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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

From Beyond Television: The Return of Ultraman Episode #4



MAT receives word of a monster sighting, so they disembark aboard the Arrows to fight it. Goh's ship is taken down by the four-legged, horned monster and immediately engages in battle with it as U-Jack. Proving to be a formidable opponent, Ultraman ultimately loses the fight. His color timer expires and he disappears. As a result, Goh ends up in the hospital with numerous injuries. While Goh is out of commission, the other MAT members believe the beast thrives on atomic power. Goh's friend Sakata helps him train to strengthen his injured leg so that he can have a return match with the monster, Kingsaurus III.

The fourth episode of U-JACK jumps right into the action. Jack appears within the first couple of minutes and goes man-a-mano with a dragon-like creature christened Kingsaurus III. Jack throws his arsenal of laser weapons at the beast and everything bounces off of its force field. It's kind of early in the series to have your hero in serious peril, but if Gamera can do it in every sequel, than Ultraman can do it here. The silver and red suited martian hero isn't down for long, though.

In the middle of all this monster action, an Ultra love triangle is hinted at. When Aki and Jiro Sakata go to see Hideki Goh in the hospital, MAT member Oka (who's very attractive, by the way) picks them up. At one point, Oka wants to talk monster business with Goh, but doesn't want to divulge info with two civilians in the room. So Jiro equates this with Goh wanting to be alone with his teammate; this of course perturbs Aki (who is also very adorable in her own right).

The return match with Kingsaurus III is over with relatively quickly. U-Jack realizes the secret of the monsters force field and takes advantage allowing his Specium Ray to finish the job. The monster itself is somewhat smaller than most of the four-legged kaiju, and is distinguished by possessing powers of its own other than its force field -- radioactive breath (akin to Godzilla) and some sort of shock wave weapon. There are a lot of optical effects here and a nice visual from the perspective of the monster (still in frame) looking down at Goh as he approaches just before transforming into U-Jack.

This is an entertaining entry that is basically a 30 minute version of the sort of HK kung fu movie that became popular by the end of the decade; a fighter would be injured, trains, and comes back for revenge against the villain that beat him. In this case, Sakata aids Goh in nursing his leg back to health -- the training of which consists of Goh carrying a huge log on his shoulder up a hill much like Schwarzenegger in COMMANDO (1985). The little kink in the chain between Goh and Aki was a nice touch, and it remains to be seen how this relationship will play out as the series progresses. The action heats up in the next episode.

MONSTERS: Kingsaurus III
WEAPONS: Arrows 1-3

To be continued in Episode 5: TWO GIANT MONSTERS ATTACK TOKYO!!!

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