Ultraman: The Complete Series – Steelbook Blu-ray Review

Ultraman

Ultraman is a combination of a lot of things. It’s one part Star Trek, one part Thunderbirds, and two parts Godzilla. The series itself is relatively simple, but lovable characters and the monster and production design are what made this series a classic.

There’s enough separation between each episode to keep things interesting and fan service to keep fans coming back for more. At times, each episode follows a different genre as a way to switch it up. For example, episode 5 is a murder mystery with the monster, the Green Monse.

Of course, the series looks archaic when you compare it to modern-day television and cinema. The visual effects are a sign of the times, but that’s what makes Ultraman such a cult classic. Just like Godzilla, you know it’s cheesy effects and guys in rubber suits. But the simplicity is what gives Ultraman its charm.

Because it’s crazy to see the amount of imagination and effort to make the special effects look real (for the time). They were fearless in bringing these effects to life. Their use of miniature ships is similar to the Thunderbirds. Of course, they also used rubber suits like Godzilla. But like Godzilla, the kaiju fights with Ultraman are cheesy. But they’re incredibly fun too. Thanks to the quick character development, we don’t have to wait to get to Ultraman. We get to him within the first 15 minutes of the episode.

Unfortunately, like any television series, there are several filler episodes. Also, with as many episodes of Ultraman as there are, creativity can only go so far. In other words, some of the creature designs are so bad. Some seem like a cheap knockoff version of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Come to think of it, all of the aquatic monster designs are just bad.

But if you get the set and you binge-watch it, you’ll notice a certain storyline that pops up over and over again. Once the series introduces Ultraman’s weakness, aka his color timer, you’ll hear the same color timer spiel over and over again. After a while, it gets a little redundant. However, for the time and weekly show it makes sense.

Overall, Ultraman is a fun and revolutionary kaiju television series. Everything about the series may seem like a relic by today’s standards but the series still shows you how amazing imagination and creativity can be.

Series Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video

Ultraman

Ultraman: The Complete Series hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.34:1 aspect ratio. Considering that the source footage of Ultraman was poor, to begin with, it’s a tiny bit shocking to see that the video has been cleaned up. It’s still not very good, but it is an improvement over what’s out there already. That being said the picture has low contrast. So while the brightness is vibrant, the black levels are lighter than it should be. The shadows are not a deep black but several shades of gray instead.

The colors all look like their natural state. Yet none of the colors look dull or pop off the screen either. The picture is soft but that’s most likely due to the source footage. Nevertheless, you can still see how dated the special effects are on your big screen TV—including seeing the eye holes in Ultraman’s mask. You can also see a ton of film grain as well. Overall, the video is an improvement but it’s still a poor video quality.

Video Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Audio

Ultraman

Ultraman: The Complete Series hits Blu-ray with a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Once again, the source audio is to blame here. Although films like The Wizard of Oz had their original monaural audio mix expanded to 5.1. That effort might’ve been too daunting for an entire television series. Regardless of the reason behind the 2.0 mix, it’s still not a clean mix. The music is loud and distinct when it has to be. It also happens to be the cleanest sound part of the mix. The dialogue, though, sounds incredibly dated. There’s a bit of a lo-fi sound to it. Sadly, nothing else appears in the mix.

Audio Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Ultraman

Ultraman: The Complete Series doesn’t have any special features across any of the six Blu-ray discs.

Special Features Rating: n/a

Packaging

Ultraman

Ultraman: The Complete Series doesn’t have any special features across any of the six Blu-ray discs. The steelbook comes with a plastic slipcase with the title printed twice on the cover. Despite that, the copy on the slipcase is perfectly placed on the negative space of the front cover of the steelbook. At a certain angle in the light, Ultraman has a smooth finish which thankfully, doesn’t attract any fingerprints.

The steelbook set also comes with a collectible book as well. The book contains numerous black-and-white and color photographs, an introduction to the show’s history and production, a character breakdown, detailed episode synopses, monster explorations, and character and technology guides. There’s also a comprehensive series breakdown in the book too. While it’s disappointing that there are no special features, the book is a nice consolation.  For fans, it’s a keepsake and for newcomers, it’s a necessity as a way to keep track of everything that’s going on.

Packaging Rating: 4/5 atoms


Overall, Ultraman: The Complete Series is an entertaining television series that takes everything that makes a Japanese kaiju monster film awesome and compacts it into a half-hour show. Unfortunately, certain monsters look terrible and the formulaic aspect of the show gets old after binge-watching several episodes. The picture quality and audio mix are both dated, and there are no special features on this release.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Mill Creek Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1505 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.