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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

From Beyond Television: The Return of Ultraman Episode #3


Two young college students die while scaling Misty Mountain, a legendary summit where monsters are said to dwell. Meanwhile, Goh and Ueno are out on patrol and Goh feels the presence of a creature nearby. Back at headquarters, none of the other MAT members believe him, but Captain Kato thinks there might be something to the legend. Without informing his team, Kato sets out on foot to find evidence. He finds it in the form of a gigantic monster, and ends up trapped in a cave. Having seemingly disappeared, and with no one knowing of his whereabouts, Goh heads for Misty Mountain to find the Captain.

This episode has little going for it aside from featuring two monsters again; although they both look like fang-toothed Michelin Tire Monsters. The script does find time to create an arc between Goh and his Captain. Goh goes out to find his missing leader and recalls when his own father went missing under similar circumstances. It's a nice touch for this series which, up to this point, has shown its lead character to be a rebel and always in trouble over something.

Aside from this, there's a small amount of exposition paid to a possible budding romance between Goh and Aki, the sister of his mechanic friend and partner, Sakata (Mori Kishida)

There's really only one rather laughable aspect to the script here, and it's a device that has cropped up in the other series', too. Goh (who possesses a super hearing capability unique to U-Jack) senses a monster somewhere around Misty Mt., but nobody believes him; or seems much interested in investigating. That the MAT Patrol would not believe Goh's assertion that a monster(s) is hiding out on the mountain is ludicrous considering it's the reason for their existence. And the frequent bickering over searching the mountain is equally confounding. 

For instance, MAT member Minami gets all worked up over whether or not a monster is roaming the mountainside. When there aren't creatures attacking civilization, what exactly do they do? There must be tons of paperwork to be done as opposed to following up on a lead from a guy who has been right about his "intuition" the previous two episodes.

It might be expecting too much, but it'd be refreshing to hear an argument about how many taxpayer dollars it takes to keep these monster police squads in business; and how the economy is affected by kaiju attacks. But I digress, these are essentially kids shows after all; they live or die by their monster action more so than there plot intricacies.

The battle at the end is well staged for the most part. The fog-enshrouded terrain adds an extra dimension to the duel. The Specium Ray comes into play with the usual explosive results; but Jack uses his Ultra Slash weapon to loosen the head of one of his kaiju combatants. 

It's a standard show that makes a minor attempt at expositional expansion. So far, storyline doesn't seem to be the most important thing in ULTRAMAN JACK, but it's nice to see some effort put in. However, there's a great many episodes to go -- and some shocking surprises.

MONSTERS: Sadora, Detton
WEAPONS: Arrow #1, MAT Gyro

To be continued in Episode 4: CERTAIN KILL! SHOOTING STAR KICK!!!

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