The posters and flyers for ULTRAMAN FESTIVAL (ウルトラマンフェスティバル) 2006 are already out! That only increased our heart rate and excitement. The posters are gorgeous. I am sure there are those going for the ULFES pilgrimage will be able to make those posters disappear from the walls… Another five more months, we’re all going to be at ULFES. I’ve already gotten my leave approved for the trip. YAY!! This will be my third time going to ULFES, in three consecutive years. I didn’t expect that the innocuous holiday three years ago would have such an impact on my life. Then, the trip to Tokyo in 2004 was for my ex-girlfriend and I to spend some couple time together so that we could bring the relationship back on track. However in Japan, I fell in love again with another MAN.
The trip to ULFES 2004 had re-ignited my passion for Ultraman. I’d always been associated with Ultraman from a young age. In school, up till Junior College and even in the Army, people would reserve the nick “Ultraman” for me. However, it was during the university years when my interest in Ultraman fell by the wayside – there were alot of exciting things to do in university such as trying to impress girls. The casual visit to ULFES 2004 more than rectified the neglect. I became a born-again Ultraman fan.
ULTRAMAN FESTIVAL 2004
ULFES is usually held at a convention hall in Sunshine City, a megamall located near the Ikebukuro train station. A statue of Ultraman will be placed usually at the foot of the steps that led up to the event venue.
Ultraman Noa and Zer0 the Hero
I wasn’t quite prepared to be greeted by an almost life-sized figure of Ultraman, and was fascinated. In 2004, Tsuburaya Productions was still promoting the N-Project campaign thus Ultraman Noa’s statue was erected there.
Check out Noa’s Ultra-butt, ‘yo
After going up the long flight of steps, at the top is the hallowed grounds…
Was happy like bird when I got the entrance tickets and activity guide book for the festival.
THE HALLOWED GROUNDS
Posing in front of Ultraman Cosmos
Ultraman Cosmos giving me a pat on the head
Its like a temple within – lots of dioramas of Ultraman and Kaiju – and also the three dimensional reconstruction of the tales of Ultraman battling destructive kaijus to bring peace to the galaxies.
The Lost Temple of Ultras
There’s also exhibits of the props and costumes used for the (then) on-going ULTRAMAN NEXUS series.
Night Raider gear and Ultraman Nexus
There’s also a stage area for live performances.
Ultraseven Teaching Kids Aerobics
Next to the Happy Stage is the Livestage theatre – the Ultraman live action theatre!! I managed to catch part 2 of the Ultraman Livestage for ULFES 2004. Part 1 of the two part story ended several days before I arrived in Tokyo.
Ultra Brothers thrashed by Dark Zagi
Ultra Brothers fight (inflatable) Goudes
Nexus vanquishes evil
Nexus kena pasang become the next guardian of the universe
When I was there, the festival organisers managed to preserve the first part of the liveshow on DVD. Here’s the climatic battle scenes from the first liveshow (Point of Interest – Note that Noa fought without his “wings”):
Ultra Brothers fight Dark Zagi
Ultra Brothers fight Goudes and saves the day
After you leave the livestage theatre, you reach the merchandising section> Holding the 1:1 Scale SSSP Super Gun. (ウルトラマン「科学特捜隊」１／１スーパーガン )
I didn’t buy much stuff during my first trip to the ULFES. Firstly, thats because I wasn’t a maniacal collector yet. Besides the exclusive items were already sold out by the time I got there.
Exclusive Items – SOLD OUT!!
So all I got were some Baltan soft vinyl figures. I love Baltan Seijin. They are my favourite aliens.
Baltan seijin soft vinyl + other merchandise
I only saw one ‘live’ Ultraman…and it’s one of the dorkiest Ultraman ever.
Even though I didn’t bring back much in terms of collectibles with me in my luggage, I did bring back a dream. I wanted to start an Ultraman fanclub. And the rest is history.
The following year, I returned to ULFES with the Ultra Posse, all of whom got to know each other through UltramanLAH!
The Ultra Posse
ULFES 2005 Entrance and ticketing area
ULFES 2005 Mural
There was a chio bu ushering the visitors.
Cute Japanese chick sighted
It was the first day of ULFES 2005 and also a weekend, so the convention hall was pretty crowded. As its the 15th Anniversary of Ultraman Festival, it appeared that there’s more exhibits and things to see this time.
ULFES 2005 at a glance
There’s definitely more exhibits…
Galactic Ninjas – Alien Baltan, the Invaders
Z-Ton vs Ultraman
Kawaii Japanese kids
There’s also corners for the kids to run around and play. Afterall, this show was aimed at the kids, not us the older fans.
Unlike the previous year, there are many more ‘live’ Ultraman characters walking around.
We could take pictures with them too.
Meeting Ultraman Tiga
This was a special moment. Ultraman Tiga actually pointed to one of our guys’ club t-shirt and gave us the thumbs up! (But we failed to capture thaat moment on video or camera!!! AARRGGGHHH)
Huddling with Ultraman Cosmos
On our second visit to ULFES on the day of our departure, we met other Ultraman heroes:
With Ultraman Agul
With Ultraman Leo
Ultraman Nice the Dork
We also tried to get friendly with the crew.
I look stupid with the t-shirt tucked in.
The Livestage is just as dazzling.
Livestage new characters – Ultraman Android and Boy DaDa
ULTRA MERCHANDISE SHOPPING
As this time I was with Ultraman fans, we fed off each other’s shopping frenzy. At the festival itself, I forked out about a thousand Singaporean dollars in cold hard cash at the check out counter.
Here’s what I got from ULFES 2005:
For the coming ULFES this summer, we’ve got more people who’re going than the year before. And some of those who’re going to ULFES come not just from Singapore, but from the States and Taiwan as well. They got to know of this festival through out web forum. Thus, I’m looking forward to going ga-ga over ULTRAMAN together with my fellow Ultra Otakus. haha.
Yes, I was blond for the week when I was in Tokyo last year. It was my blond ambition tour. I had only wanted to add some colours to my otherwise black hair. I had never done colours before so I asked the stylist to do something outrageous for me. I didn’t expect to sit at the salon for about four hours, bleaching my hair and then loading it with ash-green colour. It was torture. But its nevertheless an interesting experience. I thought I would see many blond asians in the uber cool capital of Japan. However, the blond Japanese boys were nowhere to be seen. And I felt very conscious about my hair colour as it sticks out prominently among the crowd.
Then, my spoken Japanese was still rather hopeless. But I managed to chat up one local chick who’s kinda cute. She’s a sales staff at the Tsutaya’s Shibuya branch (the one sitting at the big cross junction near the train station, above Starbucks). She was wrapping up some manga that I got for my Japanese language teacher. While she was busy with the wrappers, I spoke to her in halting Japanese, that the gift was meant for my Japanese teacher. In the end, we switched back into English for the rest of the conversation. I got her email, but that’s about it. Don’t think we ever corresponded even though I’d sent her the picture we took together.
I take after my Dad, don’t I. *wink*