The eye of the lion is shining... Ultraman... Leo!
Ultraman Leo is a tokusatsu series that was part of the Ultra Series. It ran from 1974-1975.The alien Magma, intergalactic slavers, come to Earth to attempt to find more slaves for their expanding evil empire. However, the Ultra Warriors have sent an Ultra to protect the Earth from the Magma — Ultra Seven.The Magma, along with a slew of monsters, overwhelm Seven and injure his leg. Just as Seven is about to be killed, a red giant comes to save him. Driving off the Magma and defeating the monsters, the mysterious red giant reveals himself to be Leo from Nebula L77, a neighboring galaxy near the Ultra Nebula M78. Experiencing the same situation as the Ultras, Leo's people (called the Galactic Lion people) also underwent a physical transformation into beings of light.The Galactic Lion people were subjugated as slaves of the Magma, and being one of the people who has been on the run and fighting the Magma across the galaxy, Leo has tracked them down on Earth.Ultra Seven, seriously wounded, requests that Leo take his place as the resident Ultra Warrior on Earth, and bestows upon Leo the title of "Ultraman Leo". Ultra Seven, as Moroboshi Dan, agrees to stay with Leo to train him as a mentor. Leo takes on the form of human "Ootori Gen" (a human guise rather than merging with an existing human), and with Dan, joins the M.A.C.—yet another monster fighting science patrol crew.Over the course of his assignment on Earth, Leo reunites with his twin brother Astra, who escaped the slave pits of the Magma, and joins with Leo to combat evil monsters. Leo also meets up with the legendary, all-powerful Ultraman King, who comes to save Leo and Astra on a particularly disastrous fight.The other Ultra brothers also come to help Leo and Astra, and occasionally gets help from the recovering Ultra Seven, proving his worth as an Ultra Warrior.
Ultraman Leo provides examples of the following tropes:
Acting for Two: Tatsumi Nikamoto, Leo's suit actor, also played Ultraseven, more prominently in Episode 1, where he rescues himself.
Advertised Extra: Mr. Oomura, whose actor is billed second in the main credits, only appears sporadically. Justified, as he's comic relief.
Against the Setting Sun: When both alien heroes promise to help each other fight any and all alien threats against Earth. Dan even compares himself to the setting sun and Leo to the rising sun. A clip appears at the end of the opening credits.
Arc Number: Seven, as in Ultra Seven, the seventh Ultra Show, the seventh Showa Ultra Brother, MAC Team Member # 7 (Gen), seventh (counting the Ultra Brothers) kaijuu-fighting team (MAC), and planet L-7-7.
Previous shows depicted violence, mayhem, pathos, or even death. However, in just one episode: Leo's home world is destroyed; Ultra Seven is maimed and weakened; Leo is in mortal danger; and even a few civilians die. And that's just for starters...
This show took Collateral Damage to new levels. Episode 1 deals with the destruction of Tokyo by flood and kaiju.
In Episode 13, Gen was suspended pending an investigation on charges of fatally attacking several people during a foot chase of an alien. By accident, Dan figured the alien himself used his invisibility powers to sneak up on and stab or strike the victims in question (making a distinctive sound), then filmed him in the act, shot him, and had MAC analyze the footage and clear Gen.
In Episode 7, Dan threw boomerangs at Gen to prepare him for Leo's upcoming fight against a kaijuu who used a similar attack.
In another episode, Gen trained with an imposing machine that reproduced a kaijuu attack.
Badass: Leo, so very much. His later appearance on Ultraman Mebius, Ultra Galaxy the Movie and the straight-to-DVD Ultra Galaxy Gaiden solidified this even more. ESPECIALLY in the Ultra Galaxy Gaiden, damn...
Bare-Fisted Monk: Every Ultra has their own fighting style... but Leo will kick everyone's ass at fisticuffs range. Somewhat amusingly, by the time he shows up in Mebius, he seems to have actually become a monk.
Leo pulls this in the pilot by saving Ultra Seven. Both Astra and Ultraman King would do this several times in the series. The boys and girls Gen trained pull one in the final battle by beating and stomping the BigBad to death so Leo can kill off his final monster.
Leo saving Zero in the Ultra Galaxy Gaiden and it was AWESOME.
The Ultra Brothers in Episodes 38 & 39. They don't call that the Ultra Rumble for nothing!
Bloodier and Gorier: Evident from episode 1 onwards. Ultra Seven's leg is literally bent out of shape with bones cracking and everything. The sound effect used was appropriate given the level of violence. Also, see Darker and Edgier below.
Boring Invincible Hero: Averted with Leo (throughout) and Seven (see above). And, in a depressing turn, with MAC.
Cane Fu: Dan kept human-sized aliens at bay, split a rock in half and even terrorized (um, trained) Gen a couple of times, with his crutch.
The Cast Showoff: Ryu Manatsu (Gen) sings the first theme song, does the awesome martial arts/gymnastics demonstration in the very first scene, as well as sings a song in which Gen yearns for his home planet.
Cat Folk: Alien Magma, more so than the Leo Brothers.
Chekhov M.I.A.: Astra, whom Leo presumed dead after L77 was destroyed, showed up in Episode 22 to save his brother from two kaijus. Seven vanished in episode 40, but appeared in a vision in the last episode.
Continuity Nod: Music from Ultra Seven (the Dark Reprise of "Fight! Ultra Seven" from that show's Ep.39 was Dan's Leit Motif, but then the instrumental march theme came up in Ep. 40 when Dan disappeared in thin air before the MAC station was destroyed and 4 (Dan attacks Alien Tsuruk alone). Also, the Ultra Eye, Seven's teammates, and even M-78 appear.
Cool Old Guy: Dan (older than Gen, though not that much older in human form), also Gen when he appeared on Ultraman Mebius many years later
Commander Black. The only UltraBig Bad to decide to ambush the Ultra's support group before they even know he exists and actually wipe them out! He also shows a knack for more complicated planning than his fellows and actually managed to kill Leo once, only being foiled by Ultraman King showing up. He also uses Leo's best friend to hold him hostage in the final battle so Leo will have to let Black End kill him. Also, Bunyo in Episode 50.
Darker and Edgier: From the very beginning you can tell this isn't gonna be any ordinary Ultra series. The series eventually ends up becoming a huge Kill 'em All fest by the end. You have, among other highlights, a crippled Ultra Seven stuck in human form, people crushed, stabbed, shot, sliced in half, team members dying in combat, the whole team is later killed except for the two main characters (Dan vanishes and gets better), graphic kaiju (alien monster) combat and even the graphic dismemberment of a key character.
Darkest Hour: The end of episode 3 and beginning of 4 (Alien Tsuruk), episode 22 before Astra arrived, part 1 of the Ultra Rumble, the first half of episode 40, episode 50 (Bunyo and Commander Black), and Leo's temporary defeat against Black End in episode 51.
Did Not Get the Girl: Neither Ultra hero did. Gen lost his to a tragic event. In episode 29, Dan thought he had found Anne, but the woman, who was singlehandedly raising alien child Uri aka Uringa, denied it was her and disappeared at the end with the kid.
Gen had a Heroic BSOD moment in Episode 2, complete with drenching rain, when he realized Momoko was still in critical condition after getting injured during the kaijuu-created tsunami that swept Tokyo.
Leo introduces himself to Magma-seijin foot-first, going between the twin monsters to do so.
Commander Black also pulls this off in a way that likely outdoes Leo's. He introduces himself by wiping out MAC, becoming the first, and to date only Ultra villain to successfully destroy the Ultra's support team, forcing Leo and the JSDF to fight him without any help.
Speaking of which, Silver Bloome didn't waste any time wiping out MAC and Gen's friends.
Gen is introduced during a gymnastics/martial arts demonstration at the Jounan Sports Center.
Seven is introduced during his fight against Red and Black Gillas, kicking one of the kaiju.
Alien Magma appeared out of thin air, surrounded by Dramatic Thunder. Too bad it became a Running Gag of sorts given how many times he did it in Episode 2.
Good Times Montage: Gen, Kaoru and Momoko at the end of Episode 10, right after Kaoru got the dog from Gen. The same scene re-appeared halfway into Episode 40 as a reminder of happier times after Silver Bloom killed his True Companions.
Gut Punch: Seven's leg, the annihilation of MAC, and Leo's death
Improbable Weapon User: Leo must fight a spear-armed Kettle-seijin at one point, way before he ever meets Ultraman King. He's unarmed and at a disadvantage, so what does he do? Rip some red-and-white smokestacks out of a building, bring them together, magically join them with a chain, and voila — NUNCHUCKS.
Karmic Death: Black End, killed by the alien device that summoned him, namely Commander Black's crystal ball.
Maybe even Commander Black himself. Being separated from his little trinket may have sped up his (literal) meltdown into green goo.
Knight of Cerebus: While the series was quite serious to begin with, Commander Black's arrival makes it even darker.
Looks Like Cesare: Commander Black (what is it with Ultramen and creepy humanoids, anyway?)
Mauve Shirt: Some members of MAC, like Matsuki Momoi, the young lady who was celebrating a birthday when the Space Station was attacked; and Gen's True Companions. The rest of MAC were Red Shirts, (Matsuki's sister Haruko died unexpectedly in an earlier episode) including deaths throughout the show, except the two main characters.
Memento MacGuffin: The Ultra Eye, which burned and partially melted down in Episode 1, when Gen and Dan first met. Many times, Dan pulled it out of his pocket and stares at it whenever the situation becomes dire. Hideki Gohtook it back to M-78 for replacement at the end of Episode 34.
Mood Whiplash: Compared to Taro. In-universe, episodes tend to start on a happy note, then verge into horror, then straight into tragedy, on to ass-kicking, then back to happy times and so on.
Episode 1, for example, jumps from the opening song (about Leo preventing The End of the World as We Know It) to Gen demonstrating his gymnastic and martial arts skills at the Sports Center (set to peaceful music), to Seven fighting the Gillas Brothers (set to foreboding music). By the time Leo arrives, the music is triumphant, but when Alien Magma leaves, the music turns sad...
Hideki Goh wears the same costume when he delivered Sevengar to Dan as his visit to Kohtaro Higashi (along with the Ultra Brothers) in Ultraman Taro.
In Episode 9, Tohru and a human-sized kaijuu become friends. The boy is in an amusement park in some kind of trance, and at one point he's floating in mid-air. The pulsating background is the same as the opening credits of Ultra Seven.
Speaking of Seven, Dan's pose as he lies unconscious after his defeat at the hands of the Gillas Brothers is the same as the pose he made (arms and legs spread out) after his RROD near-defeat against Pandon. In both scenes, the music is identical, the surface he was lying on was very similar, he's wearing a uniform and a helmet both times, and both times Seven shrinks back to human size on-screen (the shrinking effects are different, though).
Leo got more energy beam powers after the first 13 episodes, especially after Astra's arrival. In the beginning, he used brute force, improvised weapons, and even a burning kick or two.
From Episode 2 onwards, Dan was able to concentrate and generate some kind of aura he used to weaken kaijus. This power (Urutora Nenriki = Ultra Will-Power) wore him down severely. There was no indication whatsoever in the previous shows that he could do this.
Sometimes, Gen could see aliens even in human form.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Dan becomes Leo's mentor after Seven was maimed by the Gillas Brothers. Gen fled his dying planet only to have to face the one responsible once on Earth; then, he takes over Earth's large scale defense with MAC in a support role. Gen ends up fighting alone after Episode 39. Dan's role as a mentor is over at that time. Tohru's True Companions fill the role of parents after the loss of his father; later, Gen and the Miyamas fill that role.
Not of This Earth: That little souvenir Alien Tsuruk left behind in episode 3 was made of an alien metal.
In human form, Bunyo is bumbling, goofy and can't fight to save his life. Gen gave him a beating on their first encounter. Even Commander Black thought he was worthless. Now, once Bunyo figures who Gen is and he and Black set their plan to get Leo in motion, Mood Whiplash and tears are just around the corner.
Alien children invoke the trope.
So does the old man handing out flowers left and right in Episode 31. Children were Genre Savvy that time.
Obi-Wan Moment: Dan lectured Gen about his ongoing responsibilities as Leo before punching and pushing him aside, and had a brief quiet moment before vanishing. This is even more dramatic as the space station is falling apart in the middle of Silver Bloom's attack, which had already killed the rest of the crew. Gen is hysterically yelling "Taichou!" (Commander).
Oh Crap: A couple of minutes into Episode 40, Dan and Gen are taken by surprise when the alarm sounds and that big dot on the radar approaches the MAC base at high speed...
Older and Wiser: Two guesses, one for this show and one (actually two) for Mebius and Zero.
Many times Gen refrained from actually hitting Dan, who could be pretty ruthless and strict. They actually had a fistfight in Episode 38 when Dan used his Ultra Willpower during the Ultra Rumble to even the odds against fake Astra.
Around episode 13, Gen got suspended pending an investigation into the death of a cop. That didn't stop from intervening in a chase of the very same alien who then killed the cop, resulting in a MAC member being injured. He bitterly argued his innocence with Dan, but his impulsiveness got a teammate hurt. When he threatened to quit MAC, Dan upheld the suspension instead.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Dan uses his Ultra Will-Power. Coincidentally, Dan is the Blue counterpart to Gen's Red in...
A minor one happened after episode 13, with a more upbeat theme song and Leo's frequent use of energy attacks.
On episode 40, the whole show premise changed with Commander Black's arrival and ensuing mayhem. Halfway through the episode, Gen and Tohru move to Mrs. Miyama's place. Gen is unemployed and needs to face emerging threats alone for the first time since he met Dan.
Gen is trained by Ultra Seven to be a martial artist and better Ultra very rigorously. Very, VERY rigorously. How did he train? With Dan using Cane Fu, boomerangs and even Car Fu, Gen spinning in mid-air like a corkscrew and coming down HARD to land on whatever object or kaiju he wanted to destroy, using strange machines at the Jounan Sports Center and even doing Le Parkour on a mountain ledge.
He can also be very hard on himself sometimes.... In episode 6, Gen's friends are visibly uncomfortable at the sight of Gen negotiating two heavy swinging logs, hoisted by ropes that could break off anytime. Dan arrives and it seems like he himself is going to get hit in the face with them a couple of times.
Transformation Is a Free Action: Episode 50 subverts this when Gen/Leo was unable to grow to giant size, as Bunyo tied him up while in human form and Commander Black had wounded him.
Walking the Earth / Save the Day, Turn Away: Gen, having killed off the Saucer Beasts for good and with Commander Black dead, throws away the Leo Ring and sails off. (By the time Mebius comes to Earth, he's tending the Twin Island originally submerged by the Gillas bros in the first episode.)
Wham Episode: Episode 1 (Seven's role in Earth's defense changes dramatically), 3 & 4 (Leo realizes just how tough his job is), 22 (Astra — Leo is not the only survivor of L77 after all), 26 (Ultraman King — the mythical hero appears), 38&39 (The Leo Brothers prove their worth to the Ultra Brothers after a rough start), 40 (Tear Jerker & Re Tool)
Gen had his True Companions, his MAC teammates, his brother whom he thought dead, as well as the support of both his Captain and the legendary Ultraman King, and he was an honorary Ultra brother to boot. Then Silver Bloom appeared...
Tohru, who was an orphan, had Gen, his little sister, and his True Companions. Enter Silver Bloom...