Are you an Ultraman fan?
It’s a common question in the western fandom, as most tend to stick to Godzilla and Toho’s canon on our side of the Pacific. To deprive yourself of the rich, colorful, and vastly varied world of Ultra, though, is a disservice to any tokusatsu lover – and if the reactions of U.S. fans and figureheads is any indication – Netflix’s manga-based ULTRAMAN Anime series may be what finally tips a whole lotta’ westerners over into the character’s pantheon.
So what exactly are people saying of Netflix’s newest kaiju eiga-based anime series? For one, it seems to be leaps and bounds above their/Toho Animation’s sluggish GODZILLA Anime, and as such is pulling in professed “non-ultra” fans:
“I’m not an Ultraman fan, but the first episode really peaked my interest…. it is basically better than all three Godzilla [anime] movies.”
- James Hartman
Yet equally important are the reactions of those who grew up adoring Ultraman and his series as they evolved. One such (enormous) fan is friend David Eric Dopko, who had the following to say to us:
“Myself being a longtime fan of Ultraman (since I was in elementary school) I’m really enjoying it! For me, the inclusion of nods and references to the original series really helps bridge the gap from old school to something totally new!”
- David Eric Dopko, DED Photography
“I’m literally a minute in right now and am about to sh*t my pants.”
- Anonymous person who likes Ultraman too much
He’s not anonymous to us – but it’s a great line, so we’re leaving it intact. Suffice to say he’s one of the most passionate and well-versed Ultra-fans in the western world. So, too, is friend and multiple-time G-Fan Jeopardy winner Robert Dwyer, who’s a tough crowd to please:
“A slick and reasonably well executed anime. Plenty of action and easily better than the snorefest of the Godzilla trilogy. However, it doesn’t really feel like Ultraman to me. The robotic look evokes Iron Man more than Ultraman and the fan service call outs…while nice…leave one feeling cold given the original material. The anime name drops a lot, but there’s little substance behind it. The characters of Hayata and Ide are nothing like you’d think and that can take you out of the proceedings. That said…it’s an engaging enough spectacle, but one that can only be loosely called “Ultraman”.”
- Robert Dwyer*
*Robert noted to us that he is, indeed, enjoying the show enough to continue – just isn’t compelled to binge.
Plenty more recognizable names in the fandom have found a lot to enjoy in the series, as well:
Having only watched the the first episode thus far, I am intrigued with the character development and the tone that has been set. Great call backs to the original Ultraman show. I am eager to watch how this show plays out.
- Rich Eso, FRESH VINYL Reviews
“A fresh take to Ultraman that is both grounded in a serious tone with good characters and strong and adult storytelling. It’s a nice departure from some recent Ultraman shows that tend to cater towards selling toys. This Ultraman offers a lot of fun throwbacks but also does something new. This show is fun, serious and most importantly familiar even in a different format, animation. While some of the animation looks wonky it takes the fight scenes to exciting heights. A great example of how Ultraman is still Ultraman even in a new direction. Easily a binge worthy show. Strongly recommend for kaiju fans.”
- Chris Oglio
I just finished all of it. I like it. Got into it really fast, too. [But] this really isn’t “Ultraman” though. It’s something new that just uses aspects of Ultraman. This series is more like a cross between Iron Man and Men in Black. If you want more of “this” and dig into Ultraman’s back titles, you won’t find it.
- John Stanowski, Kaiju Addicts
And we’re definitely noticing a strong pattern when it comes to first impressions with the anime:
“I’m 10 minutes into the first episode and I love it so far…”
- John Belotti Jr., Robo7
“My 1st intro into Ultraman was the Adventures of Ultraman (animated movie 1981). I saw it on a tape we had in Germany and was on replay a lot in my house. However that’s the limit of my exposure growing up. I’ve known about Ultraman from then till now but it’s never been a focus of attention. So I’m coming at this with a pretty casual eye.
In fact most of my exposure to the Ultraman series have come at the expense of my 6 year old. Now I’m familiar with several of the newer series.
I’m 2 1/2 episodes deep and can say that I’m caught at the end of each episode so far. The pacing is interesting to me, I wanna say it feels rushed but it fits with those newer series I spoke of. They fling you right into it which seems on par with what I’ve been exposed to. Of course I catch the call backs to some characters and even featuring a familiar face. The animation for the 1st fight scene, I was sucked in and even tossed in a surprise for me. To be fair I was worried at 1st how they’d look after watching the beginning of the episode, it looks like they saved most of the budget for those fight animation scenes.
The design is absolutley indictive of the Ultraman to a casual. The inclusion of a signature attack was neat to this viewer.
I’m looking forward to watching more of the series. Hopefully the Kaiju will look great as well in battle.”
- Brendan Haugland
And last but not least:
“i think its f*cking neat”
Nothing more needs be said, eh?
Have you watched any of the series yet yourself? If so, let us know what you think in the comments below – or get in on the daily discussion via our Facebook page.
Until next time,