"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Full Series Now Streaming from Crunchyroll


Finally, ULTRAMAN GAIA is now available streaming worldwide!

Yesterday, when I broke the news about Crunchyroll's latest addition to their streaming service of on-going "Ultra Series" titles, ULTRAMAN NEXUS (2004), I stated a wish that there would be more coming soon, including one of my all-time favorites in the 1990s run, ULTRAMAN GAIA (1998). Today, the folks at Crunchyroll, gave me the heads up that the complete series of ULTRAMAN GAIA begins streaming today at 5:00 pm (Pacific) — and it's about damned time!

Star Takeshi Yoshioka, visiting the US in 2011 (photo: David Chapple).

Premiering on September 5, 1998, ULTRAMAN GAIA followed the success of ULTRAMAN TIGA (1996) and ULTRAMAN DYNA (1997), but broke from its predecessors' continuity to exist in a universe all its own, and a far more complex storyline, with multiple character and plot arcs that intersect beautifully, dovetailing into an incredible climax. The series is also a bit extra special for me, because I spent a lot of time on the set over the course of a month during the fall of 1998. But, even though I'm biased, it's still a great series.

With actors Maria Theresa Gow (left) and Ai Hashimoto (right).

At the end of the 20th Century, a network of young geniuses known as the Alchemy Stars, develop a supercomputer, CRISIS, predicting that mankind will be annihilated by an "entity of radical destruction". An international concern employs these young men to create cutting edge technology and weaponry for G.U.A.R.D. (Geocentric Universal Alliance against Radical Destruction), a secret worldwide defense network, and their tactical response organization, X.I.G. (eXpanded Interceptive Guardians).

With Brad Warner (right), Tsuburaya's International Sales director.

Several years later, during a quantum physics experiment, Gamu Takayama, a former member of the Alchemy Stars, bonds with the mysterious light of "Ultraman Gaia" in order to stop the oncoming threat to all life on our planet. But, not long after this momentous battle begins, he encounters another mysterious giant, "Ultraman Agul", who believes that protecting the Earth doesn't necessarily mean protecting mankind...

ULTRAMAN GAIA also features fantastic monster designs by Hiroshi Maruyama, a great score by Toshihiko Sahashi, and solid writing by Chiaki Konaka. So, what are you waiting for? You've got 51 episodes to catch up with — get a move on!

1 comment:

The Letter D said...

Oh man. I'm so far behind as it is, trying to watch all of Ultraman in order. I might have to acquire these while I still can and keep them on hold.

Great read, by the way!