Sunday, June 21, 2020

Ultraman X the Movie: Here He Comes

Xio is an international agency dedicated to fighting cosmic kaiju. Naturally, they are headquartered in Japan, because that’s where the kaiju are. There is not much they can do as mere mortals, but fortunately they have Ultraman X to bail them out. However, X will need some of his fellow Ultramen to cover his back when he takes on a long-dormant but particularly nasty creature in Kiyotaka Taguchi’s Ultraman X the Movie: Here He Comes! Our Ultraman, which is now available on BluRay.

As fans perhaps remember from Ultraman Orb the Movie, Ultraman X bonded with Xio member Daichi Ozora, but when not “united” in combat, his intelligence resides in the handheld X-Deviser. Things take a Graham Hancockian turn when Carolos Kurosaki, a phony TV archaeologist, reawakens Zaigorg, a powerful kaiju held in limbo within an ancient tomb. Intriguingly, he also uncovers an centuries-old statue of what looks like an Ultraman.

Before long, Zaigorg has summoned two additional “Devil Clone Beasts” to help him rampage across Japan. Ultraman X cannot stop him alone, but Gourman, Xio’s alien research director, might be able to summon Ultraman Tiga using artifacts collected by the legitimate archaeologist Tsukasa Tamaki and her ten-year-old-ish son Yuto, whom she inexplicably brings along on expeditions.

Those who dig watching big men in tight costumes fighting kaiju probably already know they will enjoy Ultraman X the Movie. Once again, it picks up where the Ultraman X series left off. It is relatively easy for newcomers to figure things out as the film goes along, but Orb the Movie still probably stands alone most successfully.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Orb is also the best of the three Ultraman series capstone films, but Ultraman X is still considerably better than Ultraman Geed, which was way to angsty for its own good. Precocious Yuto can be a little annoying, but once he is taken out of the picture (through temporary, non-lethal means), the film really gets down to serious kaiju-bashing business.
It is definitely a weird experience to watch Ultraman adventures on BluRay. The modern effects look fake, but cool, in a retro, trying hard kind of way. Likewise, antenna-eyed Gourman could be a throwback to old school Doctor Who episodes, which makes him rather endearing.

Taguchi definitely throws plenty of mayhem and destruction on the screen. He also understands how to introduce nostalgic nods to appeal to franchise’s fandom. If you like Ultraman, Ultraman X the Movie delivers a whole lot of what you like. Recommended for fans and as an representative sampler for as-yet uninitiated, Ultraman X: Here He Comes! Our Ultraman is now available on BluRay.