Trivia / Ultra Series

General Trivia:

  • The Ultramen's appearance is based on The Grays and Mayan Ancient Astronauts. The red-and-silver colours are inspired by the legendary canals of Mars and a sleek space rocket respectively (Eiji Tsuburaya and his crew were strongly inspired by Space Age idealism), while their facial expression was based on Noh masks and the placid faces of meditating Zen Buddhists to emphasize their ancient benevolence.
  • Despite being one of the most well-known traits of the Ultras, the Colour Timer and three-minute rule was actually a last-minute addition when the writers for Ultraman realized the hero had no weakness, thus no way of creating tension or suspense in the fights.
  • The physical fighting style of the Ultras is inspired by Judo and Greco-Roman Wrestling, while the Christian Cross served as the basis for the position they hold their arms in when firing their beam attacks.
  • Of the 4 major Tokusatsu TV seriesnote , the Ultra series is the only one that has not had Jason David Frank audition to play a role in an American Adaptationnote  - aside from Power Rangers, Frank originally auditioned to play the lead in VR Troopers, and almost got the part of Len in Kamen Rider Dragon Knight; however, both cases were unsuccessful due to his involvement with Power Rangersnote .

Trope-related Trivia:

  • Banned Episode: Two episodes of Ultraseven — the 12th and 26th episodes, which featured Alien Spell and the kaiju Starbem Gyeron respectively. The former was banned due to Unfortunate Implications about atomic bomb survivors with the alien, resulting in Spell being Exiled from Continuity; while the latter episode was banned after the Fukushima-Daichi Nuclear Disaster due to the nuclear theme of the episode, though Gyeron himself is not banned and has made appearances in stage shows and an episode of Ultraman Geed.
  • Big Name Fan: Both east and west: Guillermo del Toro, Hideo Kojima, Will Smith, Hideaki Anno, Tim Burton, Akira Toriyama, and Yukio Mishima, to name a few.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: Is this from Tsuburaya Productions and one of those from Namco Bandai.
  • Follow the Leader / Fountain of Expies: The Ultra Series' huge popularity and success in the 70s spawned a whole slew of giant superheroes, like Zone Fighter, Spectreman, Jet Jaguar, eventually transforming into the "Kyodai Hero" genre.
  • Hey, It's That Sound!: Godzilla movie fans may be able to recognize many Ultra kaiju roars as directly recycled or modified from Toho's monsters.
  • I Am Not Spock: Nearly every actor who has played the Ultras' human alter egos becomes more or less permanently associated with that character. A good chunk of them have pretty much embraced their roles though, notably Kohji Moritsugu (as described in One of Us below).
  • Name's the Same: Superman had an Evil Knockoff also named Ultraman, who preceded the original series by about two years.
  • No Export for You: Of the 4 major Tokusatsu TV series, Ultraman is doing its darndest to avert this stone-hard with exports of series all over the franchise's timespan, despite the insanity that was the Chaiyo copyright fiasco (see Screwed by the Lawyers below).note 
  • One of Us: Kohji Moritsugu, who played Dan Moroboshi in Ultraseven. He once said that being on the show "changed his life," and it shows. He's the biggest collector of Ultraseven memorabilia (including the Chibi Eleking puppet from Ultraman Mebius and several genuine Ultraseven masks) and was even president of Japan's Ultraseven fan club. Ultraseven is literally his own biggest fan!
  • Outlived Its Creator: Eiji Tsuburaya was only involved in the production of Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven, having died while Return of Ultraman was still in the early stages. Nevertheless, Tsuburaya Productions continues to produce the franchise under the guidance of his sons and grandsons.
  • Promoted Fanboy: The franchise is so popular and so old that many of the later actors were fans of the Ultra series as kids. Tatsuomi Hamada (Riku Asakura from Ultraman Geed), for example, once said that as a kid, he had always wanted to be an Ultraman, and playing the human form of Geed is a dream come true; not to mention that he has said that his favorite Ultra is Ultraman Justice.
  • Prop Recycling: Many suits, sets, character costumes, and props are exchanged and/or modified from series to series. In the early shows, they would often have to borrow stuff from Toho, resulting in things like Godzilla and Baragon's suits being used to present multiple monsters.
  • Role Reprisal: Many actors in the franchise return in later series as the same character in the event of a Crossover.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: A very, very controversial case. Until 2017, the first six shows (Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultraseven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace, and Ultraman Taro), as well as Jumborg Ace, were the subject of a serious copyright dispute between Tsuburaya Productions and the Thai company Chaiyo (who co-produced Hanuman Vs 7 Ultraman and the infamous Space Warriors 2000), as Chaiyo's president Sompote Sands attempted to steal the foreign distribution rights for them with forged documents. This legal nightmare was responsible for the lack of distribution the Ultra series had for the longest time. Full story here.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • At least two western movie attempts:
      • Ultraman: the Jupiter Effect, penned by Jeff Segal (who would go on to co-create Exosquad) in 1978: The plot has the alignment of all the planets in our Solar System cause major disasters around the world, causing monsters to invade. Ultraman (whose host would have been a NASA astronaut) appears to save the planet. Things would have gotten so tough that the other Ultramen from the franchise show up to lend a hand.
      • Ultraman: Hero From The Stars, penned by book writer Don Glut (who also wrote for The Transformers) in 1983: The plot would have involved highly evolved dinosaurs attacking the Earth after years of waiting, and a new Ultraman inhabits the body of a Earth Defense Soldier to fight back. Notably, this script featured the death of Ultra Seven during the film's climax. The screenplay was said to be pretty bad however, and it's said it ripped off too many cues from Superman: The Movie (At one point of the story, the new Ultraman even tries to impress his girlfriend with his gigantic super-powers!).
    • The prototype to the entire franchise was WoO, a comedic series about a comical alien named Woo and a news photographer named Joji Akita, as they battled monsters and avoided the armed forces suspicious of Woo. The series was scrapped in favour of Ultra Q, but would later be revived in 2006 as Bio Planet WoO.
    • The Ultras were originally going to be a race of monstrous bird-like aliens, with the original Ultraman being named Bemlar (directly recycled from an unused Ultra Q villain in name and appearance). Due to fears that children wouldn't know which monster to cheer for, they gave Bemlar a more humanoid appearance. The name "Bemlar" was given to Ultraman's very first Monster of the Week while its design would be incorporated into the monster Hydra.
    • In the early 2010s, it was announced Tsuburaya were developing a way for the actors in the respective Ultraman series to be swapped out, so to speak, for foreign actors by distributors for easier localization ala Power Rangers. Nothing seems to have come from this however.
      • Previously, there had been considerations by Winckler Productions of doing something similar with Ultraman 80 as far back as 1987, and it would have starred none other than Adam West!
    • One rumor about Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills was that the series was originally planned to be an adaptation of the Andro Melos spin-off series instead of the 100% American production the final product is.
  • The Wiki Rule: No less than two Ultraman Wikis: ultra.wikia.com and ultraseries.wikia.com. Also the ultrafan.wikia.com, a flourishing wiki for fanfiction run by several of the admins on the first Ultra wiki.

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