Kotaro Higashi was investigating the Mass Disappearance Incident that happened in New York before he returned to Japan, meeting his girlfriend Izumi at the airport. They go to the crossroad where many things happened such as the battles against Alien Adacic and Black King and true enough, Mochigon was there making a scene until Shinjiro Hayata showed up as Ultraman, accompanied by Dan Moroboshi as Seven, to apprehend him. During the fight, Kotaro and Izumi notice a quartet of masked women acting suspiciously and decide to watch and photograph them from a distance, before one of them decided to use the Life Energy Camera on the crowd to make them all disappear except for themselves, Moroboshi, Kotaro and Izumi, who were out of range. Kotaro tries to give his evidence to Moroboshi, but is told to go to the cops instead.
Eager to find out the truth on his own, Kotaro infiltrates the Alien Wadoran's hideout despite Izumi's warnings, and gets captured by them. Despite his attempts to persuade them to do the right thing, he is pinned down and forced to watch as Izumi disappears after getting shot by the Life Force Camera just when she went to the SSSP to hand the evidence over to them. Kotaro is then shot with the camera as well, which somehow awakens his dormant flame powers, but makes him go berserk. Jack arrives and suppresses Taro before he can do any damage to the city, and Yapool tells him to put the spare suit onto Kotaro to restrain him, which works when Kotaro passes out after the Ultra Badge is forced onto him.
Kotaro wakes up in Hack's hideout, overhearing Jack's conversation with Yapool about the Star of Darkness' activities and invasion plan. Feeling remorse over his actions, he drops the "light" (光) from his name and simply renames himself to Taro. After hearing about his resolve, Jack strarted to trust him enough to leave him with the Taro Suit, which Taro used when he fought against Alien Bado henchmen from the Star of Darkness. Assuming he was an enemy, Moroboshi attacked Taro until Jack put an end to their fight. After settling their differences, the three of them were sent to chase down two of the Alien Wadoran to a satellite where they were ambushed by a powered up Mochigon, who they defeat. However, the satellite is activated and there is an explosion, but Taro protects everyone using his flame powers to cancel it out.
The Golden Fortress soon landed on the Earth and went on a rampage, putting the regrouped Ultramen on edge until Bemular protected them. In order to disable the giant robot and rescue Shin Hayata inside, Moroboshi took it upon himself to go up the Golden Fortress and disable its main cannon, but an Alien Llebb got in the way. After successfully doing so, Jack and Taro enter but they are confronted by Alien Dealer. Taro evades him and goes into the main power unit, while Jack stays behind to fight the alien. Alien Pedant confronts Taro at the power unit, but Taro ignores his words and uses up his life to destroy the reactor.
With the Star of Darkness' plan thwarted, the Ultramen gathered in a stadium where all the missing people had returned. Taro had his life restored by Bemular and he was allowed to go back, being welcomed to the team as the sixth Ultraman.
After Kotaro awakens his flame powers, he wears the Taro Suit (タロウスーツ Tarō Sūtsu), which Yapool made as a spare. In addition to providing him with heightened protection and offensive abilities, the suit's main purpose is to control his otherwise wild powers that are prone to causing collateral damage.
Powers and Weapons
- Photography: Kotaro is an experienced photographer.
- Flame State (炎態 Entai): Kotaro's entire body bursts into flames, which he can use to burn away his enemies while granting him superhuman strength. He can also produce a large explosion by releasing all of his energy. His flames start to burn blue once he releases more power.
Via Taro Suit
- Flamethrower: By focusing his flames into his arms, Taro can shoot a concentrated flamethrower attack at his enemies.
- Flight: Taro can achieve a limited capability of flight by channeling his flames out of the suit's hands and back.
Manga and Anime Differences
- Kotaro's relationship with Izumi is completely anime-original.
- Kotaro now possesses an Ultra Badge, which is what he uses to put on his suit.
- Tatsuhisa Suzuki was originally casted to voiced Kotaro Higashi. However, due to the report of an alleged extramarital affair between him and a female work associate on July 30, Suzuki officially stepped down from his role as Kotaro Higashi in August 6, 2021. Hence, Tomoaki Maeno was later chosen to replaced Suzuki as Kotaro Higashi.