In ULTRAMAN NEW GENERATION STARS episode 19 "The One Place We Seek Together” the Dimensionizer finally falls into Ultraman Taiga’s hands. In order to activate his Dimensionizer card, Taiga must reflect on his relationship to those that matter most to him and for Taiga that comes naturally. Even though Taiga taps into his nostalgia with more ease than some of his predecessors, he still treads a long emotional journey to the realization that sometimes our most special bonds are hiding in plain sight.
When prompted to trace his memories, Taiga immediately understands the assignment and conjures up memories of his closest allies and teammates: The Tri-Squad. The Tri-Squad, we learn, is composed of Ultraman Taiga, Ultraman Titas, and Ultraman Fuma. It serves as a multicultural group of Ultras from varying origins that work together to protect the galaxy.
This is the first time in New Generation Stars that we’ve explicitly learned of Ultras who do not descend from the Land of Light. Ultraman Titas, for instance, is a warrior from the planet U40, an alternative Ultra planet. Ultraman Fuma, Ruler of Wind, derives from planet O-50. We also learn Ultraman Orb and Ultraman Fuma share a home planet, which is definitely important lore for a (semi) noob like myself.
The Ultras’ differences only bring them closer together, though. Taiga reminisces, awe-inspired, at Titas’s affinity for training and chiseled physique. Although they look different, capitalize on different strengths, and come from different places, that doesn’t stop them from finding a dynamic symbiosis in their battles.
We see Titas in action when the Tri-Squad’s human host, Hiroyuki Kudo, channels him to battle Galactron MK2 and Alien Gapiya. Both villains underestimated Titas, assuming his brutish build would negate his ability to fight strategically, but they were quickly overwhelmed by his dynamic tactics. Taiga praises him for this and admits that, although Titas can be hard-headed at times, he is an extremely gifted warrior and reliable partner.
This activates Titas’s Dimensionizer card and sends Taiga into thinking about his other companion, Ultraman Fuma. Taiga compliments Fuma’s nimble nature and expert agility and reminisces on a battle Fuma once faced against Darebolic, the Strange Mechanical Monster. He commends his quickness and ability to deceive and strike with stealth but he also acknowledges that Fuma also has an attitude.
Spunkier than some of the other Ultras we know, Fuma can border on sounding rude. Fuma lets Darebolic know loud and clear that his two-finger-wave “ain’t a peace sign, it means you have two seconds left!”
Maybe they’re a little more rough around the edges on Ultra Planet O-50. Maybe it’s like the East Coast of the Ultraman Continuum! Either way, Taiga sees past Fuma’s crassness and even teases him back. He admits that even though Fuma has a rude way of talking and the two have argued a lot, it’s helped them understand each other on a level Taiga cannot claim with others.
This admission generates Fuma’s Dimensionizer card as well, but Taiga isn’t done recalling his history with his teammates. Taiga emphasizes that good friends help each other improve and that he feels himself growing stronger whenever they are together. They can be playful and poke fun at one another with ease, as long as they are doing so atop a foundation of mutual respect.
And play they do! There’s nothing cuter than seeing the three Ultras topple over each other like puppies. It feels special to get to see Ultras engage in leisure time with one another, especially when they are constantly doing their part to guard the planet from chaos. That job doesn’t come with a lot of breaks, unfortunately.
Of course, play time was interrupted when Alien Bat arrived and assembled an artificial Zetton Army to attack the three Ultras from all angles. The troop was more capable than expected, keeping all of the Tri-Squad in a stalemate until Ultraman Ribut and Andro Melos arrived to help them out of that bind.
Taiga then remembers the other vital presences in his life. The Tri-Squad is of great importance for the team’s skill, diversity, and love for one another, but they aren’t the only ones who Taiga shares a bond with and it is his responsibility as an Ultra to look deeper within and find those connections.
Luckily, Taiga realizes that one of his most important bonds of all time is his relationship with his human host, Hiroyuki. When Taiga is consumed by darkness and falls victim to Ultraman Tregear’s Land-of-Light-Invasion scheme, it is Hiroyuki that saves him.
Tregear summons Night Fang the Nightmare Monster and Hellberus the Ultimate Disaster Monster to fight alongside the dark-sided-Taiga against his former teammates. The Tri-Squad resists this to the best of their ability, reminding him consistently that they care about him, urging him to come back to himself and remember their journey.
Though he doesn’t budge, and in fact continues to beat up his fellow Ultras, the Tri-Squad does not give up. Titas and Fuma refuse to take his attacks personally and instead channel their passionate plea for the return to normalcy through Hiroyuki.
It is rare that Ultras put their faith in a human to restore a chaotic situation, us humans aren’t known for being great under pressure, but Titas and Fuma returned the honor of trust to Hiroyuki after so many years of Hiroyuki idolizing them. Taiga had saved Hiroyuki as a child and now it is his turn to do the saving.
Humans often find ourselves using the tools our predecessors gave us in our youth to challenge them in our adulthood. Whether we use a teacher’s logic to prove a point wrong later in life, catch a parent in hypocrisy, use a debate tactic we learned from a stubborn friend to smugly prove them wrong. It’s extremely hard to see someone we admire deviate from our perception of them, but as long as we remember we are on the same team at the end of the day, we can always find our way back.
Hiroyuki had been exercising the tools of love, trust, and passion for life alongside Taiga for so long, he was able to be reliable when the tables turned for the worst. Just like Taiga is able to have faith and put aside Titas’s stubbornness or Fuma’s snarkiness to appreciate them for the light they truly are, the Tri-Squad and Hiroyuki are able to do the same for Taiga.
Hiroyuki finally gets through to Taiga but not before landing a massive sucker punch! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a host hit an Ultra before! It feels… unnatural. But alas, Hiroyuki saves the moment with a beautiful speech, most notably stating to Taiga: “I am you… There’s one path we seek together.”
Taiga realizes Hiroyuki has been the fourth member of the so-called Tri-Squad this whole time and that Hiroyuki deserves to be acknowledged as a friend of the same caliber. The vow they make together is an even stronger bond than before that not only enables Taiga to break free from his curse but also turn him into Taiga Tri-Strium (the culmination of the Tri-Squad and Hiroyuki) and defeat Night Fang, Hellberus, and Tregear.
Next week we get to see the relationship between Taiga and Hiroyuki a little closer when we explore their origin story and delve further into their interdependence. Make sure to check out Ultraman: New Generation Stars on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/@ULTRAMAN_OFFICIAL and stay tuned for more here on UltramanConnection.com!