Ultraman- Compassion, Family, and Perseverance Represented in a Popular Science-Fiction Television Series (1966-2009)
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Despite the amount of research that has been committed to the study of Japanese popular culture, the deeper meaning of Ultraman still confounds experts and viewers alike. Critics of Ultraman contend that, because the program consists of actors in rubber suits playing heroes and monsters on scale-model cities, the program only appeals to children who enjoys watching colossal beings fight while causing massive destruction to their surroundings. Although the plot centers around the battle between good and evil, Ultraman is more than simply a gimmick for children. Stories also depict acts of compassion, family, and perseverance that provide viewers examples on how to better themselves when faced with certain challenges. As a result, the Ultra-Series serves not only as a form of popular entertainment, but it is also as an example of teaching ethics through storytelling. I argue that the Ultra-Series is both entertaining and educational to viewers of all ages because of the themes of compassion, family, and perseverance that its characters demonstrate. To support my argument, I analyze selected episodes of the Ultra-Series from 1966 to 2007, recent movies based on the Ultra-Series, and songs from the 1970s and 1980s dedicated to the Ultra-Series characters. I conclude that, because the characters demonstrate morality, the program inspires viewers to move forward in a world where the odds will always be pressed against them.