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Manga

Kotaro Higashi (東 光太郎 Higashi Kōtarō) is a supporting character in the ULTRAMAN manga series. He is a Japanese photographer who gained superpowers after a run-in with aliens, and becomes a hero known as Taro. He was later given the Taro Suit after allying himself with the SSSP.

History

Kotaro was a reporter from Japan with an interest in revealing the truth, no matter the cost. He traveled to America to investigate a bank robbery perpetrated by a pair of cloaked beings with glowing eyes. When his colleague Dave pointed out the pointlessness of it, Kotaro went on his own way.

The reporter later came across an odd exchange in an alleyway, where two men appeared to be arguing. One fled when Kotaro discovered a mysterious vial, while the second man's eye begins to glow and he punched through Kotaro's stomach before fleeing. However, the reporter miraculously survived the assault and lay on the street cheering.

Kotaro finds he is surrounded by several broken, mysterious vials and decides to investigate. After replacing his blood-soaked shirt, Kotaro comes across a woman and a purse-snatcher. With incredible speed, Kotaro catches up and jumps over the purse-snatcher, who is shocked and flees without the purse. Kotaro is called a hero by the woman and inspired by this, Kotaro returns to Dave's with rolls of fabric with him, deciding to become a superhero. With Dave's help, Kotaro tests his abilities and finds out that along with super speed and agility, he has super strength but the two flee after encountering a police car. Kotaro recounts his encounter with the alien and ponders if the drug in the vials gave him these abilities. He shows Dave the drawing of his own Ultraman suit and reveals he added horns to it because it looked cooler.

As 'Ultraman', Kotaro helps prevent a robber from escaping. He then helps the police capture a human under the effects of the mysterious drug and leaves to have Dave help cool him off due to the fact that using his powers causes his body to produce steam and increases his body temperature. After saving a group of hostages, Kotaro returned to Dave but is confronted by a group of drug-powered humans and Alien Druz who had Dave captured. After discovering that Kotaro isn't Ultraman, Alien Druz revealed to him that his existence had 'thrown a wrench' in the Dark Star's plans. When Kotaro tried to save Dave, he is knocked down and Alien Druz killed Dave. Enraged, Kotaro erupted in a blast of flames as he manifests as a flame-like entity, killing Alien Druz and his lackeys. Kotaro awakens in his bed, having been saved by Alien Adad and Red, the latter two reveal what happened. After watching the Star of Darkness' reveal, Kotaro decides to help the two in order to protect everyone. Kotaro reveals to the two that in Japanese, his name contains the character for 'Light' (光) and he believes he doesn't deserve it, asking them to refer to him as Taro.

Kotaro, Red and Adad joined the battle against the the Star of Darkness, taking on the footsoldiers, but soon found themselves overwhelmed by the Golden Fortress. Fortunately, Moroboshi arrived with new weapons and single-handedly destoyed the giant robot, leaving them and the other Ultramen to fight against the Star of Darkness' members. Kotaro handled the footsoldiers. At the climax of the battle, Shin, Shinjiro and Bemular fired their Spacium Beams at Alien Pedan, the leader of the Star of Darkness, and destroyed most of his body. All that was left was half of his face, still alive and talking about how justice was theirs. Taro disagreed, burning away the remains to ash.

After the battle of New York, Kotaro joined the American branch of the SSSP and visited Dave's grave, grieving for his deceased friends. Kotaro was contacted by Jack to investigate a case, and learned that after the Star Cluster Alliance publicly announced their plans to the people of Earth, tensions between human and alien populations were reaching their breaking point and both sides were committing atrocities to themselves and to each other. Kotaro tracked down a group of disgruntled aliens, tired of living under the shadw of "inferior" humans, led by Valky to go on a killing spree. Using the Taro Suit, newly built for him by Yapool to control his powers, Kotaro confronted the group and killed one of them before the others retreated. Valky then challenged Taro to a battle for ruining her business, and the two came to a stalemate. Nevertheless, Valky gained an interest in Taro and his abilities before leaving.

Kotaro later encountered Valky again, who warned him that his actions would make him an enemy to the Star Cluster Council, but he rebutted her by saying that it was only natural for him to protect lives. He was then dispatched to help Seiji fight against Alien Zarab impostors posing as Shin and Moroboshi.

Profile

Stats

  • Height: 165 cm
  • Weight: 52 kg
  • Age: 26 years

Powers and Weapons

Kotaro Higashi was a normal human until he was killed and then exposed to the drugs made by the Star of Darkness which granted him superpowers. While posing as a hero, Kotaro crafted his own Handmade Suit (ハンドメイドスーツ Handomeido Sūtsu) to cover up his identity, but other than that, it had no inherent powers and was an ordinary outfit.

When Kotaro awakens his true power, he is able to transform into his Flame State (炎態 Entai), covering his entire body with flames.

Later on, after becoming affiliated to the SSSP, Yapool built the Taro Suit (タロウスーツ Tarō Sūtsu) for him to wear. Unlike the other Ultraman Suits, the purpose of the Taro Suit is to limit Kotaro's powers instead of enhancing them, as his flames could easily get out of control and cause collateral damage.

Own Powers

  • Photography: Kotaro is an experienced photographer.
  • Superhuman Physiology: After his death and resurrection, Kotaro was granted various superhuman abilities similar to those who possess the Ultraman Factor.
    • Superhuman Strength: Kotaro gained superhuman strength. He was able to pick up a car and describe it as "light."
      • Superhuman Leaping: Like Shinjiro, Kotaro can jump vast distances and heights.
    • Superhuman Durability: Kotaro has become very durable, able to withstand blows and injuries that would kill a normal human.
    • Superhuman Speed: Kotaro is able to run at speeds beyond that fastest Olympic sprinter.
  • Flame State (炎態 Entai): Kotaro's entire body bursts into flames, which he can use to burn away his enemies. He can also produce a large explosion by releasing all of his energy.

Via Taro Suit

  • Flamethrower: The Taro Suit allows Kotaro to better focus his flames into attacks and as such, he can blow a stream of fire out of his hands.
  • Flight: By releasing excess energy via ports on the back, Kotaro is able to fly.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Kotaro is the manga's incarnation of Kotaro Higashi, the former human host of Ultraman Taro.
  • Kotaro's Flame State was supposed to be his Ultraman form. However, Tomohiro Shimoguchi made a suit for him after being asked many times by various parties including the publisher, editor, Tsuburaya Productions staff and manga readers. He does not regret the decision.

References

ULTRAMAN Manga and Anime Characters
Ultramen Ultraman | Shin Hayata (Anime) | Shinjiro Hayata (Anime) | Dan Moroboshi (Anime) | Seiji Hokuto (Anime) | Kotaro Higashi (Anime) | Jack (Anime) | Leo Brothers | Rena Sayama (Anime) | Daigo | Jiro Satsuma
SSSP Mitsuhiro Ide | Edo | Red | Akiko Fuji | Windom
Secondary Characters Bemular (Anime) | Agent Adad (Anime) | Yosuke Endo | Kurata | Shiraishi | Pigmon's Friends | Yapool | Dave | Izumi | Shirou Maki
Star Cluster Alliance Ambassador Mephisto | Alien Awazo | Ubarazu | Alien Valky | Alien Zarab
Aliens/Kaiju Alien Adacic | Alien Igaru | Black King | Alien Kadder | Alien Robuton | Alien Bris | Biological Weapons | Yuko Minami | Alien Awazo | Alien Druz | Sam | Bioweapon Nova | Black King | Alien Magellan Maya
Ace Killer Squad Ace Killer | Alien Nepenthes | Alien Woovelve
Star of Darkness Alien Pedan/Pedant | Rei | Alien Druz | Golden Fortress | Alien Bell/Lleb | Alien Llubihc | Alien Bado | Alien Dealer | Alien Wadoran
Anime Only Shiraishi | Alien Robuton | Alien Pitt | Izumi | Mochigon | Maaya | Esrun
ULTRAMAN: BE ULTRA-exclusive Aliens Alien Mukishibara | Alien Ruboia | Alien Alteric | Alien Exbes | Irindo | Alien Guinpe
ULTRAMAN SUIT ANOTHER UNIVERSE Aliens

Episode Tiga
Alien Ruboia | Zoiger | Gatanothor


Episode Zero
Alien Mukishibara | Iwatesujo | Legionoid | Alien Magellan Maya | Alien Togarame | Alien Exbes | Alien Guinpe


Special Edition
Pedoleon | Magnia | Darkgone | Alien Magellan Maya | Mecha Telesdon II


8U Arc
Darkgone | Hotarunga | Gilanbo | Lethe | Grand King | Space Moths | King Kappa | Mururoa

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