HomeAAPI ActorsNetflix’s "Ultraman:Rising" is an endearing animation about family, heroism and relationships

Netflix’s “Ultraman:Rising” is an endearing animation about family, heroism and relationships

By Erin Chew

With Tokyo under siege from rising monster attacks, baseball star and Ultraman Ken Sato– voiced by Christopher Sean (Days of our Lives, Star Wars:Resistance) reluctantly returns home to take on the mantle of Ultraman. But the titanic superhero meets his match when he is forced to adopt a 35-foot-tall, fire-breathing baby kaiju. Sato must rise above his ego to balance work and parenthood while protecting the baby from forces bent on exploiting her for their own dark plans.

In partnership with Netflix, Tsuburaya Productions, and Industrial Light & Magic, Ultraman: Rising is an interesting remake of a classic anime which accompanied the growing up of generations of Asian/Asian American audiences.

This idea of growing up rang true for co-director John Aoshima (Kubo and the Two Strings, Ducktales), who had fond memories watching the original version in his childhood growing up in Japan.

“I have been a huge fan of the Ultraman anime since childhood. Being born and spending part of my childhood in Japan, I grew up in the Ultraman world as it was literally everywhere back then. When I was in college, the impact of the Ultraman anime dawned on me after having conversations with friends who loved the anime. It allowed my mind to be filled with fond memories growing up with my family and I decided I wanted to continue its legacy,” Aoshima shared in a recent interview with AsAmNews.

Scene from Ultraman: Rising

Being involved with this Netflix animation, allowed seasoned and veteran actress Tamlyn Tomita (Joy Luck Club, The Karate Kid part II), who voiced Mina SatoKen Sato’s mother, to reminisce on her own career and the changes she has seen happen in the entertainment industry as a whole.

She’s gone from being one of the few Asians working in the industry to what we have today.

“Working on this project has opened my eyes so much more to see how much has changed and how wonderful the representation is – not just for Asian Americans but also how we are able to bring Asian stories onto the main stage”, Tomita expressed.

Ultraman: Rising is not just about heroes with strength and special powers. It includes the endearing themes of family and relationships. This gave the animation layers of depth and ensured there was no bland, one-dimensional characters.

Sean says the film will provide an opportunity for audiences to reflect upon their own life and the importance of a family bond. He says the relationship between father and son and mother and son are essential to the film.

“From start to finish in this entire animated film, you can see familial aspects trickling all over. Whether it is Ultraman fighting for justice, saving Japan and/or Ken Sato drowning in his own sorrows or celebrating his achievements, family was something he thought about or was around him. Whether it be in memory or in life and how complicated all these relationships are. Ken is doing the best he can with his family relationships, and this is what is most relatable in my opinion”, Sean mentioned.

This sentiment about family relationships also resonated with Gedde Watanabe (Sixteen Candles, Kung Fu Panda 4), who voiced Professor Sato, UltradadKen Sato’s father. Having been in the industry for many decades, Watanabe stated that without the support of family, he would not be where he is today, and that is why this is why Ultraman: Rising is an important project for him to be involved with.

He says his career would not have been possible his own family.

“I would have lost hope in my own career. In many ways, they are the ones who give us the strength and courage to be who we want to be and do what we want to do. This is a universal thing, and hence why it is such an important theme in this Netflix animation.”

Finally, Tomita shared a few thoughts about what she hopes audiences will take away by the end of the movie. She hopes they feel the love, the hate and the in between feelings from each character.

“I am hopeful that audiences will feel different emotions watching this film when it is released. Every character no matter how important they are feels something -whether it is love, confusion, anger, grief, hurt, hate etc. I hope audiences will feel these emotions as each character appears and fulfills their role in the film”.

Ultraman:Rising will be released on the Netflix streaming platform on June 14, 2024.

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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