Shin Ultraman Commentary, Thoughts, and Discussion: Part 2 – Mephilus Aliens from an Anthropological Perspective – More Fun if You Know Them! (contains many spoilers)


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Note that the next page contains spoilers.

[Kohji Yamamoto’s Mephilus]

Mephilus is not the “self-proclaimed violence-hating, low-boiled, fat uncle” of his origins, but rather an eerie and terrifying Mephilus who nonchalantly targets the earth in exactly the gentlemanly manner that he calls himself. The acting of Koji Yamamoto was a major factor in this performance.

I give you the earth” was expressed in such a way in this film as to make it all the more horrifying. The Japanese government, exhausted by the Zarrab affair, seemed to have no energy left to negotiate with him. It seems that Zarrab’s plan had gone this far.

I felt that Ultraman’s expressionless face is a result of the fact that he has learned about the people of Earth from books and other sources, and has not overreacted, but has respected the human race. Mephilus, on the other hand, is different. He learns about Earthlings, prepares business cards, and drinks with Ultraman at a tavern. He smiles and makes it seem as if he is always there for the humans, trying to get into their good graces. After negotiations break down, he takes one look at the contents of his wallet and offers to split the bill. I would like to have a drink at Asakusa for a penny.

[Mephilus and “Wild Thoughts”]

Mephilus uses the Beta system as a bargaining chip to negotiate a plan for self-preservation from hostile aliens through the gigantism of the Earth’s human population. The goal is to make the aliens realize that neither strength nor wisdom can defeat them, and that the earthlings have no choice but to obey them unconditionally, so that they can monopolize the human race, a resource that can be converted into biological weapons.

The book Kaminaga was reading while selling oil was called “Thinking Wild. This is a book by cultural anthropologist Levi Strauss, who has been called the greatest anthropologist of the 20th century, and uses a completely new method called structuralism to demonstrate the existence of sophisticated and rational thought in unexplored societies that is comparable to that of civilized societies. He argues that “wild thinking” exists separately from the “scientific thinking” of the European world, which focuses on efficiency and concepts, and that it is an orientation that recognizes the relationship between the self, others, and natural objects by expressing them as concrete symbols.

Through this book, Levi Strauss was condemning the ethnocentrism and Western-centeredness of his time, and advocating the reaffirmation of the existence of what he called the “unreached peoples” of his time. In other words, it is a critique of colonialism. It is a critique of the logic that justifies aggression, that the colonizer is superior to the colonized, and that this colonial domination is of great benefit to the development necessary for modernization.

This is obviously exactly what Mephilus did in the play.

Through Ultraman, the symbolic being who fights for peace on earth, the earthlings also recognize their relationship with him and their own issues, and try to resolve them.

[Zofi, the alien who controls Zeton.]

Mephilus notices Zofi, the gold and black line behind Ultraman, and says, “Farewell Ultraman. Mephilus seemed to know very well the position of the Kingdom of Light, so I guess he could have predicted the future development at this point.

The appearance of Zofie was predicted from the theme song “M87” (Zofie’s special move is the M87 ray), but his appearance and role were very different from those of his origin.

Zofie is the eldest son of the Ultra Brothers and captain of the Space Guard. He is the one who came to pick up Ultraman after his defeat by Zetton. He looks like Ultraman, but he is distinguished by the “Star Mark Medal” on his chest, the highest honorary decoration of the Land of Light, which is awarded to those who have made great contributions to the world. However, the “Zofi” who appeared this time was a different person. The base color is gold with black lines. He looked just like Ultraman, but I felt intimidated and scared of him. He showed me that Ultra Warriors are essentially alien beings, and can be so ruthless to the people of Earth. What do Mephilus and Zofi mean when they say, “We have shown the value of converting the entire Multiverse into a weapon for Earth”? Does this multiverse include the M78 space and neo-frontier space of the TV series?

This is not the first time the name “Zofi” has appeared in this work. In the past, the name “Zofi” was used in a children’s magazine. Zofi, the alien who controls Zetton. In the original, Zetton was a space dinosaur brought by the Zetton aliens to invade the earth. This was a mistake in a children’s magazine, but now it has become an official story.

[The ultimate weapon for celestial control, the “Zetton.”]

This was totally unexpected. It was a complete surprise. I did not expect Zetton to appear. The Zetton has always been more of a man-made monster than a living creature, but now it appears as a complete weapon. It is surprising that it is from the Land of Light. Perhaps there is something in its design. Architecture, perhaps. I was reminded of the powered zetton when I saw this form. That mechanical design was about twice the length of Ultraman Powered. This Zetton is just huge! It is so big that Ultraman looks like a dwarf. The expression of Zetton floating in satellite orbit, clearly visible from the ground, conveys a sense of urgency as the countdown to a complete reset of the earth is getting closer every second.

Zetton is also famous for emitting a trillion-degree fireball. 1TK is a tremendous number. It was said in the book that “if a fireball of 1 trillion degrees were released on the earth, it would vaporize not only the earth but also the solar system and affect the solar system several light-years away,” but I thought this was also a story from a fantasy science book.

[Yutaka Takenouchi connecting the shin universe]

Yutaka Takenouchi, aka Hideki Akasaka, Assistant to the Prime Minister for National Security Affairs, appeared in Shin Godzilla. He also appears in this Shin Ultraman. Although it is never mentioned in the film whether he is Hideki Akasaka or not, he is as pragmatic and cautious as in the previous film, and he is not negligent in making arrangements with other countries. He said to Godzilla, “What does it matter what name I call it?” I would like to know if he called Ultraman a giant unknown creature this time.

[Beta system]

Taki, the science officer, is desperate. Ultraman is there to solve everything, and there is no point in us doing anything. He reminds me of Captain Ide in “Ultraman Episode 37: The Little Hero,” the origin of this story.

It’s about work. No matter how hard we, the Scientific Search and Rescue Team, try, in the end it is always Ultraman who defeats the enemy. No matter what new weapons I make, they are usually useless. No, it is not only new weapons. I feel that we, the Special Search Team for Science, don’t need Ultraman as long as we have him.

Hayata says to him, “Speak nonsense. How can you win a victory with a peony from the shelf? Ultraman only lends us his power when we fight with all our might.

As mentioned above, through Ultraman, we are made painfully aware of the weakness of humankind, and at the same time we embody the strength of humankind.

The formulas on the whiteboard seem to describe the propagation of light in multidimensional space, cosmological parameters such as spatial curvature and equation of state, and higher-dimensional supergravity theory. I would like to pause here and check it out slowly.

It is surreal that the characters in this film, with the exception of Taki, do not really understand this theory, so the audience does not have to think about it. When Ultraman transforms and then ignites the beta capsule again, a hole opens in another dimension for one millisecond. There, it is possible to banish the entire Zetton from this universe.

Or, to put it even more simply, “transform, then transform again and hit him with your fist.”

What a messy operation ().

[Ultraman being sucked into a black hole]

Ultraman banishes Zetton to another dimension, where a black hole, which has been depicted in Interstellar and other recent works, appears. Despite his desperate resistance, Ultraman was sucked into the black hole and extinguished.

It reminded me of the final episode of the 1997 film “Ultraman Dyna,” a scene that was so traumatic for my one-year-old self at the time that tears welled up in my eyes even in this film. Ultraman confronts a powerful enemy in a crisis that threatens to annihilate the human race. The sight of Ultraman, who saves everyone but himself, still makes me feel the sadness of heroes.


[Ultraman, have you become so fond of human beings?]

The victory was won through the collective wisdom of mankind, which put its own survival on the line, and through the solid friendship with Ultraman. As a result, Zofi decided to withdraw the disposal.

In the original story, Zofi appears with two lives, one for Ultraman and the other for Hayata, but there was no such story this time. Zofi, who heard Ultraman-Lipia’s wish to keep Kaminaga alive, separated Ultraman and Kaminaga, or rather, as far as I have heard, it seems that he gave his life to Ultraman and his body to Kaminaga.

In other words, Kaminaga was given life, and his body is more like that of Ultraman than that of a human being. Kaminaga originally died in the aftermath of Ultraman’s landing. His life, in other words, his spirit, barely survived, but his body was probably damaged to the point where there was nothing he could do. There is nothing new that can be prepared. The act of reviving Kaminaga must also mean giving him a body.

I wonder if Kaminaga, who woke up at the end, has any memory of the time when he was fused with Ultraman. Hayata had completely forgotten. Can his body really be called an Earthling? If the Beta capsule were to come back to him, would he be able to transform into Ultraman? He may have changed from a fusion type to a post-Heisei human Ultraman type.

[General comment]

It was a very good and substantial film with so much to say. I enjoyed it very much. Fans of the past can also enjoy it, but it seems more like a work that challenged the question of whether an otaku can make a special effects work that the general public can understand as much as possible. I don’t think either Higuchi or Anno intended this to be a film that would appeal to the general public. It seems to be said that they made this film because they wanted to make an Ultraman film.

Compared to Shin Godzilla, this is not a popular film, and I am a little worried about how much the general public will appreciate it, but I think it is a film that both those who know Ultraman and those who do not can enjoy. I would have liked to see more of the human side of the story, like Shin Godzilla. I can’t deny the feeling that the earthlings got caught in the middle of the conflict between the aliens in this film. I would have liked to have seen the government get more involved, and the people of earth counteract the threat with their own power.

At any rate, I will be going to see it a second time soon. All in all, this film really stuck with me. I am very satisfied.