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Ultraman Gaia (ウルトラマンガイア, Urutoraman Gaia) is a Japanese tokusatsu TV show and is the 14th show in the Ultraman Series. It was created by Chiaki J. Konaka and produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Mainichi Broadcasting System.

The series can be watched on Tubi and Roku.

Production[]

ULTRAMAN 98

The draft proposal for Ultraman '98 (tentative), written in May 1998.[1]

Tsuburaya Productions achieved significant success with the high-quality content of their TV series Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna, produced between 1996 and 1997. By the end of 1997, it was decided internally to produce the third installment of the "Heisei Ultraman" series.

At that time, the planning stakeholders included Tsuburaya Productions, Mainichi Broadcasting System, Yomiuri Advertising, Bandai, and Kodansha. When deciding to produce the third installment, the discussion atmosphere indicated that, unlike the previous work Ultraman Dyna, which was positioned as a "sequel to Tiga," this new series should change direction and adopt an entirely new world view. Therefore, the setting was completely altered compared to the previous two series, with the new world view no longer being interconnected, and the time period setting almost coinciding with the broadcast year.[2][3]

In 1998, simultaneous with the production of Ultraman Dyna, planning meetings for the new series began, gradually establishing its direction. After numerous discussions, several key points for the new series were finalized, including: "enhancing the series by using the concept of Taiga drama as a model," "introducing two competing Ultraman," "establishing a recurring enemy throughout the series," "incorporating bold transforming machinery and rich mechanical effects," and "forming a special investigation team composed of land, sea, and air experts." Tsuburaya Productions also added two more points: "continuing the human Ultraman concept" and "depicting themes close to the heart, set in modern times." Based on these points, the project plan was further developed.[2]

The subsequent planning and setting work was undertaken by Tsuburaya Productions and Yomiuri Advertising. Initially, three writers submitted their own proposals, all of which depicted another Ultraman as a "brother," but failed to break through the traditional framework and were not adopted. By April, Masato Oida and Nobuyuki Koyama from Tsuburaya Productions began collaborating with Yomiuri Advertising to compile new proposals.[3]

Oida's intention at the time was to comprehensively enhance the inherent appeal of Ultraman. Carrying a hastily organized proposal document from the planning department, he visited Chiaki J. Konaka, who had previously participated as a screenwriter for Ultraman Tiga, inviting him to join the new project in the capacity of a head writer. After accepting the proposal, Konaka presented his own ideas, including making the protagonist younger, strengthening the realism of team roles, such as by adding an aerial team, and creating unprecedented enemy images. These ideas were generally approved, and Konaka was confirmed as a head writer.[2][3][4][5]

The basis of the mechanical design this time was the hexagonal prism container machinery and the aerial mothership base, a design proposed early on by Bandai. Konaka incorporated a thrust reverser into the mechanical design, closely linking it with the concept of the "Alchemy Stars," further elucidating the protagonist's background.[2]

Ultraman Gaia Poster 1998 2

The first promotional poster of Ultraman Gaia.

In May 1998, Hirochika Muraishi joined the meeting as the lead director. His idea was to break away from the traditional framework followed by previous Ultraman series, emphasizing the collaboration of professionals against formidable enemies. The special effects director was Kazuo Sagawa. Konaka began advancing the establishment of the Ultraman image, based on the concept of "Ultraman grounded on Earth," further developing the concept of "human Ultraman" from the previous two works, emphasizing the protagonist's strong will, which foreshadowed dramatic plot developments. Thus, the character names emerged from the Gaia hypothesis, a concept related to the Earth's environment, and were established as "Ultraman Gaia" and "Ultraman Agul." They have conflicting philosophies in regards to defending the Earth from a mysterious, malevolent, and extremely intelligent cosmic entity. The first half of the series explores the growing tension between them, and their eventual clash. The second half has them reconcile their differences so they can defeat their common enemy.[6]

At the stage when the planning was roughly finalized, all participating writers gathered for a general meeting. Hosted by Konaka, the meeting confirmed the basic direction of this series. Firstly, Konaka announced the emphasis on scientific research and presented relevant data. Then, Oida outlined the overall development and goals of the plot, including the timing of the two Ultraman's confrontation and Gaia's upgrade. Each writer's main responsibilities were discussed, and detailed decisions were shared through fax and other means. These writer meetings were held weekly until the content for the first quarter was finalized. In these meetings, Konaka acted as the main adjuster of the story flow and coordinator of concepts, emphasizing plots not relying on character backgrounds and highlighting characters as professionals. The recurring enemy throughout the series was given a name, but since these enemies wouldn't physically appear like Yapool, the term "Radical Destruction Bringer" that Konaka used to explain the concept of the enemy was eventually adopted.[6][3]

Regarding the main concept of the project, Konaka once stated that the plot of Ultraman Gaia was related to contemporary issues such as the Kyoto Protocol, depicting how modern humans might need to address environmental problems, such as environmental destruction, wildlife extinction, and pushing the Earth itself towards destruction.[7] Meanwhile, monsters were portrayed as beings coexisting with the Earth, awakening due to the Radical Destruction Bringer Event. In the first half of the story, Gamu fought and defeated the monsters in battles, but in the latter half, Gamu realized that the monsters were also Earth's creatures, and innocently defeating them would be detrimental to the future of the Earth. Additionally, from the outset, there was a hope to influence children, the main audience, to have a positive concept of the future through the series, avoiding being constrained by apocalyptic views and encouraging them to embrace the possibilities of the future through correct scientific progress.[8]

ULTRAMAN 98 2

The main actors of Ultraman Gaia participated in the production press conference.[9]

Hiroshi Maruyama was in charge of designing both Ultraman, and Kaigome Productions and the modeling department accelerated the modeling work. On June 22, 1998, the special effects team of Ultraman Gaia began filming. The main filming began on July 3. Ultraman Gaia was officially announced at a program production presentation on July 16, marking the formal production of the series.[6][10]

There were no more full meetings of writers after the second quarter. As the image of the entire work had been established among all participants, the writers began creating scripts in the usual manner. The writers responsible for the crucial episodes from 23 to 26 completed their scripts through collaborative discussions. The third quarter was originally set to be a period emphasizing diversity. Konaka also took a relatively conservative approach, with the only requirement being to enhance the global perspective, requesting Keiichi Hasegawa and Muraishi to set the stage overseas and introduce a female protagonist when they collaborated.[6][10]

Considering the plan in the first quarter where Agul's powers were absorbed by Gaia and he exited the stage, it was decided to retain Agul/Fujimiya from the start of the second quarter due to his strong appeal to children and his significance in the story. His revival was then considered after the third quarter. Eventually, when planning the fourth quarter, a climax scene was arranged for Agul's triumphant return.[6] This series, like its predecessors, achieved success in both toy sales and viewership ratings.[11]

Synopsis[]

Gamu Takayama is a 20 year old member of an organization called Alchemy Stars. After a monster known as C.O.V. attacked the Earth, Gamu falls through a portal of light and meets the giant: Ultraman Gaia, who gives him his powers. Later, when Gaia was in trouble in episode three, another Ultraman, Ultraman Agul appeared. Can they save the Earth? Who is Agul, is he friend or foe? Later in the series it is seen that Agul, too, is a being of justice, but only protects the Earth, not humanity. The conflict between the two later leads to a duel, opening a wormhole that allows a giant beast to reach Earth. What will happen then?

Characters[]

Protagonists[]

GUARD[]

XIG[]

Operation Crew[]
Team Lightning[]
Team Falcon[]
Team Crow[]
Team Hercules[]
Team Seagull[]
Team Marlin[]

Alchemy Stars[]

KCB[]

Others[]

Ultras[]

Kaiju[]

Cast[]

Suit Actors[]

Music[]

Opening Theme
Insert Themes
Ending Themes

Home Media[]

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • While cleaning out his closet in 2020, star actor Takeshi Yoshioka found production plans for the series. This revealed that the working title of the series was simply "Ultraman '98" at the time, XIG was called DOG, Gamu Takayama was called Gamu Takama (高間 我夢, Takama Gamu), and Hiroya Fujimiya was to act as a sort of "elder brother" figure to Gamu.[1]

External Links[]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 https://x.com/takeshiyoshioka/status/1251298675671699456/
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Ultra Tokusatsu PERFECT MOOK vol. 14: Ultraman Gaia, pg 4
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Ultraman Gaia (TV Magazine Special Edition) pg 76
  4. http://www.konaka.com/alice6/ultra/characters.pdf
  5. http://www.konaka.com/alice6/ultra/mission.pdf
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Ultra Tokusatsu PERFECT MOOK vol. 14: Ultraman Gaia, pg 5
  7. Ultra Tokusatsu Perfect Mook Vol.14: Ultraman Gaia pg 21
  8. http://www.konaka.com/alice6/ultra/gaia_ps.html
  9. https://x.com/hasseijackson/status/1031150835248463872/
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ultraman Gaia (TV Magazine Special Edition) pg 77
  11. https://www.sanspo.com/article/20230329-TGD63U7TBJIVPEKMKSNBNTSQCU/

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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