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Evangelion creator’s next project is a new take on Ultraman

Shin Ultraman will hit theaters in 2021

Eight Ultraman characters pose for a photo at the opening ceremony during the 27th Tokyo International Film Festival Ken Ishii/Getty Images
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno will re-imagine Ultraman, the iconic, 54-year-old tokusatsu superhero who has appeared in hundreds of Japanese movies, television shows, and video games, in a new movie called Shin Ultraman, which translates to New Ultraman.

Shin Ultraman will hit movie theaters in Japan in 2021, according to an announcement from animation studio Khara, production company Toho, and special effects studio Tsuburaya Productions, longtime producer of the Ultra Series, which includes Ultraman.

Anno is producing and writing the screenplay for Shin Ultraman, and will “fully join the project” after completing work on Evangelion: 3.0+1.0, the next film in the Neon Genesis Evangelion franchise. Shinji Higuchi will direct Shin Ultraman.

Anno is a longtime fan of Ultraman. In 1983, he directed and starred in a fan-made episode called “Return of Ultraman,” which you can watch on YouTube.

The studios involved in Shin Ultraman offered little detail on the project, including whether it would be animated, live action, or a combination of the two. But based on the title alone, Shin Ultraman sounds like it will offer fans of tokusatsu superhero action an original take on the character, just as Anno did with 2016’s Shin Godzilla (aka Godzilla Resurgence). That film was written by Anno, and co-directed by him and Higuchi. Shin Godzilla was as much of a biting satire of Japanese politics and bureaucracy as it was an engrossing kaiju movie.