Last episode on Ultraman Decker, Kanata worked with his friends in GUTS-Select to combat a threat with no direct relation to the Sphere invasion. This week, the series explores the perspective of those residents on Earth other than humanity—indeed, aliens—who have also been directly affected by the Sphere’s terrible actions. The subject dramatically widening the show’s reach, while also giving Ichika a much-needed focus episode. And we are also introduced to the mysterious Miracle Type form for Decker. Episode 5, “The Glutton of the Lake,” is a sweet story that really helps prove that Decker is imbued with the same spirit that made previous entries in the Ultraman Series great.
Eleking, as a monster introduced way back in Ultraseven, has had many appearances in the 55 years since its debut, and this iteration blends all the versions of the monster into a single life cycle, starting with the eel-like form that debuted in its first appearance, but also adding the “Lim Eleking” form from Ultraman Mebius as well as a more human-sized form.
The giant form is the first to appear in the episode’s cold open, and its initial rampage in search of electricity to eat has caused it to wander into town, putting civilians in harm’s way. Ichika, acting suitably heroic as she tries to help people evacuate, ends up putting herself in danger when a girl she tries to stop from running towards the monster turns out to be an alien!
The Alien Pitt, Yoko, is a kind extraterrestrial unable to return to space after the Sphere Invasion along with her pet, Elly. This is a situation with which Ichika, with her own dreams of space put on hold, can certainly sympathize.
Something the Ultraman Series has made an extra effort to show in the New Generation Era is the idea of “Aliens living as citizens of Earth.” With characters like the residents of Nebula House from Ultraman X, or even Marluru the Alien Metron from Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga, the series has made a real effort to show that not all aliens bad, and in some cases, they have every right to share this big world with humanity.
Ichika takes center stage for the first time here, with what feels like most of the story taking place entirely from her perspective, in contrast the usual focus on Kanata. Her immediate friendship with Yoko and sympathy towards the gluttonous but ultimately friendly Elly, for reasons as simple as her own experiences with her childhood pet, speak to how human and real she feels as a character.
In fact, all of GUTS-Select gets an excellent showing this time around, with Captain Murahoshi reminding not just Ichika, but the viewers, that defense teams like GUTS-Select are meant to conduct themselves with compassion. His kind decision to have the TPU support Yoko and Elly with the Mega Earth Battery may have gone poorly, but it was the thought that counts, right?
In contrast to Ichika, Kanata almost feels peripheral this time, his main contribution being, of course, his role as Ultraman Decker. This isn’t a bad thing by any means; Kanata is still the main character of the series, but he’s not the only one fighting to protect Earth, and Decker has already put a lot more time into exploring the human element of Earth’s defenders. This is especially in comparison to Ultraman Trigger, which chose to focus more solely on the perspective of Kengo Manaka and his destiny.
And of course, in a great battle that highlights both the Giant of Light’s kindness and Eleking’s own wily nature, Kanata manages to unlock Decker’s Miracle Type! Clad in blue, Miracle Type’s namesake in Ultraman Dyna was called a “cheat” form, capable of doing practically anything. Whether Decker’s iteration will be as overpowered is yet to be seen but judging by his new teleportation and strange psychic calming powers, it might be!
As stated, though, this was not a problem that could be solved with fists, no matter how big those fists may be. Sawa’s history in the Monster Response Division was mentioned as early as the first episode, so her expertise here isn’t surprising, but it’s still incredibly cool to see the skillsets of the team coming up in various situations.
More important than their skill, however, this episode really drives home the kindness of the team, and their ability to turn that kindness into solutions. In a more cynical show, Ichika would have been right to try and keep Yoko and Elly from the TPU and Captain Murahoshi. In the Ultraman Series? The moment their story is shared, the entire team is united in their desire to help their new alien friend (and her monster pet), and the problem is solved relatively quickly as a result, without any real bloodshed. Except for Miclas; his sacrifice will be remembered.
This episode is a wonderful story, showing us that GUTS-Select is here to protect everyone on Earth, not just humans, with plenty of funny moments. Next episode will be a special recap of the whole story thus far, featuring a pair of friends last seen during the time of Ultraman Trigger! See you then!