Watching television has taught me a lot in my life. For example, if I worked at a 60’s ad agency I would be a lot cooler. Or, if I get cancer, the best solution is to cook drugs. Or, if I lived in a medieval fantasy setting, I would make an awesome, rich dwarf. However, I can’t apply a lot of this to real life, and so, for as long as I can remember, I’ve yearned for a show to watch that I can relate to.
Like a light at the end of a long, rubber suited tunnel, comes Ultraman, right out of 60’s Japan and into my television, showing me the correct way to live and kick alien ass. I feel confident in the fact that, if three pincer wielding space beasts knocked on my door right now, I’d be able to shred them with my elbows alone.
Ultraman is centered around the Science Patrol, a team that fumbles its way into whatever giant monster is currently trying to ruin earth. Not to fear though, as Hayata, the most stoic and boring* of the team, can use his beta capsule to turn into Ultraman and beat the hell out of whatever alien that’s around, usually until it explodes.
*I’m not kidding. Hayata is the human equivalent of towels drying in open air. Listening to him speak is like a constant stream of music being made by spoons slowly hitting cardboard.
This is a three-part article series, and the first part is concerning what Ultraman taught me about life. You can call it THE TAO OF ULTRAMAN, which, in Spanish, translates to “Fuck yeah, captain.”
Part 1: Life
LESSON 1: You want great power? Do something dumb. Hayata first gets his power by crashing the aircraft he was trained to fly into a slow-moving orb. That’s like if The Hulk got the ability to Hulk out through pouring science chemicals on his own junk.
Hayata later drives a boat into a monster’s mouth. These two displays of shit motor skills gives solace to individuals who suck at their job. Hayata is obviously an awful pilot and yet he’s one of the only people in Monster Attack, Japan, who is allowed to fly anything. If you want to be a carpenter but you don’t have any hands or eyes, no worries. If Hayata can do it, so can you.
LESSON 2: Want to be cool? Hang out with the lamest people possible. The town that Ultraman protects must be having a “Who ever gets laid first, loses” contest, because the citizens of the place are about as cool as finding out that you have a malignant tumor that constantly screams “Git R Done.” Make friends with all of them. There’s no way you can be less cool then they are. No. Possible. Way.
LESSON 3: Success is measured by the amount of colors on your clothes. The most famous people in Monster Attack, Japan, wear the fewest colors possible. Got a brown suit? Wear a brown undershirt and boom, you’re Mayor. Got an orange and white outfit? Your position as top scientist is sealed. I own a red shirt and I’m pretty sure that if I wore my red jogging shorts too, I’d be the number one athlete in their country.
LESSON 4: You can mock death any time you want. Right after Hayata “dies” in the aircraft collision, and right before he is reborn as “Cooler Then You Infinity” Ultraman, his co-workers tease a woman after she claims to hear him.”Ah, Fuji, it was a ghost, right? Ha ha ha!” Usually something like this would result in a swift crotch gouging, but Fuji takes it in stride. Turns out Hayata is alive, but it doesn’t make the verbal equivalent of a last minute funeral tea-bagging any less hurtful. However, in this town, you suck it up and just wait for more aliens.
LESSON 5: Be as open as you want about having secret powers. There’s no one smart enough to get it. In the opening episode, Hayata not only praises Ultraman, but tells his friends that the giant robots name is, in fact, Ultraman. I don’t know if Hayata has ever tried subtlety, but, through this method, he could scream “I’M GOING TO CUT YOU IN HALF WITH THE BEAM THAT COMES OUT MY PALM BECAUSE I’M ULTRAMAN AND I CAN DO THAT AND I’M ULTRAMAN BY THE WAY.” The recipient would probably say, “What color should I paint this wall?”
LESSON 6: Kids are dumb. Avoid them as much as possible. Hoshino, the spawn of an Asian women and a trickster demon god works at the Science Patrol in what I’m guessing is the newly created “ten-year-old boy intern that we try to ignore” position. He is the only child in the show, which is rare in giant Japanese monster shows. The creators of Gamera went out of their way to let people know that all the adults were dead or invalid. But in Ultraman, it becomes clear that why put children in the show, if all the children are dumb?
Hoshino never stops getting into trouble. He messes around at the Science Patrol station, he hides in the back of your car, he goes down the well that a monster lives in. Having a kid around in Ultraman world is like having a loud alarm that goes off whenever something could possibly suck- an alarm that you can’t turn off. You can yell at it and throw it as much as you want, but as soon as it goes off, fun times are through and it’s time to listen to Hoshino laugh in your face, while you reassure yourself that you won’t have to practice tying hoop shaped knots to ceiling beams.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I relate what Ultraman taught me about the ancient art of punching things senseless.