Ultraman (2019) 7 Review |Podcast

In Ultraman 7, the series comes more into focus for me. I think I now understand what the core concept being explored is: what is a good Ultraman? Will this story satisfy me with its answer? I don’t know. Shinjiro seems to be the one to answer that question, to be the exemplar of the ideal Ultraman, but honestly I am dubious as to how he will be able to do that. He is so raw and unformed as it stands. Really, it makes me wonder about Shin Hayata and what he has been doing all these years. Shinjiro seems like a decent enough fellow, but I wonder if Hayata failed him by not intervening more. This is speculation, but we know from the text of the show that Shin kept Shinjiro in the dark about the truth of their legacy. Shin told his son in the previous episode that his (Ultraman) blood was crying out for Shinjiro to take up the mantle and truly become Ultraman.

At the start of this episode, Shin seems doubtful of Shinjiro as he, Ide and Edo watch him encounter Jack’s brawling buddy in the city. What moral instruction did Shin impart on his son? He reads as a very distant father and I don’t sense much warmth between them. Early on (in episode 1 or 2) Shinjiro remarks that his father praised him. In the dub, he states that this is the first time his father has praised him. The subtitles leave out a timestamp, but given that it was in a high stress situation, I find the fact that he remarked on such a thing as a sign of how rare it was. I think the dub’s implication, stressing that it was the first time Shin had praised Shinjiro is a solid choice because it emphasized the cold nature of their relationship. Indeed, their relationship feels less like a parent and child and more like a pair of roommates who are quite busy with their own lives.

It was warm and endearing when Shin told Shinjiro that all he was thinking of as he fought Bemular was protecting him, but the rarefied grand gesture is no substitute for the daily, mundane interactions that actual relationships thrive off of. Caviar once in a blue moon is not going to do much good to someone perennially starved of rice. Each person is responsible for their own actions and for the choices they make, but how can Shin expect his son to have the moral center or the mental and emotional fortitude to bear the curse of Ultraman on his own? Shin was likely in his 30s when he became the host to Ultraman and he knew the same thing could happen to Shinjiro, but took no steps to prepare him for that. That’s shocking to me. It almost feels like Shin is supposed to be this failure of a parent to enable the drama of the arc. I am happy to watch that as an audience member, but as a father reflecting on the story with all that I am, I can not help but see the error in the course Shin took. I want my children to be better people than me, to grow more and sooner than I did, to flourish and have joy and wisdom and all good things. I am imperfect and I make mistakes, but one of the most fundamental parts of my job as a parent is instilling basic morals in them and making known to them what is my ideal self. I fall short of it constantly, but they know what I think is right. Because of that, they can tell me when I am not acting properly and I have seen them act towards each other with empathy and care when I am failing to do the same. It is humbling and heartening and I haven’t even been possessed by a giant of light…

11 minutes 56 seconds

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