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Rewatching Ultraman Gaia 
18th-Feb-2013 01:07 am
Not sure what happened, but, instead of most other series I mentioned in the previous entry, I somehow ended up starting Ultraman Gaia. And while I still think it is the best Heisei Ultraman series, Gaia is definitely slower in drawing me in than, say, Ultraman Dyna.

Wow, I didn't remember at all that Gamu is pretty stubborn (and very spoiled) in those early episodes. In fact, it seems to me that he has manipulated practically everyone (yes, even ULTRAMAN) to do his biddings.

(I suppose it's a contrast to Daigo (Ultraman Tiga), who seems happy to follow the rules most of the time (similar to Ultraman Mebius, imho). I can probably count on one hand when Daigo runs off alone (to do his own things). On the other hand, I lose count of how many times Gamu just does whatever he wants in the first four episodes alone. I guess I never noticed since I usually watched Gaia after Dyna, and they are probably less different than I originally thought. (The scary thing is I actually think Asuka (Ultraman Dyna) is more of a good kid than Gamu is in their respective early episodes).)

IIRC, only Atsuko and Kajio seem to be less than friendly to Gamu (but since he is the main character, they warm up to him eventually anyway). (For some reason, I think their reactions seem almost like the typical cold shoulder treatments someone gives to his/her potential love interest at first. Nah, I probably read too much into it. They both call him a kid and tell him not to use XIG as his playground or something.)

Hmm, could be just me, but Gamu reminds me of Yazumi (the computer whiz kid from Ultraman Tiga). However, unlike Yazumi, Gamu can actually get things done successfully. So I suppose that's the reason I overlook his (numerous) disobedience. If he could back up his claims with results, I don't mind him not following the rules.

Come to think of it, Gamu actually fits the character type (outgoing, nonconforming scientist) I really like, but why oh why I always thought he was so ordinary*? He certainly doesn't -- he thinks he is special! I actually don't remember many Ultraman hosts (main characters, I mean) who are that confident (bordering on looking down on other people) of their own abilities.

(*Perhaps I could blame it on where I first saw him. On that crossover movie with Tiga and Dyna (the one during his series' time, not the one from five years ago, although I think that one was also guilty of making Gamu pretty unremarkable). I don't remember anything interesting in particular save that, 'okay, this Yazumi clone is Ultraman, they don't usually use scientist type for that'.

Perhaps it's only me, but I always think an Ultraman host often changes his personality (or at least the writers change it for him) to become ordinary (i.e. a good kid, even if he is not like that in his own TV series) when he is in any type of crossover movie. Ultraman hosts only seem to keep their unique personalities in movies and tie-ins from their own series (no crossover with other series, even if they are set in the same universe).)

Not about Gamu anymore, but there are not so few familiar faces (to me) in Ultraman Gaia. So far there is Kougami's actor (from Kamen Rider OOO) as Chief Tsutsumi. And perhaps he isn't around in the first four episodes, but Captain Serizawa's actor is the third pilot of Team Falcon. And and and Hassei Takano (Kamen Rider Raia) as Fujimiya.
Earth Day
17th-Feb-2013 09:36 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen most of the Ultras you mention (yet) but I've sure seen Gaia, and liked it very very much.
I do remember Gamu being rather "wagamama" (my brain's tired, I can't think of a proper English word) and sometimes obnoxious *g* but he was very capable too so it didn't really bother me either.
And I also agree at least about Kajio giving him that specific kind of cold shoulder treatment, I don't remember Atsuko's reactions in enough detail, I've only seen the show once.

Haven't seen enough to comment on the crossover movies :)

Wasn't Watanabe Hiroyuki also in Gaia? As some kind of commanding officer? He was also Saejima Taiga in Garo.
And Takano Hassei was in a few more tokus *g* In Ultraseven X as a guest (then again who wasn't...), in Keitai Sousakan 7, in Garo Makai Senki and of course also in Kamen Rider The First and The Next. I'm not sure I'm not forgetting anything...
18th-Feb-2013 07:47 am (UTC)
I do remember Gamu being rather "wagamama"...

Well, the dictionary says something about 'willfulness, disobedience, whim', and I think they fit him perfectly. :)

Ah, I have seen the show more than once, but honestly this is the first time I notice their reactions to him. ^^;; (I always had this thought that Gamu was so charming (or so obnoxiously adorable) that everyone just accepted him without question.) In any case, glad you agree about Kajio at least. :) As for Atsuko, I thought her reactions were similar to Kajio's, but that might be because, to me, she is obviously destined to be Gamu's love interest.

Even if you had seen enough, you might not agree. ^^; After all, no one else seems to think that Ultraman characters change personalities to fit in crossover movies. That said, even with this kind of problem for me, many crossover movies are fun to watch. :)

Yes, Watanabe is Commander Ishimuro, and I love him in this series (and in Garo, too). :) Ah, if it is helpful, I have a more extensive list of a few actors I recognize in Gaia, but it is outdated.

I actually didn't recognize Takano in Garo Makai Senki, but think he was the guest in the episode about the parents who kill people to feed Horror. Haven't seen Keitai (and not sure whether it's a toku or a drama) but I do want to watch it.
18th-Feb-2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
Gamu doesn't sound like a kind of character I would like XD
20th-Feb-2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, I might have exaggerated his faults (since I thought he was ordinary before). If I didn't know Gamu and went by what I wrote here, I don't think I would like him either.

I do think Ultraman Gaia has a great story, however. And there are plenty of other characters to like, imho.
24th-Feb-2013 04:07 pm (UTC)
I guess I just have watch it and see for myself XD I just noticed whole episodes of the series are uploaded on youtube (without subtitles, though), so I don't even have to download to give it a try XD
24th-Feb-2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
Sure, but only if you want to. :)

Well, there are many things going on, imho, in the first episode that I think it's better with subtitles. You can read English scripts for the first six episodes here, whenever you get around to giving the series a try.
26th-Feb-2013 10:18 pm (UTC)
I did give it a try :) Gamu is not bad, apart from the fact that he yells all the time XD I just can't stand characters who do that. And also, his name is kind of lame. Gamu - it's like the Japanese word for gum, what's up with that? xD

And I get it, Gamu is supposed to be like really smart and stuff, but how come he knew all about Ultraman and asked him for special powers, does that get explained somewhere in the series later?
27th-Feb-2013 04:47 pm (UTC)
Glad you seem to enjoy the series so far. :)

Actually, I don't remember Gamu yelling all that much, but my impression of him is more along the line of a cool-headed scientist (albeit one who is totally not shy of correcting people), so I could have overlooked his yelling. I just felt he liked to order everyone around, which could be annoying if he kept it up (he is their analyst, not their boss). Thankfully, I think he has (mostly) outgrown that phrase not so long afterward.

Chewing gum, isn't it? ;) He got called that sometimes (and iirc he admitted it was something other kids used to tease him with). It does sound ridiculous when I think about his name in that context, but I kind of have a soft spot for Japanese names that can sound like words (or proper nouns) in English...

As for what's up with that, I'm not sure either why they picked that name for him. ^^; But I'm kind of glad that it is apparently a pretty unique name (still haven't heard of another Gamu). In any case, his name has a kanji (夢) meaning 'dream' in it (the 'mu' part). And the kanji for 'ga' (我) means we, self, oneself, ego (I totally see this last one ;). So I would parse the whole thing as 'our dream' or something of that nature. I might be off, though, since maybe it's not that simple to get meanings for names just from their kanji characters alone.

And I don't think the series ever explains about Gamu's (virtual simulator) trip to the center of the Earth. As someone in the higher-up of XIG (Tsutsumi or Chiba, don't remember which) once remarked to the commander, Gamu just seemed to intuitively know things that other people wouldn't normally pick up.
28th-Feb-2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
Well, he was yelling while doing that experiment thing and later on too XDD I would not mind the bossing around thing I guess, but I need to watch some more to be sure XD

Yeah, and it's just annoying for me XD I mean, how can you take a character seriously if he has a name like that XD It's almost as bad as some of the Gundam characters with names like Bring Stability and Full Frontal XDD

It's the first time I've ever heard this name, too and while the kanji might be nice and have cool meanings, I still don't like how it sounds, it just doesn't sound beautiful.

I see... A likely story indeed, intuition. Well, they probably would not be able to jump right into action if they started explaining stuff, so they just went the easiest way and didn't explain anything XD
4th-Mar-2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
Okay, he did yell at XIG people, since, according to him, they were mishandling the fighters, which were based on his designs. I think he felt humans (and especially himself) were incompetent in dealing with threats. This type of helpless yelling quickly disappears after he gets to be Ultraman and goes on to join XIG. But none of what Gamu does bothers me, so perhaps I can't be trusted either. ^^;; (I mean the bossing around might be annoying for other characters, not for me personally.)

I've never taken Gamu seriously, but that is more because of his personality (I feel like he is just not serious enough even though he is supposed to be) than his name. As for your examples, it's possible that Japanese people think those names sound cool. ;) Me, I shake my head and try not to think too much about the way those names sound.

Well, it took me a while to get used to the sound of his name, so something did bother me about it (although I don't know what that something was). Guess he just has to blame his parents for all the troubles he gets from having such a name. ;P

Bonding with Ultraman usually requires some access to an inner world, so I'm fine with intuition as an explanation and am content to leave it at that. Perhaps what you say about them taking the easy way out is true, but I guess I am equally easy to please when it comes to illogical stuff in toku.

With that said, there might be a bit more mention of Gamu and his special bond with Ultraman (and with Gaia/Earth) that comes toward the middle of the series. But whatever that explanation is (if it actually exists; I could be mistaken), I don't think it will make any more sense than him having intuition.
6th-Mar-2013 10:36 pm (UTC)
I just feel he was not cool enough XD But then again, it's probably difficult to keep calm when things like that are happening... But good to know he yelled less later on.

But I just can't not think about his name in English XDD I suppose the Japanese might find it cool but I don't XD Although I doubt he had actual troubles, the name might be somewhat rare, but it is still Japanese enough for people not to notice that is sounds English.

I guess I just prefer it when the whole thing begins slowly, not like here where there is not even an explanation about Ultraman...

Yeah, it makes sense because Gaia is Earth and the whole idea of Gamu's experiment was to bond with the soul of the Earth or something, but where does Ultraman come in then, he is not from Earth, he is an alien... Lol, I guess it's better not to think about it too much XDD
7th-Mar-2013 08:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, Gamu is not cool enough. XD Then again, I don't remember one Ultraman host (the main character) who is cool... Guess the cool type is reserved for the rival/secondary character.

You are probably right that his name might not give him actual troubles. If he got into trouble at all, I think it's probably more because he was a bookworm who acted like a show-off (kids tend to dislike that).

I prefer slow build-up, too. Not jumping into the actions and being asked to accept things as they are. But I guess I forgive Gaia because I find the story so compelling (cries of the Earth and its sufferings).

Well, this Ultraman is apparently from the Earth, or the soul of the Earth, as you say. Gamu believes that the Earth would not abandon humans to their fates, so it sends out Ultraman to help fight the monsters. In any case, Gaia takes place in a different universe from the Showa Ultraman series (where the Ultras are aliens) so I never think about his origin all that much. ^^;
10th-Mar-2013 11:52 am (UTC)
Good point, I guess the main character has to be relatable, not so much cool.

Well, maybe he was not like that when he was a kid... He does kind of act like that now, but it could have been a recent development XD

I kind of wish all of Ultraman stories took place in the same universe, otherwise there is no proper timeline or anything...
14th-Mar-2013 04:07 am (UTC)
I agree that the main character should be relatable. That said, sometimes I wonder whether any real people would ever think and/or act like some main characters from tokusatsu...

It's possible that it's a recent development. However, the series doesn't appear to show enough of his past for me to say for certain either way. Personally, though, I think he just can't help correcting people, and not really trying to show off (he might not even realize he comes across that way).

I'm pretty sure only the Heisei series put Ultras in different universes (although Tiga and Dyna take place in the same universe). And perhaps it's not quite a proper timeline, but the Showa series (and Mebius) are all in the same universe and in continuity with each other, so I'm happy with that. :)
16th-Mar-2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
Lol, well, maybe they are relatable, but not realistic XD

He might be like that, but I can think of more annoying qualities than that, so it doesn't particularly bother me.

It sounds kind of complicated XDD I'd be confused if I just watched those series without any knowledge about the different universes.
18th-Mar-2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Regarding the different universes, Tsuburaya seems to try merging them now. :) Recent movies tend to put Ultras from different universes together, and most of the time there is no good explanation other than, well, the producers want them to be in the same movie. I enjoy crossovers when I don't think about the how and the why of the different Ultras' appearances. ^^;
18th-Mar-2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
That's a good approach, I should probably watch stuff without thinking too much about the background and the explanations, after all, in tokusatsu things don't necessarily make sense XD
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