Tsuburaya Con 2019 has started and a number of announcements have been made, the biggest being the design of Shin Ultraman (bottom). The design goes back to the original design with some slight updates, mainly the removal of his color timer, eye peep holes, and his zipper ridge from his back. While these items being removed gives a cleaner look it also makes it like it's missing something. Other announcements were SSSS. Dynazenon, a new SSSS Gridman series, Kaiju Decode, including a character reveal, among other items. Also Marvel editor-in-chief CB Severski who spoke about his love for Ultraman. Pics courtesy of Dengeki Hobby.
Mill Creek has graciously provided us with a copy of their Ultra Seven Steelbook Blu-ray release which is the third Showa release and fifth overall of their Ultraman releases so far. While some Ultraman series have been available to some degree previously this is the first official US release.
First the packaging, this set is very similar to the previous Ultraman releases featuring a clear sleeve with the Steelbook and booklet inside, the clear sleeve has the series logo on the front and series info, technical specs, and some pics on the back. The Steelbook itself feature clean unobstructed looks, it features Ultra Seven (nearly full body)with a few Ultra kaiju and scenery near the bottom on the front, on the back is another image of Ultra Seven (close up) in a different pose. The spine has series 3, continuing the numbering from the two previous Showa sets, series logo in the center and Mill Creek logo along with Ultra Seven at the bottom.
Inside the case it features a close up of the shoulder/chest area of Ultra Seven. The each disc features the disc numbers, series logo, different Ultra kaiju, and logos for Mill Creek, etc. at the bottom. The discs themselves are stacked half on the front half and half on the back, this isn't great because there is 6 discs which requires a fair amount of swapping to watch all as with this set.
The booklet is similar to the other sets, it features The Birth Of Ultra Seven, Series History, Hero Profile, Episode Guide, Kaiju Guide, Character Profiles, and Key Technology, these are basically the same set up as the Ultraman set. The sections were overall well done and layed out but seeing the booklet is relatively small (only 24 pages), the images aren't too big and descriptions are short but had they been bigger the booklet would have had to be much larger and more expensive.
When it comes to the content, like each of the first two series, it has it own vibe, but it has similar quality and features. Ultra Seven has a more serious tone than Ultraman but still features a special group, the Ultra Guard (instead of the Science Patrol), and various ships used by them. Ultra Seven does not seem to tie into Ultraman directly, although it has the same premise and types of stories, this seems to be the norm with Japanese scifi, Godzilla films do the same thing continuity wise. There is also a new addition to Ultra Seven, capsule monsters, kaiju that Dan Moroboshi/Ultra Seven uses against his foes. The more serious tone will make this series more enjoyable for adults than Ultraman and some of the newer series that are geared a little more towards kids, but it doesn't stray to far away from the basics of the previous series to alienate viewers.
The transfer to Blu-ray was pretty good like the previous two series but the issues that were noticed with Ultraman (costume issues, wires, etc.) were not as noticeable this maybe because production valves increased with this series. One thing once again that fans were hoping for is missing, English dubbing, it is not a major issue but for those who don't like reading subtitles it may be bothersome. This series, like all other Ultra series from Mill Creek, includes digital copies available from Mill Creek's Moviespree streaming service, currently they are only available there but they may be available through other services in the future (note Moviespree is available on the Amazon Fire Stick/TV).
Overall we feel this is a good release and recommend it, some items like English language track or other extras could have been included but the fact this has not been available in the US in its entirety is a great reason to get it. The one option is to get the standard Blu-ray sets instead of the Steelbook, while the content is the same the packaging is different so that would be a decision each person would need to make based on their preference.
Mill Creek Entertainments
Ultraman Release Schedule
Ultra Q - Oct. 15, 2019
Ultraman - Oct. 15, 2019
Ultra Seven - Dec. 10 2019
Return Of Ultraman - Feb. 25, 2020
Ultraman Ace - May 26, 2020
Ultraman Taro - Summer 2020
Ultraman Leo - Summer 2020
Ultraman X + Movie - April 21, 2020
Ultraman Zero + Movie - Summer 2020
Ultraman Orb + Movie - Nov. 19, 2019
Ultraman Orb Origin Saga + - Feb. 11, 2020
Ultraman Geed + Movie - Nov. 19, 2019
Ultraman R/B + Movie - Spring 2020
Ultraman Geed Movie - Mar 17, 2020
Ultraman X: The Movie - April 21, 2020
Neo Ultra Q - Aug. 11, 2020
Ultraman X/Ginga Movies - June 15, 2020
Ultraman Ginga Series/Movie + - Sept 15, 2020