Ultraman 1.20 – Terror on Route 87

My son volunteered that the best parts of this episode were the two scenes, set across two evenings, where the mountain above a small zoo starts glowing green and hatches a big dragon called Hydra. He really enjoyed this effects sequence and the mystery of what was causing the flashing lights.

Between the two incidents, he overlooked a promisingly creepy moment when a boy wanders into the headquarters and warns Fuji about the dragon that’s coming. I think that, at five, he might be a bit too young to connect the dots and understand that the Science Patrol learns that the boy had been killed by a car six months before, and that was his ghost. Shame, that was a very interesting lurch from the program’s pseudo-science and into the supernatural, where it doesn’t often go.

But on that note, isn’t it curious that Ultraman loses the wrestling so decisively? He doesn’t even land a single blow, and the dragon dodges his laser ray. It’s like he has no power over a magical beast. When he sees the ghost of the child steering the dragon away, he withdraws and lets the dragon go. Presumably the ghost child convinces the dragon that its work is done, because the Science Patrol is very confident that Hydra will continue to protect children who have been injured by automobiles. You kind of have to handwave the team’s knowledge about pretty much everything, though.

(Actually, though, the best part of the episode is when three of the team are in the zoo office and the animals start getting restless. An employee rushes in yelling “The camel’s ah-goin’ CRAZEEEE!” That man needs to sit down with the zoo marketing team for a little training in crisis management.)


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