Ultraman has been one of our gateways into Tokusatsu along with Power Rangers, and Masked Rider. After those shows took a decline in America around 2007 with only Power Rangers still in existence at the time. Most hardcore fans in America were lost to the medium. What could a person do to get that fix of Tokusatsu?
It wasn’t till 2009 when Anime Pad discovered that Tokusatsu was a huge thing in Japan and not just a niche medium. Kamen Rider Decade was airing in Japan at the time, and because of fansubs, we were able to get our hands-on Kamen Rider series, Super Sentai, and Ultraman. Much to our disappointment, only Ultraman didn’t hold the same charm as we remembered. We’ve been hooked on the other two since then though.
Marvel made an announcement that they have partnered with Tsuburaya Productions Nov. 23, to produce Ultraman comics. This announcement hit us directly in the head. They plan to tell new stories and possible new suits or styles. Most of what Marvel touches nowadays becomes premium content and a moneymaker. Why is this coming about though and why does it seem completely out of nowhere?
Remember that new Ultraman anime that was strictly cel-shaded 3D? It hit Netflix and became somewhat popular with Americans. A legit good run. We weren’t fans particularly of the show just because of the animation style but we can see how it did well. Well, right around this time Disney and Marvel were looking to take their exit from Netflix. Disney+ the streaming app was on the clock and almost ready to roll out. On the way out the door, they must have taken notice of this.
Marvel isn’t brand new to mixing it up with anime projects, companies and such. Stan Lee has been mixing it up with making anime shows out of his properties he created. Ironman, X-Men, Blade, and others. Before Lee’s passing, he had a great original manga run with “Ultimo,” the popular “Hero Man” anime, and “The Reflection” anime that wasn’t so great to us but had potential. Then Marvel Disc Wars was released which was completely done by the Japanese and imported back to the states. The relationship has been going on for many years and has always been somewhat successful.
We can certainly see Marvel in some way bringing Ultraman back to the states and gaining traction for the property. Then the next thing that happens is a cartoon on Disney XD or on Disney+. If it’s successful, then boom we have a straight live-action of some sort competing with Japan. Watch out for Ultraman making a revival in America. We’re happy and excited that our fellow Tokusatsu show is getting some American love.