Netflix released the third and final season of the anime series Ultraman, and it’s receiving a lot of love from its dedicated fanbase. The show is underrated and doesn’t get enough recognition, but hopefully, with the final season, people will start watching it for good. The second season was released in 2022 after a 3-year hiatus following the first season, but Netflix didn’t disappoint with the release of the third season this time. The story features Sinjiro, the eponymous Ultraman, who faces quite a few battles this season, both internal and external. With great action and an interesting plot, this might be an entertaining watch if you want to get into it. Here are our thoughts about the final season:
What’s Happening In The Show
It’s been a while since the live-action Ultraman of our childhood aired on box-set TVs, where the protagonist used the most simple-looking toothbrush as his device to transform into Ultraman. The buildings that the Kaiju destroyed looked completely hand-drawn or close to it, but as kids, we were far too invested in the story to care. In 2023, when Netflix aired the final season of Ultraman, we were a lot more aware of well-choreographed action sequences, superhero stories, and most of all, the CGI and animation. This is partly due to the countless MCU and DC movies and various anime that Netflix itself brings us. The third season of Ultraman features Sinjiro, the protagonist, who has a dream where he witnesses a monster (Kaiju) that reminds him of an enemy his father had fought. However, the plot of Captain America: Civil War or Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice starts plaguing Sinjiro because he, too, is having difficulty knowing just how far he needs to exert his strength without causing severe collateral damage. Sinjiro’s battle with the monsters leaves immense wreckage in his wake, and the ordinary people are quick to begin questioning whether Ultraman is doing more harm than good.
We meet several other Ultramen who aid Sinjiro in his journey as he tries to overcome his difficulties, but they do remind him time and again that he’s becoming way too reckless in his missions and exerting too much strength. However, through thick and thin, Sinjiro is aided by his girlfriend, Rena Sayama, who doesn’t abandon him when the going gets tough. As Sinjiro goes on a rampage, obliterating a monster with merciless cruelty, the people are concerned that Ultraman might not be the benevolent hero to whom one could hand the key to the city. Sinjiro is given a lot of room to grow as a person as well as a superhero because of the hardships he faces and the internal struggles that make him a better person. He doesn’t give in to pride and take on the attitude of an entitled alpha man like Homelander from Amazon Prime Original The Boys. Instead, he accepts his mistakes and works on them to do better and win back the trust of his friends and the common people.
Unlike the slightly disappointing Season 2, which had only six episodes, the third season carries 12 episodes, each spanning between 25 and 30 minutes in duration. The animation is superbly crisp and can be on par with the style of some modern ones like Attack on Titan or Demon Slayer, although the latter had a slightly better transition between sequences. The background score as the protagonist battles the evils, both inside and outside, is beautiful and keeps you engaged in the story because it mirrors the emotions Sinjiro is feeling.
The Underwhelming Downsides
On the downside, however, the episodes can feel a little slow and might take a while to pick up speed. Although the action begins right from the first episode, which is always positive, some of the other episodes need a lot of exposition and build up to take the story somewhere. It feels like the same plot point could’ve been reached within the first 5 minutes, which would keep the audience’s attention glued. If you’re someone who enjoys subbed anime—animation with subtitles—this season will appeal to you greatly because the dialogues seem perfectly aligned with what’s happening on the screen. However, if you prefer dubs with English translation, the dialogue might come as a disappointment because most of the lines seem cheesy and offbeat and don’t match the expected emotional intensity. This can affect the mood because the characters’ lines in English at times fail to express the urgency and immediacy of the situation. Although Sinjiro gets a lot of room to grow, the same can’t be said for the other characters because they’re presented as one-dimensional people who present themselves as we see them on the screen. The character development for side characters is largely absent, and they’re more of an afterthought, although, in fairness, the series is called Ultraman.
The series draws to a satisfying end where good triumphs over evil, and the hero saves the day. With great animation, a beautiful score, and highly impressive choreography for fight scenes, the third season deserves a lot of recognition because of the way it has brought relevance to the Ultraman franchise. It may feel a little predictable, but that’s the style of such anime where the hero battles evil. Overall, it feels like a proper conclusion to a series that spanned three seasons, with the possibility of a spin-off based on the end credits scene. This series is worth binge-watching for the weekend if you want something nostalgic and entertaining to watch.