Sgathaich: Ultraman Blazar: First wave

Sgathaich, an old woman with long hair and wearing a crown

These last few years have been hard on us all for many reasons that I don’t think I need to get into as its rather obvious what’s been going on for everyone since 2020. This was made worse many shows or franchise I had been enjoying were just making me feel unwanted. Post Endgame the MCU pushed so heavily into Disney + that even before being able to find out if the films were good or not (mostly not now) they were tied into shows I wasn’t able to watch, and I’ve written many times about my issues with Dr who. Fortunately, I and many others found something from across the seas that shone brightly, TOKUSATSU SHOWS! Sure, many are hard to come by legally, especially in the UK where we basically have to import from America. But these shows helped me through the latter part of the first lockdown and beyond. And one has in the last few years shone with a brighter light than the others for me, aided by the fact that their official YouTube channel allows me to watch the series as they come out, ULTRAMAN!

When I started watching Ultraman on Tsubariyas YouTube channel (the company that makes Ultraman) It was Ultraman Z the then most recent series. I bleeping loved the show. But there was one caveat. The show referenced things from older shows, and one major character was from those older shows. It didn’t stop me from enjoying it but there was presumably some things I missed because I was not familiar with those characters.

title screen of Ultraman Blazar

However, the most recent Ultraman series Blazar has very much been made with the idea it’s a fresh start for new people, no previous legacy information required. Even more it’s designed also with a push into western markets too as the series is also released dubbed so let’s look at its first episode.

First Wave, the first episode of Blazar feels very much like a Kaiju movie (giant monster movie, think Godzilla) compressed into a single 20 minute episode, cutting out the whole is the giant monster real bits and skipping right to the city destruction! The film opens up as a military team headed by lead character Captain Gento Hiruma is being sent in by plane to drop from above into the city and strike the kaiju with special rounds at designated areas their research says should inhibit it, allowing the monster to be taken down.

The monster given the name Bazanga is really impressive for a Kaiju made for a TV series. While many Ultraman shows of late have heavily reused old Kaiju, Blazar starts out with a brand new one. With the action all set at night and the excellent work on the monster suit, this creature wouldn’t look out of place in the Heisei Gamera trilogy.

We aren’t given too much about the characters or Bazanga. We know it’s from outer space, some details about its anatomy. As for the team, we get little bits about Captain Gento that starts to let us see more about his character, but it’s primarily by actions we learn about him.

But eventually we get to what we have all been waiting for, ULTRAMAN! the giant of light makes his appearance, glowing parts of the suit standing out against the night scape and fighting the monster. This is what we all came for, not that what was before wasn’t bad it was good and didn’t feel like it dragged on. While other recent series had the lead thinking or talking about what they were doing in a weird ultra space area, Blazar drops that, meaning Ultraman never speaks, more making an almost roar like noise. The fight is very well done and the sound effects add to not only to the impacts of blows but the sense of size these two giants are.

In the dub Gento is dubbed by Johnny Yong Bosch who is most famous for playing the second Black Power Ranger in the original series and here he does a great performance in another Tokusatsu series. The rest of the dub cast are also well done so it’s clear Tsubaraya is putting real effort into this western push. It’s worth noting before Blazar came out they released Ultraman Z with a dub that also very much holds up and has some high profile names.

More and more people are coming round to watching Tokusatsu shows, and as that happens there’s more a push to make them available round the world be it modern or classic ones. For me Ultraman is the show I’m most gravitating towards now, probably due to my love of Godzilla films and Blazar makes an excellent first impression. Even if you don’t continue the show onwards this first episode works incredibly well as a standalone, so maybe you have about half an hour free? why not check it out.

Rating: 👍👍👍👍👍

Categories: Review

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