|A Top Ten Most Disturbing Ultraman Monsters
Why "a" top ten, rather than "the" top ten? Because the Ultra-something franchise has had at least a
thousand different monsters since the 1966 premiere of "Ultra Q," (essentially a Japanese take on America's
The Outer Limits) and my knowledge is limited to what relatively scant material is available in English.
A certain silver-suited superhero wouldn't be a regular until the second television series, and has been a
constant protagonist in various incarnations ever since. It's the monsters, however, that will always steal the
show, sell the toys and stand out in the minds of fans; without their wildly varying designs and outlandish
powers, most Ultraman stories would be fairly interchangeable.
It stands to reason that such a high volume of creatures would run the gamut through cute, goofy, tragic,
funny, generic and outlandish, with more than a few that are downright horrific.
At the start of Mushra's episode, a gigantic, flailing mushroom sprouts up from beneath a city, wreaking havoc
on the surrounding homes. When supposedly destroyed, its spores infect the local water supply and turn
thousands of people into mindless, mushroom-headed slaves before the true monster surfaces and begins its
obligatory rampage. Mushra's design is a bit silly and the mushroom-zombies are played almost for laughs,
but there's no denying the underlying horror of the situation, possibly a nod to the famous Toho horror film,
SERIES: Ultraman Taro
SERIES: Ultraman Dyna
When researchers discover a nest of worm-like aliens, all but one is exterminated. The survivor eventually
finds another giant monster, Grossyna, and slithers down its throat to take control of its body and go on the
usual wanton monster rampage. In the inevitable showdown with Ultraman Dyna, a hole is blasted clear through
Grossyna's body, through which Grossyna emerges moments before its destruction.
Backacoon almost comes off as a remake of Mushra. It, too, creates a huge mushroom in the midst of a city,
but reveals its true form when attacked. Instead of taking over human beings, however, Backacoon uses its
branching tail-roots to penetrate and puppeteer the rotting corpse of Shildoban, a giant, mutant carrion beetle
from a previous episode. The ghoulish pair is no match for Ultraman Neos, but you can't go wrong with fungal
zombie insects - just ask pokemon.
SERIES: Ultraman Neos
SERIES: Ultraman Tiga
Able to invade and manipulate electronics like an organic computer virus, the Bizaamo is an artificial lifeform
programmed by a long-dead world (also called Bizaamo) to multiply throughout the cosmos. It initially manifests
as crawling, shape-shifting lumps of gelatinous tissue, able to imitate other living things and feed on electricity.
When the time comes for the episode's big brawl, a single Bizaamo transforms into a starfish-like giant
Described as a "hallucination monster," the Metron is a surreal-looking alien visitor whose nefarious plot
doubles as a public service announcement; taking human form, it loads vending machines with tainted
cigarettes, reducing smokers to acts of mindless violence. If its abstract face and cigarette-butt arms aren't
peculiar enough, Metron's back is speckled with octopus-like suckers. When it speaks, a series of bars light up
along its sides, the closest thing it has to a "mouth." In a later appearance, the Metron would make an insidious
leap to tampering with cellular phones; not as knee-jerk creepy as drug abuse, but still steeped in a theme of
Ultramen traditionally grow to the size of a skyscraper to wrangle giant monsters, but for at least one foe, the
hero has to shrink. The microscopic, insect-like Dallie is an alien "germ" that hides itself in a field of flowers,
eventually ending up in the lungs of a teenage girl. Insatiably hungry for human blood, the parasite transforms
its host each night into a ravenous vampire until Ultraman, unperturbed by basic laws of matter, reduces
himself to Dallie's level and fights his first battle inside a human body. As usual, our hero pounds the crap out
of this week's monster, though not without the help of several hundred antibodies - lovingly portrayed by a
show-stealing army of soap bubbles.
The last monster on our list to involve parasitism (which at this point constitutes exactly half the list), the
Magnia are an eerie race of floating, wart-like nodules that travel to our world within a meteorite. By attaching
to a human spinal column, they are able to completely take over the victim's mind, and multiply rapidly within
the hero's fortified base. When Ultraman appears, the thousands of Magnia merge into a single, conveniently
Ultraman-sized body, for presumably no other reason than to get their ass kicked.
SERIES: Ultraman Tiga
The origins of this monster are never unraveled, but it makes its first appearance as a tremendous eye
mysteriously embedded in a mountain range, able to infect nearby minds with anxiety and madness. Later, it
appears with root-like legs, tentacles and a highly destructive eye-beam that sucks matter back into Gan-Q's
pupil. As it "feeds" in this manner, it sprouts even more eyes throughout its body, presumably future offspring.
When Ultraman himself is absorbed, he finds himself lost in a hellish void of staring, laughing eyeballs, nearly
going mad before he blasts his way out.
Billed as a "joking monster," Gan-Q almost never stops giggling in a squeaky, hyperactive voice, from its first
unexplained appearance to its explosive end. It returns for several other stories, but its nature remains cryptic.
SERIES: Ultraman Gaia
At first glance, this fire breathing giant appears only subtly unsettling, with its cracked and crusty skin, its arms
fused to its sides and a vacant, almost comical face staring from its slab-shaped body. What's more, its fatal
weakness to ordinary water would turn any menacing invader into a walking joke...but with its origin revealed,
Jamila becomes an object of both horror and pity, as this awkward, easily defeated abomination was once a
human being; an astronaut who vanished years prior on a routine mission. Stranded on an alien world and
exposed to mysterious cosmic forces, he returns to Earth dimly aware of his former life and seeks vengeance
on those who had left him for dead.
Sometimes the most effective means for a monster to be frightening is a touch of the incomprehensible; to
leave us wondering just what the hell it is and where the hell it really comes from. It's the sort of thing that
anime geeks call a "mindfuck," and Bullton is easily the mindfuckiest giant monster this side a Lovecraft novel.
Resembling a giant, rolling meteor with retractable antennae, Bullton is not so much a monster as we know it,
but a "projection" generated by a pair of mysterious space-rocks. In either form, the entity/entities heavily
distort the laws of time and space as they appear to feed on reality itself; people become trapped in redundant
loops, gravity becomes inverted, objects are teleported at random and gateways are torn open to abstract
dimensions. Like all of pop-culture's most bizarre alien forces, Bullton is a taste of how little we truly know about
the nature of the universe, and begs the question - what else is out there?