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How ‘Ultra-Man: Rising’ Found A Fresh Take On Tokusatsu And Kaiju Genres

By Joe Fordham

For nearly six decades, the 40-meter giant with a finned helmet, glowing eyes, and red-and-silver livery has soared over the tokusatsu and kaiju genres. Since his appearance in 1966 for the Tokyo Broadcasting System as the first tv show from Godzilla co-creator Eiji Tsuburaya, the size-altering superhero from Nebula M78 has battled creatures through multiple series and feature films, and on June 14 he takes flight in Ultraman: Rising, an animated feature from Netflix and Tsuburaya Productions.

The new production is a colorful, heart-on-its-sleeve take on the Ultraman mythos with animation by Industrial Light & Magic. The story focuses on cocky baseball champ Ken Sato (voiced by Christopher Sean), son of the original Ultraman, Professor Sato (Gedde Watanabe), and his wife Emiko (Tamlyn Tomita), who steps into his father’s shoes to battle a new kaiju threat and faces new responsibilities when he becomes the guardian of an orphaned kaiju infant, Emi.

Ultraman: Rising

The Netflix release was the culmination of a passion project more than two decades in development with director Shannon Tindle (Lost Ollie) and his long-time collaborator, co-director John Aoshima (Kubo and the Two Strings). Cartoon Brew caught up with the filmmakers to discuss the creation of their tribute to the Tsuburaya classic.