Eiji Tsuburaya had originally intended for the Ultraman Series to end with the 1967 series Ultraseven, but Ultraman proved to be too popular a character to keep down. After Eiji Tsuburaya's death in 1970, his son Hajime Tsuburaya (who took over Tsuburaya Productions until his own death in 1973) revived the Ultraman Series with Return of Ultraman.
An earlier plot featured the original Ultraman returning to Earth to resume the fight against aliens and monsters. However, in a last minute change, a new yet similar character was introduced - "New Ultraman" (新ウルトラマン Shin Urutoraman), or just "Returning Ultraman" (帰ってきたウルトラマン Kaettekita Urutoraman), who would later become much more widely known as "Ultraman Jack" (ウルトラマンジャック Urutoraman Jakku) in 1984 and beyond. The name was decided on in a contest held by Bandai where children chose his name.
This series is a follow up to the original Ultraman and Ultraseven, which retconned to take place within the same timeline.
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 the MAT and fights alongside them and Ultraman against monsters and alien invaders.
- Kingsaurus III
- Twin Tail
- Alien Zelan
- King Maimai
- Alien Mates
- Draculas/Vampire Woman
- Black King
- Alien Nackle
- Alien Varduck
- Alien Black
- Alien Baltan Jr.
- Alien Stora
- Alien Grotes
- Alien Centaurus
- Alien Cygnus-61 Erika
- Alien Messie
- Alien Zoole
- Red Killer
- Alien Mysteler
- King Bockle
- Alien Bat
- Zetton II
- Hideki Go (郷 秀樹 Gō Hideki): Jiro Dan (団 時朗 Dan Jirō)
- Katsushiro Kato (加藤 勝一郎 Kato Katsushiro): Nobuo Tsukamoto (塚本 信夫 Tsukamoto Nobuo)
- Ryu Ibuki (伊吹 竜 Ibuki Ryu): Negami Atsushi (根上 淳 Negami Atsushi)
- Takeshi Minami (南 猛 Minami Takeshi): Shunsuke Ikeda (池田 駿介 Ikeda Shunsuke)
- Ippei Ueno (上野 一平 Uneo Ippei): Hatashi Mitsushi (三井 恒 Mitsushi Hatashi)
- Yuriko Oka (丘 ユリ子 Oka Yuriko): Mika Katsuragi (桂木美加 Katsuragi Mika)
- Fumio Kishida (岸田文夫 Kishida Fumo): Ken Nishida (西田健 Nishida Ken)
- Jiro Sakata (坂田 次郎 Sakata Jirō): Kawaguchi Hideki (川口英樹 Hideki Kawaguchi)
- Aki Sakata (坂田アキ Sakata Aki): Rumi Sakakibara (榊原るみ Sakakibara Rumi)
- Ken Sakata (坂田健 Ken Sakata): Shin Kishida (岸田森 Kishida Shin)
- Rumiko Maruno (村野 ルミ子 Maruno Rumiko): Iwasaki Kazuko (和子 岩崎 Kazuko Iwasaki)
- Ultraman Jack (ウルトラマンジャック Urutoraman Jakku): Isao Yatsu (谷津勲 Yatsu Isao)
- Narrator (ナレーター Nareta): Akira Nagoya (名古屋章 Nagoya Akira)
- Ultraman (ウルトラマン Urutoraman) & Zazahn (ザザーン Zazan): Eiichi Kikuchi (菊池英一 Kikuchi Eiichi)
- Kaiju (怪獣 ): Toya Takanobu (遠矢孝信 Takanobu Toya) (Most of the Monsters)
- 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
In 2002, Tsuburaya began rereleasing Ultraman-Ultraman Leo on Japanese boxsets. Return of Ultraman got a boxset. There is a also DVD made by the Malaysian company VGB Network. It came out in 2013, contains Malay, English, and Chinese subtitles. A few grammatical errors are 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.
- Return of Ultraman (film) (Movie Version of episodes 5-6)
- Return of Ultraman: Fear of the Tornado Monsters (Movie Version of episodes 13-14)
- Jiro-Kun Rides a Monster (Movie Version of episode 29)
- 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, whom would have returned to Earth as referenced by the show's name, Return of Ultraman, but this decision was scrapped and he was made as a separate character out of respect to the late Eiji Tsuburaya, who past 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 transforms into Ultraman but this decision was also scrapped.
- Return of Ultraman is the first series to contain an advertisement break featuring the logo.