Ultraman R/B Episode 15 & 16

“Element of the Zenith” and “This Moment is our Bond”

You know what’s cooler than new weapons and new forms? Fusion, baby! Along with the introduction of Ultraman Ruebe, we get some pretty stellar parenting from Papa Minato.

Euri’s Thoughts

It’s a shounen trope special in episode 15 as we see the repercussions of Rosso and Blu’s failed transformation with their magic macguffins. Having the items they need but not yet being able to activate them is as standard as it gets, though we do see a bit of creativity when it comes to the argument that follows their failure to defeat Grigio King. Oddly, we learn at a very bizarre moment that Rosso had given up his shot at a higher education so that Blu could go, which is brought up off the cuff in the middle of an argument and getting pretty personal in a way I’m unsure the show had really intended. This is, after all, a squabble about how risky their mysterious new Pogs are. Blu is a jackass about it, but at the same time, Rosso transformed into his earth form by using a Pog that he found under a pile of rocks.

Grigio King is held temporarily in stasis thanks to a magic laser that AizenTech has kept under wraps, which appears to give the company even more credit among the public if the subsequent news report is to be believed. This isn’t the first time we’ve been deliberately shown how AizenTech-related actions are affecting public opinion, though we also see space goth undo the stasis beam even with Darling warning her that it’d hurt their reputation. It’s…odd. Like they’re trying to make a point of the Ultramen not being favoured by the general public, then forgetting they care by admitting they’re tarnishing their own rep too.

At any rate, releasing Grigio King means Rosso and Blu have to get over their dumb squabble and attempt to fight it off, which results in round two of attempting to use the new Pogs. This time we succeed, and after 15 of 25 episodes, we finally meet the titular Ultraman. Ruebe is the long-expected fusion of Rosso and Blu, which basically doesn’t change much beyond one fewer giant being in the battle, and access to bigger guns. We also get to see one of the brothers looking awkward while the other performs special moves in the weird glittery room they perform those in, so that’s a bonus. Also: so many more toys. I am very curious how these fare with the kids watching this show. Ruebe ends the fight pretty easily in a now familiar fashion, by summoning the ghosts of past Ultramen and shooting a big laser at it.

The next episode slows down in favour of pushing the story forward, starting with space goth playing Luigi’s Mansion with Aizen’s stolen body and sucking the gas monster out of him. The effect this has is very unclear at the moment, as Aizen makes a comment immediately after the gas monster is removed that sure sounds like he’s still in control. We see him at the end of the episode as well leaving town, but it’s not cleared up there either. He seems very similar, if notably confused, but it’s hard to say if his similarities to the Aizen we know are because that’s how he was pre-gas monster, or if he’s not quite been fully removed.

Rosso and Blu are dealing with the aftermath of some amazingly shite parenting, after Papa Minato goes and asks Asahi who she is. For real, we get that there are unanswered questions here, but he’s evidently not a tactful guy. There are ways to address these problems without terrifying someone who quite clearly isn’t aware that her presence is a problem. Asahi runs off to play with Space Goth in what seems like the beginning of Asahi turning her to the good side, but while she’s still digging being evil she summons Neronga, a very good monster who likes to belly flop Ultramen and shoot lightning. Easily my favourite monster of the series. The fight isn’t great, even resorting to the classic ‘throw sand at the invisible enemy’ trope to identify and later dismember the monster. I have seen some gnarly gifs from past Ultraman shows via @tokugifs, and while this wasn’t quite to that level of graphic violence, I’d assumed that dismemberment of any kind was off the cards. I guess the single horizontal slice is as popular as ever

My feelings are pretty mixed on this set of episodes. On one hand it’s good that we’ve finally seen Ruebe in action, but on the other, it feels like the plot concerning Asahi’s origin was somewhat eclipsed by a new set of toys. Space Goth is also pretty confusing, as I haven’t the foggiest idea why she would give Rosso and Blu the means to transform into Reube if she plans on taking Aizen’s job as evil monster summoner. On top of that, the plot concerning the missing Minato mum has once again disappeared. With 10 episodes remaining and plenty of loose ends to get resolved, including whatever the big bad may be if it isn’t Space Goth, it’s hard to believe it’s all going to be resolved by the end of the season. We’ll see, I suppose.

Random Observations

  • Bonito and cheese onigiri sounds pretty good!
  • Neronga might be my new #2 monster after Dinosaur Tank. It has the goofiest face, the suit was amazing and its main form of attack appears to be jumping into people.
  • That said, the after effects work in animating its facial features leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Does anyone really want another Grigio form? Heck, there’s even a third version coming in a future episode. I’d much rather we see another monster from the Ultraman catalogue, or a new monster entirely. I assume it’s a cost-saving measure though, as they get to re-purpose existing monster suits.
  • Still no Dinosaur Tank.

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