Cult TV

Cult TV Essentials: Ultraman – Towards The Future

Ultraman: Towards the Future is a Tokusatsu TV series produced in 1990 in Australia by the South Australian Film Corporation and Japan’s Tsuburaya Productions. There were 13 episodes filmed (the first 6 episodes were the “Goudes Threat” story arc). At the time, Eco-awareness was at a high, and many episodes included environmental themes. Ultraman’s three minute time limit is also attributed to “Earth’s polluted atmosphere” in this version.

Although simply called “Ultraman” in the original Australian version, the series was titled Ultraman Great for its Japanese release; the 13-episode show was originally featured on home video and Laser Disc there on 25 September 1990, and was later broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System from 8 July to 30 September 1995. This was the 10th Ultra Series and the first produced in the Heisei era. The show was distributed in the United States by Sachs Family Entertainment, the show was broadcast in weekly syndication from 4 January to 28 March 1992.

In this instalment we meet Jack Shindo and Stanley Haggard, members of the first manned expedition to Mars. On the red planet find a giant slug-like monster, Goudes/Gudis. Suddenly the giant warrior, Ultraman, arrives and fights Goudes, but is knocked down for a period. Shindo is pinned by a rockslide and Haggard tries to escape in their ship but is blown up by Goudes. It is then that Ultraman gets up, and when he is on the verge of victory Goudes changes into a virus and travels to Earth, where it plans on corrupting all life, mutating other creatures into monsters and awakening existing ones. Needing a human host to survive on Earth, Ultraman joins with Jack, allowing him to become the mighty alien when all seems lost. He joins the Universal Multipurpose Agency, or UMA, in order to help them battle the monsters.

Halfway through the series Goudes reappears, more powerful than before. It imprisons Ultraman, but Jack distracts it by ultimately showing it the futility of its mission. Even if it does manage to corrupt all life, eventually there will be nothing else to corrupt. The distraction allows Ultraman to break free and destroy Goudes once and for all. For the rest of the series the environmental themes are stronger and the monsters usually arise from human pollution.

In the series finale, a doomsday scenario begins with the appearance of three powerful monsters: Kilazee, Kodalar, and the Earth itself, which tries to wipe out the human race for abusing it. Ultraman is defeated by Kodalar, but Jack survives. Ultimately the humans use an ancient disc to destroy Kodalar by reflecting its own power at it and Ultraman defeats Kilazee and carries it into space, separating Jack from him and restoring him on Earth as a normal human. The victory is seen as another chance for the human race.

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