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Ultraman Ace (ウルトラマンAエース, Urutoraman Ēsu) is the fifth show in the Ultraman Series, and it contains 52 episodes. It was aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 7, 1972 to March 30, 1973.

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

Production

Project proposals ACE

The various project proposals submitted during the planning stage of Ultraman Ace, as well as the final project proposal.[1]

This series was produced as a follow-up program to The Return of Ultraman. In 1971, with Return of Ultraman becoming a popular show on TBS at the time, TBS decided to approve the production of a sequel Ultraman series around November. Therefore, this new project was primarily led by TBS producer Yoji Hashimoto and Tsuburaya Productions producer Ken Kumagai. The planning and scriptwriting methods proposed by Hashimoto were put up for competition among three screenwriters: Shinichi Ichikawa, Shozo Uehara, and Seikō Shigemitsu Taguchi. In early 1972, each of them submitted their respective project proposals. They were Ichikawa's Ultra Hunter (ウルトラハンター, Urutora Hantā), Uehara's Ultra Fighter (ウルトラファイター, Urutora Faitā), and Tanaka's Ultra V (ウルトラVブイ, Urutora Bui).[2]

Firstly, Ultra Hunter has a highly original concept, emphasizing the combination of male courage and female tenderness. This idea is built upon the concept of individuals being born complete and is developed through Ichikawa's unique perspective as a Christian. In this narrative, Hokuto and Minami, through "Ultra Touch," merge to become Ultraman, transcending gender notions and symbolizing a complete humanity, kindness, and divinity—a concept of Ultraman born entirely beyond gender boundaries. Hokuto and Minami belong to the Earth United Forces, and the basic plot of the story revolves around their fight against the invasion of the Andromeda Space Corps, which manipulates space monsters like Bem.[2]

Uehara's Ultra Warrior narrates the story of Jun Amano (天野 潤, Amano Jun), a member of the Defense Team, who begins to battle after inheriting the power of an Ultraman from the Nebula M78. This Ultraman is set as one of the Ultra Brothers and shares the same worldview as Return of Ultraman. The antagonist of this project is Dr. Takehara, who, due to his research, is accused of demonic acts, loses his social status, and becomes a permanent antagonist. The basic plot revolves around Takehara seeking revenge against humanity by controlling monsters with machines, portraying a story where resentment becomes the core of humanization by setting the enemies as humans.[2]

Ultra V is a project designed with children's perspectives in mind, aiming to portray monsters in a more appealing light. This concept embodies the idea of "Terrible-Monsters," where these creatures are conceived as a fusion of Earthly and cosmic beings, manufactured by the Alien Satan, who target Earth, using giant machines. The protagonist is a V-man from the Nebula 72 destroyed by the Alien Satan. On Earth, he assumes the alias of Goro Ryu (竜 五郎, Ryū gorō), becoming a member of the Special Science Division, leading a normal human life and working. After undergoing scrutiny by relevant personnel, these three projects were eventually amalgamated into the official proposal Ultra Fighter (ウルトラファイター, Urutora Faitā), which was produced under the auspices of the TBS.[2][3]

The release of the Ultra Fighter project proposal likely took place in late January, marking the beginning of preparatory work. In this proposal, Ultra Fighter is designated as the fifth member of the Ultra Brothers, with the defense team set as TAC. The adversary for Ultra Fighter is Alien Satan. Hokuto and Minami's lovers are killed due to Alien Satan's attack on Earth. As adults, Hokuto and Minami meet in a mountain cabin from their memories and receive the power of Ultra Fighter from a messenger of the Galactic Federation.[4]

Ultra A

The project proposal for Ultra Ace.

After further modifications, the project was officially named Special Effects Terrible-Monster Series: Ultra Ace (特撮超獣シリーズ ウルトラエース, Tokusatsu Chōjū Shirīzu Urutora Ēsu). This proposal, co-produced by Tsuburaya Productions and TBS, was used to explain the project details to relevant parties. The enemy was changed to Yapool, and the main storyline includes a night attack on Hiroshima City by Super Beasts and the meeting of Hokuto, a gas station attendant, and Minami, a nurse. In the previous proposal, both characters bore the cross-shaped stigmata as a warrior's mark on their arms, but in this proposal, the warrior symbol was adjusted to Ultra Rings given by Ultra Ace. The production memo during the planning phase highlighted the advantage of featuring Terrible-Monsters themed around creatures familiar to children, clearly distinguishing them from monsters/aliens in other series.[4]

Ultra A 2

Before the series aired, promotional preview images were published in magazine issues, noting that the series title at that time was still Ultra Ace.[5][6][7]

The scriptwriting for Ultra Ace proceeded as planned, with Ichikawa serving as the main writer. The content proposed by Ichikawa was expanded or organized by Uehara and Taguchi, with the three taking turns. However, this mechanism began to encounter problems after about one quarter. The rotational method made it difficult to maintain consistency in character depiction, and the three had different views on key parts of the plot, leading to many inconsistencies. This included insufficient characterization of Minami and the incomplete realization and presentation of Ichikawa's envisioned concept of "Yapool." Due to the risk of losing the main storyline, Ichikawa stopped writing the scripts and left the production team after episode 14. Producer Kumagai then invited Toshiro Ishido to join from episode 16 onwards.[4]

Although the scriptwriting work continued under the name Ultra Ace until episode 6, trademark issues led to a change in the program title and character names to Ultraman Ace in early March. Ultraman Ace entered the third quarter following changes in the "program extension and reinforcement plan." A significant change was the eradication of Yapool at the end of the second quarter, actively depicted by Tadashi Mafune, followed by Taguchi's portrayal of the invasion by Alien Hipporit and the appearance of Father of Ultra. Later, Kumagai forcefully wrote Minami's departure from Earth, shifting Ultraman Ace from a storyline centered around "goodness" to one focusing on the concept of "justice" as a contrasting theme. After numerous changes in direction, the directors shifted the emphasis from character depiction to enhancing action scenes.[4][8]

As the series neared its conclusion, Ichikawa resumed writing for episodes 48 and 52. Hashimoto persuaded Ichikawa to personally conclude the series, and Ichikawa responded to this request by depicting Hokuto's "wish" of abandoning his human identity in the final episode.[9]This represented Ichikawa's entire vision of what "Ultraman" symbolized. This "wish" still embodied "goodness," symbolizing transcendence. Hokuto, merging with Ultraman Ace, hoped to be a role model for the next generation of children, encouraging them to believe in this transcendence no matter what. This brought closure to the storylines of both Yapool and Ultraman Ace.[10]

Synopsis

Yapool, an ancient interdimensional race of beings tries to conquer the Planet Earth with his army of monsters, called Terrible-Monsters. The newest member of the Ultra Brothers, Ultraman Ace, arrives on Earth to aid humanity in the battle against Yapool. Touched by the sacrifices of Seiji Hokuto and Yuko Minami, he revives them and grants them the Ultra Rings, which allows them to transform into Ultraman Ace in times of need.

Characters

TAC

Umezu Family

Antagonist

Ultras

Kaiju

Cast

Voice Actors

  • Ultraman Ace (ウルトラマンエース, Urutoraman Ēsu): Voiced by Goro Naya (納谷 悟朗, Naya Gorō)
  • Ultraman (ウルトラマン, Urutoraman): Voiced by Mahito Tsujimura
  • Zoffy (ゾフィー, Zofī): Voiced by Osamu Saka (episodes 5 & 35), Goro Naya (episode 5 grunt), Masao Nakasone (episodes 5, 13 and 26 grunt), Osamu Ichikawa (episode 13), Keisuke Yamashita (episode 23)
  • Ultraseven (ウルトラセブン, Urutorasebun): Voiced by Osamu Saka
  • Ultraman Jack (ウルトラマンジャック, Urutoraman Jakku): Voiced by Keisuke Yamashita (episode 13)
  • Father of Ultra (ウルトラの父, Urutora no Chichi): Voiced by Masao Nakasone (low-pitch grunts), Tetsuya Kaji (speaking voice)
  • Yapool (ヤープル, Yapurū): Tatsuhiko Takada (高田 裕史, Takada Tatsuhiko)

Suit Actors

  • Ultraman Ace (ウルトラマンエース, Urutoraman Ēsu): Tadashi Nakanishi (中西正, Nakanishi Tadashi) (1-2) & Shoji Takeuchi (武内正治, Takeuchi Shoji)
  • Terrible-Monster (超獣, Chōjū): Toru Kawai (河合 徹, Kawai Tōru) (1-12, 25-39, 41-47), Isao Zushi (図師勲, Zushi Isao) (13-24), Tokio Yamaji (矢島登喜男, Yamaji Tokio) (48-52), Kinichi Kusumi (久須美 欽一, Kusumi Kin'ichi) (41-42)

Music

Home Media

A Malaysian DVD was released in 2014. It contains a Cantonese/Chinese dub, English subtitles, Chinese subtitles and Malay subtitles.

Mill Creek Entertament released the complete series on May 26, 2020, under the Steelbook and Blu-ray releases.

Gallery

Trivia

    • Up till this point, "Ultra" had been the title, not "Ultraman", as indicated by the name of Ultraseven. (Ultraman Jack had originally intended to be an updated design of the original Ultraman, and had not been given his name yet.) This meant that "Ultra" would now be used as a general term to refer to all Residents of the Land of Light, as well as the Ultra Heroes of other planets and continuities later in the franchise.
    • Had this been the case, it would have also meant that Ultraman would be the only Ultra with the title of Ultraman, and all the others would be known as Ultra -- like Ultraseven. It is unknown what this would have entailed for Ultraman Jack.
  • This is the first series to introduce a being of light that is not part of the Ultra Brothers, that of course being Father of Ultra, the Top Commander of the Inter Galactic Defense Force.
  • This the first Ultraman Series which contains a preview of the next episode at the end of the episode.

External Links

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 | 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
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