Well, we have one more tale to tell for this season. Let us look to something a little more classic, but maybe one that you haven’t heard of, yes? Well, I’d be glad to tell you about it, as I think in the coming year, we will talk more about what followed.
Ultra Q is a 1966 science fiction series from Japan. Made by Tsuburaya Productions, Ultra Q stands for Ultra Question and is the series before the first Ultraman (we will be talking about that a fair bit in 2023) with some elements later being adapted into the long running series.
Ultra Q can best be described as Japanese Twilight Zone. Featuring a cast of civilians encountering a paranormal event or monster, and since this is Japanese yes often that monster is giant. Makes it quite unique as then you have regular sized people having to deal with a kaiju rather than rely on another kaiju, giant robot or as comes in later in the series, giant super hero. It’s fairly episodic but there are several recurring characters who are featured in the episode I’m going to talk about.
The Gift From Space is the third episode of the series. It opens with some of the recurring characters, namely aviator Jun Manjome seeing an object being parachuted into the sea. Retrieving the object and handing it to officials they find it is a lost probe that was sent to Mars, yet when it got there, they lost contact. Inside were pictures of… something and two orbs.
Wanting to study the objects they put it into a safe for protection till they are ready. However, this is when some gangsters break into the safe and steal money also kept inside, taking the small box the orbs were sealed inside as well, not realizing what is in there.
What follows is a somewhat dark message about our venturing into Space without considering what could be there, or more precisely, what could be their opinion of us doing that, and what they will send back.
This is probably my favorite episode of Ultra Q. While it has a monster, and it’s a large one, it’s not too big to make it feel like the lead’s actions are irrelevant and pointless (often a problem with writing for kaiju stuff). The monster is quite effective and scary while also leaving us on a somewhat dark cliffhanger not just for what may happen but the notion of why this is happening.
Sadly, to review this episode I had to watch an episode on an imported Blu-ray on a region free Blu-ray player as there is as far as I’m aware no legal way to watch Ultra Q other than through imports from America. Ultraman and Ultra Q really are helping me get through these dark years. BUT if you want some interesting science fiction episode show from several decades ago, I highly recommend Ultra Q and not just for what came from it after… though I can’t help but drawn to Professor Ichinotani magnificent mustache…