In the aftermath of the debut of our first major villain for Ultraman R/B, we have been given two fantastic episodes that each highlight the different strengths of the series, from the comedy to the characters and the action.
There is a full arc in these two episodes, where we see the brothers dealing with their first real defeat in a meaningful and interesting way, as well as seeing what Aizen’s definition of a hero is. The character development is fantastic, each scene is crammed with some meta joke or callback, and all the characters play off each other incredibly well. Let’s begin with episode 9.
The setup for this episode is simple: Ultraman Rosso and Ultraman Blu have been defeated by Ultraman Orb Dark Noir Black Schwarz, and have to really come to terms with that. As many fans previously called out, the brothers and even some one-off characters make light of the name being way too long, with Katsumi even going so far as to point out that, when translated, his name is literally Ultraman Orb Dark Black Black Black, taken from English, French, and German respectively. To their credit, the brothers don’t waste all their time making jokes about a poor choice in hero names, though, instead dedicating themselves to training while at human size with mockups of the weapons and abilities they use as Ultramen.
Asahi tags along, but is unable to figure out what exactly they are doing, somehow.
Her coming along to the training session turns out to be a stroke of good luck, though, as she falls and suffers a leg injury that leads to the discovery of the Earth crystal hidden in a cave. It’s with this power that they finally manage to overcome Aizen in the rematch. Up to this point, he has been making himself known to the citizens of Ayaka by causing disasters, and then stopping them. Much of the setup to the battle happens off screen, but given the setting change after they challenge him, it’s safe to assume there was some debate about a cool hero not causing property damage, or the brothers simply asking that they protect civilians as much as possible. When they do beat him, at long last, they take the weapon Aizen has been using to transform, vowing that he will never use it again.
Instead, we see Katsumi using it for special attacks as soon as episode 10! The brothers attempt to take a day off, a family picnic, only to be met on several occasions by Aizen or his Kaiju, even being offered high-paying jobs at Aizentech, stationed overseas and safely out of his way.
When they refuse enough times, they encounter their toughest Kaiju opponents yet, and end up being beaten after Katsumi stops a building from falling on Asahi and Ushio. They are defeated and earn a failing grade in Aizen’s second Ultraman Test, at which point he reclaims his henshin device.
After the credits roll on this episode, the preview for the next one seemingly confirms a fan theory that has been circulating for a while. If this theory proves correct, Aizen’s tests, repeated Kaiju attacks, and even becoming an Ultraman himself are all attempts to groom and train the brothers for some bigger threat that will soon loom large. The preview shows a previously-unseen woman with shining eyes, dressed in an all-black Japanese lolita dress, clearly a villain unless the show opts for more clever subversion. That remains to be seen, but I hope you all are excited as I am for what’s in store.
What did you think of these episodes of Ultraman R/B? Leave your thoughts and let’s discuss!