The Ultraman (1979) Episode 5:  The Adventure of the Passenger

The Ultraman (1979) Episode 5: The Adventure of the Passenger

Back again for more red and silver goodness as my watch of THE ULTRAMAN continues with Episode 5: The Adventure of the Passenger! I know, it sounds like a weirdly generic title but it can actually apply to two things in the episode–a person and a vehicle. Let’s jump into it.

The team gets word that thousands of trees in a forest have disappeared overnight. Is it Paul Bunyan on a world tour or is it something even more sinister? Fortunately, there’s an expert from the Africa Zone that flies in to aid them as he was investigating a similar phenomena from the previous year that happened there. His name is Dr. Henry Nishiki and he’s a grumpy and odd old man who has suspicions that a monster might be responsible for the deforestation and they will need to travel underground to do it. He’s also a bit of an asshole and rubs everyone the wrong way, including the viewer, with his abrupt manner.

Fortunately, the team has just the vehicle for that–the Passenger, which is basically a giant drill. The name doesn’t make much sense but it does the job and gets them to the underground where they discover the monster culprit behind the missing trees–Tough Gillas. The creature looks sort of like a cross between a porcupine and a lizard and it can burrow fast and eat trees like nobody’s business. It is also female and has laid eggs that have hatched into two baby monsters. 

The team uses the Super Maddock and its fighters to try and drive the monsters away from the trees so that they can contain them. Dr. Nishiki wants them dead, but Captain Akiyama wants to sedate them. The doctor wins the argument by just grabbing the controls and blasting them himself. However, a surprise challenger arrives to the fight by busting through the mountain like a four-legged Kool Aid Man. It’s the male monster, Tough Gillan! Considering how much trouble the Science Defense Squad was having with one monster, it seems that two is going to be an even taller order. 

The Gill Mates
It’s a family affair!

That means it is up to Hikari to save the day by turning into Ultraman to try and defeat the family of monsters. Can Ultraman Joneus do it? Considering there are still 45 episodes to go, I’m going to say…maybe!

This was an interesting episode. The monster design wasn’t much to write home about but I always like to see how the good guys handle monsters with kids as it usually presents them with a moral quandary. Here they want to try and contain the monsters but the doctor is the one that wants to destroy them, but he does have a good reason! If they let the monsters multiply unchecked, they will eat all of the trees on Earth and that would not be good for people who need oxygen to breathe on our planet. So pretty much everyone. And there’s some good contrast between the monsters eating the trees for food and the missed shots in the attempt to stop the creatures destroying them as collateral damage.

The fight animation was great, and what would have looked goofy in live action as Joneus is batted around by the monsters ends up looking like they are battering him pretty well. It’s ok though because he gets them back by utterly annihilating them with a pillar of fire. He actually had me worried for what he would do to the kids but instead, since they hadn’t attacked him, he used his powers to shrink them down to a more manageable size where they could fit in a shoe box. Of course then they gave them to the man who wanted to destroy the parents in the first place so I’m not sure they are in a better place!

Until next time!