Typically the Ultraman franchise comes from Japan, as it was created by Tsuburaya Productions. However, there are three shows created for a foreign audience. Australia’s Ultraman: Towards The Future may be the more well known, and was a previous Saturday Night Showcase entry. My introduction to the franchise was an animated co-production with Hanna-Barbera called Ultraman: The Adventure Begins, a failed pilot for a full series put in movie form. Then you have tonight’s entry that you many not have heard of, Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero.

Known in Japan as Ultraman Powered, and still considered canon like the other two I mentioned, the show follows the American based group WINR (the name makes as much sense as the 25 other giant monster fighting groups in Japan in the Ultraman universe) as Kenchi Kai, as the only Japanese descendant in the group, is forced to merge with a new Ultraman to battle an alien invasion. To me the show is most notable for the team captain, Russel Edlund, as he’s played by Harrison Page, who also played the put-upon police captain on Sledge Hammer, one of my favorite shows.

The show was co-produced with Steppin Stone Entertainment, formerly Major Havoc Entertainment. As to why this never got a US release, they couldn’t find a distributor. The show’s fight scenes aren’t bad but slow thanks to the way the costumes were designed, with different materials being used that were a bit more fragile than the ones Tsuburaya uses but do admittedly look pretty good. Ultraman Powered had it’s first home video release in 1993 and aired on TV in 1995, and is the 11th entry in the Ultra Series. Ultraman Powered (just going by Ultraman in the US version, like his Australian counterpart, Ultraman Great.) Powered would go on to appear in one of the team-up movies along with the Hanna-Barbera version (in live-action suits of course) and in other media.)

In the first episode Earth is under attack and for once Japan isn’t the target. Apparently this has been going on for a while but the planet is about to get help from Nebula M78, because what would we do without those guys?

A better intro did come along later. Both have a logo reveal inspired by the logo reveal from the first Ultraman TV series, which also appeared on Saturday Night Showcase but all related videos are down now and I don’t remember what was there. I’ll have to look into it.

It’s too bad this show didn’t air on US TV. I would have liked it.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

3 responses »

  1. […] of two American-produced Ultra series and the only one that made it to US television (see the Saturday Night Showcase on Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero for more information), this was also animated, but produced with […]

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  2. […] If I understand correctly Ultra Q was about scientists fighting monsters, which is what giant monster (aka kaiju) movies were like at the time, but this was a TV show. I think I heard it compared to The X-Files, which wouldn’t come out until decades later. For the sequel series Tsuburaya tried something new by having the military develop a special anti-kaiju task force. However, one member of the team would merge with a giant good alien from another galaxy and together they would protect the planet from space and terrestrial monster threats. That version was called Ultraman, and it was so well received that it began a franchise that still makes new series to this day. Ultraman would be dubbed into English to air on US television as would some of the sequel series. Two shows would also be co-produced with a US studio, one of which was a previous Saturday Night Showcase. […]

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  3. […] version for the theme songs), the last one of which actually had the original English actor for Ultraman Powered‘s human partner voicing his Ultra counterpart, and interviews and trailers that may or may […]

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