New Ultraman Series Planned by Tsuburaya and Starlight Runner

A new Ultraman anime cartoon is set to premiere on Netflix in 2019, but a live-action series may not be far behind. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Tokyo’s Tsuburaya Productions is working with Starlight Runner Entertainment to produce a new take on the long-running Japanese superhero franchise.

Eiji Tsuburaya was the primary creator of Ultraman, who first appeared in his own eponymous TV series in 1966. Previously, Tsuburaya headed Toho’s Visual Effects Department. He was also part of the team that created Godzilla in 1954. In the original Ultraman TV series, the title character was actually two entities. He was an Ultra Warrior from Nebula M78 that bonded with Shin Hayata, a member of the Scientific Special Search Party. However, the warrior crashed on Earth in pursuit of the monster Bemular. It collided with Hayata and left him near death. Overcome with guilt, the warrior fused itself to the dying officer. This gave him the power to fight any aliens that threatened his planet. Fortunately, Hayata managed to keep his alter-ego a secret from his fellow SSSP officers.

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THR notes that Starlight Runner will work with The Licensing Group to breathe new life into the Ultraman series “across multiple platforms.” The franchise has previously inspired spinoffs, manga, novels, and video games over the last five decades. In a statement, Jeff Gomez (Starlight Runner’s CEO) said “Ultraman is one of my greatest childhood heroes. We’re honored to be embarking on this mission to bring this family of characters back to the world stage.”

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