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New Ultraman, Shinji Kaminaga, a man who could transform into a building-sized hero when various creatures threatened his city. (Source: IMDb) Edit Translation
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Ultra ExcitingThis movie is so much fun. To be honest, I have never been much for Ultraman - when I got into Tokusatsu I was mainly into Godzilla, and when I was considering tackling full-on Tokusatsu shows with substantial length, I decided to dive into Kamen Rider, not wanting to explore many other franchises mainly because of just how much overall time would be spent watching everything of all of these franchises. So, as a franchise outsider, I just have to say this is still quite enjoyable. The story does feel a bit cobbled together, like it's 3 episodes of the show in a movie instead of one standalone thing, but even with that issue the fights that are there are fun and interesting, the CGI is impressive, and I had a smile on my face the entire time.
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Arigato, UltramanI genuinely couldn't wait for a second longer in viewing this, I've been so excited for its release for so long that when some heroes leaked it to the internet during October I was over the moon, yet equally annoyed due to the fact I was already dedicated to Spooky Season at the time. But finally, my time has come and Shin Ultraman is everything I hoped it would be and more.
As the threat of giant unidentified lifeforms known as "S-Class Species" worsens in Japan and just when the JSDF and SSSP are pushed to the breaking point, a silver giant appears from beyond Earth's atmosphere.
In this house, we do not stand for Shinji Higuchi erasure, dude had just as much input in the creation of this as Hideaki Anno so it feels morally wrong to completely exclude him from any and all credit he deserves. This film is fucking raw and equally gorgeous, with so many shots of note but the scene of "Ultraman" standing amongst the burning ruins of a city goes hard. Also worth noting is that if you only went to see this or Shin Godzilla due to Anno's name, maybe rethink how you are approaching these movies, just saying.
There's a conscious production design decision by the duo to make Shin Ultraman look as if it was in its genesis and absolutely not concerned with reaching the modern "standards" of polished reboot looks is such a refreshing take. Shin Ultraman looks the part of a brilliant piece of tokusatsu media, a fresh reboot for a new generation and a love letter for long-time fans as both Higuchi and Anno are themselves.
Like Shin Godzilla before it, the visual effects are fantastically stylised. There's a clear love for the original designs and a clever little riff on the reuse of the Shin Godzilla CG model if you know your Ultraman. Shirō Sagisu returns as the composer for the second time, beautifully enhancing the original works of Kunio Miyauchi while adding in works left unused from both Shin Godzilla and of course, fucking Evangelion.
There's so much to be said about the overwhelming success of this film, for a time the highest-grossing film of 2022 in Japan alone and currently sitting at the most commercially successful Ultraman film beating out my beloved Superior 8 Ultra Brothers. It stands tall as one of the finest examples of both a reboot and a piece of Ultraman media, although perhaps not as tall as Brave Love Tiga.
The film doesn't really want to spend time with the politics of its predecessor, as Higuchi has stated in interviews "if we just did the same thing, it's kind of pointless". More power to the man, but the film isn't without a small political commentary on the Japanese government and how they would delineate a situation like this.
There's a little commentary on humanity's place in the universe, and whether we've proven ourselves worthy of continuing as a species. This messaging isn't always elegantly executed but, like so much of the film, it's presented with such enthusiastic sincerity that it's hard to resist. The world may sometimes be a terrible, frightening place, but Shin Ultraman argues that a little decency can still go a long way. I fucking love it, roll on Shin Kamen Rider!
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