FIRST APPEARS IN:
Ultraman, Episode 28: Human Specimens 5 & 6
– face-changing abilities
– fashionable haircut, despite receding hairline
– a semi-psychedelic, body-hugging one piece
– big, beautiful lips
– changing size
– sexual ambiguity
– operating a micronizer gun
– testing human specimens
– feeling up Ultraman
A few years back when visiting Tokyo, before I’d watched any episodes of the original Ultraman series, I came across some sort of strange stacking game made up of tiny Dada figurines. Strangely enough, seeing that androgynous, fat-lipped face multiple times over was one of the main factors in making me want to watch Ultraman.
Dada was everywhere in Tokyo during that trip, so I figured he was a popular reoccurring character in the series. He wasn’t. He appears only once in the original series. And he’s not even a “he”, but a “them”. Dada is not one character, but instead a race of mouthy foes. In later appearances, Dada can also change his/their face[s]. To make matters even more confusing, according to the Ultraman Wiki, “in the Tsuburaya Production Company commercials, Dada A [one of the three Dada faces] is usually depicted as a love interest for Ultraman.” Yikes! For the purposes of this article and my sanity, I’ll continue to refer to Dada as “he”.
The episode Dada appears in, “Human Specimens 5 & 6”, is somewhat of a letdown. While watchable with some great moments, it doesn’t hold a candle to the best of the series. Rather, it sits only slightly above mediocrity. One of the more appealing aspects of the episode is the Dada design. Each Dada face is creepy in its own special way, and his presence gives the episode an unsettling quality. There’s something not quite right about Dada. In the final battle, I almost expect him to start molesting Ultraman rather than face-punching him.
I’m not sure why Dada merchandise was all over the place during my first visit to Tokyo. It must have been a brief revival, because returning two years later, he had all but disappeared. Either way, Dada is a welcome change from the Ultraman kaijū norm, in both his design and his characterisation. Rather than a typically mindless monster, Dada is in company of Ultraman‘s more intelligent troublemakers.