Ultraman for adults? Yes! Once in a while, Tsuburaya makes a very unique episode of their beloved sentai show that’s intended to please adults rather than the prepubescent demographic the show usually targets. In 2005, the latest series, Ultraman Max, featured a selection of special guest directors and writers who had achieved notoriety elsewhere in the arena of Japanese cinema, all of them huge fans of the original series. Fantasia is pleased to share a quartet of these special Ultraman adventures!
The first episode, "The Taken Max Spark," directed by Takeshi Yagi, is the most straightforward in terms of what we’ve come to expect from Ultraman - but it features the ever-popular Eleking, a particularly weird-looking creature that has made several comebacks since its mid-’60s debut on Ultra Seven. "Butterfly Dream" by Akio Jissoji - a wild and crazy director whose limitless camera angles and weird storytelling style made him famous in the ’60s, and who directed some of the most original episodes of the first two Ultra series – sees writer Hasunuma, at a Tsuburaya studio in a reality much like our own, having difficulty finishing his script for an upcoming episode. When he falls asleep, he dreams that he is in fact the hero of the Ultraman universe. When his dream crosses over into reality, things get really strange…
The final two episodes come from none other than Takashi Miike, who offers two very different takes on Ultraman. The first is a very wild slapstick comedy called "Who Am I?" A strange creature appears in town and induces mass amnesia. A mother replaces her child with a doll, the Earth Defense Force can’t remember how to operate their vehicles, even Ultraman can’t remember how to fight. The results are hilarious! The piece de resistance, however, is Miike’s "Miracle of the Third Planet," a very compelling and touching episode. Echo, a little girl, has recently lost her sight, but she’s still good at playing the flute. She’s about to perform in a concert when a strange creature called If lands on Earth. If is unbeatable - the more you attack it, the more powerful it gets. Even Ultraman Max is no match for If!
Hosted by director Takeshi Yagi
Director: Takashi Miike, Akio Jissoji, Takeshi Yagi
Cast: Sota Aoyama, Hitomi Hasebe, Kai Shishido, Hikari Mitsushima, Susumu Kurobe, Hiroko Sakuri, Sean Nichols
Producers: Takeshi Yagi
Distributor: Tsuburaya Productions