Recently Netflix released a brand new anime called Ultraman. Netflix has been releasing a lot of anime over the last couple of year. Some has been really good, some… some have not been so good. So how does this new Ultraman stand up? Let’s find out

The Story

The description of the series found on Netflix says the following: Decades since he last merged with Ultraman, Shin Hayata learns of a new threat to Earth. His son, Shinjiro, also shows signs of superhuman strength.”

I think to an old school Ultraman fan, the above sentence peaks some interest whereas to unaware may wonder but not have the same intrigue. So is there something here to catch the new comer’s attention? The first episode does a great job of summing specific back history of Ultraman. This summation does a few things.

  1. Gives the longtime Ultraman fan the understanding that this is a continuation of sorts from the original 1966 Ultraman.

  2. Provides the newcomer with the knowledge that there is a much larger world that’s established but not so overwhelming that you’ll be completely lost.

Keeping that in mind, the story follows Shinjiro as he works to discover what it means to be Ultraman. Some have complained about the fact that he does not transform into a larger individual and that his strength seems to come from suit. This, however, is a misunderstanding of the more significant story at hand. When the being “Ultraman” left his father many years beforehand, it had left a body that was genetically altered. This genetic alteration was passed down to Shinjiro. Shinjiro, as a result, has amazing strength and reflexes even without his suit.  In this particular season, there’s a brief conversation that suggests that he “Ultraman” spirit will need to return and choose a new host. This leaves a sense that the “Ultramen” are all striving to prove that they are worthy.

That being the main underlining plot, the series does explore some storylines such as Shinjiro trying to come to grips with his responsibility as an “ultraman,” a mysterious string of murders that seem to be alien related, along with a mysterious being called Bemular. Bemular’s obsession with destroying Ultraman book ends this season nicely and leaves some fascinating storyline to be explored in season 2.

ultraman

The Art

The art of this series is very much in line with much of what Netflix has been putting out. From Knights of Sidonia to Cyborg 009, to the recent Godzilla trilogy; Netflix seems to be banking on this CG anime style. Many times while watching this series, one may feel as though they are watching cut scenes from a video game.

That said, I feel like it works for this genre, there’s a cool slickness to it that works with the story. Honestly, I feel like it’s a better execution of this style than what we see in Godzilla. Godzilla tended to over texturize certain things whereas this series was a bit more subtle. I’m not saying that it’s a minimalistic styled anime, but the artwork isn’t as busy as Godzilla was.

Another thing I really appreciated was that some scenes were lit really nicely. I realize that this is a strange statement considering it’s all animated, but the animators did a great job of capturing the ambiance of dusk, low lit rooms, and night scenes. The way they made light bounce and affect textures really was something of beauty. Overall, I’d say that this is one of the best CG Animes that Netflix has released.

Final Thoughts

So is Ultraman worth it? Yes! Celeste and I finished this short series over a series of 4 days, and it left us wanting more. I’m actually waiting for a friend to loan me the first 10 episodes of the original series because this series was so intriguing. From us here at Geek Devotions we will give The Netflix Original: Ultraman a strong 5 out of 5!

 

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