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Formation Yamato & Ultraman 80 
7th-Mar-2013 02:59 pm
Okay, I'm sure the reference had been mentioned before (around the time Ultraman Mebius was still airing, perhaps), but until I saw episode 13 of Ultraman 80, it hadn't really clicked with me where 'Formation Yamato' came from.

Formation Yamato, as I understand from this episode, is using one plane as a distraction to shoot at a close distance to make the monster turns its face up, revealing its neck/throat, then the following plane fires the killing shot at the throat (its weak spot/point). Not remembering if that is also how it is in Mebius, but the Mebius episode also has Salamandra (albeit updated version), so I think it must be (otherwise it wouldn't be a proper tribute, would it? Or maybe it wasn't so 80 demanded another episode on him ;) Nah, 'Formation Yamato' is probably more refined in Mebius. After all, twenty-five years had passed, so the plan might have been improved along the way.

Yes, I'm watching Ultraman 80 (and skipping almost every series before it). So far, it is keeping me interested, but I suppose I expected more from it than I should. Probably because I feel kind of disconnected with Yamato. He seems calm in Mebius, whereas he seems a lot more hot-blooded in his own series. As of episode 22 in any case. But maybe there is something later on to change his personality? (And I don't understand his origin. 80 apparently makes his own human form, without basing it on a specific person. I guess I'll be patient and wait to see if more would be revealed...)

Also, I keep (unfairly) comparing the special effects to the ones in Heisei Ultra series. But I suppose that is a compliment in a way. If those effects and miniture works in 80 didn't look good and passingly up-to-date, I probably wouldn't compare them to newer stuff in the first place. (And I think the defense team's planes/spaceships/cars are cool (both in looks and abilities).) I feel like 80 is in the middle of the Ultra franchise from both way, even though it is actually much closer to the beginning than now.

And that narrator talks too much (but maybe that's common in Showa series). I prefer to be inferring things a bit more and not just get told so-and-so is what happened and so-and-so is the motivation and so on. (Yet they never mention stuff I want explanations for, go figure. I can only surmise that kids wouldn't wonder about things that weren't shown on screen.)
Fake Green
10th-Mar-2013 11:53 am (UTC)
For me it always makes the story feel very retro if there is a narrator. In modern series there is hardly ever a narrator.
14th-Mar-2013 04:03 am (UTC)
Not sure about other types of series, but narrators still exist in a lot of modern tokusatsu series I watch (particularly sentai series -- since they are aimed more toward kids). However, I guess most of them are not really intrusive (not explaining all that goes on in a particular scene) to me, so I can overlook them. If I recall correctly, every Heisei Ultraman series seems to have a narrator except Nexus (and perhaps UltraSeven X). (And Nexus got the characters to narrate the events instead. ^^;) Mebius is a strange case, I think. There are a few episodes mid-series that have opening narrations, but the rest of the series doesn't seem to have a narrator.
16th-Mar-2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
Lol, I guess for me, since Mebius was the first Ultraman series I watched, it will always be like the ultimate and most typical Ultraman series, so I think that anything that's not quite like in Mebius, is weird XD

Also, not connected to the previous topic, but which opening song do you like best? I just listened to the OP of Dyna and it was really cool XD
18th-Mar-2013 06:27 pm (UTC)
In my experience, Mebius reminds me at least a little of other series (especially since Mebius is an anniversary series, where older Ultras appear to help out). At any rate, I think I sort of understand what you mean. I tend to compare the series I'm watching to the previous series I watched, so if something is done a bit differently from the previous series, I would be like 'that's weird', too. :)

Ah, there are more than a few opening songs I like almost equally, but if I have to pick one, I'll go for Take Me Higher from Tiga (my first Ultraman after many years away from the franchise, so I kind of have a special attachment to the series). And I think the Dyna OP is pretty cool, too. :) The Dyna TV series matches the upbeat tone of the OP, so I would recommend it if you are in the mood for non-serious and silly stuff (and a comic-relief main character).
19th-Mar-2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
I suppose it makes sense that Mebius has similarities to other series, even the music in Mebius kind of has that retro feel XD And I actually watched Mebius twice, so now whatever other series I watch, I always go 'but it was not like that in Mebius!' XDD

Oh yeah, that one is cool too! Although the English parts are a bit odd there XDD A comic-relief main character? XD That sounds interesting, I mean, how does that even work, isn't he supposed to be a hero?
20th-Mar-2013 05:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, Mebius is totally worth a rewatch or more. :) In any case, I've compared other series back to Mebius too, even though it's supposed to be the other way around (since Mebius took bits and pieces from other series). As for similarities, I suppose Ultraman series tend to be not so different from one another after all, but I like that kind of familiarity because then I'll know what to expect.

I think I've gotten used to the oddness of the English in Tiga OP by now. XD And I rather love it when the actor sings the theme song(s) for his own series. :)

Yes, Asuka is a hero...when it counts, that is. At other times, he would appear to not take things seriously and would often make fun of himself as well as everyone else. ^^; I don't know if that is what it means to be a comic-relief precisely, but I do enjoy watching Asuka and his antics (and the other team members are pretty relaxed, too).
20th-Mar-2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
The other way round would probably make more sense, but I don't know much about the older Ultraman series, so it's not like I can really spot what elements from the old series repeat themselves in the new one...

Haha, well, it is somehow meaningful when actors sing the theme songs, but I would prefer proper singers to do that, actors don't always have such good voices.

That sounds really nice, I like that kind of atmosphere in the team :)
21st-Mar-2013 07:57 am (UTC)
Oh, sorry about that. I mean, since I watched Mebius after some other series, it is supposed to be the other way round for me. ^^;;

But Daigo's actor is a member of V6, which is one of those popular Johnny's bands. :) (Kinda explains why he isn't available to be in movies/specials except that one movie back in 2008.) And V6, not just Daigo, sang the Tiga OP, so I wouldn't notice whether he had a good voice or not. ;)

Yes, it does. I do like the team in Dyna a lot. :) In addition to not taking things too seriously, it's much nicer for team members to get along than to fight almost all the time.
22nd-Mar-2013 01:10 pm (UTC)
Lol, well, you don't have to be sorry about it, it's no big deal XDD

Well, he did pretty well for a singer, not all singers can act too.

But it's not like fighting happens that often among teams, does it? I mean, in the series I remember there were some conflicts between some team members, but nothing that one could really define as fighting.
23rd-Mar-2013 05:59 pm (UTC)
Glad to hear that then. :) I was just trying to make it clear I was speaking for only myself there.

I agree. Daigo's actor was doing a fine job, considering that he is more of a singer than an actor. In fact, I might not like Daigo half as much if it was someone else in the role (since his character type could bore me if his actor was not up to the task).

True, real fighting (where people throw punches at one another) rarely happens among teams. (I don't like conflicts, so I probably think fighting occurs more often than it actually does.) I think, for me, whether a fight of that type happens in a team depends much on the personality of the character (usually the main character). For instance, if he is the rash type who doesn't obey rules, yeah, I can see some potential for a fight there. But strangely enough, physical fighting involving the Ultra human form seems to happen more often than I thought it would. I guess since the other side is mostly evil or clearly not good, it doesn't really matter what kind of personality the human form has -- most everyone would fight. And of course, I have no problem with fighting in this circumstance -- to me, it's like a smaller-scale of a fight an Ultra has with a monster.
23rd-Mar-2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
I think I actually didn't know he was a singer when I watched the series, I need to look at some episodes again to see how well he could act, I didn't really pay attention the first time XD But his character was a bit of a boing do-gooder, wasn't he? XD

Well, I guess it only makes sense if there is a fight with one of the bad guys, but I don't think there would be fights or too many arguments within the teams of the good guys - what kind of example would it show to the kids who watch the series? XD
26th-Mar-2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
I think die-hard Ultraman fans were against the idea of casting a (pretty boy) singer as a lead at first, but I believe he proved himself and quieted most of them. And while I'm probably biased, I don't think being a singer with no real acting experience (at the time) would necessarily equate to 'bad acting'.

Yup, he seems like a boring do-gooder ('bland' is what people usually say about him) and very much a follower of rules. I think I can count the number of times Daigo is being disobedient on one hand in the entire series. Yet, despite him being a good, obedient person, I liked him just fine.

Exactly. Good guys are not supposed to fight (nor have too much conflicts) among themselves. They probably should save up the negative energy to use for beating the bad guys instead...
27th-Mar-2013 10:17 pm (UTC)
No, I completely agree - if he has an acting talent, he would be good anyway, even if it was his first time in front of camera. So the fact that he did well just proves that he is talented after all.

Sometimes it's good to have a nice guy as a lead character. After all, it worked well in Mebius XDD

Exactly! :)
29th-Mar-2013 04:07 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, his role (being a nice guy) was not overly complicated, but I'm still glad he pulled it off well...

I usually like nice guys as lead characters. After all, it's easier for me to cheer for a (basically) nice person than for someone more morally ambiguous. So what if he seems bland and/or boring? I prefer my hero to be a good example for kids. So that usually means a friendly (and usually soft-spoken), kind-hearted person, who knows how to assert himself when the situation calls for it.

And having a nice guy lead did work well in Mebius, as you say. :) Speaking of Mebius, Mirai seems to be the closest to Daigo in term of personality (or vice versa, since I did see Daigo first). Granted, Mirai seems to have a few more instances of him not exactly being obedient, but at the end of the day, he is still a nice guy who almost never breaks rules.
31st-Mar-2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
Well, a bad actor could probably manage to mess up even an uncomplicated role XD

I suppose I can understand that, it's kind of difficult to cheer for the bad guys, at least in tokusatsu - because the bad guys usually are really unsympathetic aliens XDD

Well, and Mirai also had that interesting aspect that he was an actual alien XD I kind of wish they dealt more with that and had more funny misunderstandings about him not knowing how to behave in Japan...
1st-Apr-2013 03:18 pm (UTC)
That is true. I have seen some bad acting for relatively ordinary roles that I think are difficult to mess up. But then I don't have any real experience with acting (and not likely to be able to manage it), so perhaps I should have been less critical. ^^;;

Oh, I mean I prefer the hero be a nice guy. There are some morally ambiguous heroes whom people like, but, most of the time, I just feel like those heroes are not so different from the villains they are fighting. But it is also true that I don't like cheering for villains, no matter if they are misguided, or completely unsympathetic.

I also wish for more of those funny misunderstandings. He seems to adapt a little too well. XD But what we have in Mebius is still better (imho) than in other series with the Ultras (Seven, Leo, 80, and someone else whom I might have forgotten) who made their own human forms. From what I remember, they seemed even less like aliens and just came off as a little odd at times. That makes me appreciate all the more that Mebius is willing to explore the concept of Mirai's alienness at all. (Well, to be fair, Mebius is the only series I know of that reveals who the Ultra is way before the end of the series. But perhaps there are ways to explore this concept even without revealing identities...)
7th-Apr-2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
Wow, I thought I had replied to this, sorry...

I have some experience with acting, I once acted in a play at school XD But I don't think I really would be able to tell much about whether an actor is good or not, so for me it's basically about whether the actor is believable in that role or not.

I sometimes do cheer for villains, but only in those cases when I don't like the good guys XDD Tokusatsu is usually not the case because villains are ugly monsters XD

Yeah, I completely agree, there should be more of these situations, but I guess all those other series where the Ultraman was an actual alien are pretty old, and nowadays the idea is mostly that a human has Ultraman powers - so maybe they had different concepts about what to show back in those days.

It would be kind of more interesting to have more reveals like those. Maybe not exactly in Episode 1, but earlier than the very end of the series XD

10th-Apr-2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
That's fine. ^^ I am always happy to read your comment whenever it is convenient for you to reply.

Oh, I also once acted in a school play. XD But I'm sure I would have frozen up if I had to act in a more professional capacity... Anyway, yes, I also think that good acting is basically the actor being believable in his/her role. (But whether I'll like that character is a different thing. He can be perfectly in character, and I can still find him annoying.)

I was very close to cheering for the bad guys in one series (I was very unhappy with the good guys there), but I guess in the end I still can't really do that (good triumphs over evil for me). As for ugly monsters as villains, they are usually more for Ultraman series than for the rest of tokusatsu (which sometimes make villains pretty sympathetic and complex). Which makes sense since I read somewhere that Ultraman is basically about giant monsters fight. (I do find the series good at human interactions as well, but I guess those are not what people usually watch Ultraman for. Not me, though. I'm usually more interested in human interactions than giant monsters.)

While not exactly humans using Ultraman powers (e.g. Tiga, Dyna, Gaia, Nexus), the older shows usually had Ultras bonding with humans (a la Tsurugi/Hikari and Serizawa). I'm not talking about those cases, though, since the base form is a human, so he is not really an alien. With the Ultras who make their own human forms (Seven, Leo, 80), however, I think I was just mostly disappointed that their series didn't seem to take enough adventage of the fact that those Ultras were actual aliens living among humans. Why make them aliens if they are treated almost the same as other humans? In comparison, Mebius is better since I'm often reminded of Mirai's alienness. But, okay, you might be on to something about different concepts for different times. Back then, aliens learning to pass as humans might not be so interesting to watch or perhaps it was just something no one really thought about...

Yeah, it will be interesting to have more reveals earlier. There are at least a few episodes in Mebius that I think are only possible after the reveal (they depend very much on the team knowing who Mirai is), so I would love to see something similar for some other series. Barring that, even a reveal happening a few episodes toward the end would be better than on the very last episode (or not at all in a few cases), since there will be at least one episode left to deal with the team members' reactions.
16th-Apr-2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
That's cool because lately I'm totally unmotivated to write long replies XDD

Yay, high five for fellow actor XDD Yeah, that's exactly how it is, if an actor can make the viewers believe that he really is the person he is pretending to be, then he is doing a good job :)

I completely understand that, giant monster fights tend to get repetitive sometimes, so in the end the human interactions are what is more interesting about the series. And anyhow, I don't want to cheer for villains because in series like these the good guys have to win, so if you cheer for villains, you'll get disappointed in the end.

I suppose Ultramen bonding with humans still had all the human memories, so they never really were all that alien... But not sure what's the excuse for all the other Ultramen who were actual aliens and whose alienness never got explored XD

It sucks not to have a reveal, it kind of takes all the fun out of it - the hero did all the cool stuff, but nobody appreciates him for it, it's just too sad to end a series on that kind of note.
19th-Apr-2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
I'm not too motivated either, so take your time. :)

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had a grand total of three lines in that play, so I don't know if I should call myself an actor. ^^;;

The repetitiveness is part of it, but I'm just not very interested in fight scenes as a whole (unless they contain some human elements -- for instance, the hero uses what he has learned previously in an upcoming combat, like when Mirai was training for a more powerful kick in the Ultraman Leo episode, but I was also interested in the smart-mouthed alien there, so not sure if that case completely counts), possibly because of my dislike of violence (even though the violence in toku is often more stylized than realistic). Because of my disinterest, cool special effects are almost always lost on me (I still can't remember, let alone name, most of the powers/attacks of my favorite characters ^^;;).

Umm... actually, now that I think about it more, they did show their alienness, but it was kind of subtle. Ultras hiding as humans are usually so earnestly straightforward, almost remarkably free of deceit (except the one about their identities, and I get a feeling that they don't want to hide about who they are if it is not necessary), since I guess Ultras are good, pure beings who don't know much about deceptions until humans taught them some. (There wouldn't be a character like, say, Gamu, as a real alien Ultra hero. IMHO, they are usually more like Mirai, though none of them seems as naive (nor as cute ^^) as him.)

It is sad, but it seems to me that most Ultra warriors are loners. They fight alone, in the place humans don't know about, protecting the important things humans don't know about (kind of paraphrasing from ep 42 of Mebius -- not sure if I remember correctly). While it is nice (and a very welcome change) that Mebius worked with this concept of Ultraman and humans fighting together (that an Ultra is not alone on Earth), I doubt there will be more series where the Earth defense team openly embrace the hero's secret by the midway point again.
21st-Apr-2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's cool then XD

Lol, I had a main role XD Which is kind of funny because I really hate public speaking now, I wonder what happened XDD

It's not proper violence in tokusatsu, nobody even bleeds XDD I like cool fights in general, but in tokusatsu they are often too childish... I do remember some special attacks, but it's more difficult to remember them in tokusatsu, because unlike in anime, they don't actually scream the names of the attacks every time before using them XDD

Not sure whether them being naive and good guys can really be sign of alienness, maybe that's just a way to show that they are the positive heroes in the story...

I suppose it makes sense that the hero is a cool loner in the context of Ultraman series, the name already suggests that only the Ultraman is the hero, otherwise the series would be called Ultra Team or something... But I still like the idea of a team working together to protect Earth... Oh well, at least most Ultraman series do have a team, even if they are not necessarily working together with the Ultraman.
22nd-Apr-2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
That's neat that you had a main role. :) And, personally, I freeze up more on public speaking. With acting in a play, it's not really me -- I'm pretending to be someone else...

Yeah. It's very disturbing to see some body parts (of the monsters) get cut off, but not one drop of blood. And Ultramen can't bleed (they are beings of light). (The human forms (those Ultras who make their own bodies, I mean) do bleed, however. With proper-looking blood, in fact.) Speaking of calling out special attacks, I think I must love Storium Ray partly because Ultraman Tarou always shouts it out (yes, even in Mebius) whenever he uses it. :)

...maybe that's just a way to show that they are the positive heroes in the story...

That is certainly possible. But given that there are different types, imho, of main characters in Ultraman series, the fact that this type of character (straightforward, and perhaps a little naive) is reserved mostly for Ultras with human disguises makes it difficult for me to resist the comparison. I might not know how to explain it properly, but I think the description I want for those Ultras is 'almost too good to be true'. They are pure in their intentions and not (usually) cynical. But then again, that pretty much describes Daigo, too, so I kinda suspect he's actually an alien all along. XD

Most teams do work with their Ultramen. :) Just not openly. (Only in Nexus that I see a clearly antagonistic relationship between the team and the Ultra. But even that got straightened out later on.) That aside, I do like the idea that the team and the Ultra actually talk and help each other out with battle plans (the best part, imho, is for the team to tell Ultraman which of his special attacks to use ^^;;).
27th-Apr-2013 12:34 pm (UTC)
Lol, well, I suppose it was not too bad for me at the time and I also had to wear a mask, so it was not as embarrassing, but if I had to act in a play nowadays, I totally would have died XDD

I guess monsters just don't have blood - after all, they get blown up to pieces and there are no intestines and slimy bits flying about XD Not that I would enjoy that much, but still XDD

Storium Ray is a kind of nice name for an attack, no wonder he wants to shout it as often as possible XDD

Too good to be true is a nice description, some of those main characters really are like that. I guess you have a point - they are better than average human, so that is already a sign of the fact that they are aliens.

Well, I suppose the teams rely on Ultraman showing up and helping them in a pinch, but if they don't know who the Ultraman actually is, it's difficult to have proper cooperation and they can't really discuss things with him either, unless you count shouting at him on the battlefield or something. Actually, I wonder how can Ultraman hear them in such a situation, he is so big and there is so much noise around... I guess it must be his special skill XD
28th-Apr-2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
You were wearing a mask? Should I ask what type of character you played? ^^;;

I was recently reminded that some monsters do have slimy bits (since there had been at least a few episodes where the main fight was taking place inside the monster of the episode), but no blood, for some odd reason. And, no, I'm not asking for any of those things to fly about either. ^^;

I don't remember (could be wrong) other Ultras shouting their attacks (well, they don't usually talk either), so Storium Ray (and Ultraman Tarou himself) really sticks in my mind. It helps that it's a nice name, of course. :)

I think the very fact that they are aliens makes them try harder (than average humans) to fit into human world. Which might make them seem better than average humans since they are doing their best to adapt, to live among humans (while trying to avoid using their special abilities in their human forms). And while I think most of them are pure of heart and almost too good to be true (for many things), I don't think Ultras are devoid of flaws.

I used to wonder about that, too, but chalked it up to his Ultra hearing sense. XD Actually, I wonder more how the team could tell for sure that their Ultraman spoke their language (Japanese in this case). But I just watched an episode that have the defense team's captain say that Ultraman is probably not a robot since he seems to understand what they (the team) want to do (on the battlefield), so I guess this captain at least is confident that Ultraman can understand human language. (But he also says that he suspects that Ultraman is probably taking a human form and hiding somewhere within the team, so I wonder if he knows who his Ultraman is, after all, and says that to gauge his Ultraman's reaction. Ah, I might be thinking too much and wanting characters to be more intelligent than they actually are...)
1st-May-2013 09:37 pm (UTC)
Lol, it was not anything interesting or dramatic, I'm afraid XDD It was a play for kids based on a folk tale about a sly fox and a stupid wolf, and I was the fox and had a fox mask XD

Ewww, inside the monster, that's kind of icky XD I guess it's just cheaper to make a monster without too many slimy bits XD Or maybe they think it would traumatise the viewers if there were bloody bits flying around.

Yeah, usually it's people from the sidelines who shout the names of the attacks XD I wonder how they know what the attacks are called, if the Ultraman never mentions the names himself.

Lol, well, I suppose they should try doing some bad stuff, that would make them fit in better, because no humans are actually that good all the time XD

Hm, good point, why did they think he can understand them in the first place... Well, in Mebius there was this time in the first episode when Ryuu was yelling at Mebius, and he seemed to understand, so that's how they got the idea that the Ultraman can understand them. And other series probably had their own moments that made the team understand that they can communicate with the Ultraman. But thinking he is a robot is kind of new, I've never thought of that XDD
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