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Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Kai "the spy", May 1, 2020.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I've seen it compared to Into the Spider-Verse, and that seems valid. Certainly very stylized.
     
  2. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    So, before "Ultraman Decker" premieres in about two hours, here are episode #40 of "Ultraman Mebius":


    And episode #14 of "Ultraman Ace":
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Oh, I thought it was tomorrow -- I forgot Japan is quite a few hours ahead of my time zone.

    Incidentally, since TokuSHOUTsu finally added it, I've been rewatching Ultraman Tiga. It was the first Ultra show I watched in recent years, so I wanted to refresh my memory and see how well it held up in comparison to the other Heisei shows I really liked such as Gaia, Cosmos, Max, and Mebius. It does indeed hold up really well, with good writing and memorable characters. Some of the Chiaki Konaka-penned episodes feel like prototypes for Gaia, which is pretty much what they are -- for instance, there's an early episode focusing largely on a reporter and on the public's reaction to kaiju.

    Some of the production values don't hold up as well, though, such as the very '90s video effects and crude CGI. And the miniatures aren't bad, but not as good as they became in the 21st-century shows. Also, the music, while decidedly earwormy, isn't as rich as some of the later shows' scores.

    I'd forgotten that Tiga isn't the typical Ultra bonded with a human host -- rather, the being of light that was originally Tiga left his petrified giant body behind, and it was reanimated by Daigo, who inherited the Ultra's ability to become light. It was sort of the inversion of the classic pattern where an Ultra's light brings a human back to life. So that makes Daigo/Tiga the first human Ultra to be the sole personality present, a situation I don't think we'd see again until Orb -- or really R/B, since Gai/Orb is humanoid, not human. And that explains where Trigger got the idea for its approach.

    So I guess I'll carry on and rewatch Dyna once I'm done with Tiga, so I'll be watching it during Decker's run, which should make it easier to spot the parallels.
     
  4. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Episode One of Ultraman Decker starts in 20 minutes
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    A decent beginning, with some promise. It's an interesting situation -- an Earth that's happily expanding into space and celebrating its "Neo Frontier" era is abruptly, violently cut off from space, and the hero is cut off from his space-visiting parents. I hope the show explores the cultural impact of that event, not just the personal impact on Kanata, and on the female lead who seemed very eager to get into space. You could probably write that as an allegory for pandemic experiences, an unanticipated global disaster imposing a quarantine and cutting us off from our plans and hopes.

    So far the characters seem like they might have more substance than most of Trigger's supporting cast. We don't know much about them yet, but they seem to have actual motivations and points of view rather than just one-note gimmicks. Although Kanata himself seems fairly one-note so far. He is kind of a hothead like Asuka from Dyna after all, but not as much of a hotshot, driven more by enthusiasm than ego. That could get grating, and I hope there's more to him.

    The merger with Decker was pretty by-the-numbers, and I presume there's a lot yet to be discovered about what Decker is and why he chose Kanata. I'm not crazy about the return of the power-collectibles gimmick and the "Navi" segments at the end.
     
  6. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Here's the episode, for those who haven't seen it yet (or want to watch it again):


    Have to agree, it's a good start, and does show potential. Now, to see if the show fulfills this potential.
     
  7. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Episode #41 of "Ultraman Mebius" sees the return of Ultraman 80, as well as his students:
     
  8. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    In episode #15 of "Ultraman Ace", a little boy talks to his crab father through a seashell:
     
  9. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  10. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    So, there's a one year time-jump between episodes #1 and 2 of Decker. I guess they wanted it to feel more believable that Kanata becomes a full-fledged member of the new GUTS-Select at the start of the series. Still, feels a bit weird to think there were no monster attacks in that year, and he did not turn into Decker during that year, either.

    Otherwise, episode #2 was pretty good. The new series appears to go for a more dramatic feel as opposed to the more humorous one Dyna went for. Then again, Tiga was a pretty straight adventure drama, and Trigger was more light-hearted, with less successful attempts at humor, so maybe that "remaking the 90s shows" isn't going that deep beyond similar looks, names and story aspects.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Decker is showing promise. The characters definitely feel more substantial than Trigger's one-note caricatures, with real driving motivations. They're going for a similar dynamic to Trigger, with the second male lead who clashes with the hero and the female lead who rounds out the trio, but the character work is better so far.

    (You know, rewatching Tiga, which is really one of the best Ultra shows due in large part to its very memorable, distinctive characters who feel grounded and nuanced and real, just makes it seem almost insulting that they did such a shallow job with the character work on the show they dared to label New Generation Tiga.)

    In a way, this episode felt less like Dyna and more like the previous second series, Ultraseven, in that it brought back Miclas and the other Capsule Kaiju (rebranded as Dimension Card Kaiju). Although they're still using the cuter design introduced in Mebius. Miclas wasn't around long, though -- he basically got in one good move and then disappeared. Mebius's Miclas lasted a whole minute, and Ultraseven's originals stayed in the fight until he recalled them.

    I agree with the above comment that a time jump for the reorientation of GUTS-SELECT to defense and the training of the recruits is a good idea, but a whole year is a bit much. Six months would've done it.

    Deathdrago here didn't seem to be a Sphere kaiju. I think they said it was showing a fear response, which I'd guess is a reaction to the Spheres and the field around the Earth. Another reason that a shorter interval would've made sense. Although it makes me wish Decker had calmed it instead of killling it.
     
  12. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Episode #42 of "Ultraman Mebius" has an appearance by Zoffy:
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Also by Ultra Q star Kenji Sahara reprising his Ultraseven role of General Takenaka.
     
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  14. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    I remember at the time it was spread that there was a connection between Sakomizu and Zoffy, and the most common fan theory was that Sakomizu would turn out to be Zoffy's human form. In the end, it was just a short encounter in Sakomizu's past.

    This just in, an obnoxious weirdo is possessed by the spirit of a cow, in episode #16 of "Ultraman Ace":
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Sakomizu does later become Zoffy's host briefly in the final episode.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    A decent Decker episode this week. Not as strong on the character development as last week, but it had its moments. It was largely about establishing the AI character HANE2, who was nicknamed Hanejiro at the end, like the Dyna alien mascot that it's based on. Kanata reveals his secret to Hanejiro and swears him to secrecy so Hanejiro will remote-pilot the GUTS Falcon for him as a cover for his transformation -- reminiscent of how Gamu maintained his cover in Ultraman Gaia. It's not that clear why Kanata wants to keep Decker a secret, but it seems to have something to do with his not fully understanding what it means yet.

    The kaiju was the old stalwart Gomora, a monster from the original Ultraman that's been used frequently ever since it was revived in Ultraman Max and then as Rei's primary kaiju ally in Mega Monster Battle. It was portrayed sympathetically in MMB and in Ultraman X, but has been more menacing in later appearances. Here, it was described as not particularly hostile and rampaging for unclear reasons, and then it was taken over by the Spheres and turned into Sphere Gomora, much like how Chaos Header turned kaiju into weapons in Cosmos. But unlike there, Decker made no attempt to free Gomora but just blew it up. Which is a lot like what happened to the similarly innocent Gomora who appeared in Ultraman Z two years ago, also in episode 3. That outcome was apparently controversial, and in-story, Z's host/partner Haruki later developed a more compassionate attitude toward kaiju. I wonder if that will happen with Kanata as well.

    It's weird how this series that's nominally an homage to Dyna keeps reminding me of different series instead.
     
  17. The Lensman

    The Lensman Commodore Commodore

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    Any word on when Shin Ultraman hits the States? I’m hoping for a limited release at least.
     
  18. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    I like that the team is still basically trainees, acknowledging that training for such a job would take longer even than one year. All in all, a fine episode, but not great. What was great was the FX work, which remains on a fantastic level for a tokusatsu TV show.

    Thus far, there have only been screenings at festivals in Switzerland, Canada, and this week at the New York Asian Film Festival. Unfortunately, there's been no word on a limited theatrical release or even just event screenings on specific dates.
     
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  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It occurred to me last night to wonder why GUTS-SELECT's weaponry hasn't become more powerful in the 7-8 years since Trigger, enough that they could defeat kaiju without Ultraman, but I realized that that's handily explained by the intervening years of peacetime. They basically had to start over from scratch a year ago, when they reoriented from exploration to defense once again, and so they aren't much further ahead of the game than their predecessors were.

    Although some defense teams don't need that long to amp up their tech. I liked the idea in Ultraman X where XIG quickly rigged up sidearms that fired Specium Beams based on study of Ultraman's attacks -- the guns even had little "hand" pieces that extended and crossed to fire the beam. But then, they had a Fanton-seijin scientist helping them out, so maybe that gave them more of a technological edge. Except that GUTS-SELECT has its own alien member, Marluru.


    Anyway, am I the one who finds the Decker voiceover announcements for transformations and Dimension Cards really annoying? The voice actor yells out "Deckerrrrr!!" with an American accent, and it just doesn't sound good to stretch out a word ending in R like that. And the actor's voice is high-pitched and doesn't sound good when yelling.
     
  20. KennyB

    KennyB I have spoken............ Moderator

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    I was in Yokohama a few weeks ago and her was EVERYWHERE!
    Screen Shot 2022-07-24 at 21.46.20.png
     
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