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Series / Ultraman Ginga

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"You are a hero!"
"Through the darkest night, keep on shining, Ginga! Let your light us guide us together once more!"note 
Ginga no Uta, performed by Voyager.

Ultraman Ginga is a Japanese television series produced by Tsuburaya Productions, and is part of the Ultra Series. The show celebrates the 50th anniversary of the company, and became the first of the "New Generation" Ultraman series.

In a far-off galaxy lies The Land Of Light, which is home to a race of highly-advanced titans known as Ultras. One day, the Land of Light was drawn into an ultimate battle between the forces of good and evil, which became known as the Dark Spark War. The war came to an abrupt and unexpected end when the battlefield was attacked by an unknown force which transformed every participant- monsters, aliens, and Ultras- into miniaturized inanimate figurines called "Spark Dolls", then scattered them across the universe.

Sometime later on Earth, a young man named Hikaru Raidou returns to his hometown after a period of travelling the world, and is reunited with his best friends from high school. While investigating the makeshift Shinto shrine set up in the school (in place of the real shrine which recently burned down), he discovers that its sacred object is an item known as the Ginga Spark. By using the Ginga Spark to "Ultralive" with a Spark Doll, Hikaru can possess its body while restoring the creature to its original form and size, fighting together as one.

When an evil entity begins to orchestrate monster attacks on Hikaru's hometown, Hikaru uses the Ginga Spark and his collection of Spark Dolls to defend his home and friends. Yet he also has one final trump card, for in times of great need Hikaru can call upon the ultimate Spark Doll hidden within the Ginga Spark: Ultraman Ginga, a mysterious Ultra unknown even to The Land of Light.

Ultraman Ginga is a spectacular example of a shoestring-budget hit. At the time, the Ultra Series brand had been struggling for years and Tsuburaya Productions was in a severe financial crisis following a lost legal battle. Supposedly, Ginga was originally budgeted as an Ultra Series "best of" clipshow to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions, until someone was convinced to make the anniversary show a proper Ultraman series. As a result, Ginga features a thrifty cast, copious amounts of monster suit re-use (from past Ultra Series titles), incredible mileage out of a single shooting location (an abandoned school), and using actual toys (the "Spark Dolls" toyline, which existed prior to Ginga) as props and even main characters.

Incredibly, Ginga was a big hit, leading to a sequel series called Ultraman Ginga S. As the success of Ginga had greatly helped Tsuburaya Productions in paying off their debts, Ginga S is closer to the budget and theme of a regular Ultra Series show. It features Hikaru joining an international defense force called the "Ultra Party Guardians", and introduces a Foil and Lancer in Sho: the prince of a forgotten race of underground-dwelling humans, who is granted the power to "Ultralive" into Ultraman Victory and defend his home from intergalactic plunderers.

All spoilers for Ultraman Ginga will be marked as usual. While Ultraman Ginga S is the sequel to the former, spoilers pertaining to the earlier season may have been left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

Ultraman Ginga provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Misuzu tries to be this when she uses the Spark Dolls unforunately...
    • Faux Action Girl: She's borderline useless in fights and Ginga consistently has to save her.
    • Dark Action Girl: As Super Grand King when temporarily corrupted, who on the other hand poses one hell of a threat to Ginga.
  • An Aesop: One theme that shows up often is: "Don't give up completely on your dreams. Even if you fail, you can try again or come at it another way."
  • Alien Invasion
  • Alternate Universe: As revealed by Taro, this is a different universe from the M78 one, in this version, Earth has never been attacked by monsters or aliens.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: From Hikaru to Ichijouji.
    Who are you to decide if our dreams are possible?!
  • Asshole Victim: Invoked, most of the people who get transformed into Monsters of the Week already being nasty people before being transformed is why they were chosen, to use the darkness in their hearts.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Typical for Ultramen, of course each episode endsd with a Behemoth Battle between Ginga and any Monster of the Week.
  • Back for the Finale: Lugiel's Dragons from the first series return for the final of Ginga S.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Well, every Ultra series or movie has at least one, but in Episode 1 of this series, we get to see an actual, proper war between the Ultramen and the Kaiju.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Ginga Saber.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Anyone put under the control of the Darkness Spark(s). As of #5, we learn that enough faith and support from your friends can break the influence before it's too late.
  • Came Back Strong: Exceller manages to resurrect Dark Lugiel, merging him with the hero's base and Victorium to turn him into Victory Lugiel. Ichijouji even outright states he's become much stronger than last time (though the Dark Spark was also destroyed in the Final Battle with him). He's so powerful that he completely demolishes Victory and Ginga.
  • The Chosen One: Hikaru himself.
  • Cool Gun: The Gunpad for Ichijouji which turns into a BFG for Jean-Nine, enabling it to use its ultimate attack, Jean Stardust.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Taro is restored to his true form by the combined hopes and dreams of the town (which simultaneously weakens Lugiel by cutting off the negative emotions he was feeding on). He then channels that power into Ginga, allowing Ginga to destroy Lugiel.
  • Continuity Nod: In season 2, when Ginga earns Ultraman Taro's armour, and access to powers of the Ultra Brothers, predictably he uses said powers against the old foes of each brother. In order:
    • Ultraman: The Specium Kousen is used on Bemular, Ultraman's very first monster in the original show's pilot.
    • Ultraseven: The Wide Shot destroys King Joe, one of Ultraseven's most iconic foes.
    • Return of Ultraman: Jack's Power Shot is utilized to take down Sadora and Muruchi, both of them being Jack's old enemies.
    • Ultraman Ace: The Metallium Beam is used to finish off Yapool, the arch-enemy of Ace.
    • Ultraman Taro: The Storium Kousen is used to take out a legion of Imperializers, enemies faced by Taro during the events of Ultraman Mebius.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Ginga and Victory's first battle with Victory Lugiel is implied to be this by the first scene of the following episode, but ultimately was more of a Curb-Stomp Cushion. While they managed to get some hits in, they ultimately could barely even scratch him.
  • Cyborg: Exceller resurrects Dark Lugiel as a cyborg by merging his corpse with the UPG base and a ton of Victorium, creating Victory Lugiel.
  • Damsel in Distress: This seems to be Misuzu's role.
  • Darkest Hour: At the end of Ginga S: Exceller has succeeded in resurrecting Dark Lugiel as the far more powerful Victory Lugiel and completely crushes Ginga and Victory, he merged with their base when it formed, and it seems there's no hope at all of defeating him. To make matters worse, the heroes only have one more transformation left in them.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The mysterious figure summoning monsters turns out to be Shinra, who Dark Lugiel has possessed as its body on Earth.
  • The Dragon:
    • Valkie Seijin, who does the leg work in handing out Dark Sparks for his boss.
    • Later Icarus Seijin and Knackle Seijin take his place after he's defeated in episode 6.
  • Elemental Powers
    • Playing with Fire: Ginga Fireballs
    • Shock and Awe: Ginga Thunderbolt
    • Healing Hands: Ginga Comfort
      • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Ginga's light-up panels change color for these moves - blue defaultnote , red for fireballs, yellow for thunderbolts, green for healing, white for a saber attack, and purple for the Ginga Slash. There's also a pink variation seen in the toys, but it's currently unknown what power it has.
  • Eleven Episode Toku: Excluding films, Ginga holds the record for being the shortest Ultra series in the entire franchise, with a total of 11 episodes.
  • Elite Mook: The Dark Ultras, who up till Super Grand King are the only minions of Dark Lugiel capable of posing a serious challenge to Ginga.
    • Seichiiro Isurugi's Ultra Dark/Seven Dark in particular, repeatedly outmatching and wiping the floor with Ginga.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Exceller ultimately succeeds in resurrecting Dark Lugiel and taking his body for his own, but Lugiel wakes up and promptly spark dolls him without so much as a word.
  • Eye Lights Out: In Episode 6, when Ginga reaches inside Jean-Killer's cockpit and crushes the Dark Dummy Spark that was powering it.
  • Fake Defector: Mana tries this on Exceller to get inside Victory Lugiel and kill him. It doesn't quite work out as she planned (as Dark Lugiel revives and does that himself), she still manages to help weaken Lugiel from the inside and retrieve Shepardon's Spark Doll for Victory.
  • Fighting from the Inside: In episode 5 of Ginga S, Gouki gets possessed by Yapool... but manages to regain control at the sight of a woman going into labor. He proceeds to completely suppress Yapool the entire car ride to the hospital and while inside of Giant Yapool until Ginga knocks him out of Yapool.
  • Finishing Move: Ginga Thunderbolt, Ginga Fireball, Ginga Slash, Ginga Cross Shoot, Ginga Saber, Ginga Sunshine, Ginga Comfort, and Ginga Especially.
    • Ichijouji's Jean Stardust
    • Zeppelium Ray for Tiga/Tiga Dark, Emerium Ray, Wide Shot and Eye Slugger for Seven Dark/Ultraseven, Specium Ray and Ultra Slash for Ultra Dark/Ultraman, Storium Ray for Ultraman Tarou
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: Despite Ichijouji having a main cast billing in S, Jean-9 never appears once. Not even a mention or a Freeze-Frame Bonus with the Gun Pad.
  • Fusion Dance: Alien Icarus forms Tyrant by combining with his other components.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Bolst tries to at least form an Enemy Mine with Ginga to deal with Exceller after being stabbed in the back by him, but the UPG's commander orders for them to blast him in the back with the Victorium Cannon, killing him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Most of the heroes undergo one. Exploited by Dark Lugiel's dragons consistently.
    • Misuzu has a huge one when she finds out her father is the evil Ultra Dark/Seven Dark and in league with Dark Lugiel. As a result of her dark emotion she Darklives into Super Grand King.
    • Kenta gets one when he thinks she is being left out of the secrets the nakama share, and feeling abandoned takes an enormous level in jerkass. Is given a Doragory spark doll but never uses it.
    • Chigusa gets one when she fears she will never achieve her ambition to become a model and especially when Misuzu is stealing her limelight. As a result she Darklives into Ragon.
  • Wave-Motion Gun / Kamehame Hadoken: Ginga Cross Shoot.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: When Ichijouji takes back his Hero Killer aspiration and saves Hikaru.
  • Good Costume Switch: To a degree. When Jean-Killer is reborn as Jean-Nine, its glowing eyes go from red to yellow.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: All Ultramen and Ultra Monster sofubis, referred in-series as Spark Dolls.
  • Henshin Hero
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mana sacrifices herself to damage Victory Lugiel's internal systems to weaken him enough for the Ultras to kill him for good.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Big Bad only appears as a hand or arms for most of the series. This turns out to be because that's all he's capable of manifesting on his host and showing more would reveal who it is. Only once his resurrection is complete is he able to reveal his true form.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Exceller's goal was to resurrect Dark Lugiel's body and steal it for himself... but Dark Lugiel himself eventually wakes back up and quickly disposes of him to take his place as the Final Boss.
  • Humongous Transforming Mecha: The Jean-Killer, intended as an anti-Ultraman weapon and piloted by Ichijouji.
  • Kaiju
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Icarus gets put back in his spark doll midsentence by the Big Bad when the heroes capture him and nearly force him to talk after defeating him as Tyrant.
  • Knight Templar: Commander Masanori Kamiyama of UPG wants to protect humanity and not need to rely on the Ultras anymore. However, he wants this to the point he'll risk killing the completely innocent Victorians or go through Ultraman Ginga to use the Victorium Cannon to accomplish that goal.
  • Lighter and Softer: Mostly, given that this is an Earth very much like our one, and that there have been virtually zero Kaiju attacks up to Episode 1.
  • Literal Split Personality: Ginga and Lugiel were once a single being, but their conflict over how best to help make the universe a better place ultimately resulted in them splitting into two separate beings, one the light and the other the darkness.
  • Living Toys: The Ultra Heroes and Monsters got turned into this, so far only Taro and Ginga seem to keep their consciousness.
  • The Magic Comes Back: In the first series, it seems like the universe the series takes place in is near identical to Earth until the Spark Dolls show up. The second series, however, reveals that there are the typical things one would expect in an Ultra Series, they're simply underground. It isn't until the new Big Bad shows up and draws Victory's people to the surface that they emerge.
  • The Mentor: Ultraman Taro
  • Monster of the Week
  • Multiple Head Case: While King Pandon in #3 is controlled entirely by a single human, the Spark Dolls Theatre reveals this trope is in play normally.
  • Mythology Gag: "Urutora Nenriki!"
    • Taro's flashbacks of being a child, along with his tendency to abuse the Ultra Psychokinesis are callbacks to the non-canon-but-now-influential Ultraman Story.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • In Episode #4 Mizusu is chosen to be an Idol, made Chigusa angry and transforms her into a monster.
    • Masanori Kamiyama created the Victorium Cannon to fight off monsters attacking Earth. Not only does this cause tensions with the Victorians, he ultimately wasn't smart enough to actually use it and nearly causes the base to explode. Not only that, all he ultimately accomplished was gift wrapping a motherload of Victorium for Exceller to grab and complete his resurrection of Dark Lugiel.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: As opposed to previous series, the enemy monsters aren't killed when Ginga destroys them, instead simply leaving the human host stunned, but alive, and the Spark Doll intact.
  • One-Winged Angel: In S, Exceller becomes Five King after stealing enough Victorium.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Ichijouji tells Hikaru this at the end of Episode 6, after he makes his full Heel–Face Turn and Jean-Killer is reborn as Jean-Nine, helping Ginga defeat Valkian and Tiga Dark.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Only Hikaru can can use the Ginga Spark. It won't work for anyone else. In fact, when Knackle tries to touch it, it BURNS him.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Dark Lugiel doesn't do more than send out his chief minions to hand out Spark Dolls and Dummy Dark Sparks for most of the series.
  • People in Rubber Suits
  • Power Copying: Not only can Hikaru become Ginga or previous Ultramen, but he can also become monsters as well. Up until #6, in fact, he can only become Ginga after first taking a monster form.
  • Pyromaniac: Yuuka in #3 is one, even before she transforms into King Pandon.
  • Redemption Demotion: Seichiiro Isurugi is hell of alot more useless and weaker when a hero than a villain.
    • To a much lesser extent, Ichijouji, who although remaining competent unlike the above, is no longer Ginga's equal.
  • Sizeshifter
  • Super Mode: Averted- unusually for a recent series. Ginga doesn't have a super mode(s) or upgraded forms like Cosmos, Mebius or Nexus. On the other hand, that doesn't stop him from simply becoming exponentially stronger with every major battle.
    • Played straight in Ginga S with the introduction of Ultraman Ginga Storium, which he combines with Ultraman Taro and gains the power of the 6 Ultra Brothers.
  • Spoiler Opening: During the opening episode of Ginga S Tomoya has his back to the camera and/or his face obscured by the camera angle to not reveal his identity until he meets Hikaru face to face. Pity the credits list him and show his face clear as day.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Unbeknownst to everyone, Shinrai Kyoko was possessed by the Big Bad and has to be expelled from her body before he takes over.
  • Swiss-Army Tears: In Episode 6, after seeing an inactive Jean-Killer (due to Ginga somehow reaching inside Jean-Killer's cockpit and destroying the Dark Dummy Spark that was powering it) get knocked aside during the battle between Ginga, Tiga Dark and Valkian, Ichijouji sheds a single tear at the thought that he'll never be able to fulfill his dream of defeating and surpassing Ginga - a single tear that somehow transforms into a new Gunpad, which reactivates Jean-Killer and restores it to its original form of Jean-Nine.
  • Sword Beam / Anatomy Arsenal: Ginga Slash, also a Call-Back to Ultraseven's Eye Slugger, since it fires from the crest panel on Ginga's forehead.
  • Toilet Humor: Kemurian does this in the fight with Thunder Darambia.
  • Toku
  • Toy Transmutation: The Spark Dolls, which look like action figures, are actually many Ultras, Aliens and Kaiju forcefully transformed into the toys, most of them come from the Multiversal Dark Spark War fought between Ultras and evil Aliens/Kaiju, where the Dark Giant, Dark Lugiel ambushed both factions and transformed them with his Dark Spark before doing a Mutual Kill-of-sorts with Ultraman Ginga, resulting in both regressing to Spark Dolls.
  • Transformation Trinket: Ginga Spark and Darkness Spark.
  • Transformation Sequence
  • Victim of the Week see Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Villainous BSoD: Happens often to the Monsters of the Week who were Asshole Victims after being completely consumed by their inner darkness and then freed. Yuuka probably had the best one.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Exceller in S begs Ginga and Victory to stop right before Ginga hits Five King with the finishing blow.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Big Bad, Lugiel, is one. He wanted to bring about a peaceful universe free from suffering, but his way of doing that was to freeze time itself by making everything into Spark Dolls.
  • Wham Episode: #3 Taro is kidnapped, and he knows the servant of the Big Bad.
    • #4 Jean-Killer debuts and hands Ginga his first defeat.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Exceller in S ultimately abandons Android 01 for her failures, resulting in her Heel–Face Turn
    • Exceller likewise ultimately turns Bolst into a feral, mindless beast for failing him one too many times for his tastes.

Alternative Title(s): Ultraman Ginga S