The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter

Watching Ultraman in the Suburbs

An Ultraman show this afternoon in a department store in nearby Yamato City. Good fun for the kids and a nice image to add to my on-going Japanese heroes story. All a bit rushed and ridiculous of course but my boys had fun shouting along encouragements to the new Ultraman Zero and his father, Ultraman Seven as they fought the monsters and superbad Ultraman Belial.

If you think this is all a bit sad and strange, I disagree. There is something of the larger than life villainy and heroics to be found in classic theatre like Kabuki or Pantomime with tbis genre. The costumes are stunning and keep the secrets of very human actors within, even when a glove fell of Belial’s hand during a fight the actor managed to hide it well and continue with the story and the fantasy of the moment for the kids watching, most of whom didn’t notice for sure. I really admire the physicality of their performances, the way they memorize the timing of punches and kicks to pre-recorded soundtracks and the fact that even 45 years after the Ultraman series started these iconic characters are still a mystery and attractive to kids of all ages and though they are losing some of their following to other heroes and more blanket merchandisable animations, are still hugely important to many young boys all over Japan and other parts of Asia.

Anyway busy with my own kids and lots of other things that I have to do this week.

Talk soon.



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