The continuing saga of Ultraman Joneus continues in episode 8: The Secret of Hikari! There is a thunderstorm raging in the area and the captain reports that a UFO has been spotted so the team scrambles their planes to look for it while the lightning rages on around them.
Not the greatest idea, to be sure.
Fortunately, they escape unscathed from the wrath of the sky, reporting that all sectors are clear of any UFO activity. But then Hikari sees the UFO on radar and follows it. The captain tries to check in with him but there is electromagnetic interference that prevents communication between him and the jets. As the rest of the team heads home, Hikari follows the ball of light that is the UFO. Suddenly, it shoots a beam out of its front at the mountain ahead and creates a giant hole and disappears. Landing the plane, Hikari investigates the hole and out pops the giant monster Mikonos (which I’m pretty sure is an Greek island), a giant cross between an ape and Pinhead from the Puppet Master series, but with spikes on its elbows and antennae.
Seeing no other course of action but to fight, Hikiri pulls out the beam flasher and transforms into Ultraman Joneus! He makes short work of the monster as the Super Maddock flies in with the rest of the team who had been updated by the captain about Hikari’s disappearance upon their return and went back out to look for them. Marume cheers for Ultraman while Mutsumi scolds him and tells him it isn’t like wrestling on TV, which is a fun bit of lampshading since it is actually just like it. Ultraman finishes the monster and they all fly off.
Wait, there are still fifteen minutes left? That must be why a mysterious and sinister man with a super 8 camera watches them leave from behind a tree, having recorded the whole thing. This surely can’t come back to bite the team in the ass.
Back at base, the team gets word that the fight between Ultraman and Mikonos was filmed and the movie is being sold to whichever TV station bids highest. Even more impressive–the film is said to contain the secrets of Ultraman! Hikari is incensed that someone would do such a thing under the guise that people might see the film of a monster attacking and get confused because monsters are attacking all over the world, which makes sense. The captain isn’t a fan of it either but Marume just wants to find out the secret of Ultraman. They decide to go to the TV station to see if they can get a look at the film.
At the TV station, the team is told that while the fight is impressive, the movie doesn’t contain any of Ultraman’s secrets. The station manager says that the man who sold it to them is dropping off a new version that will have that. When an assistant brings word it has been dropped off, Hikari springs into action to follow the mysterious cameraman while the captain orders an investigation of the monster site and also a list of mountaineers who could have been in the Japanese Alps at the time of the fight. However, Marume and Tobe don’t find the body of the monster or the cave at the location and wonder if the monster was real at all, leading the captain to realize the whole thing is a trap set to get Hikari. But why?
The answer to that question lies is a foe fans of Ultraman will recognize and wonder why they didn’t think of it before. Can Hikari escape from the trap he is being drawn into and defeat whoever is behind the plot? Will his secret be safe? I hope so, because I have a few more discs to go in the Mill Creek box set!
I really like the setup for this one. There’s a monster fight right at the top of the episode that is done well and then we have a decent mystery that threatens the identity of Ultraman. Plus we get a highly identifiable foe from the Ultra series. Only took us eight episodes to get there, which is good since it means they aren’t leading off with it. Mykonos has a neat design that is reminiscent of Red King but more mobile. The updated returning alien looks great as well. Both fights are fun and use the animated medium well. Bring it all together and it is a fun episode with high stakes and a satisfying conclusion.
Until next time, Ultra Fans!