Anime Meta-Review


Ultraman II


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: archaic
  • source: commercial
  • form: dub
  • dur: 70
  • made: 1988
  • Review created: Mon Aug 27 11:18:47 EST 2001
  • mod: none

While this tape is titled Ultraman II, I think this is in relation to Ultraman I as being the live action original. The original featuring a guy in a body-suit who'd fight guys in rubber monster suits. And this anime, um, successfully captures this deep and poignant story.


The story begins on a space station at some point in Earth's future. The brave men and women of the space force are horrified to find an unknown energy field blanketing the earth while strange letters are written in the stratosphere. While it doesn't seem dangerous in itself they form the `science and defense squad' to counter any possible danger. Seemingly not realising they've just created a force called the `sads'. In any case this force becomes vital to the safety of the earth when a procession of strange and powerful monsters begins to appear.

However one of the team has a secret. While rocketing back to earth he was contacted by the powerful inter-galactic warrior Ultraman. He sent the warning signs but knows that the earths defense forces are no match for the monsters they will face. Thus he strikes a deal to share the body of this young man and so be available to protect humanity. And, while he can only manifest for a limited time, it quickly becomes clear that without Ultraman's power the earth would indeed be over-run.


First of all let me mention that I have only a passing knowledge of the original Ultraman. While I have a friend who's a fan of the series it certainly doesn't count as anime...or anything that interests me. Even so it looks like the essence of the show, namely ultraman going hand to hand with huge monsters, has been retained. As such it proudly boasts a `monster of the week' approach to story-telling. It's also interesting that while it is packaged at a movie it seems to actually be multiple episodes glued together. Likewise the interesting artwork on the back of the box doesn't actually appear in the material I saw. I guess there must be more of it, although perhaps only in Japan.

The story is painfully easy to summarize. Every episode the science team, containing a number of rather odd members, is confronted with a mysterious new monster. They try to understand the nature of the monster and find ways to defeat it. Although, in each case, they require ultraman to provide the power they lack to finish the job. Although why ultraman seems so found of wrestling with monsters, rarely to much effect, remains a mystery.

Is it any good? well, no, not really. It's a bit too primitive in story, character work and animation to really retain much value. It does have the advantage that it doesn't take itself too seriously although this does mean it lacks the `cheese' factor that would let you laugh at it. Yet it is still played sufficiently `straight' that you can't really laugh along with it. As a result there's really not much to recommend it. Even fans of ultraman, well used to the cheese factor of the live action, might find this a bit flat and pointless. It could be that it builds up to an interesting conclusion, certainly the art on the back of the box looks interesting. However, as I mentioned, this material does not actually occur in the show I watched.

In truth the only people likely to watch this show are those who are obsessive about seeing every anime known to man, like reviewers. And even they won't enjoy the experience much. I certainly wouldn't recommend subjecting your child to this, the pacing is quite slow and the production well and truly dated. Anime historians might find the strangely self conscious dialogue, the incredibly odd character design (including a robot who looks like a cross between a monkey and small shrub) and token character elements (oh, a female character) of some interest...but that's a very small number of people. For the rest of us, best to leave this one lurking in the dusty corners of video stores.

As mentioned the production is old in all elements. And the new backing musing and slightly desperate voice overs don't really help. The character designs have some strange proportions, movement is kept simple and the coloring is simple and flat. Items of technology, such as their ship, are blocky and simple in design. Jerky movement, repeated sequences and special effects that look like they were done with a broad texta are the order of the day. Strangely enough, however, the combined result is not too bad. Sure it's far from impressive, but it is done with sufficient skill that it doesn't annoy. The music and voices are the same, neither impressively good or notably bad. Although the shrubbery, I mean robot, is pretty evil.

Other Reviews

Strangely enough none of my regular sources have a review of this title.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:26 WST 2009