Ultraman Decker Finale: Journey to Beyond is an epic story that, like many Ultraman Series adventures, centers on the importance of willpower, teamwork, and dedication. The GUTS-Select team are forced to exercise these values under extreme pressure when faced with the brutal mad scientist Professor Gibellus.
After chaos has calmed in the wake of Earth’s victory against the Sphere and Kanata has lost the ability to become Ultraman Decker, the GUTS-Select team is working hard to prepare their next generation of defenders. Kanata is pulled back into action, however, when Professor Gibellus sends his alien army to dominate Japan. The team is joined by the mysterious Ultraman Dinas who is drawn to Earth by her duty to protect life from evil, especially from Professor Gibellus, whose history of terror includes the assault of her world.
I find Professor Gibellus to be a particularly unnerving adversary, due to both his calculated nature, and his extreme power threshold. Most Ultraman villains that I have seen so far either tend to be lone nefarious perpetrators of destruction, or animalistic Kaiju that forge paths of destruction whether they intend to or not. Professor Gibellus, on the other hand, has the mind of an evil genius, the power of an army of obedient aliens and Kaiju, and the brute force capability of the Galactic Empire Beast, Gigalogaiser, who he can shapeshift into whenever need be.
Gibellus’s repeated effort to find “the most beautiful form of invasion” paired with his desire to assert dominion over the galaxy make Gibellus a powerhouse fueled by greed, a motivator that is universally agreed to diminish the integrity of one’s character. Ironically, Gibellus is in search of brave spirits, chock-full of integrity, to elevate the spirits of Kaiju to a higher level of evolution. There’s something more intimidating about a threat who yearns for power over humanity, not for our physical resources, but for our spiritual resources. Unlike other aliens and Kaiju who often underestimate humanity and see them to be puny, Gibellus knows the humans have great power in their will and bravery and seeks to take advantage of that.
Any earthly species can be exploited for their physical abilities, but only humans can be exploited for intangible strengths like bravery, resilience, and hope. We see this occur on a human-to-human level in our society when propaganda is used to polarize people from one another by preying on values that we all share or when people are encouraged to give up valuable time, attention, and energy in order to feed unforgiving systems. People’s patriotism, love of the greater good, and passion for justice are so often exploited to push self-serving agendas, and in our opinion, Gibellus greatly reflects that sentiment.
There are a few times throughout the film where Kanata, GUTS-Select, and Dinas are close to giving up and succumbing to the monopolizing power of Gibellus and his army. When one team member begins to feel hopeless, the whole team is weakened, but when they all commit themselves to making a difference, they are able to overcome the powerful urge to admit defeat.
I think a lot of young people can learn from the GUTS-Select team, Decker, and Dinas. In an age where many of us feel shackled to our phones, incapacitated by anxiety, and unable to make lasting change in the world, it can be easy to resort to pessimism and give up on all hope for the future. What we tend to forget, however, is that becoming complacent is exactly what our adversaries want.
It is only when Kanata’s life is on the line and the team members focus their passion towards channeling love and avenging him that the Light is able to revive Kanata and allow the powers of Dinas to evolve into Decker. Sometimes we need to look tragedy in the eye to understand the potential we hold as a human family. Sometimes a sacrifice must be made for us to emotionally embrace the stakes of a situation and mobilize accordingly. In order to use the power of love, we have to first understand its weight.
The human power of bravery that Gibellus sought to exploit was what ended up besting him in the end, and that is because Gibellus could never understand that true bravery stems out of the love humans share for each other.