On October 1st 1968, Japanese homes were greeted to the third Ultra television series produced by Tsuburaya Productions. Ultra Seven was the follow up to Ultraman and would be such a success that the Ultra franchise has survived until this day.
The original series Ultra Q made it’s debut in 1967 and was a success with home television audiences. The series didn’t feature a super hero but instead followed a group of human characters who would deal with kaiju on an episode-by-episode basis. The success of this series (as well as the Godzilla and Gamera film franchises) had kicked off the kaiju boom of Japan. Tsuburaya Productions founder Eji Tsuburaya followed up his successful series the same year with Ultraman and would once again strike gold. Ultraman’s thirty-nine episode run would end in April of 1967.
Premiering in October of 1967, Ultra Seven would end up running a total of forty-nine episodes and concluded in September of 1968. Due to the success of the previous series, Ultra Seven would have a larger budget which allowed for better kaiju suits, post-production visual fx, and a higher episode count.
Horror Geek Life has decided to give you a run down of the first five episodes of this iconic tokusatsu television classic! Get prepared for giant monsters, space aliens, doppelgangers, and more! Grab your Ultra Eye and get ready to go!
Episode 1 – The Invisible Challenger
The first episode of Ultra Seven introduces the audiences to Dan Moroboshi (Kohji Moritsugu) and the other members of the Ultra Guard; an elite team tasked with using all sorts of classic sci-fi gadgets to help protect the Earth from alien forces. Unlike the first episode of Ultraman, the viewer isn’t given Ultra Seven/Dan’s backstory. The plot is that of an alien invasion that isn’t that original, but does involve a sub-plot of spray painting the invaders UFO so the Ultra Guard can see their craft. Following genre tradition, Ultra Seven ends up facing off against the kaiju/race Alien Cool.
Episode 2 – The Green Terror
Ultra Garrison member Ishuguro returns from outer space after 6 months. Just prior to his return a mysterious rock lands (surprisingly) safely in his front yard. Ishuguro himself has been replaced by an alien doppelganger and feeds on humans blood by night. That’s right, a children’s show from the sixties showcased space vampires. Dan is able to use his telepathic powers to scan the giant rock and discover the alien menaces plan. Ultra Seven soon goes toe-to-root with Alien Waiell.
Episode 3- The Secret of the Lake
When a (surprise!) UFO lands near a lake in the mountains, Dan and fellow Ultra Guard member Furuhashi are sent to investigate. They run across a young girl swimming who is secretly one half of a pair of alien twin sisters. Dan and Furuhashi board the UFO but are knocked out. When Dan awakens he realizes his Ultra Eye is missing and can’t transform. This episode marks the first appearance of fan favorite Eleking. He would return in later Ultra series installments with a more modern design.
Episode 4 – Respond, Max
Members of the Ultra Garrison travel to a meeting on board the Max. Dan’s Ultra Eye is stolen again (I’m sensing a trend) while on shore just as the Max is lifted into space. It’s up to Dan to get the powers of Ultra Seven back, defeat Alien Godola, and rescue his comrades!
Episode 5 – The Erased Time
Dr. Yushima’s jet is captured momentarily by a UFO after leaving Antarctica. Yushima makes it to Japan safely and Furuhashi takes on the role as his body guard. Taking the ‘body snatcher’ plot from The Green Terror, Yushima has been taken over by the Alien Bira. Ultra Seven once again arrives to stop the invaders from conquering the galaxy.
Five episodes give one a feel for how the series will go on. It’s formulaic for sure, but it just works. The action is tight, the costumes are good, and the actors are genuinely likable and warm. Ultra Seven has an unusual broadcast history here in the United States, but it doesn’t matter because the wonderful people over at Shout! Factory have made the entire series available online for free! Not only do they have Ultra Seven but they also have Ultra Q and Ultraman available as well.
If you are a fan of kaiju movies but have exhausted all the Godzilla and Gamera that you can get your hands on, then why not try out some ULTRA SEVEN!