WARNING: BY READING THIS ARTICLE, YOU WILL SEE SPOILERS FOR SHIN ULTRAMAN. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, DO NOT CONTINUE FURTHER.
“Have you grown so fond of humans, Ultraman?”
This was the tagline for the very first poster from Shin Ultraman. In the context of the greater Ultraman Series, however, that question is among the most famous sentences spoken in the 56-year history of the series; that being, the question asked upon Ultraman’s death by his superior in the Inter Galactic Defense Force, Commander Zoffy. Zoffy was the first giant seen to come from the Land of Light other than the hero we had been following for the entire series, and his appearance heralded, in many ways, the first step into the wider Ultraman universe going forward.
No longer was Ultraman just a singular entity, he was an individual member of an entire species of powerful beings. And though Zoffy never received his own series like his subordinate Ultraman, as one of the founding members of the Ultra Brothers, the Commander has forged an indelible place in the history of the franchise that has had him on the front lines of the battle against evil for decades, appearing most recently alongside his fellow Ultra Brothers in Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad.
This, however, is not that giant. This is Zōffy.
In Shinji Higuchi and Hideaki Anno’s Shin Ultraman, Zōffy is not the commander of Lipiah, the giant who would become Ultraman after merging with human Shinji Kaminaga, but his replacement. Sent by the Planet of Light after Lipiah’s repeated violations of the laws of their people, Zōffy arrived to relieve Ultraman of his duty as watcher of Earth and take the job himself. However, in the short period that Zōffy was there, he recognized the unspeakable potential danger that homo sapiens represented to the universe at large.
It was not simply Mefilas’ plan to exploit humanity through the Beta System that forced Zōffy to descend to Earth like his predecessor, but instead Ultraman’s direct action to stop him, a violation of the laws of the Planet of Light. More upsettingly, the very existence of Ultraman as a distinct, fused entity proved humanity’s potential as a bioweapon, a valuable and abusable resource in the chaotic environment of the galactic community. To prevent this, Zōffy came to a decision. He would recall Ultraman, and release Zetton.
The original Zetton, the Space Dinosaur, was Ultraman’s greatest foe, the final living weapon of the Alien Zetton. With powerful barrier abilities, tremendous strength, and a billion-degree fireball attack, the creature was able to kill Ultraman before being destroyed by the Science Patrol.
In Shin Ultraman, however, Zetton is a bit… bigger.
A behemoth orbital weapons system large enough to be seen clearly from the ground, Zetton is the ultimate tool of the Planet of Light, a self-assembling titan built to bring doom. Upon completion, Zetton gathers energy and heat until it releases a ball of superheated plasma, equal to a terakelvin (or about a billion degrees) in human measurements. Such a blast can annihilate not only a planet, but an entire solar system, erasing any trace of Zetton’s target.
And thanks to Zōffy, that Sword of Damocles is hanging over Earth. Nothing the Earth has at its disposal can disarm it, and even Ultraman is ill-suited to stop the ultimate weapon of his own people. Are the people of Earth to die, or will the union of Ultra and Humanity create a miracle?
The only way to find out is to watch Shin Ultraman. To find out when that will be possible for you, stay close to Ultraman Connection, reader.