Shin Godzilla was a Japanese movie that brought the idea of the original Godzilla — a mindless giant monster and merciless force of nature — to see how modern Japan would handle him. Shin Ultraman, a similar reimagining of the hero who spawned the entire genre of tokutatsu shows from the same team behind Shin Godzilla, is getting a similar reboot.
Like their work on Godzilla a few years ago, Shin Ultraman asks some simialr questions. Mainly: What would happen in 2021 if a giant alien who looks like a robot suddenly arrived and started defending Earth from gargantuan alien monsters? Also, what if they looked really, really goofy, and yet kind of great?
Because those brief shots of Ultraman and his foes have blown me away. While writer (and Evangelion creator) Hideaki Anno and director Shinji Higuchi rebuilt Godzilla to look more bestial, Ultraman’s outfit looks almost exactly like his 1966 original. The monsters — Ultraman standouts Neronga and Gabora, some of the oldest Kaiju from the series — meanwhile, are CG-rendered so they no longer move like men in suits, and don’t have visible zippers anymore. But they still bear a close resemblance to the monsters from the classic Ultraman TV show, receiving the same reasonably simple design and colour scheme.
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Watching these guys tussle in modern Tokyo should be a real treat when it debuts this summer in Japan…unless it gets delayed, I guess. And then who knows when some company will licence it for Western markets. Well, ok, Shin Ultraman is going to be a real treat eventually. Probably.