...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
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.