Ultraman Wiki

Return of Ultraman (帰ってきたウルトラマン, Kaettekita Urutoraman) is a tokusatsu SF/Kaiju/superhero TV series, and is the fourth entry in the Ultraman Series.

The series can be watched on Shout TV, Roku, Tubi, Pluto, and Prime Video.


Return of Ultraman Proposal

The "Return of Ultraman" (帰って来たウルトラマン, Kaettekita Urutoraman) Proposal.[1]

At the beginning of 1969, with Tetsuo Kinjo and Shozo Uehara leaving Tsuburaya Productions, the company faced a significant transition. On January 25 of the same year, Eiji Tsuburaya passed away due to illness, and his eldest son, Hajime Tsuburaya, succeeded him as the second president. Tsuburaya Productions entered a difficult period, experiencing substantial organizational changes. Despite this, the high viewership ratings from the reruns of Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven, along with strong sales of related products, provided a new opportunity for the company. Kazuho Mitsuta became the head of the planning department, collaborating with Seiji Shigemitsu Taguchi to develop new shows for the 1970s.[2]

The first proposal written by Taguchi was printed on April 28, 1969, titled Special Effects Monster Series / Continuation of Ultraman (特撮怪獣シリーズ/続ウルトラマン, Tokusatsu Kaijū Shirīzu / Zoku Urutoraman). This proposal featured the concept of the original Ultraman returning. The plan was then submitted to Yoji Hashimoto, a producer at the TBS Film Department, who had a deep affection for Ultraman and shared the desire to revive the series with Hajime Tsuburaya. During the review process, Hashimoto set very high standards for the proposal.[2]

This Continuation of Ultraman is set 30 years after the original Ultraman left Earth. Due to natural phenomena and nuclear experiments, monsters began to awaken, and the Self-Defense Forces, lacking experience in dealing with these creatures, struggled when a monster emerged from Mount Fuji. Captain Muramatsu, who had long disbanded the SSSP, appeared among the crowd and fervently hoped for Ultraman's return. At this moment, Ultraman descended from the sky once more, actively engaging on the battlefield, defeating the monster, and then flying away. Following this event, MAT was formed to combat the monster threat.[2]

Subsequently, episodes 2 and 3 detailed the story's progression, including the assembly of the six MAT members, Ultraman's sudden reappearance, and the main character, Hideki Ban (バン・ヒデキ, Ban Hideki), being saved by Shin Hayata. Ultimately, Ban replaces Hayata and merges with Ultraman, becoming the new Ultraman. After some revisions, the proposal was finally titled Returning Ultraman (帰ってきたウルトラマン, Kaettekita Urutoraman). This title was Eiji Tsuburaya's idea, intuitively conveying the image of Ultraman's re-emergence.[3]

The finalization of the new "Ultraman" project was delayed until the end of 1970. After the time slot prepared by Takeda was canceled between October and November 1970, the series was scheduled to air in the 7 PM Friday slot managed directly by TBS, supported by multiple sponsors. This rescheduling delayed the show's broadcast until 1971.[2]

After revisions, the newly restructured proposal Return of Ultraman (帰って来たウルトラマン, Kaettekita Urutoraman) was completed in 1970. In this new setting, Ultraman transforms into a young man named Hideki Ban, who works at the Madokura Ranch. Additionally, the characters of a girl named Kaoru, who idolizes Ban, and her younger brother Masayuki were created. In the storyline of this period, Ban secretly joins MAT and battles the monster Astron, but Ultraman is defeated. As a result, Ban vows to master a special finishing move through intense training, adopting the then-popular hot-blooded sports style.[4][5]

Following the confirmation of the project, around the end of 1970 or early 1971, Hashimoto, along with Hajime Tsuburaya and Ken Kumagai, invited Shozo Uehara to participate in the series production. After discussions, Uehara printed the preparatory script for the first episode, "Phoenix Man", on January 13, which was almost identical to the final version. By this time, the show's title had been officially set as Return of Ultraman, and related trademark registrations and other necessary preparations were underway. Subsequently, the writing duties were jointly handled by Hashimoto and Uehara.[4][6]


The NG version suit of New Ultraman, which had already been filmed for the first episode, was ultimately redesigned by Akihiko Iguchi following suggestions from the sponsors. Scenes from the first episode were also re-filmed.[7]

Filming for Return of Ultraman commenced on February 6, 1971, under the leadership of Hajime Tsuburaya, Ken Kumagai, and Toho's Susumu Saito. The direction was led by Ishiro Honda, with Toho's Masanori Kakei joining as a scriptwriter from the third episode onwards, and Toei's rising director Noboru Kaji from Nikkatsu specializing in youth-oriented to action-oriented films. The filming for the special effects department was scheduled to start in mid-February.[4]

In the initial proposal, the plan was for the original Ultraman to return, and the body contours remained the same. This design was proposed by Masahiro Matsu, the Operations Manager of Tsuburaya Productions, and the design drawings were completed by Akihiko Iguchi. After the first suit was completed, the special effects battle scenes for the first episode were filmed. However, considering commercial factors, based on feedback from the licensing partner Bullmark, it was necessary to clearly distinguish this character from the original Ultraman. This led to a redesign to avoid too much similarity with the original Ultraman.[2]

These modifications included changes to the contours of the neck and the design of the two thighs, as well as adding gloves, boots, and fine stripes around the red area for Ultraman. This new character was subsequently referred to by fans as "New Ultraman," a name that Tsuburaya Productions also used in later series.[6]

The first season of the series was shot at Toho Studios, with the MAT command room set up in Studio 101, and the special effects scenes in Studio 2. From the second season onwards, filming was shifted to Tokyo Film Studios, and special effects were done in two studios at the Tokyo Art Center. During this period, writers such as Shigemitsu Taguchi, Shinichi Ichikawa, and Toshiro Ishido were involved in the series, while directors also expanded the production team by adding Eizo Yamagiwa from International Pictures.[4]

In the production of the show, compared to the "near-future" and "high-tech" atmosphere created in the previous two works, the series adopted a more realistic portrayal of early 1970s Japan. It also focused more on the serious drama of Hideki Go's struggles and growth. However, as a sequel to the popular series Ultraman, TBS had high expectations for its viewership ratings. Nevertheless, the initial ratings did not meet expectations. This was partly due to the serious TV drama elements not being fully embraced by children, and also because budget constraints limited the destruction scenes primarily to rural areas, lacking the exhilaration of urban destruction. This made it difficult for the ratings to exceed 20% after the episode 6.[6]

Return of Ultraman 1971 2

In the third quarter of the series, four episodes aired in November were dubbed by fans as the "November Masterpieces" due to their exceptional narrative. However, this name sparked controversy as it diverted attention from the rest of the series.[8][9][10][11]

Upon observing this situation, Tsuburaya Productions immediately initiated surveys and market research through interviews published in serialized magazines related to Ultraman. The findings indicated a desire among viewers to strengthen Ultraman and increase the presence of space monsters. With the implementation of enhancements such as upgrades to MAT, the introduction of new abilities like the Ultra Bracelet, and the inclusion of space monsters, the show became more enriching. By the episode 23, the ratings began to soar rapidly, with almost all episodes of the third season achieving around a 25% viewership rating. The production budget, initially constrained due to reflections on the past, gradually increased, reaching a scale where each episode consumed an average of 5.5 million yen.[6]

During the filming of the third season, scheduling Rumi Sakakibara, who played the female lead Aki Sakata, became increasingly challenging due to her involvement in other television dramas. As a result, in episodes 37 and 38, it was decided to have both Ken Sakata and Aki disappear from the storyline after being killed by Alien Nackle.[12][13] However, cameo appearances of the original Ultraman and Ultraseven, along with their human hosts, were added, leading to peak ratings at that time.[6]

In terms of the TV series, the focus on Go's personal life shifted to the Sakata family's sole surviving member, Jiro, and their neighbor Rumiko Murano. In the special effects part, measures were taken to strengthen the entertainment value by increasing the number of appearances of monsters and their alien controllers simultaneously. After the final episode aired, the curtain fell as Go departed Earth as Ultraman. However, this marked the beginning of the continued development of the Ultraman series in the second stage of the Showa era.[4][14]


In a fight between two giant monsters named Takkong and Zazahn, young race car driver Hideki Go is killed while trying to rescue a little boy and a dog from the falling rubble. His valiant sacrifice is noted by everyone, even his friends and the new defense force MAT, but an unseen being also takes notice. Looking over Go is the "New Ultraman", who is so touched by Go's actions that he decides to combine his life force with that of Hideki, thus bringing him back to life. Hideki Go then joins MAT and fights alongside them and Ultraman against monsters and alien invaders.







Suit Actors


Opening Theme
  • Kaettekita Ultraman (帰ってきたウルトラマン, Kaettekita Urutoraman, lit. "Return of Ultraman")
    • Lyrics: Kyōichi Azuma
    • Composition: Koichi Sugiyama
    • Artist: Jiro Dan, Misuzu Children's Choral Group

Home Media

In 2002, Tsuburaya began re-releasing Ultraman to Ultraman Leo on Japanese boxsets. Return of Ultraman got a boxset. There is also a DVD release made by the Malaysian company VGB Network. It came out in 2013, and contains Malay, English, and Chinese subtitles. A few grammatical errors were made, as VBG is not a American company.

Mill Creek released the series to Blu-ray on February 25, 2020 with English subtitles. As with the company's other Showa-era Ultraman Series titles, a SteelBook and a standard edition with part of a spine mural were offered.



Main article: Return of Ultraman (manga)

A manga series by Akira Mizuho (水穂 輝, Mizuho Akira) ran in Bessatsu Shōnen Sunday from May to December 1971.



  • Originally, Ultraman Jack was meant to be Ultraman, who would have returned to Earth as referenced by the show's name, Return of Ultraman, but this decision was scrapped and he was made into a separate character out of respect to the late Eiji Tsuburaya, who passed away in 1970. However, the name of the show still remained "Return of Ultraman".
    • In the original concept for Return of Ultraman, Hideki Go was meant to use the Beta Capsule to become Ultraman Jack, like how Shin Hayata transformed into Ultraman, but this decision was also scrapped.
    • Return of Ultraman is the first series to contain an advertisement break featuring the logo.
  • In 2014, Hideaki Anno proposed a Return of Ultraman film to Tsuburaya Productions.
  • Among the Showa era Ultraman Series, Return of Ultraman is the only one not to be streamed at Tsuburaya Productions' YouTube channel during its 50th anniversary in 2021.

External Links


Showa Series Ultra Q | Ultraman | Ultraseven | Return of Ultraman | Ultraman Ace | Ultraman Taro | Ultraman Leo | Ultraman 80
Heisei Series Ultraman Tiga | Ultraman Dyna | Ultraman Gaia | Ultraman Cosmos | Ultra Q: Dark Fantasy | Ultraman Nexus | Ultraman Max | Ultraman Mebius | Ultraseven X | Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle | Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey | Neo Ultra Q | Ultraman Ginga | Ultraman Ginga S | Ultraman X | Ultraman Orb | Ultraman Geed | Ultraman R/B
Reiwa Series Ultraman Taiga | Ultraman Z | Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga | Ultraman Decker | Ultraman Blazar | Ultraman Arc
Outside of Japan Ultraman: The Adventure Begins | Ultraman: Towards the Future | Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero | Ultraman: Rising
Original Video and TV Special Ultra Fight | Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider | Ultra Super Fight | Ultraman Nice | Heisei Ultraseven | Ultraman Neos | Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend | Ultra Idemitsujin | Ultra Zone
Showa Movies Ultraman: Monster Movie Feature | Ultraman, Ultraseven: Great Violent Monster Fight | Return of Ultraman | The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. The Monster Army | Ultraman (1979) | Ultraman: Great Monster Decisive Battle | Return of Ultraman: MAT Arrow 1 Takeoff Order | Ultraman ZOFFY: Ultra Warriors vs. the Giant Monster Army | Ultraman Story
Heisei Movies Ultra Q The Movie | Revive! Ultraman | Ultraman Zearth | Ultraman Zearth 2 | Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna | Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna, & Ultraman Gaia | Ultraman Tiga: The Final Odyssey | Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact | Ultraman Cosmos 2 | New Century Ultraman Legend | Ultraman Cosmos vs. Ultraman Justice | New Century 2003 Ultraman Legend | ULTRAMAN (2004) | Ultraman Mebius & the Ultra Brothers | Super 8 Ultra Brothers | Mega Monster Battle Ultra Galaxy: The Movie | Ultraman Zero: The Revenge of Belial | Ultraman Saga | Ultraman Ginga Theater Special | Ultraman Ginga Theater Special: Battle Royale | Ultraman Ginga S The Movie | Ultraman X The Movie | Ultraman Orb The Movie | Ultraman Geed The Movie | Ultraman R/B The Movie
Reiwa Movies Ultraman Taiga The Movie | Ultraman Trigger: Episode Z | Shin Ultraman | Ultraman Decker Finale | Ultraman Blazar The Movie
Spin-Offs Andro Melos | Ultraman Zearth: Parody Chapter | Revival of the Ancient Giant | The Return of Hanejiro | Gaia Again | Ultra Q Kaiju Legend | Ultraman Kaiju Legend | Hikari Saga | Armored Darkness | Ghost Rebirth | Ultraman Zero vs. Darklops Zero | Q - Door to Another Dimension | Killer the Beatstar | Ultra Zero Fight | Ultra Fight Victory | Ultraman Orb THE ORIGIN SAGA | Ultra Fight Orb | New Generation Heroes | The Absolute Conspiracy | Sevenger Fight | The Struggle of Special Section 3 | The Destined Crossroad | Continued Ultra Fight | Shin Ultra Fight | Return of Special Section 3 | Ultraman Regulos | Ultraman Regulos: First Mission | Ultraseven IF Story | SKaRD Break Room
Rebroadcast Shows Ultraman Retsuden | New Ultraman Retsuden | Ultraman Zero: The Chronicle | Ultraman Orb: The Chronicle | Ultraman New Generation Chronicle | Ultraman Chronicle: ZERO & GEED | Ultraman Chronicle Z: Heroes' Odyssey | Ultraman Chronicle D | Ultraman New Generation Stars
Informational Ultraman The Prime | ULTRAMAN ARCHIVES | Ultra Science Fantasy Hour | Ultra Fight Club | UlSummer Information Station | Ultra Information Center | Professor Teruaki's "Blazar Kaiju Academy" | Super Power! Ultra Encyclopedia! | Ultra Construction Tour | THE ORIGIN OF ULTRAMAN | Ultraman 4K Discovery
Docudramas Fly in the Sea Breeze! Ultraman | The Men Who Made Ultraman | My Beloved Ultraseven | The Man Who Wanted to be Ultraman | The Kaiju Club | The Two Ultramen
Other Series and Movies Kaiju Booska | Captain Ultra | Mighty Jack | Fight! Mighty Jack | Operation: Mystery | Chibira-kun | Mirrorman | Redman | Triple Fighter | Emergency Directive 10-4·10-10 | Iron King | Horror Theater Unbalance | Fireman | Jumborg Ace | Mirror Fight | Jumborg Ace & Giant | Mars Men | Army of the Apes | Pro-Wres no Hoshi Azteckaiser | The Last Dinosaur | Dinosaur Expedition Born Free | Dinosaur Great War Izenborg | Star Wolf | Dinosaur Squadron Koseidon | Anime-chan | Gridman the Hyper Agent | Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad | Moon Spiral | Cyber Beauties Telomere | Booska! Booska!! | Otasuke Girl | Mysterious Incident Special Investigation Team SRI | Mirrorman REFLEX | Bio Planet WoO | Operation: Mystery - Second File | Mirror Fight 2012 | Operation: Mystery - Mystery File | Gridknight Fight
Anime The☆Ultraman | Ultraman Kids | Ultraman Graffiti: Wild! Ultra Country | Ultraman: Super Fighter Legend | Ultra Nyan | Ultra Nyan 2: The Great Happy Operation | Ultraman M78 Theater Love & Peace | Gridman the Hyper Agent: boys invent great hero | The・Ultraman: Jackal vs. Ultraman | Kaiju Sakaba Kanpai! | Kaiju Girls | SSSS.GRIDMAN | ULTRAMAN (2019) | Kaiju Step Wandabada | SSSS.DYNAZENON | KAIJU DECODE | GRIDMAN UNIVERSE
Outlaw Content Space Warriors 2000 | Project Ultraman | Ultraman The Animation | Ultraman: A Little Journey on Earth | Fun... English with Ultraman | Young Ultraman | Ultraman Big Transformation | Sinic Q | Red Jade | Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman | Dragon Force: Rise of Ultraman