Toei’s 1967 Uchu Tokusatsu Series: CAPTAIN ULTRA, brought fans the excitement of FLASH GORDON crossed with the current kaiju boom of the 60’s. This 24 episode series was broadcast on Japan’s TBS. CAPTAIN ULTRA filled in the timeslot after Tsuburaya’s ULTRAMAN had ended. Even though produced by a different company and not related, CAPTAIN ULTRA kept the “Ultra” name alive on the station until ULTRA SEVEN started.
Kikero Joe, Captain Ultra, and Robot Hack
Captain Ultra and Akane
Space Station Silver Star
In the 21st Century, Earth has developed a new space program to start exploring for extraterrestrial life and habitable planets. The “Space Pioneer Era” had begun, headed by Dr. Munatomo, but what dangers lie ahead? Space Police (Space Patrol) have been organized to protect us from hostile aliens and catastrophic events in outer space. Silver Star, a giant mobile space station was built as the base for the outer galaxy cops. When ever there is trouble, explorers can fire off the “Ultra Signal” and help will be on it’s way from the galaxy’s first responder Captain Ultra. Captain Ultra is accompanied by Kikero Seijin Joe, Robot Hack, and the beautiful space cadet Akane. The Captain’s ship, “The Spiegel” is named after “Der Spiegel” (The Mirror), a German weekly magazine, for it's silver color and rectangular shape. It can divide into three sections and be piloted separately. It is also equipped with powerful rockets and laser cannons. Captain Ultra himself is armed with the “Ultra Laser Gun”, a rocket pack and an advanced space suit. He can fly through space Johnny Sokko-style
The first arc “Banderu Seijin Hen” (Alien Bandel Series) covers the first twelve episodes. This follows the war between the Space Patrol and the Alien Bandel. The Bandel Aliens do everything from steal technology to just becoming a road block against the advancement of the human race across the universe. To make it cooler, yep, they have giant monsters!!! When their plans for cosmic domination fails, the Bandel Aliens will unleash a destructive space kaiju on the Space Patrol. The climax of the story has the Bandel Aliens flying their whole planet in a GORATH-like moment towards the Silver Star Space Station. Can Captain Ultra stop them? Of course, he flies the planet right into the Sun and escaping in the nick of time. This also ended the accompaniment of Kikero Joe, who was such an unpopular character, children voted him off the show in Shonen Sunday Magazine. Nice
The second story arc “Shin Kaiju Zokuzoku Series (New Monster Thriller Series) was more self contained stories with different invading aliens and giant monsters from week to week. The grand finally was a two part story with the alien Metarinomu gathering all of the giant space monsters to attack the Space Patrol. The final episode has Captain Ultra and crew discovering a beautiful planet full of flowers and plant life that can support human life.
CAPTAIN ULTRA is full of cool crazy monsters and aliens. Since it’s a Toei production, it has a definite JOHNNY SOKKO feel to it. You’ll even recognize some of the monster growls are the same. If you grew up in the late 60’s during the “Space Race”, you’ll die watching this show. It’s MAJOR MATT MASON come to life! The starry space scenes are highlighted by a gorgeous bright blue background. The soundtrack is a blaring arrangement of jazz and marches, very sweet. You have space stations, rockets, robots, rayguns, aliens, and of course to top it off the Japanese flare of GIANT MONSTERS!!!! Trust me I’d take CAPTAIN ULTRA over anything on the SyFy Channel. Captain Ultra is played by Hirohisa Nakata who has a full acting career including being in Toei’s KAMEN RIDER AMAZON (Zero Taitei), Toho’s GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE, and most recently Shochiku’s MONSTER X STRIKES BACK.
The gorgeous Yuki Shirono who played Akane