Netflix’s Ultraman Season 3 release date is confirmed for 2023. The release schedule could even be likened to Voltron, but will Ultraman 3 also be the ending of the story?
It’s uncertain whether the TV series will continue adapting the story of the ongoing manga series by the same name since the third season is officially listed as Ultraman Final Season. The initial announcement even specifically states that the “finale [is] coming in 2023” and highlights Ultraman in dire circumstances.
“Cracked suit. The sound of the color timer blinking,” the Netflix announcement said on April 18, 2022. “The first Ultraman aired in 1966. The direction is reminiscent of the final episode.”
The Ultraman anime TV series is being produced by Japanese animation Studios Production I.G. and Sola Digital Arts. Production I.G. is best known for making TV shows such as Psycho-Pass, Ghost In The Shell, and the volleyball anime Haikyuu!! (see our article on Haikyuu!! Season 5), but in recent times they’ve also released Ghost In The Shell SAC_2045 Season 2, Moriarty the Patriot, and Fena: Pirate Princess.
Sola Digital Arts provided the 3D animation for Appleseed Alpha, Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars, Blade Runner: Black Lotus, and the Ghost In The Shell SAC_2045 anime.
Ultraman Director Kenji Kamiyama is known for directing Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Eden of the East, and other popular anime. Second director Shinji Aramaki has directed Appleseed and Blade Runner but he’s also known for his mechanical designs in a variety of anime including Batman Ninja and Halo Legends.
The Ultraman Season 3 OP (opening) and ED (ending) theme song music hasn’t been announced yet.
For the second season, the Ultraman Season 2 OP “3” was performed by NOILION, while the ED “Transcending Time” was performed by Void_Chords (Ryo Takahashi).
The first season of the Ultraman anime series had 13 episodes and it was released on April 1, 2019. Ultraman 2 had only 6 episodes when it was released on April 14, 2022.
- Updated April 18, 2022: Ultraman Season 3 trailer confirms the final season!
This article provides everything that is known about Netflix’s Ultraman Season 3 (Ultraman Final Season) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.
Ultraman Final Season an anime original ending?
The initial announcement of Ultraman Final was somewhat surprising since it directly stated that Ultraman Season 3 will be the finale of the story. The issue is that the Ultraman manga’s ending is nowhere in sight since the story is still ongoing by introducing new characters and plot complications.
Does this mean Ultraman Final will pull an Attack On Titan: The Final Season and only really end by finally having a final finale Final Edition? (We jest, but that’s really how the 2023 Attack On Titan Season 4 Part 3 release date was announced on Twitter.)
After all, ending the Ultraman anime so quickly doesn’t make too much sense since the Ultraman Marie suit was only recently introduced in the Ultraman manga. Ultraman Volume 18 just came out in 2022. The pages of Ultraman Volume 16: Chapter 102 even flat out states, “This is the beginning of a new age,” not the beginning of the end.
At the same time, ending with Ultraman Final was probably the plan for the anime ever since the second season began production. The reason is that the Ultraman 2 anime diverged almost completely from the manga’s story by introducing Ultraman Taro Suit early and changing much of the main plot (see the manga comparison section below for the details).
As such, it would not be completely surprising if Ultraman Season 3 is ending the Netflix anime TV show with an anime original ending.
Why the Ultraman 3 release date is a quick turnaround
As of the last update, Netflix, Production I.G., or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the Ultraman Season 3 release date. However, it’s been confirmed that the Ultraman 3 sequel is coming out in 2023.
Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information.
In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when the Ultraman 3 release date will occur in the future.
Netflix has a history of its anime exclusives being renewed even when they’re not topping the global charts. For example, Netflix’s Record of Ragnarok Season 2, ARCANE Season 2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stone Ocean Part 2, EDENS ZERO Season 2, BEASTARS Season 3, Baki Hanma Season 2, Komi Can’t Communicate Season 2, and Kengan Ashura Season 2 (Kengan Ashura Part 3) were all confirmed in production (relatively) soon after their respective previous seasons were released.
But it’s not like being a Netflix anime exclusive signifies an automatic renewal. Netflix’s Yasuke Season 2, Netflix’s High-Rise Invasion Season 2, Netflix’s Drifting Dragons Season 2, Netflix’s The Idhun Chronicles Season 3, and Netflix’s 7 SEEDS Season 3 were never announced even though several of these TV shows were based on finished stories from books or Japanese manga series.
Back in 2019 when Ultraman 2 was initially announced the elephant in the room was the lack of source material from the manga. Unfortunately, manga artist Tomohiro Shimoguchi has been suffering from health problems in recent years. The monthly manga even went on hiatus earlier in 2019 for a time, which caused recent manga volumes to be significantly delayed.
Assuming that the creator’s health did not delay the manga too much, Anime Geek had predicted back in 2019 that by the end of 2020 there would barely be enough new chapters created for the anime TV show to be continued. Fast-forward to April 2022 and that prediction turned out to be right on the mark since manga Chapter 100 was released in Volume 16 in December 2020.
Thankfully, there was no reason why Netflix can’t have Ultraman Season 3 renewed quickly in 2022. Yes, the lack of manga source material is still a reoccurring problem, but since the second season was only 6 episodes Anime Geek predicted that the plan was to break up the currently available manga story arcs into shorter seasons. (As previously noted, it’s also possible that Ultraman Final could diverge completely from the next major story arc.)
If anything, that plan would be similar to the release schedule for the Voltron animated series, which purposefully released shorter seasons in order to reduce the wait time between story arcs since Netflix releases all of the episodes at once for binge-watching. As such, Ultraman 3 could also be likened to a split-cour for the second season.
What’s a “cour,” you might ask? For those unfamiliar with the lingo, a “cour” is a three-month block of Japanese TV broadcasting based on the physical seasons that’s usually composed of 10 to 13 episodes.
A “split-cour” is where a single anime season takes a multi-month break before resuming TV broadcasting.
Therefore, it’s predicted that the Ultraman Season 3 release date will be in Winter 2023 at the earliest. Based on the story pacing of the manga, it’s likely to be around 8 episodes in total, although that depends on how closely the anime adaptation follows the source material or if Ultraman Final ignores the manga completely.
Ultraman manga compared to the anime’s second season
Creating a story for Ultraman Season 3 is not a problem at all. The story for the 2019 Ultraman anime was based on the Ultraman manga series by writer Eiichi Shimizu and illustrator Tomohiro Shimoguchi.
That team is known for the mecha manga Linebarrels of Iron, which also received a good anime adaptation.
Serialized in Shogakukan’s Monthly Hero magazine since October 2011, the series switched to Comiplex magazine in November 2020. The monthly manga is up to Ultraman Volume 18 as of April 5, 2022. The story is still ongoing and the Ultraman manga’s ending is nowhere in sight.
The official English translation of the Ultraman manga is being released in North America by VIZ Media. Launched in February 2015, the English version was up to Volume 16 as of January 2022, and the Ultraman Volume 17 release date is scheduled for August 16, 2022.
There are fan-made scanlation projects that offer an unofficial English translation. However, most of these projects were voluntarily taken down several years ago due to copyright concerns.
The Ultraman manga subverts the classic tokusatsu story that started with the 1966 Ultraman series. Set up as a direct sequel to the story from the 1966 Ultraman original, the manga (and thus the Netflix anime) pays homage to the classic live-action incarnations with certain references but also throws away the basic concept of a spandex/armor-wearing protagonist that grows to fight giant monsters called Kaiju which are besieging Tokyo.
(For more details on why the manga creators decided to change the tokusatsu concept so drastically, please see our older Ultraman Season 2 anime article. )
When the first season ended, Ultra “brothers” Shinjiro Hayata, Dan Moroboshi, and Seiji Hokuto were finally fighting together after defeating Ace Killer, but Bemular’s end game had yet to be fully revealed, never mind the plans of the Star Cluster Council and Agent Adad. The ending of Ultraman Episode 13 corresponded to manga Chapter 50, which is roughly the halfway point of Volume 8.
First, let’s get one thing out of the way. The Ultraman anime TV show is not faithful to the source material. Even little things were changed from the start, including how the Ultramen needed to put on their suits rather than instantly teleport them (the anime’s teleportation ability was added to the manga in Chapter 97). So manga readers who want to read ahead of the anime should start with Chapter 15 to read all the skipped content.
Secondly, the anime’s first season adapted the manga with some significant changes, whereas the second season pretty much rewrote the story with an anime original version that only resembled the broad strokes of the manga’s story.
In the first season, most fight scenes were greatly expanded upon, but the core character developments of the story were also greatly changed. Arguably, based on the constraints of the episodic TV format of 13 episodes it’s sometimes necessary to heavily condense manga plot points and dialogue in order to reach a good stopping point in the overall story.
But the changes the anime version made altered characters’ motivations for their actions and even killed off a reoccurring character!
The biggest change was to how the anime depicted Shinjiro struggling with the reality of needing to kill the murderous aliens. The manga’s story was far more nuanced and Shinjiro’s struggle over killing fed into his other fears.
His doubts were not just about killing. Shinjiro feared having power itself, especially the power to take lives. Shinjiro is just a kid who was abruptly thrust into growing up rapidly and he’s terrified at the thought of never being able to go back to being normal again.
The anime’s first season skipped a lot of the manga’s buildup concerning Jack and Red. Besides pointing out the Ultraman-like bracelet, the manga noted how Jack spent time in an institution and it is likely Jack is not his real name. The anime also skipped a bunch of scenes that developed Jack further.
Jack’s boxing buddy Red suffered a worse fate at the hands of the anime. You might remember Red as the alien that Jack beat at boxing when Jack was first introduced. Besides removing all of Red’s speaking lines by changing his appearance to a mute monster, the anime version of Red was also treated as a disposable character to be mercilessly used and discarded as a mere foil for an oddly-implemented morality lesson.
But that’s not how Red was in the manga. In Chapter 22, Edo pays both Jack and Red to cause a fake fight. Jack injects Red with a serum which causes him to become gigantic and grow a tail. Edo’s goal is to force Shinjiro to grow up quickly and embrace becoming Ultraman.
“If he can’t find it in himself to change after we’ve pushed him to the brink then I suppose we’ll have to give up on Ultraman,” Edo muses aloud.
All Shinjiro was told is that they’re both targets for elimination and Jack outright tells Shinjiro he was paid a lot of money by an alien to kill Ultraman. But even Jack becomes concerned when Shinjiro begins losing the fight and Jack yells at Red for going too far.
But Edo’s experiment works. When Shinjiro reaches within himself, he develops the latent ability to fly. Seeing this, Jack quickly stops the fight, and then both Jack and Red meet up at the SSSP headquarters to discuss the murder investigation.
The anime depicted these events differently in Episode 7, with Shinjiro ending up decapitating the rampaging Red. Suddenly, the whole lesson about Shinjiro finding the power to defend people and the willpower to not back out was twisted by the anime into Shinjiro finding a reason to kill, which is fairly disturbing in comparison to the manga’s tale.
Far from being killed off like in the anime, Red continued to be a reoccurring character in the manga. Red eventually gains a translator device that allows him to speak and an imaging device for creating a human disguise. In the manga, Jack and Red even came to the rescue during the battle with the assassin mercenary group the Ace Killer Squad.
Ultraman Season 2 did not retcon this anime-only change. Instead of introducing a similar character to Red in a different way, the scriptwriters simply opted for keeping Red dead.
This was quite the big change since, in the manga, Red and Agent Adad rescued Kitaro from his rampage, not Jack. Red even joined Jack and the others in the fight against the Star of Darkness. After the giant robot Golden Fortress (which first appears in manga Chapter 64) was defeated, Red was in the thick of it defending Shinjiro from an upset mob targeting Ultraman’s son (which also didn’t happen in Ultraman Season 2).
Red would have also played a role in the story arcs that will be adapted by Ultraman Season 3. Considering all the major changes to the second season, it’s likely that the next story arc will also be simplified by the anime adaptation.
The biggest issue is that the manga story arc was dark and gritty, whereas the screenplay for Ultraman 2 depicted only the broader strokes of Ultraman Taro and Jack joining the fight in relation to the threat posed by Alien Pedant. But the new script reduced the characters to caricatures of themselves in comparison to the serious drama of the manga.
This standout change to the entire story started with the murders earlier in the anime’s first season. The murder victims all had bar codes on their necks and that part of the serial killer investigation was ignored by the anime. These missing details led to skipped scenes which were necessary for setting up the plot of Ultraman Season 2 once Edo confronted the Star Cluster Council and directly asked them if they recognized the bar code.
The investigation of the human body parts trafficking network led to Bemular making more frequent contact with Ren’s father. The anime’s first season even skipped the revelation by the mysterious lizard alien that the clandestine invasion of Earth was already underway and yet humanity didn’t even realize they were under attack. (That scene was essentially pushed back to the ending of Ultraman Season 2 Episode 6.)
While the first season failed to build up this overarching story, the second season could have quickly put the anime back on track by summarizing the pertinent details by having Rena’s father discover the human body parts trafficking operation. The SSSP discovering body parts in the hidden basement at Ace Killer’s house would have naturally led to the SSSP meeting where they would have discussed their suspicions concerning the Star Cluster Council.
As an apparent replacement for the grisly human body parts trafficking, anime audiences instead got the disappearing people conspiracy by alien Princess Maya and her goofy compadres in the maid cafe! Seriously, what were they thinking?!
Princess Maya being an anime original character readily explains why she was killed off so quickly. The character was also apparently a reference to a minor character from the live-action Ultraman Orb.
Similarly, Kitaro’s “girlfriend” Izumi was inserted into the plot only to die. Izumi was essentially a plot device for giving a new reason for Kitaro’s transformation into Ultraman Taro. Originally, the flame-powered superhero had been fighting crime with the help of his American friend Dave, who made his first suit.
Kitaro attracted the attention of the Star of Darkness terrorist group and Kitaro was overwhelmed by drug-powered humans. When an alien executed Dave in cold blood, the enraged Kitaro went on a rampage, which was similar to how the Ultraman Season 2 version of Kitaro reacted to Izumi’s disappearance when he first gained his flame powers.
(And, no, Kitaro was not running around in a nifty Ultraman Taro suit in the manga. Even during the final battle, he was still in his flame form.)
The manga’s plot also largely took place in New York City whereas the anime briefly mentioned the disappearances in NYC only to quickly shift everything back to Japan. This meant the anime skipped how Red tracked down Jack to the United States and learned that Jack had been working with Yapool at the behest of the President of the United States to make his very own Ultraman suit.
(In Ultraman 2, Jack just vaguely stated that other countries were working on Ultraman tech. That meant the anime didn’t introduce the SSSP’s DARPA-based U.S. branch.)
The plotting by the Star of Darkness terrorists was completely different in the manga. Their actual plan involved releasing a drug all over Manhattan island and it was possible even Shinjiro may become infected by the alien drug’s madness.
In the manga, the video announcement by the terrorists was also a shock to Dan Moroboshi since he recognized one of the human-looking people that closely resembled Moroboshi himself. For months, Moroboshi has been suffering from nightmares from his childhood where he remembers a black-haired child being carted off by an alien.
It turned out that Moroboshi is the son of interstellar diplomats that were killed in a terrorist attack. Moroboshi believed this mysterious figure standing near Alien Pendant was his missing twin brother Rei.
The dark revelation about Moroboshi’s brother Rei was quite the shocking plot twist in the manga. When Moroboshi and Rei eventually meet and fight in the manga, Dan calls out his brother’s name and it stopped the other man cold… but not because he was actually the brother.
In reality, the brother had been dead for years as part of the human body trafficking operation and this other man was actually an alien who was wearing Rei’s body. The alien had lost over half his body in a job and he had been “given” Rei’s body as a new one. When Moroboshi learned the truth in manga Chapter 66 and 67, he coldly executed this alien abomination by first slicing off its arm and then its head.
The ending fight was changed in many ways. Alien Pendant’s henchmen proved a tougher challenge. One of the aliens was a quad sword wielder who took on Shinjiro’s father, the original Ultraman, only to be surprise-attacked by the son and blown away by a Specium Ray. The mushroom-like alien that appeared in the anime controlled gravity to crush the prosthetic arm of Ultraman Ace (Seiji Hokuto) rather than shooting spikes. The purple giant confronted Ultraman Jack and Red only for Moroboshi to sneak up and slice the alien in half in a shower of blood.
Despite the greater challenges, Bemular joined the Ultramen much earlier on, which evened the odds. Moroboshi did in fact receive the experimental new weapon like in the anime, but it was so powerful that he literally defeated the Golden Fortress all by himself. There was no complicated scheme involving sneaking into the hangar and Shinjiro or his father never were sidelined by needing rescuing.
The final confrontation with Alien Pendant started with the stereotypical villain monologuing. He revealed that the battle had already been decided and that invading Earth was not the ultimate goal.
“Oh we will end up ruling this planet, but that in itself is not our objective. Our leader’s objective is far more noble!” Alien Pendant exclaimed to the stunned Ultramen.
Pendant reveals that his purpose was only as an agitator. The mind-altering biological weapon was a lie intended to expose human nature to the Star Cluster Council. Pendant was to convince other alien immigrants to Earth that humans are foolish and he always intended on this battle ending with Ultraman killing him.
Following that revelation, Pendant dumped handfuls of lethal drugs into his mouth and transformed into a giant beast that somewhat resembled Doomsday from Superman, except bigger.
“Well then, make sure my death is glorious!” Pendant exclaimed before proceeding to force Ultraman to kill him with a Specium Ray. This mutated form of Pendant shoots powerful beams from its mouth that destroyed NYC skyscrapers.
As you can easily surmise by now, Ultraman Season 2 2 did not hold a candle to the manga’s story. The campy anime rendition may have given Ultraman Taro the limelight, but it did so at the cost of sidelining the main character and making everything else seem corny by comparison.
On the positive side, the anime’s first season did a better job than the manga of building up Shinjiro’s girlfriend, Rena. The problem is that the second season limited their relationship down to a goofy dance where Rena knows his secret but is content to tease him until he finally admits the truth.
The first season added extra scenes with personal interaction between Shinjiro and pop star Rena before she suddenly decided to show up at the Giant of Light museum. Rena’s extra backstory involving the death of her mother and thus her reason for being upset with Ultraman during the concert added extra depth to the character beyond just being a potential future diva girlfriend.
More importantly, the anime heightened the action by adding the scene where the concert ceiling is destroyed and Shinjiro must choose between saving the audience or saving Rena. This extra tension greatly increased the impact of the concert episode while acting as a substitute for the reason why Rena was interested in meeting Ultraman in person.
One huge plot change occurred when Shinjiro was with Rena and needed to rescue the men falling from a building maintenance lift. The anime specifically highlighted how Shinjiro forgot his phone when going to call Ultraman, which led to her realizing he was Ultraman.
Shinjiro never forgot his phone in the manga, although manga Rena does have her suspicions. Knowing that Shinjiro is definitely Ultraman in the anime does change their entire relationship. As such, Ultraman Season 3 seems unlikely to follow the Rena story elements too closely.
All in all, as predicted the ending of the second season’s finale, Ultraman Season 2 Episode 6, corresponded to the ending of Volume 11: Chapter 70.
Although the adaptation pacing was roughly 3.33 chapters adapted per episode, and most of the later chapters were action sequences, the anime’s second season did not even attempt to follow the source material more closely.
With only 6 episodes to work with, Chapter 70 is the perfect stopping point since the Golden Fortress fight and the ultimate showdown with the forces of the Star of Darkness
in New York City makes for a great climax. The big moment when all 6 heroes finally come together, which happened in Chapter 65, was the highlight of the Ultraman 2 trailer.
One thing the anime definitely got right was that the supposed boss Pendant reveals he’s just a distraction from the real leader’s objective and that he was intended to be killed by Ultraman… with the help of Bemular! And now anime audiences have received hints that Bemular was once the Ultraman that Shinjiro’s father was attuned to in the past.
The good news is that there is plenty of source material for making Ultraman Season 3, but only if it’s yet again a short season. Assuming that the third season is not an anime original ending it’ll adapt another 30 chapters and finish with Volume 16. Thus, Ultraman Final will need around 6 to 8 episodes to maintain a good adaptation pacing assuming the anime loosely follows the manga again.
The bad news is that the third season will likely almost catch up with the manga. That means the wait for Ultraman Season 4 could be several years… and only if Ultraman Final really isn’t final.
Ultraman Season 3 anime TV spoilers (plot summary/synopsis)
Note: These spoilers assume that Ultraman 3 will pick up the story in the final pages of Chapter 70. However, Ultraman Final might be an anime original ending that does not adapt the manga series any further.
The battle against the Star of Darkness in New York City ends in a blinding flash of Spacium rays. While things return to normal for the SSSP, in the aftermath, Adad betrays the Star Cluster Council and flees to Hong Kong.
Now, two assassins known as the Leo Brothers have been sent by the Star Cluster Council to hunt him down. The Star Cluster Council now seems to view the Ultra race and their enormous powers as a potential threat to the universe, which ends in Shinjiro and Red joining Moroboshi and Adad to face off in this battle of unleashed beasts.
After several revelations come to light, Shinjiro must now struggle with a singular question: is Ultraman actually good or evil?
Unfortunately, anime fans will have to wait until the Ultraman Season 3 release date to watch what happens next. Stay tuned!