It is time for The Ultraman Episode 28: A New Captain Takes Command!
The episode opens with a strange man walking towards the Science Defense Squad HQ. Gee, given the title, I wonder who it is? He encounters Hikari, who is out for his run. The man asks Hikari if he will show him the way to the base and the squad member agrees, though he thinks the man is press. However, he can’t fulfill his duty as a monster attack requires him to head back and into battle.
The team flies out to intercept the beast which is attacking a refinery. It looks like a mutated elephant and sounds a lot like Godzilla at times. It’s also pretty tough. Since they can’t use missiles on it due to the possibility of causing an explosion, they scramble their jets to use missiles but closer. I’m not quite sure the reasoning holds up but it is what it is. Hikari shoots at it but the missiles bounce off and hit storage tanks, but they are filled with liquid oxygen and freeze the monster, stopping its rampage.
Heading back with the monster encased in a block of ice, the team is introduced to their new captain over the communicator. It is indeed the man from before and his name is Gondo. He congratulates them and then orders them to drop the monster away from the base. Tobe and the others argue, saying that it is dead, but Gondo has no time for that as if it isn’t dead, they will all be in trouble. They oblige him and then head back to meet him properly.
The team feels they don’t need a captain since they have been doing well, but Gondo thinks that has been getting to their heads and before they can relax, he has them exercising to make sure that they are in shape. This new captain runs a very tight ship, it seems. That doesn’t sit well with the others and they go to Mr. Miyai to complain and tell him to let Gondo go. He doesn’t go that far but says he will hold off on the official instatement and let them handle a mission on their own to see how it goes.
That next mission? Dealing with the monster that is thawing out of the ice and still alive! Who could have seen that coming? Certainly not us when the eye glowed earlier. They are on their way but then another monster appears, this one a flying creature that his heading their way. Tobe says they should let the monsters fight it out and then take on the winner. That seems like a solid plan so they lead the flying monster towards the one on the ground. Upon seeing the other monster, the flying monster races towards it, but not to attack! Instead they merge and form Dabaran!
The first order of business for the monster is to attack the Super Maddock, damaging it so it has to land. Hikari takes a jet out but gets knocked out of the air so bad he flies out of the cockpit after crashing and falls unconscious. What is the team going to do against the combined monster? Will they come to their senses and let the new captain help them? Can Hikari turn into Ultraman to help?
This was an interesting episode and one you could see coming. The team was sort of aimless without the captain and just throwing stuff against a wall to see what stuck, often getting lucky against the monsters. However, Gondo isn’t just the opposite in demeanor from Akiyama, he’s kind of a dick. He’s haughty and macho to the point of being mean. In the field he punches Marume when time is of the essence, bloodying his nose and almost knocking him out. All to save a ship that could be rebuilt! I feel that is sort of reckless and Akiyama would want his people to be safe first. It almost feels like this was written by someone today who feels that people are snowflakes and need a real man to teach them how to act. Maybe he’ll grow on me, but it’s not a good first appearance.
I did like the monsters. The elephant design is fun and a break from the normal. The flying monster wasn’t anything to write home about but the combine form was pretty excellent. It ended up looking sort of like a hairy dragon but it worked overall. I feel too many combinations try to make it easy to see the individual monsters but this one melded them together well.
That’s all for this installment. See you next time for the next installment, Ultra Fans!