Batman 1966 versus Ultraman 1966.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) I’ve fallen into a Tubi old shows rabbit hole and only recently got out of it due to this Vietnam docuseries in the background. However, I’ve taken many a note on the 1966 Batman series—the one many of us know—and the mostly unknown in the West debut of the Ultraman character in 1966.

I say “mostly unknown in the West” because while some of us watched the first Ultraman and perhaps even Ultra Q from a year earlier, many in my generation had most likely seen Ultra Seven on TBS MonsterVision in the 1990s. It was also the same TV block I discovered Godzilla. These two series were very popular superhero shows in their native countries but which one was better? Which one was more of a superhero series? And which one was simply the bigger show?

Batman 1966 versus Ultraman 1966.

The Bigger Show: Ultraman

While the Ultra franchise is one of the longest-running, beloved series in Japan, the 1966 Batman series had more seasons and more time to grow among the fans. However, it has never been taken seriously here. It was watched regularly by kids at the time and it was in syndication for decades but it didn’t kick a franchise or anything. Once Batman was over, that was it. The original comic kept Batman as an American media institution and allowed for more TV series, cartoons and films to be done.

Ultraman had similar popularity and truly launched a franchise. Yes, Ultra Q was there but that was like X-Files/Star Trek/Twilight Zone mixed together. Ultraman was like Superman mixed with Godzilla. Both mixes made for interesting shows but UM is just the better one and on this front, it has the 1966 Batman beat.

The Better Superhero Approach: Ultraman

Both series had similar target demographics of kids and youngsters but the action approach of UM simply works, folks. That isn’t to say Batman was without action or that Ultraman was without comedy but both series had them in different amounts. For my viewing time, the more action-oriented approach will always get the nod from me.

The execution was simple for both series too. This was the late 1960s and neither series was written by Rod Serling or the team behind Perry Mason, so the writing wasn’t going to be too involved. These were monster/rogue of the episode shows. You didn’t have to remember any specifics of any episode since most didn’t play off of previous episodes and there were few multi-part storylines.

With that said, there was some Ultraman lore-building in the Tsuburaya Production show. That adds some to well-structured episodes and wanting to tune in. Batman didn’t necessarily need the lore-building since the series carried on as if everyone knew Batman’s villains. If you didn’t, you’d find out by the end.

Of course this could be down to the network and productions studio’s investment in the series as Ultraman was working with special effects—and good ones for that time

The Better Villains: Batman

There’s a saying about Batman that his villains are more interesting than him. Honestly, I find this to be true. This is an easy win for Batman. Again, there’s a monster if the week, episodic approach to Batman but when you knew what Bats rogues to expect and everyone played the characters well—eh, it’s a worthwhile watch.

Meanwhile, UM had constantly invading aliens for him to spank and few of them were of note.

The Overall Better Show: Ultraman

I’m giving it to Ultraman, this show was good and still holds up. Yeah the special effects and costumes look dated by 2024 standards but those special effects and the cinematography is better. It feels like a superhero show I’d turn into weekly like Power Rangers or Masked Rider. Even in elementary school there was feeling of “This is corny” with Batman and not “This is cool.”

Of course, I watched it to get to the syndicated episodes of Star Trek on local TV. I will say that, Batman was a nice lead-in. UM has me moving through all of the Ultraman shows in order even though they could be watched independently of each other up until a point.

If you’re unfamiliar with both and dig some retro TV shows, you can catch both on Tubi for free! For those familiar with both series: which did you prefer?

Staff Writer; James Swift, Jr.

Gaming since 1989 and headbanging since 1999, James enjoys comics, RPGs, wrestling, and all things old school and retro. Check out his writing here AfroGamers and The Black Rock and Heavy Metal. You can also find him on Twitter at; metalswift and soon on Kick where he will stream mobile titles.

One can also contact this brother at; JSwift@ThyBlackMan.com.