Editor’s Note: Going forward, episode recaps of Ultraman New Generation STARS will be written by Evangelia “The Noob” Artemis, taking over from Sarah Last. Sarah will continue her work on Ultraman Connection Watch Club, as well as other feature articles.
Ultraman New Generation STARS episode 3 “Dear Friends” came out this past Friday, and after having been roped in by the first two episodes already, this noob was eager to continue looking for answers and traveling through Ultra history.
In earlier episodes, Ultraman Z joined forces with Ultraman Ginga; though not in the way we’re used to. Instead of supporting each other in a grand-scale battle against a Kaiju, the two Ultras had to team up on a cerebral level, coming to understand that in order to save the legacy of the Ultras and successfully process the information from the Dimensionizer, sent from the future, they must travel through their own personal memories and find the answers — and their own legacies — within.
This week marks the second time that theory is put to the test. Ultraman Ginga travels through his memory and relives some of the most epic team-ups between Ultras, as well as some of the most intimidating Kaiju fusions. We get Kaiju appearances from Skull Gomora (the Red-King/Gomora fusion), Erimaki-Telesdon (the Telesdon/Jirahs fusions), Alien Icarus’s multi-monster fusion into Tyrant, and many more, as well as some great Ultra team-ups like the Ultlived Ultraman Tiga and Jean-Nine, as well as Ultraman Geed and Ultraman Zero.
Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer like myself, the back-to-back battles and different combinations of teams are great reminders of the vastness of the Ultraman story universe. We get to appreciate the Ultras, not just for their own abilities, but for powers that are forged out of their bonds. The series so far has balanced servicing loyal fans and creating an accessible entry point for anyone discovering Ultraman alike.
We still get to enjoy the thrill of battle that is essential in any Ultraman series, but this time it’s not just about saving humanity, it’s about the importance of learning from our past and connecting with those around us. Addressing our shortcomings and looking at them from the perspective of growth and change instead of shame and defeat. In order to carry out Ultraman Zero’s instructions to save the legacy of the Ultras, they must integrate the learned experience of that legacy into their own lives.
This episode in particular is accurately titled “Dear Friends” because it demonstrates through each memory that time and time again, the power of teamwork and perseverance will always prevail. Even though the Ultras try their best to succeed by themselves, even beings as powerful as them are not capable of carrying out certain battles alone.
Getting help can make anyone feel fragile and doesn’t always come as first nature but it’s important to acknowledge that depending on the collective is sometimes healthier and allows for a diversity in perspective. Combined strength is part of the very nature of legacy, in that legacy allows us to look to our elders and peers for guidance on how to live up to the best versions of ourselves.
We see this exemplified in the various battles throughout the episode. Tomoya and Jean-Nine save the Ultlived Tiga from defeat against Alien Icarus, Ultraman Z channels the unique strengths of Ultraman Zero, Leo, and Seven, to defeat Erimaki-Telesdon, and Ultraman Ginga teams up with Ultraman Victory against Five King. They’re all successful because of the diversity in their abilities and their trust in one another.
Ultraman Ginga himself drives this point home when he says “Memories of those very close to you make strong psychic energy.” This also reinforces the gravity of their overarching threat of losing their legacy and highlights the importance of memory in anticipating future decisions.
Throughout history it’s been evidenced that the best way to destroy a society is by erasing their culture. The Ultras are determined not to let that happen so they can continue to honor and serve humanity and perpetuate their fellowship.
Allowing ourselves to shamelessly receive help can strengthen our bonds with our community and ourselves, especially when we are faced with adversaries that are capitalizing on their own ability to team up. The power of teaming up in the name of love and protection will always outweigh the power of teaming up in the name of animosity and hatred.
I believe the theme of working hard to preserve a legacy conveys to the audience that although the Ultraman franchise is evolving, it will always stay true to its principles. The Ultras don’t just exist to fight on human’s behalf, they have an entire culture that informs their value system and a whole community that is dedicated to not only helping humanity but helping one another.
I’m excited to see how the series continues to explore these ideas and I’m even more excited to continue getting to know the Ultraman lore through this framework. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest catching up on 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!