Family Bonding Time

Better than its TV series counterpart, Ultraman R/B’s epilogue movie locks into its theme of family, staying together, and the worries that life brings. Brothers Katsumi (Yuya Hirata) and Isami (Ryosuke Koike), after sorting out personal differences at the series’ end, now find adulthood pulling them in separate directions. College, career ambitions, and international studies present a challenge, not only for life, but this clever Ultraman iteration that requires both to defeat evil.

It’s fun and lively, comfortable in its anime-y splashes and flourishes. The genuine story fills only a quarter of the short runtime yet the expedience is impressive. Social isolation and indifference over a once promising videogame designer turned shut-in addict adds an understandable cause for the villain – he envies success and connection, going against Ultraman R/B’s theme for an accessible, purposeful plot.

For the climactic brawl, Ultraman R/B becomes a future vision, skipping man-in-suits for an entirely digital Ultraman form

Involving Ultraman Geed (because modern Ultraman finales always bundle superheroes), the scope expands, bettered by budget hikes. For the climactic brawl, Ultraman R/B becomes a future vision, skipping man-in-suits for an entirely digital Ultraman form, but set against the miniatures and practical monsters. While not perfect, it’s convincingly done, and allows for a spectacular in-air fight, totally impossible to do in front of a real world camera. After 25 episodes following traditional formula, the movie’s break allows a certain freedom to stage things in a visually arresting way, mournful as it is to see Ultraman so openly divesting from its gorgeous physical craftsmanship.

By picking up a year after the TV show, there’s some creative leeway and distance. There’s no need to rely on what was a conclusive finish. Most main characters do return, even if briefly, allowing for a familial fable of its own doing, not beholden to any plot thread/villain/conflict prior. And, while aiming at kids, there’s still room for some adult jabs, including a politician rambling on a news broadcast about Ultramen shattering infrastructure and forcing a tax hike to pay for it. Those world saving jerks busted a water pipe? Time to make them pay – literally.

Like the theme, Ultraman R/B clearly wants to bring people – families especially – together. Giant monsters, superheroes, and taxes do just that.

Video

Visits to an alien planet and flashbacks add a little grit to the otherwise pristine digitally-sourced visuals. Mill Creek’s encode struggles a little, breaking down into mushier images in the process. A slight fidelity loss occurs as a result. Some banding during the climax pops up as well, likely more on the CG elements rather than the disc.

Otherwise, Ultraman R/B excels in clarity, peak resolution high enough to find well resolved, high-frequency detail everywhere. From aged-by-hand miniature sets to facial texture, rarely does the presentation drop off.

Lively color stretches primaries far, saturation high and consistent. Transformations feature all manner of blinding hues, paired with ample contrast. Brightness doesn’t wane, helped by stellar black levels the few times they’re needed.

Audio

Offering better range than the companion series, bass complements the action. Explosions and punches create needed room shaking impact. This isn’t mega-budget Hollywood sound mixing, but for Ultraman, this rates as peak material.

Sadly, the stereo track doesn’t utilize channel separation in any noticeable way. Discreet effects hardly leap out, barely heard as fighting takes off. There’s opportunity (plenty of it) yet the DTS-HD doesn’t take advantage.

Extras

Nothing. Note the movie is available separately or in a bundle with the series. Either way, there’s no on-disc extras. The series does come with an episode guide insert.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Ultraman R/B
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A clean, speedy, and concise story helps Ultraman R/B stand out for more than its wild (even creative) action set pieces.

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