Wednesday 17 July 2013

First Impressions: Ultraman Ginga

Ultraman Ginga

With Akibaranger done once again I've found myself with one less weekly series to watch, and decided to pick up something new. While I've always been aware of Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Series and Ultraman, it's only recently something I've become interested in watching. While I'm currently watching Ultraman Nexus as part of's "Let's Watch Wednesday", the arrival of the 50th anniversary Ultra Hero has also sparked my interest. Welcome to Ultraman Ginga...

All of the existing Ultramen and monsters have been turned into Spark Dolls (small vinyl toys) by an unknown evil force and scattered across Earth. A young man named Hikaru Raidou is told by the Ultraman Taro spark doll that he is the chosen one, and will be able to return the Ultramen to their original forms using an item known as the Ginga Spark. However the spark also gives Hikaru the power to turn into Ultraman Ginga, as well as become one with previous monsters and Ultramen.

What I think I enjoy the most about Japanese tokusatsu anniversary celebrations of this kind is that while they go to great lengths to tribute everything that's come before it, they still make them easily accessible to newcomers as potentially a great starting off point for the franchise. Gokaiger and, to a lesser extent, Kamen Rider Decade were the same. There's plenty to keep long-time Ultra fans satisfied - such as the appearance of Ultraman Taro and a number of classic monsters, but not to the point where anything isn't understandable for newbies like me.

Like I said earlier, my current experience with the Ultra Series simply extends to Ultraman Nexus (and the Ultraman: The Next movie), which is a pretty gritty show. Ultraman Ginga can't really do that since its gimmick is essentially based around talking vinyl toys, so instead makes the wise choice of being an incredibly fun series. The episode is incredibly silly, but never stops being fun and at the same time has an obvious story no matter how wacky it is. Then when we finally get around to the debut of Ultraman Ginga it's everything that makes the Ultra Series unique - wonderful miniature work, beautifully retro costume design and all-out monster brawling.

I couldn't be more happy with the first episode of Ultraman Ginga. It's a fun, light-hearted look back at a franchise that doesn't get enough love from Western toku audiences as well as providing something new and exciting. I honestly can't wait for more.

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