Rejoice Ultra fans!
Today is a landmark day in tokusatsu history as Tsuburaya Productions Co. Ltd announced their victory in US courts against UM Corporation (aka Chaiyo) for the international rights to the first six instalments in the Ultra Series. That’s right everyone, it’s been a long battle but Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace and Ultraman Taro are finally home.
For those unaware the international rights for these six series have been in question for several years, after Chaiyo Productions founder Sompote Saengduenchai claimed that in 1976 Eiji Tsuburaya‘s son Noboru (who died in 1995) had provided him with a contract giving him rights to everything related to Ultraman outside Japanese territories, in exchange for a monetary loan. The legitimacy of the document was extremely questionable, however Japanese and Thai courts accepted this contract as real and binding due to supposed appearance of Noboru Tsuburaya’s hanko (signature stamp) in the document.
Headway was finally made November last year when a Californian jury deemed the document to be a fake and ruled in favour of Tsuburaya, but it isn’t until today that we have confirmation that the company’s long ordeal is finally over.
So what does this mean for the series in question? Will they be joining the rest of the Ultraman backcatalogue on Crunchyroll? New home releases with better quality masters? Who knows, but with Tsuburaya continuously looking to promote Ultraman on a worldwide scale we’ll find out soon enough.