Admittedly I haven’t really posted Ultraman series in their proper release order for Saturday Night Showcase, but that’s because they haven’t been available to me in the proper order and things get lost in the backlog to boot. So tonight’s Showcase is the third of the Ultra series and not even close to our third trip to the franchise.
To make up for things and for being a late post so I could go over everything (short version: the day didn’t go as planned…again) I have two different versions of the first episode, in Japanese with on-screen subtitles and for as long as they get to stay up dubbed in English by Cinar for Turner Network Television (though a fan-produced reconstruction was what I could find). “The Invisible Challenger” and the English version, “Enter Dan Moroboshi” (the name and form Ultraseven takes on Earth after seeing a rock climber sacrifice himself to save his friends, as seen in a later episode) introduces the newest Ultra on Earth, his rare monster friend, and a new threat to challenge yet another anti-monster group, the Ultra Guard team of the Terrestrial Defense Force. Originally intended as a stand alone series, previous Saturday Night Showcase entry Return Of Ultraman would put them both in the same continuity…though the Ultraverse would still go on to become a multiverse that’s way too confusing for me to even attempt to map. Enjoy.
The subtitled version comes from Shout Factory TV, who has the whole series on their Shout Factory TV ad-sponsored streaming service as part of their TokuSHOUTsu series (though if you want the home video in the US you have to go to Mill Creek Entertainment as of this writing). This is another of their first episode previews.
For the English version if you wish to compare, this fan reconstruction of the Cinar dub (and given the quality of the video they had on TV a reconstruction would be the way to go) has a few differences, starting with the intro. Since he doesn’t have that in the video I went and tracked it down.
Not much of an intro, is it? Oddly I did find another English intro. Apparently for Hawaii Tsuburaya had their own English dub. It looks like this.
I like Cinar’s logo better but Tsuburaya did give us an English version of the theme song. The Cinar version was produced in 1985 for Turner’s production company but couldn’t find a station to air it, so it went into the vaults until the 1990s when it aired on TNT. The recreation was done by taking the original audio and syncing it to the Japanese remaster of the original, and trust me you’re better off. However, it’s weird for me to watch Dan turn into Ultraseven without the “mmmHMMM” every time he puts the Ultra Eye (apparently called the “Task Mask” in yet another dub…how many dubs did this show have?) on and transforms. Look for the differences.
Interestingly Windom has gone on to make more appearances than Ultraseven, as other series and universes had their own take on the Ultra-ally, only as human-made robots created by that show’s team to fight monsters. We saw him in Ultraman Z in a previous showcase. He would also appear in Ultraman Mebius along with new versions of Ultraseven’s other capsule monsters. Ultraseven himself would have a number of different incarnations while this series was retroactively added to what I guess you’d call the main universe, but like I said the timeline gets screwy as this franchise goes on.
This was the first Japanese Ultraman series I saw, having only seen the Hanna-Barbera movie The Adventure Begins and the Australian Towards The Future prior. That makes this the third Ultraman I saw, which in a way is fitting given it was the third series overall. The Cinar version thus holds a special place in my heart as far as this franchise goes.