ULTRAMAN ZERO THE MOVIE: SUPER DECISIVE BATTLE! BELIAL’S GALACTIC EMPIRE
In celebration of the Ultraman series’ 45th anniversary in 2011, production has begun on Tsuburaya Productions’ latest feature film ULTRAMAN ZERO THE MOVIE: SUPER DECISIVE BATTLE! BELIAL’S GALACTIC EMPIRE (Urutoraman Zero THE MOVIE Chou Kessen! Beriaru Ginga Teikoku), due for nationwide theatrical release this December in Japan.
The latest Ultra hero Ultraman Zero, the son of Ultra Seven, takes on the role of the protagonist in this production, while Ultraman Belial, history’s first evil Ultraman who rampaged screens in last year’s ULTRA GALAXY: MEGA MONSTER BATTLE (Daikaiju Battoru Urutora Ginnga Densetsu THE MOVIE) has survived, returning in a powered-up form and proclaiming himself to be “the galactic emperor Kaiser Belial”. Building up an enormous galactic empire, Kaiser Belial aspires for universal conquest in revenge against the Ultra warriors. The young hero Ultraman Zero joins successive generations of Ultra warriors, as well as some new friends, to crush Kaiser Belial’s aspirations.
Ultraman Zero, who has been awarded a new item called the “Ultra Zero Bracelet” by his father Ultra Seven, encounters a brave young man called Ran, who is dying from a serious injury after saving his little brother Nao from Belial’s galactic imperial army. Moved by the man’s courage, Ultraman Zero merges his life-force with Ran, for the first time adopting a human form, and together with Nao they begin their journey, where the whole galaxy becomes a grand stage for this all-new action adventure movie.
Playing the role of Ran, Ultraman Zero’s human host, is the charming 21 year old actor Yu Koyanagi. Just like Ultra Seven, he will transform into Ultraman Zero using a device called the “Ultra Zero Eye”, a transformation scene set to be a large highlight of the new movie.
In the role of Ran’s younger brother Nao is 10 year old Tatsuomi Hamada, who currently plays the childhood version of Ryoum Sakamoto in NHK’s long-running TV drama series RYOMADEN. Hamada, who grew up watching ULTRAMAN MEBIUS (Urutoraman Mebiusu, 2006) and professes to being a huge Ultraman fan, plays the role of Nao with great vigour as he joins Ultraman Zero on a grand adventure.
Joining them on their adventure is “Princess Esmerana” of the planet Esmeralda, played by 15 year old actress Tao Tsuchiya. Currently playing the role of Ryoma’s big sister Otome Sakamoto in NHK’s RYOMADEN, this film will mark the second time she has worked together with actor Tatsuomi Hamada.
Yuichi Abe will be serving as both writer and director of the new film — the first time on an Ultraman feature any one person has assumed both of these roles. Abe’s earliest genre work was Toho’s GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE (Gojira tai Biorante, 1989), on which he served as a production assistant. He subsequently served as the VFX coordinator for ULTRAMAN ZEARTH 2 (Urutoraman Zeasu 2, 1997) and ULTRAMAN TIGA & ULTRAMAN DYNA (Urutoraman Tiga ando Urutoraman Daina: Hikari no Hoshi no Senshi-tachi, 1998), and later as CGI director for GODZILLA FINAL WARS (Gojira Fainaru Uoozu, 2004).
In 2004, Abe made his directorial debut on the Ultraman series with ULTRAMAN NEXUS (Urutoraman Nekusasu), on which he directed seven episodes including the series finale, and returned to direct six episodes of 2006’s ULTRAMAN MEBIUS (Urutoraman Mebiusu) and three episodes of 2008’s ULTRA GALAXY: MEGA MONSTER BATTLE – NEVER ENDING ODYSSEY (Urutora Garakushii Daikaiju Batoru Nebaa Endingu Odessei).
ULTRAMAN ZERO THE MOVIE: SUPER DECISIVE BATTLE! BELIAL’S GALACTIC EMPIRE opens to theaters nationwide in Japan on December 23, 2010. Advance tickets will go on sale on July 10.
Producer: Masahiro Onda
Writer/Director: Yuichi Abe
Production: Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd
Production Group: ULTRAMAN ZERO THE MOVIE Production Committee
Distributor: SHOCHIKU Co., Ltd
Cast: Yu Koyanagi, Tatsuomi Hamada, Tao Tsuchiya
About Tsuburaya Productions
Tsuburaya Productions was founded in 1963 by special effects legend Eiji Tsuburaya. The company created the incredibly popular series ULTRA Q (Urutora Kyu, 1966), ULTRAMAN (Urutoraman, 1966), and ULTRA SEVEN (Urutora Sebun, 1967). TPC had always been controlled by the Tsuburaya family, and in recent years was run by Eiji’s grandson Kazuo Tsuburaya.
In October 2007, the media group TYO Inc. took controlling interest of Tsuburaya Productions with a 51% share of the company, while popular Japanese toy manufacturer Bandai acquired 49% of the company. Under this new ownership, the studio produced last year’s movie ULTRA GALAXY: MEGA MONSTER BATTLE along with two direct-to-DVD ULTRAMAN MEBIUS stories.
In March this year, Tsuburaya Productions was sold again after TYO made substantial losses in the previous financial year. TYO sold their entire 51% majority share of the company to the Fields Corporation, a producer of “pachinko” slot machines in Japan, making Fields the majority shareholder of the company, with Bandai retaining their 49% share.