Netflix’s ‘Ultraman’ reboot not so ultra
Shinjiro Hayata, played by Josh Hutcherson, activates his superhero suit in the movie "Ultraman." (Image reprinted with permission from Netflix)

Continuing the story of Ultraman, Netflix has decided to turn the live-action 1960s series into an anime one.

Its 13-episodes (available for streaming since April 1) follows the manga version that came out nearly five years ago.

Instead of focusing solely on the original character whose life is saved by an alien force that turns him into Ultraman, the reboot follows the adventures of his son, who has inherited the same immense powers from his father.

The first episode introduces Shinjiro Hayata (voiced by Josh Hutcherson, “Elliot the Littlest Reindeer”), Ultraman’s son, as a young boy learning about Ultraman’s exploits from display models in the lobby of the space patrol building from the original series.

After an accident in which Shinjiro falls from a great height without getting injured, his father, Shin Hayata (voiced by Fred Tatasciore, “Love, Death, and Robots”) learns about his son’s powers and remembers his previous identity of being Ultraman.

The series skips several years to when Shinjiro is a teenager, a time when he displays his great athleticism and bizarre powers. When the youth is confronted by the main enemy, Adad (voiced by Steve Blum, “Boruto: Naruto Next Generations”), he learns of his identity as Ultraman’s son and accomplishes his first task of saving his father from the enemy.

Although this is a bold move on Netflix’s part to reboot this series, “Ultraman” features many unrealistic scenes, especially within the dialogue. When Shinjirou is a young boy, his manner and actions are inconsistent with his speech, which includes a near-perfect enunciation, causing Shinjiro to sound like an adult with an extremely high-pitched voice.

The tone of the characters are also overdramatic and hyperbolized, making the series childish. When paired with the tone, the reactions of the characters as they learn shocking facts are also overemphasized, along with the loud, exaggerated music being blasted in the background.

The characters also frequently talk to themselves, making the series less realistic and more cringy.

Another issue with the series is the cliche scenes that are prevalent throughout the two episodes that were seen for this review.

When Shinjiro is first confronted by Adad and is about to be attacked, Shinjiro’s father predictably steps in right at the exact moment Adad decides to attack.

However, “Ultraman” displays character development through Shinjiro, who is initially a moody and angsty teen who has a strained relationship with his father. However, after learning about his identity as Ultraman’s son and saving his father from Adad, Shinjiro matures greatly as he fills in his father’s shoes of being Ultraman.

Despite several flaws within these two episodes, the 2019 revamp of “Ultraman” demonstrates character development through the protagonist and has an overall gripping plot that keeps viewers absorbed and interested. The cliffhangers at the end are also suspenseful enough to leave viewers curious and wanting more.

This series proves to be appealing only to viewers who enjoy the most rudimentary of shows, as well as those that are under the age of 12, with its captivating yet puerile qualities of the plot. Though the television show successfully carries on from the original with an engaging storyline and remarkable visuals, the elementary aspects of the dialogue and characters makes the show childish and hard to watch for many.

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