Canadian Theatrical News: Ultraman Double Feature

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Tsuburaya’s Ultra series stands alongside Toei’s Kamen Rider and Super Sentai franchises as one of Japan’s most enduring superhero properties. So much so, that 50 years after its debut, new TV and web series, films, toys, manga, and games continue to be released. For the first time ever, two of those Ultra movies are hitting the North American big screen.

There’s been multiple attempts to bring the franchise to western audiences, be it through English dubs of Japanese series, or new productions built from the ground up. You might remember some of these, like the short-lived 4Kids Entertainment borderline parody dub of Ultraman Tiga that ran on FOX in 2002, but most of them dwell in complete obscurity, such as the fate bestowed on Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero, Ultraman: Towards the Future, and the animated Hanna-Barbera co-pro Ultraman: The Adventure Begins. Heck, the first attempt, a 1967 dub of the original series, Ultra-Q, by Toronto’s Film House (now known as Deluxe Toronto), was never officially released in any capacity.

Without the pressures of TV, the Ultra series is seemingly on the upswing, with Crunchyroll’s streams of current and library shows (being one of the few tokusatsu series to do that), Shout! Factory’s unearthing of the original trio of series, and Viz’s releases of Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi’s sleek manga reinvention, all giving fans something to be happy about. Even the Amazon Japan Prime Video original series, Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga, is expected to be available globally. Continuing that trend, Tsuburaya and L.A.-based William Winckler Productions have created English dubs for the Ultra Fight Victory miniseries, plus the Ultraman Ginga S: Showdown! Ultra 10 Warriors!! and Ultraman X: Here It Comes! Our Ultraman films. The latter two are being bundled up (the combined runtime is 133 minutes) for an extremely limited theatrical run in Canada and the US. The films, which came out in Japan in 2015 and 2016, respectively, are continuations of the similarly titled Ultraman Ginga S and Ultraman X television series. Both shows are available on Crunchyroll.

ultramangingasenglishmovieposterA sinister space warrior, Etelgar, forces a beautiful young alien princess, Alena, to use her magical mirror to trap every Ultraman hero in the Galaxy! In order to stop Etelgar and save the princess and their fellow Ultramen, two brave young men, Hikaru and Shou, must each transform into new Ultra-heroes, Ultraman Ginga and Ultraman Victory, and combine their super-powers! Thus begins an epic battle of the greatest Ultraman heroes teaming up to defeat Etelgar and his army of villainous space warriors!

Starring Takuya Negishi, Kiyotaka Uji, and Arisa Komiya. Directed by Koichi Sakamoto (Saban’s POWER RANGERS). English dubbed version by writer/producer/director William Winckler.

ultramanxenglishmovieposterWhen reality TV host Carlos Kurozaki breaks into a mysterious underground pyramid for a television event, he removes a special gem. . . and unwittingly releases a diabolical monster called Zaigorg! The evil creature wants Kurozaki’s gem, so it spawns an army of giant kaijus to get it! It’s up to the famous superheroes Ultraman X, Ultraman Tiga, and the one and only original Ultraman to stop the worldwide monster war!

ULTRAMAN X THE MOVIE is the special 50th Year Anniversary film of Tsuburaya Productions iconic superhero character ULTRAMAN. Starring Kensuke Takahashi, Akane Sakanoue, Takami Yoshimoto, Michael Tomioka. Directed by Kiyotaka Taguchi. English dubbed version by writer/producer/director William Winckler.

Ottawa, Ontario Mayfair Theatre January 20, 2017 @ TBA
Toronto, Ontario The Royal February 4, 2017 @ 3:30PM
Vancouver, British Columbia Rio Theatre January 12, 2017 @ 6:15PM

To be honest, that’s three more than I expected. If you or someone you know are involved with your local arthouse theatre or anime convention scene, you can contact williamwincklerproductions@gmail.com to try to set up a screening.

Those trailers sound like they’re from a time when it wasn’t extremely uncommon to find dubbed live-action programming on North American TV … Speaking of time, this will likely be the last 2016 post, so have a happy New Year everyone!

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