News Stay At Home With ULTRAMAN| Ultra Science Fiction Hour on YouTube

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

  1. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    I'm jealous. Still no word on whether Germans will get to see it at all.
     
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  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    With episode 21 of Decker, it looks like we're building toward the endgame. And there's a surprise guest...

    Ultraman Dyna finally shows up out of nowhere, to fight the monsters while Kanata is having a crisis of faith thanks to Agams messing with his head. He never shows up as Asuka, though, just Dyna, so it's a bit of an underwhelming cameo. Interesting to see them redo Dyna's CGI rise sequences with more modern CGI. It seems he has new suits too; Strong Type seemed to be a more saturated red than I remember.

    A lot of nice directorial touches. Good interaction of ground-level, human-scale action/dialogue with the giant monsters and CGI vehicles. I loved how they used origami figures to represent the ship and the kaiju when planning the attack. I loved how Agams was introduced handing a replacement clip to an unsuspecting Kanata. And I loved the miniature shot with the rack of pinwheels in the foreground that spun in the wind from the monster's explosion.

    I guess the talk about Dyna coming from a "future universe" makes sense, since the Mega Monster Battle movie established that when Asuka went into the rift at the end of his series, he ended up in the time frame of MMB, which was at least 50 years in the future of the Land of Light universe. So I wonder if Agams and Decker Kanata come from that universe too.
     
  3. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    In episode #36 of "Ultraman Ace", Hokuto has to deal not just with another monster, but also a gang of motorbike-riding bullies:


    And here's Decker #21:


    Enjoyed this one a lot. The action began pretty much right away, but never felt unjustified. And we finally got that team-up.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I always find it contrived when there's a story about a risky experiment that's been underway for months, and it just happens to go wrong immediately after the heroes show up to warn about how dangerous it could be. Although here, they did justify it by having Ryuumon and Kanata's visit motivate the boss to recklessly accelerate the experiment out of fear that TPU would shut it down. So it wasn't just coincidence that it went wrong just then; there was a cause and effect to it. But it's still a bit contrived that he rushed right into it while Ryuumon and Kanata were still on the grounds.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Here's Destined Crossroad Ep. 4:



    They bring back Ultraman Reiga, the combination of all the New Generation heroes, except poor Z gets left out since it was before his time. They go for a bit of pathos with Grigio trying and failing to save Gina Spectre, but it would land better if they'd had more time to establish a relationship between them beyond just being "fellow sisters."

    The Ultra Force finally make their appearance at the end, teasing a bigger role next week. There's lip service to their American origin by giving them a fair amount of English dialogue, but it's spoken with the usual heavy Japanese accent. Since this was released simultaneously with Japanese and English audio tracks, maybe they could've just had the English voice actors deliver the Japanese and English lines in this version. (Ultrawoman Beth is voiced in English by Maria Theresa Gow, Georgie from Ultraman Gaia, so she's certainly able to speak Japanese.)

    I'm surprised Sakamoto doesn't do a better job directing the action on these virtual sets. Too many of the camera setups are just flat, with the suit actors just moving left and right in the frame while fake rocks are superimposed over their feet. And a lot of the shots of the Ultras in a group lack depth, as if they were shot separately and composited without perspective. I know these are probably done fairly cheaply, hence doing them 100% with suit actors and voiceovers so they don't have to pay for on-camera actors (assuming it works the same way in Japan as in North America), so that may inhibit how much time and freedom Sakamoto has to create imaginative camera setups and choreography. But someone with his experience directing action should still be able to make it more visually interesting.

    Although I wonder if maybe the limited staging is deliberate, since it's not unlike the kind of action choreography they'd have in a live stage show.
     
  6. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Episode #11 of "UltraSeven" introduced the robot dragon Nurse, which made a comeback in the New Generations era, and inspired the team's HQ/vehicle in Ultraman Trigger:
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I didn't understand why they called it Nursedessei until I realized it was an update of Nurse.

    Although I'm still unclear on why the ship in Ultraman Tiga that it homages was called Artdessei. My best guess is that it's some derivation of "Odyssey." Although "sei" means "star," so maybe that's part of it.
     
  8. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Really intense episode of Decker this week. A tense confrontation between Agams and the captain, Agams's tragic backstory fully revealed, and some really impressive miniature work in the climactic battle. The highlights are the raised freeway in the foreground of the first Terraphaser scene, with cars racing by at highway speeds (though I don't know why they were throwing off sparks), and that neat, lengthy shot of the camera slowly advancing through a water-slicked alley while Decker and Terraphaser fought beyond the end of it. It got a little over-the-top, though, when we got to the massive destruction and the combatants falling into a crater and so forth. But it had a rather unexpected twist ending.
     
  10. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Decker #22

    Yeah, pretty much what you said, @Christopher . I'd add that Agams must have been under the Spheres' influence for a while now, because otherwise picking Earthlings as his nemesis instead of the Spheres who actually destroyed his homeworld (or have they?) makes little to no sense.

    Meanwhile, in episode #37 of "Ultraman Ace", an old high school friend of Hokuto's developed a race car motor capable of achieving Mach 1, which one monster doesn't like at all:
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It does make sense in a way. As he said, he blames himself, his arrogance in choosing to help Earth fight the Sphere, as much as he blames Earth. If Earth had never expanded into space, they never would've crashed on Bazdo, and Agams never would have tried to help them and provoked the Sphere's retalation against Bazdo. So he's trying to erase the source of his own guilt, because it's easier to blame the people he tried to help than it is to blame himself for trying to help them. He feels that his kindness to humans was a fatal mistake, so he's overcorrected by embracing hatred of humans. It's irrational, but the emotions driving it are fully understandable without needing to assume alien influence. At most, the Sphere are exploiting and amplifying the guilt and blame he already feels.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Here's Destined Crossroad Ch. 5:



    A bit unfocused. Ultra Force get a bit of a fight scene, but then Ribut shows up and kind of hogs the glory, and then Noa shows up, devolves to Nexus, and is inexplicably out of control and attacking everyone, trapping Ribut and Absolute Titan in his Meta Field. Although it leads to a nice beat of Ribut convincing Titan they need to work together to survive and trust in his friends to get them out. Ribut reminds me of Cosmos, with his compassionate, spiritual manner and his graceful martial arts style. They've also both got big ears that seem inspired by Buddha statues.

    Then we finish Zero's training sequence with his father and mentors, and it turns out they were reminding him to fight for protection instead of revenge or anger. Which was just reminding him of lessons he'd already learned, so it just seemed like an excuse for a fight scene. But then, pretty much this whole story is a series of flimsy excuses for fight scenes.

    I'm not sure, but this may be the first time I've ever heard Leo's kid brother Astra have dialogue. I also got a sample of Taro's new voice, and it's much deeper than the voice he's had from the mid-80s until recently. I wonder why they didn't match his old voice better, like they did with Ultraseven and Joneus.
     
  13. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    So, after taking center stage in the previous four chapters, Grigio doesn't even appear in episode 5. But then, they had a lot going on here, anyway.

    As for Taro's new voice actor, Showtaro Morikubo voiced Young Taro in Chapter 2 of The Absolute Conspiracy. He's also got an impressive resumee, having a nearly 30-year career in voice acting, during which he worked on Gundam X, Bleach, Naruto, Blue Submarine No. 6, Record of Lodoss War, Captain Tsubasa, Kikaider 01: The Animation, Detective Conan, One Piece, Demon Slayer, Pokémon, and Mazinger Z. Him getting the job as Taro appears to be more about experience in the field than how closely his voice resembles that of his predecessors.


    Also, for whatever reason, no episode of UltraSeven today.
     
  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I get the feeling that her part in this is done, and the focus is shifting to other characters such as Ribut and the Ultra Force. And eventually it's bound to bring in the focus on that new guy Regulos, to set up his solo miniseries or whatever that is.
     
  15. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Episode #38 of "Ultraman Ace" is a well-timed Christmas episode:
     
  16. Kai "the spy"

    Kai "the spy" Admiral Admiral

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    Decker #23:

    Still watching, I'll give notes ... some time this weekend when I find the time.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So we get to see Agams's original, noble personality, before grief twisted him, though it doesn't last. He's definitely going to end up being redeemed at the end, particularly since he let drop that he's the only one who knows the weakness of the Sphere "final boss."

    Some good visuals here, but there was an atypically bad shot when a miniature building smashed by a Sphere was superimposed in the sky behind Agams. Some of the debris flew close to the camera but disappeared behind the lower building in the foreground, even though the perspective was such that it definitely should've fallen in front of it, or even right around/onto Agams. So it gave away the split-screen effect.

    Also, hasn't that shot of Nursedessei crashing into a building been used before? Sheesh, they just got it rebuilt the way it was, and the dang ship crashes into it again!

    And we get the usual thing where Ryumon knows Kanata is Decker but tacitly keeps his secret. I wondered if that was meant to parallel Ryo in Dyna (and I only just noticed the similar names), but I think it's closer to Rena in Tiga, since she figured it out on her own and wrestled with it in silence, while Ryo had it revealed to her by another. Although his "Go out there and do what you need to" attitude was kind of the opposite of Rena's "Why does it have to be you?" attitude. Also, Ryumon is not the hero's love interest, unless I've been totally missing a subtext.

    Arghh, and they interrupt the climactic arc right at the huge cliffhanger by taking a week off to do another recap special! What lousy timing! I wonder if they're taking a holiday break, but then I would've thought they'd take today off, since it's already Christmas Eve in Japan.
     
  18. Xerxes82

    Xerxes82 Captain Captain

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    Toku tends to take off New Year, but air for Christmas. Sentai and Rider do the same thing.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I wondered if that might be the case, but I wasn't sure. They make such a big deal out of Christmas in toku, even though it's an imported holiday. But I guess it makes sense that they'd save the break for the more traditional New Year's holiday.

    I find it fascinating how the Japanese embrace this totally Westernized Christmas celebration one week, then turn around and do a deeply traditional New Year's celebration a week later. It's like they're consciously balancing East and West, tradition and modernity.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Fresh from the oven, here's Destined Crossroad Ch. 6:


    So Nexus going berserk was a chess move by Noa to get Ribut and Absolute Titan to cooperate, maybe plant a seed for peace later. Though Ribut runs out of energy and passes out or dies or something, and nobody seems to care much. Well, I guess Mother of Ultra can resurrect him if it comes to that.

    This seems like the end of the showcase for the Ultra Force and Nexus. With four episodes left, we're probably moving toward the endgame with the core characters.

    I wonder if this will take the New Year's weekend off too.