Ultraman 1.7 – The Blue Stone of Baradhi

Well, this is, by leagues, the most interesting episode we’ve seen so far. It’s the first to take the Science Patrol outside of Japan, to a city in the shadow of Mount Ararat, and the first to establish that Ultraman – or another member of his “family,” perhaps – has been visiting Earth for centuries, and also the first where our hero himself does not save the day and destroy the monster. Captain Mura delivers the final blow, using a strange artifact that has protected the hidden city of Baradhi (called Vallarj in the English language dub) for many years.

Speaking of the English language dub, this one has a couple of curiosities. The prints on this DVD set seem to be taken from the full-length episodes, many of which were trimmed by about a minute for syndication in America. Married with the American dialogue tracks, there are leftover scenes without a dubbed track. Most of these – but not all, episode six is particularly affected – have subtitles. One subtitle in this episode identifies a guest character as coming from the Science Patrol’s French unit before the narrator says that “Adam” came from the United States instead. But then when the Science Patrol makes it to Baradhi, they meet a princess who speaks “English,” like them, and suggest that she has studied in America. Now come on, even when we were kids, we knew these guys were based in Japan!

Anyway, the monster this week is a beetle-like beast called Antlar, and he’s been systematically killing anybody who leaves Baradhi for generations, which has been a serious impediment to the village’s trade. The village is very interesting. In between the miniature set of a desert, the quarry where the actors filmed, and this set – most probably an existing backlot from a local movie studio – they really did a great job selling this story as not being in Japan.

I was intrigued by the story and the production, but our son was amazed by the fight, and by Mura blowing Antlar into atoms with the blue stone. He wouldn’t stop talking about how neat that was, and I think he wants a blue stone just like it himself. I gently suggested that this blue stone was specially designed for that particular monster.

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