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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ultraman Ginga Episode 1 Review: Insert Anime Trope Here

With me being down with season two of Akibaranger I decided to take a look into a franchise that hasn't had a series for a long time. Now I'm not the biggest Ultraman fan, but I try to find series. I saw the first episode of Max and I don't want to touch that again, I saw halfway to Nexus, and I'm still going through Ultraseven. So I may not know everything that this series is "being a tribute to" even though I don't have that feeling from this series.
When I heard there is going to be a new Ultra series, I was happy. I can finally watch an Ultra show the whole way and I will since it's only eleven episodes! I know Akibaranger had thirteen episodes per season, but that's a parody series. Ginga is supposed to be an anniversary series. I can see eleven episodes for Ultraman Zero since he already had many movies. I guess that makes too much sense though so here take this new Ultraman, we don't care about him so he gets eleven episodes. I can easily see this series is going to be ignored since if it doesn't pick up from the very very boring first episode, it will be more shunned than Decade. Decade was a bad series, but at least the first episode was good. The premise was interesting and how it was introduced was well done. Too bad there are so many unanswered questions. Decade also has another step up to Ginga that it felt like it's own show.
Don't worry Decade this is not your fault this time.
So what I am getting at with this new Ultraman is that it doesn't even feel like Ultraman in the beginning. The show starts with the main character returning to his hometown and then an old friend appears from a hijinks moment. Already those are two really big cliches in many anime series. It's not even Ultraman cliches! At least with those the show would feel like an Ultra show. Here it just feels like a very boring romance. Cause it's very obvious that the Hikaru is in love with this girl, oh and their old childhood friends, GAH! Now cliches aren't bad I made that clear in my Pacific Rim review. The thing is though, if they are used to make a good feeling in a movie it works. As I said before with Ginga the cliches are from J-dramas and anime series so it doesn't feel like an Ultra series. I bet there were some forced romances before in the franchise, but I wouldn't think it was as bad as these two.
Heck I can't even say these characters are bad since they don't have many traits to really look into. Hikaru, boy coming back to his hometown and falls in love. Misuzu, a girl who is just around to be the damsel in distress. Hell that was her introduction to the series, she fell into a cradle and it went downhill. These are out leads! The only thing that is only interesting with Hikaru is his reasoning for coming back. It's weird though and barely makes any sense. He has been gone for a long time and now he decides to come back just because he was curious about an idol from a church. It took him this long? Is it that hard to visit the area? Heck the idol is what gives him powers so.... it's like Kuuga, a rider series, what is this show called again? Does it get worse though, yes it does.
How does it get worse, the acting is horrid. I know this is a Toku show, the acting is never top shelf acting. Recently though there wasn't really bad acting, the closest one was probably Go-busters. Hikaru's actor is very stiff and he even expresses the wrong emotions at some points. When he heard about a church being burned down he has a little laugh. I get it that he didn't believe it, but why a laugh? Then whenever he does express emotion it feels like it stretches his face so he doesn't fully express these emotions. Then there is Misuzu who expresses too much. Sometimes her voice even breaks when talking and sometimes her pitch goes up a little too high. She still isn't has bad as the side female character who I won't even bothering naming since she was just there for two scenes, but her voice.... man her voice. At least the two older actors are okay at best, but our leads are bad actors, thank goodness this is only eleven episodes.
I mean look at the left, she is standing way too straight. At least the other three look relaxed. She looks like she's doing a school play performance.
Now let's get to the premise of the show. The premise is that there was a war and all the Ultramen and monsters were turned into dolls. So not only do we have the war story like Decade and Gokaiger had, but also the powers being lost like Gokaiger. There are different ways to tribute a franchise, look at Metal Heroes. They had Gavan reappear in Gokaiger and they made a new Gavan. Then Akibaranger is a parody and does a great job of praising the franchise. Ginga doesn't do any of this, so far the only Ultra character that appears was Taro, who is a doll. So now Taro wants Hikaru to use the Light Spark because he saw him saved a girl, that's it. At least Zordon had a description of who he wants. Taro just saw Hikaru do one thing and thinks he's the one. Maybe this episode could have worked better is we saw Hikaru do more good deeds to make him feel like a hero a little more.
I will say I do like how the female lead does know about Taro and then this leads to her knowing that Hikaru could be the chosen one. A lot of Ultra series always have people hiding their identities as an Ultraman. I do know there are others that don't do this also so it's not the best thing, but at least it's something a like a little. Then Hikaru can turn into the Kaijus which is a cool idea. The Ultra Kaiju are pretty iconic and now we can see some fights between different Kaijus. Too bad this series is only eleven episodes! Now lets get to how Hikaru transforms into Kaijus and Ginga. He does this by linking a doll with his Ginga Spark. This is the worst collective transformation items ever. They couldn't make an item like cards or keys, but no just dolls. Also they have their own special stamp on the foot so you need to buy new figurines just to use these. That is a huge waste of money for people who are going to buy the merchandise.
Now at least the action was good. We had a Kaiju fight which was done well. Hikaru was inexperienced and gets his ass handed to him. He is Black King and he doesn't know what to do with it since he transformed at it by accident. I will say I do like the transformation since it reminds me of the old Ultraman series and seeing that for the monsters is sweet. The other monster was Thunder Darambia which comes from using two people who were just dumping trash illegally. Then the fight with Ginga's reveal came and it was okay. I didn't like that Hikaru all of a sudden gets better in fighting just because he is using a different power. At least Ginga's designs look great. It's a really big change compared to other Ultramen designs and at least that makes Ginga look like his own hero. Then I did like his finisher as his blue parts on his body changed to yellow and summoned a huge lightning attack. The effects were great as well, maybe this is why it's eleven episodes because the budget seems pretty high for the effects.
I'm not even going into the villains since there isn't much. The only thing is that a creepy dude can use bad people to control Kaijus. Not really much there. So overall the story and the characters are very weak, but at least there could be some nice action scenes with some good effects and I do like his theme as well. So at least I got something to look forward to the fight scenes, but I have to bear with everything else before that! So I would give the first episode a D- as it really fails to feel like an Ultra series and does poorly to introduce this premise.
Next Time: Glowing in the dark.

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