Ultraman Wiki
Ultraman Wiki
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Ultraman Series Logo (2018-present)

The Ultra Series (ウルトラシリーズ, Urutora Shirīzu), newly rebranded as the Ultraman Series (ウルトラマンシリーズ, Urutoraman Shirīzu) as of 2018,[1] is the collective name for all the shows produced by Tsuburaya Productions featuring Ultraman, his many brethren, and the myriad of Ultra Monsters. The Ultra Series is one of the prominent Tokusatsu superhero genre productions from Japan, along with Toei produced series Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and the Metal Heroes. The Ultra Series is also one of the most well known examples of the daikaiju genre, which also includes Toho's Godzilla films, and Daiei Film's Gamera series. However, the Ultra Series also falls into the kyodai (Giant Hero) sub-genre of Tokusatsu shows.


Ultraman and his many kin are usually red-and-silver (although several color variations have been seen in recent years) and have glowing yellow almond-shaped dome eyes (although there are exceptions to both the shape and color) and various abilities, most notably to fire energy beams from various positions of crossed hands. The Ultras' main weakness is that they can only stay on Earth in giant form for a limited span of time, usually not longer than three minutes, owing to a limited supply of energy (Earth's atmosphere filters out solar energy).

This is marked by a light on the character's body usually called the Color Timer, or "warning light", which eventually begins to blink with increasing frequency as his energy supply dwindles (and turns from blue to red). At this stage, the Ultra beings must either find a way to recharge or finish the fight as soon as possible, or involuntarily revert to human form, or worse, risk certain death. Some say another reason for Ultraman to recharge is because the Earth is badly polluted by humans, so Ultraman only has three minutes on Earth, but can survive long enough in outer space. The time limit only happens inside the Earth's atmosphere but they have none of those setbacks outside. To counter this, Ultramen almost always merge with a human host or create a human form for themselves in order to survive on Earth, more often than not reviving a recently dead person with their own lifeforce.

Ultras also appear to be near impossible to permanently kill, as several times an Ultra being has been killed only to be revived by another member of their species. In other cases a large enough amount of energy can be utilized to bring them back to life, usually provided by their human allies, even after being completely destroyed, as was the case with Mebius' death at the hands of Alien Empera, only to be revived shortly thereafter by the life energy of his allies.

Ultraman always try to avoid battles in inhabited areas or fighting in a place where there are innocent bystanders and try to cause the least amount of destruction as possible, from the side effects of their fights when confronting in the city, when and if they can't; a city like Tokyo would be destroyed. The Inter Galactic Defense Force are ranked from low-tier cosmics to high-tier cosmics.

The Ultraman phenomenon

Ultraman was followed by many other series. Spin-offs to the original series are: Ultraseven (1967, TBS), The Return of Ultraman (1971, TBS), Ultraman Ace (1972, TBS), Ultraman Taro (1973, TBS), Ultraman Leo (1974, TBS), Ultraman 80 (1980, TBS), Ultraman Tiga (1996, MBS), Ultraman Dyna (1997, MBS), Ultraman Gaia (1998, MBS), and Ultraman Cosmos (2001, MBS). The studio tried a reinvention of the hero through the "Ultra N Project", which involved three heroes: Ultraman Noa (the "mascot" of the Ultra N Project, who appears in stage shows as well as the final episode of Ultraman Nexus) in late 2003, Ultraman Nexus (2004, CBC), and Ultraman: The Next (2004, Shochiku Productions). Ultraman Max (2005, CBC) followed with a return to old-school style storytelling. April 2006 saw the 40th anniversary series, Ultraman Mebius, which signaled a long-awaited return to the original canon.

The franchise has also been in the movie theaters, starting with Ultraman Zearth and Ultraman Zearth 2, Ultraman Tiga: The Final Odyssey, released in 2000, as well as ULTRAMAN, a movie that opened in December 2004. The straight-to-video market also saw the release of Ultraman Neos in 2000, as well as special features for Ultraman Tiga, Dyna, and Gaia, who have teamed up in theatrical features. The Ultraman Mebius & Ultraman Brothers movie opened in September 2006.

Overseas productions include the 1987 Hanna-Barbera co-production animaton Ultraman: The Adventure Begins (in Japanese, Ultraman USA), an Australian 1991 production Ultraman: Towards the Future (in Japanese, Ultraman Great), and Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (in Japanese, Ultraman Powered), produced in the United States in 1993. The Ultraman series has also been dubbed into various languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Indonesian and Cantonese.

Tsuburaya Productions and Toei Company co-produced the television special Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider in 1993, crossing over the original Ultraman and Toei's Kamen Rider 1. The direct-to-video feature is co-copyrighted by both Toei and Tsuburaya Productions.

In 2013, the Ultraman Series was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the record-holder for the most number of spin-off shows.[2]

Three Eras

First Generation

Classic Ultraman began with 1966's Ultra Q, emphasizing on mystery and the bizarre, explaining and solving strange situations with science. The heroes like the original Ultraman and Ultraseven were created in this period, working to uncover the unknown and protect humanity from monsters. The universe of Classic Ultraman maintained a strong continuity, with the heroes of earlier series returning to aid their brethren, passing the torch to them, and even teaming up to form the Ultra Brothers.

Second Generation

Beginning with Ultraman Tiga, the series explored perspectives and situations of non-human species that come into contact with the Giants of Light, the Second Generation promoted a diversity of beliefs and thoughts, with each Ultra hero being significantly different from those before and after.

Third Generation

New Generation Ultraman began with 2013's Ultraman Ginga. The stories of the Third Generation have distinguished themselves with long-running, serialized plots and a greater unified continuity. The Ultra heroes form closer friendships with one another and with the humans around them, and those friendships prove to be key to solving problems, averting crises, and routing the forces of darkness.


An * denotes shows (or movies) that feature no Ultramen.

Ultra Series

The list is retrieved from the Tsuburaya Station.

  1. Ultra Q * (1966)
  2. Ultraman (1966–1967)
  3. Ultraseven (1967–1968)
  4. The Return of Ultraman (1971–1972, AKA: Ultraman Jack)
  5. Ultraman Ace (1972–1973)
  6. Ultraman Taro (1973–1974)
  7. Ultraman Leo (1974–1975)
  8. The☆Ultraman (1979-1980, anime)
  9. Ultraman 80 (1980–1981)
  10. Ultraman: The Adventure Begins (1987, AKA: Ultraman USA, animated movie, co-production with United States)
  11. Ultraman: Towards the Future (1990-1991, AKA: Ultraman Great, co-production with Australia)
  12. Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero (1993 AKA: Ultraman Powered, co-production with United States)
  13. Ultraman Zearth(1996–1997, movie series)
  14. Ultraman Tiga (1996–1997)
  15. Ultraman Dyna (1997–1998)
  16. Ultraman Gaia (1998–1999)
  17. Ultraman Nice (1999–2000, TV commercializing series)
  18. Ultraman Neos (2000–2001, Direct-to-DVD series)
  19. Ultraman Cosmos (2001–2002)
  20. Ultraman Nexus (2004–2005)
  21. Ultraman Max (2005–2006)
  22. Ultraman Mebius (2006–2007)
  23. Mega Monster Battle series (2007–2009, 2 seasons)
  24. Ultraman Ginga (2013, aired in New Ultraman Retsuden)
  25. Ultraman Ginga S (2014, aired in New Ultraman Retsuden)
  26. Ultraman X (2015, aired in New Ultraman Retsuden)
  27. Ultraman Orb (2016)
  28. Ultraman Zero: The Chronicle (2017)
  29. Ultraman Geed (2017)
  30. Ultraman R/B (2018)
  31. Ultraman Taiga (2019)
  32. Ultraman Z (2020)
  33. Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga (2021)

Special Series

Animated Series

  • Ultraman Kids' Proverb Stories (1986)
  • Ultraman Kids: 30 Million Light Years Looking for Mama (1991–1992)


  • Ultra Fight (1970–1971)
  • Andro Melos (1983)
  • Ultra Monster Great Encyclopedia (1988–1989)
  • Ultra Monster Great Illustrated Encyclopedia (1989–1990)
  • Ultraman M715 (1990–1991)
  • Ultraman M715: Ultra Hero Finisher Great Investigation (1991–1992)
  • Ultraman M730: Ultra Monster Attack Skills Great Illustrated Encyclopedia (1992–1993)
  • Ultraman M730: Ultra Monster Battle Game (1993–1994)
  • Ultraman M730: "Schwatchi"! English (1994–1995)
  • Ultraman M730: Ultra Monster Data Bank (1995–1996)
  • Ultraman M730: Ultraman Land (1996, puppet show)
  • Ultraman Boy's Ultra Coliseum (2003–2004)
  • Ultra Zero Fight (2012, aired in Ultraman Retsuden)
  • Mega Monster Rush: Ultra Frontier* (2013–2014, CGI-animated, aired in New Ultraman Retsuden)
  • Ultra Fight Victory (2015, aired in New Ultraman Retsuden)
  • Monster Tavern: Kanpai!* (2015, anime)
  • Kaiju Girls* (2016–, anime)
  • Ultra Fight Orb (2017, aired in Ultraman Zero: The Chronicle)


Compilation Movies

Special Movies

  • Ultraman, Ultraseven: Great Violent Monster Fight (1969, special event movie filmed in Cinerama.[3])
  • Ultraman Zero: Another Battle ~Power of Light~ (2017)
  • Ultraman Zero VR: Terror of Big City: Eleking vs. Zero (2017)
  • Ultra Fight VR (2017)

TV Specials

  • A Man Who Wanted to Become Ultraman (1993)
  • Ultra Seven: Operation: Solar Energy (1994)
  • Ultra Seven: The Ground of the Earthlings (1994)


  • Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider (1993, co-production with Toei Company and Ishinomori Productions)
  • Ultra Seven: Lost Memory (1998)
  • Ultra Seven: From Earth Forever (1998)
  • Ultra Seven: Betrayal of the Sun (1998)
  • Ultra Seven: Glory and Legend (1999)
  • Ultra Seven: The Sky-Flying Colossus (1999)
  • Ultra Seven: The Day the Fruit Ripens (1999)
  • Ultra Seven: Consequences of a Promise (1999)
  • Ultra Seven: The Imitated Man (1999)
  • Ultra Seven: I Am an Earthling (1999)
  • Ultraman Tiga Side Story: Revival of the Ancient Giant (2001)
  • Ultraman Dyna: Return of Hanejiro (2001)
  • Ultraman Gaia: Once Again Gaia (2001)
  • Ultra Seven EVOLUTION: Dark Side (2002)
  • Ultra Seven EVOLUTION: Perfect World (2002)
  • Ultra Seven EVOLUTION: Neverland (2002)
  • Ultra Seven EVOLUTION: Innocent (2002)
  • Ultra Seven EVOLUTION: Akashic Record (2002)
  • Ultraman Mebius Side Story: Armored Darkness (2008)
  • Ultraman Mebius Side Story: Ghost Reverse (2009)
  • Ultra Galaxy Legend Side Story: Ultraman Zero vs. Darklops Zero (2010)
  • Ultraman Zero Side Story: Killer the Beatstar (2011)


  • Ultraman Graffiti: Come On! Ultra's Country (1990)
  • Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend (1996)
  • Ultraman Kids' Fire Brigade


  • Ultra Heroine Legend: Anne to Seven
  • Ultraman's Factory
  • Passage of Dream~Ultraman's Mystery
  • Ultraman's "Schwatchi"! Space Exploration (1992)
  • Ultraman's TV Game Adventure (1992)
  • Ultra Super Fight (1994, mini-series)
  • Ultraman Monster Legend: The Truth of 40 Years (2005)
  • Ultra Q Monster Legend: Confession of Jun Manjome (2005)

Net Specials

  • Ultraman Mebius Side Story: Hikari Saga (2007)
  • Dadada Monster Party
  • Kanegon: KANEGON
  • This Week's Me (2009)
  • Ultraman Foundation - Ultraman Message
  • Full Power Kemur Slope (2011)
  • Ultra Q Fight (2011)
  • Bu-Ra-Ri: Trip of Kanegon (2011)
  • Ultra Monster Palace (2012)
  • Ultraman Pocket - NTT Communication and Collabo
  • Spark Dolls Theater
  • Ultraman Orb: THE ORIGIN SAGA (2016–2017, series)


  • Ultra Idemitsujin (2007)

Video games

  • Ultraman: Towards the Future (1991)
  • Ultra League (1995)
  • PD Ultraman Battle Collection 64 (1997)
  • Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna: New Generations(1998)
  • Ultraman Fighting Evolution (1998)
  • Ultraman Fighting Evolution 2 (2002)
  • Charinko Hero (2003)
  • Ultraman Fighting Evolution 3 (2004)
  • Ultraman Fighting Evolution Rebirth (2005)
  • Ultraman Nexus (2005)
  • Ultraman Fighting Evolution 0 (2006)
  • Daikaiju Battle: Ultra Coliseum (2009)
  • Ultra Coliseum DX: Ultra Senshi Daishuketsu (2010)

"Digital Ultra" Japanese DVD Release

In Japan, there have been several box sets that were released which would each contain a particular Ultraman series. As of now, there are only four such box sets. The sets were released as part of the Digital Ultra movement where the shows would be re-released with digital remastering.

The following are the series which have been released as such:

  • Ultra Q
  • Ultraman
  • Ultraseven
  • Ultraman Jack

The "Digital Ultra" re-release order of the series may not match the chronological order in which they were originally aired in Japan.

Licensing rights dispute

Ultraman's licensing rights outside of Japan have been the subject of a prolonged legal dispute between Tsuburaya Productions and Chaiyo Productions (also called Tsuburaya Chaiyo Co Ltd) based in Thailand. Tsuburaya had previously collaborated with Chaiyo on the production of two movies, The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. the Monster Army and Jumborg Ace & Giant--the latter of which featured another Tsuburaya superhero, Jumborg Ace--in 1974. Sompote Saengduenchai, founder/president of Chaiyo Productions, claimed and maintained that in 1976, the late Noboru Tsuburaya, Eiji's son, who had died in 1995, had given him and his company a contract which had given him rights to everything Ultraman outside Japanese territories in exchange for a monetary loan. The claim is rumored to have originated from a gamble held by a drunken Hajime Tsuburaya (Noboru's older brother) and Sompote Saengduenchai over the rights to the franchise. [4]

In spite of the fact that the document failed to state clearly and specifically exactly what had been given to Tsuburaya in exchange for these rights, Japanese and Thai courts accepted this contract as real and binding because of the supposed hanko of the late Noboru Tsuburaya in the document. Tsuburaya Productions insisted and maintained that the contract was a forgery (due to factual errors, including the faulty titles of the series in the document, such as Ultra Q being called "Ultraman 1: Ultra Q," Ultraseven being called "Ultraman 3: Ultraman Seven," and Tsuburaya Productions being called "Tsuburaya Prod. and Enterprises," a name the company never did business under), and repeatedly contested the issue.

In the course of the legal battle, Sompote presented photos of himself sharing his photos of Thai Buddhist edifices stating that Eiji had based Ultraman's face on the said edifices, a claim which he has continued to hold since the dispute began. No other evidence supporting this claim was known to exist.

After an 8-year battle in the courts of both countries, Sompote Saengduenchai was awarded a favorable decision on April 27, 2004. The exact ruling fell into some dispute: Some said it only gave him merchandising rights for the first six Ultraman Series (Ultra Q through Ultraman Taro) and Jumborg Ace outside Japan, and broadcasting rights of said shows within Thailand. Other accounts, usually reported in the Thai/Asian media, said that Chaiyo had gained the rights to those six shows everywhere outside Japan. The latter could be taken as Chaiyo's side of the story, as Tsuburaya was reported in the Japanese media to continue taking further action against them.

Tsuburaya decided not to market any of the disputed six Ultraman Series outside Japan until it had completely settled the rights issues with Chaiyo, although the company continued to merchandise and distribute all of the Ultraman programs created after Ultraman Taro, including the theatrical feature Ultraman: The Next, throughout the world. Because of the copyright struggle, importing literature on Ultraman into Singapore and Malaysia was prohibited. It also resulted in a slight backlash against Thai Ultraman fans, who were assumed to be outright Chaiyo supporters.

In 2005 the American company BCI Eclipse announced they had acquired the DVD rights to the original Ultraman from Chaiyo. A 3-disc box set containing the first 20 episodes of the series was released on July 18, 2006, and a second 3-disc box set containing the remaining 19 episodes was released on November 7, 2006. Both sets feature the original Japanese monaural dialogue track as well as the English-dubbed version produced by United Artists for North American syndication. At certain times, the English dialogue track switched over to the Japanese dialogue for small periods of time. This was because BCI had used audio from older recordings in which several scenes had to be cut or shortened for the American broadcast in order to fit running time constraints. Tsuburaya Productions still held on to the complete original English dubbing materials, which they had obtained from a warehouse in 1997, and refused to provide them for BCI. (Contrary to BCI's statements, the original English dubs were complete and uncut, except for a small cut in the conclusion of Episode 36, "Gift From The Sky.")

During the time of the legal battle, Chaiyo came up with three of their own Ultras: Ultraman Millennium, Dark Ultraman (an evil Ultra), and Ultraman Elite. These were not used for purposes other than stage shows and merchandise. Chaiyo also created a TV series he called "Project Ultraman," un-aired as of late March 2008, a joint project in China featuring his own Ultraman and attaching Hong Kong star, Ekin Cheng to the project.

On August 23, 2006, Tsuburaya Productions filed a new lawsuit against Chaiyo for copyright infringement and plagiarism (concerning their three original Ultraman characters), and the court case was taken to China. The Chinese courts in Beijing opened "The Ultraman Copyright Study Group" in response to the lawsuit.[5] In April 2007, the Thailand Intellectual Property Court ruled in favor of Tsuburaya Productions, ordering Chaiyo to cease and desist making commercial profits from Chaiyo-produced Ultraman characters such as Millennium, Dark, and Elite. The defendants were also fined THB 15,000,000 (approx. Japanese yen 50,904,959 or USD 428,673.50 c. April 2007) plus interest and attorneys' fees.[6][7] "Project Ultraman" went on hiatus as a result of the ruling, which implied that although Chaiyo owned the right to some of the Ultraman series, it did not own the right to Ultraman and his brothers, including the design. Chaiyo gained permission to merchandise the original series, but lost the right to create and market its own Ultraman, or even use the original, without Tsuburaya consent.

On February 5, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Tsuburaya Productions of Japan after they made an appeal to the initial ruling. The ruling ended the long legal battle by finding Sompote Saengduenchai was not a co-creator of Ultraman. The decision ended Sompote's bid to continue his enterprise, and the court gave Sompote 30 days to stop profiteering from Ultraman. The final ruling saw Tsuburaya Productions as the sole copyright owner. Sompote was also required to pay THB 10,700,000 plus interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent a year starting from December 16, 1997, when the original lawsuit was filed. [8]

Then in 2009, the Thai Intellectual Property Court and the Tokyo District Court both ruled in favor of the Thai company. This led to the Tokyo District Court on September 30, 2010, ordering Tsuburaya Productions Co of Japan to pay damages of 16.36 million yen (Bt5.9 million) to Sompote Saengduenchai of Thailand for violating his overseas copyrights on Ultraman characters.[9]


External links