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  Ultraman 2 - The Further Adventures of Ultraman
1987 | Harmony Gold/ A.E.I.
ultraman 2 mytv vhs

One of Japan's best loved live-action heroes makes his anime debut. Can cartoon Ultraman defeat the many weird monsters that are plaguing the Earth's population? Read on...!

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The Ultra series were the creation of special effects wizard Eiji Tsuburaya who created the miniature effects for a great number of Toho movies including Godzilla. For more on him see Return of the Dinosaurs.

Ultraman started out as a spin-off from the black and white show Ultra Q which is often described as a Japanese X-Files as it concerned a team of paranormal specialists who would, each week, investigate an unexplained supernatural phenomenon. The show's creator Eiji Tsuburaya intended to create something similar to the american Twilight Zone but, due to the current success of the Godzilla movies he succumbed to pressure from the Toho executives and agreed to add increasingly weird monsters to the show. Ultra Q ran for a total of 28 episodes from January to July of 1966, (although the final episode was held back until December of the following year).

Ultraman made his debut just a week after the end of Ultra Q. Set in the distant future world of 1993 the story concerns the exploits of the Science Patrol, a worldwide organisation equipped with the necessary technology to defend Earth from the constant attacks from giant monsters and aliens, and understandably centres on the Japanese branch. The team are often confronted with monsters more powerful than even they can cope with and it's at this time that Hayata, the most prominent member, uses his secret ability to transform into the giant Ultraman.

One fateful night Hayata's spaceship collided with that of an alien being and he was fatally wounded. The alien merged their life forces in order to save the human giving Hayata the power to switch places with Ultraman for a limited time, which is monitored by the colour of the Colour Timer on his chest.

The show proved incredibly popular and the original series was followed by a further five shows running almost uninterrupted on Tokyo Broadcasting SUS for eleven years. After the climax of the 1975 Ultraman Leo series the character went on a short hiatus with interest in the series maintained with continued reruns of the old shows. By 1979, in order to build interest for the first new Ultra show in what would be five years, an animated series was created by Sunrise with Tsuburaya Productions producing.

This anime series debuted in April under the title of
The Ultraman, often nicknamed Ultraman Jonias after the show's unique Ultarian hero. The anime, much like it's live action big brother, followed the Monstrous encounters of the Tokyo branch of the Science Patrol, albeit with a new cast of characters. While returning to Earth from an orbiting Space Station Hikaru encounters an Ultarian called Jonias who has been attempting to warn Earth, through a number of means including mysterious sky writing, of the impending danger from bizarre monsters and aliens. The two lifeforms merge and, whenever the Science Patrol is in danger, Ultraman appears to save the day.

The show ran for a total of 50 episodes until March 1980, a week before the debut of the new live action series Ultraman 80.

The Ultraman appeared in the West as two separate 90 minute video features created and released by two separate companies.

The first was released in 1982 under the title The Adventures of Ultraman and consisted of the final four episodes of the show, a three part finale concerning the defence of Earth from an invading alien horde and its conclusion, compressed into one feature length tale. This was a straight re-dub of the episode's plot with no additional background information on the characters or situations making the whole thing more than a little confusing for the uninitiated western audience.

Even more confusingly the second video, entitled Ultraman II: The Further Adventures of Ultraman claimed to be the sequel yet starts at the very beginning of the series! The first four episodes; #1 "The Birth of a new Hero", #2 "Secret of the Shining Pendant", #4 "Chase the Mysterious Red Cloud" & #3 "When the Weed Whistle Blows in the Evening" are compressed, in that order, into another 90 minute movie which introduces Ultraman and the Science Patrol (here renamed Eastern Defence Force or Science and Defence Squad) but ends before the arrival of the supporting Ultarian cast who were seen defending the Earth in the first tape.

Behind this second release, first seen in 1987 and then later re-released in the UK in 1992, were Associates Entertainment International, seen elsewhere in the Bargain Bin for Return of the Dinosaurs (another Tsuburaya Production). Other titles on their list of releases include the infamous Attack of the Supermonsters (also Tsuburaya), and a number of horror B-movies including Necromancy (1972) starring Orson Welles and Delirium (1979) which ended up on the vilified "Video Nasties" list in the UK. While A.E.I. took care of the directing and editing the dub was down to another Bargain Bin regular, Harmony Gold and includes many familiar voices notably Barbara Goodson the voice of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Villain Rita Repulsa.

Unlike the first release Ultraman II was widely seen around the world turning up on video in France, Germany, Spain, Russia and Africa.


Za Ultraman Ultraman Jonias
The Ultraman promo
The Ultraman LaserDisc boxset

For some reason the producers chose to swap the credit sequences around using the originals' closing credits for the western opening and the opening titles for Ultraman II's ending. What wacky characters!

Up in space, aboard an Earth Defence Force observation station Chief Harris, who's first name is never revealed, is keeping a watchful eye over the planet and everything seems fine. That is until suddenly the Earth is enveloped in a mysterious glow. In the skies above major cities strange letters appear spelling out some sort of indecipherable message. These odd goings on cause the EDF to assemble elite teams of scientists and soldiers trained to deal with anything. They call these teams Emergency Science and Defence Squads.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Captain Adams heads the Far East Defence Squad. He demands the use of the newest and best technology and sets about assembling the most skilled team possible. The first to be chosen is the grossly over weight and fairly annoying Marconi and it seems not for his skills in a particular area of interest but because of his constant nagging. Honestly he doesn't seem to have any abilities that could be of use to this elite unit, unless comic relief is a real life-skill. Maybe Adams doesn't have the heart to turn the poor guy down and figures that as soon as Marconi sees the uniforms he's picked out, skin tight lycra, he'll definitely quit.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Next to be signed up is the inventor of the "Super Star", the unit's mega fancy space-jet. This guy could have been signed up for his dress sense alone! His name is Glen although this isn't revealed until later in the episode, sorry - chapter of the movie. Ann Johnson, the token female, is chosen next because "she's very bright" and a "strong minded woman". Her amazing insight into the situation is "the sign of something worse to come to Earth". Everyone agrees as the most pointless member of the new team makes its appearance. "PDQ is the leading robot of the Earth Defence Force. He's special!" says Marconi and he's not wrong! That freaky looking thing is the most "special" robot I've ever seen. If that's the best robot they've got I'd love to see the rejects. It looks like a garbage heap brought to life and serves absolutely no purpose at all save for giving the very young in the audience nightmares. And what's with the spider-monkey that's constantly crawling around it?

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

The final member of the team is on his way, Chief Harris. On his journey from the space station to earth his shuttle is caught in a bright red glow and he has a strange dream where he meets an alien named Ultraman. Ultraman explains that the weird glow and the letters were a warning from his people of the great dangers to come. What kind of inept warnings were those? Making the whole planet glow means "Giant monsters are coming!"? Maybe they should have tried learning one of our languages instead. Anyway, Ultraman goes on to explain that he needs Harris' body. Harris seems a little confused by this but has little choice as soon the red clothed alien has entered his body and Harris awakes in his shuttle and sets about convincing himself it was all just a dream. Well you would, wouldn't you?

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Meanwhile on Earth, the narrator tells us that giant prehistoric monsters have awoken, one of which is floating towards town in a giant iceberg. The Defence Squad is put sent to investigate and Harris is handed a star shaped device by PDQ's monkey assistant on his way to the Super Star. Once caught up with the giant ice cube Marconi and Harris land on it to take some readings but before they can get their tools out the ice splits in two freeing a distinctly Hannah Barbera looking monster. Back in their jets the team try shooting lasers at the monster to calm it down but instead it just gets more angry. Who'd've thunk it!

Icezilla heads for shore blasting what ever stands in his way with ice-breath. Harris decides to take the mini shuttle to shoot it with lasers again but this time much closer. This turns out to be a bad plan as the monster simply slaps him out of the sky. Things look even more bleak as three more Icezilla's appear from nowhere to join the fight. It looks as though Harris is gonna die on his first day until a voice in his head instructs him to put the "Beam Flasher" on his forehead. Without question he complies and suddenly he is transformed into Ultraman!

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

A full scale, old time-e wrestling match breaks out between the giant hero and the three lizards, with Ultra taking an early lead with some savage throat chops and neck elbows. The first two seem like easy pickings but their brothers aren't so quick to die. Now seems like a good time for the narrator to explain Ultraman's limitations. You see the coloured star on his chest indicates how long Ultraman can last in our atmosphere - if it reaches red then he is in big trouble! How often does it reach this critical shade? Every battle! Oh the tension!!

With time against him our hero decides to finish the fight, unleashing his signature beam attack and sinking the final two monsters once and for all. With the danger passed Harris returns to his human state. Back at the base the gang discuss their mysterious ally, of course not realising it is none other than mild mannered Harris. "He's really an amazing man isn't he?" states Marconi. "Yes, and nice too!" replies Ann cryptically.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman

The next episode, of the saga, opens with a sudden, unexplainable tornado disaster at a hydroelectric plant. Harris and Ann are sent to investigate, presumably ThunderBirds 2086 were to busy that day. Harris seems a little uneasy about being paired up with Ann and it's not because she's a woman, she's "strong minded" after all so that's ok, but because it's the day before her birthday - Birthday Eve if you will. Elsewhere Marconi visits Glenn in his workshop where the master mechanic has created a pendant at the oaf's request. Marconi plans to give it to Ann as a present from him, and him only. Glenn is understandably a little miffed by this but let's him go all the same. PDQ passes Marconi in the corridor and decides to mess with his mind for a laugh telling him that Harris is just about to leave with Ann on a mission. "They are both very happy!" it taunts following oddly with "The world is especially made for them!" This nonsensical babbling sends the unstable Marconi into a lather causing him to lock Harris in his room and secretly take his place on the mission instead. Would you want this unbalanced sociopath on your team?

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman

Ann is surprised to see fat boy's lunatic grinning face but doesn't let it get in the way of the mission. "You're not disappointed that I'm here and he's not are you?" he unwisely asks "Not really..." she replies. Oh, that's not a good answer!

At the Hydro-plant Marconi decides to make his move. While Ann diligently goes about her work he lurks around in the background preparing to unveil his fantastic gift. Finally the moment arrives and he awkwardly hand's it over, even though it is a day early. Ann puts on a good show of gratitude but hands it back and asks Marconi to give it to her tomorrow when it will actually be her birthday. Marconi does the only sensible thing he can do and flips out hurling the pendant into the distance in rage while ranting angrily. That's what you need to win her over!

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Harris, having freed himself from his room, arrives on the scene before Marconi does something that'll get him kicked out of the EDF for good. Ann scoops up the pendant and returns to her jet. From the air the trio see the tornado return and begin to absorb energy from the stricken power station. It becomes apparent that this is no ordinary, natural phenomenon... it's alive! Marconi flies in to attack, Harris prevents him from harming himself and in the confusion the tornado envelopes Ann and leaves.

Back home Glen hatches a plan to lure the tornado to the Science and Defence Squad HQ with a massive output of energy. Of course it works and the unit scramble to defeat it before it can demolish their home. Missiles do no good, they simply bounce off and kill innocent trees. What can be done to stop this unstoppable force?

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Glen hatches another plan, this time to save Ann. He hid a flare in the pendant he made for her (we're never told why) so if they can contact her and tell her to activate it they will be able to locate her. Great idea, all they've got to do is find her and tell her to do it. Marconi is up for this backwards thinking and flies his jet into the heart of the tornado. Wait a second... they can fly into it? So what's the big problem? They could just fly in, find her and fly out again without any of this flare business. They could also attack it from the inside while they're at it!

Harris takes this opportunity to land and transform into Ultraman while no one's watching. The giant alien hero takes the tornado menace head on but this isn't going to be as easy as the lizard monsters. He is blown back with every attempt at aggression. Before long time is once again running out for Ultra...

Inside, the true nature of the monster is revealed. It's some sort of blob with tentacles creating a tornado as a form of defence. Ann activates the flare illuminating the core and lighting the way for our hero. Once inside Ultraman makes short work of this less than intimidating foe and rescues both jets into the bargain. The panic is over and everyone is safe once more.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Next, the squad are called off of vacation to investigate a mysterious red cloud (named 'Red Smoggy' in the Japanese original) that's on course for the base. Circling it in Super Star Captain Adams orders the use of "Inert Gas Missiles" to dissipate the cloud but they have no effect! Ordinary missiles are no good either! What can they do? Personally I'd send Ultraman in straight off but we have to let the Science Squad have their try first. Glen captures a sample of Mr Cloud and takes it back to base for analysis while the other continue to circle and fire numerous different missiles at it.

After a whole list of failed ideas the cloud is still on the move and heading for a rain storm. Back at the lab Glen makes the startling discovery that the cloud is... ALIVE! And what's worse... water causes it to solidify and go crazy!

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman

Sure enough Mr Cloud gets wet and turns into a flailing pink hair-ball, thrashing around at the surrounding landscape. "I've never seen such violence" utters Adams . Everyone concludes that the monster must be in incredible pain which is causing it to lash out in rage. What can they do to bring it under control and away from the nearby dam? Blast it with lasers of course! Well, it worked on their other two encounters. Surprisingly this additional irritant only makes the gas monster even more angry and the dam starts to take a pounding. Finally Harris lands and uses his Beam Flasher...

Ultraman and the gas monster splash around for a long time slugging it out until, with no prompting our hero flies off into the clouds to use his signature beam attack to stop the rain. The sun comes out and suddenly the once angry monster becomes peaceful. It seems the gas cloud was allergic to water. Before anything else can go wrong Ultraman whisks the cloud off into the sky and out of our atmosphere. He's the moon's problem now.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Back at base everyone is enjoying one of those post battle reflections that super squads regularly do. Marconi takes a call on the Science Squad hotline and causes everyone to drop their coffee when he screams "What?! Not another red cloud?!" Don't worry he just misheard it was actually a monstrous crocodile. Everyone laughs!

Hang on a second, isn't a monstrous crocodile much worse?

Disaster strikes again the very next day. A giant crocodile monster (which, coincidentally, is never acknowledged as the one mentioned on the phone) is ripping up Osaka Palace, causing identical citizens to flee to safety. The tried and tested methods of monster suppression are being used in force (ie firing big missiles at it) but with no effect. The Defence Force arrive on the scene and Marconi believes he is responsible when the monster seems to be defeated by a close-up bazooka blast little realising it is simply stunned and the Space Biology Study Group have taken it away for live analysis.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

On the other side of town a young boy, inevitably called Timmy, finds a tiny baby lizard living in the tall grass which he picks up and takes home. Back at his house he over hears a visiting police man telling his mother about a suspected baby monster hidden somewhere in the area but thinks nothing of it - best hide his scaly new pal from the adults or they might make him give it up.

The Ultraman

The following morning the head of the Space Biologists calls Marconi at the Eastern Defence Force HQ with some terrifying news. The test they've run on the live monster indicates that its cells have the ability to grow into independent creatures of their own! This panics the bumbling oaf and he dashes off to the scene of the earlier battle to search for any such spawn.

Meanwhile, on the coast little Timmy houses his baby lizard, imaginatively named 'Baby', in a cave for safe keeping while he's at school. He doesn't seem alarmed by just how much Baby has grown in one night. Marconi is assigned to search the coastal area and it's not long before he and Timmy's paths cross. The tubby oaf manages to convince the kid to take him to Baby's secret location. When they get there they find the baby lizard outside the cave clawing uneasily at the lapping tide, and he's grown even bigger. Marconi tries to persuade Timmy to hand the creature over to him in case it grows into a monster and attacks people but the child resists. Exasperated Marconi calls for back-up. While he waits for them to arrive he takes timmy into town. Seconds later baby transforms into a giant monster just as huge and dangerous as the one that ravaged the city earlier. The EDF get up to their usual tricks of missile bombardments with the usual levels of success. Surely this course of action will cause scattering of the monster's cells and yet more creatures like it?

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

Harris does what he does best, calls for Ultraman. The two slug it out, our hero dishing out crushing rib kicks and eye chops but to little avail. Timmy and Marconi arrive on the scene and the outraged boy refuses to acknowledge that the monster is really his pet Baby. The battle rages on and suddenly another two identical monsters appear from no where. By the next scene there are four of them! As expected Ultraman's Colour Timer indicates that time is running short for our hero just as Marconi remembers something useful. Perhaps the monster's weakness is water, after all Baby was responding aggressively to the tide only minutes ago.

Ultraman Jonias The Ultraman Ultraman II

You don't have to tell Ultraman twice. It's windmills all the way as the crocs are tossed into the sea. On the sidelines Timmy is still not convinced, despite all the evidence otherwise, that the lead baddie is in fact Baby. He decides to see if it will respond to his leaf whistle like Baby used to and is shocked by the results! He watches in horror and disbelief and Ultraman heroically murders his beloved pet. With the danger passed the team comfort little Timmy and watch the sun setting into the sea. The events of this evening won't be soon forgotten by the young lad, will he ever learn to love again?

Missing videos Missing videos

Ultraman Begins
Harris is minding his own business when an alien being enters his body without permission!

Ultraman Smackdown!
The edited highlights of Ultraman's matches against the Ice Monster, Tornado Thing, Mr Cloud and "Baby"

Good dubbing
Well animated
Bland characters
Dull stories
  Simplistic designs
  Episodic flow
  Ultraman looks a bit weedy

I found Ultraman II very similar to ThunderBirds 2086. Both shows have very bland, cookie-cutter characters and designs as well as an extremely rigid formula. At least Ultraman's tales always climax with a WWF style confrontation rather than a bunch of emergency repair men welding a satellite.

The video does a good enough job of introducing the character of Ultraman and kids were probably more than happy to just watch him get the monster-of-the-week in a headlock but the feature on this video lacks any real substance. A.E.I. did nothing more than cram four episodes back to back and put it on video.

In all, nice and obscure but not much fun.

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