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Ultraman Taro (ウルトラマンタロウ, Urutoraman Tarō) is the sixth entry of the Ultraman Series. It aired on Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 6, 1973 to April 5, 1974.

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

Production[]

ULTRA JACK

The initial project proposal for the Ultra Jack series[1]

In 1972, the TV series Ultraman Ace achieved a certain level of success during its broadcast, but there were issues of instability in the production process. Within TBS, there was a proposal to give the series a one-year break after the airing of Ultraman Ace. However, thanks to the efforts of TBS producer Yoji Hashimoto, the series continued, and planning for the next installment began in October 1972.

The core members of the new project included Yoji Hashimoto, producer Ken Kumagai from Tsuburaya Productions, and Shigemitsu Taguchi from the planning department. With the rise of the monster craze, Tsuburaya Productions began producing various new tokusatsu series and celebrated its 10th anniversary. In 1973, the company released the first film of the "10th Anniversary of Tsuburaya Productions" series, Daigoro vs. Goliath, as well as Fireman and Jumborg Ace, which started airing in 1973.[2]

Therefore, the brand-new "Ultraman" series was positioned as a commemorative work right from the planning stage. Tsuburaya Productions submitted a proposal to TBS titled Special Effects Science Fiction Series: Ultra Jack (特撮空想科学シリーズ ウルトラジャック, Tokusatsu Kūsō Kagaku Shirīzu Urutora Jakku). The core content of this proposal included "a superhuman with eleven superpowers, who is also the sixth brother in the Ultra Brothers," continuing the Ultra Brothers concept inspired by Ultraman Ace. It also emphasized the importance of directly appealing to children. To achieve this, the series aimed for stronger entertainment effects and included space as a stage. The setting proposed "space monsters" as enemies, which had unique abilities, along with various machines and developing weapons to combat them.[2][3]

This focus on entertainment was influenced by the fact that this was the fifth installment in the Ultraman series. However, the team strongly desired to conclude the series in its third year and temporarily wrap it up, so the goal became to pursue spectacular visuals and entertainment value. In the conceptual plan for Ultra Jack, the story begins with Kotaro, who sacrifices himself to save his comrade Nishida, whom he regards as a younger brother. Kotaro releases the fuel of the aircraft "Swallow" to lure the space monster Astromons into space, resulting in his own death. Subsequently, Kotaro is revived by the Ultra Brothers and receives a Ultra Badge that allows him to transform into Ultra Jack. This initial concept emphasized the protagonist's courage and decisiveness, with the ability to transform being granted very quickly. Although the Ultra Brothers were involved in Ultra Jack's creation, the existence of the Mother of Ultra was not mentioned. The subsequent story would focus on the battles between Ultra Jack and the space monsters as the main highlight.[4]

Ultraman Jack 1973

Proposal for Ultraman Jack and Production Memorandum for Ultraman Star[1]

Tsuburaya Productions created another proposal based on this concept, titled Ultraman Jack (ウルトラマンジャック, Urutoraman Jakku). The content of this proposal was almost unchanged from "Ultra Jack," but considering the feedback from the successful merchandise sales of the previous two series, responding to commercialization became an important part of the production company's business strategy. To recoup the significant costs of tokusatsu production, commercialization became an indispensable business tactic. Therefore, designing a large number of ZAT machines also became a prominent feature of the series.[4]

Finally, Tsuburaya Productions and TBS jointly produced a "Production Memorandum" titled Ultraman Star (ウルトラマンスター, Urutoraman Sutā). The goals and content of this memorandum did not significantly differ from the previous proposal. At this point, the most challenging issue was the title. Besides Ultraman Jack and Ultraman Star, other considered titles included Ultraman Fighter (ウルトラマンファイター, Urutoraman Faitā), Ultraman King (ウルトラマンキング, Urutoraman Kingu), Ultraman Guts (ウルトラマンガッツ, Urutoraman Gattsu), Ultraman Z (ウルトラマンZ, Urutoraman Zetto), Ultraman Hunter (ウルトラマンハンター, Urutoraman Hantā), Ultraman 6 (ウルトラマン6, Urutoraman Shikkusu), and Ultraman 006 (ウルトラマン006, Urutoraman Zero Zero Shikkusu). However, due to the frequent hijacking incidents occurring worldwide at the time, the team decided to avoid using the name "Jack" because its Japanese phonetic similarity to the word "hijack." Consequently, an alternative quickly emerged: transforming the meaning of "Jack" into a more Japanese-style name—Ultraman Taro.[4] The reasoning behind this was that Jack is a popular name for fairy tale heroes in the West, but Taro was settled upon as the Japanese equivalent.

The decision to rename the series to Ultraman Taro stemmed from the desire of the planning team to steer the story towards a "fantasy" style. Head writer Shigemitsu Taguchi decided to base the episodes of this series on the popular Showa-era Japanese fairy tale magazine Neo-fairy tale. Taguchi later mentioned that he was also inspired by the fantastical world of One Thousand and One Nights. This approach balanced Ultraman's mysterious image with the bizarre settings of space monsters, avoiding an overly realistic tone. Additionally, the Neo-fairy tale concept made the settings and performances more vibrant and uplifting.[5][6]

Taguchi referred to the elements present in each episode as "Haptic Perception," which describes the sense of coexistence between humans and monsters. This series featured more direct confrontations between humans and monsters, and the visual representation was influenced by the Neo-fairy tale effect, making it more straightforward. Consequently, the worldview of Ultraman Taro was expressed through "mystery and peculiarity" as well as "Neo-fairy tale and Haptic Perception," maintaining a balance between these two extremes and ensuring the show's stability.[4][7]

Ultraman Taro 1973

The initial promotional title for the announcement of Ultraman Taro

The main filming crew shot the series at Tokyo Movie Studios. After its broadcast, Ultraman Taro achieved considerable success in viewership ratings, with the first episode reaching a rating of 20.7%, and the second half of the series frequently surpassing 20%, maintaining an average rating of around 17%. This positive trend was well-received within TBS.[4]

With the success of Ultraman Taro, the idea of a "sequel project" became a natural consideration. When planning the next work, Kumagai realized the importance of reintroducing popular monsters from the past. Due to delays in the production of the next series, Ultraman Leo, Taro was extended by one episode, making it the longest-running series in the Showa-era Ultraman series.

Synopsis[]

Kotaro Higashi trained to be a boxer, but after an incident with Astromons, he was killed. However, his body was brought to Nebula M78 where the Mother of Ultra saved his life by merging him with Ultraman Taro. Taro had spent many years training, honing his skills based on those of the other Ultra Brothers to become strong. The two returned to Earth, as a new Kaiju era was beginning.

Characters[]

ZAT[]

Others[]

Ultras[]

Kaiju[]

Cast[]

  • Kotaro Higashi (東 光太郎, Higashi Kōtarō): Saburo Shinoda (篠田 三郎, Shinoda Saburō)
  • Yutaro Asahina (朝日奈 勇太郎, Asahina Yūtarō): Akira Nagoya (名古屋 章, Nagoya Akira)
  • Shuuhei Aragaki (荒垣 修平, Aragaki Shūhei): Takahiko Tono (東野 孝彦, Tōno Takahiko)
  • Tadao Nanbara (南原 忠男, Nanbara Tadao): Toyoyuki Kimura (木村 豊幸, Kimura Toyoyuki)
  • Jiro Nishida (西田 次郎, Nishida Jirō): Kiyotaka Mitsugi (三ツ木 清隆, Mitsugi Kiyotaka) (1-7, 13)
  • Izumi Moriyama (森山 いずみ, Moriyama Izumi): Kiyoko Matsuya (松谷 紀代子, Matsuya Kiyoko)
  • Tetsuya Kitajima (北島 哲也, Kitajima Tetsuya): Hidesuke Tsumura (津村 秀祐, Tsumura Hidesuke)
  • Takashi Ueno (上野 孝, Ueno Takashi): Akihiko Nishijima (西島 明彦, Nishijima Akihiko) (8-30, 33-35)
  • Kazumi Nitani (二谷 一美 Nitani Kazumi): Noboru Mitani (三谷 昇, Mitani Noboru)
  • Saori Shiratori (白鳥 さおり, Shiratori Saori): Mayumi Asaka (あさか まゆみ, Asaka Mayumi) (1-16), Keiko Ono (小野 恵子, Ono Keiko) (20-53)
  • Kenichi Shiratori (白鳥 健一, Shiratori Ken'ichi): Shinya Saito (斎藤 信也, Saitō Shin'ya)
  • Lady in Green (緑のおばさん, Midori no Obasan)/Mother of Ultra (ウルトラの母, Urutora no Haha, Voice): Peggy Hayama (ペギー 葉山, Pegī Hayama)
  • Narrator: Tetsuro Sagawa (瑳川 哲朗, Sagawa Tetsurō), Akira Nagoya

Cast Changes[]

Throughout the series, multiple cast changes were made. These were done for several reasons.

  • Mayumi Asuka stepped down from her role as Saori, and was replaced in episode 20 by Keiko Ono.
  • Akihiko Nishijima decided to leave after episode 35 to film for another show, Ginza NOW!

Music[]

Opening Theme
  • Ultraman Taro (ウルトラマンタロウ, Urutoraman Tarō)
    • Lyrics: Yū Aku
    • Composer-arranger: Makoto Kawaguchi
    • Song: Tarō Takemura, boys and girls choir lake. Uncredited synth arrangements by Higurashi Masanobu.
Insert Songs
  • Ultra Roku Kyodai (ウルトラ六兄弟, Urutora Roku Kyōdai, lit. "Ultra 6 Brothers")
    • Lyrics: Yū Aku
    • Composition & Arrangement: Makoto Kawaguchi
    • Artist: Ryōichi Fukuzawa (武村 太郎, Fukuzawa Ryōichi), Mizuumi Boys and Girls Choir
    • Episodes 18, 25, 33 and 34
Other Songs
Episode Song
Episode 23 "Gentle Daddy Monster!" "Rainbow Dreams"
Episode 24 "This Is the Land of Ultra!" "Musique de l'infini"
Episode 25 "Burn On! The Six Ultra Brothers" "Musique de l'infini"
Episode 29 "Bemstar Resurrected! Taro Absolutely Sacrificed!" "Les Mysteres du Cosmos"
Episode 31 "Danger! Lying Poison Mushroom" "Funky Monkey Baby"
Episode 34 "The Last Day of the Six Ultra Brothers!" "Once In My Country"
"House In The Plain"
"Xylo Conception"
Episode 36 "Coward! The Breed Cried" "Musique de l'infini"
"Electric Days"
Episode 39 "The Father of Ultra and Son Big Mochi-Making Strategy" "La Guerre Des Bouffons"
"Sloane Square"
"Sonatine Pour Un Métallophone"
Episode 40 "Go Beyond the Ultra Brothers!" "Escale sur Jupiter"
"Deuil et douleur"
"Catastrophe et Séisme"
Episode 41 "Mother's Wish-A Mid-Winter Cherry Blossom Blizzard" "Escale sur Jupiter"
"La Guerre Des Bouffons"
Episode 43 "Pickle the Monster With Salt!" "Music A 7"
"Le Défilé Des Moustiques"
"One two two"
"La Panthere Cosmique"
Episode 46 "The White Rabbit Is a Bad Guy!" "Slippery Scales"
"Le Gâteau D'Anniversaire"
Episode 47 "The Monster Master" "A L'Aube De L'An 2000"
"Les Mysteres du Cosmos"
Episode 48 "Monster Girl's Festival" "Music A 7"
"Moogy-Boogy"
"La Guerre Des Bouffons"
"Aim Out"
"Love Dial 6700"
"Girl with Roses"
"Relationships of Others"
Episode 49 "Sing! Monster Big Match" "Paris 2000"
"My Blue Bird"
Episode 50 "The Monster Sign is V" "Ballet Intersideral"
"La Guerre Des Bouffons"
"Le Gâteau D'Anniversaire"
"Sonatine Pour Un Métallophone"
"Sign is V"
"Jeu A Quatre"
Episode 52 "Steal the Ultra Life!" "Musique de l'infini"
"Catastrophe et Séisme"

Home Media[]

An English-subtitled DVD set was released by the Malaysian company VGB Network; however, a few grammatical errors were made during the subtitling.

A Blu-ray remaster was released in 2017 through Amazon Prime.

Mill Creek announced on October 22, 2020 the official release of both a standard and SteelBook Blu-ray of Ultraman Taro. January 12, 2021 was the release date of both of these versions of Ultraman Taro.

Manga[]

Main article: Ultraman Taro (manga)

The Ultraman Taro manga series was written and illustrated by Ken Ishikawa, Mangaka (Manga Author) who co-created Getter Robo with Go Nagai, ran in Weekly Shōnen Sunday. Like the Getter Robo manga series, the Taro manga is very dark and violent despite its childish appearance. Although it follows a different story, it also touches on "the reason why Ultraman protects the Earth", and there is a part in it that is similar to the Heisei Ultraman series in later years.

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • The Ultra Brothers appeared frequently in this series and it was in their later appearances that drastically changed how they appear. Examples include: Ultras with orange eyes (done to conserve the budget of the lightbulbs in the eyes), Jack sharing the same suit as Ultraman with more silver than red, and the design on the bottom looks like a female, Ultraseven without ears in episode 40, which would happen again on the premiere of Ultraman Leo, and finally, Jack with red gloves and boots in episode 52.
  • Ultraman Taro was filmed alongside Jumborg Ace and Fireman.
  • At the time ratings were falling, and as Tsuburaya felt Ultraman Ace had been a bit too dark at times, they took a lighter approach in Taro to please children. Ironically, this lost even more views from older fans, causing the series to be followed by Ultraman Leo, often considered the darkest and grittiest entry in the Showa era Ultraman Series.
  • Due to production problems with the next series, Ultraman Leo, Tsuburaya extended Taro's run for several episodes.
  • The series' logo stylizes "Taro" with the English letter T (ウルトラマンTタロウ), but unlike Ultraman Ace and Ultraman Great, official sources rarely refer to the series as such,[9][10][11][12] with some exceptions.[13][14]

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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