Ultraman New Generation Stars Episode 5, “Stand up Z! The Last Hero” shines a well-deserved spotlight on Ultraman Z as his quest to power the Dimensionalizer proves unceasingly challenging. Despite the roadblocks, Ultraman Z’s determination and charisma leave us with no choice but to trust the process and enjoy continuing down the path of recollection.
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen Ultraman Z struggle with introspection, but this week things change. Instead of this episode being framed as an anthology of multiple memories, Ultraman Z focuses on one of his most legendary battles. Starting between Bemstar, the energy consuming Crab Nebula Kaiju, STORAGE King Joe Custom and STORAGE SC-2 Windom powered by none other than Ultraman Z’s human host, Haruki, things rapidly get… out of hand.
Bemstar’s cosmic absorption power almost proves to be too much for Haruki to combat when Windom is almost fully sucked into Bemstar’s stomach. Haruki tries to transform into Ultraman Z Beta Smash, but things take a turn for the strange when the Ultraman Ace medal, infused with Ace’s power, begins to react to something. We soon see what, as Bemstar is scared off by a dimensional cracking that leaves deep fissures in the sky.
While the world begins to panic in reaction to the apocalyptic rip in the fabric of space and time, Z reaches out to Haruki to inform him of its true nature; this cracking is a trademark of the Otherdimensional Being, Yapool. When this wound in reality finally breaks open entirely, it unleashes one of Yapool’s horrifying Terrible-Monsters, Baraba.
At first I was caught off guard. Ultraman Ace dates back to the Classic Ultraman era, and Yapool was his archnemesis—one of the first full series Big Bads in the history of the franchise. If Yapool has an issue with Ace, then why would Baraba be coming after Haruki?
With the realization that the force behind Baraba this time was not Yapool, but rather the demon’s residual energy acting on autopilot, it became apparent to me that Baraba had mistaken the traces of Ace’s power as the hero himself, immediately flinging himself at Haruki. I became frustrated on Haruki’s behalf; Earth was in danger, solely because of the mad vendetta of a being so hateful that it would destroy everything just to hurt the object of its ire.
Ultraman Z doesn’t get caught up in Baraba’s insane vengeance, however. Instead, he stays strong and confident, reminding Haruki that if Ace isn’t here, they have to defeat this threat in his stead. Haruki agrees, transforming into the powerful Ultraman Z Delta Rise Claw. However, Z’s flashy swordsmanship and modern techniques do not work against the insane power of Baraba.
Thankfully, it is revealed that the Ace medal has been flashing for a reason: Ultraman Ace is here! Z stands next to his legendary senior as he arrives, and transforms into Beta Smash to fight alongside him. As the two overwhelm Baraba with their combined power and teamwork, Ultraman Ace utters an epic line;
“Yapool, you once said that victors must live on bearing the malice of those who have fallen. Even so, I… We Ultras will fight on until the day this universe is at peace!”
And with that, Ultraman Ace teaches Ultraman Z the Space Z technique to annihilate Baraba; a technique I’m told has a legacy of its own. This scene was particularly touching to me in that we get to see Ultraman Z tap into his full potential with the guidance of an elder Ultra. Ultraman Ace’s experience paired with Ultraman Z’s passion made for an insanely powerful force capable of challenging the dynamics of the past.
We learn that Ultraman Ace is Z’s godfather, and was the one who gave Z his name, under the pretense that he is destined to dedicate himself to being the final cosmic hero humanity will ever need.
“On Earth, Z has the meaning of “last.” You must rid this universe of conflict and bring peace. Become the last hero.”
While that is a huge expectation to uphold, Ultraman Z is honored by this destiny and remembering the gravity of it back in the Land of Light inspires him to acknowledge his godfather Ace who named him, his master Zero who watches over him, his partner Haruki who fights beside him, and all his seniors before him who have helped him become who he is today. This intergenerational connection is so powerful and raw that it finally proves to be enough to awaken the Dimensionizer.
Ultraman Z is representative of the New Generation of Ultras, one that honors the experiences of their elders and at the same time, refuses to carry the burdens of their generational traumas. Ultraman Z admittedly owes a lot to Ultraman Ace and will gladly fend off his nemesis, but he also ensures that Yapool knows that he refuses to carry shame or fear in the aftermath of their defeat.
Not only will the Ultras protect humanity, but they will also do so with pride and resilience despite the resentments held against them through age-old feuds. The relentless forces of the past have nothing on the power of love and respect for those who came before us and those who help us find ourselves.
Don’t forget to check out the Ultraman New Generation Stars series, available now for free on YouTube on the Ultraman Official channel and stay tuned for more updates here on UltramanConnection.com!