The Ultraman Series has existed for 57 years, telling stories with countless characters from Earth and across the stars, played by hundreds of deeply talented performers. Many of them have returned to reprise their roles, decades later. Some play new characters when they reappear. However, few actors can lay claim to a place as formative to the Ultraman Series as a whole as Hiroko Sakurai, the “Original Heroine” of the Ultraman Series.
In honor of Ms. Sakurai’s special appearance at Japan World Heroes this weekend, Ultraman Connection is shining a spotlight on her most notable roles — the characters she played that built not only the Ultraman Series, but set a model for female protagonists in decades of media to follow. First on that list is Ultra Q’s Yuriko Edogawa, who helped define the spirit of inquiry and integrity that characterizes the Ultraman Series to this day.
A journalist and reporter, Yuriko Edogawa is the sole female in Ultra Q’s protagonist trio, alongside cargo pilots Jun Manjome and Ippei Togawa. Among the three, Yuriko is the most naturally inquisitive, a quality that makes her an excellent reporter — and often puts the group of three right in the middle of some of the strangest happenings in the entire world!
Appearing in almost every episode of the series, it was Yuriko’s curiosity for a scoop that usually got the group into the episode’s happenings — though let it be known, Yuriko could be many things, but never a damsel. Never were these traits more on display than Ultra Q Episode 17, “The 1/8 Project”. A story of shrunken people, made so in order to handle crises of population and an uncertain future, with Yuriko as the primary lead. The tale is harrowing, but fantastic — We at Ultraman Connection highly recommend checking it out!
Yuriko was only the first character in the Ultraman Series to wear Hiroko Sakurai’s face, and it would not be the last. Come back tomorrow to learn about the character who turned Ms. Sakurai into a household name, and helped to define Ultraman Series heroines far into the future. See you then!