Ultraman still isn’t a well-known global property, at least not compared to Godzilla, Pokémon, or other franchises to come from Japan. However, if Netflix has their way, that will soon become a thing of the past. Netflix already has an animated-series for the character, and soon, they’ll have their own animated film. Variety reports that Tsuburaya Productions, the original production company for Ultraman, will be working with Netflix on the CGI-animated film.
While both Netflix and Tsuburaya Productions have worked to create the series for the streaming service, the new movie will have a fresh animation style and a new story that takes place in its own timeline. Shannon Tindle will be directing and writing the film. Tindle previously has worked on Coraline, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Megamind. The Ultraman movie will be his debut as a director. Following the announcement, he shared a peek at the upcoming project with Instagram. The style is different than what has been done before. While it’s close to anime, it’s not. It’s a fresh, stylized take on the previous iterations of the character. Below, you can see the image that gives a look at the new animation style for the Netflix movie.
The story for the movie is going to center on a new character named Ken Sato. We meet Sato when he’s returning to Japan after spending time traveling for his career as a star baseball player. Upon returning home, he becomes the new Ultraman, a title that can pass from person to person. Then, things become complicated. He raises a newborn kaiju monster. The newborn is the child of his greatest enemy. Meanwhile, his own estranged father is causing problems for him. And, the Kaiju Defense Force has its own ideas that are causing Ken Sato problems.
While Netflix hasn’t cast anyone for Ultraman yet, they plan to cast a mix of western and Japanese voice actors for the roles.
Ultraman has been popular in Japan since the 1960s. The anime series on Netflix is an adaptation of the 2011 manga and picks up from where the original series left off. The series has been said to draw inspiration from the live-action adaptations for the franchise, but not directly connect with them. The series follows Shinjiro Hayata, who is the son of Shin Hayata. Shin was the original Ultraman. The world has gone a while without being defended by a “Giant of Light” (as the character is known), but needs him to step up to the mantle.
While the Netflix Ultraman series is clearly telling every different story with a very different animation style than the movie, the company’s producing them are the same and so there should be a connected feeling for the franchise. Right now, the movie doesn’t have a release date, but that could change soon. Netflix often releases without warning.
For fans of animation, Netflix is stepping up to widen their catalog. Ultraman is joining Netflix’s upcoming Masters of the Universe: Revelation series from Kevin Smith, Castlevania, and their movies, Klaus, and Over the Moon.