Skip to main content

How to watch Ultraman in chronological and release order as the new movie debuts on Netflix

How to watch every Ultraman series in order

Ultraman: Rising
Image credit: Netflix Animation/Tsuburaya Productions

Popverse's top stories of the day

Ultraman looms large over Japanese pop culture, literally and figuratively. The 1966 TV series Ultraman introduced enraptured viewers to a half-human, half-alien superhero who grows to enormous size to fight monsters. Since then, the franchise has inspired over 30 TV series, not to mention movies, specials, video games, and metric tons of merchandise. With a new animated movie called Ultraman: Rising now on Netflix, this is a perfect time to get acquainted with the heroes of Nebula M78.

Tecnically, the Ultraman universe began with Ultra Q, a black-and-white X-Files-like series about paranormal investigations. Co-creator Eiji Tsuburaya had been the special effects director on Godzilla, and the network encouraged him to focus on plots about kaiju (giant monsters) to take advantage of the ongoing popularity of the Godzilla movies. Tsuburaya quickly followed Ultra Q with Ultraman, a superhero show designed as a showcase for monster battles. It was the first tokusatsu (special effects) show shot in color.

Since then, each season-long Ultraman series has followed a similar formula. A human merges with an Ultra being from the Land of Light in Nebula M78 and protects humanity from monsters, aliens, and other threats. This hero works alongside a scientific or military team with a catchy acronym name, like GUTS (Global Unlimited Task Squad) or TAC (Terrible Monster Attacking Crew). Other common elements include the Color Timer, a warning light on an Ultra’s chest that turns red when his power runs low, and the Ultra Beam he fires at enemies.

It can be intimidating to dive in to a franchise this expansive. Fortunately, although the recent installments are often nostalgia-driven and filled with callbacks to previous characters and monsters, each series is designed to stand on its own. It’s a fun watch from the very beginning, so newcomers can either jump on board with the original Ultraman (or even Ultra Q) or try one of the new series and work backwards.

Every Ultraman series in release order

Still image from original Ultraman show featuring Ultraman fighting a kaiju
Image credit: Tsuburaya Productions

The Ultraman franchise has been around so long it spans the reigns of three Japanese emperors. The series are thus often grouped into imperial eras.

Showa Era

Heisei Era

Reiwa Era

Netflix era

  • Ultraman: Rising (2024)

Every Ultraman series in chronological order

Still image from Ultraman
Image credit: Tsuburaya Productions

It’s tricky to create a definitive Ultraman timeline. Return of Ultraman established that all the series share a universe, and characters often cross over from one series to another. But some events only happen in certain series. It’s generally accepted by fans that there are several Ultraman timelines, all branching off from the Showa Era series. Some series take place in the present day (albeit a version of the present day that has lots of spaceships and sci-fi rays), others thousands of years in the future.

Main Timeline

  • Ultra Q (1966)
  • Ultraman (1966-1967)
  • Ultraseven (1967-1968)
  • Return of Ultraman (1971-1972)
  • Ultraman Ace (1972-1973)
  • Ultraman Taro (1973-1974)
  • Ultraman Leo (1974-1975)
  • Ultraman 80 (1980-1981)
  • Ultraman Cosmos (2001-2002)
  • Ultraman Nexus (2004-2005)
  • Ultraman Max (2005-2006)
  • Ultraman Mebius (2006-2007)
  • Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle (2007-2008)
  • Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle: Never Ending Odyssey (2008-2009)
  • Ultraman Z (2020)

Tiga and Dyna Timeline

In this timeline, Ultras are beings of light and the arrival of aliens and monsters is foretold by prophesies from an ancient civilization that faced them in the past.
  • Ultraman Tiga (1996-1997)
  • Ultraman Dyna (1997-1998)

Ginga Timeline

The key event in this timeline is the Dark Spark War, a galactic conflict during which Ultras and monsters are transformed into figures called Spark Dolls and scattered throughout the universe.
  • Ultraman Ginga (2013)
  • Ultraman Ginga S (2014)

Series set in individual timelines

  • The*Ultraman (anime series) (1979-1980)
  • Ultraman Gaia (1998-1999)
  • Ultraman Neos (2001-2001)
  • Ultraseven X (2007)
  • Ultraman X (2015)
  • Ultraman Orb (2016)
  • Ultraman Geed (2017)
  • Ultraman R/B (2018)
  • Ultraman Taiga (2019): Branches off from Ultraman Taro and features Taro’s son.
  • Ultraman (anime series) (2019)
  • Ultraman Trigger: New Generation Tiga (2021-2022): A modernized retelling of Ultraman Tiga.
  • Ultraman Blazar (2023)
  • Ultraman: Rising (2024)

Where do I watch Ultraman?

Still image from animated Ultraman show
Image credit: Netflix

The easiest place to access most of the Ultraman shows and movies is through Shout! Factory TV, which you can also access via Amazon. Shout! Factory TV's Ultraman library includes more than 1100 episodes of TV and over 20 movies. Series not in the Shout! Factor TV library are mostly available on DVD, and the current Netflix Ultraman movie and series is available to stream on Netflix.

Who are the monsters to look out for?

Still image featuring a kaiji from Ultraman
Image credit: Tsuburaya Productions

Every Ultraman series introduces new kaiju, but some are iconic and show up again and again. Watch for Alien Baltan, a race of crawfish-like aliens who have attacked the Earth numerous times. Ultraman Ace introduced another hostile alien race, the Yapool, who create monsters called Chojuh. More conventional, Godzilla-style monsters that became fan favorites include the aggressive Red King and the horn-headed Gomora. Ultraman hasn’t canonically taken on Godzilla himself, but he did fight Jirahs, a monster created from old Godzilla movie costumes. In the category of friendly monsters, we have Pigmon, a creature from the Monster Anarchy Zone who becomes an ally to Ultraman and humanity.

What about Ultraman movies?

Promotional poster for Ultra Galaxy the Movie
Image credit: Tsuburaya Productions

In Japan, it’s common for kid-friendly properties to generate long-running movie series, sometimes with a new theatrical movie coming out every year (often to coincide with school vacations.) To date there have been over 40 Ultraman movies. Almost all are designed as stand-alone adventures and can be enjoyed in any order. Good starter movies include Netflix's Ultraman Rising (2024), the more adult-oriented Ultraman the Next (2004), and the big-budget Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legends (2009).

Are there Ultraman manga and anime?

Poster for Ultraman anime
Image credit: Tsuburaya Productions

Fewer than you’d think! The 1979 animated series The*Ultraman is a space-set action series that will feel familiar to anyone who’s watched science fiction anime of the era like Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) or Mobile Suit Gundam. The 2019 CG animated series Ultraman, available on Netflix, is adapted from a 2011 manga by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi.

The upcoming 2024 film, produced by Tsuburaya Productions and Netflix and directed by Coraline animator Shannon Tindle, will be another rare animated outing. What little has been revealed so far suggests a stylized, Spider-Verse-influenced look and a mixture of Japanese and Western influence. But no matter what the era, Ultraman always has room to grow.

Watch on YouTube

Demon Slayer: Where and how to watch all of the hit anime series and movies in order

Featured events