Monday, February 8, 2010

Hello Zoffy

Big Fun toy shop near Lakewood, OH came through for us again in the form of this cool Zoffy (Ultraman) figure. I can't decipher the imprint on the back, but that does not hamper our enjoyment of this unexpected find.
Zoffy made his first appearance in the shocking final episode of Ultraman. He comes to Earth to escort his fallen "brother" home to Nebula M78, and at first is somewhat dismissive of Ultraman's bond with humanity. The affection that Ultraman has for the people of earth ultimately changes his mind, and he confers upon Hayata the power to live again apart from Ultraman's life force.
The final episode of Ultraman is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Akhiko Hirata returns in his role as Dr. Iwomura, and he gets to play the villain when the Z-ton alien takes over his body. The plot sets the template for all Ultraman series finales to follow--typically centering on an overwhelming invasion force dealing out near defeat to planet Earth. It is remarkable that Ultraman actually suffers defeat and must return home a wounded warrior, while human ingenuity (in the form of Dr. Iwomura's newly invented weapon) saves the day. Finally, there is surprisingly no "reveal"--Hayata manages to keep his alter ego a secret for the duration of the series, even after Ultraman's departure. "Farewell Ultraman" is a fitting conclusion to a groundbreaking series which excelled in taking chances and circumventing conventional storytelling.

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