Who Is Kenji Sato? 4 Things to Know About Ultraman Rising Hero

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Posted:
Kenji Sato, Ultraman, Ultraman Rising logo

Kenji Sato's introduction as the new Ultraman in Netflix's Ultraman: Rising pays homage to the ones before him while also making his stamp on the lore. 

Ultraman: Rising is a story about fatherhood revolving around two generations of Ultraman: Professor Sato (the past hero) and his son, Kenji (the present-day champion). 

Much of the story revolves around Kenji navigating the ups and downs of being a hero while also dealing with a baby kaiju. 

Ultraman: Rising premiered on Netflix on June 14.

4 Things To Know About Ultraman: Rising’s Kenji Sato

Kenji Sato in Ultraman: Rising
Kenji Sato

Kenji Sato Isn't the Original Ultraman

Kenji Sato is an original character created for Ultraman: Rising, meaning he is not the original Ultraman. 

Numerous human hosts have played the alien superhero in past TV shows; the original is Science Special Search Party (SSSP) agent Shin Hayata. 

Shin Hayata (played by Susumu Kurobe in the original TV series in 1966) became Ultraman's host after being involved in a crash at Lake Ryumagori. 

Ultraman chose Hayata as his host after feeling guilty of mortally wounding a good-hearted man like him. Together, they protected Earth from various enemies, such as Bemular and Zetton.

Kenji's Origin Story Differs Heavily in Ultraman Rising

In Ultraman: Rising, Kenji Sato is a baseball player who assumes the role of Ultraman after his father can no longer serve as the powerful hero. 

Kenji also has to deal with juggling his responsibilities in baseball with those of a young bachelor looking for love. However, the sudden appearance of an adorable kaiju baby turns his life around, and he decides to adopt him. 

Other Ultraman protagonists have different origin stories, such as Shin Hiyata's accident-turned-heroic transformation in the original TV series and alien-centered storylines. 

Kenji Uses All the Classic Ultraman Powers

While Kenji Sato has a different origin story, the character still uses all of Ultraman's classic abilities. 

In the movie, Kenji (as Ultraman) utilizes the Specium Ray, Ultra Slash, and the ability to grow to the size of a kaiju during battle.

The Special Ray is a powerful beam of light that Ultraman uses to incapacitate his opponents during battle. The average Specium Ray has a destructive power of 500,000 horsepower and usually destroys its enemies with one shot.

Ultra Slash is an ability used by Ultraman where he forms a Buzzsaw-type disc to slice his opponents.  

Kenji's Superhero Design is Inspired by Evangelion

Ultraman: Rising director Shannon Tindle revealed in a post from X (formerly Twitter) in May 2024 that Ultraman's superhero design in the animated series is inspired by Evangelion, particularly the Evas: 

"I really love the elongated firms present in Leiji Matsumoto’s work as well as the Evas in Evangelion. Also, as I’m not bound by a guy in a suit, why not push the proportions."

Aside from its Evangelion roots, Kenji's version of Ultraman also has a classic design that pays homage to previous versions of the hero. 

On X, Tindle shared that he loves the character's original design and went with his gut in choosing the hero's color scheme:

"Although Ultraman is massive across certain parts of the world, he's still considered to be in a niche in the West. But, I love the classic design, and I feel that even if folks haven't seen the show, they may recognize red and silver. Blue eyes just felt right, and often, I go with my gut."

Tindle added, "It was important that we give a tip of the hat to the suits, especially the signature zipper/'dorsal fin.'"

Ultraman: Rising is streaming on Netflix.

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- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.