Post Reply Ultraman - Where to start?
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Posted 7/4/16 , edited 7/4/16
I've just got a Crunchyroll premium account, to watch the new Berserk. I might as well try some other shows to get my moneys worth and Ultraman is something that has always interested me. I'm a big Godzilla fan and Ultraman looks along the same Kaiju lines.

My question is where should I start? Does it matter which series I watch? Is there continuation or are they all self contained?
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Posted 7/4/16
If you can... and you can actually get it pretty darn cheap... pick up the original series of Ultraman (1966), that's the start point (well, Ultra Q before that, but that's before the big Red and Silver hero appears).

Ultraman Mebius ties in to the original series, with additional monsters from the other Ultra shows too (and ones original to Mebius).
Mebius is a good series IMHO.

You'll find they don't all connect, some are stand-alone versions of Ultraman (Ultraman Gaia and Ultraman Nexus for example).
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Posted 7/5/16
honestly, i think you could start with any series. there isn't a lot of continuity. every now and then a monster from a previous series will show up. sometimes an older Ultra.
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Posted 7/10/16
I found this online, the original series of Ultraman

http://www.ironfisttv.com/TV-Series/Ultraman-Subtitled/Ultra-Operation-No-1/watch.html

It appears legit. I understand that there is a long running legal issue regarding the first 6 Ultra shows (until Ultraman Leo), but you'd have to google that up more...
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Posted 7/10/16
Someone stole my Special Science Search Party t-shirt I bought in Japan off my drying line
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Posted 10/30/16 , edited 4/21/17
I know this is an old thread, but I'll answer for anyone else who is wondering about this. Ultraman shows sometimes have references back to earlier series or guest appearances from older Ultras, but each series mostly tells its own self-contained story, with only a couple of exceptions. This makes the choice of where to enter the franchise more a question of what you want from it because, despite the almost unerringly similar formula throughout, the tone and focus of each series varies a surprising amount.

If you're not yet sold on the franchise, and want to start with the best story, go for Nexus. This was part of Tsuburaya's experiment in recalibrating the franchise for older audiences, and resulted in a dark, gripping and emotional series. Be aware that it's not representative of the franchise as a whole though, as other series tend to be lighter and more episodic.

If you want to see the best effects, action scenes, and some of the most entertaining stand-alone episodes the franchise has to offer, try Ultraman X. The only caveat here is that it assumes some familiarity with other Ultra series (particularly Ginga, which is unfortunately one of the weakest series), but you can get around that by just googling "ultraman spark dolls" for some explanation on why people are talking to action figures. X is also one of the biggest offenders for trying to sell you toys, but its quality is otherwise so high that you won't care.

If you want something more old-school, I'd recommend Ultraman 80. It's not the oldest Ultra series on Crunchyroll, but it's a lot better than the rather depressing and jarring tone of Leo, has superior production values, and one of the most likeable protagonists. 80 is pretty under-rated, IMO.

Of the other shows on CR, the currently running Orb has a shaky first few episodes, but rapidly improves, and as of now (episode 17) I'd rate it among the best entries in the franchise. It's also one that doesn't require any previous familiarity with Ultraman. You can't go wrong with Gaia or Mebius, which are both good fun and solid shows. Max takes more of a 'greatest hits' approach, and is generally well regarded, but didn't grab me personally. Basically, just don't start with Ultraman Ginga and you should be okay.
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Posted 7/10/17 , edited 7/11/17
CRUNCHYROLL probably has THE BEST library of ULTRAMAN TV shows available for streaming. The subtitles are EXCELLENT. I know just enough Japanese to know this. I watch the Ultraman series on DVDs without subs when I have to and I read the latest books, magazines, etc., that come out in Japan on the various shows/characters. I would say that you should start with the very first title that CRUNCHYROLL has available in the production order of their titles in the ULTRA series so far, ULTRAMAN LEO. LEO is one of my favorites for the characters and the drama - they don't come right out and say it in the show itself, but if you watch it you can tell as you follow the show that the children are suffering childhood trauma and psychological distress from having had their father and so many people around them killed by the monsters, etc., leading to a climax that takes even more lives and security away from them. I can't think of another chapter in Ultraman that went so far as LEO did with all of that and showing what it really must be like for people forced to live and survive in such a crazy world of monsters and aliens!

In general, the origin of the Ultramen is also touched on in ULTRAMAN LEO (I think this was introduced visually first in the series that came before LEO, ULTRAMAN TARO). They are a race of aliens that lost their sun in a supernova. Their elder scientists built an artificial energy source in the Ultra world itself to try to save what was left of a people who lost their sun, but side effects from this gave rise to their evolution into what we now see them looking like as Ultramen (and women, of course). The sacred flame of that energy , The Plasma Spark, The Ultra Tower, and the Ultra key that locks in place to control the orbital forces of their planet are a subject in LEO. In a latter two-part episode in ULTRAMAN LEO near the climax of the show, you see what happens if the key is removed and stolen!

As of this writing, ULTRAMAN GEED has begun with a main hero who does not know that he has the seed of Ultraman Belial in him, the last and most dangerous criminal of the ancient Ultra race. Belial usually clashes with Ultraman Zero, the son of Ultra Seven. You will see him in ULTRAMAN GEED too.

One of the things that I especially like about these TV shows is the way that their stories present visuals and adventures about other dimensions, rips in the universe, quantum phenomena, etc., on a level that makes all of those series' (like ULTRAMAN GINGA, GINGA S, NEXUS, and others) that seem to take place in another continuity still work because too many things, creatures, and monsters in these shows can threaten more than one universe at the same time. So why shouldn't the Ultraman be subject to this too, having to travel 'god-knows-where' to save the day/days? They must have to go through or fall from one universe or one Earth into another dimension or parallel universe, if not several, anyway. Although it is one of my lesser favorites of the series, I always remember that part in ULTRAMAN GINGA where Ultraman Taro, trapped in Spark doll form, can't figure out where Ginga came from having never seen him before. Ultraman may not be thought of as much of anything to younger generations raised on big budget movies and all today, but some of us remember the days when Ultraman introduced so many of these ideas in a unique way different from anything else in the 60's or 70's!
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Posted 7/12/17

doctor_professor wrote:

honestly, i think you could start with any series. there isn't a lot of continuity. every now and then a monster from a previous series will show up. sometimes an older Ultra.


"There isn't a lot of continuity". Haha. Haaaa.

Ultraman Orb and Ultraman Geed are more than 90% continuity driven and Geed's continuity is with a standalone movie only hardcore Ultrafans have even seen.

Ultraman is the Marvel Comics of toku.
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