This weekend, Tsuburaya Productions delivered a bombshell of a trailer for Shin Ultraman in preparation for its May 13 release in Japan. Fans were shown a number of amazing new action shots, as well as a new threat that may well be big enough to finish this Ultraman. Let’s get into what we saw, what it means, and what we can really look forward to when we finally get to see this opus!
Warning: Potential spoilers for Shin Ultraman ahead. If you want to avoid these, stop here.
The Budget is Big
It immediately becomes clear that we are getting top-notch tokusatsu with this film with smooth integrations of CG and practical miniature special effects. Director Shinji Higuchi, a devoted fan of the franchise since childhood, gets to play with all the toys—realizing the series imagery on a far grander (and granular) scale.
And yet, the footage does not put too modern a gloss on the franchise the way that Legendary has hyper-computerized Godzilla and his ilk. We are reminded here more of the greatest kaiju films of the 1960s and ‘70s, and expression of Higuchi’s adoration for that period of the genre.
A Mastermind Rears His Head
We’ve seen the two main monsters associated with the movie thus far, the energy-eating Neronga and the drill-frilled Gabora. What we hadn’t seen was a threat with real intelligence, a true enemy that this interpretation of Ultraman would have to contend with.
Well, we got a look at that in this trailer, with the reveal of the sinister Alien Zarab. In the original series, Zarab was a deceitful wretch who stole the form of Ultraman to ruin his reputation, while propping himself up as a friend to Ultraman. This Zarab appears to be significantly more… It’s difficult to say what his plan is this time, but judging by his sinister glowing hand, it’s probably not good.
In addition to the Alien Zarab, there appears to also be a certain man who has a fascination with our hero, Shinji Kaminaga. This includes, seemingly, an awareness of his secret identity as the silver giant. While Zarab’s goals can be guessed at, this man in black is more inscrutable. He does seem familiar, though.
The other big feature of this trailer has to be our first real look at what Ultraman can do. Starting with a landing with the impact of a meteorite, Ultraman’s Spacium Beam is portrayed in a significantly greater scope here, devastating the countryside.
Beyond that, Ultraman flies, stands among burning wreckage, and most impressively, when Kaminaga finally uses the Beta Capsule, Ultraman rises, explosively, burning red against the night sky. This is unusual in that for the most part, Ultra transformations have employed an animated cutaway. Awesome to see the change happen here in a continuous shot!
Shin Ultraman arrives in Japanese theatres on March 13. Though there are no plans for a western release yet, you can be sure that as soon as one is announced, you’ll hear it first on Ultraman Connection!