Film Review: Ultraman Mebius & Ultraman Brothers on R2 DVD

Andrew Mack, Contributing Writer

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Also, though the Japanese DVD was release of Ultraman Mebius and Ultraman Brothers was in January James Maruyama also offered us his review of this film as well. We thank James for his contribution and look forward to more from him...

Konaka Kazuya's fanboy film "Ultraman Mebius and Ultrabrothers" reminds me a lot of the Star Trek movies of the 80's, especially "Wrath of Khan" and "Voyage Home". It's a nostalgic, fun movie that is primarily made for the benefit of fans of Tsuburaya Production's landmark Ultraman series of the late 60s as well as its subsequent sequels (Ultra Seven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace and Ultraman Taro). Unlike the recent "Ultraman: The Next" and "Kamen Rider: The First" which both attempted to reinterpreted and reinvented classic heroes of the 70s for a newer generation, unfamiliar with the original series, "Ultraman Mebius and Ultraman Brothers" embraces the past and makes these original heroes "cool" again.

The story is simple and straightforward enough. A cadre of past Ultraman foes have joined forces to resurrect one of their own -- the evil Alien Yapool, who had taken control of the monsterous U-Killer (Ultra Killer) Zarus. U-Killer Zarus (an original movie creation) was one of the last super kaijyu's (monsters) the Ultra Brothers defeated many years prior. In fact the Ultra Brothers (Ultraman, Seven, Ace and Jack) sacrificed part of their cosmic powers to defeat the abomination (sealing it in the waters off of Kobe, Japan).

As a result, the Ultra Brothers have happily and quietly retired into normal human society. Current Ultra Hero, Mirai Hibino (AKA Ultraman Mebius -- whose series is currently airing on Japanese TV) travels to Kobe to investigate an "evil prescence" that has surrounded the area. During the course of his investigation, he is confronted by the alien invaders. Hibino is overwhelmed by their combined forces. The Ultra Brothers band together one last time to save Ultraman Mebius and defeat the resurrected Yapool and U-Killer Zarus who have since been powered up considerably.

The alien "gundan" (army) assembled to battle the Ultra Brothers seemed like a “dream team” of classic intergalactic foes including Alien Temporer (foe of Ultra Taro), Alien Guts (foe of Ultra Seven), Alien Zarab (foe of Ultraman) and Alien Nackle (foe of Ultraman Jack). While I wished that perenial Ultraman foe Baltan and some of the more exotic alien foes of the past like Mefilas, King Joe or Metron were included, the foes that did appear were quite good as villains.

The appearance of Zoffy and Ultraman Taro seemed a bit like a "deus ex machina" contrivance in order to make an excuse for saving and powering up the Ultra Brothers. Fans of Ultraman Leo who may have felt disappointed by his exclusion in the movie can take some comfort in the fact that he figures prominently in the Ultraman Mebius TV series.

While some of the CGI effects seemed almost like the CGI animation you would see in Banpresto video games like the recent "Ultraman Fighting Evolution", they were none-the-less exciting to watch and really helped to make the action sequences standout. It was kind of refreshing to see the Ultrman heroes actually "flying" in realistic CGI rather than has been portrayed in the past (seemingly dragged along by invisible wires). The final battle in particular was amazing and really impressive.

While the target audience is clearly kids, the movie is surprisingly entertaining enough for adults, especially those who have grown up with these heroes.

"Ultraman Mebius and Ultra Brothers" is not a perfect movie but is engaging, enjoyable entertainment best enjoyed by fans of the original series. As a 40th Anniversary film, the film is a worthy tribute to these wonderful Tokusatsu (live action) Sci-Fi heroes of my youth.

Order your R2 copy from YesAsia here

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