TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

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TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:00 pm

Having worked my way through the first 2 discs of the recent BR release of the original Ultraman series, I thought it might be nice to have a thread apart from the Blu-ray release, in order to discus the series in general and individual episodes themselves.

My first takeaways thoughts are these:
Watching again - and really paying close attention :P - I am impressed at how 'cinematic' many of the episodes look. For a "kids show" there is a LOT of care (and flare) involved in the camerawork. Unlike a lot of kiddy show fodder (both in Japan & here in the U.S.) Ultraman is ripe with pans, zooms, and an impressive amount of dolly shots. The episodes directed by Akio Jissoji clearly stand out in particular; (but then he's got a fanbase just due to his innovative contributions on the show, so that's no surprise).

Next... I am stunned, frankly, at some of the revelations of the original script, versus the American dubbed scripts that I'd basically memorized through repeated viewings as a child (and growing up). Ito (sorry, "Ide") openly guesses that Ultraman & Hayata are one and the same!? It's much, much more ambiguous in the American version, (which I truthfully prefer for this aspect). Interesting. But for me the most stunning example of the changes in the adapted scripts, up to this point, is the totally different ending or tone of episode #15, "The Terrifying Cosmic Rays". The original ending is much, much darker. It goes from being loosely wrapped up in the American version to being, possibly, the start of something far more sinister; with the children being painted as indifferent to the destruction and suffering caused by monsters and more interested at the prospect of creating their very own living monsters - potentially horrific consequences be damned! Wow.

And I still don't quite get episode #17, "Brother from Another Planet". The script is really a mess and just does some really stupid things and is so inconsistent with the narrative compared to the rest of the series. The whole "Hoshino brings Hayata his Beta Capsule for no real reason, apparently(?) doesn't know what it's for, nor figures out the secret identity, etc." is really a headscratcher. I realize that there are a lot of "?/WTF" moments in this and many other toku shows, but this one's always been one of my least favorite UM shows because it just does so many one-time, dumb things and creates big questions that are never answered. (Of course I have 25 episodes to go, so perhaps I'll find more 'hidden secrets' and/or answers as I roll along.)

Same 'WTF' thing goes for the end of episode #16, "Science Patrol into Space". Hayata apparently changes into Ultrman with Captain Muramatsu right there in the Jet VTOL with him, yet he doesn't tell Arashi about it and never acknowledges it again. Plus we see Hayata existing physically separately from Ultraman at the same time ??? I thought he literally 'became' Ultraman? Does he just go into a coma... or does he disappear and is replaced by Ultraman... or are they one & the same. Again, some weirdness that stands apart from the other entries in the series. (And I am guessing that episode #16 was broadcast out of order originally, as Hoshino is shown dressed in his SSSP uniform at the end of the episode but doesn't become an official member until episode 18.)

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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby kiryugoji04 » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:01 pm

I'm working my way through Q now so it'll be a minute before I get to Man but maybe this ought to be moved to the other forum?
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby H-Man » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:19 am

IMO Ultraman's writing really matures around episode 18 and is pretty consistently good through the end of the series. I think that was when they figured out the formula and the character dynamics.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 12:33 am

^ I I think the first half of the series is solid but very formulaic: 'SSSP investigates, new monster/alien, Ultraman fights it at the end.' By the halfway point they start playing around with the formula, subverting it in interesting ways, getting a bit deeper with the characters and (maybe most importantly) experimenting stylistically. Things get really wild!
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby O.Supreme » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:07 am

Even though it has the giant hero. UM early episodes have a Q like mystery to them, and really flourishes as its own series in later episodes Though some early episodes like with Baltan, Red King, and Jirass will always be classics
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby Benjamin Haines » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:28 am

kiryugoji04 wrote:I'm working my way through Q now so it'll be a minute before I get to Man but maybe this ought to be moved to the other forum?


Yeah, this Ultraman talkback thread is a great idea but it should probably be in the Ultraman forum, and we definitely need an Ultra Q talkback thread because I've only just started with that and it'll be a bit before I get to Ultraman.

I've watched "Defeat Gomess" and "Garo and Garo" so far and I really dig this show. The kaiju mini-movie format is a lot of fun and it's great to see familiar faces like Kenji Sahara, Yoshio Tsuchiya and Yoshifumi Tajima among the cast. I appreciate the fact that they added a tail to the '62 Kong suit when they used it to portray a giant monkey. It also looks like this show actually predates Daiei's Gamera sequels with the trope of having a kid cheer on a monster in battle with phrases like "Hurry up and win!"
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:15 am

Best line in the entire show, perhaps the entire history of the Ultra series: "Aim for his butthole." :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby O.Supreme » Fri Oct 25, 2019 11:41 am

Just watched the 2-part episode with Gomora. (RIP English dub Gahora lol) This was admittedly the first time I had watched in Japanese, I've always really liked the English dub, but man is it odd. As others have pointed out, I don't think the *rules* of the relationship between an Ultraman and his host were clearly defined, and they were just throwing things at random which is fine. I just don't see how Ultraman can lose the beta capsule in the middle of a fight? Also good thing there was (I guess inferred) some sort of imprint or ID on it. Wouldn't want fatty magee aka *Creature King* (Or Monster Highness according to the original) accidentally turning into Ultraman.... :lol:

Also, TPC knew they had a merchandising gold mine. The series was just 2/3 over, and they had their own toys in their show :lol: Also one wonders how the kids in this world *Dont believe in Monsters* I know some battles have been in remote locations, but some have been in the middle of cities that threatened tens of thousands, how is the news not reporting this!?! Also, how does the kid know about the beta capsule, but doesn't know who Hayata is? Is there some other Ultraman on TV in this kids alternate reality?

Nitpicks aside, it's still a fun and classic pair of episodes. of course my son is used to seeing Gomora as the Hero in series like Ultra Galaxy. So he was a little heart-broken when Ultraman cruelly killed him, but that's OK, as we all know, there's seemingly always a way out of the monster graveyard.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby Jinzo Ningen » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:40 pm

Yeah, as I just completed pouring through the remaining episodes, there have been mostly little tweaks here and there that Peter Fernandez did, either for timing (amount of words spoken to covey the thought/statement and not have the person still moving (or not moving) their mouth, to eliminate cursing and to American-ize dialogue that wouldn't 'click' with non-Japanese viewers, from a cultural perspective.

Some of the AIP reworked scripts are far superior to the originals. The end speech of the professor(s) in Epsiode 25 "Comet Tsuiphon" and especially 31, "Who Goes There?" (along with a lot of the Ito's dialogue as he reads the professor's journal (very creepy and shock worthy), and Keronia's monologue as he begins his assault). Most of the other differences throughout the episodes are fairly minor and of little notice. I also prefer the ending of the series as it was in the American version. It was much more in keeping in line (and warmly amusing) to have Zoffy (being Ultrman's superior and, I am assuming, his teacher), give Ultraman some crap about getting whupped by Zetton, instead of letting him off the hook after being rather easily defeated. Also, having Hayata remember everything AND hang on to the Beta Capsule is a more hopeful, meaningful split than the old amnesia shtick. The dub's final comments from the narrator about Ultraman himself are much better, too. ("He was eager to see his old friends again.") Makes him much more 'human' and less robot/android/alien, and therefore more relatable. I prefer this far & away to the original's sappy hero-worship, seemingly endless farewell / we love you / sayonara / we love our Ultraman.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:23 pm

^ I read a comment from an anime fan the other day that articulated a interesting argument I haven't thought of before: that they preferred dubbed to subtitled anime because they felt the English dub scripts were better written then the English subtitles, which are often dry translations that can fail to impart the charm and nuance of the storytelling. I can understand this sentiment, especially considering how quickly subtitles are often created.

As for the changes in the last episode of Ultraman: I love how different they are! The Japanese original emphasizes the cold, alien nature the Ultras. In this series and in Ultraseven it seems like Nebula M78 is far from the society a good-hearted goody-goods it was retconned into. The American version makes the entire situation pretty funny, with Zoffy berating Ultraman.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 3:39 pm

With my Halloween horror-thon done I'm starting my Ultra sets in earnest and even with the sonewhat problematic transfer for Ultraman '66 I'm still impressed with all the details I couldn't catch before. It's like watching it for the first time!

Never noticed before thar Hayata named Ultraman after Cap's dubbing their assault on Bemular as "Ultra Operation #1."
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:21 pm

You know, while the C type mask and suit is my favorite, there's something to be said for the first Ultraman design, in all its frumpiness, for emphasizing the alien nature of the character.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby kiryugoji04 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:42 pm

lhb412 wrote:You know, while the C type mask and suit is my favorite, there's something to be said for the first Ultraman design, in all its frumpiness, for emphasizing the alien nature of the character.


Quite possibly my favorite version of the character is the updated A-type suit from the two Ultra Brothers movies in the mid 00s.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:36 pm

Let's take a moment to appreciate that Ide's rejected plan to deal with Gavadon was totally correct.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby kiryugoji04 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:46 pm

He's almost the only worthwhile main character on the show, honestly. I mean the rest are fine but Ide is, like, the smartest, most complex, and most compassionate one of them all. Cap and Hayata are solid performances befitting their respective archetypes, Fuji is generally sexist garbage and a waste of Hiroko Sakurai's talents, and I do not know what Arashi's damage is but he needs therapy pretty badly. I love them all to some degree but Ide is objectively the best and I will fight you in that.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:56 pm

^ Fuji being put in a sexist box is disappointing especially because that actress was essentially the lead in Ultra Q. What a step backwards! However, I do think she does what she can with the role and with her ample screen presence makes what could have been a nothing role into something.

I find the Captain to be an especially strong paternal presence. Hoshino I'm appreciating much more on this re-watch because I realize he's the one character Hayata has a relationship with, in this case a kind of big brother figure. Arashi is the quintessential 'other guy.'

But yes, Ide is the most complex and interesting of all the characters. Him and Fuji even have that almost but not quite romantic energy between them, and I don't know how intentional that was.

Overall, I think it's a case of characters being rather thinly sketched out types that the show relies on almost entirely via the interplay of their charismatic performers, and I think it succeeds on that front! The characters in Ultraseven are much more realistically drawn, but between the two shows I don't know which group I prefer? Making Ultraseven's alter ego the fully fleshed-out main character makes a lot of sense, but going against that and making it an ensemble in Ultraman is almost a more daring, less obvious path?
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby kiryugoji04 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:33 pm

I'm not complaining (apart from Fuji), just observing. My only other real complaint I'd add to that is that I wish more of the series and characters shared Ide's compassion, as the show can often come off quite cruel and nihilistic in regards to the monsters of the week.
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Re: TALKBACK: Ultraman (1966) epsiodes!

Postby lhb412 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:53 am

I remember reading a review when I was young that described Hayata as 'constipated.'
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