Finishing off Disc Two of the Mill Creek set of THE ULTRAMAN with Episode 16: The Rebirth of Kingmore, the Prehistoric Bird.
Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, an underwater volcano erupts, making things hazardous around a ruin of a rock. A strange bird takes flight, looking something like Kazooie from Banjo-Kazooie, and joins a flock of seagulls, migrating away from the island. This has been your David Attenborough narrated segment of the review.
Back at the Science Defense Squad headquarters, the team has become aware of the earthquake in that area and go to investigate, especially since the island the bird came from was supposed to light up at night at times, scaring sailors. That’s never a good sign. On the way there in the Super Maddock, they see a “floating hotel”, better known to us as a cruise ship. That’s the only thing they find as there is nothing out of the ordinary at the site of the earthquake, not even the sea that was said to sparkle afterward.
You know, they have a lot of info on the place for nobody being around. Couldn’t the person who saw all of this have done an investigation? But I digress.
They are about to head home when they get word that the cruise ship has found a mysterious bird. Perhaps it is the same bird that we saw in the beginning? They dock with the cruise ship and board. The bird is in a box in the hold because it makes the passengers uneasy. Always good to keep around things that do that, in my experience.
It’s not in good shape and looks like it is dying. The captain of the vessel prods it and Mutsumi tells him to knock it off and sweeps the bird up. To her surprise, the creature opens its eyes. They share a moment and Mutsumi says they need to get it to a vet, stat. Fortunately, there is one on board. Why didn’t they bring it to him in the first place? Because it made him uneasy too. Mutsumi convinces him to help it and save its life so he does his best while the SDS heads back to base to try and figure out what kind of bird it is.
After going through some slides, they decide that it is a More, which is a prehistoric bird that supposedly died out. Hikari theorizes that it stayed on the island and got smaller as the one they found was no bigger than a gull. Back on the cruise ship, the bird is dying and its heart stops. The vet says “hey, everything is better with electricity” and decides to shock it back to life. Fortunately for him, it works. Unfortunately for him, the bird starts to grow larger and larger due to the exposure to electricity and is now as big as, well, Big Bird and just as ornery.
The SDS is alerted to this development and flies back to the ship. They are not fast enough and in the meantime, the bird grows into Kingmore, which is about the size of Rodan, and tear through the decks and take flight. It takes time to pick up a lady and stare at her before flinging the hapless woman into the pool. At least it was a soft landing. Then he takes off.
On the Super Maddock, the team detects an oil tanker heading their way and something larger on an intercept course for it. They see Kingmore and the captain wants to destroy it but Mutsumi protests, saying that it isn’t the bird’s fault and it doesn’t mean to be a giant menace.
They don’t have a clear shot at it anyway without hitting the tanker as the bird lands and starts looking for something, damaging the ship in the process. Finally it takes off and the Super Maddock engages it. In the brief fight, Mutsumi is knocked out of her chair and falls unconscious and won’t wake up and Kingmore is chased off. The Super Maddock lands so they can take Mutsumi to the doctor on board the tanker. The team is carrying her up on a stretcher when Kingmore attacks again and snatches her up and Hikari goes along for the ride!
Who could have seen this coming?
Can Hikari and Ultraman rescue Mutsumi before it is too late? What will become of the bird? Does nobody wear a seat belt in the 70s? (Just kidding, I already know the answer to that one.)
This was an average episode for me but I enjoyed it. You have the monster bonding with a woman because it thinks she’s its mother trope in full effect, which should let Mutsumi shine. Instead, it’s basically Mutsumi’s very bad day as she is tossed about, thrown in the water twice and even chased by a shark that I can only assume is a Megalodon because it is the same size as Kingmore. The bird monster fares a bit better than the last monster bonded to a person, as Ultraman doesn’t destroy it mercilessly. However, he does give it a good beatdown, as one should to a bird that kidnaps your friends.
The monster design was ok. It’s your typical bird monster and it had to look friendly or we wouldn’t feel any pathos for its plight. It can’t be held responsible for being shocked to giant size, after all. And he gets a happy ending to his tale, of sorts. Well, as happy as, “He flew to the ends of the sea looking for his home” can be, as it makes it sound like he just ended up dying anyway.
That’s all for this disc. See you next time for the next installment, Ultra Fans!