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Ultraman Zero Revenge of Belial Movie Prequels 
17th-Mar-2013 02:57 am
Ah, finally watched the Darclops (or Darklops?) Zero side stories. Don't know what I expected, exactly. Feel like I could have skipped them, since they don't appear to have much of a story. But of course, not taking any chance of missing something, I would never skip anything. IMHO, the second stage is slightly better than the first one.

So basically some people, headed by a spoiled rich(?) girl, in an alternate universe want to play god and make robot Ultramen. They plan to send the Ultramen to every universe in order to rule over everyone. Of course that plan is foiled by the good guys: ZAP (well, only Captain Hyuuga (Boss) and Rei(s). While mentions of everyone else are made, they only bother to cast Kumano. Haruna and Oki are no where to be seen) and Ultraman Zero (who has some not small help from Ultraman Leo* -- speaking of Leo, I'm not sure what happened to him afterward).

(*That makes sense, considering that it is Leo who trains Zero in the first Ultra Zero movie (the Ultra Galaxy movie). Of course, Leo could just help Zero because he'll help anyone, not necessarily because Zero was his student.)

Stage 1:
I admit, the first stage bored me for the most part. There are just fights after fights after fights and not much in the way of the story. Okay, Ultraman Zero fights all the robot Ultras. Captain Hyuuga and Rei get drawn into an alternate universe, and find/receive a distress call from themselves? Turns out those people are their alternate universe versions. The AU versions disappear one by one, so the only people left are the ZAP from the TV series. Then maybe something happens but I don't remember what. At any rate, evil robot Gomora attacks them, so Rei releases his own Gomora to fight it. Just when Gomora looks like he is going to lose, Zero comes in and saves him. He says he'll take care of Gomora so he wants the ZAP people to take care of that base of the playing god people. Rei gets out Litra and flies over to the base, but attacks from Litra are reflected since the base is protected by barrier.

Zero's interference apparently annoys the spoiled girl and so, against the warning of her followers, she orders a release of some powerful robot with armor. The armored robot arrives at the place Zero is fighting with fake evil robot Gomora.

Zero fights with the armored robot (and leaves evil robot Gomora alone, but, to be fair, I thought it was finished off already). Unlike in the Ultra Galaxy movie, Zero is not all that powerful here. He actually looks like he would lose. (But perhaps I should have said that the armored robot is probably more powerful, and the spoiled girl confirms that later.)

At some point Litra is shot (by the robot Gomora) and disappears (back into battlenizer, I think). Rei's fate is unknown, but the captain continues to frantically shout for him.

The robot casts off the armor (or destroys it -- the effect is the same to me), and reveals itself to be an evil Ultraman Zero (with bright red eyes), to no one's surprise, hopefully. The evil clone calls itself Darclops (probably Japanese way of shortening 'dark cyclop') Zero.

Meanwhiles, the Ultra robots (Ultraman, UltraSeven, Ultraman Ace) catch up with Zero, and start fighting him again.

Darclops Zero opens a dimensional wormhole and sucks every one of the combatants into it.

Stage 2:
Zero is worried about his strength and wants to get out of the dimensional wormhole as soon as possible. But he is outnumbered as there are two evil Ultras against him. (He blew up the Ace robot earlier. That one must be the weakest then. ^^;;)

Rei is held upside down in some room at the base, I presume. Reimond (the red version) comes in and tries to free Rei. After several attempts, he succeeds. Rei calls Reimond Rei (yes, totally natural conclusion. Of course, to the viewers, it could only be AU Rei, but hey it doesn't even occur to Rei that it might be someone else). Reimond reverts to AU Rei, but apparently can't hold on to that form since Rei is there. (Irrelevant comment is irrelevant, but I rather like the wild look/appearance of AU Rei, for all the few seconds I see of him.)

While still searching for Rei, Hyuuga finds an entrance to the base. He realizes that entrance was made because of Litra crashing into the side of the base. Oh, he also picks up the battlenizer Rei dropped earlier.

After some scuffles, Rei manages to turn Reimond into the blue (non-berserk) version. Not sure if I understand this part correctly, but Reimond comments that Rei is just like his boss (since Hyuuga did the same thing for Rei (punching him on the chest when he went berserk), I think). ^^; Along the way, I think Rei explains about the scar on his chest (which AU Rei doesn't have).

Rei and Reimond (who probably can't turn back to AU Rei lest he goes berserk again -- at least that is an in-story explanation) go into the big dome the Salome aliens keep robot Ultras. While they wonder at what they are seeing, the spoiled girl from before obligely fills them in. Put simply, they made robot Ultramen and plan to send them into every universe so everywhere will be ruled by Ultramen (or more accurately, by Salome aliens, since they control the robots). For that purpose, Darclops Zero (which they had captured earlier) will be used to send Ultramen across dimensions. (She also reveals that she used the data in AU Rei's battlenizer to create the robot Gomora.) Rei is like 'no way I'll let you go through with that experiment' but he and Reimond are restrained by her two followers from earlier.

But of course, Boss Hyuuga chooses this moment to shoot away those two lackeys, freeing Rei and Reimond. He returns the battlenizer to Rei, so Rei calls out Gomora and orders it to destroy the base (or at least those robot Ultramen that are about to be sent away).

Back in the gap between dimensions, Zero is struggling against the two evil robots. Just when he is about to lose, someone tells him not to lose hope. It's an Ultra with a cape with a dramatic entrance so my first reaction was like 'Ultra Father? Ultraman King?' But it's actually someone I should have guessed. Yup, it's Zero's mentor, Ultraman Leo. (I should remember his voice, at least.) And I'm not going to question how he ever got in the gap between dimensions -- for all I know, all this happens in Zero's mind. Now that the numbers of combatants are the same, things take turn for the better. (I am kind of amused that Leo gets to beat up Seven, even though it's just a fake Seven. While I wouldn't say Gen holds a grudge or anything even close, I guess I sort of am holding one in his place. ^^;;) A few twin attacks later (which include amazing kicks), Zero and Leo finally manage to get rid of the fake Ultras. They then combine their powers again to create a break in the wormhole to return to the real world. I find it rather odd that Leo stays behind and just tells Zero to go. Why doesn't Leo also go? I don't think there is anything else to take care of -- after all, the evil ultras are already destroyed.

Gomora rampages and while it does destroy the robot ultras, it also causes Darclops Zero, which is supposed to be under control, to get free on its own. The spoiled girl is very displeased with this turn of event, but Darclops Zero looks down on her and says she is too conceited to think that a short-lived lifeform like her could ever control it. What happens next is not pretty.

Dying girl tells Hyuuga that Darclops Zero is not one of their robots. They found it floating through space and revived it using their technology. (I almost wanted to say 'served you right for bringing trouble home with you', but I couldn't care less whether she lives or dies, so...)

Rei and Reimond go outside to battle Darclops Zero, who thoroughly destroyed the base. But they (or rather Gomora) are not faring well against it. And to make things more bleak, robot Gomora is still around. Just when things seem hopeless, Zero returns to their world. Now that the numbers of combatants are the same, things take turn for the better. Rei and Reimond combine their powers and defeat the robot Gomora. Reimond reverts back to AU Rei and, after a short farewell to Rei, disappears like the rest of his teammates.

And then in an awesome move, Zero apparently cuts Darclops Zero in half (against the two sun backdrop, I might add).

But, nope, it is too soon to celebrate. Darclops Zero pulls out one last move with that dimensional transfer thing on its chest. It has the power to destroy a planet or two, so Boss yells at Rei to hurry to Space Pendragon and fly out of there. Just in time, since the planet blows up right behind them. And then the after-shock (or something of that nature) happens, so Zero carries the Pendragon and flies away. And then there is no more...

When Rei and Boss come to, they find themselves in the time before they went into the wormhole to answer the distress call from their alternate selves. I didn't notice the significance of the time the clock stopped before, but it was 4:13. They receive communications from AU Hyuuga, saying that everything (and everyone) is fine now since Rei and Boss (and Zero) fixed the break in dimensions (or something like that). Rei and Boss smile at the news and continue toward home.

At the ending credits, Zero is watching Pendragon from afar, apparently satisfied that Rei and Boss are safe. He then flies away. And while I wasn't looking, Ultraman Leo comes and flies along side.

What I want to ask is, why the only Ultras around are Zero and Leo? Where is everyone else? Surely, if they are not restricted somewhere, they would not let Zero gets beaten up (and outnumbered) without sending reenforcement. I might have overlooked something, though. (Like, perhaps Zero is the only one who can travel freely between universes. But...that's not really true, is it? Or maybe he just doesn't like asking for help, since he often says he can do things by himself. And where he went was perhaps millions light-years away from the Land of Light (although I suspect it was in a different universe altogether), so if Zero didn't send any message (Ultra signs?), the others probably had no way of knowing whether something was wrong.) And, like I mentioned before, even Leo's coming and going completely escape me. I don't really like the idea that the Leo there might only exist in Zero's imagination, so I hope he is the real Ultraman Leo, who is so awesome that he manages to find the way to Zero in a gap between dimensions.

After typing both names for numerous times in this entry, I am amused that Rei and Zero are two separate people in the Ultra franchise*. ^_^; And that's not only because rei means zero...

(*Probably would have made a similar comment the last time around too, but I haven't ever gotten around to posting more in details about the Ultra Galaxy movie (since if I did, it would be like saying farewell to Ultraman Mebius -- as far as I know, that is the last movie/special he appears in (and gets some focus, I mean)).)

And unrelated to the rest of this entry, I don't know which Showa Ultraman series I want to watch next, since I like Ultraman 80 (both the series and the character) so much I am afraid other series wouldn't match up. (I probably should have watched the series in chronological order so I'm less likely to be in this type of situation. ^^;)
Cold Blue Texture
16th-Mar-2013 08:39 pm (UTC)
I like your thoughts on this. <3 Though I did think you were talking about Emerana at first and was a little :|-faced because I like her. Then I remembered she was in the other gaiden, not the Darclops one. Oops.

(Even now I still really want Zero and Rei to bond in traditional Ultra fashion, even if it would possibly be a disaster waiting to happen I want it so badly.)

What are your thoughts on 80, though? I keep meaning to watch more Showa era Ultra and while I like the idea of 80 I'm missing a few episodes which is kind of putting me off watching it in case something important was in them. :( Have you seen any Ace, btw? I've seen a few episodes of that and I love the set up of it in terms of Ultra hosts. XD I know it doesn't stay that way but it's awesome while it does and I'd love to see something like it make a comeback in any future Ultra shows. Whenever they give us a new one. :(
18th-Mar-2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for telling me that. <3 I was a bit worried that it might read kind of dry.

I like Emerana fine. :) As for the Salome alien, never really got her name down (Herotia?), so I just referred to her in that non-flattering way. ^^;;

(Zero and Rei should totally be two persons in one body. :) Speaking of hosts, I like the one host Zero got fine, and am still holding out hope for his voice actor to play his human form.)

Ah, I already wrote something on 80, so I hope you don't mind reading my thoughts there instead. But here is a short version: I love that a recurring theme in 80 seems to be that the darkness within a human heart calls out evil monsters. And the series has a unique set up: a teacher is secretly 80 in disguise and (never happens in other Ultra series that I know of) is juggling two jobs, teaching and being a defense team member, until it was too expensive (real life reason) for him to keep both lives, I suppose. ^^;;

Which episodes of 80 are you missing? If you don't mind the episodes not having Japanese (or English) voice, and not having good picture quality, I could try ripping my episodes for you. But only if you want to -- I personally think the series is worth watching, but I am most likely far from being objective.

I saw a few episodes of Ace many years ago, but I don't remember anything, so, yeah, I'm kind of looking forward to it (and the two-in-one transformation). Thank you for your recommendation. :)

And a new Ultraman TV series would be nice. But probably not until they are done with Ultraman Retsuden (which is sort of a Zero series) and Neo Ultra Q.
22nd-Mar-2013 07:41 pm (UTC)
It read fine. <3

(They should! It would be entertaining on so many levels. XD) I really liked Ran, am still amivalent about Taiga but the fanboys hate him so much I feel compelled to defend him. If Zero gets another human form it would be great if his VA got to play the physical aspect as well. Though I suppose he would have to pull a Mirai to do that instead of bonding with a human host. Hm.

Bah, having just checked my discs it's way more than I thought. I thought I was only missing a couple but I'm missing ep 8, then 25-42 because I somehow stupidly managed to delete them off the disc, idek how, and the links online are all dead by now. :/ If it was just a couple of episodes I would take you up on that but think I would miss too much with that many episodes not being in a language I can follow along with. But thank you anyway. <3 And I will check out that post later as well. :)

I haven't finished it myself, I got sidetracked by something else but I did enjoy what I saw and I love the two-in-one transformation. (Once again, Ultra beats out Kamen Rider. XD)

I am craving a new series so badly. I have the Neo UQ eps ready to watch at some point but it's not the same. :( And is Retsuden actually doing stuff other than recapping? O_O I thought it was just re-runs of episodes from previous shows rather than doing anything new itself.
23rd-Mar-2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
(Yes, it would be. :) Now that I think about it more, though, I wonder if it is even possible for Rei to bond with an Ultra, since Rei is not exactly a normal human...)

I'm probably one of those people who don't like Taiga, but I think that's more because I like Ran so much than Taiga being inherently bad. And, well, yes. I think someone mentioned that since his VA has the exact same voice, the human form of Zero should be a human disguise instead of a host. (And that reminds me of something I've always thought the writers might have overlooked: Mebius' voice should not be the same as Mirai's, since Mebius based his appearance on a human, who is most likely to have a different voice from him. (I probably wouldn't notice nor care if I'd never heard the original human form speak, though.) Oh well.)

Ah, yes, that many episodes might be too difficult to watch in a language you can't follow along with. And would be too much to miss since I don't think 80 is a very episodic series. Out of curiosity, do you have the episodes in Japanese? Or is there an English dubbed version I don't know of? In any case, if/when I ever find good quality episodes with Japanese voices, I might try putting them up.

Well, hopefully the two-in-one transformation lasts longer than 12-13 episodes. (Yup, I also think that many things were done first in Ultraman. XD)

A new TV series is probably long over-due. When I heard about UltraSeven X, I thought they shouldn't rush to do another series after Mebius, but it has been six years since there was a series with an actual Ultraman as its titled character. Well, I'll try to be happy with what I get, which is probably a new movie (and related side story) every two years or so.

Not having an Ultraman in an Ultra show is really different. I'm not sure I would ever get used to it. But, then again, I have never really watched Ultra Q (whether the original, the dark fantasy one, or Neo), so things might work out there somehow...

I'm not actually watching Retsuden myself (it is, as you say, recapping, so I prefer to wait until I've seen more of previous shows), and not reading up on it much either, but I heard that there is an all new spin-off series called "Ultra Zero Fight" which continues the adventure of Ultraman Zero and Ultimate Force Zero after Ultraman Saga. As for anything new in Retsuden itself, perhaps on a rare occasion they had a past actor hosting an episode (at least Gamu got to be a narrator on the episode featuring the Gaia movie, I think), and sometimes they might show some deleted/unseen scenes. Oh well, apart from (hopefully snarky and amusing) commentary from Ultraman Zero, Retsuden is far from being a brand new TV series, after all.
23rd-Mar-2013 09:22 pm (UTC)
I would find it unusual if Ultras had never bonded a non-human before, considering how widespread their universe is. There may not be the same connection/affection as there is between humans and Ultra, M78 and Earth, but I can see it happening. With Rei it may be more difficult since he isn't always his most stable in his other form. Bonding with an Ultra, whether Zero or someone else, might help with that or they could make it worse. It would be interesting to see. XD

I don't mind, particularly, if people don't like him as he's not someone I'm particularly attached to - unlike, say, GaoBlue who I'm still so ridiculously attached to that seeing character bashing of him makes me see red - but when your (general you) main issue boils down to 'he's too loud and his voice is horrible' then that's when I get all :|-faced. There're valid criticisms you can make about Taiga but when you pick on the actor's voice rather than any of those? Your argument/complaining is kind of weak. (See also, the whining that AKB48 'ruined' the film. As a support crew they were fine and Sayaka was great, I still kinda wish she'd gotten be Dyna in the end.) Ran was awesome and I would have loved for him to come back as Zero's host but I'm not upset that we got Taiga either and I think it was interesting to see someone who didn't particularly want to be an Ultraman having to deal with Zero's undeniable presence. Also I enjoyed their bickering but that's a trope I tend to enjoy anyway so that was hardly a surprise.

I have the episodes in Japanese, at least the ones I have left. I got them before Fileserve etc went down and I haven't seen them uploaded anywhere else. I'm still annoyed with myself for whatever it was I did to practically wipe the disc of all of them. :/ And yeah, if 80's arc-heavy then missing that many would just confuse me. There's no English dub I know of, though even if there were I don't know if I'd watch it as I have so many issues with dubs. Before decent raws came out for Cosmos I had to initially skip the first 10 or so eps because they were dubbed and by the time I came back round to them it was only love of the characters that got me through them. I was very happy when the raws came out. XD

And yeah, not having an Ultraman can make a big difference. I didn't notice it so much with UG and NEO, even with the Ultra appearances being so brief but I don't know quite how I feel about any variants on Ultra Q not having them at all.

Ultra Zero Fight sounds like it could be interesting. Hopefully raws will show up at some point though I'm not holding my breath on that. (And yes, I heard about Gamu getting to narrate, though it did get my hopes up for a few minutes before I realised it was for Retsuden and nothing like a Gaia continuation. Ah well.
26th-Mar-2013 03:23 pm (UTC)
Regarding whether Ultras had bonded with non-humans before, I wasn't thinking of that at all (and while I don't feel like I know enough to comment on the subject, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it). I was only talking about one specific person, Rei, with his special circumstance of being a mixed blood and thus could evoke another form... But, true, I neglected to specify that (since it all made sense in my mind). And, yes, I would be interested to see how that might work, if Rei, who already has another form living in him, so to speak, could still bond with an Ultra, whether Zero or someone else.

I don't like criticisms that seem like they are bashing the actor's physical characteristics/traits (one I hear a lot is about their teeth. I mean, leave their teeth alone. How could their teeth in any way hamper someone's enjoyment of a film/show?), instead of the character. Really, those are in no way any indication of the actor's ability to portray his/her character. (And, yes, I don't like when an actor from a boyband/girlband/idol group is pre-judged as being unable to act. Belonging to a band/group doesn't automatically exclude them from being good actors.)

That said, I think criticisms about Taiga being loud are not unreasonable. Taiga doesn't bother me in that regard, but I can see where the complaints might come from. It is not very pleasant to listen to a character who yells almost all the time.

I don't have any complaint with Team U. They did fine with what they were given (and it didn't matter to me who played them. If I felt they couldn't pull off the roles, I would say so). (And they kind of remind me of Crew GUYS (in that they haven't exactly been trained in this earth defense thing, but circumstances sort of lead them to do it).)

I hope you didn't lose more important things than those episodes... And speaking of Fileserve etc, I kind of wish I got more stuff downloaded before they went down. :|

80 is kind of peculiar in how it deals with arcs. There is actually hardly any two-parter (let alone more parter), yet I don't know why many episodes feel connected to one another. I'm not without biases, though, so perhaps the series might be more episodic than I thought...

I don't like dubs much either (sometimes they are adding/modifying lines, and I kind of get unreasonably annoyed when what the characters say don't match the movements of their mouths), but, well, if that is the only way to watch, I'll take it. ^^;

For me, what is strange about not having an Ultraman is that, in a proper Ultraman series, sometimes I wish Ultraman won't appear and simply let the defense team take care of the monster(s). From what little I've read about the series, I think Ultra Q (and its variants) might be the same way -- the monster attack team fighting monsters without help. Either that, or they get help from monster(s), a la UG and NEO, though no one is probably controlling the monster(s) in Ultra Q.

Ultra Zero Fight episodes will be coming out on DVDs some time this year, so there is still a rare chance that some kind soul might share rips. ^^ (And a Gaia continuation would be great, but I'm not really holding out hope for it. Ultra series nowadays seem to want to move away from the early Heisei stuff and into the Neo frontier storyline...)
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