‘Shin Ultraman’ is New, and Still Ultra

May 21, 2023

If you’re familiar with Japanese culture, there’s no doubt that you’re familiar with Japanese superheroes.

Image by  @TsuburayaGlobal via Twitter

Maybe you’ve seen “Power Rangers” or if you’re really well-versed in the culture, seen Power Rangers in its original form, “Super Sentai.” 

Maybe you’ve seen “Kamen Rider” or “Kikider,” but what we’re about to discuss is arguably Japan’s most significant hero, “Ultraman.”

In 1966, Eiji Tsuburaya aired his first television show, “Ultra Q” and later that year, “Ultraman.” 

While “Ultra Q” was more about monster and alien encounters, “Ultraman” was a direct sequel, this time featuring a giant silver and redalien hero from a distant planet known as the Land of Light named Ultraman. 

The story of Ultraman is very simple: a science organization that

Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman” by Grady Gutridge Pagos attacks Tokyo.

works for the military called the SSSP (Science Special Search Party) and fights off giant monsters and aliens; one of the members dies and Ultraman transfers his life to the humans in order to revive him. 

Now when a monster attacks, the human (Hayata) can turn into Ultraman using the beta capsule. 

Throughout the years, there have been many types of Ultramen:“Ultraseven” (1967), “Return of Ultraman” (Ultraman Jack, 1971), “Ultraman Ace” (1972), “Ultraman Taro” (1973), “Ultraman Leo” (1974)  and “Ultraman 80” (1979), just to name a few. 

“Ultraman” left a huge impact on the Tokusatsu genre, becoming a pop culture icon. 

In 2022, director Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno gave the world the greatest Ultraman reboot of all time, “Shin Ultraman.”

Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman” by Grady Gutridge Ultraman throwing the Ultra Slash at Mefilas.

“Shin Ultraman” is a 2022 reboot of the original 1966 show. The word “Shin” means new. In the film, he is just called Ultraman.

The unique thing about “Shin Ultraman” is that, in the beginning, there’s an “Ultra Q” reference, showing monsters like Gomess, Mammoth Flower, Peguila, Larugeus, Kaigel, and Pagos. 

Don’t expect Ultraman to fight these monsters, as they are just a cameo. Ultraman fights some of the monsters that he’s fought in the past which are Neronga, Gabora, Alien Zarab, Alien Mefilas, and Zetton. 

Ultraman Zoffy also makes an appearance. 

The film has the SSSP members, but there are some differences.

Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman”by Grady Gutridge. These are the  SSSP members at HQ.

There are still five members, but they all have different names, and instead of there being one female member on the team like in the original, Shin Ultraman has two female members. 

The members of the SSSP in Shin Ultraman include Shinji Kaminaga (the main protagonist), Hiroko Asami, Akihisa Taki, Yumi Funaberi, and Kimio Tamura. 

There is also a guy named Tatsuhiko Munakata, but he’s a more minor character. They are played by Takumi Saitoh, Masami Nagasawa, Daiki Arioka, Akari Hayami, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Tetsushi Tanaka.

One cool thing about Takumi Saitoh is that his dad worked on the set of Ultraman Ace back in 1972. 

Photo  @dory_tori Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman”

Bin Furuya, who played Ultraman back in 1966 would return to the screen for motion capture for Shin Ultraman. 

If you’re wondering why Ultraman has no color timer on his chest, here’s your answer. For the original concept art of the original Ultraman,

he was seen without a color timer. But Eiji Tsuburaya wanted a color timer on the chest, which they added. But Tohl Narita, the concept artist for Ultraman, hated the idea of the color timer, and in the 1980s,  he drew a portrait of Ultraman without the color timer.

Ultraman can only stay on Earth for three minutes at a time due to the Earth’s polluted atmosphere. In the original, his color timer would

flash red. But with Shin Ultraman having no color timer, Hideaki Anno came up with the idea that when time is running out, the red patterns on Ultraman’s skin would turn green.


Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman” by Grady Gutridge. Kaminaga sits on a swing.

Shin Ultraman took a different route when it came to Ultraman hosting a human body. In the original, Ultraman donates his life to ShinHayata and the two become one, bringing Hayata back to life. In Shin Ultraman, Ultraman imitates Kaminaga. He doesn’t host him, he shapeshifts into him, but just like the original, the only way to become his giant form, he must use the beta capsule.

Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman” by Grady Gutridge. Ultraman faces Zetton.

Shin Ultraman has a more realistic plot than the original. In the original Ultraman, Ultraman just came to Earth to protect it, and that is that. In Shin Ultraman, it shows the unintentional harm his presents has caused like having Zarab following him to Earth and causing mass destruction or having the world almost come to an end in the hands of Zetton.

Speaking of Zetton, there’s a difference between the original Zetton and the 2022 Zetton. Zetton in the 1966 show is an alien kaiju from Planet Zetton. In Shin Ultraman, Zetton is a robot mecha from the Land of Light light and is 40 times bigger than the 60-meter Ultraman.

Screenshot from “Shin Ultraman” by Grady Gutridge. Zoffy talks to Kaminaga.

We also learn Ultraman’s real name in Shin Ultraman which has never been done in any ultra series or movies before. Ultraman’s real name is Lippia.

Zoffy has a few differences in design. Instead of him being silver and red like he was before, he is gold with black patterns. Anno and Higuchi decided to bring back Zoffy’s original color scheme he had before he was silver and red which he had been for 55 years.

In conclusion, Shin Ultraman is a must-watch. If you’re a Tokusatsu fan, then it’s a must-see. Or if you’re just a person who likes watching movies and is into a wide variety of pop culture, definitely give it a watch. Shin Ultraman was so good, I’ll rate 5/5 grownups in spandex. 

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  • C

    Carlos Eduardo Ribeiro Cravo RoxoMay 25, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Tô me Ultraman is the mighty power of all super heros I just love it since I was a child.

  • R

    Rob SloneckerMay 24, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    I know it’s out in English dub, but do they have an English speaking version of it?

  • R

    Rich Christopher botelhoMay 24, 2023 at 5:12 am

    I’m dying to see an American release of what I think will be the greatest Ultraman movie to date.