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. Continue reading