Hello to all you Ultraman Connection readers, and welcome back! While Ultraman Blazar may have ended, there’s another Ultraman series currently airing each Friday evening on YouTube once again. Have you been checking out Ultraman New Generation Stars? Much like last year’s anthology series, it takes previous events and characters from many different parts of the Ultraman franchise and presents them within a new framing story. Returning characters have the chance to reflect on their own experiences in these shows and learn new things about the various Ultra heroes and their adventures.
It’s always fun to see so many different parts of the Ultraman universe (or rather, multiverse) thrown together and examined by characters who come from vastly different parts of that multiverse. This year’s show brings Yuka, the enthusiastic mechanic and scientist from Ultraman Z, and Ignis, the interstellar treasure hunter from Ultraman Trigger together as unlikely partners investigating these events.
It’s only fitting that Ignis’ arrival also revisits the events of Trigger which brought both of their universes together during episodes 7 and 8. This two-parter was one of my favorite parts from the entire show, and this recap does a good job showing why. In this story, an alien Barossa steals STORAGE’s massive, specially-customized King Joe mecha, and tries to escape through an interdimensional wormhole created by the Kaiju Bullton.
You know, just an ordinary Tuesday in this universe.
The wormhole drops everyone — the Alien Barossa, the stolen King Joe, as well as Ultraman Z and his partner, Haruki Natsukawa, everyone — into the world of Ultraman Trigger. The ensuing chaos, including a second invasion from an interdimensional-traveling cyberspace Dada alien, makes these episodes well worth watching, even if you haven’t seen the rest of Trigger.
Crossover events are nothing new to the Ultraman franchise, going back to the classic 1970’s series which featured the various Ultra Brothers as recurring guest stars. Many of those episodes are some of the most well-remembered fan-favorite episodes of the classic series, and it’s easy to see why similar crossovers work so well even in the modern day. It’s just so much fun to watch the characters bounce off of each other, in wildly different contexts compared to the rest of the shows’ “normal” plot lines.
A lot of the best scenes in this Trigger two-part story come from Haruki and Kengo, Ultraman Trigger, just comparing notes on what it’s like to fight as Ultraman. They have a lot of similarities – like what it feels like when their color timers go red and start making pinging noises – but also a lot of differences. Haruki and Ultraman Z are partners and fight together, but Haruki fought without the rest of the STORAGE team knowing his identity for most of the events of Ultraman Z. In contrast, Kengo is Ultraman Trigger himself, and by this point in the show’s airing, several people on the GUTS Select team already know that.
Even though much of this story is played as a wacky buddy-cop comedy, it serves a real, serious purpose that makes all the characters involved feel more authentic and dynamic to the audience. By the end of their adventure, when Haruki hitches a ride back to his dimension (thanks to Beliarok) both he and Kengo have a lot of respect for each other, and for the friends that they each hold dear. We also gain a new appreciation for these characters and their teammates by seeing their strengths, weaknesses and personalities through the other’s perspective.
Looking back on this two-parter also reminded me of the other crossover that Kengo starred in during Ultraman Decker the next year. That was also an outstanding part of the show’s run, and I hope his character can continue showing up in these recurring roles. He’s just got a natural, infectious charisma that plays well with so many other characters.
More evidence for my thesis that crossovers between Ultraman characters are always some of the best parts of their respective shows, I guess. Good thing we’ve got many more episodes of New Generation Stars to continue bringing these different parts of the universe together, to give us a better appreciation of these characters throughout the franchise’s history, as well as its future.