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File:Ultraman Retsuden 9898.jpg

Some of the many Ultra Heroes (and two villains)[1].

Born in the nebula known as M78, together they fight for peace and justice throughout the galaxy. Warriors of great compassion and courage.

Live-action Japanese Tokusatsu franchise based around humans who attain the power of gigantic alien heroes and fight attacks of the fifty foot monster/alien of the week. The show has lasted for decades and the various "Ultra" characters possess a lineage to rival various Anime in complicated lore around them.

The Franchise has undergone the following installments[2]:

  • Ultra Q * (1966)
  • Ultraman (1966-1967)
  • Ultra Seven (1967-1968)
  • Return of Ultraman (Kaettekita Ultraman, a.k.a. "Ultraman Jack") (1971-1972)
  • Ultraman Ace (1972-1973)
  • Ultraman Taro (1973-1974)
  • Ultraman Leo (1974-1975)
  • The Ultraman (a.k.a. "Ultraman Joeneus") (1979-1980) Anime series co-produced with Sunrise
  • Ultraman Eighty (1980-1981)
  • Ultraman The Adventure Begins (a.k.a. Ultraman USA) (1987) Four-part animated pilot co-produced with Hanna-Barbera
  • Ultraman Towards The Future (a.k.a. Ultraman Great) (1990) Co-production with Australia
  • Ultraman The Ultimate Hero (a.k.a. Ultraman Powered) (1993) Co-production with USA
  • NTV Ultra Seven Specials (1994) Two TV specials.
  • Ultraman Zearth (1996 - 1997) A pair of movies.
  • Ultraman Tiga (1996-1997)
  • Ultraman Dyna (1997-1998)
  • Ultraman Gaia (1998-1999)
  • Heisei Ultra Seven(1998 - 2002) Direct-to-DVD series.
  • Ultraman Nice (1999 - 2000) Infomercial series that aired following reruns of Tiga.
  • Ultraman Neos (2000-2001) Direct-to-DVD series.
  • Ultraman Cosmos (2001-2002)
  • Ultra Q Dark Fantasy * (2004)
  • Ultraman Nexus (2004-2005)
  • Ultraman Max (2005-2006)
  • Ultraman Mebius (2006-2007)
  • Ultra Seven X (2007)
  • Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle (2007-2009)
  • Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends (2009; movie, introduction of Zero)
  • Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial (2010; movie)
  • Ultraman Saga (2012; movie)
  • Ultraman Ginga (2013)
    • Ultraman Ginga Theater Special (2013; special)
    • Ultraman Ginga Theater Special: Ultra Monster Hero Battle Royal (2014; special)
    • Ultraman Ginga (2014; sequel series, uses same page)
      • Ultraman Ginga S The Movie: Showdown! The 10 Ultra Brothers (2015; movie)
  • Ultraman X (2015)
    • Ultraman X The Movie: Here Comes Our Ultraman! (2016; movie)
  • Ultraman Orb (2016)
    • Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga (2016-2017; prequel series)
    • Ultraman Orb The Movie: Lend Me the Power of Bonds! (2017; movie)
    • Ultraman Orb: The Chronicle (2018; compilation series)
  • Ultraman Geed (2017)
    • Ultraman Geed The Movie: Connect Them! The Wishes! (2018; movie)
  • Ultraman R/B (2018)
    • Ultraman R/B the Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond (2019; movie)
  • Ultraman Taiga (2019)
    • Ultra Galaxy Fight: New Generation Heroes (2019; mini-series prequel to Ultraman Taiga)
    • Ultraman Taiga the Movie: New Generation Climax (2020; movie)
  • Ultraman Z (2020)
    • Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy (2020-2021; mini-series prequel to Ultraman Z)
  • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga (2021)

Movies related to the series include

Related series developed by Tsuburaya include

  • Mighty Jack (1968)
  • Mirrorman (1971 - 1972)
  • Silver Kamen (1971) (Produced by Nippon Gendai, but carried over most of Ultra Seven's staff, including composer Toru Fuyuki, director Akio Jissoji and writer Shozo Uehara)
  • Redman (1972) 138 five minute segments part of a children's variety show.
  • Iron King (1972 - 1973) All 26 episodes can be watched here. (Not produced by Tsuburaya, but many of the staff carried over)
  • Fireman (1973)
  • Jumborg Ace (1973)
  • Denkou Choujin Gridman (1993 - 1994)
  • Bio Planet Woo (2006)
  • ULTRAMAN (2011 manga) (2011)

The many incarnations over time vary widely over tone, shifting into Darker and Edgier territory with Ultra Seven, Ultraman Leo, Ultraman Gaia, and Ultraman Nexus; others, like Ultraman Cosmos were much Lighter and Softer; finally, series such as Ultraman Tiga maintained a balance between the two extremes. Tonal shifts were sometimes brought on by Executive Meddling, ie. Cosmos being toned down due to current events or Nexus becoming edgier in an attempt to reverse declining ratings.

The Franchise in general provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: While most Ultramen fall under the Messianic Archetype, some also have anti heroic attitude. Most notably: Ultraman Agul from Ultraman Gaia, Hunter Knight Tsurugi/ Ultraman Hikari from Ultraman Mebius and most recently, Ultraman Zero from the new Ultra Galaxy movie.
  • Alien Invasion: Ultraseven had almost nothing BUT alien invaders, but subverted itself on occasion in having the Aliens be sympathetic on occasion and even had him question why Ultraseven would protect humans since Humans Are Bastards.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: As faithful a tradition here as it is with Super Sentai.
  • Animated Adaptation: One in its native Japan and a co-production with Hanna Barbera.
  • Badass: Pretty much of all the Ultramen in one way or another. Special mention goes to the original Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Leo, Ultraman King, Ultraman Zero and the evil Ultraman Belial
  • Badass Crew: All the human support team has their moments. The new Ultraman Zero the movie take this to new levels by featuring a team of giant beings formed by Ultraman Zero, called the Ultimate Force Zero
  • Badass Family: Father of Ultra, his wife Mother Of Ultra and son Ultraman Taro. In the new Ultra Galaxy movie, we have Ultra Seven and his extremely powerful son, Ultraman Zero. The Ultra Brothers themselves count as well, while they may not be truly related by blood they still treat each other like one.
  • Badass Grandpa / Cool Old Guy: The human forms of the Showa Ultras. All of them are around their 50s and 60s, but that doesn't stop them from looking awesome and badass. The Ultra Galaxy movie takes this even further for Hayata/Ultraman and Dan/Ultra Seven. In the movie, stuck in human form, they still manage to kick ass, HARD. To be specific, Ultraman uses a fucking assault rifle to blast an alien, while Seven used hand to hand combat and Ultra Willpower to the same alien.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Not just with the Ultras; some of the monsters rely on this.
  • Big Bad (Used sometimes. Yapool YAPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL! in Ultraman Ace, Baltan in Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero, Zogu in Ultraman Gaia, Chaos in Ultraman Cosmos, Emperor/Enpera in Ultraman Mebius, and Ultraman Belial in the Ultra Galaxy movie.)
  • Big Good: In the Showa Timeline, this is role is held by Ultraman King, though the Ultra Father also counts, as while beneath Ultraman King, he's still the direct leader of the Ultra Garrison while King rules the planet.
  • Brainwashed
  • Busman's Holiday: The now-defunct fansite Absolute Ultraman used to joke that whenever a team member went on vacation something strange was bound to happen.
  • Chest Insignia: The Color Timer, which measure how long how long an Ultraman can safely fight before needing to revert to human form and reacharge, is generally located on the Ultraman's chest.
  • Clip Show: A mercifully brief sequence in the episode, "The Monster Graveyard". Aniversary Series Ultraman Mebius does this too, but manages to pay homage to a classic episode in the series.
  • Cool Starship: The Art-Dessai of Tiga.
  • Costume Copycat
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In many of the Showa series
  • Darker and Edgier: Ultraseven, Ultraman Leo, Ultraman Gaia, Ultraman Nexus and Ultraseven X are much darker and have a more adult tone than the other series' in the franchise. Recetly, a manga adaptation by the creator of Kurogane no Linebarrel have been announced and will be published in a Seinen magazine, meaning it will be the second property in the franchise to be aimed exclusively for an adult audience after Ultraseven X.
  • Demonic Possession: This happens from time to time, about as much as Brainwashed.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Lots of this. Almost literal example with Gatanazoa.
  • The Dragon - Bonus point for Zetton, who has the subtitle Space Dragon despite not looking like one.
  • Ditto Aliens: The Baltans. Justified, as they're apparently some sort of gestalt entity, able to separate & recombine at will.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Lots of them. Gatanazoa, Chaos, and many others.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Baltan was popular enough that he became one of the staple kaiju for the Ultra Series.
  • Evil Counterpart: There are several fake Ultramen, but they're mostly aliens in disguise or robots though. A more subtle example is Ace Killer/Mebius Killer, who doesn't look like Ultraman but has similar powers.
  • Evil Is Cool: Ultraman Belial from the Ultra Galaxy movie. Taking on more or less the entire Ultra Garrison singlehandedly and summoning a hundred monsters from the grave? Deserves a mention.
  • Expy: Each member of the Ultimate Force Zero (other than Zero, obviously) are modeled after Tsuburaya's giant heroes outside of Ultra Series, update with some level in badass. Glen Fire is Fireman, Mirror Knight is Mirrorman and Jean-Bot is Jumborg Ace.
  • Fallen Hero: Belial was once a mighty and noble hero like most Ultramen. However, he become obssessed with seeking more strength to uphold the order of universe. So he directly touched the plasma spark, and become the demon we known.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death/ Family-Unfriendly Violence: Mostly in the 70s series, with both kaiju and Ultras being sliced to bits, decapitated, stabbed, blinded, and even eviscerated.
  • Finishing Move: It's a required part of the Ultraman arsenal, usually a variation on a Kamehame Hadoken that makes the Monster of the Week explode spectacularly. Although not every episode ends with the monster being blown up.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: More often than not, the explanation for the protagonists' human forms.
  • Flung Clothing
  • Fourth Wall Observer: Ide talks to the audience in episode 2.
  • Fun with Acronyms: With exception of Ultraman's Science Patrol and Ultra Seven's Ultra Garrison, the anti-monster teams almost always have fancy acronym names.
  • Gag Dub: Tiga's dub is chock-full of unfunny, mood-destroying jokes and loads of Bowdlerization. Surprise! It's from 4Kids!
  • Giving Someone the Pointer Finger: Zero use this quite a lot whenever he's facing his enemy.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Many of the Grand Finales have many of the heroes' allies return to aid them. In some cases such as Cosmos and Gaia, this included the kaiju. Gaia was noteworthy as it made a token effort to avert What Measure Is a Non-Human? towards its end and the kaiju showed it while coming forwards and facing off against Zogu's army.
  • Grand Finale: Each series tends to end with the Ultraman being faced with an uber-strong opponent, with weakening powers or both (as for poor Ultraseven) but Mebius, the Aniversary series, went all out and did a three-episode long finale/love letter to the entire series.
  • Green Aesop: Occurs infrequently; a later series, Ultraman Great, would thrive on this trope.
  • Green Lantern Ring (Ultraman Jack's Ultra Bracer takes the shape of any weapon needed.)
  • Hand Blast
  • Heart Light: Ultraman, no matter the incarnation, always has one of these. The faster it's flashing, the closer he is to running out of power.
  • Hero-Killer:
    • Once or twice a season, a horribly powerful monster will defeat Ultraman. He gets better, and usually with a shiny new upgrade.
    • Ultraman Belial. The only two Ultras in the entire universe capable of even fighting him without being curbstomped are Ultraman King and Ultraman Zero, who'd spent several years undergoing Training From Hell at Ultraman Leo's hands.
  • Hey, It's That Voice! - With a bit of Actor Allusion, the Ultraman Zero: Revenge of Belial movie feature four gundam seiyu as the voice of Ultimate Force Zero. Ultraman Zero is Setsuna F. Seiei, Glen Fire is Domon Kasshu, Mirror Knight is Heero Yuy and Jean-Bot is Tieria Erde. This has been the source of lot of jokes in image boards such as 4chan and 2chan.
    • And now from the new Ultraman Zero Gaiden, the antagonist, Jean-Killer is voiced by Miyu Irino who voiced Saji Crossroad., Setsuna's combat partner in season 2.
    • Former Japan prime minister Junichiro Koizumi voices Ultraman King in Ultra Galaxy.
  • Hong Kong Dub (Some of the later Ultra series were dubbed in Malaysia; the bad voice acting and extremely thick accents make the dubs almost incomprehensible to Western viewers.)
  • Iconic Character Forgotten Title: The TV shows Return of Ultraman and The Ultraman are sometimes referred by the name of their respective protagonists, "Ultraman Jack" and "Ultraman Joeneus".
  • Kaiju Defense Force: Despite the trope's name, the JSDF usually leave the heroes to deal with Kaiju. When they appear, they usually use only conventional tanks. In most of these appearances, they are either wiped out after few minutes or shooting the harmless kaiju that Ultraman is trying to save.
  • Kid Hero: Honshino occasionally gets to save the day rather than merely serve as an annoyance.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo - One Monster of the Week is none other than the Godzilla costume from Godzilla vs Mothra, renamed, with a large frill added to his neck. Possibly as a subversion of the trope, during the obligatory fight scene, Ultraman actually rips off the extra piece of the costume and thus the rest of the fight is with 99-44/100% pure Godzilla.
  • Leitmotif: The "Wandaba" scat theme that is used for the science patrol teams. Modified versions appear in Fireman, Mirrorman and Jumborg Ace.
  • Light Is Good: The Ultramen are beings of light after all.
  • Long Runners (The entire Ultraman series has been running for 44 years and still seems to be going. The number of episodes is so mind-boggling huge that why would you even bother to count?)
  • Lovecraft Lite: Some of the monsters are truly Eldritch in nature, you just won't realise it as Ultraman(nearly) always averts their effect. Sometimes though, not even Ultraman is immune to the monstrosity.
  • Meaningful Name
  • The Movie: Several of these.
  • Multiform Balance: Tiga, Dyna and Cosmos.
  • Mythology Gag: Lots of monsters reference earlier seasons' beasties.
  • No Export for You: There are people who hope some of the darker series would come over with a serious translation. Thus far only Ultraman and Ultraman Tiga (out of print now) has gotten it. To be fair it's not like Ultraman is super popular in the U.S. but still...
  • Only Mostly Dead
  • Our Demons Are Different: Tiga's 'Kileroid' line of monsters from deep beneath the Earth. Borders on being a minor Eldritch Abomination.
    • Enomena has also been described as looking similar to a Majin.
  • Phantom Zone: The Monster Graveyard.
  • Psychotic Smirk - Often whoever's the Evil Twin of the titular giant(Once a season) makes this expression. Some kaiju seem to enjoy doing this too, Enomena from Tiga being a prime example, thanks to the wonders of CGI.
  • Physical God: Ultraman King. Not only is he considered to be god of the Ultras, throughout his appearance he is shown to be all knowing and omnipotent. He is even shown capable of reviving a dismembered Ultraman Leo without breaking a sweat. In the new Ultra Galaxy movie, he is able to easily defeat Ultraman Belial who managed to defeat every Ultraman except Zero and form a space prison around him -which also acts as a moon to the Land of Light- single handedly.
  • Plant Aliens
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Ultraman Gaia and Ultraman Agul from Ultraman Gaia.
  • Retcon: As of 2011, most of the Ultra Shows have been retconned into one continuity, with most Ultras coming from or claiming M78 as their home.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter Hanejiro in Dyna, Rimu Eleking in Mebius.
  • Scenery Porn: The new Ultra Galaxy showed, for the first time, The Land of Light -the home planet of the Ultras- in its full glory, and it is gorgeous.
    • The sequel, Ultraman Zero the Movie, has this by the boatload. Prime example being the betsu no uchu (another space-bascially a multiverse) scene and the Mirror World.
  • Slasher Smile - Some kaiju manage to pull this off beyond just being toothy. Gazoto(Gazort) and Fake Agul glide smoothly to mind.
  • Space Whale: One flys up in Cosmos, gentle as can be. Then Chaos shows up...
  • Spell My Name with an "S": This can make a massive headache out of dub watchers trying to hunt around for info on kaiju from this series.
    • Many of the monsters' names, especially for the series that haven't been localized for English speaking countries — which is pretty much all of them.
  • Tank Goodness: Ultra Seven once fought a monster called the Dino-Tank. It was about what you'd expect.
  • Training From Hell: Ultraman Leo, anyone? Intresting because it was almost always self inflicted. He later used this on Ultraman Zero, complete with restraining armor. It really paid off because it made Zero strong enough to do battle with the evil Ultraman Belial.
  • Ultra Act
  • The Virus: Chaos, from Cosmos, also an Eldritch Abomination. Almost exclusively infects kaiju, making them into horrific travesties of their former selves. Also Godish from Ultraman Great.
  • Wham! Episode: In the original series, an episode called "The Prince Of Monsters" shocked the viewers because it was the first time he actually LOST a fight. Same for when Zetton nearly killed him at the end of the first series with "Farewell Ultraman".
  • Wild Mass Guessing: Chaos, a corrupting, mutagenic presence from who knows where, unrelenting, and will bring the doom of all sentient life if it wins? Hmmmmmm....
  1. From left to right, then top row to bottom row:Ultraman Belial, Ultraman King, Dark Clops Zero; Ultra Father (Ken), Ultra Mother (Mari); Zoffy, Ultraman Taro, Ultraman Ace; Ultraman Jack, Ultraman Leo; Ultraman Noa, Ultraman Gaia, Ultraman the Original, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Max; Gren Fire, Mirror Knight, Janbot; Ultraman Cosmos, Ultraman Zero and Ultraman Dyna.
  2. Stars indicate the absence of an Ultraman from the series