Today’s Selection: Superior Ultraman 8 Brothers (2008, dir. Takeshi Yagi)
Subgenre: Henshin Hero, Kaiju
Available from: Fansub only
If you loved Ultraman Mebius, but wish that the series would acknowledge Heisei-era Ultaman as much as it does Showa-era, this might be the film for you. It pulls a reunion of the Ultra Brothers as seen in 2006’s Ultraman Mebius and the Ultra Brothers (minus Taro and Zoffy), and adds Tiga, Dyna, and Gaia into the mix. How does that work? The same way that it did in Ultraman Gaia: The Battle in Hyperspace: through parallel universes and meta-fiction (or, as the movie puts it “quantum physics”). We’re introduced to alternative-world versions of Tiga, Dyna, and Gaia’s alteregos, who grew up watching Ultraman on TV, though Daigo (Tiga’s host) has been having vivid dreams about the Ultras lately. Mebius shows up in their world, explains about how the Ultras are in trouble, and they’ve got to gather the human forms of the classic Ultra Brothers to restore their memories and save the day. The movie makes great callbacks to the characters’ respective series, and is actually a better send-off to the franchise than any of the Ultra Galaxy stuff.