Ultraman X Series Recap Part 2

I have a new canon in which Daichi is Akari Ozora’s father in Aikatsu, and the “light” that Ichigo saw in her back in season 2 was her Ultraman blood. Also, Johnny Bepp is Gentaro Kisaragi’s cousin.bepp-sensei

Anyway, on to the second part of Ultraman X.ultramanx2-1

The monster in episode 8 is Zetton, the final monster from the original Ultraman. The episode starts with Ultraman X getting his ass handed to him by said monster, only for Zetton to retreat at the last moment. Distressed by this, Daichi starts working extra hard to develop an armor for X that can withstand Zetton’s attacks. Helping him is another researcher, Dr. Kaito Touma, who had apparently previously worked with Daichi’s father on the Zetton Spark Doll.

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And Bandai says it doesn’t feed its figures with antibiotics and hormones!

The Zetton Armor is soon completed, with Dr. Touma convincing Daichi to invest more in the armor’s power, like his father would have done. The next time Zetton attacks, and Ultraman X engages him, the armor is deployed, but it immobilizes X. As men in business suits are rarely to be trusted in any Ultra Series, it is revealed to everyone’s shock and amazement that Dr. Touma is actually evil by… Dr. Kaito Touma! Yeah, there’s two them, and the one that is actually Alien Sran Quila in disguise is the one is a business suit.

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I don’t know what it is, but I suspect that this guy may not be who he claims he is.

Kaito is actually Ultraman Max, the original ambassador between the worlds of Toku and Crunchyroll. After exposing Sran Quila, Dr. Touma transforms, and the fight begins… for about a minute before the Zetton Armor fully gains control over Ultraman X, leaving the fight unfairly in Sran Quila’s favor.

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Now give me your lunch money!

As it turns out, what Sran Quila is really after is Ultraman Max, and he is simply using X and Zetton as an “ultimate combination”. He based his plan around the knowledge of what happened with Daichi and his father. After a pointless scene in which the Xio team try to take on a kaijin-size Sran Quila, the alien decides to forget it and turns giant as well, making the fight against Max three against one. ultramanx2-5

Just when it seems hopeless, Daichi, who has been trying various methods of getting X back under his control, finally succeeds in doing so, through a method that causes some degree of pain to himself, something he will do quite a bit of in the future. The rest is self-explanatory, with the two Ultras teaming up and displaying their powers, defeating the two extra-terrestrial menaces. Finally, Ultraman Max forms another card from his powers, and flies off, never to be seen until July, when Ultraman Orb invariably needs his help.

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The Zetton Armor: the new proven therapy for effective kaiju anger management!

This episode is quite good. Basic, but good. In many ways, it lays the groundwork for a lot of future episodes: Daichi comes across a technical problem, he has to find a way to solve it, the method typically comes at some sort of price to himself, and he comes out on top in the end. Here, Daichi’s innocence and gullibility are exploited in a rather devious manner, but his strong points are emphasized just as much and are what save the day in the end. The crossover portion isn’t as memorable as Ultraman Zero’s, but it is still very enjoyable.

Episode 9 is a comedic filler episode concerning Wataru’s little brother, Isamu. He’s a rugby player, and in light of a recent game in which he choked, thus costing his team an important game, he bitterly quits playing. He finds an apartment for rent, and meets the tenants, all of who are friendly, but rather strange. Almost, shall we say, alien?

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You can tell they’re aliens because of this strange “Famicom” device that they claim to be playing video games on.

The three aliens are from Valky, Nackle, and Icarus, all from Showa Ultra shows. Three other aliens are here as well, from Babarue, Zetton and Dada, who make no attempt to hide their identities. The latter three have a crime network called the Dark Star Cluster. The former three realize that Isamu is a rugby player, and, realizing that he is going through a life crisis, promise to always be there for him.

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Those are to make the final fight with Wario easier.

Isamu discovers his roommates’ identities fairly quickly, but decides that they are nice guys regardless, and doesn’t call Xio on them. Soon, the Valky’s pet shark-whale arrives, which blows the aliens’ cover. Shark-whales don’t exactly know how to arrive in places quietly, so the event registers on Xio’s radar. As the three aliens try to run away, Xio misunderstands and tries to corner the three, but Isamu vouches for them. The truth of his words is confirmed when the four bad aliens arrive, asking for the shark-whale to sell on the black market.

So naturally, to settle this conflict once and for all, the good aliens propose the best solution: challenge the bad aliens to a game of Rugby! After all, they can’t possibly lose with an actual player on their side, right? Except it turns out that the Babarue happens to be a legendary Rugby player himself, making me question his need to turn to crime at all, but hey, then there would be no episode.

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After actually typing all that out…

Isamu is reluctant to help teach the aliens how to play, given that he just quit, but a pep talk by his brother convinces him to help. The usual seriousness with which Xio takes this development makes the previous scenes even funnier.

So the game starts, and since the bad aliens have physical capabilities that are beyond that of a human, Isamu’s team is left in the dust. When the game finally resorts to the bad aliens playing dirty (and with the referee biased in their favor), Isamu’s rugby instincts or whatever are awakened, and he manages to plow his opponents.

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Get it?

Isamu’s team make a comeback, and manage to win the game through virtue of the opposing team forgetting that they have powers. With the game won, the Dark Star Cluster members prove to have terrible sportsmanship as they all turn big and start wreaking havoc. Oh no! If only there was a supremely powerful being about the same size who could easily wipe the floor with their asses!

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That’s it; those comically oversized wildflowers!

This episode was another basic one, but it was a lot of fun. The trio of peaceful aliens were a riot, and while Isamu’s story nothing particularly special, Isamu’s interactions with the aliens themselves and his brother are charming to watch. What really puts this episode above in terms of comedy is the very matter-of-fact approach which Xio takes to the ridiculous plot, which makes the ridiculousness even more effective.

Episode 10 is about another original monster, Houlinga, a plant-like monster that, like a plant, mostly just sit there and grows, a task made difficult by malnutrition. Because it is harmless, Xio is allowed to provide Houlinga with medical treatment. The nearby town of Sakane treats the creature as a tourist attraction, significantly increasing its traffic. ultramanx2-12

Xio administers its medicine for Houlinga in spite of the warnings of a little girl (read: all-knowing prophet) named Hana. Sure enough, the “shot” that Xio delivers causes Houlinga’s nutrition levels to rise, and cause it to terrorize the town. In addition, its roots are spreading as well. Daichi believes that Houlinga is actually there to nourish the land rather than simply itself, and that’s what the “malnourishment” from before  actually was.

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The GPS to use if you hate knowing where you’re going.

Daichi goes to visit Hana and her mother. He talks to Hana, and “apologizes” for administering the shot. All seems to be going well, until Xio tries to transport Houlinga to another location. Hana is distressed by this, and explains that Houlinga is actually descended from the mountains near the town, and will eventually become a mountain itself, thus it prefers to stay put.

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Shotaro Ishinimori had some weird self-portrait requests.

Because of all this distress, Houlinga releases a massive wave of pollen, which will render the area uninhabitable if left unattended. Since Xio’s equipment is barely functional amidst all the pollen, Daichi does the only thing left to do: turn into Ultraman X. Of course, X has a “purify wave” that magically resolves the plot of the episode (or rather, removes the medicine from Houlinga’s body). Now purified, Houlinga finally becomes a mountain that kinda looks like a giant pile of manure.

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Wait, is this a chance to reference two Shyamalan movies at once?

This episode is unique among Ultraman X episodes, and is just fantastic. The Ultra Series has always been good at capturing the innocence of childhood, and this is no exception. The whole thing plays out like a fairy tale, without going overboard with campiness like most of Ultraman Taro. The mythology behind Houlinga is charming, its relationship with the child is charming, and the usual themes of coexistence between monsters and humans is charming. It’s a charming episode. It’s difficult to explain why; it just is.

Episode 11 concerns the Xio lab team’s continuing quest to control Daichi’s Cyber Gomora card for their own use. They have gotten everything down except for brainwave control. Daichi overworks himself to oblivion, leading to his coaapling before the next test. Xio concludes from all this that Daichi’s ability to make rational decisions is being affected by his desire to finish his father’s research.

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Actually, I think it’s something else that’s affecting his decision-making ability.

Ultraman X suggests that Daichi isn’t trying to make an emotional connection with Gomora, and even Daichi’s attempts to analyze Gomora are thwarted when Gomora’s Spark Doll actively rejects his device. In a very touching scene, Asuna tells Daichi that she wants more than anything the fighting to end, and she believes that Gomora feels the same way. ultramanx2-17

An alien attack from the ruthless planet Pedan occurs, and they have a robot, King Joe, which dates back to Ultra Seven. After Hayato and Wataru have trouble taking it down, Daichi once again calls upon Ultraman X to save the day. The fight does not go very well, of course, but the turning point comes when Asuna tries to cover for X, leading to King Joe targeting her. X blocks the attack, and during this time, Gomora links itsconsciousness to Daichi.

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Daichi’s life of sitting in front of his TV watching Stargate is flashing before his eyes!

After Daichi views Gomora’s strangely well-shot memories, he realizes that Gomora didn’t want to connect with him before because he was worried what would happen to Daichi. Daichi assures Gomora that he will be fine, and finally Cyber Gomora is truly deployed for the first time.ultramanx2-19

Another effective double team leaves King Joe biting the dust. And so Xio is once again victorious, but because Daichi managed to get Cyber Gomora in working order without consulting anyone else, he’s going to get chewed out by his superiors later!

This episode is okay. While it is nice to finally see Gomora get deployed, ending a plot thread that has been dangling since day one, the episode as a whole does very little that other episodes haven’t. It seems like this episode is supposed to be about how friendship and camaraderie is more important than technology, but the message kind of gets boggled by Gomora’s rather finicky stance on bonding with Daichi. His reason for not wanting to be with Daichi makes no sense; deploying Gomora alongside Daichi could only help him, not hurt him. The scene in which Gomora finally materializes thus feels hollow. Not bad, but Ultraman X is capable of so, so much better.

Episode 12 sees the return of Demaaga. Since Ultraman X is much more powerful than his first appearance, he has no problem keeping the monster at bay. However, this is short-lived, as a mysterious energy falls from space and transforms Demaaga’s form into something with long blades for arms, Tsurugi Demagaa.ultramanx2-20

The energy also makes X weaker, so he gets curbstomped. Before vanishing, X separates from Daichi so that the latter can survive. Unconscious, Daichi has a flashback while being treated by Dr. Gourman (during which he shifts his head around a lot for an unconscious person). As a kid, he once saw a scientifically improbable rainbow out during a perfectly sunny day, and his mother told him that at the end of a rainbow lies treasure and happiness. This shoots Daichi up in the real world, with him saying that he needs to find X’s data. Well, they do say that dreams help with problem solving.

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That is true, considering he is the main character and everything.

Dr. Gourman agrees to use Daichi’s Devizer to connect him to the digital world to save it by changing into Digital Champions. Meanwhile, Asuna, Rui, and Mamoru are investigating the site where Demagaa appeared, only to be attacked with CGI whip. The mysterious girl there wants to use the energy that has been raining down to take over the universe. Apparently, Tsurugi Demagaa was just a “test” of the energy’s power.

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Hey, cosplayers need hobbies, too!

As Wataru and Hayato deal with the monstrosity up above, Asuna engages in comparatively less spectacular martial arts fight with the cosplay girl, who eventually uses a Spark Doll to connect to Zaragas (from Ultraman). Out of options, Asuna uses the Cyber Gomora Spark Doll to connect to Gomora, and fights Zaragas, who ironically was originally a modified Gomora suit back in the sixties.ultramanx2-23

Asuna as Gomora quickly defeats Zaragas, but the toll on Asuna’s body leaves it unable to help with Tsurugi Demagaa. In the cyberworld, Daichi has trouble finding X’s data, until another rainbow appears to guide him to the right direction, as well as to a new weapon, the X-Lugger. As a scientist, Daichi has his work cut out for him when it comes to research on strange light phenomena.

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Daichi crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of repetitive Internet memes I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to.

With these new advancements, Daichi is able to revive Ultraman X, now able to evolve to a more powerful form, Exceed X. Needless to say, what follows is the part where Tssurugi Demagaa gets its ass handed to it in spectacular fashion. As Daichi pretends, as usual, to not know what went on, the woman from earlier, Gina Spectre, recruits two new members of the Gua army…

This episode is basically an update to the first episode, as both Demagaa and Ultraman X receive upgrades, and the episode feels much like the pilot. Although this one isn’t quite as well produced, it still manages to keep the thrills rolling, and the new developments come in at just the right time. The X-Lugger is a bit of a deus-ex-machina, but when it happens, it really feels like Daichi has earned it by deepening his relationship with Ultraman X.

Episode 13 is the Ultraman Ginga S crossover episode, which begins in Ginga‘s universe this time. Ultraman Victory is fighting a Mold alien, who is seeking to avenge his brother Judar. As the two fight, Gina Spectre calls forth Mold to the X universe, and so Mold transports himself and Victory through a wormhole-thing, along with Arisa.

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As usual. Hikaru Raido adds smiling and laughter to a difficult situation.

Arisa wakes up, and is discovered by the Xio team. She mentions that she is looking for Shou, indirectly informing the rest of the team besides Daichi that a human host is required to change into Ultraman (it doesn’t affect much in this episode in particular), but whatever).

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Shou is big guy. FOR YOU!

The search doesn’t last long, because Shou’s captors turn out to be rather incompetent, and he easily escapes. Daichi runs into him, and in an absolutely hilarious scene, since Daichi knows that Shou comes from underground, he believes that Shou does not speak Japanese, and mistakes his indicating to remove his mouth gag as attempting to communicate.

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Though I highly doubt this the more and more episodes go by.

After Mold gets hit with a burst of the energy from earlier, he becomes more powerful, enough so that even Ultraman X can’t do much to him, even after application of the X-Lugger. The situation is made worse when one of Shou’s earlier captors turns giant as well, double-teaming and ultimately overwhelming X.ultramanx2-28

Eventually. Arisa and Shou reunite, so that Arisa can throw the Victory Lancer to Shou in order for him to transform himself. After a quick retreat by the Xio and UPG members, Shou expresses his displeasure at Daichi’s performance during the battle, before proceeding to exposit about Emperor Judar Spectre, and his siblings who are they are currently fighting.

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Well, no wonder they’re so ruthless, considering how bored they must be during those other tens of thousands of years.

Shou drags Daichi away from everyone and informs Daichi that part of Ultraman X’s strength comes from Daichi himself, and as such he needs to learn how to use a sword. As mentioned in Part 1, Daichi is a scientist first, and a fighter probably well beyond second. This marks the first instance in which Daichi can’t rely on X to win, and must upgrade his own skills to properly support him. This is real character conflict, and it’s so refreshing to see.

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So people don’t typically resist when you do invade them? How boring are your lives?

Shou proves to be a rather tough coach, with his sparring sessions hurting Daichi quite a bit. Shou mentions that Daichi has loved ones to protect, and this inspires Daichi to master Shou’s technique of reading his opponent’s breathing, and exposing an opening based on that. Ultraman X also plays the role of an annoying cheerleader during this exchange, once again cementing him as one of the funniest Ultramen.

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So what happens when the Gua Army Coordinator gets the scheduling off by a few hundred years?

I will never tire of ripping on this army’s scheduling woes.

The rest of the episode is of course, a giant action scene, and a great one. This is the perfect opportunity to show off every trick with both the X-Lugger and the Victory Lancer, and the episode takes every bit of advantage of it. As Mold Spectre informs the two Ultramen that they’re too late, and that his army is about to arrive to soak up the black Marble Screw energy (my personal term, obviously), instead of the Gua Army, the only being waiting on the other side of the wormhole is Ultraman Ginga, who defeated the entire army off screen. Given that it’s Ultraman frickin’ Ginga, that’s not too farfetched.

This is easily the best of the team up episodes. It’s welcome to see Shou again, especially since his development from Ultraman Ginga S remains intact, with him now in a mentor role. He proves to be an effective teacher, never giving the impression that he doesn’t believe in Daichi’s potential despite his strictness. Daichi, for his part, learns to be a better man, and a better partner to Ultraman X under Shou’s tutelage, all leading to an extremely effective episode that is as poignant as it is action-packed.

Episode 14 begins with a brief action sequence that ends with the retreat of the Spectres. The three Ultramen manage to close off the wormhole thing, before Hikaru formally introduces himself to Daichi. After an amusing scene in which the UPG crew meet the Xio team, Hikaru and Shou assure Daichi that his dream is feasible, as many Ultramen in other dimensions work with monsters all the time, and Shou even has one for a best friend (Shepardon).

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Does the $ symbol have any meaning to you?

Meanwhile, the Spectre crew manage to create Mecha Gomora, a robotic variant of Daichi’s favorite monster. The monster’s armor is too strong for Xio’s weapons, and Hikaru and Shou are preoccupied with fighting Gina and Alien Shaplay. As such, Asuna is forced to connect with Cyber Gomora again. ultramanx2-33.png

Turns out, Mecha Gomora is a distraction and the Spectres’ real plan is to put dark energy into the Spark Dolls in the Xio base. As Wataru and Hayato return to defend them, Arisa and Asuna manage to defeat Mecha Gomora on their own using Cyber Gomora’s Oscillation Wave and the UltLaser.

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How do you do that with your fingers?

Finally, all the Spectre Siblings join forces, making it so that two rubber faces appear on Mold’s sword. Kinda disappointing for an ultimate evil form. Either way, since the three Ultramen hosts are no longer preoccupied with trying to fight Gina, they are free to transform, and what follows is five uninterrupted minutes of Ultraman action done in the proper way; that is, a huge curbstomp battle involving lots of flashy effects and the Spectres getting hurt real good.ultramanx2-35

As another crossover episode, this one is plain awesome. It doesn’t have quite the emotional depth of the last one, but who cares? This is one of those episodes where everyone gets to chip in. No one is left unaccounted for, and no one can get away with sitting the episode out. The bad guys are constantly popping up in different places, doing whatever it takes to accomplish their goals, and no one is truly safe until the end. This is a more than satisfying end to the second act of Ultraman X.

Stay tuned for part 3, where X reaches its conclusion, while continuing to be a stellar example of quality Toku. Until then, have a good day, and make sure to recognize the light in the people in your life!

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