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Film / Ultraman Zearth

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Ganbare Zearth!!!

Ultraman Zearth is a 2-movie series produced by Tsuburaya as a collaboration with Idemitsu Kosan, part of the Ultra Series, featuring Zearth, a parody of the typical Ultramen, being an accident-prone klutz not quite adept at being a superhero, but still dedicated to his job.

Being the Ultra Warrior representing Land of Pikari in Nebula Z95, Zearth joins the Earth Defense Force, MYDO (Mysterious Yonder Defense Organization) under the human alias Katsuto Asahi, where unlike the usual Ultramen whose human forms or hosts work as pilots, researchers, soldiers or any important figure of authority, Asahi ends up being their janitor. Suffering from intense hypochondria, Zearth / Asahi must learn to overcome his fears as the powerful Alien Benzenes attempts to conquer the Earth.

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Ultraman Zearth provides examples of the following tropes:

    For both movies in general 

  • Affectionate Parody: Of the entire Ultra Series.
  • Aliens Among Us: Ultraman Zearth and the Alien Benzenes both had human disguises, respectively as Katsuto Asahi and Akuma Ogami, which allows them to blend seamlessly with humans.
  • Almighty Janitor: Ultraman Zearth, in his human form as Katsuto Asahi, works as a janitor in a petrol station.
  • Behemoth Battle: The climaxes of both movies, naturally with Ultraman Zearth facing the tag-team of Cotton-pope and Alien Benzene, and then Shadow Zearth.
  • Butt-Monkey: Asahi, the most hilariously accident-prone Ultra-host, frequently tripping over, getting smacked in the face, hitting his head, humiliated by his teammates… he’s equally prone to disasters when in Ultra form!
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The MYDO headquarters is located underneath a normal-looking Petrol station, the same station where Asahi works as a janitor.
  • Henshin Hero: Katsuto Asahi, who transforms into Ultraman Zearth by brushing his teeth.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Happens to MYDO in both movies, where their traps and weapons meant for Cotton-pope and Shadow Zearth ends up being used backwards on themselves.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The antagonists of both flicks’ attempts to use Zearth’s weaknesses against him instead push him to overcome those weaknesses to save his friends.
  • Oddly Small Organization: MYDO consists of six members, Captain Shinpei Ohkohchi, Butsukichi Konakai, Captain Ban Satsuma, Manabu Kazu, Tohru Hoshimi and Ganta Takemura. Katsuto Asahi himself may or may not count, since he’s their janitor, but for a team with their own secret base that’s pretty darn small.
  • Open Secret: The “secret” location of MYDO is a petrol station right smack in the middle of the city. And their fighter planes are launched from a public signboard in an open street.
  • Product Placement: As this film series is a collaboration with Idemitsu Kosan, their products regularly appear in the films:
    • Zearth is named after Idemitsu's petroleum product of the same name, and was initially created to advertise it. Him fighting against Alien Benzene is a reference to how the petroleum product contains less than 1% benzene content.
    • MYDO is named after Idemitsu's MYDO card loyalty program, and their base of operations is filmed at an actual Idemitsu petrol station. Lady Benzene also uses a MYDO card in her debut to pay for her gasoline.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Cotton-pope, the Alien Benzenes, Shadow Zearth and Darklar all have threatening, glowing red eyes.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Tohru Hoshimi is the only lady in the entirety of MYDO. She’s also The Heart of the team and the only crewmember which is nice to Asahi.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: For all the silliness and ridiculousness contained in both movies the villains are still legitimate threats to Earth and are based on the intelligent, cunning aliens popularized by Ultraseven:
    • Alien Benzene's plan has his monster, Cotton-Pope, steal all of Earth's gold in order to absorb it himself to increase his own strength. He then kidnaps Zearth's friends in order to lure him in destroying his monster with his Speciu-shula Beam in order to trigger an Earth-Shattering Kaboom and absorb the golden power underneath it. His plan would have worked too if it wasn't for MYDO's warning and even then he still had a back-up plan in using Zearth's Hypochondria against him - for comparison other alien invaders who managed to attack the hero personally are Alien Nackle and Commander Black.
    • Much like the first movie, in the second movie's Big Bad, Lady-Benzene proves to be a seriously threatening villain despite starring in a silly parody movie, being cunning, manipulative, dangerous, and even succeeds in abducting entire populations of cities – a feat repeated only by Alien Bat and Gilbaris decades later.

    Ultraman Zearth (1996)

  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: After the battle with Cotton-pope goes awry, the entire MYDO team returns to base defeated, but while the three men are in bandages and covered with burn marks, the worst than happens to token female teammate Tohru Hoshimi is having some soot on her face.
  • Deadly Dodging: In the middle of a fight where Ultraman Zearth is being curb-stomped by Cotton-pope and Alien Benzene, both alien and kaiju prepares to fire their energy beams on Zearth… but Zearth managed to leap aside while in-between his opponents, cauising Alien Benzene and Cotton-pope to blast each other in their faces.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Invoked. Due to Cotton-pope’s unstable body structure and the high amounts of energy it is loaded with, its death will cause a massive nuclear explosion that could reduce planet Earth into particles. Team MYDO had to warn Ultraman Zearth against using his beam attack directly on the monster during the battle.
  • Expy: Midori, the Master Computer of MYDO which analyzes data and tactics in battling monsters, resembles a female version of MCP from Tron.
  • Face Your Fears: In the climax, Ultraman Zearth have to face his crippling natural Hypochondria and cross a pool of slime, to save Tohru and the children and battle Alien Benzene and Cotton-pope.
  • Feed It with Fire: A hilariously literal example. When MYDO deduce that Cotton-pope’s weakness is fire, they lure the monster into a trap and unleash a Ring of Fire around the kaiju. The monster slurps up the flames like ramen noodles and spits it back at MYDO, who quickly turn tails and get the hell out of the way.
  • Foreshadowing: When Akuma Ogami (Alien Benzene) made his first few appearances outside the MYDO gas station, he repeatedly demands for Asahi to wax his car with Benzene. Hinting his eventual identity as the alien invader known as Alien Benzene.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After being trapped in the quicksand pit trap Alien Benzene set up, the cheering of Tohru, the children and team MYDO is what allows Ultraman Zearth/Asahi to regain his confidence and leap out, back to battle.
  • I Have Your Wife: Alien Benzene kidnaps Tohru and a few children to lure Ultraman Zearth out and battle him directly.
  • Kick the Dog: In an early scene after Asahi is done filling petrol for Akuma’s car, Akuma hands Asahi his tip… a filthy, slime-covered, dirty piece of note that looks like something out of a trash can. Which he deliberately dropped on the floor. Then emptied an ashtray on it. Before driving away leaving poor Asahi to clean up after him.
  • Meaningful Name: Combined with Bilingual Bonus, Alien Benzene’s human form is named Akuma Ogami, or "Demon God".
  • Metal Muncher: Cotton-pope’s diet consists of gold, which is the source of its (and alien Benzene’s) powers.
  • Monumental Damage: The Kiyomizu Temple of Kyoto had its gold exterior absorbed and completely sucked away by Cotton-pope, leaving the entire monument a rusty grey ruin.
  • Quicksand Sucks: An additional trap installed by Alien Benzene when tricking Ultraman Zearth to cross the pool of slime to reach Tohru. There’s a quicksand in the middle of the pool, which sucks Zearth right in as soon as he steps on.
  • Spin Attack: In the climax, Ultraman Zearth executes his most powerful move, spinning himself like a tornado, with enough force to deflect all attacks Alien Benzene and Cotton-pope throws at him, and ultimately uses this to defeat both his foes.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: Ultraman Zearth’s tornado spin which deflects every attack directed at him and allows him to finally kick some ass back on the monsters.
  • Terrified of Germs: Asahi have a severe case of Hypochondria, and freaks out when getting slight traces of dirt on him. This even carries over in his Ultra form, which of course Alien Benzene gleefully exploits. Averted in the sequel however, Zearth is no longer hypochondriac at that point.
  • Toyota Tripwire: In an early scene, Asahi tries chasing after Akuma’s car, only for the car door to swing open and smack Asahi in the face.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Alien Benzene’s fate after Ultraman Zearth delivers a spinning kick that sends him into the stratosphere, where the alien ends up floating away into the darkness of outer space. And he’s somehow still alive after that…
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Ultraman Zearth is afraid of dirt and slime. Even a little bit of dust is enough to make his human form freak out! Naturally he had to learn how to get over his fears in the end of the first movie.
  • Worf Had the Flu: This movie actually justifies the oft-complained issue with Ultraman in general: “Why don’t the Ultras just use their energy beams on the monster/alien right away?” In this case, its because the monster Cotton-pope is loaded with unstable energy, and killing it directly with an energy beam will cause an explosion wide enough to destroy Earth on the spot. Naturally Ultraman Zearth had to dispose of the monster in a more practical way.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: The random auntie who, on more than one occasion in the first movie, saw the MYDO Jet transport taking off from their Elaborate Underground Base at their gas station front, and tries convincing other passer-bys of what she has seen.

    Ultraman Zearth 2: Superhuman Big Battle - Light and Shadow (1997)
  • Action Prologue: The movie opens with Ultraman Zearth and Shadow Zearth battling each other in the Arctic, before Ultraman Zearth ends up being defeated and Left for Dead.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Kohji Moritsugu who plays Captain Ban Satsuma earlier portrayed Dan Moroboshi / Ultraseven. When Asahi summons the capsule kaiju Miraclon, Captain Ban gives in a meaningful nod in approval.
    • One of the civilians caught in Shadow Zearth’s rampage is none other than Susumu Kurobe a.k.a the original Ultraman. He jokingly pulls out a spoon thinking it was his Beta Capsule, something he did thirty years ago in episode 34 of his show, before realizing he’s in an alternate universe where he’s NOT Ultraman anymore.
  • Attack Reflector: MYDO manage to develop a massive Wave-Motion Gun based on Zetton’s powers, which they plan to use to knock out Shadow Zearth by aiming for his Color Timer. Unfortunaely, they didn’t count on Shadow Zearth having a compactible shield around his timer, causing their fired beam to reflect back and destroying their own ship.
  • Avenging the Villain: Lady-Benzene is the new Big Bad out to avenge Alien Benzene’s defeat. Subverted that Alien Benzene is shown to be still alive, though.
  • Beam-O-War: Ultraman Zearth and Shadow Zearth battles each other with their energy beams in both of their confrontations.
  • Book Ends: The movie opens and ends with Ultraman Zearth and Shadow Zearth fighting each other. They use the same moves in both battles, and both brawls concludes with the loser (Ultraman Zearth, and later Shadow Zearth) being knocked from the stratosphere and falling downwards at high speed.
  • Continuity Nod: When discussing Shadow Zearth’s potential weakness, Manabu cites the colour timer as an example, referencing the final episode of the original Ultraman where Ultraman gets defeated by Zetton when his colour timer gets struck by Zetton’s energy beam.
  • Darker and Edgier: Whilst not as dark as other instalments of the franchise, this movie is significantly more serious in tone compared to the first. Zearth's Heroic BSoD is treated completely seriously and a portion of the movie is dedicated to overcoming his fear of Shadow Ultraman by going through Training from Hell, while the enemy is shown attacking a city on-screen with visible damage and succeeds in brainwashing thousands of humans, including Tooru.
  • Dynamic Entry: In the climax, with Shadow Zearth about to kill the stranded team MYDO, Ultraman Zearth arrives just in time, announcing nhis arrival by kicking Shadow Zearth in the face.
  • Expy:
    • Shadow Zearth is obviously based on Robot Ultraseven, having being reassembled using the same technology as the Salome Aliens in a similar-looking facility.
    • Miraclon is a more colourful Miclas, being a horned capsule monster that assists Ultraman Zearth. Kohji Moritsugu’s Captain Ban even lampshades this (see Actor Allusion).
  • Evil Knockoff: Shadow Zearth.
  • Mass Hypnosis: Shadow Zearth, using the Mind Control Beam in his eyes, is capable of hypnotizing a mass portion of the entire city at once.
  • Megaton Punch: How Shadow Zearth defeats Ultraman Zearth in the opening, with his fist landing on Zearth's eye. Its strong enough to knock Zearth flying backwards before falling down flat, and in the next shot Zearth’s entire eye is now glowing red.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: The above poster.
  • Robotic Reveal: While the audience already knows Shadow Zearth is a robot (we saw it being maintained in Lady-Benzene’s facility), team MYDO doesn’t. As such they react with surprise when Ultraman Zearth lands a devastating kick on Shadow Zearth’s face exposing its internal circuits.
  • Shout-Out: The locker room teleportation sequence where MYDO ‘ports themselves to their ships is a blatant Star Trek reference.
  • Synchronization: Ultraman Zearth is defeated when Shadow Zearth lands a massive punch on Zearth’s left eye, turning his entire eye from yellow to red. In the next scene where Asahi (Zearth’s human form) is seen, he had an eye-patch over his left eye.
  • Training from Hell: Katsuto Asahi is subjected to training himself to kick as high as he can, if he even wants to try defeating Shadow Zearth.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After Shadow Zearth’s defeat and Ultraman Zearth had successfully restored the world’s population back to normal, Lady-Benzene hightails it out of there and was never mentioned for the rest of the movie.
  • Voice Clip Song: MYDO gains its own soundtrack in the sequel... which is basically the words "MYDO" repeated again and again and again. Its supposed to inspire strength and power among the defense forces, but it ends up sounding rather hilarious (very likely intentional).