THE COMPLETE SERIES (1971)
6-Disc Steelbook Edition
Label: Mill Creek Entertainment
Duration: 1298 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: A
Audio: Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p Full Frame (1.33:1)
Cast: Jiro Dan, Nobuo Tsukamoto, Jun Negami, Shin Kishida, Rumi Sakakibara
Directors: Ishiro Honda, Masanori Kakei, Yoshiharu Tomita, Noboru Kaji
Synopsis: To Protect Justice and Peace - He Has Returned! The crustal movement and the abnormal climate had occurred repeatedly on a global scale and dormant monsters started to awaken from sleep. A young man named Hideki Go, who was chasing his dream to be a race car driver, lost his life in saving a boy and a puppy that failed to escape in the midst of Monster Takkong’s rampage. However, the new Ultraman, who had come from Nebula M78 to defend Earth, was deeply touched by Go’s brave action and resurrected him by uniting as one. After that, Go is determined to fight any enemy that threatens the freedom and happiness of humanity and joined MAT, the Monster Attack Team. While he struggles with his identity gap between Ultraman and Hideki Go, he grows through fighting against the monsters and aliens.
In the fourth series of Ultraman, the Return of Ultraman series, Earth's alien protector Ultraman once again merges his lifeforce with that of a human he has deemed worthy of his power. This time it's a heroic race car driver named Hideki Go, who has been gravely injured after saving a young boy and his dog during a monster attack that destroyed an apartment building. Ultraman merges with his Go at the moment of death, resurrecting him, imbuing him with the power of the ultraman. Soon after Go joins defense unit known as MATS (Monster Attack Team) to protect the Earth from giant-sized kaiju and alien invaders from outer space. If you're familiar with any of the previous Ultraman series it's more of the same, and that's not a bad thing, because more of the same means 120-foot tall monsters stomping on a cheap assortment of miniature cities and dramatically emerging the ocean (a.k.a a pool on a sound stage), with our min character Hideki transforming from his human form into the 120-foot tall Ultraman to kick some kaiju and alien ass!
This series plays along mostly as creature of the week sort of episodes with Ultraman doing what he does best, tearing up aliens invaders and giant-sized creatures, and it's a formula that is still a blast to watch. The designs of the over sixty kaiju seen in this incarnation of the series are mostly crap-tastic z-grade schlock worthy of scorn from MSTK3, but some of these are pretty cool looking for stuff done on an anemic budget, and it's a ton of fun.
Ultraman jack's suit is slightly different from previous incarnations I've seen, and it's also noteworthy that this Ultraman does not need a device to transform from his human form into the towering Ultraman, he just wills it to happen and grows bigger like Apache Chief from the Hanna-Barbera saturday morning cartoon Super Friends.
This was also the first series to feature an Ultraman team-up, with both Ultraman and Ultraseven from the previous series returning, creating a Ultra-verse that didn't exist previously. This was definitely a series that was firing on cylinders with plenty of big-action and lots of giant monsters, and it still holds up, plenty of fun for kids of all-ages.
Audio/Video: All 52-episodes of Return of Ultraman arrives on 6-disc Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment, presented in 1080p HD original full frame 1.33:1. Audio comes by way of Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono with optional English subtitles, there is no English dub option, so you're gonna have to read the subtitles.
No extras on any of the sic discs but we do get a fantastic looking 24-page booklet with a writing on the series from Keith Aiken of scifijapan.com, plus there's a complete episode guide, profiles of Ultraman Jack and other characters, a look at the tech of the series, and of course the wild assortment of kaiju. It's a nice looking booklet printed on thick card stock paper that's nicely bound, it doesn't feel cheap and is loaded with images from this series.
The six-disc set arrives in a a fantastic looking steelbook with a nice finish, both front and back features images of Ultraman Jack with some of the series more memorable kaiju in the background. The artwork on the inside is of Ultraman Jack's chest, I think they could have done better with the interior artwork, but it looks alright. The six discs come stacked three on top of the other on a pair of spindles, each disc has a red. background with white lettering, featuring six different kaiju. This release also gets a clear plastic slipcover that slips over the steelbook, with printing on the front, and on the backside you will find the usual information and specifications you'd usually find printed on a Blu-ray wrap. The 24-page booklet also its nicely beneath the slipcover. Inside there's also a digital code for the series available through MCE's proprietary digital streaming service. .
Mill Creek Entertainment have been doing fantastic work with the Ultraman series, the Steelbooks are gorgeous, and the accompanying the booklet is stuffed with series info, it's just wonderful stuff. If you're already a fan of the series you're gonna love it, and if you love vintage giant-sized kaiju action and stuff like Power Rangers or Thunderbirds Are Go! you might already be a fan and just done't know it yet.