Since 1966 there have been 43 different versions of the Ultraman character. In America most people can only name a few at the most. My son’s favorite Ultraman is Leo who aired on Japanese TV from 1974 to 1975 and was the 7th in the series (my wife can list them by name from the beginning).
After studying The Ultraman series, I have come to the conclusion that he is among the greatest of the Ultraman heroes and the last of the “old school” Ultraman studs.
He has suffered the most, losing his planet, defense team, and loved ones. According to an episode from a later series (Ultraman Mebius), Leo lost almost every initial fight against the invading aliens and monsters. However, like a true warrior, he never gave up, prevailed and came back stronger to defeat his opponents. His sensei and mentor, Ultraman Seven, was brutally strict and harsh (boarding on abusive by today’s standards) on Leo. Seven himself was old and broken and could no longer fight. But he was determined to train Leo up to be the defender of their adopted planet.
With every episode, Leo worked on his fighting skills and often unleashed a new move to beat earth’s enemies. Of all the Ultra warriors, he relied more on his physical skills than by using energy beams to obliterate his foes. Can you imagine Bruce Lee shooting Chuck Norris with a gun at the Roman Coliseum in "The Way of the Dragon" instead of beating him fairly with his kung fu skills and tactics? That would be anti-climactic, to say the least. I'm not putting down any super heroes who use weapons and energy forces. It's just satisfying to see a super hero rely on his own physical capacities to defeat their opponents.
What does this have to do with judo, our dojo, or life? Read Part 2 of this blog to find out more.
To be continued…