Monday, October 17, 2016

Ultraman Mebius First Impressions

I had some time to kill so I sat down and watched the first arc of Ultraman Mebius. Not really sure if it counts as a first impressions at this point. Originally, my cut-off for this post was episode 6 but the show planted the seeds for this arc in episode 5 so I decided to continue until I was done with the arc which was ep 11 but I watched ep 12 just to be safe. I should probably mention now that this is only the second Ultraman series I've seen. My first one being Ultraman Nexus so yeah, this is a franchise that I don't really have much experience with.
The first episode opens up with a conversation between Father of Ultra and Mebius about him going to Earth. Over on Earth we learn that they've been going through an era of peace as far as monster attacks go. Needless to say that ends as soon as the show starts. The first episode really establishes the stakes by having the entire Japanese branch of GUYS all but annihilated while trying to fight off the monster. Its a really nice action packed episode and introduces the crew we'll be following for the show.
The monster designs are nice and creepy. They actually manage to look pretty natural yet alien at the same time. If between this and Nexus' monster designs, I guess that something the Ultraman series do rather well. Bogal is a great first arc villain. Its just a monster with the desire to consume to the point where it attracts other monsters to the planet so it can eat them. Its final design is great nightmare fuel.

The new GUYS crew has a nice variety of skills and backgrounds. Other than Mebius and Ryu (a surviving member of the Japan branch of GUYS), we have Konomi (a preschool teacher), George (a star soccer player), Teppei (a medical student), and Marina (a champion bike racer). Episode one shows off Marina and George's skills rather well. Marina can hear the monster's sonic attack before it hits and George can see and react to it. It also shows them all being willing to risk their lives and rescue some rabbits at Konomi's preschool for the kids. Those 4 officially join GUYS in episode 2. Episode 3 is a nice and tense episode and it shows that Teppei actually has some knowledge regarding some of the monsters and he shows interest in researching what they're fighting. Episode 4 is a nice introduction to Konomi's character as it shows her motherly nature by having her tame a monster. Episode 5 is a nice episode for George as we learn a little bit more about his past. Episode 6 is a Marina episode and it basically reveals the downside of her hearing abilities since she can hear the subtle changes in their equipment. It sort of makes her nervous but she learns to trust their equipment in the end. The Tsurugi stuff was heart-wrenching just because of how it affected Ryu and episode 11 makes a nice parallel because he started acting like Tsurugi when he sees the same type of monster that killed Captain Serizawa.
I liked Tsurugi/Ultraman Hikari's introduction arc where he is basically trying to avenge the inhabitants of a planet he idolized. It does a great job of showing a man consumed by his hatred. It goes so far that he is willing to let people die if he can just stop Bogal. Its a story that I'm usually a sucker for. Admittedly though, I kinda liked his design as Tsurugi more than I did when the armor went away. He first shows up at the end of ep 5 and his arc lasts until ep 11.

I really like how the show features a database that has basic entries on the monsters they fight. It really makes Mebius accessible to newcomers like myself. The action is fantastic so I really have to major props to the suit actors for Mebius, Hikari, and the Kaijuu. The miniatures and model sets were very well design and had some great detailing. My personal favorite model set was the town on the shore-line from episode 3. Overall, I enjoyed the first arc of Mebius.

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