Gow is of Scottish and Filipino descent.
    • There is also this gem in episode 9 from Michael Simmons, the African-American member of Team Seagull. Simmons is portrayed by Samuel Pop Aning, who is from Ghana.
      "May God be with you."
  • 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.
  • Tank Goodness: How the American division of G.U.A.R.D. responds to Zonnel II's appearance in Arizona. Zonnel II took out the tanks in seconds, and a good number of soldiers died that day.
  • Theme Song Power Up: Happens in episode 49.
  • Transformation Trinket: Gaia's Esplender and Agul's Agulator. The Esplender (and likely the Agulator) is unique in that it's the only Ultra Transformation Trinket to be made by a human instead of given to them by the Ultra.
  • 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.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Some villagers in episode 13 become this, under the influence of Psycho Mezard. They gave the KCB trio a hard time.
  • Was Once a Man: Tsuchikera in episode 20, with a tragic background story similar to that of Jamilla.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 23: Gamu is dismissed from XIG.
    • Episode 26: Gaia obtains his Super Mode from Agul, Fujimiya gets Put on a Bus. Gamu is allowed back at XIG.
    • Episode 36: Fujimiya comes back.
    • Episode 41: Fujimiya finally regains his powers.
    • Episode 47: Aerial Base is completely destroyed, XIG base of operations is now GEOBASE.