Ultraman is back where it should be, and that is on top! For the past two weeks, Ultraman Orb has been the show to be watching compared to all the other on-going Tokusatsu programs. Yet, in those past two weeks, those past two episode it was all building up to the debut of a new form for Orb, Burnmite! Now, in this week’s review I talk about the good and the bad of its debut…
A monster appears in a nearby lake, nesting in it. The following day S.S.P. has issues with the plumbing, as Jetta cannot deal with the criticism from his commentary on their kaiju reports. Jetta tries to cool off with a shower, but discovers the water makes him smell terribly and he rushes to a local bathhouse. At the bathhouse Jetta finds Gai there, attempting to bath however they both discover the water in the area is all putrid. S.S.P. proceeds to investigate the situation, as Naomi’s uncle comes to see if they have any leads for VTL to aid them in their on-going search and luckily enough Shin discovers another ancient story relating to the kaiju, Maga Jappa. S.S.P. along with Naomi’s uncle then proceed to the lake, whereas Gai has already arrived at the lake area, and attempts to confront the monster as Juggler appears to stop him. Juggler then tempts Gai to revert back to his former ways, and the two proceed to fight for Gai’s Orb Ring.
S.S.P. attempts to stall Maga Jappa who proceeding towards Tokyo with an invention Shin made called the SAP gun, and during the diversion Naomi’s uncle is seemingly killed. Gai finally transforms into Orb to fight Jappa, but has a hard time confronting the monster due to its foul smell and gaseous attacks. Gai then proceeds to fuse the Ultraman Tao and Mebius Ultra Cards to unlock his newest form, Burnmite! In the form Orb is excessively stronger, and easily defeats Jappa with Stobium Dynamite. Following Jappa’s defeat S.S.P. comes to realization that Shibukawa (Naomi’s uncle) is dead, or so they think as he seemingly reappears and is coming unsure of his survival; while Gai discovers the Ultra Card within Jappa was Ultraman Jack. The day fully comes to an end when the entire team visits the bathhouse, to finally relieve themselves of Jappa’s putrid stench.
Episode 3 began with some pretty decent comedy with the broken sink at the S.S.P. office, as well as introduced a subplot that was to develop Jetta’s character. The subplot was Jetta being upset with the negative criticism towards his commentary on their coverage of Ultraman Orb’s appearances however, as the episode continued on that element seemingly almost faded out of existence. What brought back this sub-plot and Jetta’s ability to overcome this issue is Jetta’s will to want the team to continue on their cases amidst the danger when warned by Naomi’s uncle to turn back. However, after that nothing amounts from that development, as while he records the fight between Ultraman Orb and Jappa, Jetta barely provides any commentary; it is as he just thought to stop treating it like a wrestling event or a boxing match, or the writers simply dropped the ball and forgot they were trying to develop a character. To be honest the episode felt more focused on bathing and proper bathing etiquette to maintain good hygiene than Jetta.
Aside from the Jetta sub-plot there was one other awkward thing about the episode that immediately stood out as either bad writing or can be foreshadowing towards an event to come, and what I am referring to is Captain Shibukawa’s surviving the attack that should have killed or severely injured him. I do not want to think that Shibukawa’s survival was poor writing and I really do not it to be that because it would personally devalue my enjoyment of the overall series. What I am hoping for is that Shibukawa is either maybe another Ultra in disguise, or has some unknown ability, like he is some sort of alien and he is not a direct blood relative to Naomi. It is asking for a lot, but I am hoping something comes out of this near death experience. The other noticeable thing from the episode is that Juggler hints that Gai was evil once, which if it’s true it could be a callback to Ultraman Tiga.
Now as for the Tokusatsu aspect of the show, it was truly interesting since there was a new original kaiju and the debut of Orb’s form Burnmite. For our new kaiju, Maga-Jappa, I immediately found the design of its face to be terribly campy, mostly due to its trunk/ trumpet like nose whereas the rest of the body looked great and enjoyed its suction cup ability. I found its stench feature to be odd however I found out later that the monster is a tribute to Hedorah, so it sort makes up for why it’s terrible. Yet, as for Orb’s Burnmite form I thought there would be of a lead up or a scene that made Gai understand to fusion Taro and Mebius together to get him specifically out the mess he was in, but that was not the case and it was practically luck of the draw. The fusion though however makes sense since the two are master and student. Burnmite looks excellent using Mebius’s Burning Brave like patterns with Taro’s head sculpt, as well as seems to be Orb’s strongest form at the moment. It best highlight is that Burmite’s signature attack Stobium Dynamite is a variation of the Ultra Dynamite, one of Taro’s and Mebius’ greatest moves which is also one of my personal favorite attacks. This week’s episode also featured a longer battle, and was honestly an added plus in my book.
To close out this week’s review, all I can say is that this episode felt like there were too many things either going on and caused a subtle confliction with what possibly the audience was to obtain from the episode outside of enjoyment. Was the audience supposed to learn to come over adversity of negative criticism, was it about bathing, or was it both? I am forced to say that it was probably both, because this episode’s focus was just that freaking weird! The only good things out of the episode were the fights, and the debut of Burmite. Luckily next week it’s the return of an iconic kaiju, Pandon, and Orb attempts to get close to achieve his next form, Hurricane Slash!