Starting off Disc Three of the Mill Creek set of THE ULTRAMAN with Episode 17: Betamy Has Disappeared. Who is Betamy? Is it a real housewife? No, it is the VTOL jet that the Science Defense Squad uses on occasion that I can never remember the name of for some reason. On to the episode.
A typhoon is raging across the globe. Tobe is following it around in the Betamy to see where it goes as the computers can’t seem to predict its course. He travels thousands of miles to the desert in Africa, where he notices a downed helicopter. Landing, he finds Professor Nishiki who has changed from investigating forests to investigating insects. He’s caught a couple of grasshoppers that were left in the wake of the storm, which is definitely odd as there isn’t much grass for them to feed on in the desert. He has Tobe take him up after the typhoon.
The professor mentions that the insects are resistant to cold and pesticides, the former from the storm and the latter from overuse by man. This leads him to believe that insects may take over the world in the end. He is insistent that Ultraman is the only one who can stop this but since Hikari isn’t along for the ride, it’s gonna be awhile before he shows up.
When Tobe flies the Betamy into the typhoon, they see it is full of insects! Even worse, one of them is monstrous! The professor says it is called Badan and he theorized that it was real and the results of mankind using insecticides.The smaller insects clog up the engines and cause them to crash into the desert, but not before they send out a distress call. The rest of the team flies into action to look for them, but all they have to go off of is the phrase “pyramid is sinking”, which was the last thing they could hear about the location. Fortunately, they find the pyramid and the Betamy in short order.
Everyone is glad that the two are ok but not as happy to see the professor because he is annoying. They load the two on the Super Maddock and fly off while Hikari takes the Betany to investigate the typhoon. Shocker, the bugs clog the engines again and Badan captures the Super Maddock and begins eating it. Will Hikari be able to turn into Ultraman and save the day from this pesty threat? You bet he can.
As you can imagine, there is a bit of a message to go along with this episode, though it really isn’t more than “Humans use too many pesticides.” And then the threat is handled and everyone is happy so there isn’t even a looming “The End?” type of scenario like at the end of Godzilla Vs. The Smog Monster. Also the professor keeps trying to hold onto the three grasshoppers he caught for research and makes a big point about it but then smashes on on Tobe’s head so I guess they aren’t that important?
Badan is a pretty cool design. Sort of like Battra mixed with a spotted lanterfly. In fact, Marume even mentions using soapy water in a spray as a way to stop it, which I got a chuckle out of. With the way things are going in the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if a giant monster was next on the list. Plus a typhoon made up of bugs if pretty freaking creepy and disgusting so they made a good choice there.
Not really a fan of Professor Nikishi but including him allows us to get a throwback to a previous episode where we get to find out what happened to the little monsters that Ultraman saved. Also, apparently the professor is Ultraman’s biggest fan as he wants the team to call him and have him come to dinner.
A fun enough episode but the lack of a cohesive plot and some kind of racist depictions of black people drag it down a bit. Not quite Mr. Po Po level but not great.
See you next time for the next installment, Ultra Fans!