The Ultra/Ultraman series is almost exclusively made up of one season and done shows. Once the season is over, that Ultraman and its cast are more or less retired (though they are usually brought back for a few episodes in subsequent series) and the franchise moves onto something slightly different. There are a few exceptions to this rule though. One of them is Neo Ultra Q, a sequel series to the Ultra franchise’s first ever series Ultra Q, produced 47 years later. I already covered this series’ predecessor last year and my reaction was a bit mixed. While I thought it was a good start to the franchise, it wasn’t quite as good as Ultraman and some of the series that would follow (I did give Mill Creek’s SteelBook Blu-ray release of it good marks though). Unfortunately, with Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series I think it was a step backwards even if compared to other recent entries in the franchise. I’m glad they tried to do something different with the property but the results are just too boring to recommend for most audiences.
While most of the series in this long-running franchise involve giant monsters fighting each other and destroying buildings, both Ultra Q and Neo Ultra Q are quite a bit different from the usual fare. Instead, both are more reminiscent of The Twilight Zone and other anthology series. While there are recurring characters (though they really don’t do much), the stories are completely self-contained and they are mostly morality tales that teach lessons instead of focusing on action and destruction. For example, the first episode is about an ogre walking to its chosen place to die while citizens fight over whether or not the creature should suffer for what other ogres have done in the past. Then the second episode is about a laundromat-owning monster (Mr. Brethren) that the whole town loves as well as an old man who is about to lose his wife and just wants her ruined favorite dress cleaned.
Ultimately, after watching the twelve episodes in the series I wasn’t the biggest fan of Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series. There are three main culprits as to why. The biggest one is that it’s just too boring. While there are a few somewhat interesting stories sprinkled throughout the series, most of them are rather dull. Episodes two, six, and nine were the only ones that really held my attention throughout. I wouldn’t say the rest are downright bad, they’re just not particularly interesting or entertaining. I don’t mind the fact that this series isn’t about giant monsters but the only problem with that is when the story isn’t interesting (which is an issue many of the episodes have), it doesn’t have giant monsters fighting and destroying stuff to make up for it like the other shows in this franchise do.
The second problem is that our main characters are more or less useless and rarely have any sort of impact on the episodes. I liked the characters in the original Ultra Q (especially the reporter) and it actually made since that they kept popping up whenever these stories happened. In Neo Ultra Q, it feels like there was no point to including these recurring characters as they usually have next to no impact on the proceedings (and it often makes no sense that there were even involved in the first place). It’s pretty sad when the episodes that are the best (in my opinion episodes two, six, and nine) have very little to no involvement by the main cast.
The last problem isn’t as major but could turn a lot of people off from this series. While I don’t mind series that stray a bit from what their franchise is mostly known for, Neo Ultra Q has almost nothing in common with the Ultra series at all. There’s very few giant monsters (most are just slightly bigger than human-sized), next to no destruction, and the series almost completely relies on morality tales and comedy. While I know that most series in this franchise have at least a few largely comedic episodes (as well as a few focused more on sending a message than destroying things), Neo Ultra Q is almost exclusively made up of those types of episodes. Again, I don’t mind franchises trying something new but it also means that if it doesn’t work out (which in this case is mostly true) it can also turn off its main fan base as well. If you only watch these shows for the giant monsters and the destruction they cause, you probably won’t be very impressed with this series. I definitely don’t see many kids liking it at all since they won’t have much if any interest in the stories being told.
While I am not a big fan of this series, Mill Creek has done a pretty good job with this release. Visually, Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series looks good to great. However, the show does use a very black and white-based color scheme similar to its predecessor which doesn’t necessarily demand a high-definition viewing experience. The picture quality is quite clear though and I don’t see there being a lot of complaints visually with this release. On the audio side, Mill Creek has always put these Ultra franchise releases out with just a subtitle option for non-Japanese speakers (dubbing has never been included). Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series is no different in this area so you will need to read subtitles if you don’t speak Japanese. No extras are included on this release outside of a digital code for Mill Creek’s movieSPREE streaming service. Also, while it shouldn’t be a surprise as Mill Creek hasn’t done this for any of the newer Ultra series releases (just the classic ones), Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series is only available via basic Blu-ray packaging (not the amazing looking SteelBook Blu-ray releases the older ones get).
While I have mostly written about the things I didn’t like with this series (or thought could be better), Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series is still watchable, just by far the most boring of the Ultra series I’ve seen so far. On the positive side, some of these stories do have interesting messages and a few are actually funny. It’s also a surprisingly chill show for a franchise mostly about giant monsters fighting one another (though it also moves from chill to boring rather frequently as well). I would say if you are one of the few people who tune into the various Ultra franchise shows for the episodes that prioritize the storytelling or humor, you might actually like this show. Otherwise, if you’re like me and mostly just like seeing destruction and monsters fighting each other there’s a good chance that Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series will be boring to you. Personally, I found this to be the worst Ultra series I’ve seen so far though I would still give it a mediocre 2.5/5 anyway. It’s not that the show is horrendous or something to avoid at all costs, I just found it too dull for my tastes. I definitely prefer the original Ultra Q series and would recommend that show over this.
Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series was released on Blu-ray on August 11, 2020.
Buy Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series on Amazon: Blu-ray
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of Neo Ultra Q: The Complete Series used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.