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Anime / The☆Ultraman

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The Ultraman (stylized in Japan as ザ☆ウルトラマン, literally The☆Ultraman) is an anime Ultra Series produced in 1979 as a joint collaboration between Tsuburaya Productions and Sunrise animation studio. In contrast to past Ultra Series, it was produced as an anime and took place in a different world away from the live action Showa Era. The Ultraman coincide its airing with Mobile Suit Gundam in that same year (also an anime produced by Sunrise), with Yoshiyuki Tomino even directed the last four episodes of the series.

Set in the 21st century, Earth and mankind has been plagued by various monster attacks. From the Ultra Planet U40, the Ultra People sent their strongest warrior Joneus to defend mankind by merging with Science Guard Party officer Choichiro Hikari. At the times of need, Joneus would be assisted by Elek, Loto and five other chosen warriors of U40 to his aid in against alien invaders. The first half of the show portray itself as a standard Ultra Series trope, going on with the standard formula of fighting monsters Once an Episode. Since The Ultraman is an anime instead of live action, the series took a liberal approach of monsters with varying forms, size and appearances.

Starting from episode 37, Heller and his Heller Empire appear to invade the Planet U40 and set their target on Planet Earth as the next planet of invasion. With the series draws closer to its end, The Science Guard Party and Joneus took their battle to space and join the La Résistance in their attempts on fighting Heller while reclaiming their home planet.

Following the end of this series, it was succeeded by Ultraman 80, but the latter's Executive Meddling and poor ratings put the Ultra Series to another 15 years of hiatus.

Not to be confused with The Ultraman, a similarly named 1975 manga drawn by Mamoru Uchiyama (with the exception of the star icon as a separation), although it does receive an animation short as an adaptation during the Japan Animator Expo.

However, the 1979 anime did admittedly took its name from the aforementioned manga, although it doesn't steer into a full blown adaptation and went into its own original story as a whole.

The Ultraman provided with the trope examples below.

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Subverted. The Ultras of U40 are originally humans and their Ultra forms are their combat forms, but as stated by Amia, both are equally their true forms. They only choose to assume as humans during peace time and when communicating with mankind.
  • Alternate Universe: The series is set in a different Planet Earth and its own different race of Ultra Warriors from a different planet altogether. This is the first case that an Ultra Series made a separate universe entry, predating even the popularly received Ultraman Tiga by 17 years.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • After being killed by the Spirit Parasite in Bedoran's body, Hikari and Joneus were spirited to U40 to be resurrected and recuperated for an entirety of two episodes.
    • In episode 27, Alien Baladon grave-robbed six monsters of past Ultra Series from the Monster Graveyard. They were Red King, Aboras, Banila, Arstron, Ghostron and Gokinezula.
    • The bone monster Skelldon in episode 30 is an interesting case, in that while it did revive, it was only in the form of its old skeleton and not in flesh.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The people of U40 are largely responsible for the modernization of mankind after coming in contact with the Neanderthals in the distant past. Because of this, mankind itself are implied to be descendants to the people of U40.
  • Big Bad: The series initially lacked its own main villain at the start, but from episode 37 and so on, Heller took this position as the leader of his army and the major factor behind the monster attacks from that point on. Defeating him in the final episode cemented the anime's ending to its story.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Although loud and boisterous, the new Science Guard Party captain Daisuke Gondo has a big brother-like presence to his team members while still maintaining his authority as a leader. The team members are likewise accept him as their leader after an episode long of their initial rocky start.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Goglan and Badan are the examples of giant insects taken into realistically giant proportions as opposed to the People in Rubber Suits tactics in past Ultra Series.
  • Big Good: The Great Sage in Planet U40 is the very leader of the Ultras in said planet, as well as the one who instruct Joneus to go to Earth.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Hikari has no announcement before transforming into Joneus, but he develops one starting from episode 21, shouting "Ultra Change"!
  • Captain Ersatz: The Science Guard Party's team member Marume and Tobe are blatant copies in appearance and roles to the original 1966 Ultraman cast Arashi and Ide. In Tobe's case, he is voiced by Masanari Nihei, Ide's original actor.
  • Chick Magnet: The series initially started it up with a Ship Tease between Hikari and Mutsumi, but as it progresses, the former also garner a lot of attention from other female characters like the waitress Yuriko, Joneus' little sister Amia and even an alien princess who assumed Mutsumi's form.
  • The Chosen One: Joneus said that he specifically choses Hikari as his host. The reason is that he had long been on Earth's atmosphere, witnessing Hikari's exploits in his space station after selflessly killing a space insect munching through the wires. This act of bravery was witnessed by Joneus alone, coupled with Hikari putting the safety of the station above his own importance (he was low on oxygen at that time) and keeping this as a secret to himself instead of being a Glory Hound about it.
  • Cool Plane: The giant ship Super Mardock is a massive plane designed by Tobe, allowing the team to go on air, underwater and even outer space to combat monster attacks.
  • Cool Starship:
    • Normally, the invading alien forces are known to have these, including Heller Army's own fleet of starships.
    • The battleship Ultria was designed by the ancestors of the Ultras as contingency and left buried on Earth. Amia activated it and gave the ship's ownership to the Science Guard Party in order to combat Heller's armies, while at the same time replacing the wrecked Super Mardock in the previous episode.
  • Critical Annoyance: Like the Land of Light Ultras, Joneus' Star Symbol (his equivalent of Color Timer) measures him time limit on Earth for only 4 minutes. Its original color is green, and when its low in energy, it briefly changes to yellow before blinking in red color.
    • What set this apart further from their Land of Light counterparts is that the Star Symbol is a medal of honor given to any of the chosen great 8 warriors, instead of surgically-implanted devices. These items are what enlarging U40 Ultras to their gargantuan proportions as they are normally human-sized instead of giants.
  • Evil Counterpart: Two cases at that.
    • During the Badel Tribe's invasion, they sent a Spirit Parasite to Earth. This spiritual creature has the ability merge with any reptile and turn them into monsters. What makes it a counterpart is that it was born from the Ultra Mind, the same energy source that created the Ultras in the first place, only this time, the Badel abuse it for their own purpose. Like other Ultras, the spirit parasite assimilates with the reptiles like how Joneus merge with Hikari.
    • Heller and his 3,000 followers are invoked examples, as they are U40 people who were banished for deciding to use the Ultra Mind towards those of immortality. Although losing the ability to become Ultras, they compensate this through their resources of battleships and monster and alien forces.
  • The Dragon: Roygar is Heller's right hand man, and while Heller commanded from Planet U40, Roygar decided to overseer the invasion on Earth by setting up a base on Saturn's ring.
  • Dub Name Change: Four of The Ultraman episodes were adapted to English dub in an attempt to promote the Ultra Series in United States, and most of the cast members were given English names to boot despite being Japanese themselves.
  • A Father to His Men: Captain Akiyama is this to his team members as a whole. His replacement, Gondo, also qualifies but his boisterous personality makes him more of a big brother figure than a parental figure.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Amia tended Hikari's injuries after his death on Earth. Combined with the two fighting against Bader group together causes her to become smitten to him. It gets to the point where she snuck away into Earth and merge with an Earthling just for the sake of reuniting with Hikari.
  • Fusion Dance: Fundus and Choirus are capable of fusing into Dabaran, two Alien Jadans are required to form the two headed Kaiju Jagon and a pair of Dostony robots merge molecularly into a stronger Dostony.
    • Monki had once accidentally fused with one of the Dostony units into a towering monster.
  • The Hero Dies: Choichiro Hikari and Joneus were both killed by the Spirit Parasite in episode 19, forcing Elek to go to Earth personally to retrieve their bodies and revive them on Planet U40.
  • Human Aliens:
    • The U40 Ultras are originally this, and they are even implied to be mankind's descendants due to their established contact with Neanderthals in the distant past. Although obtaining the ability to transform into Ultra, their human forms are still their true forms at that.
    • This is also the case with Heller and his followers. After abandoning their Ultra forms, they become a full-fledged human alien villains in the series. His soldiers of similar species are forced to wear a combat armor to compensate for the loss of their Ultra forms.
  • Identical Stranger: Amia's human form has an identical doppelganger on Earth, an ill girl at that. She fuses with said girl in order to reunite with Hikari.
  • Kill and Replace: A squad of androids posed as a team of soldiers scheduled to arrive at the Science Guard Party's base after killing the original team in order to destroy it under Heller's orders.
  • La Résistance: The remaining U40 Ultras banded together to form a resistance team when their home world were taken over by Heller's army. The Science Guard Party join them in order to put Heller's invasion on Earth to a definitive end.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: After being healed in Planet U40 and helped thwarting the Badel army, Hikari was returned to Earth with his memories at Joneus' home planet being erased. This was done completely to ensure that U40's existence remains a secret to mankind. It doesn't last long due to Amia's presence on Earth, as well as the Heller Army's invasion forces Hikari and the Science Guard Party to give a full participation in assisting the U40's La Résistance team.
  • Light Is Good: In addition to red, the U40 race also has the white coloration to their Ultraman forms. When Joneus gets his own live action suit, the color white was replaced with Land of Light Ultra's silver.
  • Light Is Not Good: Compared to his followers, Heller's skin is entirely white, but he is not a benevolent leader at all. This is contrasted by his black-colored uniform when commanding his army.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Predating even the Land of Light in Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends, the U40 people are said to originally being human like, but they receive their Ultraman forms under the exposure to the Ultra Mind, an artificial energy source created to counter invaders on their home planet. Unlike their Land of Light counterparts, Amia outright proclaims that both their human and Ultra forms are equally original forms altogether.
  • Mythology Gag: The final arc of the series deals with Joneus, the Science Guard Party and mankind defending themselves against the invasion of Heller Army as a concept of "war between two worlds". This concept was already envisioned but scrapped in Ultraman Leo, replacing it with Alien Babalou's theft of Ultra Key and Commander Black's army of monster saucers.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The anime was produced in 1979, but the show itself took place in the 21st century.
  • Pest Controller: The grasshopper monster Badan in episode 17 commanded a swarm of grasshoppers to terrorize cities in its presence.
  • Pet Monstrosity: Episode 2 deals with a monster named Wanigodon, who's capable of shedding into smaller pieces and regrow into several other versions of itself after its first destruction. One of them was under the care of Takashi, who named it Pero and was totally distraught to learn that his pet was the very monster in front of his own eyes.
  • Put on a Bus: The first Science Guard Party captain Akiyama was transferred to the American branch at the end of episode 26. Two episodes later, he was replaced by the younger and hot-blooded captain Daisuke Gondo.
  • Red Is Heroic: The entire Ultras of U40 are colored red and white, and are also heroics as long as they maintain their Ultraman forms.
  • Revenge: The Heller Empire invaded U40 as a revenge for being banished into the depths of Dark Nebula for 10,000 years when they discarded their Ultraman forms over immortality.
  • Robot Me: Joneus' robot doppelganger in episode 41, created by Alien Gilo to accompany Gilos in invading Earth.
  • Sinister Stingrays: a Monster of the Week called Zanba is an alien manta ray monster with powerful Razor Wings which it used to destroy planes and buildings, and proves to be one of Ultraman Joneus' tougher opponents due to its Lightning Bruiser abilities.
  • Sizeshifter: Averted. Unlike the Land of Light Ultras, the U40 Ultras are normally human-sized, but the Star Symbol used by the 8 chosen warriors allow them to grow into giant proportions. As Joneus demonstrated, by absorbing enough sunlight, he can grow to the maximum height of 120 meters.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Most of the appearing monsters in the series reuses the roars of Baragon.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Averted for the first time in Ultra Series, as the Science Guard are also seen fighting monsters in nearby South Pacific, Himalaya and Egypt to name a few. The last three episodes are even dedicated to fighting entirely outside the Planet Earth.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: The Spirit Parasite merges with any nearby reptile and transform them into a reptile monster with the same strength as an Ultra, particularly that of Joneus.
  • Transformation Trinket: Hikari, and also the entirety of U40 Ultras transform via the use of Beam Flasher, a star-like pendant by placing it on their foreheads. Some of them can naturally warp themselves in their Ultra forms.
  • Underground City: The U40 people resides in a massive and civilized underground city, while the ground surface appear as an ancient Rome-like landscape.
  • Vine Tentacles: Death Balan starts off as a Foul Flower but later assumes a [[{{Planimal}] plant/animal hybrid]] with extendable whip-like vines growing from it's neck and front.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The elders of U40 said this, including that life and death is a normal cycle when Heller proposes the Ultra Mind's power to be used with immortality.
  • World's Strongest Man: Joneus is the strongest of the Ultra Warrios in U40, besting even the other seven chosen Ultras. This is why he was sent to Earth as its protector, but Joneus itself is not without a record of defeat.