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Ultraman Tiga Volume 3:
GUTS Headquarters Under Attack
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Box Front
Japanese Title: Urutoraman Teiga (“Ultraman Tiga”)
Original Release Year: 1996
Running Time: 13 episodes, approximately 24 minutes each

DVD Released By: 4Kids Home Video / FUNimation Productions
Video: Fullscreen
Audio: Japanese 2.0
Extras: Monster gallery (with video), GUTS Headquarters information video, Ultraman Tiga information videos, printed episode synopses, coming attractions
Subtitles: English
Closed Captions: None
Region: 1
Format: NTSC
Chapters: 4 per episode
Packaging: Two discs in a keepcase
MSRP: $29.95
UPC #: 704400068225
Catalog #: FN-06822
Status: Available.  It also fits nicely in the Ultraman Tiga Special Collector’s Edition Starter Box.


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Reviewed by:
Zillamon51
The Film: The Earth continues to be plagued by monster attacks and alien invasions.  When GUTS (the Global Unlimited Task Squad) is outgunned, and giant monsters threaten to wreak havoc, Officer Daigo calls upon the power of Ultraman Tiga to defend the planet!  This third volume contains episodes 27 - 39 of Ultraman Tiga, on two discs.  None of these episodes were shown on TV in the U.S.:

Disc 1:

Ep. 27 - “I Have Seen Obiko!”:  Modern development has been hard on Obiko, a legendary creature of darkness.  Disguised as a noodle vendor, Obiko tries to terrorize the local townspeople into returning to a simpler time.  When GUTS investigates, they play a bizarre game of cat and mouse with Obiko in the darkened city streets.  Like episode #16, “Return of the Demon,” this episode is inspired by Japanese myth and legend.  However, it’s played mostly for laughs.

Ep. 28 - “One Vanishing Moment”:  GUTS finds their efforts divided between two fronts:  Dealing with a
Megalon-like beetle monster that has emerged from a mountain, and an operation to exterminate the airborne “critters” that give rise to Gazoto.  Rena and Mayumi both question GUTS’ continued use of force.

Ep. 29 - “A Memory of Blue Skies”:  Maya Cruz, a popular singer with an almost religious following, turns out to be an alien.  She was left behind on the Earth as a young child.  Now, her brother has returned for her.  He possesses the body of officer Shinjoh!  Their reunion is short-lived, however.  They are being hunted by ruthless invaders.  This episode focuses on drama, and has the shortest monster battle of the series.

Ep. 30 - “The Monster Zoo”:  A monster rodent emerges from underground near a zoo, and immediately goes to sleep.  However, it is feared that the creature will begin causing havoc when it awakens.  Rena is uneasy about using force against it.  She convinces GUTS to stand down.  That night, the monster starts scavenging for food.  Is it possible for Ultraman to deal with such a large, menacing creature without having to destroy it?

Ep. 31 - “GUTS Headquarters Under Attack”:  Horii analyzes a strange life form discovered at the South Pole.  The slimy entity leaves its crystalline shell and takes up residence in Horii’s computer.  Now able to communicate, the creature reveals it is from the dead planet Bizaamo.  It is an artificial life form, programmed only to spread and multiply.  Feeding on electrical energy, the creature grows and spreads.  It takes over GUTS Headquarters before escaping to a mainland power plant.  Can anything stop its growth?  This is a good episode.  One thing that seems somewhat dated is Rena’s
Tamagotchi virtual pet.

Ep. 32 - “The Defense of Zelda Point”:  Years ago, a scientist developed a highly destructive chemical called Zelda gas.  An accident destroyed his home and killed his daughter.  When a bird-like monster appears and heads toward Zelda Point, a highly classified military bunker, GUTS is ordered to stop the creature at any cost.  Unable to use proper strategy, Munakata and Daigo are injured.  The dead girl’s parakeet, Shila, has come to destroy the Zelda gas!  When Ultraman confronts Shilakeet at Zelda point, both opponents falter.  Tiga is weakened by Daigo’s injuries.  Shilakeet and the scientist are both very ill from chemical exposure.  The Earth may never be free of the dangerous gas!  This is another good episode.  Despite being derived from such an innocuous animal, Shilakeet is a pretty cool monster, reminiscent of Showa-era kaiju.

Ep. 33 - “The Vampire City”:  A rash of disappearances has the police baffled.  Mr. Onoda, a reporter, warns Munakata that it's the work of vampires.  (Onoda and Munakata met in episode 5, “The Day of the Monster,” on
Volume 1.)  This nifty episode has elements of a hard-boiled detective story.  It also works as a parody of American vampire movies:  The vampire women strut towards their victims like models on the runway, and of course their hideout is in the nightclub district.  Kyuranos, the vampire god-monster, is a great-looking winged monster (Shilakeet’s wings looked too small to be functional in the previous episode).  Ultraman gets bitten by Kyuranos, and Iruma even has a fistfight with a vampire!

Disc 2:

Ep. 34 - “To the Southernmost”:  TPC leader General Sawai disappears en route to a top-secret international meeting at the southernmost island of the Chleomos chain.  When he is next seen, it is via a television broadcast.  He declares the islands an independent nation that will act as overseer of all nations.  In order to invade the island and find out what’s really going on, GUTS has to get around the island’s powerful force-field defenses.  Daigo and Security Chief Yoshioka (TPC’s ranking hard-ass) embark on a commando raid to lower the force-field and find the General.  They learn that the island has been taken over by living alien weapons.  This packed episode also features some pre-GUTS flashbacks showing how Daigo earned his appointment.

Ep. 35 - “Sleeping Beauty”:  GUTS receives the body of an alien recovered from a UFO crash site 24 years ago.  Though kept cryogenically frozen, it isn’t dead, and it possesses Rena’s body.  It’s a member of the race that sent the living weapon to take over the Chleomos Islands in the previous episode.  It re-activates a dragon-like robot that has been lying dormant for 24 years.  It’s mission isn’t to conquer the Earth, but to terraform it by changing the atmosphere!  Will GUTS and Ultraman be able to stop the creature without also destroying Rena?  The alien in this episode is a standard “gray” with big eyes; the robot dragon is very cool.

Ep. 36 - “A Smile Across Space and Time”:  A time / space disturbance causes things from the past to materialize in the present:  Ships and planes (lost in places like the Bermuda Triangle), and even a teenage girl who was born in 1915!  At the center of the growing time disruptions is a monster.  While Yazumi tries to learn more from the girl, and shows her around a modern city, GUTS concludes that the monster is at the center of the problem and must be destroyed.  However, it moves freely in and out of the time warp.  Ultraman struggles to keep the creature in the present where GUTS can neutralize it.

Ep. 37 - “Flower”:  During a peaceful spring month, GUTS takes a day off to go on a picnic and admire the cherry blossoms.  However, hostile aliens bent on conquest take Captain Iruma captive.  This is a very unusual episode, filled with odd camera angles, distorted lighting, choral singing, ringing bells, and random shots of statues.  At one point, Ultraman’s battle with an alien is presented as a dance, on a bare stage lit from behind with spotlights!  Cherry blossoms rain constantly.  While it’s fun to see the GUTS team with some adult beverages in them, the kaiju action suffers.  An artsy-fartsy misfire.

Ep. 38 - “Mirage of a Monster”:  An overzealous TPC intelligence officer wants to study public reaction to fear and stress.  He has been leaking false information about monster sightings, and wants GUTS to investigate to lend credence to his scam.  Things get more complicated, however, when a monster really does appear.  What’s more, this one has the ability to project holographic illusions of itself.  This makes it difficult for Ultraman to zero in on the real threat.

Ep. 39 - “Dear Mr. Ultraman…”:  During a wave of hit-and-run attacks by a subterranean monster, Daigo gets a disturbing email.  The sender is a psychic who knows Daigo’s secret!  He challenges Daigo to a “game.”  If Daigo loses, the psychic will reveal Daigo’s secret to the world.  This episode implies that Rena suspects Daigo’s alter ego is Ultraman Tiga.

Ultraman Tiga is an exciting, well-made show.  The special effects are very well done, and the main characters are memorable and well developed.  Overall, this batch of episodes is a little weaker than Volume 2.  Some important elements come to light, though.  There is some debate over whether or not TPC and GUTS are taking the right approach in dealing with monsters.  Should they continue to expand their military might, or try to understand why monsters appear and deal with them less forcefully?  The relationship between Daigo and Rena also becomes more prominent.  Grade:  A-

Video: Ultraman Tiga is presented in its original fullscreen format.  The picture is mostly sharp and clear.  There is some grain, but it’s not a major problem.  It is equivalent to the earlier volumes.  Color reproduction is excellent, which serves the show well.  All of the bright rays and explosions look great.  Grade:  B+

Audio: The show is presented in the original Japanese 2.0 stereo.  There is no English dubbing.  Audio quality is consistent with the previous volumes.  Everything sounds very good.  The dialogue, music, and sound effects come through loud and clear.  Grade:  A

Extras / Menus: The extras are divided up into three categories:  Monsters Gallery, GUTS Headquarters, and Ultraman Tiga In Action.  The Monsters Gallery features still images and text information on 6 of the series’ monsters.  Only one of the monsters, Bizaamo, has a descriptive video.  GUTS Headquarters is a video segment on, you guessed it, GUTS HQ (aka the Citagon).

The Ultraman Tiga In Action section consists of 4 videos that play back-to-back.  Each one describes a different aspect of the title hero.  The videos cover Daigo’s transformation device, the Torch of Tiga (aka Spark Lens); Ultraman’s bionic sensor (aka color timer), his various luminizers (light attacks), and monster attack powers.  All of the descriptive videos were produced for the show’s run on Fox Box.  They run between 1-2 minutes each.

The back of the box lists “The GUTS Fighter Vehicles” as an extra, but this is incorrect.  That segment was on
Volume 2.  Coming Attractions are also accessible from the main menu.  Running back-to-back for 4 ˝ minutes are promos for:  Ultraman Tiga Special Collector’s Edition Starter Box, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  Secret Origins, Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle City Duels:  Mime Control, Sonic X:  A Super Sonic HeroYu-Yu Hakusho:  Old Rivals, New Problems, Beyblade G Revolution, and the Z-Store online anime shop.

There are also promos for the Fox Box Saturday morning line-up (since renamed
4Kids TV), and 4Kids / FUNimation DVD singles, that play automatically when the discs first start up.  (DVD singles are individual episodes of shows on mini-DVDs.)  Fortunately, the promos can be skipped through.  The extras are identical on both discs.  All of the menus are still images with different music themes from the Fox Box version of Ultraman Tiga in the background.  Since the dub isn’t included, this is a great way to make use of the catchy U.S. music.

The DVD insert also has synopses of all 13 episodes.  They cover plot, and background information about the making of the episodes.  The inclusion of 4 chapter stops per episode is appreciated.  (Some TV collections simply make each episode a single chapter.)  All of the promo clips don’t really add any value to the set.  The Ultraman-related extras, while not extensive, are welcome additions (especially for younger viewers). 
Grade:  B

Final Analysis: Another solid collection of Ultraman Tiga from 4 Kids / FUNimation.  Very well done!  Fans who enjoyed the first two volumes will certainly want to add this to their collection.  Any kaiju and tokusatsu fans that haven’t checked this series out yet really should do so.  Final Grade:  A-
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