Mill Creek has graciously provided us with a copies of their Ultra Q and Ultraman Steelbook Blu-ray releases which is just the tip of the iceberg of their Ultraman releases. While some Ultraman series have been available to some degree previously this is the first true full fledge release.
First the packaging, both sets are very similar to the previous Mothra release featuring a clear sleeve with the Steebook and booklet inside, the clear sleeve has the series logo on the front and series info, technical specs, and some pics. The Steelbooks themselves feature clean unobstructed looks, Ultra Q has a circular white area in the center with the Ultra Q logo embossed within surrounded by a number of Ultra kaiju from the series. Around back there is Namegon, Garamon, and scenery.
The Ultraman set features Ultraman (nearly full body)with a few Ultra kaiju and scenery near the bottom, on the back is another image of Ultraman (close up) in the specium ray pose with scenery near the bottom. Both sets have similar spines with series 1 or 2 near the top, series logos in the center and Mill Creek logo along with Ragon (Ultra Q) and Ultraman (Ultraman) at the bottom.
Inside Ultra Q feature a multi colored background (based on the Ultra Q opening), while Ultraman has a close up of his chest and color timer. The disc feature the disc numbers, series logos 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 horrible for the Ultra Q set because it is 4 discs but for Ultraman there is 6 discs which requires a fair amount of swapping to watch all.
The booklet are fairly similar, Ultra Q features Tsuburaya: A History, Introduction, Episode Guide, Key Monster Guide, Character Guide, and Technology Guide. Ultraman features The Birth Of Ultraman, Series History, Hero Profile, Episode Guide, Monster Guide, Character Profiles, and Key Technology, not sure why they didn't use the same headings for certain sections but it wasn't a big deal. The sections were overall well done and layed out but seeing the booklet is relatively small (only 24 pages), the images are 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 for each series has it own vibe, but both have similar quality and features. Ultra Q is definitely a more odd series, basically Godzilla meets the Twilight Zone and the fact it is filmed in black and white actually helps that analogy. There are episodes where there is more traditional monster fighting while others have a more mysterious feel to them. The quality of the Blu-ray transfer is pretty good both video and audio there are some moments where there are scratches or marks but this maybe from the original film used. The one negative was with the subtitles it was hard at times to see them depending on the background image since it was in black and white, white lettering on a light colored image.
Ultraman is a little more like short versions of Godzilla films, the drawback is there is not a lot of time to develop a good story for each episode some episodes are somewhat weak, but the realization is this series was geared towards children, more so than Ultra Q. Now I haven't seen an original Ultraman episode in some time so one thing that got me was the short amount of time Ultraman has before he gets his color timer warning (red flashing), oddly he seems to go almost as long on that limited power. I found the intro music was kiddish but it caught on after a few episodes and I found myself humming along.
The transfer to Blu-ray was pretty good but the drawback with that was I noticed wires being used in some scenes, problems with Ultraman costume, for example tears in the suit (noticed one under his arm) or something from the set stuck to it (pebble or something small), one of the problems with high definition transfers on older films and series. One thing with both series that fans were hoping for was an English dubbing, but sadly that didn't happen, for a few reasons. Both series do have 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.
Overall we feel this is a good release, 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 Entertainment has officially announced their next Ultraman releases, Ultra Seven, Ultraman Geed, and Ultraman Orb.Ultra Seven will have both a Steelbook and standard Blu-ray releases, Ultraman Geed and Ultraman Orb with get standard Blu-Ray releases. Check out all the details below.
Blu-ray + Digital
In the Age of Interplanetary Wars, Earth is in danger from those who would threaten its very existence. From their massive underground complex near Mt. Fuji the Ultra Guard, an elite unit of the Terrestrial Defense Force, stands vigilant as our decisive first-line of defense. But unbeknownst to his teammates, Dan Moroboshi is secretly an extraterrestrial aiding them in their fight to preserve the future of humanity. Dubbed Ultraseven, he aides the Ultra Guard in fighting back alien hordes that would doom the world to conquest.
A far greater threat emerges, though, as Ultraseven sees the consequences of his power: can he maintain his soul in the face of constant violence, even when that is necessary to protect his newfound friends?
Produced by the creative team behind ULTRAMAN, ULTRASEVEN is the third entry in the Ultra Series. One of the best of the long-running franchise, its science fiction themes range from the cruelty of war to social and racial injustices in the grand tradition of Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. For the first time in High-Definition, ULTRASEVEN features the colossal monsters and spectacular visual effects the Tsuburaya team is known for across the galaxy.
"Ultraseven takes the core concepts that made Ultraman so memorable and expands them tenfold, creating a series that overflows with energy, imagination and craftsmanship." -MyShinyToyRobots.com
Starring: Koji Moritsugu, Yuriko Hishimi, Shoji Nakayama
Co-Starring: Iyoshi Ishii, Shinsuke Achiha, Bin Furuya
Director: Hajime Tsuburaya, Samaji Nonagase, Kazuho Mitsuta, Toshitsugu Suzuki
Writer: Tetsuo Kinjo, Masahiro Yamada, Shozo Uehara, Shinichi Ichikawa
Contents: 48 Episodes
Run Time: 20 hr 8 min
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: BD Region A
Street Date: 12/10/2019
Price: $49.98 Steelbook
$39.98 Standard Blu-ray
Blu-ray + Digital
ULTRAMAN GEED – THE SERIES
This is a story of a hero who inherits Ultraman Belial, the evil Ultraman’s genes. Despite suffering from repeating setbacks and despair of knowing the secret of his birth and cruel fate, he never loses sight of friendship and strong will to become a true hero. The story unfolds through the spiritual growth of the protagonist who seeks for the meaning of his own life and finds the place where he belongs, through fighting against evil and his own cursed destiny, to become a hero of justice
ULTRAMAN GEED – THE MOVIE – Connect the Wishes
Gigantic Mechanical Brain Gillvalis and the Galactron Army, intent on wiping out all intelligent lifeforms in the universe, close in on Earth. Riku Asakura heads for Okinawa, where there are said to be clues to the “Red Steel” sought by Gilbaris. There, Riku encounters Ail, who realizes that he is Ultraman and assigns him an important mission. Meanwhile, the Galactron Army begins attacking Okinawa
in search of the “Red Steel”. Ultraman Geed, Orb, and Zero rush to Earth, but Geed’s hasty actions in sticking to his mission put the Ultraman team in even more danger!
Starring: Tatsuomi Hamada, Chihiro Yamamoto, Mayu Hasegawa
Co-Starring: Yuta Ozawa, Kunito Watanabe
Director: Hirotaka Adachi, Uiko Miura, Sachio Yanai, Misaki Morie
Writer: Koichi Sakamoto, Ryuichi Ichino, Masayoshi Takesue, Suguru Tomita
Contents: 25 Episodes + Movie
Run Time: 11 hr 37 min
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: BD Region A
Street Date: 11/19/2019
Blu-ray + Digital
ULTRAMAN ORB – THE SERIES
Naomi has had the same strange dream since she was young: visions of a giant of light battling a giant monster. With her interest sparked by those dreams, she starts the paranormal phenomena tracking website called “SSP” with her friends Jetta and Shin. One day the trio is on the tail of a mysterious animal suspected of causing strange meteorological activity. They encounter the Cyclone Lord Monster, Maga-Basser! Naomi is blasted vicious winds but rescued by the vagabond, Gai Kuernai. By using his Orb Ring, Gai is able to Fusion Up into a warrior of light from a distant galaxy, Ultraman Orb!
ULTRAMAN ORB – THE MOVIE – Let Me Borrow The Power of Bonds!
A mysterious item is delivered to paranormal investigators SSP. SSP members Naomi, Jetta and Shin determine that it is a transformation device… the X Devizer that housed Ultraman X both during and after his merging with Xio agent Daichi Oozora (Kensuke Takahashi). Gai Kurenai (Hideo Ishiguro), the human form of Ultraman Orb returns from his wanderings to search for X… unaware that this is just the first sign of a new threat to the Earth. The villainous space witch Murnau has allied with Ultraman Orb’s arch enemy Jugglus Juggler to use the Dark Ring she now possesses.
Starring: Hideo Ishiguro, Miyabi Matsuura, Naoto Takahashi
Co-Starring: Hiroaki Nerio, Takaya Aoyagi, Shingo Yanagisawa
Director: Kiyotaka Taguchi, Yuichi Abe, Ryuichi Ichino, Suguru Tomita
Writer: Takao Nakano, Yuji Kobayashi, Sotaro Hayashi, Akio Miyoshi
Contents: 25 Episodes + Movie
Run Time: 11 hr 35 min
Rating: Not Rated
Region Code: BD Region A
Street Date: 11/19/2019
MILL CREEK ENTERTAINMENT ACQUIRES THE ULTRAMAN LIBRARY FOR PHYSICAL AND DIGITAL HOME ENTERTAINMENT DISTRIBUTION ACROSS NORTH AMERICA
Over 1100 episodes and 20 films spanning 50 years of Tsuburaya Productions’ global franchise are included in this landmark licensing deal!
Minneapolis, MN (July 10, 2019) Mill Creek Entertainment and Indigo Entertainment (United Kingdom) are pleased to announce the license of the Ultraman superhero library from Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd for North American home entertainment distribution. Indigo, on behalf of Tsuburaya, has developed a unique licensing deal with Mill Creek to bring this iconic property back to North America that includes both physical and digital distribution rights for the Ultraman catalog which includes classic TV series which have been newly remastered in high definition, recent theatrical feature films and almost everything produced throughout the last 50 years.
Mill Creek Entertainment’s debut releases from this deal will be limited edition SteelBook® complete series releases of ULTRA Q and ULTRAMAN on Blu-ray on October 15, 2019 for $49.98 each. Complete series Blu-ray releases in standard packaging will also be made available at the same time for $39.98 each.
Each release will contain stunning high definition video with DTS-HD Master Audio of the original Japanese soundtrack with English subtitles. Digital redemption will also be available via Mill Creek Entertainment’s streaming service, movieSPREE. You can now watch a free 10-minute SPREEview of the first episodes of Ultra Q and Ultraman here: https://www.moviespree.com/ultraman
“These first two series are what kicked off the worldwide phenomenon of Ultraman,” says Jeff Hayne, VP of Content Acquisitions for Mill Creek. “Ultraman’s success paved the way for other popular tokusatsu franchises including Kamen Rider and Super Sentai which influenced the spawning of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”
“We are excited to bring the Ultraman catalog to North American audiences through a multi-faceted release model spanning Blu-ray and DVD plus various TVOD, SVOD and AVOD digital outlets,” states Barrett Evans, VP of Marketing for Mill Creek. “In tandem with the classic series, we will also be releasing the more recent series and films to appease fans of both classic and modern Ultraman.”
“Ultraman is a revolution in television history - a landmark property and record-breaking global phenomenon. The original series heralded a new age of quality adventure and special effects for children’s entertainment. Now, through Indigo’s unique relationship with Tsuburaya, we are delighted to be partnering with Mill Creek Entertainment in repositioning the legendary Ultraman for both new and old audiences alike,” says David Lawley, MD of Indigo Entertainment.
“We are very excited about this partnership and the opportunity to reintroduce the Ultraman series, with over 50 years of history, to the people of North America. We hope that we shall rekindle memories of the fans that enjoyed the series in the 70s and 80s and at the same time nurture a new fan base for the younger generation,” says Kei Minamitani, General Manager International Business of Tsuburaya Productions Co., Ltd.
The original series ULTRA Q was one of the most expensive television series ever produced in Japan and a raging success. Originally airing in 1966, it spawned a revolution in “Ultra” content that has seen series after series, movies and merchandising created; and originated a landmark global phenomenon.
The classic ULTRAMAN live television series of the 1960s and 70s, produced by Tsuburaya Productions, established new heights of quality adventure and special effects-driven entertainment and built a worldwide audience for the property. Hailing from the distant Nebula M78, Ultraman is a sleek silvery being who protects Earth and the human race from an endless array of invading aliens and terrifying monsters together with the crew of the Earth-based defense force using advanced high-tech weapons and vehicles. Ultraman battles monsters that cause endless mayhem and destruction on Earth. With the ability to extend his height to over 150 feet, Ultraman melds with a human and only emerges in times of extreme danger to save people and the Earth. The popularity of Ultraman—and the aliens and monsters-- has enabled the series to persist to this day, generating over $50 million per year in toys and merchandise in Japan.
Mill Creek Entertainment has established itself as the leading independent home entertainment studio in North America. From special edition Complete TV Series releases including The Shield, Married…With Children, and Roseanne, to special edition SteelBook® release of Mothra and an entire lineup of Retro VHS-style movies on Blu-ray, Mill Creek’s extensive catalog contains both mainstream and cult entertainment offerings that have exceeded performance expectations at retail despite the declining packaged media industry reports.
About Mill Creek Entertainment
Mill Creek Entertainment is the home entertainment industry’s leading independent studio for Blu-ray, DVD, and digital distribution. With direct sales pipelines to all primary retail and online partners, Mill Creek Entertainment licenses, produces, markets and distributes a dynamic array of film and television content to over 30,000 retail stores and thousands of websites reaching millions of customers across North America. Mill Creek Entertainment’s expansive library includes Oscar®-winning theatrical feature films, Emmy®-winning classic and current TV series, original documentary productions and pop-culture favorites that enlighten, educate and entertain. Mill Creek Entertainment also owns and operates movieSPREE, an on-demand transactional streaming service offering movie bundles, complete TV series and premium entertainment options with apps available on Roku, AppleTV, iOS, Amazon Fire TV, Android and iOS. Mill Creek Entertainment is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, please visit www.millcreekent.com or www.movieSPREE.com, (order links at bottom).
Ultra Q - The Complete Series - SteelBook Edition Blu-ray
The classic series that launched the Ultraman franchise!
After co-creating the iconic movie monsters Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra for Toho Studios, special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya launched his own company, Tsuburaya Productions. The first production under his new label was ULTRA Q, a 28-episode series that brought the theatrical spectacle Tsuburaya had become known for to television. The black & white sci-fi drama focused on Mainichi Shimpo photojournalist Yuriko Edogawa (Hiroko Sakurai, Ultraman), Hoshikawa Airlines pilot/SF writer Jun Manjome (Kenji Sahara) and his co-pilot Ippei Togawa (Yasuhiko Saijo), who partnered to investigate mysterious events occurring in and around Japan. These phenomena often involved aliens and giant monsters, many of whom would return in future Ultraman shows and movies.
One of the most expensive TV programs produced in Japan up to that time, ULTRA Q was a ratings smash that paved the way for Tsuburaya Productions' first color series... ULTRAMAN!
Ultraman - The Complete Series - SteelBook Edition
ULTRAMAN, a giant alien from the Land of Light in Nebula M78, enters Earth's atmosphere in pursuit of an escaped space monster. In the skies above Japan he accidentally crashes into a Jet VTOL piloted by Hayata, a member of the Science Special Search Party (SSSP), an international research and defense agency that protects the world from monsters and aliens of all shapes and sizes. To save Hayata, Ultraman merges his life force with the dying human and vows to stay and fight for peace on Earth. Now, whenever the Patrol faces a threat too great for them to handle, Hayata transforms into Ultraman to save the day!
ULTRAMAN was Tsuburaya Productions' first color series, a sci-fi action adventure drama that dominated the ratings during its initial 1966-67 broadcast run in Japan. The show was quickly licensed for release in America, airing in syndication for nearly two decades. Colorful, fast-paced, and packed with memorable heroes, creatures and incredible special effects, ULTRAMAN was the foundation for a phenomena that continues to this day.