Ultra Q: The Complete Series

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Manufacturer Description

In the world of Ultra Q, the very fabric of nature is warped into a state of unbalance, and all manner of strange phenomenon and unearthly creatures threaten the very future of mankind! On the scene are a world-renowned scientist and his young friends (a female photojournalist, an aviator, and his co-pilot) who investigate these supernatural menaces. When sheer military might is futile, the intrepid team comes to the rescue, armed solely with their ingenuity and scientific prowess to quell these malevolent forces and restore the balance of nature.

The precursor to Ultraman, Ultra Q is a seminal science-fantasy television series in the monstrous mold of The Outer Limits and The X Files. As deeply ingrained in Japan’s pop culture as The Twilight Zone is in America’s, Ultra Q is available for the first time ever in its entirety on DVD! Eiji Tsuburaya, , the visual effects wizard behind Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra, creates a spectacular cavalcade of bizarre beasts and mass mayhem in each and every episode of this wildly popular series. Never before broadcast in North America, Ultra Q stars Kenji Sahara (Rodan), Hiroko Sakurai (Ultraman) and Yasuhiko Saijo (Son Of Godzilla).

The 1966-1967 series Ultra Q holds a special place in the history of Japanese fantasy and science fiction as the first television series created by legendary special effects director Eiji Tsuburaya, who designed such enduring screen monsters as Godzilla, and the launching pad for his iconic tokusatsu franchise Ultraman. However, viewers may be surprised to note that Ultra Q bears little resemblance to its action-packed progeny; Tsuburaya had originally envisioned it as a weekly exercise in speculative fantasy like The Outer Limits (which it greatly resembles). However, the popularity of giant screen monsters like Godzilla prompted coproducers Tokyo Broadcasting System to push for a "Monster of the Week" format that would showcase Tsuburaya's memorable creations. In its final form, Ultra Q suggests a '60s take on The X-Files, with Toho veteran Kenji Sahara as a newsman/aviator who investigates strange phenomena with the help of spunky photographer Hiroko Sakurai and scientist Ureo Egawa. The cases invariably boil down to a creature on the loose--either mythological, supernatural, or extraterrestrial in origin--but the episodes frequently unfold with a great deal more atmosphere and suspense than the typical crash-and-bang kaiju action. "Grow Up, Little Turtle" and "Flight 206 Has Vanished" feature surreal, dreamlike sequences that evoke certain episodes of The Twilight Zone, and "Baron Spider" fairly drips with Gothic/haunted house trappings. Of course, there's also plenty of monsters-run-amok mayhem as well, and Ultraman aficionados will note early incarnations of such perennial villains as Gomess, Garamon, and Ragon on the loose in these episodes. Giant-monster fans may also be surprised to see established Tsuburaya creatures repurposed in certain episodes--tusks and a horn were added to the Godzilla suit from Mothra vs. Godzilla to make Gomess, while King Kong gets a revamped headpiece to become the giant ape Goroh in "Goroh and Goroh"--as well as a host of familiar human players from Toho epics, including Yoshifumi Tajima (as Sakurai's boss), Akiko Wakabayashi (You Only Live Twice), Jun Tazaki, and cult favorite Eisei Amamoto. The result should please both longtime Tsuburaya fans who have long waited for a legal Region 1 DVD release and casual kaiju devotees looking for something offbeat. All 28 episodes of Ultra Q--in their original B&W and Japanese-language format (with English subtitles)--are included in this five-disc set, as well as a highly detailed essay on the series' inception by Japanese fantasy expert August Ragone that can be accessed in a PDF file via the viewer's DVD-ROM. --Paul Gaita

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