Ace Week was fun, wasn’t it folks? We spread out all around the Ultraman multiverse to check out all the iterations of the legendary Ultraman Ace. And one of the coolest settings we visited was that of Netflix’s ULTRAMAN. Of course, we all know that Ace isn’t the only Ultraman Suit user in the series. This week we’ll be comparing the main new hero introduced in ULTRAMAN Season 2, Kotaro Higashi, with his counterpart in the tokusatsu universe, Ultraman Taro!
In ULTRAMAN Season 2, Kotaro was introduced as a world-traveling photographer who returned to Japan after investigating the mysterious “Mass Disappearance Incident” in New York. Reconnecting with his girlfriend Izumi, Kotaro’s homecoming was wracked with tragedy when a second disappearance incident, in truth an alien plot, resulted in the abduction of the entire population of Shizuku, including Ultraman himself. Worse yet, his attempts to uncover the truth of the plot got Izumi vaporized, and his own body suffused with exotic energy—energy he couldn’t control!
Thankfully, Kotaro was discovered by Jack, another Ultraman, who granted him a powered suit of his own that served to contain and channel his new superpowers. The heroic Kotaro immediately chose to use his powers for heroic ends, taking the name “Taro” and working to free the captured humans and defeat the invaders!
Kotaro is easily in contention as the most powerful of the six Ultraman Suit wielders, and in truth, his suit is little more than containment for his tremendous inherent ability. Being suffused with the mysterious alien energy from the Wadoran Life Force Camera granted him a mighty form wreathed in fire and light. In this form, Kotaro is capable of harnessing and shooting the fires that makes up his body, as well as flight and super-strength. In emergencies, he can release massive quantities of energy more powerful than a dynamite explosion!
Back in the tokusatsu continuity, Ultraman Taro is the son of two of the most legendary heroes of the Land of Light, Inter Galactic Defense Force Commander Father of Ultra, and Silver Cross Corps Commander Mother of Ultra. Hailing from this family of heroes and having trained under them, Taro is immensely powerful and skilled in his own right, if a bit untrained at the start of his career.
Taro is brought to Earth to merge with boxer Kotaro Higashi, a heroic drifter who lost his life fighting to save people from the terrifying Kaiju, Astromons. Kotaro was a fiercely independent, but honorable man, who believed strongly that humanity needed to take care of themselves. Perhaps this is the reason why, at the end of Taro’s time on Earth, Kotaro voluntarily separated from the Ultra, vowing to protect the Earth with his own power; a challenge he accomplished when he was forced to fight the villainous Alien Valky as a human, defeating him.
Taro, by contrast, was marked by his cooperation with his fellow Ultra Brothers, being capable of fusing with them to become a Super Ultraman. In addition, his special technique, the Ultra Dynamite, is among the most powerful abilities ever used by an Ultra—albeit one that risked his life upon every use.
More than most counterparts, the two Taros are characterized by a similarly fierce heroic heart, ultimately earning the respect of their peers and establishing a lasting legacy to their universes. To see what else unites—and separates—them, you’ll have to watch Ultraman Taro or Netflix’s ULTRAMAN. And to see more comparisons, and coverage of Ultraman series both anime and tokusatsu, stay on Ultraman Connection.