You can get the original Ultraman series on R1 DVD for pretty cheap. Mill Creek’s release of the 40-episode series is a mere $10.50 on amazon, but I got a copy at my local Borders (remember those?) for only five bucks. If that price is too exorbitant, however, the series is now streaming (dub only) for free on hulu. Bad news, even if you’re not paying for it, the advertising breaks will most likely still fund somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody affiliated with Chaiyo, because Tsuburaya’s unfortunately still not able to sell the show outside of Japan, but frankly… screw it, if you want to see the show, this is the way that it should be done. Even if some part goes to fund shady people, it’s good for the genre-awareness as a whole; for example, when BCI put out an Ultraman DVD set, we got Iron King and Super Robot Red Baron as a result (and almost got Silver Kamen).
So, if you want to check out a true classic of Japanese science fiction (heck, the Japanese Hugo award was shaped like Ultraman), by all means, there’s nothing to lose. And while you’re at it, hulu also has Johnny Sokko & His Flying Robot, Hanna Barbera’s Godzilla, and a boatload of good anime. (Also, Danger 5. That show rocks.)