Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hero Profile: The Original Ultraman

Ultraman (7/17/66 - 4/9/67)
Ultraman's creator was Eiji Tsuburaya from Tsuburaya Productions, a pioneer in special effects who was responsible for bringing Godzilla to life in 1954. Ultraman was from "The Land Of Light," Nebula M78 and used the Beta Capsule to transform. The Ultraman series used various monster costumes, known as kaiju in Japan, before Kamen Rider and Himitsu Sentai Goranger. The Science Patrol's no-nonsense deputy captain Shin Hayata's life changed when Ultraman accidentally crashed into his "Delta VTOL" with his TravelSphere and killed him, destroying both ships. To make amends, Ultraman merges his own lifeforce into that of the Shin Hayata before the brain functions of the latter were terminated. He then gives Hayata the power-object called the Beta capsule, a microphone-like device, with which he can transform into Ultraman by depressing a red push-button switch on its side with his thumb to ignite it.

Even done film and aired in 1966-67, the series takes place in the early 1990. Sinister aliens and giant monsters constantly threaten civilization and Science Special Search Party, or SSSP, a special worldwide police force equipped with high-tech weapons and vehicles, as well as extensive scientific and engineering facilities. T Led by Captain "Cap" Toshio Muramatsu, the Science Patrol is always ready to protect the Earth from rampaging monsters, but sometimes it finds itself outclassed. While active as Ultraman, Shin Hayata's human body goes into a type of deep coma, reviving only after the threat has been neutralized and Ultraman willingly departs.

Victory is never assured, however, as Ultraman's powers--his very life force--comes from rapidly depleted, stored solar energy. At the beginning of each transformation from Hayata-to-Ultraman, the "warning light" on the giant's chest begins as a steady blue color. Yet as Ultraman exerts himself, the "Color Timer," turns red, then blinks--slowly at first, then with increasing rapidity--as his energy reserves get closer to exhaustion. In episode 39, "Farewell Ultraman," Ultraman fights an enemy called Zetton, leader of an army of monsters bent on destroying all the Ultra-Crusaders, who employs an unexpected weapon against Ultraman--one which damages his Color Timer and disables his ability to measure his power supply.

As a result, Ultraman stays in his full-size form too long and collapses into a dormant state. Fortunately, despite this loss, the Science Patrol's members are able to defeat Zetton on their own. When Zoffy, Ultraman's superior, comes to retrieve the fallen hero, Ultraman pleads for Hayata's life and offers his life completely, so that Hayata may live as a normal man. Zoffy then says he has brought two life-forces and that he will give one to Hayata. He then separates them, giving Hayata new life, but Hayata seems to have no memory between the first episode and that moment as he watches Zoffy take Ultraman home. This is a rather different finish to the series than stated in the English dub, which states both that Ultraman will return and that Hayata retains his beta capsule as he awaits Ultraman's return.

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