• Ultraman Leo: The Complete Series (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review (Steelbook Edition)



    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: January 12th, 2021.
    Director: Various
    Cast: Katsumi Nimiamoto, Kôji Moritsugu, Takeshi Itô, Mîna Tominaga
    Year: 1973-1974
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    Ultraman Leo: The Complete Series – Movie Review:

    Tsuburaya Productions’ seventh Ultraman series ran from April 12, 1974 and March 28, 1975. This series, the last of the original first wave of Ultraman shows, lasted fifty-one episodes in total.

    As to the story in this seventh installment? Ultraman Leo is a denizen of Nebula L77 out in the far reaches of space. He’s a super-powered being who, when his home planet is destroyed, heads to Earth where can turn into a human named Gen Otori (Ryu Manatsu). This becomes important when Ultraseven winds up in a prolonged battle with an alien named Magma –the same monster who destroyed Gen’s home planet - who is out to do what evil space aliens always do in Ultraman shows, and that’s trash the planet. Magma’s got two helpers in the form of Red Giras and Black Giras, the later of whom manages to break Ultraseven’s leg in battle. Ultraman Leo shows up and saves Ultraseven’s life but his injuries are so severe that he can’t use the Ultra Eye and is stuck in human form.

    Meanwhile, Dan Moroboshi and the rest of the Monster Attack Crew are doing their thing while Gen takes a job teaching Phys-ed at a local school. It’s here that Gen and Dan become fast friends, and that quickly furthers Ultraman Leo’s education in slick fight moves! As all of this plays out, the Ultra Eye winds up having to go back to M78, the Monster Attack Crew has their hands full in a battle with a monster inside a flying saucer, Ultraseven winds up going back to M78 too (it seems that this is where anything ‘Ultra’ goes to get nursed back to healthy and/or repaired), Gen loses his job and befriends a bunch of kids, Ultraman Leo winds up having to fight about a zillion wacky alien monsters and, well, we won’t spoil the latter half of the series as there are a few neat twists to the story that make it pretty fun to watch.

    Here’s what is included in this collection:

    DISC ONE:

    The Day When Ultra Seven Dies Is The Day When Tokyo Sinks! / The Great Sinking Twilight Of The Japanese Archipelago / Farewell, Tears… / An Oath Between Men / Don’t Cry! You’re A Man / You’re A Man! Get Fired Up! / A Beautiful Man’s Will / Deadly! The Monster Mastermind!

    DISC TWO:

    The Bridge Of Friendship Across Space / The Monster That Wanders In Sorrow / A Man Covered In Mud / The Adventure Boy Arrives! / Explosion! Two Desperate Aliens / Deadly Fists! The Boy Who Calls Forth A Storm / Blind Attack! The Blow With Fighting Spirit / The Woman Who Faded Into The Night

    DISC THREE:

    The Werewolf’s Bride / Vampire! Bat Girl / The Revived Merman / The Mysterious Boy From Ursa Minor / I Saw A Goddess In The Far North! / The Leo Brothers Vs The Monster Brothers / The Mischievous Alien Who Fell Out Of His Bed / The Beautiful Virgo Maiden

    DISC FOUR:

    The Rhinoceros Beetle Is An Alien Invader! / Ultraman King Vs The Wizard / Mighty! Momotaro! / Return Of The Captain Moustache! / Fated Reunion! Dan And Anne / Monster’s Return Of Favor / The White Flower That Protects The Earth / Farewell, Princess Kaguya / The Leo Brothers Vs The Space Demon Alien

    DISC FIVE:

    The Ultra Brothers’ Eternal Vow / I’m The Monster Boss! / Fly! The Leo Brothers , Save The Space Base! / Haunted! Devil In The Mirror / Showdown! The Leo Brothers Vs The Ultra Brothers / The Leo Brothers, The Ultra Brothers, The Moment Of Victory / Mac Annihilated! The Flying Saucer Is Alive! / The Saucer Creature From The Demon Planet Has Come! / Leo’s In Danger! The Assassin Is A Saucer Creature

    DISC SIX:

    Challenge! The Terror Of The Bloodsucking Saucer / The Shooting Star From Hell! / The Ghost Girl / The Leo Brothers Fight! The End Of The Saucer Creature! / The Girl Who Collects The Stardust Of Demons / The Monstrous Bird Saucer Attacks The Japanese Archipelago! / The Red Assassin That Brings Death! / Leo’s Life! The King’s Miracle! / Farewell, Leo! Setting Off For The Sun

    While at times this feels like a ‘monster of the week’ series there is some decent enough continuity to the show that keeps things interesting throughout. It’s fun to see how the movie ties into the Ultra shows that came before it while still managing to carve out some interesting character moments of its own. True to the series’ established style, there are plenty of fights between the Ultra’s and the various aliens and demons that show up throughout the show, and the ‘main in a suit’ effects on display throughout any given episode are as charming as ever.

    The series may not be particularly deep, the subplots involving the non-Ultra characters can and do occasionally drag things down more than a little bit, but overall this is an enjoyable show that is plenty of fun for monster kids of any age.

    Ultraman Leo: The Complete Series – Blu-ray Review:

    The AVC encoded 1.33.1 fullframe 1080p high definition transfers on the six 50GB discs in this set are less than perfect. Compression artifacts are visible throughout the presentation and detail is soft. Each twenty-five-minute episode takes up between 4 and 6GBS of space on their respective discs, but despite the decent bit rate compression artifacts abound and sometimes there are even some noticeable issues with macroblocking (though this fluctuates from episode to episode they’re always there, but sometimes noticeably worse than others). There appears to have been some DNR applied here, waxing out the grain and softening texture in the process. These were all shot on 16mm so they should be naturally grainy but they aren’t. Colors look very nice – which is obviously important to a show like this – and black levels are okay.

    The only audio option for the content in this set are Japanese language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. There’s audible sibilance throughout, which is unfortunate, but the levels are properly balanced. The subtitles are clean, clear and easy to read, free of any noticeable typos or errors.

    There are no extras on the discs themselves outside of menus offering episode selection, but it’s worth taking up a bit of space to discuss the packaging for this release. The six discs stack fit inside a ‘flipper case’ with each disc given its own spindle, there’s no stacking in this release (which is definitely a good thing!). This flipper case fits inside a slick looking cardboard slipcover. This slipcover also contains a booklet that offers few pages detailing the history of the series and its character as well as some info on the monsters and characters that appear in this series. It’s a very nice-looking product. An insert card for a digital HD download of the series, redeemable via MovieSpree, is also included.

    Additionally, for those who prefer fancier packaging, Mill Creek has also opted to release the same discs in a more compact, but definitely more deluxe, steelbook edition that looks like this:


    Ultraman Leo: The Complete Series – The Final Word:

    Ultraman Leo: The Complete Series doesn’t reinvent the series’ wheel but it throws in a few neat ideas to keep things fresh and fun. Anyone who has enjoyed the earlier series should get a kick out of this one as well and while the transfers in this set leave room for improvement, having all of the episodes in their original format and in English friendly versions will be reason enough for plenty of fans to snatch this release right up.

    Click on the images below for full sized Ultraman Leo: The Complete Series Blu-ray screen caps!








































    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      Dammit, I swore I'd lay off these sets after Return of Ultraman, but you make this sound too cool.