Ultraman 1.15 – The Terrifying Cosmic Rays

Back in September, I mentioned that there are some episodes of Ultraman that everyone remembers. Here’s one. Start talking about this show with anybody in their forties, and they’re bound to ask “Do you remember the one where the kids draw the monster on a cement pipe that comes to life?”

This is a really entertaining episode, and our son was completely captivated. It has an unusually placid tone, and lots of neat camera shots all through it. I really enjoyed how Ito comes up with the correct solution to the problem and gets ignored. All the monster – Gavadon – actually wants to do is sleep and turn back into a chalk drawing at night. Ito suggests they go back at night and erase the drawing, and Captain Mura wants to blow it up instead.

It’s a case where the grownups are just plain wrong throughout, and Ultraman has to bail them out. It leads to a surprising finale where the kids who drew the monster are crying and begging Ultraman to stop hurting their monster and he has to come up with a different sort of resolution. An adult may call this a clumsy half-hour of TV, but look at this through a child’s eyes and it’s thoughtful and strange and pretty much exemplifies how grownups ruin everything. He’ll probably remember this into his forties as well.

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