Ultraman Ginga is back for a second season, this time taking place two years later and has our hero Hikaru getting caught in another battle, this time involving a mysterious new Ultraman called Ultraman Victory.
I love Ultraman Ginga. The suit was one of the best designs, and Ginga does look really badass on his own. The series however, is a hit and miss. It’s low budget and the writing andacting wasn’t really that good, but at least it’s better than Saban is doing on Power Rangers and more importantly it makes sure the Ultra series stay alive, barely.
Nevertheless Ginga got a second chance, this time the show will have slightly more episodes, more merchandise to sale, and most importantly, the second season has way higher budget than the previous one. And to make this show even more interesting, they hired Koichi Sakamoto to be the director of the show, which is really cool because Sakamoto’s first directing work in Japan after working in Power Rangers is in the Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy Legend movie, and that movie is a game changer to the series in terms of fight scenes and special effects.
Let’s start the episode already. Hikaru now 19, travels the world because he is too awesome to be in college. Even though Hikaru and pretty much everyone in the series is generic, he is likeable and not annoying like Daigo Kiryu was. Hikaru returns to Japan only to found out that mysterious crystals have been popping out of the ground and there’s some Sakamoto-styled chick stealing it for some reason.
This episode introduces us to the Victorians, no they’re not the Victorian London people, but rather people living underground, and possibly the ones who were in Godzilla VS Megalon. What I liked about them is that now they have more budget, they can make more CGI, and the underground actually looks realistic for them to live under it, somewhat like Derinkuyu. Look it up, it’s interesting. And the crystals, the Victoriums (yes the Victory puns is too many) basically acts as their sun and source of energy.
When the android 1-0 steals the Victorium, the queen calls Prince Sho, the secondary protagonist of the season. My problem is that the way they introduced him is just there. I don’t know how to put it but it’s so sudden. But, they also introduce other new characters, the UPG, which is the Defense Force of the season. What I liked about them is that they are a newly formed group, since this show is set in an alternate universe where all Ultraman exists but never been to Earth. Correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t remember too much.
Hikaru meets Gouki and Arisa, and these two are actually played by similar faces in Tokusatsu before. Gouki is played by the guy who played Shougeki Gouraigan, I never watched that,and Arisa was in Kamen Rider Accel movie and Space Sheriff Gavan movie! They are both pretty generic but also likeable, and I’m liking Arisa. She has a certain gorgeousness in her and she’s a frequent Sakamoto collaborator, expect her to kick some ass. Plus her name is Arisa. Don’t ask me why, it’s personal 😉
The Victorians’ guardian monster which is not Megalon because this ain’t Godzilla, whose name is Shepardon appears on the surface to prevent the Victorium from being stolen. However, the UPG thinks that it’s an enemy, and attacks him. Luckily Hikaru droves the monster away, before Prince Sho appears and tells Shepardon to go back underground.
Hikaru meets Sho, and this is yet another typical Tokusatsu heroes rivalry between the two, and from the looks of that scene you know that Sho is an tsundere-ish character. 1-0 appears and summons some goons, which is to be expected because this is a Koichi Sakamoto-directed series. Fighting goons is compulsory. I hope there will be a case where Ginga is forced to fight in human size.
Oh, and speaking of Ginga, if you haven’t saw the final episode, I advise you to. Basically Ginga parted ways with Hikaru, thus making Hikaru unable to transform into Ultraman. And as for the Spark Dolls, all of them are returned to normal. However 1-0 has her own Spark Doll and it’s EX Redking.
EX Redking gave Shepardon a beating which makes me feel sorry for the guy, and it prompts Sho to transform into Ultraman Victory. With both of them being the guardians of the Victorians, expect Shepardon to be Victory’s sidekick.
Ultraman Victory’s design looks really weird to consider him as a good Ultra, mostly due to the black color scheme which normally applies to evil Ultramen. Nevertheless the design is great and it’s about time the use the word ‘Victory’. As for his fighting style Victory is an aggressive fighter, which really fits his design.
Sadly Victory didn’t do much on his first fight as Hikaru was able to transform into Ginga and takes the spotlight. Again, being directed by Koichi Sakamoto the fight scenes are far better than we got in the previous season, and they boasts a lot of special effects too.
To sum it up, the giant fight scenes in this episode are drastically different, as it makes the Ultramen looked more aggressive and utilizes special effects more often. As a result, I quite enjoyed Ginga’s return, and just like the first episode of the first season, he used Ginga Thunderbolt but this time also uses his signature Ginga Cross Shoot. And my, that explosion is so big it looks like it’s a nuclear blast! Makes sense though, EX Redking looked like a walking volcano to me.
After destroying EX Redking, Victory suddenly steals its Spark Doll and proceeds to show one of Victory’s abilities, to turn his hand into any of the Kaiju’s arms. The EX Redking Knuckle is……. ridiculous. I know they wanted to show that it’s enormous and packs a punch, but man it looks funny. Victory then proceeds to attack Ginga, ending the episode.
Overall, Ultraman Ginga S had a good start, and what makes it even more great is that it’s a huge step up in terms of production, as the budget is higher, thus making the fight scenes much, much more better. For those of you who never watched Ultraman, I would recommend this episode, the only drawback is that you may not understand some things due to it being a sequel, and I don’t really recommend the first season, it’s not utterly bad, but it’s a miss.