Ultraseven is the second installment of the long running Japanese film and television franchise based on the television character Ultraman. Ultraman, and Ultraseven of course, is an amalgam of western super hero archetypes and japanese moral and ethical codes. The first majorly successful Japanese superhero was named Starman. He was essentially a superman archetype. Ultraman, following in Starman’s footsteps, was also deeply influenced by the big blue crusader.
Ultraman was an alien who, after bonding with a human, took up residence on earth in order to defend it from hostile aliens. Ultrman, and his successor Ultraseven, are insanely popular in japan. They are both staples of the tokusatsu genre, the japanese equivalent of American B-movies.
Ultraseven is a dark, probing show that deals with the moral complexities of the cold war while also showcasing some of the most amazing rubber suited monsters ever put to film. Ultraseven is one of the more cerebral and intricately constructed of the tukusatsu entries from the 70’s. Most Tokusatsu fair consists of men strapped into rubber suits beating the snot out of each other.
Ultraseven’s brilliance resides in the dual nature of the narrative. The show is bright, fun, and childlike while simultaneously dealing with issues like environmental destruction, cold war anxieties, and nuclear warfare. The show is simultaneously innocent and extremely twisted. It’s really quite a wonderful combination.
Ultraseven doesn’t deviate from the Ultraman formula too far. He’s a part of super science team, he’s mild mannered, and he defends the earth by growing to 50 feet tall and punching gigantic space lizards in the face. Ultraseven is a fun filled adventure show for children of all ages. The only problem is that it’s never been released here in the states. Recently, Shout Factory put out a DVD of the entire show. It’s a reasonably hight quality product with very well done subtitles, something that is always a bit of a dice role when watching imported Japanese television shows. The only real draw back to the Shout Factory release is that there aren’t any special features. No real bonus footage or anything.
Ultaseven is arguably the best the Utraman franchise has ever been and will ever be. It’s got all the classic monsters, great fights, and cities made of cardboard that you could possibly want. It’s also got a more adult side, which allows it to be viewed repeatedly. It’s an amazing show with everything that a B movie junkie could ask for.
Ultraseven is, quite possibly, the best tokusatsu show made during the late sixties and early seventies.
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Tagged: kamen rider, kamen rider amazon, kamen rider black, masked rider, power rangers, shout factory, super sentai, ultraman, ultraman king, ultraman mebius, ultraseven, zubat
Posted in: Cult Movies, Featured (Film), Film, Sci-Fi Movies, Super Hero Movies