'Ultraman' Netflix Trailer Reveals an Epic Multi-Generational Battle

In April 2019, Netflix will let us watch a hero fly. Ultraman, an icon of Japanese popular culture created by special effects film wizard Eiji Tsuburaya, will make his triumphant return in a new 3D anime series from Production I.G, Sola Digital Arts, and distribution by Netflix.

On Monday, Netflix released the trailer for Ultraman, an adaptation of the 2011 manga by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi that functions as a direct sequel to the original Ultraman TV show from 1966. The new series will premiere on April 1, 2019.

Set a few decades after the original story, Shinjiro Hayata — son of Shin Hayata, the original Ultraman (played by actor Susumu Kurobe) — inherits his father’s powers and takes up the mantle as the new Ultraman.

Not unlike the story of Superman and Green Lantern, “Ultraman” is an alien being from Nebula M78 who crashes on Earth and accidentally kills Shin Hayata, an officer of the Science Special Search-Party, or SSSP (shortened to “Science Patrol” in the English dub). Feeling guilty over his recklessness, Ultraman brings Shin Hayata back to life by merging with him, and the two vow to fight invading aliens who threaten Earth.

When needed, Shin Hayata can transform into Ultraman, a giant, 131-foot red and silver superhero with the ability to withstand extreme punishment and shoot energy projectiles.

The original Ultraman series, produced by Tsuburaya Productions and spun-off from the monster series Ultra Q, is a long-running multimedia franchise with dozens of varying iterations.

Attempts to bring Ultraman into the U.S. have seen mixed results. Ultraman Tiga, the 1996 installment of the main TV series, was dubbed into English by 4Kids to create a wacky comedy on the short-lived Fox Box channel. A few years earlier in 1993, Tsuburaya produced the live-action series Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero in the United States with American actors, but it never aired in the U.S.

The relatively small American fanbase for Ultraman has endured thanks only to word of mouth, a brief period as an English dubbed series on American broadcast (where it was overshadowed by Batman), and import VHS and DVDs from publishers like Media Blasters. Netflix’s anime is the first genuine attempt in a long time to introduce the character to audiences outside Japan. Ultraman also appeared in Ernset Cline’s 2012 novel Ready Player One, but a copyright lawsuit at the time prevented Ultraman from appearing in the 2018 film directed by Steven Spielberg.

Ultraman hits Netflix in April 1, 2019.

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