Series / Ultraman Max

Ultraman Max is the eighteenth installment in the long-running Ultra Series, airing from July 7, 2005 to March 25, 2006 with a total of 39 episodes (plus one special comprised mainly of stock footage). Preceded by Ultraman Nexus and succeeded by Ultraman Mebius.

In the not-too distant future, monsters appear around the world and attack mankind. To combat the threat, the United Defense Federation creates the special anti-monster task force DASH (Defense Action Squad Heroes). Aiding DASH in its struggle is the alien giant Ultraman Max, who is secretly Touma Kaito, a DASH pilot.

After the darker and less kid-friendly spin on Ultraman in Ultraman Nexus, Tsuburaya Productions returned to the franchise's roots, with a new monster every week and an overall light-hearted tone. Ultraman Max is notable for several callbacks to previous Ultra series, from reintroducing several famous Ultra Monsters and casting players from the original Ultraman to paying homage to the plots of past episodes and even referencing the first Ultra series, Ultra Q. In contrast to the low ratings of Nexus, Max was a huge success and set the tone for future Ultra Series like Mebius.

Crunchyroll started streaming Ultraman Max beginning October 14, 2014, followed by its successor series, Mebius a week later.

Ultraman Max provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Precursors: Nina turns out to be a member of the species that uplifted mankind and after reawakening 100,000 years later, decides humanity has fallen short of her kind's expectations and are failures. So she decides to use her pet monster to kill humanity off so they can start over.
  • Alien Invasion: As per most Ultra Series.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Max refuses to get involved in the conflict with the Deros because it's a conflict between two civilizations naturally inhabiting the same planet rather than an invasion from an extraterrestrial civilization for this reason.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Max's superior, Ultraman Xenon, arrives in episode 13 to save Max from Zetton. While it's still Max that finishes the job (and only with his Midseason Upgrade given to him by Xenon), Xenon is still clearly more powerful than he is.
  • Beware the Superman: Some humans feel this way about Max due to his sheer power, which causes Kaito to try and summon him at the start of the battle to prove there's nothing to fear. Max refuses to tag in because their agreement was for Kaito to only call him when the situation had proved too much for him to deal with on his own, not just rely on him.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ultraman Xenon first appears to save Max's tail.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Moetranga in episode 31
  • The Cameo: Ultraman Max and Ultraman Xenon appear in Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend the Movie when Belial arrives on the Land of Light.
  • Cats Are Mean: Tama, Kuro, and Mike.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The Guardian satellite system is a detection array, but during the finale, they used it to restore Max after he was defeated but Giga Berserke.
  • Christmas Episode: Elly's Christmas or episode 26. In the episode, Elly helps an old scientist capture the mythical Yunijin, a bird-like creature that travels through time and space, appearing once every 12 years on Earth for only a few seconds of December 24.
  • Clip Show: The special 40th episode.
  • Distant Finale: The end of the series is set in the future, where humanity has succeeded in making a better world and Kaito and Mizuki's grandson is going on a space mission to explore the galaxy. A statue dedicated to Max is also seen, showing mankind has remembered him, as well as one of the Delos' towers (implying the atmosphere has been fixed and they've emerged from hiding).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Look at Professor Yoshinaga in episode 16, after taking a ride in a DASH vessel piloted by an incapacitated Captain. Her hair is standing up and she looks giddy and absent-minded. She even leans on the wall with a huge smile on her face.
  • Fighting Clown: The Shaman alien from Episodes 18 and 36. Helps that he's supposed to be a parody of Jim Carrey.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Tama, Kuro, Mike.
  • The Future Will Be Better: A common belief of the heroes. The ending of the final episode shows this, depicting humanity in the future where they've obtained a peaceful, better society and are ready to join the larger galaxy in peaceful co-existence.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: A recurring theme in the series. Many of the aliens attack with a motivation to save the environment from humans and Professor Yoshinaga even theorizes that kaiju are created by the Earth itself to punish humanity.
  • Gravity Master: The Alien Baltans are this, due to advance technology. It's even how their ships work.
  • Gratuitous English: Sean. Justified because he's American, and will pepper his speech with English phrases.
  • Heel Realization: An ironic one happens in the end: it's implied humanity realizing that the damage they're causing to the Earth nearly killed off the Delos, who never wronged them in any way, is what caused them to finally dedicate themselves to doing less damage to the Earth, leading to the good future seen in the end.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A number of aliens believe this to be true, though a number of them also learn better by the end of their appearance.
  • Humongous Mecha: Giga Berserke, who's quite possibly the biggest example in the entire franchise.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the preceding series, Ultraman Nexus.
  • Midseason Upgrade: The Max Galaxy.
  • Monster of the Week: Gleefully returns to the formula after Nexus.
  • Mythology Gag: This happens a lot.
    • Ultraman Max looks a lot like Ultra Seven.
    • Several classic monsters like Gomora, Red King, the Baltan aliens, Pigmon, Eleking, Antlar, et al. appear frequently, sometimes even in multiple episodes.
    • Hayata, Fuji, and Ide as well as Dan turn up as supporting characters.
    • An entire episode is centered around a monster from Ultra Q, and the show itself is established as existing in-universe. The episode was shot in black and white, like the show.
    • When Zetton appears, so does Max's superior, Ultraman Xenon, simular to Zoffy's first appearance in the original series. Only this time, Xenon arrives in time to actually fight.
    • In Episode 16, Chief Tomioka raises a spoon in a typical Henshin pose.
    • Per Episode 24, Alien Metron from Ultra Seven survived and has been in hiding for 40 years...
    • The monster Geronga from episode 29, a physical Expy of Neronga from the original series.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Episode 15, Eve's original form is just harmless immobile object, just being extremely large. DASH team decide to burn it, trigger it to counter with fire and possibly cause it to begin attacking period.
  • Not So Stoic: Elly sheds tears in Episode 16 and the Christmas episode, and her personality changes when she and Pigmon share a body.
  • One-Man Army: Max and Baltan take this trope literally in that during their fight in that both end up multiplying themselves into armies and duking it out.
  • Only Sane Man: Elly, especially in Episode 16.
  • People Puppets: Pigmon is trapped in Elly's body due to one of Shaman-Seijin's experiments.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Kaito pointed out that Kiif, a benevolent alien, could escape them any time he wanted to, but he refuses to because he desired to earn the Earthling's trust.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Elly
  • Robot Girl: Elly again.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • Regilla was imprisoned beneath some ruins by an ancient civilization until he broke loose in the modern day.
    • Red King was imprisoned by aliens beneath the vanishing island. An archaeologist and his partner accidentally break the statue keeping him imprisoned and setting him free.
    • Alien Tarla and his people were imprisoned in another dimension along with their Humongous Mecha Gilfas by Max in ancient times.
  • Sequel Episode: Episode 24 to "The Targeted Town" from Ultra Seven, down to the same actor voicing Alien Metron and even the same director (Akio Jissoji). The episode is even called The Untargeted Town.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: A subtle example in episode 24. Alien Metron claims he still want to conquer Earth, and had came up with some plans during his hiding. It doesn't matter, the pollution on Earth's so bad that it's no longer worth conquering. The only reason he still linger here for 40 years is because he really like Earth.
  • Sixth Ranger: Ultraman Xenon
  • The Stoic: Elly again.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Defied in regards to Kiif, who came with purely friendly motivations. While a lot of people are suspicious of him, the heroes as a whole are angered by this treatment, as they know he'd have already escaped if he'd wanted to.