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Japan's Biggest Superhero Ripped Off In New Film, Says Production Company [Update]

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Earlier this month in Beijing, a Chinese movie company announced an upcoming feature film called Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman. The CG movie stars robots, a dragon, and Japan’s most famous hero, Ultraman.

Update 4:00am - October 1: NHK reports that according to the Chinese studio behind Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman, the film is legal under Chinese law. The studio got the Ultraman license from a Thai company with the international rights, and China’s highest court ruled that this movie is legal. This article has been updated accordingly.

Here is the trailer for Dragon Force: So Long Ultraman. Besides shoddy CG work, it also features scenes from past Ultraman films and silly scenes from licensed commercials.

“Our company is not at all connected [to this],” Tsuburaya Productions, the Tokyo company that created and owns the character, is quoted as saying by AV Watch. “The motion picture in question was made without our consent or supervision.”


According to Japanese site Sports Hoichi, Tsuburaya Productions is also quoted as saying it’s determined to take legal measures over the film. That apparently includes the enterprise that announced the movie as well as those who made it. The company claims that even the press conference caused damage to the Ultraman brand.

Chinese media covered the Dragon Force press conference, which had a goofy-looking Ultraman in body paint and went something like this:


And this.


As evident in this photo from iRead, this Ultraman even did the character’s famous “beam pose.”


Eiji Tsuburaya, the genius behind the 1954 Godzilla’s special effects, founded Tsuburaya Productions as a visual effects house in 1963. In the mid-1960s, the company created Ultraman, one of Japan’s most iconic and influential superheroes. Tsuburaya Productions continues to produce Ultraman television shows and movies. It does not sound happy about Dragon Force.

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