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Nikki's Corner
just temporary
Finished Ultraman 80... 
19th-Mar-2013 12:07 am
...and I really like this show. But then I knew that this one was totally my type of series even before going in. (Well, I watched one random episode (Vs. UltraSeven) many years ago, and liked it. I think that episode illustrated the recurring theme of Ultraman 80 quite well: monsters appear because humans give into their own darkness, and exploring the human psyche like that is endlessly fascinating to me. And I suppose I have a soft spot for a tokusatsu hero who is a teacher (which seems to be rare (in fact, I don't know of any other character) -- there seem to be more students as heroes).) I suspect I would grow even fonder of 80 the more I re-watch. (And Ultraman Mebius episode 41 takes on a whole new meaning for me, now that I have a proper context. I suspect I'll be re-watching that one many times, too.)

The following will contain some random spoilers on 80 (and Mebius 41). But I wouldn't mention anything that I wouldn't want to be spoiled myself.

Ultraman 80 is, I guess, a "safe" toku. It doesn't seem to break much new grounds. But it does have something I haven't seen in another Ultraman series: the hero having a regular job in addition to working for the Earth defense team. The human disguise of 80 is a middle school science teacher called Takeshi Yamato (very generic name (^^;); apparently there is another toku hero with the same name), who, for some reason, got his name credited in kanji (while other Ultras who made their own human forms (that I know of) got their names credited in katakana, or in the case of Gen Ootori (Ultraman Leo), katakana and hiragana in the same name).

It's kind of disappointing that Yamato's teaching days last only about a quarter of the series -- which I suspect was because of the need to save budget (too many characters running around), as well as a change of staff. (80 sort of explained (to Mirai) why he quitted teaching in Mebius 41. Btw, I'm thankful that Mebius is doing that reunion story for 80. It's like filling in the blank that has been left empty for over twenty-five years.) But I am still very much happy with the rest of the storyline. There seem to be four distinct arcs for this series: the school arc, the fighting monster arc (where Yamato starts working full-time with the defense team), the kid arc (where a different kid (whom Yamato helps) is the focus of each episode), and the final arc.

I love that everyone in UGM (the defense team) mostly gets along (I don't like conflicts all that much, at least among the good guys -- I don't care how unrealistic that might be (to expect people to get along), but I can't really trust people who don't care to settle their personal differences, to the important task of protecting Earth) and seems to genuinely care for each other. The kids 80 teaches are appropriately bratty and like to pick on him a lot. ^^; And he is in love with a fellow teacher, Kyoko Aihara, who may or may not love him back. (She is introduced (as a gym teacher) the same day he first comes to work, so maybe love at first sight? ;) There are quite a few adventures with him trying to woo her. Nothing ever came out of their (non-)relationship, however. ^^;; (Kinda wish she showed up in Mebius 41, to put this all to rest, but I guess the writers forgot about her already (although with Ryuu also having the same last name, perhaps not totally forgotten). Yeah, she's not a focus and there's no real place for her in the episode, but well, I'm not that reasonable.)

Yes, I was more reserved with the series the last time I posted about it, but that was because I don't really want to say I like something when I haven't yet finished it. Now, the complaints there seemed very trivial. So what if Yamato is hot-blooded? I don't mind that at all. ;) He makes the class fun, which motivates the students to learn, and that is the important thing, I think. Besides, if he were a prim and proper teacher, his students wouldn't remember him most out of all their teachers. And about the narrator talking too much? That might be because of the translation. I didn't watch raws (since, well, couldn't find any), but dubbed versions in my language, and I suspect they might have added some dialogs that don't exist in the originals...

Apparently, this is the first Ultra series to have an ending song (well, two ending songs, actually). And there are also two opening songs. I sort of love the first OP ('Ultraman 80, he came to us from the stars'). And, as far as I know, this might be the first time someone (well, she is a human disguise like 80) transforming into an Ultra woman.

And, other than the aforementioned Ultra woman, Yullian, this series is remarkably free of other Ultras visiting (one of the reasons I picked the series up without really watching other previous series). I suspect it was first supposed to take place in a different continuity from the rest of the Showa series (80 looks radically different from the other Ultras up to that point), but then that idea probably got discarded mid-series. Yeah, I like that, for the most part, 80 is competent enough and doesn't need help in defeating monsters.

I want the DVDs (prefer owning series I really like. And, having only dubs, I never hear 80's Japanese voice, except post-series -- loved what I heard, though, so kind of disappointed that apparently someone else voiced 80 in the Ultra Galaxy movie), but I think I'll hold out for the Blu-Ray version coming out by the end of this year (hopefully will give me enough time to save up, too).

Oh well, I don't seem to have much objective thoughts on the series, since I really like it a lot. But with me, obsessions come and go, so who knows how long I'll remain interested. Hopefully for a long while, though.
Ultraman 80; Title Card
18th-Mar-2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, even Blu-Ray versions of Ultraman series are available? I didn't think there would be even regular DVDs because the series are pretty old... I guess that just means they are the classics for the Japanese.
19th-Mar-2013 06:47 am (UTC)
Yes, Ultraman series are definitely Japanese classics. That's why I'm a bit unhappy that the Ultras are not all that popular outside of Japan.

I would definitely expect DVDs for older Ultraman series since everything is on DVD nowadays, but not so much Blu-Ray, although they have that for the latest movie at least. Perhaps the Blu-Ray releases of older series are to celebrate some kind of anniversary for Tsuburaya Production and/or Ultraman.
20th-Mar-2013 11:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think even Kamen Raider series are more popular, at least I have seen more fans of those on the internet...

Anyhow, it's good that the older series get releases, at least people will not forget them :)
20th-Mar-2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
Yup, there are more talks (and fans) of Kamen Rider and Sentai and just about everything else that is not Ultraman. Well, I can talk about Ultraman (if I feel inspired), but that is not the same as simply reading other people's opinions.

Ah, true. I haven't thought of it that way. But for whatever reason the older series are getting releases, I'm glad for the opportunity to watch them in the best possible quality. :)
20th-Mar-2013 10:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sometimes it's interesting to read what other people say about things, so it's kind of disappointing to find out nobody really talks about the stuff you want to read about...

I can definitely understand that :) If they were selling those DVDs here, I'd probably also buy some XD
21st-Mar-2013 08:08 am (UTC)
Yes, I really like reading what other people say about things. Especially if they have different opinions from my own. It means there are more than one way to interpret something...

Those official DVDs are expensive, though, so I have to pick and choose which ones I want to buy. ^^;;
22nd-Mar-2013 01:04 pm (UTC)
I know how that feels! I always like to read about Gintama, even when the opinions of people are different from mine XD

And what's also annoying, they only have a couple of episodes on one DVD, so if want to have the whole series, you have to be a millionaire or something, to buy all of the DVDs to have the full set...

And also, I wish you a very happy birthday! :)
23rd-Mar-2013 06:08 pm (UTC)
And sometimes it would make me wonder whether their points might be more valid than mine. But I'm getting better at not dismissing my own opinions. ^^

That is so true. But having a couple of episodes on one DVD is still way better than the one series where each DVD contains only one episode. ^^; I give up trying to get that series since the cost of each episode is so prohibitively high.

Ah, thank you for the birthday wish. :) I actually didn't do anything special, but it was a happy day for me.
23rd-Mar-2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
Lol, well, I usually consider opinions of other people, but if I like mine better, I stick to my thoughts, even if other opinions might make more sense XD

Oh wow, there are even that kind of cases, that's crazy... What were they even thinking, people can't afford that sort of thing!

I'm glad to hear it was a good day, that is the most important thing :)
26th-Mar-2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
I mostly stick to my thoughts if it's subjective stuff (for instance, liking or disliking something -- tastes are different and not exactly rational). Reading about (mostly) objective stuff, however, sometimes make me feel like I don't actually know what I'm speaking of. ^^;

The series hadn't been aired on TV, so I guess they felt the price was justified. People pretty much had to buy it if they wanted to see it back in those days (not so much nowadays, though, with advent of Youtube and all).
27th-Mar-2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
I can understand that XD

Yeah, well, they should lower the prices nowadays at least - after all, there are so many ways to get things for free, why would people want to pay so much...
29th-Mar-2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
I completely agree. There are many ways to watch things for free nowadays, casual fans probably wouldn't buy if the DVDs cost too much. I know I would have bought more official DVDs (or official merchandises in general) if their prices are more wallet-friendly.
30th-Mar-2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
I'm sure everyone would, I just don't know what those studio bosses (or whoever is responsible) are thinking. Well, ordinary people like us will never understand those strategies.
30th-Mar-2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
those studio bosses (or whoever is responsible)
(Probably Bandai -- the toy company. I get the impression that they are behind (almost) everything tokusatsu-related. But don't quote me on this.)

Ah, Japanese people seem to have more disposable income than people in other countries who might import official Ultraman merchandises, so maybe that's one of the reasons they (the Japanese) can pay the high asking prices. But I agree, I don't understand those strategies either.
31st-Mar-2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
Ah yes, their name sounds kind of familiar XDD

Or maybe all that is cheaper for the Japanese and only expensive when exported to other countries... Or their salaries are so high that it seems cheap to them XD
1st-Apr-2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
Well, someone says the true final boss in Ultraman series is Bandai, and I'm inclined to agree. ^^ After all, Bandai dictated the final forms of the heroes -- real villains couldn't even do that. ^^;;

Probably both of those. The Japanese earn high salaries, thus have more money to spend on nonessential things (like travel and entertainment), and it's most likely less expensive for them not having to import.
4th-Apr-2013 09:23 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's really something an evil final boss would do, I bet they did everything to make more merchandise and to get people buy more stuff...

Lucky Japanese XDD
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