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"The silver meteor...descends"

―Movie tagline

ULTRAMANウルトラマン (Urutoraman) is a 2004 tokusatsu superhero film. It is part of the Ultraman Series' Ultra N Project, and features an Ultraman character code named "Ultraman the Next". The movie, produced by Tsuburaya Productions, is a prequel to Ultraman Nexus. The movie received its theatrical release in Japan on December 18, 2004, distributed by Shochiku.

Production[]

The film was initially planned in 2000. Originally, Suzuki Kiyoshi, a producer from Tsuburaya Productions, initiated an original project for a film rather than a television series. He aimed to create a genuine science fiction film. The project was initially named YELLOW EYES, a double entendre referring to "the eyes of Ultraman" and "danger signals." The film depicted a young man gaining mysterious powers beyond imagination and controlling violent impulses in the face of irrational battles, gradually awakening a sense of justice. However, after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the production team found it challenging to depict violence, prompting them to adjust their narrative approach and explore different thematic directions.[1]

To construct the concepts of "realistic simulation," "biological significance," and "the rebirth of Ultraman," the protagonist's character was revised to that of a father fighting for his child.[2] This revision retained elements of real monster disasters while actively paying homage to works like Ultra Q and Ultraman from 1966. The project was subsequently reconceptualized as part of the "ULTRA N PROJECT." The concept of the movie revolves around the question "What if the first episode of Ultraman happened in modern-day Japan?" It is based on the premise of remaking the plot of the first episode of Ultraman, titled "Ultra Operation No.1," serving as the background framework for the entire film.

Filming for the movie began in October 2003[3], with the full assistance of the Ministry of Defense. For instance, real military bases were used for shooting scenes, and the takeoff scenes of the F-15 Eagle fighter jets were filmed using actual aircraft. The movie incorporated many real-world weapons and aircraft as its features. Originally planned for release before another TV series, Ultraman Nexus, scheduled for summer 2004, the timing was later adjusted. This led the production team to consider condensing two different worldviews into a single one.[1]

At the 17th Tokyo International Film Festival held in October 2004, this movie was screened as a special presentation. The main cast, including Tetsuya Bessho, Kyoko Toyama, Kenya Osumi, and several Ultras, attended the opening ceremony as guests of honor.[4][5]

Synopsis[]

First Lieutenant Shunichi Maki of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force is a prestigious F-15 Eagle jet pilot (or "driver" as he is called in the film). A lifelong fan of flying since he was a child, being a pilot is his ultimate dream. Unfortunately, his duties distance himself from his wife, Yoko, who always ends up being neglected, and his son, Tsugumu Maki, who has a congenital blood disease and has a high risk of dying at a young age.

Maki decides to quit the Air Force to devote more time to his family and to spend whatever is left for his son. He takes a part-time job as a commercial tour guide run by a kindly group of people who allow him time to work and to also take care of his family.

However, prior to quitting, Maki and his flight partner Yamashima are alerted to a strange red light streaking towards Japan, and Maki's plane collides with the red light. However, he has suffered no ill effects other than brief flashes of scenes playing out in his mind. He later discovers that the images in his mind are due to telepathic messages from the strange being in the light.

Appearances[]

Protagonist[]

BCST[]

JSDF[]

Hoshikawa Air Service[]

Antagonist[]

Others[]

Ultras[]

Kaiju[]

Cast[]

  • Shunichi Maki (真木 舜一, Maki Shun'ichi) Tetsuya Bessho (別所 哲也, Bessho Tetsuya)
  • Sara Mizuhara (水原 沙羅, Mizuhara Sara): Kyoko Toyama (遠山 景織子, Tōyama Kyōko)
  • Takafumi Udo (有働 貴文, Udō Takafumi)/Beast the One (ビースト・ザ・ワン, Bīsuto za Wan): Kenya Osumi (大澄 賢也, Ōsumi Kenya)
  • Yoko Maki (真木 蓉子, Maki Yoko): Nae Yuuki (裕木 奈江, Yūki Nae)
  • Tsugumu Maki (真木 継夢, Maki Tsugumu): Ryohei Hirota (広田 亮平, Hirota Ryōhei)
  • Takeshi Kurashima (倉島 剛, Kurashima Takeshi): Toshiya Nagasawa (永澤 俊矢, Nagasawa Toshiya)
  • Sogabe (曽我部): Daisuke Ryu (隆 大介, Ryū Daisuke)
  • Manjome (万城目): Masao Kusakari (草刈 正雄, Kusakari Masao)
  • Ippei (一平): Eisuke Tsunoda (角田 英介, Tsunoda Eisuke)
  • Yuriko (由利子): Yumiko Sato (佐藤 夕美子, Sato Yumiko)
  • Yashiro (矢代): Kazuya Shimizu (清水 一哉, Shimizu Kazuya)
  • JASDF Base Commander: Edo Yamaguchi (エド 山口)
  • Restaurant Owner: Yoichi Okamura (岡村 洋一, Okamura Yōichi)
  • Yukie (幸恵): Makiko Amuro (安室 満樹子, Amuro Makiko)
  • Miku (ミク): Mahiro Endo (遠藤 真宙, Endo Mahiro)
  • Miku's Mother: Michimi Ono (小野日 路美, Ono Michimi)
  • Miku's Father: Kazuya Konaka (小中 和哉, Konaka Kazuya)
  • Shunichi Maki (Child) (真木 舜一 (少年時代), Maki Shun'ichi (Shōnen Jidai no)): Ayumu Hamakawa (濱川 歩, Hamakawa Ayumu)
  • Repairman: Takashi Yamazaki (山崎 崇史, Yamazaki Takashi)
  • JGSDF Communication Soldier: Naoki Ichimura (市村 直樹, Ichimura Naoki)
  • Announcer: Kengo Komada (駒田 健吾, Komada Kengo)
  • Special Forces:
    • Keizo Yabe (矢部 敬三, Yabe Keizo)
    • Hirosuke Nakamura (中村 博亮, Nakamura Hirosuke)
  • Gourmet Reporter: Ryo Kinomoto (木之元 亮, Kinomoto Ryo)
  • Man Watching Street TV: Yuichi Kikuchi (菊地 雄一, Kikuchi Yuichi)

Voice Actors[]

Suit Actors[]

  • Ultraman the Next: Keiji Hasegawa (長谷川 恵司, Hasegawa Keiji)
  • Beast the One: Satoshi Yamamoto (山本 諭, Yamamoto Satoshi)
  • Junya Iwamoto (岩本 淳也, Iwamoto Jun'ya)

Staff[]

Music[]

Opening Theme
  • "ULTRAMAN THE NEXT"
    • Artist: Tak Matsumoto
Ending Theme
  • "NEVER GOOD-BYE"
    • Lyrics: Jack Blades
    • Composer: Matsumoto Takahiro
    • Arranger: Matsumoto Takahiro & Tokunaga Akihito
    • Artist: Tak Matsumoto Group

Original Soundtrack[]

The original soundtrack was produced by Tak Matsumoto (of B'z), under his Vermillion Records label (which is in turn, a part of the Being Giza group). It was released in Japan on July 20, 2005. The catalogue code for the album is BMCV-8015.

Manga[]

Main article: Ultraman THE NEXT

A manga adaptation created by Takahiro Sawaki was serialized in Tokusatsu Ace magazines from December 2004 to April 2005, with a complete tankōbon released in 2008.

Cancelled Sequel[]

Main article: ULTRAMAN2: requiem
ULTRAMAN2 requiem 01

In 2005, Tsuburaya Productions announced that a sequel to this movie, ULTRAMAN2: requiem would be released in winter. However, due to the failure of the Ultra N Project, the sequel was cancelled. The suits for this unmade sequel were remodeled into Zett and Reibatos.

Gallery[]

Images[]

Trivia[]

  • There are several unreleased scenes in this work, which were later included as bonus features on the DVD.[6]
  • The original working title of the film was ULTRAMAN THE NEXT, but it was later changed midway. The original title was subsequently used for the name of the Ultraman appearing in this work, as well as for the title of the manga adaptation.[6]
  • In 2022, with the release of Shin Ultraman, discussions surrounding this movie gradually increased, further becoming a trending topic on Twitter. Notably, ULTRAMAN ranked first in the "Special Effects/Team/Heroes" category on Amazon's bestseller list for DVDs, as it was not released on most major movie distribution services. This led to a reevaluation of its reception in the video software market.[7][8]
  • The film has not been released on Tsuburaya Imagination.

References[]

Productions
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 | 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
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