Greetings, Ultra Fans! I’m continuing my journey through THE ULTRAMAN with Episode 9: The Horror in the Old Castle. Wait, what is this? Is this a gothic mystery in my Ultra-toon? Can it be a throwback to Ultra Q with the Baron Spider episode? Sadly, no. The castle in this case is an old ruin on Tamara Island, which is by Easter Island and looks more like an Aztec temple than a castle. Also, the horror is located in a cave underneath the ruin.
Anyhow, our story opens with Mutsumi landing at Tamara island to help Dr. Shimaida, who looks like Dr. Nishiki’s more put-together brother, as he does research at the ruins. They’ve found some strange plates with a carving of a monster on them and he wants Mutsumi to take them back for analysis. Meanwhile, the doctor’s team is investigating the ruin and find a hole in a wall covered with a picture of a giant monster. The crawl inside and surprise, they find a monster named Dolfiego who is not too happy about being disturbed! Shooting strange rings from his eyes, the monster zaps three of the researchers while the rest run since the cave has started to cave in a bit.
As the others tell Dr. Shimaida about the monster and the cave in, one of the researchers who was zapped appears and his eyes glow before he starts shooting rings out of them that blow up tents and equipment. Then he disappears back into the ocean. Mutsumi knows this is a case for the Science Defense Squad so she calls in the team and Hikari, Tobe, Marume and a reluctant Pig are dispatched to help her.
Mutsumi and Pig try to analyze the tablets and Hikari dons a scuba outfit to see if he can find an underground entry to the grotto where the monster lives while the rest head towards the ruin to see if they can dig out those trapped inside. There isn’t enough power on the ship’s computer to analyze the tablets so they head to the power plant on the island(???) to see if that has enough. One of the possessed researchers puts a stop to that as he shoots eyebeams out that destroy the power plant and presumably everyone on it.
When the man retreats into the water, Hikari follows him back to the grotto where the monster is. Speaking through the three captured researchers, Dolfiego tells Hikari his story, how he was worshiped by the civilization here and is the last of his kind and only wants to be alone. Hikari convinces the monster to let the men go and they will leave him alone. The monster agrees to the terms and it looks like everything is copacetic.
Then the professor and Tobe decide to blow away the caved in part of the tunnel in their attempt to free those trapped inside. Hikari tries to stop them but boom goes the dynamite and rawr goes the monster and now it is time to fight. Can Ultraman pacify this angry beast or will he have to slay the last member of a species?
Spoiler: He totally kills it.
I like episodes that have a monster that is just chilling and doing its own thing before being disturbed by humanity. It doesn’t want to attack or kill anyone. It’s just defending its home. Then you have the moral quandary presented to Ultraman, who is the only one who knows this info and you get to see how he reacts. Usually he finds some sort of solution. However in this one he just goes for the throat but he does feel bad about it. Not only that, he sinks the island in the process, putting a stop to the research so in a way he’s preserving the monster’s legacy and making it so it can’t be disturbed again.
The monster design is pretty neat, looking like a giant salamander with a mohawk. It’s not the most groundbreaking design but it does well and looks like something an ancient people would worship and translates well to that Aztec-adjacent they were looking for.
Despite the title leading me on, I ended up enjoying this one a bunch. It’s nice to see Mutsumi at the forefront as well. She even tells the professor to hold off on the excavation until she finds out more about the monster but he doesn’t listen and surprise, bad things happen. People should really listen to her. She knows what is up.
Until next time!