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. ^^;)