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Ultraman Gaia:  The Battle In Hyperspace
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Box Front Japanese Title: Urutoraman Teiga, Urutoraman Daina, & Urutoraman Gaia:  Choujikuu No Daiketsugeki (“Ultraman Tiga, Ultraman Dyna, & Ultraman Gaia:  Superdimensional Showdown”)
Director: Kazuya Konaka (Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna, The Dimension Travelers)
Original Release Year: 1999
Running Time: 74 minutes

DVD Released By: Image Entertainment
Video: Anamorphic widescreen
Audio: Japanese 2.0, Japanese 5.1, English 2.0, English 5.1
Extras: Isolated music score, trailers
Subtitles: English
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 10
Packaging: Keepcase
MSRP: $24.99
UPC #: 014381038828
Catalog #: ID0388TPDVD
Status: Available


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The Film: Tsutomu is a young boy who is obsessed with Ultraman.  He spends so much time watching Ultraman on TV that his grades suffer.  He is also picked on by bullies, who dismiss Ultraman as “kid’s stuff.”  While Tiga and Dyna are cool, Tsutomu’s favorite is Ultraman Gaia.  Gaia’s human alter ego, Gamu, is his idol.

One night, Tsutomu has a strange dream.  He sees a red ball, and a pretty young girl standing in the ruins of a burning city.  The next day at school, there is a new student in Tsutomu’s class.  Her name is Lisa, and she looks just like the girl in Tsutomo’s dream.  After school, he also finds a red ball like the one in his dream.  A voice from the orb tells Tsutomu that any wish he makes will be granted.  Tsutomu wishes to meet Gamu in person!

Gamu’s fighter jet causes quite a stir when it appears in the sky above the city.  The bullies steal the ball, and their leader Hiroshi wishes for a monster to appear.  Gamu becomes Ultraman Gaia and defeats the monster, even though his energy depletes rapidly in the “real” world.

Despite making fun of Tsutomu’s Ultraman obsession, Hiroshi is a closet kaiju fan who dreams of being a monster designer.  He and his gang design three monsters.  Hiroshi takes elements of the other two monsters and incorporates them into his own.  He calls his creation King Of Mons, and uses the red ball to bring it to life.  The devastating King Of Mons razes the city.  Ultraman Gaia is overmatched by Hiroshi’s monster, especially when the two other monsters emerge from its body!  With three powerful kaiju for Gaia to deal with, the world’s only hope may be for Tsutomu to regain the ball and summon reinforcements in the form of Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna!

Ultraman Gaia:  The Battle In Hyperspace is a perfect introduction the world of Ultraman.  It’s set in the real world where the various Ultramen exist only as fictional TV characters.  Viewers of any age can enjoy it, even with no previous knowledge of any of the myriad Ultraman TV series.  The kids in the film are genuinely likeable.  The action is exciting, King Of Mons is an awesome monster, and the special effects are bright, colorful, and very well done.  This film manages to be both an exciting Ultraman adventure, and Godzilla’s Revenge done right.  Highly recommended!  Grade:  A

Video: The best word to describe this transfer is “sparkling.”  The print is clean and free of defects.  The anamorphic widescreen image is sharp and clear.  There are a few scenes with some minor grain, but it’s not a problem.  Where this transfer really shines is color reproduction.  All of the bright rays and explosions look great.  Excellent!  Grade:  A

Audio: This disc includes both the original Japanese language, and an English dub, both in 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround.  Both of the Japanese tracks sound good.  All of the music, dialogue, and sound effects come through loud and clear.  As for the English tracks, well, the music and sound effects sound good.  The dialogue is another story.  This movie has some of the worst English dubbing you’re likely to hear.  The English voice providers (they can’t be referred to as actors or performers) simply read off their lines with the conviction and enthusiasm of junior high school students reading Shakespeare.  The dialogue is ripe with awkward pauses and repeated words.  The voices given to Lisa and the bullies are especially laughable, and Tsutomu is renamed “Tommy.”  This dub job is worse than the Heisei Godzilla dubs and the Sandy Frank Gamera dubs; it’s only slightly more tolerable than the Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna dubbing.  Grade:  B+ (Strictly on the basis of the Japanese.)

Extras / Menus: There are two slightly different trailers for Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna.  The first is the original Japanese trailer.  The second one appears to be an international trailer.  The dialogue is in Japanese, but it is narrated in English.  There is also one trailer for Ultraman Gaia:  The Battle In Hyperspace, in Japanese.  All three are in non-anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo, and feature optional English subtitles.

The other extra is the isolated score.  This is a separate 2.0 audio track featuring the music score only (with no dialogue or sound effects).  Quality is equivalent to the other tracks.  There are many kaiju fans for which the music is a major attraction to the genre.  This track is sure to be a boon for them.

The main menu is animated, the scene selection menus feature animated movie clips in the selection windows.  The audio and trailer menus are still images.  All of the menus feature background music. 
Grade:  B-

Final Analysis: A great-looking disc with some diverting extras.  The specs, features, and quality are identical to Image’s Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna disc.  By presenting these enjoyable movies in anamorphic widescreen and including the original language audio, Image have made their Ultraman DVDs ones that all kaiju fans should have on their shelves.  Final Grade:  A-
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