Last week was only the beginning for Tsuburaya Productions’ newest installment to the Ultra series, Ultraman Orb. Now, this week continues on the show as it has immediately picked up a lot of steam. From this week’s episode alone the series has fans considering it to be greater than previous series; Ultraman X, Ultraman Ginga, and Ginga S. So let’s check out this review, and hopefully see how Orb has become a vast improvement over its most recent predecessors!
S.S.P. discovers that even with the arrival of Ultraman Orb, they aren’t able to gain hits to their agency’s website and begin searching for new interesting cases while dealing with rent issues; luckily enough a new issue has risen, odd earthquakes that engulf buildings. Gai becomes aware of the situation, and discovers the “King Demon Beast of Earth” is to blame. Gai then goes to confront Juggler who is attempting to revive the monster. The two fight one another, but Juggler retreats upon activating some Ultra Cards to assist in reviving the monster. Now, while Naomi is at work the others at S.S.P. investigate the earthquakes and stumble upon the Demon Beast, by researching myths coexisting with the fault line. However during an update call from the others Naomi notices Juggler in the area, and proceeds to follow him. Naomi witnesses Juggler use more Ultra Cards, and is taken as a brief hostage when Gai appears to confront Juggler, attempting to stop Juggler’s from reviving Maga-Grand King.
Gai saves Naomi, and quickly transforms into Ultraman Orb to fight Maga-Grand King. Thefight leads to city wide destruction, and Naomi’s almost death. Orb has difficulty combating Maga-Grand King, as even Sperion Ray won’t affect the beast, until discovering the monster’s attacks are able to be reflected back off mirrored surfaces. Orb then summons a shield forcing the monster to damage itself, before he uses another Sperion Ray to finish the job. Upon defeating Maga-Grand King, Gai obtains the Ultraman Taro Ultra Card from the remains. As sunset begins to fall on the city, Gai runs across S.S.P. and Naomi seeks to learn the truth about what is going currently with the Kaiju appearance. Yet, Gai won’t tell her anything to preserve happiness, and only introduces himself before leaving.
I can entirely agree with the fans who say Orb is an improvement from the previous three Ultra series, but I would however add that with its improvements other areas haven’t. S.S.P. is a sore subject for me, as I personally prefer the more typical Kaiju prevent teams similar to VTL, due to how it can expand on the Tokusatsu aspect of an episode or entire series. Heck, I do not even like that VTL hasn’t even gone into action yet, even within the first two episodes. Aside from that the focus and direction for the ‘team’ of the series, I personally do not find Jetta or Shin as enjoyable characters. Jetta and Shin, come off as typical characters one may find in a Tsuburaya production, but at this moment seem overly one dimensional, making me thing they will be underutilized in similar fashion to half the members of XIO (Ultraman X). I only predict this ‘terrible’ scenario since there is only six member to the main cast, due to how writing is heavily focused on Naomi’s fascination with both Gai and Juggler (which sets up the fandom to compose interestingly weird fan-fics). To be honestly characters like Jetta and Shin, or a percentage of characters since Ginga make me actually prefer other characters I normally despise like Sean White (Ultraman Max) could replace them. The only other thing I have to knock about the episode, is something that has made skeptical of the franchise as of late, but is it me or does the toku fights seem a lot shorter than they used to be?!
Now, aside from my displeasure with the episode, episode two has quite a few things that original fans and newcomers will love. First off, is the fact that we get to see Gai fight with Juggler even if it is from roughly less than five minutes is amazing, it stood out even from last week’s preview for this episode as it immediately reminded me of fights from Ultraseven-X. The physical confrontation between characters out of their extraterrestrial forms is always an added plus to series because the audience actually gets to see the actual actors do/be something more than just be the host for the suited-hero/villain, as well as adds realism. The next highlight in the episode is when Naomi follows Juggler, and he literally becomes a ‘creeper’ as he seemingly is interested Naomi, while she is just suspicious of his identity and activity. This scene while being weird and creepy, like a basic Lifetime Movie ‘Stalker’ plot, actually makes think it will be an ongoing thing that could lead to Juggler’s downfall, or something entirely different such as Naomi could be the reincarnation of the girl from the “flashback/prolog” seen in the first episode. The final highlight is the actual fight between Orb and Grand King, because Orb almost loses in the episode before realizing the monster’s weakness, itself. One thing I personally enjoyed is the two scenes where Gai is with a random neighborhood boy getting drinks, and helps the kid open his drink both times; the scenes developed his kind nature and brought out more of his humanity.
To wrap up this week’s review I find that the additional action in the episode peek my interest, hoping that there will be more fights between Gai and Juggler. It however raised more concern towards the uses of its support cast, as well as their character development. At this moment I should not fret too much over the supporting cast or the appearance of VTL, since there is still enough time for all that to happen. Especially since Ultraman Orb has a larger episode count than Ultraman X! Now, as for the next episode Ultraman Orb will debut his Burnmite form, meaning in the next review it will be featuring some Taro and Mebius facts, so for new fans check out those Ultras before its ‘too late’!