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Ultraman Blazar • Monster Zero x SciFi Japan - Archive Only

Ultraman Blazar

He's Red and Silver, as tall as a building, and kicks the butts of Giant Monsters!! He's also Japan's most enduring and favorite Superhero!! From Ultra Seven to Ultraman Orb, discuss the many incarnations of Ultraman here!! Let's not forget Zone Fighter! Kamen Rider! Gridman! The infinity of Toei Sentai Teams! For such a small island, Japan is bursting with colorful superheroes! Discuss Japanese Heroes here as well!!

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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Dai » Tue Sep 12, 2023 5:05 pm

I fell behind on this show for a while, but I'm almost caught up. Wow, I'm enjoying this a lot more than the last couple of seasons. I kind of tuned out of those due to some characters feeling like they stepped out of an educational show for pre-schoolers (that "Smile, smile" guy...). Blazar is looking to be my favourite Ultra show since Z a few years back. The characters are an interesting bunch, episode stories are varied, the action and effects are good, and it's massively toned down the emphasis on lengthy transformations that had been getting out of hand.

The variety of the fight scenes has been a real highlight so far. Rather than waiting for the same signature move each time, Blazar is a total wildcard who pulls a different crazy stunt each episode. The guy must practice Ultra Yoga to be this flexible. The kaiju fishing scene was something I won't forget any time soon. Moments like that and Blazar snapping the energy javelin over his knee, combined with his scrappy fighting style, make him seem like more of an improviser than we usually see.

I was also surprised by the restraint shown in the recent two-parter. Usually when Ultraman has his spacium-infused butt handed to him it will either mean a new transformation or another Ultra popping up with the classic, "Oh hi, I just stopping by from another dimension" routine. In this case the extra runtime was given to the conflict of the SKaRD members going up against a man they respected...and then Blazar does some rainbow origami to make a giant saw blade, so maybe it wasn't that restrained.

I hope Mill Creek will start releasing the more recent shows, as I would definitely buy this one.
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Wed Sep 13, 2023 3:41 pm

Yeah this is definitely something I'd keep an eye out for if Mill Creek were ever to put out a Blu-ray set of at some point in the future. It's crazy how expensive the two Japanese volumes are going to be. I know Blu-rays are much more of a "collectible" kinda thing there than they are in the west, but still.

This latest episode was another fun one, especially since it had the return of my favourite Ultra Q monster, Garamon! It definitely felt like more of a "palette cleanser" after the slightly more heavy two-parter we just got, but it was awesome to see *actual* Garamon again rather than the tiny Pigmon that his suit was used for in the original Ultraman. In fact I read someone say that this is the first time Garamon has *ever* fought Ultraman, period?! That seems crazy to me given that he's one of the oldest legacy characters in the Ultra canon.

It was also great that the Ultra Q theme was the music the Cicadamen used to control him. Such a great touch that definitely had me smiling. And Garamon itself was just as silly as ever, while also being quite a challenge for Blazar too! It was so great seeing him back in action.

Also a bit more development on the Gento/Blazar front with Blazar seemingly taking control of him briefly, and then their first real "talk" of the show so far. It'll be interesting to see how their relationship develops moving forward if Blazar's not quite so "chill" as other Ultras have been in that he doesn't mind forcing his host to do stuff when he wants to (like the initial transformation in the first episode, too).
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Thu Sep 21, 2023 3:42 pm

Some interesting developments in the last episode. Blazar is definitely starting to take more control while Gento is in his human form, but is the reverse also true? At first I figured it was Gento stopping Blazar from killing the monsters (which did seem a little odd given that it felt like Blazar was kind of insisting on transforming when he saw the baby in danger), but other people are thinking it was actually Blazar stopping Gento. It seems odd that Gento would be the one with the most control when Blazar is up and about, but it feels odd that Blazar would be wanting to shank the monsters there as well, so I'm not sure. Either way, conflict!

I'm also glad we had another instance of Blazar *not* killing the monster(s) in this episode. Making my way through the classic Showa Ultra shows there have been plenty of instances where I've been like "did you *have* to kill it?!" So having this be the second time we've seen Blazar spare one (or two) was cool.

And more crazy Ultra powers! At this point it's almost going to be disappointing when we eventually get to an episode where he *doesn't* do something new! :lol:
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Dai » Tue Sep 26, 2023 5:56 pm

Surprising to see Garamon back in destructive mode after several decades as Pigmon. I bet that was a shock for anyone with a Pigmon plushie!

Some interesting discussion in the Youtube comments for episode 10. I assumed Blazar was normally the one in control and Gento held him back in this episode, but the argument for the opposite being the case seems quite compelling, especially onsidering things like the kaiju-fishing scene and us later finding out that Gento used to go fishing with his mentor. Perhaps the flame on Blazar's head is an indicator that his power is so great, it's bursting out and difficult for his human host to control.
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Wed Sep 27, 2023 1:12 pm

Yeah I naturally assumed it was Blazar in control and Gento was trying to stop him, but even that didn't quite seem to make sense given what we'd seen earlier of Blazar looking as though he wanted to transform because he saw the baby monster in danger. It's good that they're keeping it quite ambiguous as to who's trying to perform which actions, as it kinda keeps us as close to being as confused as the characters themselves as we can be.

As for the latest episode: it was great! Really, really good stuff. Pretty much wall-to-wall action, a great, fun monster and more dramatic "disagreement"-type shenanigans between Gento and Blazar! They certainly seem to be at the point where they're going to have to start getting back on the same page again soon, because Gebalga wasn't messing around!

Speaking of, he realy felt old school in a good way, and the suit actor did a great job with his movements, from that weird shaking he did to being able to do an actual in-camera forward roll in that suit! That can't have been easy. AND he had a bunch of abilities and shrugged off the Spiral Blade!

I didn't expect we'd be getting another two-parter so soon after the last one, but I'm glad we did because this episode was great!
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Fri Nov 24, 2023 4:50 pm

Even though I've not been posting my thought on every single episode anymore, I've still been keeping up with the show (looking forward to tonight's ep!), and I continue to think it's really good. Some of the more recent episodes have been fantastic, and now comes word of an Ultraman Blazar movie, "Tokyo Kaiju Showdown" to be released in Japan on February 23rd!

Here's a look at the poster and a couple of promo pics, though some people might want to avoid them if they don't want to be spoiled as to the look of at least some of the monsters being featured:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F_tP2tpW0AAWitg?format=jpg&name=large
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F_tP2tnXcAEP76W?format=jpg&name=large
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/F_tP2tlXsAAn7_4?format=jpg&name=large

I'm assuming this might eventually end up being posted on Tsuburaya's official Youtube channel as well? I don't know how they handle these 'series movies' in terms of whether or not any of the previous ones are available on there, but if not here's hoping Mill Creek ends up putting out a Blu-ray/DVD set of Blazar plus this movie at some point next year as well.

EDIT: And they just released a teaser too!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7Lb36R57-0
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby lhb412 » Sat Nov 25, 2023 11:47 am

I'm avoiding all discussions of the show because I love it but am so far behind!

Love news of the movie. I usually find the tie-in movies unessential, but it seems Taguchi and co. have put more thought into this one.
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Sat Jan 27, 2024 11:18 am

So, other than the release of the movie that we'll hopefully get to see in the West at some point, that's the end of Ultraman Blazar (or at least it was a week ago)! I'm not gonna lie, even though with all the promos for the movie that have been running during the ad breaks of the last several episodes and *knowing* everyone was going to make it out of this ok, there were still a couple of moments in these final two eps that got me a little teary eyed. Granted it doesn't take much, but still.

Overall I thought this was a great show! A fantastic mix of brand new monsters (which I'm led to believe isn't always the case in modern Ultraman shows?) and returning classics (was this really the first time Garamon has fought Ultraman?! That seems crazy to me!), a likeable cast, a fantastic new Ultraman in Blazar himself, a cool overarching story/mystery, some great action and downright zany, I would say Showa-esque powers and antics but since Showa Ultraman is 90% of my experience with the franchise that might just be the norm for *every* era! :lol:

Either way, Ultraman Blazar was good stuff, and it's definitely made me want to stick around for more new Ultraman thanks to Tsuburaya being pretty damn awesome and airing them on their Youtube channel day and date with their Japanese showings for free. If we get an announcement at some point in the near future about Mill Creek releasing this on DVD/Blu-ray, possibly with the movie included as they've done with other Ultra shows, I could definitely see myself picking it up.

So, "Ultraman Arc" is the name of the next show. Is there a typical sort of timeframe when Tsuburaya likes to announce details of their new Ultra shows, or can it just kinda be "whenever"?
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jun 01, 2024 10:12 pm

Well, despite loving the vibe of Blazar from the beginning I ended up falling behind before the halfway mark and it got filed away in the deadly "things to catch-up on" zone! Started from the beginning and have been watching an episode (or two) before work every morning for the last month.

The main complaint is... well, I wanted a lot more of it! This series feels far more ambitious in its crafting than the previous decade of shows, but this is also the first time since the 25 episode limit has been established that I really, really wished we had the 40 to 50ish episode run the classic shows had. Another episode focusing on Gento with his family would've been welcomed - heck, every principle cast member deserved one more spotlight episode apiece! Add a couple of more tonally varied episodes (a goofy comedy episode, a spooky episode, etc.) for good measure... ah, I just wish there were more!

Loved seeing all the new kaiju designs, and the few returning monsters (especially Gavadon and the Cicada Men) were delightfully out-of-the-ordinary selections.

Despite the somewhat radical design and personality of Blazar and the gimmick of making the host the defense team captain it's kind of surprising how the series didn't break the mold more. Instead, it feels very much of a piece with the Heisei era shows. There's a little bit of Nexus and Dyna and a lot of Gaia (especially in the overarching story and the role the indigenous Earth kaiju play). Since those are some of the strongest shows in the Ultra series I can't complain, though it would be neat to see an entire series that was a stylistically daring in its entirety as the first episode of Blazar was!

But, hey; if you really want a criticism leveled at you than you can't do any better than someone wishing there was more of you to enjoy! Loved the designs, the characters, and most of all the return to the core concept of Ultraman (I'm my opinion); that it's not so much about Ultraman as it is about a group of people who come together to solve problems every episode. Can't wait to see the movie, which I presume will be included on the Blu-ray! Usually blasé on the movies, but I'm excited for another go-round with these guys!
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Sat Jun 08, 2024 4:37 am

Yeah likewise! Here's hoping part of that upcoming Mill Creek announcement is Blazar with the Tokyo Showdown movie included. Apart from Blazar, Towards the Future and Ultraman: The Next, I've still only seen the classic Showa stuff so far (I *still* haven't gotten round to watching Nexus yet because I wanted to get through the Showa shows first, and I stalled a bit after Ace), so I don't have any experience with any of the movies that it seems are a very common thing with those later series. It'll be weird if/when we get a chance to see it that it'll be the true ending for this show and these characters, but even if it's just the one movie it's still cool that there's still technically more Blazar out there that we haven't seen yet!

And yeah, I'd have totally been down with more of it too. More character-centric eps would have been cool, and I always love me some spooky stories, so I'd have loved something like that. I've seen a lot of people making favourable comparisons to Gaia, which tells me I should probably add that one to my "Ultraman must watch" list at some point (but not until I've finally watched Taro and Nexus first! :lol: ).

I wasn't too surprised that after the first episode things settled into a more "traditional" Ultraman pattern, and I was cool with that. But I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't also have been down for a show that had continued in the direction and style of that one too. Is that kinda what Nexus is like? I've always heard that's kinda the "darker, more grounded" Ultraman series. I really should have found out for myself by now, but dammit I got on this Showa train last year, and even though I took an unexpected break I'm gonna ride it 'till the end! :lol:

I loved the mix of old and new monsters, especially since the timing of some of the returning ones was absolutely perfect for me, coming mere months if not weeks after I'd watched their respective original episodes for the first time (and in some cases this was their first appearance *since* those episodes!). It was great seeing so many cool new ones too, especially after hearing about how Blazar was kind of the outlier in how many new suits they were able to create for it compared to previous shows. Here's hoping that's something they're able to continue into Arc (which, judging by recent pics, it looks like they are).

I guess it's a double-edged sword that these shows are basically all just one season and then a total reboot for the next (barring guest/return appearances from various Ultras and some characters). On the one hand I'm sure that's a huge part of why the franchise has been able to remain popular for so long, but on the other it's a little sad to see a cast go after just one year's worth of episodes and know that they won't be back for the next one. At least with the Showa series we got twice as many episodes before that happened like you say, but alas that's just the way it is. And again, we've still got the movie to look forward to!
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby lhb412 » Sat Jun 08, 2024 10:24 pm

[quote="Kailem"]
I wasn't too surprised that after the first episode things settled into a more "traditional" Ultraman pattern, and I was cool with that. But I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't also have been down for a show that had continued in the direction and style of that one too. Is that kinda what Nexus is like? I've always heard that's kinda the "darker, more grounded" Ultraman series. I really should have found out for myself by now, but dammit I got on this Showa train last year, and even though I took an unexpected break I'm gonna ride it 'till the end! :lol:
[/quote]

Nexus is a lot darker, but not too dark. I'd say it's aiming for a young teen and older audience. Blazar is much more family friendly, but features a harder sci-fi aesthetic that's evocative of Nexus and, kinda, Gaia.

The main difference with Nexus and other Ultra shiws isn't even tone and content, it's structure: it can take several episodes to defeat a monster, and events, enemies, and storyline overlap instead of being contained in their episodes. Cliffhanger endings are the norm. Such serialized storytelling is highly unusual for the series.
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Re: Ultraman Blazar

Postby Kailem » Sun Jun 16, 2024 6:06 am

Yeah that does sound very unusual! I've always really liked the two-parters in the Ultra shows I've watched so far, so having a more serialised approach to a series overall sounds like it'd be pretty cool and unique!

Man I really need to make a start on Taro and Nexus already. :lol:
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