Saturday, November 2, 2019

Saturday Morning Nostalgia: Ultra Q & Ultraman Blu-ray Steelbooks

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

I bet many adults who grew up in the '90s believe the Power Rangers was the first Kaiju American television series, when in fact the Mighty Morphin team is based on the Japanese franchise Super Sentai that began in 1975, and, no, it wasn't the first series to feature giant monsters. Way back in 1966, there was a Japanese children series called Ultra Q that included monsters causing chaos in Japan.

Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
Produced by Tsuburaya Productions from special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya (co-creator of Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra for Toho Studios), Ultra Q was an X-Files-like 24-minute series about a group of supernatural investigators - Mainichi Shimpo photojournalist Yuriko Edogawa (played by Hiroko Sakurai), Hoshikawa Airlines pilot/SF writer Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) and his co-pilot Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo) - who investigate mysterious events that occur in and near Japan.

Despite only 28 episodes being produced, Ultra Q was a big hit and spawned the Ultraman franchise.

Ultra Q: The Complete Series (Not Rated; 11hrs 56mins; $49.98) was released on a 4-Dsic Blu-ray SteelBook set on October 15 from Mill Creek Entertainment featuring a 24-page Information and Episode Guide booklet. A Digital Code comes with the set that can only redeemed on or on the movieSPREE app. There are no special features or bonus extras.

FYI: Ultra Q is also available to buy on a standard Blu-ray set.

Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
Ultraman: The Complete Series (Not Rated; 16hrs 28mins; $49.98) was also released on a Blu-ray Steelbook on October 15th from Mill Creek Entertainment featuring all 39 episodes on a 5-disc set as well as a 24-page Information and an Episode Guide booklet. It comes with a Digital Code that can only be redeemed on movieSPREE. There are no special features or bonus extras.

FYI: Ultraman is also available to buy on a standard Blu-ray set.

The series involves Ultraman, a giant alien from the Land of Light in Nebula M78, chasing a space monster into the Earth's atmosphere when he accidentally collides into a Jet VTOL piloted by Hayata, a member of the Science Special Search Party (SSSP), an international research and defense agency that protects Earth against aliens. To prevent Hayata from dying, Ultraman merges his life force with him, which means when the world is in danger from a giant monster, Hayata will become Ultraman to defend humankind.

Mill Creek Entertainment will be releasing more DVD and Blu-rays from the Ultraman franchise in near feature starting with Ultraman Orb: The Complete Series & Movie and Ultraman Geed: The Complete Series & Movie later this month. More releases will follow in the Spring and Summer of 2020.

Final Thoughts

I was slightly familiar with the Ultraman franchise prior to receiving these Blu-ray Steelbook sets, though I had never seen a single episode of either. The production quality for Ultra Q was pretty expensive back in the '60s, more in par with the Godzilla films. Speaking of Godzilla, the Godzilla suit was modified to become Gomess, the monster that appears in the very first episode.

Ultraman was either filmed on a smaller budget or the budget wasn't used correctly. The Ultraman suit looks really bad in high-definition as you can clearly see all of its painting flaws. The episodes themselves aren't too bad, though I believe Ultra Q had better scripts. You can definitely see how Super Sentai was inspired by the series.

Considered the age of the series, the picture and sound quality are pretty good on both sets. All the episodes are in their original Japanese language. There's no English dub, however, there is an English subtitles option on each disc's menu.

Overall, I'm impressed with the Ultra Q & Ultraman Blu-ray Steelbooks. Both series are fun watch, though my favorite is Ultra Q as it reminds me of The X-Files. If you're an Ultraman fan or just a fan of Kaijus, then you're going to want to add these Blu-rays to your collection.

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