The L12s with L25, L85, and the L22s. This group is not uncommonly splintered off from the rest of Lpod, when they do choose to make an appearance in the Salish Sea, they often spend days at a time foraging the bottom half of San Juan Island and off the banks of the eastern Juan de Fuca. They are very intriguing. This was painted the year that the L22s (the three whales on the far right) exhibited an atypical pattern, where just the three of them (mom L22 “Spirit” and her two big boys L79 “Skana” and L89 “Solstice”) stayed within a relatively small area for days at a time with no other southern resident orcas in the area. The three of them went slowly back and forth, back and forth along the west and south side of San Juan Island. It was concerning to see a pattern like that from just three whales. Days passed, and the three took off in the middle of the night, only to reappear again weeks later with the rest of Lpod, but this time, without L79, who was never seen again.
They are an interesting assemblage of whales, and I lose sleep at night imagining why they choose to associate the way they do. Why does L85 (the last remaining individual of his family) choose to travel with L25 so often? Why do the L22′s hang out with the L12s so much? We will likely never fully understand, and thats what I love <3
From left to right: L25, L85, L41, L77, L119, L113, L94, L89, L22, and L79 (RIP).
I’m in Friday Harbor for Superpod 5 and I went out whale watching tonight and saw L77 Matia breach!! L119 Joy swam right under our boat and did a baby breach but I missed it. Such a gorgeous evening to be with these amazing creatures!
Yes, this is a bit Off Topic but as this year is the 50th Anniversary of Ultraman and I consider Ultraman to be the progenitor of modern tokusatsu TV heroes (including Kamen Rider and my beloved Super Sentai Series) I thought it might be a good time to tell you a bit about the Ultra Series that are currently available on Crunchyroll for streaming in North America.
First. a quick note about other Ultra Series entries available in North America. Shout Factory has put out the pre-Ultraman series Ultra Q and the sequel to Ultraman, Ultraseven in very nice box sets that I highly recommend.I especially recommend Ultraseven as it is my favorite of the Ultra Series bar none.
The original Ultraman series is available as well in a VERY budget edition from Mill Creek for a great price. HOWEVER, there is a huge caveat to these three box sets. Due to a licensing dispute based on a very complicated legal case involving international copyright and a possibly (probably) faked contract, these series were not licensed from Tsuburaya productions in Japan but from a Thai company. This company has the international rights to the first six Ultra Series which means Crunchyroll cannot touch any of them. For the record the first six are; Ultra Q, Ultraman, Ultraseven, Return of Ultraman, Ultraman Ace and Ultraman Taro.
Note: The entire 1996 TV series Ultraman Tiga was released on DVD in the US by 4Kids and Funimation in the early 2000s but those discs as well as two movies are long out of print. They may still be available on the secondhand market though. These WERE licensed from Tsuburaya. There is also a very out of print animated movie called Ultraman II on DVD and VHS tapes of the Japanese/Australian co-production Ultraman Towards the Future.
Crunchyroll has made a deal with Tsuburaya Productions for the streaming rights to several of the later Ultra Series much as they have done with other production companies for the streaming rights to various anime and drama series. The series they have available as of my writing this (September 9, 2016) are:
This series aired originally between 1974 and 1975. It tells the story of Leo, who hails from Nebula L77 (the rest of the original Ultra family hail from Nebula M78). He arrives on earth in the guise of a human named Gen Otori. There, he helps rescue a wounded Ultraseven and joins the monster fighting organization MAC (Monster Attack Crew) headed by Ultraseven’s human guise Dan Moroboshi. Dan becomes Gen’s teacher and while very strict, he mentors the younger hero to fight in his place because his wounds prevent him from ever transforming into Ultraseven again.
Airing originally in 1980 (naturally) Ultraman 80 was the last of the original (Showa) Ultraman series. Ultraman 80 comes to Earth to help guide humanity in the form of school teach Yamato Takeshi. There has not been a monster attack in five years when the series begins but they begin to reappear, drawn back into action by minus energy which is the product of negative human emotions. Yamato joins up with UGM
(Utility Government Members) which is this serie’s version of the Science Patrol but has to keep that secret from his co-workers at school or lose his position. It becomes a balancing act of secrets with him having to hide his alien nature from everyone and his work with UGM from his academic life.
The third part of the Ultraman TV revival of the 1990s (the first two being Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman Dyna) Ultraman Gaia was the last Ultra series to be produced in the 20th Century, airing from 1998 to 1999. It tells the story of
20-year-old Gamu Takayama, a genius scientist who works for a society of young scientists called the Alchemy Stars. During a trip through a Virtual world he encounters Ultraman Gaia and the two merge. Gamu then joins X.I.G. (The eXpanded Interceptive Guards) and helps them battle monsters and threats to the Earth, transforming into Ultraman Gaia to aid them when things get too hairy. This series takes place in a separate universe from any of the other Ultraman series and has no connection to anything that came before.
Ultraman Nexus from 2004 is a much more mature series with a darker tone than any of the previous entries in the franchise. It is the story of the TLT (Terrestrial Liberation Trust) who act a secret, anti-monster united devoted to destroying aliens known as Space Beasts. On his way to reporting for his first day of duty with the TLT, new recruit Komon Kazuki is attacked by a Space Beast and rescued by a silver giant, this is Ultraman Nexus. Unlike previous series, this Ultraman can bond with any human capable of such (they are called Dunamists) and thus does not have one consistent host. This was part of the Ultra N project designed to reinvent the Ultraman concept for a new generation of fans.
This 2005 entry into the Ultraman series took the series back to a more family friendly tone after the darkness of Nexus and made for a much more traditional Ultra series. Touma Kaito is the host of Ultraman Max and a member of DASH (Defense Action Squad Heroes) who helps defend the earth from monsters and aliens. Once more set in a totally separate continuity from the original, it does feature a lot of classic Ultraman foes.
Ultraman Mebius is the 40th Anniversary series and aired in 2006. It returns us back to the original continuity of the Showa era series from the first time since Ultraman 80 and tells the tale of a rookie Ultra warrior named Mebius. Mebius arrives on Earth in the guise of Mirai Hibino where he becomes a member of the Earth Defense organization CREW GUYS. As this series is in the original continuity lots of monsters from past series and even historic Ultra heroes appear.
A more recent series and part of the New Ultraman Chronicles, Ultraman Ginga is a departure from previous series. Airing in 2013, it is set in a world where all of the Ultra monsters and heroes have been reduced to inanimate, tiny figures called Spark Dolls. Only Ultraman Taro seems to have been partially spared this fate as in doll form he can move and talk. A young man who has returned to his small town after being away for years named Hikaru Raido finds an item called the Ginga Spark that allows him to merge with the Spark Dolls, returning them to their full size and life under his command. It also allows him to merge with a mysterious new Ultraman called Ginga, of which Taro has no knowledge of. Guided by Taro, Ginga and Hikaru battle against humans fused with monsters by the Dark Spark and attempt to solve the riddle of who is behind them and the darkness that created the Spark Dolls.
Ultraman Ginga S
This 2014 direct sequel and continuation of Ultraman Ginga begins two years after the events of the previous series. This time Hikaru returns to Japan after wandering in Mexico to join a defense organization called UPG (Ultra Party Guardians) and once more merges with Ginga to defend the Earth from a new invasion. He also meets a new Ultra Hero, Ultraman Victory, who hails from an underground kingdom threatened by both alien activity and the actions of humanity on the surface. At first rivals, the two become allies when the threat grows too much for just one of them to handle.
This 2015 entry in the New Ultraman Chronicles was the first to simulcast on Crunchyroll, airing episodes the same day they were shown on Japanese TV. It begins with a massive solar flare known as the Ultra Flare that awakens Spark Dolls all over the Earth, ushering in a new era of monsters. Daichi Ozora, a member of the defense group Xio, who lost his parents on the night of the Ultra Spark bonds and transforms into Ultraman X. He can use digital cards based on monsters to equip himself with different armors and weapons. Though set in its own continuity, there are several cross-dimensional visits from other Ultra heroes.
This is the 50th Anniversary series and is currently airing on Japanese TV as well as having a new episode every Saturday on Crunchyroll. The main hero of this series, Gai Kurenai, is the human form of Ultraman Orb. Having lost his own form in a cataclysmic battle long ago, he has to borrow the powers of other Ultra Warriors (two at a time) to transform and battle the monsters brought forth by the shadowy and malevolent Jugglus Juggler. Gai aids and is aided by an internet news site for strange and mysterious phenomena run by the SSP (Something Search People).
Well, those are the Ultraman series currently airing on Crunchyroll. If you are a fan of tokusatsu and haven’t given Ultraman a try or are coming back to the series after a long time, I hope this quick list helps you find a series you might be interested in. Thank you for your time.