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Ultraman Zearth (ウルトラマンゼアス, Urutoraman Zeasu) is a movie produced by Tsuburaya Productions in 1996 and was released as a celebration of the Ultraman Series' 30th anniversary, as part of the Ultraman Wonderful World project.

The movie can be watched on Tubi, Shout, Prime Video, and Vudu.

Production[]

Ultraman Zearth 1996 HD 010

The "Ultraman Zearth" was created to portray a "completely different, comedic Ultraman."

In the 1990s, Tsuburaya Productions was planning the "Ultraman 30th Anniversary" project, aimed for a 1996 television broadcast. The project started in the summer of 1994, and from March 1995, characters from Ultraman Neos were introduced through magazines and events. During that time, Kiyoshi Suzuki, who was in charge of producing Ultraman: Towards the Future, decided to launch a new Ultraman project in the form of a theatrical film, separate from Koichi Takano's Ultraman Neos project. This initiative originated in early 1995, around the time Ultraman Neos started gaining exposure, when a corporate collaboration proposal was brought up by a business personnel from the advertising agency Dentsu. At that time, Idemitsu Kosan wanted to promote its clean fuel, "Zearth Gasoline," using Ultraman, not just through TV commercials but also through events and giveaways. Therefore, Suzuki decided to include the production of a theatrical film in the rollout of the new Ultraman.[1]

However, throughout 1995, neither Ultraman Neos nor the alternative "New Ultraman" TV project was accepted by TBS Television. With the TV project still uncertain, the new film planned for release in the spring of 1996 quickly adopted the title "Ultraman 30th Anniversary." This became Ultraman Zearth. The name "Zearth" was decided from the beginning due to the corporate collaboration. A bigger issue was the character setting of Zearth as a hero. If Neos or "New Ultraman" were to be broadcast on TV in April 1996, and Zearth's character leaned towards the 'orthodox' style, it would clash with the image of Ultraman in the TV series.[1]

If Ultraman Zearth and the characters intended to appear in the TV series were too similar, their influence would cancel each other out, which would be detrimental to both. Therefore, the planning team decided to design Zearth as a comedic character, developing him towards three 'goals.' This direction was based on the consideration of using the Ultraman in the TV series as the standard. However, if Zearth was viewed as an 'advertising character,' taking the comedic route was actually quite natural.[1]

Ultraman Zearth 1996 1

The final draft script of Ultraman Zearth.

When determining the character design, the script and design were the most important aspects. The script for this work was handled by Hideka Nagasaka, a screenwriter who had previously worked on multiple series for Tsuburaya Productions. Initially, Nagasaka planned to have his team of writers collectively complete the story framework for Ultraman Zearth. However, this approach lacked coherence, so Nagasaka ended up taking sole responsibility and developed a story that perfectly catered to the needs of the new era.

Regarding the character design, there was initially a general color scheme, but it was eventually decided to reverse the relationship between silver and red from the usual Ultraman design. This change was also a declaration from the production team that "this is a different Ultraman." The design for Zearth was done by Chisato Sugiura. Since the television commercials for Idemitsu Kosan at the time were endorsed by the comedy duo "Tunnels," there was even a suggestion to make one of them an Ultraman. As a result, the design for Zearth underwent numerous changes, with various design sketches from 5-head tall to 6-head tall being preserved.

The director of this work was Nobuya Nakajima, a commercial director representing Tohokushinsha Film Corporation. Nakajima was responsible for Idemitsu Kosan's commercials at the time and had directed Suntory commercials featuring Gamera. It was Dentsu's Shoichi Iida, who handled Idemitsu Kosan's account, who invited Nakajima to direct Ultraman Zearth. Nakajima initially conceived a setting where Noritake Kinashi played the protagonist and Takaaki Ishibashi played the antagonist, but both of them agreed to participate only if their accompanying manager Masaharu Sekiguchi took the lead role. When Nakajima formally joined the project, the first draft of the script, based on this arrangement, had already been completed.[2]

At this point, Nakajima was making his first mid-length work, which would be about 5 minutes long, so he was apprehensive about writing a long script. However, Nagasaka constructed the story from a comedic perspective, proposing a toothbrush-themed concept, and designed the script to have a climactic scene every 15 minutes to keep the audience engaged. Since this work was a theatrical film, 35mm film was used for shooting. The film featured up to 250 composite shots, utilizing digital compositing and CG technology. These composite shots were achieved by converting the footage shot on 35mm film into high-quality digital information for compositing, then creating the master on DI, and converting it back to 35mm film. Although the process was complex, it was the best method at the time to achieve high-quality composite images.[2]

Ultraman Zearth was finally released on March 9, 1996, attracting a large audience and achieving significant success. Near the end of the movie's screening period, around April 20, Mainichi Broadcasting System decided to start airing the "New Ultraman" TV series from September, which later became known as Ultraman Tiga.

Synopsis[]

Ultraman Zearth, a new hero from the Nebula Z95, arrived on Earth. By day, he assumes the role of Mydo team member Katsuto Asahi, operating a disguised gas station. While performing tasks like refueling, he diligently trains to become a full-fledged Ultraman.

One day, a global crisis unfolds as gold mysteriously disappears worldwide. This turns out to be the work of Alien Benzene, afflicted by gas overdose syndrome. Despite Zearth's vulnerabilities being exposed, he confronts the Alien Benzene to protect the beauty of Earth.[3]

Characters[]

Protagonist[]

Mydo[]

Ultras[]

Kaiju[]

Cast[]

Voice Actors[]

  • Midori: Mariko Fukushima (福島 まりこ, Fukushima Mariko)
  • Narrator: Hikaru Urano (浦野 光, Urano Hikaru)

Suit Actors[]

  • Cotton-Poppe: Toshio Miyake (三宅 敏夫, Miyake Toshio)
  • Alien Benzene: Hiroyuki Okano (岡野 弘之, Okano Hiroyuki)
  • Ultraman Zearth: Keiji Hasegawa (長谷川 恵司, Hasegawa Keiji)

Music[]

  • Shuwatch! Ultraman Zearth (シュワッチ!ウルトラマンゼアス, Shuwatchi! Urutoraman Zeasu)
    • Lyrics: Shinya Jinma
    • Composition and Arrangement: James Shimoji
    • Artist: Tunnels

Home Media[]

  • The VHS of the movie was released on January 1, 1997 by Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.
  • Both the first and the second Ultraman Zearth movie was released as a DVD on August 27, 2004 by Bandai Visual.
  • In 2016, both Ultraman Zearth movies were remastered in high definition, and released as a Blu-ray on December 22.[4] Despite being labeled as a remaster, the movies are likely to be upscaled versions of the SD masters.
  • In 2022, both Ultraman Zearth movies were released on DVD with English subtitles by Mill Creek on October 11.[5]

Games[]

Main article: Ultraman Zearth (video game)

A game adaptation of the film was released on PlayStation.

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

Ultraman-Zearth-Original-Title
UltramanZearthPV2TitleLogo
  • The film's title originally had an additional subtitle, Eternal Blue Planet (蒼き星永遠なれ, Aoki Hoshi Eien Nare), before it was removed for the official release.
  • A parody of the film was produced for the comedy show The Tunnels' Thanks to Everyone before the film's premiere.
  • Actors/actresses from the original Ultraman series make cameos:
    • Arashi is a helicopter reporter (which is not too far from what he currently does in real life).
    • Hayata is a night watchman and holds his flashlight up like the Beta Capsule.
    • Fuji is a woman who catches the Mydo plane taking off from a secret base exit, a billboard.
    • Ide is a photographer.
    • Captain Muramatsu is a fisherman.
  • An Ultra Hero Series Ultraman, a larger Ultraman Taro figure, and a Sound Battler Ultraman Powered figure are shown at the beginning of the movie.
  • One of the film's posters oddly depicts Gango, Jirahs, Woo, Pestar, Zaragas, Red King II and Garamon despite them not appearing.
  • Before the preparation of this movie, there was another joint Sino-Japanese production titled Ultraman: Monster Mugen, billed as the "Ultraman 30th Anniversary" film. However, due to issues with the Chinese side and overseas rights involving Chaiyo Productions, the project was ultimately canceled.

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ultra Tokusatsu PERFECT MOOK vol. 37: Ultraman Zearth / Ultraman USA, pg 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ultra Tokusatsu PERFECT MOOK vol. 37: Ultraman Zearth / Ultraman USA, pg 5
  3. https://m-78.jp/videoworks/ultraman_zearth/
  4. https://m-78.jp/news/n-3910
  5. https://twitter.com/MillCreekEnt/status/1572967694177308677

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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