On June 17, 2022, Ultraman Connection Live 1st Anniversary: Ultraman Max Special was hosted exclusively on UltramanConnection.com. The event was an epic celebration of both Ultraman Connection Live and Ultraman Max, featuring an epic Max cast & staff reunion, a surprise live appearance of Ultraman Max, Xenon and other Max Kaiju, the continuation of the Ultraman Connection exclusive UCL story, and much more!
The show opened, as is now Ultraman Connection Live tradition, with a new chapter of the UCL story. Continuing the narrative that has been told throughout the past year, UCL focuses on a world in which humans have not yet gained the protection of the Ultras but have nevertheless taken steps to combat alien threats.
Sean Nichols, reprising his role as Ultraman Max’s Sean White, made contact with the Unidentified Capture League, identifying himself as a member of another Earth’s defense team, Max’s Team DASH, and offered his services as the humans of the UCL begin taking their first steps into a grand unknown future…
Next, Sean Nichols (as himself) rang in the festivities of Ultraman Connection Live’s first anniversary by introducing the audience to several of his old colleagues and castmates, including Sota Aoyama (Kaito Touma/Ultraman Max), Hitomi Hasebe (Mizuki Koishikawa), and producer, director, and series composition Takeshi Yagi!
As the group began to speak, it became clear that despite the seventeen years that have passed since Ultraman Max ended, all of the panel members have managed to keep in contact with each other, never forgetting the friendships forged on the set. The four then went on to reflect on the making of the series, speak about what made it special to each of them, and discuss what fans still love about it today.
Following this, fans were treated to a special watch party of Yagi’s favorite episodes, Episode 27: The Stolen Max Spark, with commentary from the panel! The Discord chat allowed fans to participate in the fun as well, reacting to the episode’s most iconic moments alongside the cast and director.
After that, Sean introduced renowned Japanese director Takashi Miike, responsible for creating dark modern classics in Japan such as Audition, Ichi the Killer, the Dead or Alive trilogy, and Zatoichi, and a director for two episodes of Max! Wearing sunglasses and what fans called “the greatest shirt of all time,” Miike joined the other four panel members to discuss his experience working on the series, and his favorite moments.
With his blessing, fans and the panel got to watch Episode 15: Miracle of the Third Planet, a hauntingly beautiful story which Miike directed, that left few dry eyes among the panel, or the audience. Scenes such as Ultraman Max gently lifting a car or his comforting a small child have become classic images in the franchise canon. After the episode concluded, Aoyama, Hasebe, and Sean all selected their favorite episodes of the show, sharing their beloved memories of the story they all created together.
The camera then cut to the stage, with a voiceover from original Ultraman Max narrator Shiro Sano explaining the Kaiju threat on Earth. As if on cue, a tide of vicious monsters attacked! However, Max returned to the fray for the first time for global viewers since Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Absolute Conspiracy, using his tremendous speed and skill to combat his foes.
When the monsters started to overwhelm the hero, however, he found himself aided by his longtime partner, Ultraman Xenon, fresh from Ultra Galaxy Fight: The Destined Crossroad! Together, the two struck back against the Kaiju, defeating them with teamwork, and the legendary weapon known as the Max Galaxy!
As the live appearance ended, there was a special video message from Max narrator Shiro Sano, thanking fans for their love of the series and for the opportunity to narrate Ultraman Max for the first time in seventeen years. Before the show fully concluded, however, there was one last surprise: Hiroko Sakurai (who played Yukari Yoshinaga in Ultraman Max and Akiko Fuji in the original Ultraman) appeared to thank the panel and fans for their support of the Ultraman franchise. The panel joined her and waved goodbye to the fans, concluding the live event.
Once the event ended, there was a short teaser for the future of the UCL story, taking place nine years after the last chapter, moving forward in time alongside the transition between Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga and its successor, Ultraman Decker. Here, fans were treated to the sight of a developed UCL with their own base in outer space, advanced fighter ships, and uniforms, preparing to take on the next threat…
Ultraman Connection Live 1st Anniversary: Ultraman Max Special may be over, but there is still plenty of Ultraman content on the way. If you want to see Ultraman Max’s most recent appearance, all three Ultra Galaxy Fight movies are available free and for rent on UltramanConnection.com. And of course, to stay up to date on our UCL narrative, our live events, and all things Ultraman, stay tuned to Ultraman Connection!