Ultraman: Rising Movie Review

“Ultraman: Rising” is an animated story about a character from Japan, who has been popular for close to six decades. Ultraman  protects the city of Tokyo from attack. But when he is not fighting off invading Kaiju (giant monsters from the ocean) – this Ultraman has been given the task to raise a cute little baby… Kaiju. Talk about irony…



More than twenty years ago, the Sato family was together — with father Professor Sato   (voiced by Gedde Watanabe) and his wife Emiko (voiced by Tamlyn Tomita). They had a small son who loved two things — Ultraman and baseball.


The elder Sato held a secret — he was the one who could become Ultraman when he needed to keep Tokyo safe. There were Kaiju attacking the country, and Ultraman would save the people. But he did not kill the monsters. He would instead guide them back into the ocean where they could go back to Kaiju Island.


The son was tired of being put into second-place to the ‘more important’ work of saving the City. He left for America and became a professional Baseball Star. But now, Ken Sato (voiced by Christopher Sean) knows that his dad needs him. His dad was injured recently, and he is getting older. Professor Sato still shows up as Ultraman when he is needed. But there is a now a military group formed to protect the country — the KDF.


The Kaiju Defense Force (KDF) is a tough-as-nails fighting power that the Kaiju monsters now have to contend with. The KDF is led by a super-focused Dr. Onda (voiced by Keone Young). He leads a vicious yet effective group who can smash and kill just about any Kaiju.


This is not the approach that Ultraman would take. Ultraman would allow the monsters to swim away, and go back to Kaiju Island. Dr. Onda, on the other hand, wants to find the Island and bomb it off the face of the Earth.


But in a recent Kaiju attack, Ken’s father was seriously injured. And even worse — his mother went missing. Ken Sato comes back to Japan after becoming a Major Star in the MLB universe. He moves to a grand bachelor bungalow that overlooks Tokyo Bay. He plans on being a Major Star in the Japan League. That is mostly because his talent, and his ego, is as big as Tokyo Stadium.  The one thing he doesn’t want to do is take over his dad’s mission of being Ultraman.


Ken’s new place has a flying robotic assistant named Mina (also voiced by Tamlyn Tomita). Mina is able to keep Ken on track, for the most part. But Ken’s duty calls, and since his dad is unable to fight an incoming Kaiju monster — Ken takes on the Ultraman role. He has a way to become super-sized and super-powerful.


But he does not have the control over that like his dad does. The KDF swoop in and work to defeat the Kaiju. But Ultraman finds that the KDF have killed this monster, and this Kaiju appears to have left something behind.


To Ultraman’s surprise — there is a Kaiju egg that hatches. And since the mother is gone, the first thing that baby critter sees is Ultraman. Opps — now that is an image that will stick with the youngling for life. The baby knows that this Ultraman is what the newly-hatched monster will call ‘mama’. Ken is now in a tough spot. He is going to be the new Japanese Baseball Star, and also be Ultraman, and also be a ‘mama’ to the biggest little infant ever.


Ken refuses to ask his dad for any help, and he refuses to slow down the Baseball Heroics. He gets as much help as he can from Mina, but he finds that it is not enough. Being a single dad to a growing thirty-foot baby Kaiju is not as easy as it looks. He phones a woman sports reporter named Ami Wakita (voiced by Julia Harriman). She is a single mom; so maybe Ken could get some tips…


Dr. Onda finds out that the little egg had hatched, and he wants to know where it is. He thinks that the baby could figure out a way to get back to Island. Dr. Onda still thinks that Kaiju Island needs to be bombed off the face of the Earth. Ken breaks down and gets back with his dad.


After all — his Baseball game is slumping and his baby ‘daughter'(he has named her Emi) is getting out-of-control. Ken and the elder Sato find enough in common to figure out a way to keep Emi safe.


But they cannot contend with the forces of the KDF and with a ruthless foe such as Dr. Onda. Sweet little forty-foot Emi is an innocent little thing, but she is still a monster in the eyes of Dr. Onda. There is a full head-on attack from the KDF forces. Ken Sato’s beautiful cliff-side bachelor bungalow is in ruins.


There is loss of Ken’s helpful robotic assistant Mina. His dad, Professor Sato, is lost in the fight. Ultraman will not have very many allies to help him fight off Dr. Onda. The KDF leader has a vehicle that can turn into a styled fighting machine. Onda has his sights on getting Emi, and finally getting the location of Kaiju Island. But first he will need to eliminate Ultraman.


Ultraman is left to face off against the over-powering Dr. Onda. But wait — could there be trusted allies that are coming to the rescue? Can there be someone who were thought to be lost — who can now come back with a vengeance?


Will the Kaiju come to the aid of the foe they had fought against in the past? Will the itsy-bitsy baby — now sixty-foot tall — sweet little Emi be a fierce and dedicated fighter? Only if she can fight to protect her ‘mama’…



“Ultraman: Rising” is a stylish animated introduction to the popular cultural figure from Japan. It does not dwell on the gritty details – like how does one become ‘Ultraman’, or what is the origin of ‘Ultraman’. It’s time to sit in your seat and get buckled in, because it goes straight for the action and the heart of this character’s popularity.


Over many years of comic and TV shows in Japan, Ultraman has been a protector of Tokyo. The groundwork was already there. So, this version leans into the ‘family’ aspect of the story.


It is perfectly reasonable idea to have the hero (Ken Sato) leave his home to become a big Star in the States. But when his father (Professor Sato) needs his help, Ken does the right thing and comes home. Christopher Sean (Ken) and Gedde Watanabe (Professor Sato) do fine vocal work to get the family bonds, and the tension, to be just right.


Tamlyn Tomita does a good job also, first voicing Ken’s mother, and then later Mina — the flying robotic assistant. The character design is good, and the little baby Kaiju Emi is an adorable monster. The action sequences are fast-paced and fun to watch.


“Ultraman: Rising” will be a fun family adventure for anyone who might enjoy this heart-felt story. The crazy antics of a sweet, little monster gets ready to tear up the plans of the hero — a Star Baseball player returning home to be part of the ‘Family Business’.


Ultraman: Rising

Directed by: Shannon Tindle
Written by: Shannon Tindle, Marc Haimes
Based on “Ultraman” by: Tsuburaya Productions
Starring: Christopher Sean, Gedde Watanabe, Tamlyn Tomita, Keone Young, Julia Harriman
Music by: Scot Stafford
Distributed by: Netflix
Release date: June 14, 2024
Length: 117 minutes
MPAA rating: PG for sequences of violence/action, some language, rude humor and thematic elements
Genre: Anime



tmc.io contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

I think movies need to be shared and enjoyed by as many people as possible! Going to a movie theater is a group experience, even if you go in there alone. When the lights go dark and movie begins, you can participate in a special kind of magic. You can be entertained, or enlightened. But you are never bored. Or at least, let's hope not. Try reading the reviews first.. maybe that will help!

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