It is almost time for ULTRAMAN: FINAL Season to arrive on Netflix — exactly 7 days, in fact. A four-year epic saga is coming to a close. How did we get here? What steps brought Shinjiro Hayata, Dan Moroboshi, and the Earth to the brink of destruction seen in the trailers for the Final Season? Let’s travel back to observe the events of Season 1 of ULTRAMAN, and follow the path to ULTRAMAN: FINAL Season.
The story starts over a decade in the past, with Shin Hayata, who was once the hero Ultraman — or at least carried him within him. The world has changed since the defeat of Zetton by the SSSP in 1999, and the SSSP has changed with it. Hayata is now an ambassador, visiting his old headquarters with his young son Shinjiro. Tragedy strikes, however, when Shinjiro falls off a railing, dropping several stories onto cold metal. Amazingly, Shinjiro stands up a few moments later, and Hayata is forced to confront the fact that his time with Ultraman has left… aftereffects.
Cut to the present day, where 17-year-old Shinjiro Hayata is exploring the same powers that allowed him to survive his fall as a child — The Ultraman Factor. Super-strength, leaps over a building… Shinjiro has the powers of a superhero, but wishes only to be able to live like a normal human, hiding any trace of his strength — something that has made his relationship with his father painfully tense.
Shinjiro’s fear of his own power proves to not be wholly unjustified when he shatters the arm of a creep who is attacking his crush and classmate, Rena Sayama. Running away in fear of his own strength, he finds himself confronted by the self-proclaimed “First Enemy,” the armored Bemular, and is only saved by the intervention of his father, wearing an armored suit!
Hayata is unfortunately outmatched by Bemular’s sheer power, and when he is nearly killed in the fray, Shinjiro is forced to don armor himself, as the new Ultraman, and fight off Bemular to save his father’s life. By wearing the suit, however, Shinjiro has resolved to face the dark side of the Earth, and the aliens living within it, as part of the new SSSP — now a clandestine organization that governs human-alien relations.
As part of the SSSP, Shinjiro finds himself having to balance his teenage life with the needs of a superhero — a duality the SSSP’s other Ultraman, Dan Moroboshi, has little time or appreciation for. Without the Ultraman Factor, Dan’s power comes from the apex of human and alien technology, the SEVEN Suit. Dan, a responsible (and sometimes inflexible) man who seeks power to protect the tenuous peace between humans and aliens, often clashes with Shinjiro, who inherited his power.
Their dynamic is further complicated by the appearance of a third Ultraman Suit wielder, Seiji Hokuto. A human cyborg enhanced by a pair of robotic arms and the ACE Ultraman Suit, Seiji is a cynical and playful young man traumatized by the circumstances that cost him his family and his arms. Not quite on anyone’s side but his own, Seiji is a vigilante who seeks revenge on the alien that ruined his life — which seems to be Bemular.
Each of the suit wielders find themselves wrapped in looping conspiracies as the powers of Ultraman become public — Shinjiro and Dan are pulled back into the life of Rena, a part-time idol, when a series of alien murders connected to her fans begins. Though the affair is bloody, and several humans and aliens end up lost in the battle, Shinjiro as Ultraman becomes publicly known as a hero during this chaos.
A much more threatening conspiracy ties into Seiji’s past — that of the Ace Killer Squad. The aliens that killed Seiji’s family were part of a greater conspiracy, after a different family of alien ambassadors whose daughter Seiji had befriended, Yuko Minami. Bemular had not destroyed the plane, but had instead been the one to rescue the survivors. Instead, the terrorists had been the Ace Killer Squad — ordered by the mysterious Star Cluster Alliance, the very organization the Minamis belonged to.
The three members of the Ace Killer Squad were a match for the Ultraman Suit Wielders, beating Seiji nearly to death and driving the others right up against the wall. In the end, however, Shinjiro was able to unlock the true power of his Ultraman Factor, radiating incredible power and destroying the evil aliens.
In their last moments, however, the leader, Ace Killer, attempted to erase his presence by dropping a massive bomb on the area they had been fighting in from above. At the last moment, the Ultraman Suit Wielders were saved… by Bemular. He left shortly after, leaving Shinjiro — and the audience — with more questions than answers.
That’s just the bare bones of Season 1 of ULTRAMAN. Next week, we’ll take a look at what the second season contains, right before the FINAL Season finally airs. Until that day comes, we’ll see you right here, on Ultraman Connection!