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Ultraman Wiki

Hey guys, Sol here again. I decided to talk about Aliens this time, so no long winded discussions into the theoretical biological nature of a theoretical species. This is less a theory and more...observation primarily on how the portrayal of aliens in the Ultra series has changed. Why? Why not?

In the Beginning

Let's go back, back to the beginning of it all, Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven. In this time, aliens were rather stereotypical for that time. Most science fiction was what we would call, 'pulp fiction', tales of adventures, dastardly space invaders, heroic and/or intelligent men saving the day. Aliens were rather simple, usually they were an invader, or the race helpful, almost fey like creatures. The fey comparison was especially true in Ultraman were nearly every alien had super powers and such.

The same could be said about technology. Nearly every ship was a flying saucer and nearly every interior was fantastical in design (for the time) and seemed almost magical in operation. Yet despite this, they could be shot down by some jets and lasers. Go figure.

In this time aliens were...very stereotypical, especially after Seven, after Tsuburaya passed away. Nearly every alien was an invader, nearly every alien could transform into a giant, and many of them had abilities that for all intent and purposes was magic. There was literally an alien who came out of a small container, and granted the wish of three little boys in a monkey's paw fashion, summoning a Red King. He even dressed like a stage magician.

In the Middle

The first big change with aliens, or at least the first major shift in how they were portrayed came in the Heisei series, with Tiga. Now Tiga was not the first to portray aliens as sympathetic, or even virtuous, but the major trend shift started here. While aliens as villains, or just suddenly turning into giants, didn't stop, the number of sympathetic aliens began to increase.

While that is interesting, the thing that's truly of note is that the writers started to take interest in the explanation of things. From alien powers, to kaiju abilities, especially in Gaia, but most importantly...alien technology started to become a lot less...pulp fiction based and more...like Star Trek: The Next Generation. That is to say, its superscience, but it's much more clearly superscience as opposed to magic masquerading as science.

Aliens were becoming much less fey like or impish, and space was becoming...much more complicated politically, slowly and in increments but the idea that the wider universe was more than simply, 'everyone not from Earth wants to invade Earth, except the Ultras' made things more refreshing. Yes I know that's hyperbolic, but for the most part, that's how it was. Yes we still have a lot of the old, invader style alien characters, but things could get a bit more complicated than that.

Then you have Ultra Galaxy, where for the first time, there was an alien species' fate as part of the main plot, and I don't mean for the end. The fate of the Pedan Aliens was on the line and this race of invaders was now simply fighting to save their world/species/civilization. Aliens were suddenly more than an after thought, or just an episode specific plot point, much like the Alien Zamu years earlier in Neos.

At the Present

Near the end of the Heisei era and now, is when I think the biggest changes to aliens came about. The first big shake up was in the novel Ultraman Dual (Never read it), where we have alien invaders yes...but now there's politics explaining why the good guys don't just blow them up. It's also the first time we have an Ultra who was once an alien (presumably a humanoid one), that is, did not come from the Land of Light or any other Ultra Planet. People, humans were being turned into Ultra-Jin similar to the Ultras in Jonias, and the process was shown to be compatible with non-humans.

Then came ULTRAMAN, the manga staring Shin Hayata's son. Politics, aliens, and technology that actually looks like it cares that the laws of thermodynamics exist. It was not the series first dip into harder science fiction, that was UItraseven X, and like that show, aliens coming to Earth was way more complex than most other shows. Before it was usually, refugees who were stuck on the planet, wanderers passing by the planet, or invaders. In ULTRAMAN aliens were immigrants

When aliens did do something wrong, it was usually...usuaully for more human reasons, such as simple crime, hate crimes, political assassinations, violence spurred on by extreme ideologies, except for the eating people part, that's messed up and I don't care what planet you're from.

Curiously, the aliens as immigrants theme carried over into the shows. You had Geed, where much of the known universe had been severely damaged by Belial's war, so the survivors banded together to form AIB, to help with the reconstruction and policement of interplanetary travel. Effective they were Customs for space, that controlled the movement of dangerous substances. Then you had Taiga, where most aliens on Earth were refugees from destroyed and/or conquered planets looking for a home. Many of the crimes performed were by young alien frustrated at their lot in life, which is often where a lot of crime comes from in real life.

Final Words

Aliens have changed in the series as it moved from Pulp Fiction adventures to the more thought provoking aspects of science fiction. Aliens who first appeared as simple invaders have now, often come back as more three dimensional characters. The galactic community is now portrayed less as a group of bullies taking turns at poor little Earth and now a community, good and bad, ups and lows, triumphs and alot of tragedies. Ultimately, the writing of the series has become more complicated, and it shows.