The Ultraman (1979) Episode 18: The Mysterious Monster Island (of terror)

The Ultraman (1979) Episode 18: The Mysterious Monster Island (of terror)

Today we are up to Episode 18: The Mysterious Monster Island. Monster Island? Now you’re speaking my language, show. I wonder how many monsters are going to be on this island? Three? Five? More? 

It turns out that there are no monsters on this monster island, which gives you an idea of how things might go. Instead, people are happy and live in the village and fish. Except they can’t catch any fish because there aren’t any fish since the mainlanders came and started their mysterious digging operation. How does that affect the fishing when it is on land? That’s a question for later as a giant red sea snake rears its ugly head and starts breathing fire, burning the village.

Cut to the Science Defense Squad HQ where Hikari, Tobe and Marume are all sitting down at the coffee shop and placing their orders with Yuriko, who runs it. They make some small talk but then it seems that coffee will have to wait because there is a monster attack reported. When the island’s name, South Ukigo Island, is mentioned, Yuriko drops the coffees in shock. That’s where she is from!

Yuriko came from the island to join the SDS and study monsters, because that is what she loved.  However she didn’t quite pass the exams so she works in the coffee shop instead so she can be near all the action. Hikari suggests she come along, pretending to be Mutsumi, who can cover for her at the counter. Casually sexist Ultraman is here. She agrees and the team is jetting off to South Ukigo Island with Yuriko in tow. Mutsumi gets a small scene covering at the shop while the Captain shows up and brews him a terrible cup of coffee.

When they arrive at the island, Yuriko is in shock as the village is burned down and there is all of that digging going on. The team lands and Yuriko meets her father, who is impressed she is on the team. Hikari goes to investigate the mining operation while Tobe and Marume check out the site from the air, leaving Yuriko to spend some time with her father.

At the mining site, the foreman is guarded and rude, not revealing what they are digging for. He scoffs that there’s no way the mining could be affecting a monster in the ocean, just in time for the drill to fall over and then the monster to reappear in the ocean to attack again.

No monster is an island…except Islanda!

Tobe and Marume postulate that the monster’s nest must be underwater and Yuriko volunteers to dive down and find it. She sees the sea snakes and also something else–the monster’s true form! That’s right, all of the sea snakes are actually fire breathing legs. Ok, that doesn’t make much sense but it is pretty freaking cool. The monster notices her and attacks but she escapes, making it to land with the help of her father. She tells the team about her discovery, that the head of the monster is under the island, just as the blasting signal sounds from the mining operation. 

Uh oh.

This makes the monster very angry indeed and it rises up from the island and attacks! Can Hikari and the others defeat the creature? Why is this scenario so similar to the letter Yuriko showed them earlier that she wrote to her father? Can Mutsumi ever make a good coffee? You’ll have to watch and find out. 

I was not expecting an episode about the coffee shop girl but it was a good one. Not meeting the expectations of your parents is a pretty universal fear for people, as is not realizing your dreams,  so we could all relate to her. We get some more ecological concerns too, this time against mining/fracking and its effect on the environment, though to be fair the only effect is “wakes up a giant monster” so if you don’t have any near you apparently you can mine away!

Speaking of which, the monster design is pretty cool. It would have been hard to pull this off in live action, at least at the end, and it is a pretty unique look. It’s sort of like an Octorok with Gleeok heads for legs. And when it rises  up from the ground it has a neat hat of earth. It’s a formidable foe, too, since each leg is a monster for Ultraman to fight and they can wrap you up and eat you. There’s a lot going on with it but it works.

Now I need to go find Yuriko so I can get some coffee as I am tired. See you next time for the next installment, Ultra Fans!