Monday, July 22, 2013

Ultraman Ginga episode 2

Tsuburaya put up the second episode of Ultraman Ginga on their YouTube channel. Most likely only temporaily, but it's still a nice move on their part. Looks like they might put up the show in its entirety, or at least the non-special episodes.

The images here, like last time are still from cropping screencaps of my browser window, but unlike last time, I got to look at Over-Time's translation before posting this.

jerkass biker guy

So this is episode 2. The villain of the week is some obnoxious biker dude who chases/harasses people on his motorbike. He's more unpleasant than the litterbugs from earlier, sure, but he's still not threatening enough as an action show villain, even a one-off baddie. Although it appears that he used the Dark Spark on his own volition this time, and seems to genuinely enjoy it (despite apparently having no recollection of it afterward). He uses the thing to transform into Kemur man/person/being, a creature from Ultra Q, which I am terribly unfamiliar with.

Darambia vs. Kemur

The fight scene in this episode is... okay. Miniatures are a definite step up from the plain forest area in episode one (although a proper cityscape would be even better, but I guess that would throw out the whole "keeping things secret" angle). The fighting itself still follows the pattern of having Hikaru transform into a monster before becoming Ultraman Ginga, because apparently the Ginga doll only appears when it really needs to. This strikes me as a little dumb. Will we have to see a monster's powers prove ineffectual before Hikaru turns into Ginga during every episode for the rest of the summer arc? Admittedly, it was still neat to see Hikaru use Thunder Darambia's powers. Biker guy Kemur went a little overboard with the comedy. Shoving a tree into Hikaru/Darambia's mouth is one thing, but farting on him is a little much. As for Ginga himself, I like the transformation sequence, and the "aaah" playing. And the fireball/meteor finisher was cool.

On a minor note, the visuals make it look like Hikaru and his opponent aren't so much transformed into Ginga and Kemur, but instead are controlling the bodies from the inside, except maybe when Kemur was still human-sized. Seeing the two of them talk makes me think of mecha pilots.

As for the main characters, Kenta and Chigusa still don't actually do anything. Tomoya is introduced, but doesn't really do anything either, sadly.

Probably the show's main (only?) couple

Hikaru and Misuzu are still the leads in this episode, and the show is pretty blatantly seting them up as a couple. Because what else would Misuzu's role be? Having no defense force for leaves the cast with less to do than usual. Hikaru himself strikes me as a little plain so far, and I'm a little bugged by how he just carries the Ginga Spark around. Sure, it makes sense to have it with him in case he needs it, but someone might notice it's no longer in the shrine cabinet.

So far, Ultraman Ginga is still underwhelming for me. I don't hate it, and the premise alone is enough to keep me interested, but I'm not blown away (yet?). The preview for next episode looks promising, and the weekly villain might prove more threatening next time. Also, the opening theme is starting to grow on me, but the song, "Legend of Galaxy" feels a little weak coming after "Final Wars".

Ultraman Ginga © Tsuburaya Productions 

Special thanks to okunohoshimichi at Henshin Justice Unlimited for helping explain things before Over-Time's translation was finished.

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