It is time for The Ultraman Episode 37: Danger on U-40!
Uh oh. Planet U-40 is the Ultra Planet, so you know there is going to be some trouble.
The team is roused from slumber by the alarm going off. However, it turns out to be a false alarm but they are ordered to report the observatory. There they see a shining light that a scientist thought was a monster (note: really?) but is actually a supernova. You know, those things get confused all the time. Hikari notes that the supernova (which they say is from a dying planet) is in the direction of U-40. He has the computer calculate it and it reveals that there is a 97% chance of that being the case and he is shook! Ultraman tells him to relax though because if U-40 was in danger they would have contacted him. Unless they blew up, I guess.
The Captain notes that Hikari’s mind is elsewhere and sends him to Antarctica on a mission as a research team has found something there. It turns out to be something man-made under the ice but before there can be more investigation, the radar detects something heading towards Earth! The Super Maddock goes to check it out and it turns out to be two ships–Amia’s neato two-cockpit speeder and a large alien craft. The larger craft is attacking the smaller one so Captain Gondo orders the attack. Their weapons are ineffective though and the ship manhandles them in return. They are all set to be destroyed when Ultraman shows up and destroys it and then follows Amia to Earth, leaving the rest of the team to limp back to base on their own. What a friend!
On Earth, Amia tells Hikari that U-40 has been invaded, but it isn’t by aliens this time but their own people. Turns out in the past there was a man named Heller who wanted to use the Ultramind to live forever and had 3000 warriors who felt the same way. He used the Ultramind to gain immortality but was chased away from U-40 where he set up an empire beyond the dark nebula, which sounds like an awesome prog rock band name/album. Over time, the Ultras forgot about Heller until he attacked out of the blue and took over the planet. Amia escaped and was sent to Earth because there is a secret weapon named Ultria hidden there somewhere.
Hmmmm, I wonder if that could be what is under the ice?
Joneus figures the same thing and says they should go back to Antarctica to find it. Hikari contacts HQ to tell them about it and asks them to meet him there and they are confused but agree. Too bad alien ships are on their way and one of them is lurking around spying on conversations. Heller heads back to U-40 and sends a monster to take care of Joneus. The aliens also do a number on the cities before they leave because they are assholes and sending a message to Ultraman not to fight, like that has ever worked before.
In Antarctica, the monster Gumons shows up and blows up the research facility. Hikari and Amia reach it and he transforms into Ultraman to fight the creature. After strong early showing, Ultraman gets knocked around and pinned to the ground, requiring Amia and the Maddock to intervene to help him. The latter gets shot to the ground and blows up after the team evacuates. Things are looking grim when the ground starts to shake and something starts to rise up out of the ice. It’s the Ultria! Will it be enough to stop the monster and save the day?
You’ll have to wait until the next episode for that as this one ends on a big ol’ TO BE CONTINUED.
I enjoyed this episode for a number of reasons, the main one being the existence of evil Ultras, though they just look like normal soldiers in fancier dress for the most part. Belial is one of my favorite villians and I always like it when the enemies are home-grown like that instead of random aliens. Heller doesn’t quite fit the bill as he rejected the Ultra Change so I don’t think we’re going to see an evil Ultra from just yet, but the ideological difference is appreciated.
There is a lot going on, however, so the episode feels a bit rushed at times as we ping pong from Earth to U-40 to space to Antarctica, etc. A little more time to breathe and deal with the mystery of Antarctica would have been nice, maybe a little more time on U-40 with Heller’s backstory too. I understand it is a kids show and they have a time limit but the writer in me wants more.
The monster design is certainly unique but I’m not sure it work for me. The head sort of looks like Red King meets a horned walrus, with the body of an Ankylosaurus, shoulder pads and a fish tail. Oh and he has weird finger protrusions around his neck. Certainly alien looking but it is kind of a mess of form and function. Definitely not a big toy seller.
That’s all for this installment. See you next time for the next installment, Ultra Fans!