Ultraman is one of the most well known properties to ever come out of Japan. Though as recognizable as Godzilla, Sailor Moon, or the cast of Dragon Ball Z, Ultraman is still as not as familiar as the others in America. Luckily, the new anime series from Netflix seems like the perfect way to introduce others to franchise which is over 50 years old.
Shinjiro is the son of the man who was Ultraman and is starting to showcase an inherited set of abilities. Armed with a specially designed armored suit, Shinjiro must protect the Earth from invading alien forces.
As mentioned, the Ultraman franchise is over 50 years old. Though this may seem daunting this series doesn’t expect you to have watched every show between this and the original Ultraman. Thanks to great storytelling and the right amount of exposition the anime doesn’t even require you to have seen the original Ultraman. It does a pretty good job of setting up everything so you can just watch without having a lot of questions of the lore of the franchise. There are a few moments where a bit too much talking takes place but every episode has some bit of action so the slow moments don’t bring down the entire series.
The world building and characters are very compelling. Though it seems like your standard “Kid gets new powers and must learn how to use them” trope the series actually takes it in a different direction. Instead of displaying difficulty with controlling his powers, most of the series focuses on Shinjiro dealing with the violence which comes from being a hero. He often finds himself questioning if force is needed and if there can be another way to fight. Yet at the same time he still keeps fighting despite these conflicts. Series which employ character struggles which don’t result in a decrease in action is always a welcome sight.
CGI anime series have a way of making a fan shudder in fear. This might be due to the fact their track record hasn’t been fantastic. The Berserk CGI anime, thanks to the terrible rendering placed on it during its initial run made it difficult for many to enjoy. Here though the CGI helps with the overall presentation. The animation allows for heavily detailed action scenes to flow smoothly and helps to emphasize when the effects (lasers and explosions) are employed. Ultraman could actually be used as a series to help those who aren’t fans of CGI anime to see the joy which can come from the use of the style.
The new Netflix Ultraman is a great way to introduce the series to others. It’s an anime with a lot of great actions and cool visual effects. Give it a shot for yourself and maybe you’ll find you yourself are an fan of giant of light. Now, back to practicing the spacium ray pose in the mirror.