Ultraman the Next (ウルトラマン・ザ・ネクスト Urutoraman za Nekusuto), or simply called 'Ultraman' in his world, is the devolved form of Ultraman Noa that he reverted into while he was chasing Beast the One upon entering Earth's atmosphere. In this form many of his powers were locked, which he later regained as time passed. The Next was also made as a remake of the original Ultraman, as a result he also known simply as "Ultraman" in his universe, with "The Next" being his code name from the military.
The Next's name is meant to symbolize that this Ultra is the start of the Next Generation of the Ultra Series.
Becoming the Next
Arriving on Earth and merging its life with F-15 pilot Shunichi Maki, the being slowly grew within him. After the Japanese self-defense force lost the One, they brought the man under custody, believing he could be the one to lure the beast back. The plan worked, but The One had increased in power and size by absorbing a swarm of lizards right before their eyes. However, trapped in a cell beneath the floor, Maki began to change. Blowing the door off with a burst of light and emerging, the human was swatted like an insect and sent flying into the wall where his change began to go full force.
Facing the One
Maki transformed into the Next, a humanoid warrior from the stars. The two titans battle raged within the warehouse, but when the creature threatened Sara’s life, Next dove in front of the tail, taking several whips before forcing the creature into retreat where it broke through the wall and vanished into the wilderness.
When Sara and Maki met up with the creature, it lashed out again after tricking Sara. The fight between the two was once again raging, but when it became evident that he could not defeat the hero, the beast absorbed a swarm of rats and grew into an even bigger form. Once the monster escaped, it began to attack the city. By the time Next came out of the hole, buildings were burning and falling. One building was about to fall on a young girl and her mother.
Advent to Junis
Rushing toward the falling building that was going to crush the young girl and her mother, Next evolved into his next form. The super being propped himself under the structure and held it up long enough for the pair to escape, but The One saw this and attacked. The battle for the city, and possibly the world, started yet again. When the creature began unleashing balls of energy from its jaws, the Next took to the skies.
After absorbing a flock of crows, the One followed vigorously. The two warriors began to dog fight, dodging and attacking one another until the monster used its tail to hold the giant still and pull him in. It began to bash the hero and feed on his energy until the air force arrived, attacking the monster and allowing Ultraman to escape and hit the fiend with two energy cutters, severing its wings and sending the beast falling to the ground.
Once landed, the red and silver giant had little trouble, using his most powerful attack, the Evol-Ray Schtrom, the space beast was vaporized. After this Ultraman honored Maki's request to fly with his son and revived his life force. However as a result Ultraman was forced to go to sleep to regain his energy back.
Ultraman Nexus - Later Years
- Main article: Ultraman Nexus (character)
Many years after the Next finished his battle with the One, Ultraman awoke from his slumber bearing his fully developed form, Nexus. In this form he merged with other humans, and recovering some of his powers. After he merged with Kazuki Komon, he obtained all of his powers, and became Ultraman Noa, his true form, and defeated his sworn enemy, Dark Zagi, and then stayed on Earth to defeat the remaining Space Beast, with Kazuki Komon as his host.
Ultraman Zero The Movie: Super Deciding Fight! The Belial Galactic Empire
Ultraman Noa, who appears in this film is the same one who was once the Next. Noa gives the Shield of Baraji, a gathering of spiritual light from all the combatants fighting Ultraman Belial and his army, to Ultraman Zero, granting him his Ultimate Zero form.
During the Dark Spark War, the Next is one of the Ultras seen fighting the deluge of monsters. He was also transformed into a Spark Doll by the Dark Spark. Unlike his prior appearance, he was fighting in Anphans as a giant like the other Ultras.
- Age: 350,000 years or older
- Eyes: The Next appeared to have no difficulty fighting the One in a dimly lit environment.
- Energy Core: The Next's equivalent to a Color Timer, unlike the normal one it is located with in the body not outside. It goes of when the Deunamist is reaching their physical limits. Unlike a normal Color Timer, it does not change color but flashes yellow and makes a noise similar to a heartbeat.
- Stratos Edge (ストラトスエッジ Sutoratosu Ejji): The blades on the Next's arms, with concentration they can charge energy either for the Elbow Cutter or Lambda Slasher. In Junis, they are enhanced and fully developed allowing for the use of the Evol-Ray Schtrom. They are the precursors of Nexus' Armed Nexus.
- Ultra Armor: Unlike most Ultras, the Next's Ultra Armor does not cover his entire body leaving his sinew like flesh exposed. In Junis where the armor was fully developed, while not immune to the momentum, took the One's fireballs without visible damage, whereas entire buildings were being destroyed by them.
Unlike most Ultras and his succeeding form, the Next doesn't use any manner of device to transform. Maki transformed by pure will although the first time may have been due to the blow he received and the light was trying to save his life. Afterwards he transformed by his own volition. The process begins with his eyes glowing red and The Next's energy lines appearing all over his body as it glows, the light turns blue and he transforms. The blue also appears when he changes back.
Anphans (アンファンス Anfansu) is the Next's first form, it has all the basic powers attributed with Ultramen. It was the result of Maki's and Ultraman's incomplete merger and Maki's unpreparedness. Afterwards it served as the Next's default mode as Maki fought in it against the One's third form, unlike other Ultra hosts Maki fought in Ultra form but did not have Ultraman's knowledge to guide him meaning he had to discover all of his abilities as he went along. This form is said to be incomplete, implying that unlike normal Ultra forms, this one only exists simply as a result of Maki and the Next's unfinished merger. The Next's abilities in this form can be seen as underdeveloped.
- Height: 10 ~ 40 m
- Weight: 2.5 ~ 26,000 t
- Travel Sphere: The Next can traverse vast distances as a ball of light.
- Assimilation: The Next can fuse with a human host, reviving them if they are dead and granting them abilities such as increased strength, durability and well as ESP.
- Acceleration: The Next can move quickly as a glowing blur of light.
- Size Change: The Next can grow in size, at the same time moving at super speed.
- Style Change (スタイルチェンジ Sutairu Chenji): The Next can change into Junis while at the same time moving at super speed and changing his size.
- Stratos Edge (ストラトスエッジ Sutoratosu Ejji): The blades on the Next's arms, they can be charged with energy through concentration or be used as cutting blades. Their name is often mistaken for the name of the Next's Specium Ray-like attack, Evol-Ray Schtrom.
- Elbow Cutter (エルボーカッター Erubō Kattā): Charging his Stratos Edge with energy, the Next flings an arc of energy at his opponent.
- Punches: The Next fights with the skills of a boxer, using conventional shots, hooks and uppercuts.
- Kicks: Although normal kicks, the Next's kicks are relatively beyond human abilities. One such blow sent the One flying across the room.
- Headlock: The Next possesses a powerful headlock, which with his strength is near impossible to get out of. When he does this he usually follows up with several knee strikes to the opponent's head.
Junis (ジュネッス Junessu) is the Next's evolved form, it offers greater strength and speed to that of Anphans. The Next retains all the powers of his previous form but they are now more powerful versions of his prior form's. His Stratos Edge blades have evolved to become more powerful. It is the precursor of the Armed Nexus later seen in Nexus. This form is first used in the last battle against the One when he grew to his second last form and rampaged in the city. Maki transformed while increasing his size and using acceleration to save a little girl and her mother from a falling building. It is in this form that Maki and Ultraman complete their assimilation with each other, only to separate shortly after the battle was won.
- Height: 40 m
- Weight: 26,000 t
- Ultra Powers: Junis is the true form of the Next, since Anphans was his underdeveloped form, Junis boasts greater strength, speed, and durability as well as more developed attacks (Stratos Edge blades). All of the techniques from his previous form are accessible in this form but would be more powerful given his evolved state.
- Flight: Like any Ultra, the Next can fly under his own power, but Maki only discovered this in Junis.
- Stratos Edge (ストラトスエッジ Sutoratosu Ejji): The blades on the Next's arms, they can be charged with energy through concentration or be used as cutting blades. In this form, they are fully developed.
- Lambda Slasher (ラムダ・スラッシャー Ramuda Surasshā): The Next can now fire much larger arcs using both hands or by charging up both arms for twin attacks.
- Evol-Ray Schtrom (エボルレイ・シュトローム Eboru Rei Shutorōmu): The the Next's finisher beam. Unlike normal Ultra Beams, the particles do not flow evenly, instead in an oscillating fashion. It has the feature of causing the target to break down at the molecular level into glowing blue particles, a trait inherited by the later 'Ray Schtroms' used by Nexus.
- Eiji Tsuburaya's original intention for Ultraman's appearance was used for the Next. It was where the red parts of Ultraman were to represent organic tissue while the silver parts were space metal. This also makes the Next the first Ultra to have visible organic tissue. This idea was also stated to be a representation of hardened lava in Anphans and running burning lava in Junis.
- When Next was still in the production stage it was being produced under the name Project Yellow Eyes, which may or may not have been done in the spirit of Ultraseven which started out under the name Ultra Eyes.
- The Next's Anphans form was deliberately designed to appear 'incomplete' or underdeveloped which runs in the French word 'enfance,' which means 'childhood'. It is also because of Maki's and the Next's unfinished Merger.
- This may mean that Anphans is not a true alternate form or default mode but the result of the Next's weakened state.
- Anphans' mask has a rough rocky texture to simulate Ultraman's Type A suit, where Junis simulates the Type C suit used later in the series, showing both of the character's developments.
- The Next is the first Ultra to have a rise scene after his transformation. It appeared during a mental conversation between Maki and Ultraman, during which they finished their merger. The rise scene showed to signify this and their renewed strength.
- Unlike his succeeding forms, the Next experienced the three minute rule, but for a different reason than expected. Because his merger with Maki Shunichi was incomplete, he could be active only for a short time before the two were onset by great pain and fatigue. During his second fight, he lasted for much longer and when the two completely merged this limit disappeared.
- Unlike most Ultra hosts, save a few, Maki was in control of both forms, because of their incomplete merger, the minds of Maki and the Next only met in short dream-like intervals. Until the end when the two fully merged, Maki had discovered all of his abilities by accident. His situation is thus different from all the following Deunamists and all other Ultra hosts.
- Of his three forms Noa's voice is only heard by Shunichi during their final dream state.
- The gloves of the Next would be later recycled for the hands of an Alien Serpent in Ultraman Chronicle: ZERO & GEED.