We’ve looked at almost every Ultraman Suit wielder and their tokusatsu counterpart up to now in Tsuburaya Productions & Production I.G.’s anime ULTRAMAN, and the similarities and divergences between each of them. However, this final entry in our series is a bit of a strange exception, as both counterparts appeared in both series! Let’s examine these two warriors, and who they were — in both universes!
Every Ultraman Series fan knows Shin Hayata; after all, he was the host for the original Ultraman! In the back story of the anime, after the Giant of Light severed their bond to return to Earth, it was revealed that he had taken Hayata’s memories of their merger with him; and left a measure of his mighty powers in his bonded human. In the time since the separation, Hayata has aged and weakened, but the power of Ultraman continues to live on, not only within his body, but also that of his son, Shinjiro, who inherited the mysterious “Ultraman Factor” from him.
When the prototype Ultraman suit was developed by the reformed SSSP, Hayata tested it out, using it and his own abilities to battle alien threats. When Shinjiro succeeded him and became the new Ultraman, however, Hayata did not stop, continuing to battle in the prototype suit, until it was upgraded into the ZOFFY suit during the final battle against Alien Pedant alongside the other five Ultraman Suit wielders.
In both continuities (anime and the original live-action series), the suit’s namesake, Commander Zoffy, arrived on Earth during Ultraman’s final battle with Zetton. Ultraman’s superior from the Land of Light, the distinguished warrior arrived to retrieve his subordinate and revive him when he was killed by the Space Dinosaur, helping to separate him from Hayata in the end.
Since that original battle, Zoffy has become known primarily for his command of the Ultra Brothers, the elite squad defined by their protection of Earth. Similar in features to Ultraman, Zoffy can be distinguished by the Star Marks on his chest and shoulders, each one a commendation for his service. Utilizing the M87 Beam, Zoffy’s combat power might be the most powerful of any of the Ultra Brothers!
In the anime continuity, the script is interestingly flipped, as Shin Hayata has in essence become the new Zoffy, standing in a position of authority over his self-possessed son, Shinjiro the Suit Ultraman. Philosophical tensions at times echo the earlier Zoffy/Ultraman dynamic, with Suit Zoffy behaving more conservatively than the youthful Ultraman. In a way, the anime speaks to those original Showa era live-action series, because the addition of the other Ultra Brothers — in this case Suit Ace, Suit Taro, Suit Seven, etc. — alters the chemistry between elder commander and rebel youth to create a nigh unstoppable fighting force.
With that, we’ve talked about all the Ultraman Suit Wielders, as well as their original Classic Series counterparts. With this reference material, try watching ULTRAMAN seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix now, and come back later this year to watch the third and final season when it airs! And for all the ULTRAMAN information you could ever ask for, stay close to Ultraman Connection!