Maxx’s review published on Letterboxd:
(HOLY SHIT THIS IS NOT A DRILL ULTRASEVEN IS ON LETTERBOXD!)
This show is seriously like the best thing ever. It's like 50% superhero show with Ultraseven beating the shit out of evil aliens and monsters, but also 50% extremely intelligent sci-fi Star Trek/Doctor Who type shit, and with a little bit of Thunderbirds thrown in too for good measure. And somehow these elements all blend perfectly together.
Really this show has everything. There's episodes with Cold-War style tension between opposing factions, episodes with spy/espionage stuff, episodes about racism, episodes about the dangers of nuclear warfare, episodes about the power of human hatred pitting people against each other, episodes about a dystopian Orwellian society....and there's also an episode where UltraSeven wrestles with a Dinosaur Tank.
Yes, a Dinosaur Tank.
Ultraseven might seriously be by favourite superhero of all time. He's an alien, but he chooses to live as a human and fight alongside us so that evil alien races cannot lay a finger on our race. And he does so in the hopes that one day we humans will be able to protect ourselves without him or his fellow Ultras. Seven represents this theme arguably the best out of all the Ultras, since he's come back to Earth more times than basically any other character, in spite of the fact that he never bonded with a human like his brothers have.
Seven loves our planet, his past life as a planet-mapper having shown him how many other planets in the universe have fallen to evil. And while his time on Earth has shown him the many depravities and darkness we humans have to offer, he continues to hold out hope that the goodness in our hearts can shine through, and thus he will continue to risk his life for Earth until that day. And that's a fucking hero right there.
But Seven isn't the only one who fights for Earth, so too does the Ultra Guard team Dan Moroboshi (Seven's human alter-ego) is a part of. These guys save the day from aliens on their own plenty of times, to the point where in some episodes Seven barely has to do anything. And when Seven is the one getting his ass kicked by the enemy, the UG doesn't hesitate to be the ones who save him.
Even though none of them know Dan is secretly Seven, they still put their trust in Seven to the point where he's an unofficial member of the team (hence his name). That said though, unlike other defense teams in the Ultra Series, the UG aren't squeaky clean-they make several morally questionable choices throughout the series that cause Seven (and the viewer) to question them. But still, Seven's faith in the UG is strong enough that they still fight together until the very end.
ofc it also helps that Seven himself is a badass in battle. Seeing him cut down mfs with his Eye Slugger is immensely satisfying shit. It should go without saying that the effects are great too, but this show is made by Eiji Tsuburaya himself after all!
last thing of note is that occasionally when Dan can't turn into Seven for whatever reason, he uses three "capsule monsters" to fight for him. Yes, this show is so influential, it inspired Pokemon. (go look it up, it's true)
And now that I've raved about Ultraseven, I'm going to recommend the best, must-watch episodes of the show, so that you too can get in on this amazing show. (I've made similar posts for Ultra Q, Ultraman and Return Of Ultraman, so go back through my old reviews to find those)
Ep 1- obviously the first episode is necessary for introducing the characters and the premise. Also introduces Windom, the first capsule monster.
Ep 3- introduces Eleking, possibly the most famous of all of Seven's kaiju enemies. (Eleking is one of my favourites too!) Also introduces Miclas, the second capsule monster.
Ep 6- an episode with a very interesting moral conflict. One of my personal faves.
Ep 8- widely considered to be the single best episode of the show. An extremely thought-provoking episode with outstanding cinematography from director Akio Jissoji, and also introduces Alien Metron.
Ep 12- not one of the show's best, however I'm pointing it out here as this episode has been banned and is thus not legally available to watch anywhere. There are low quality copies of the English dub floating around online, which is the only way you can watch it unfortunately.
Ep 14/15- tension-filled two parter that features Seven's most powerful enemy, the giant robot King Joe.
Ep 17- not one of the best, but Ultraseven's origin is briefly shown here, so it's worth a watch.
Ep 25- Seven's weakness against cold is used against him here, and he's placed in more danger than ever before.
Ep 26- this episode got banned after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, because the message of the episode was just THAT relevant to real-world events.
Ep 28- DINOSAUR TANK
Ep 32- introduces the third capsule monster, Agira.
Ep 39/40- two-parter in which Seven is defeated and strung onto a cross to be assassinated by the Alien Guts. (Tsuburaya isn't exactly shy with their symbolism) It's up to the Ultra Guard to save him!
Ep 42- an episode about the prejudices faced by indigenous people in Japan. Yep.
Ep 43- a chilling Akio Jissoji episode, genuinely creepy and downright terrifying at points.
Ep 45- the last Akio Jissoji episode. Seven and the UG are barely in this episode, making for a very unique watch.
Ep 46- Robot Ultraseven!
Ep 48/49- the grand finale, with Seven on death's door and literally fighting for his life! The showdown against the final monster Pandon is a downright iconic scene.
Other episodes that aren't essential but I really love: 9, 10, 11, 13, 23, 24, 31, 34, 37, 38, 47
Actually fuck it, just watch the entire show. And then watch the Heisei Ultraseven specials once you're done with that.
Ultraseven is available for free on KissAsian, Internet Archive...and Youtube, thanks to someone who posted the entire show.
GO WATCH ULTRASEVEN NOW WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR