The following is a list and somewhat explanation, of various tropes and cliches common to the Giant Hero Genre. Do note, that I'm mainly going to be doing this on heroes similar to Ultraman.
Why am I doing this...because I want to, but if you learn something, get an idea that helps you...all the better.
Also, thanks to TV Tropes for some of these.
Fair Warning...the sarcasm and smarm may be strong in this one...
- Transformation Item
- Revived Hero
- It Came from Space
- Giant Monsters...Because
- Because it's 'Magic'...sorry 'Science'
- Size Shifter
- The Organization
- Fun with Acronyms
- Hero Secret Service
- Why even Bother
- The Idiotic Higherups
- Token Love Interests
- Big Bad
- Big Good
- Warning Light
- The Dragon/The Pet
- Evil Counterpart/Doppelganger
- Psychotic Smirk
- Finishing Move
- Multiform Balance
- The Ridiculously Cute Critter
How would our hero stop the evil aliens or monsters if they can't transform...No one cares, but we still want to see him transform and fight.
Nearly every single giant hero has some sort of device which they can use to take on their super persona/form. From wand like devices, to a pair of spectacles, to bracer and bracelets to even...cellphones. True they are the odd few who can transform at will, but then how will the writers be able to put him in force tension...?
Usually a young man, they died doing something heroic, which is often why they are chosen my the Ultra/Giant to be their host, who then promptly revives/fuses with them. They generally don't question it, or seem bothered that they are now sharing a body, nor have any questions about how the rules of life and death seemed to have been trounced...
Without a doubt one of the most common tropes in the Ultra Series.
It Came From Space
Need an opponent for your hero to fight, but can't figure out a sensible origin? Easily fixed, say it comes from space, no one will question it... No, seriously, no ever questions that. There are things in the Ultra Series that make no damn sense, and even saying that it comes from space raises for more questions then are answered. Questions like 'what manner of ecosystem produced that?', or 'even if it came from space...how/why did it evolve to naturally be able to cross the vast void of space...on its own...!?'
This isn't just limited to Kaiju, the hero's/Giant's origin have at times been swept under this rug, as well as items and 'cosmic radiation' that makes no sort of sense... just so happens to rain down from the stars...because...? Because.
Similar to the previous point, but ultimately it's own thing... Now this is not a question of how giant monsters exist...the Cube Square Law clearly means nothing in the name of our entertainment... The question is...why? Why would monsters suddenly appear, and how did they come about?
Often we get Giant Ant Syndrome...which was disproven as impossible in...so...many...ways. In Godzilla 2014 we are given the idea that they are ancient creatures...but when last I checked, Dinos...never got that big. Heck I even gave it a shot with Gammasynthesis and Ultraman Story Manga, explained the Plasma Sun/Spark made both Kaiju and Ultramen when it came on. But usually...no one cares, or bothers to explain that one. Often times monsters are just there because and yes, I know the 'Earth is unbalanced' explanation. No offense to anyone who uses that, because let's be real, it's there for a thematic explanation/exploration as opposed to a literally reason for why monsters exist...but it makes no logical sense when you stop and think about it...still I won't fault anyone for using it.
Monster Of The Week
...I know I don't have to explain this to anyone.
Because it's 'Magic'...sorry 'Science'
Connected to 'it came from space', this trope refers to the powers and abilities of aliens, who have these 'super powers'...because they are aliens...
While that doesn't say much, and yeah, it would make sense if aliens had alien abilities, that's not how it's treated. Usually these abilities are treated as Super Powers, not because of some alternate anatomy...but because they are super powers.
While in Seven, a lot of alien abilities seemed to be the work of science/technology and several aliens showed no obvious superhuman abilities, there are many more who have abilities that really make no sense, other than 'hey they're aliens'. Alien seems to be synonymous with 'magical'
A fine example is this, how some aliens (I'm not even getting started with the hero/Ultra/Giant) can just size change. When compared to their other abilities, one has to wonder why they bother with infiltration. Is the ability unique among some members of the species? Why? Why just them and not everyone else? And a whole boat load of other questions of logic...
While an organization doesn't always have to be in a work of fiction in the Giant Hero Drama, it is almost heresy to not have one in an Ultra Series. That said, they don't all have to be a defense organization/attack team, as SSP has shown in Ultraman Orb, but they do generally serve as secondary main characters.
The most common form of organization seen is the Attack Team/ Defense Organization, whose job it is to protect Earth before the hero shows up. They themselves are part of several tropes.
Fun With Acronyms
From SSSP to...almost every other organization in the series, their common name is often an acronym. The only exception to this rule I can think up is the Ultra Garrison/Guard/Squad (that last one is from the English Dub). Now why is this... mainly because it sounds 'official' and 'professional' and there are some good ones...and some that tell us when they were running out of ideas...(like the uniforms were bad enough, I mean come on 'ZAT'...sigh)
Hero Secret Service
Despite their in-universe purpose of being a fighting force against the likes of Kaiju and Alien Invaders...Attack Teams...mainly are there just to help the hero and/or hold the line until the main character can find a private place to transform...or his plane gets shot down so no one sees his change. (Except the Ultra Garrison, the killcount on those guys!) Which leads me to my next trope.
Why Even Bother
How many times does the Attack Team get shot down, and even if they don't how many kaiju or aliens do they take down...? (Let's ignore the Ultra Garrison, they've basically committed genocide at this point...no seriously they have...)
With most Attack Teams...the fighting often doesn't start until they are all taken down, unless they have some purpose to fulfill in the fight to come. Short of the Ultra Garrison and The Night Raiders from Nexus...how many attack teams have been shown taking down the monster/alien without help? I would say I could wait for you to respond...but since I can't hold my breath that long...
The Idiotic Higher Ups
To be fair, this is generally not the entire organization's upper echelons, but that one warmongering idiot who just so happens to make things worse than they needed to be... Take Plan F, from the Tiga/Dyna series...the plan to take the power of Ultraman and weaponize it...a plan that at every single attempt did nothing but backfired in the faces of the military, starting with Evil Tiga, who inspired the plan that released the Dark Giants and nearly doomed the world (after they averted a prior apocalypse, go figure) and the Terranoid, which was an Ultra with the mind of a robot...who got possessed by aliens due to the lack of a 'heart'/sentience.
In the older shows, you have that one pain in the @ss general who makes things difficult because the main character doesn't fall in line like a mindless drone (there was such a character in Ace, who while not stated, was possibly trying to get him killed for questioning his orders).
In Ginga S, we had that general character who made the Victorium Cannon...because have a huge death ray that can on fire on target on the same planet as you, is such a great idea in terms of collateral damage (#Sarcasm)
What really makes these characters such a pain...is mainly that they outrank the main characters.
Token Love Interest
Let's be honest this is more common than it used to be, in almost every series, there is a female main character, usually on the attack team, that may possibly have an interest in the main character and vice versa...and that ship never sail anywhere... Well Usually. However, the only instance I can think when it went somewhere is after the series...long after the series.
This is why I say 'Token', the story would've hardly changed if they weren't there or were simply someone else, that, and the fact that it's often the token female character...
The Big Bad is just that, it's not a simple villain, or antagonist, it's the Big Bad. When they are gone, the series is over. Basically your Dark Overlord, type of role, the one sitting in the background secretly most if not all the problems in the series.
Sometimes the Big Bad is just that last Kaiju, made extra powerful for the series finale.
We all know this type, that powerful, distant figure, who seems omnipotent, omniscient...and mainly does nothing but hand out upgrades like candy...and sometimes gives important advice.
It's a light, somewhere on the body, usually the chest, forehead or belt, it flashes and beeps when the hero is weakened, tired and beaten up, to sell to the audience how much trouble they are in. Honestly you can call it whatever you like, that's its job.
What's worse than an alien invasion...? The invaders brought a pet. What's wrong with that...? it's a hundred feet tall, mean and it breathes fire.
Chances are if the Alien Invaders don't come with a massive fleet of flying saucers, they came with a giant monster under their control, to attack mankind and/or their protector. Heck, they probably have both a fleet and a giant monster, or one of them will turn giant and fight with it.
Why, because everyone loves Ultra Vs Ultra fights...but Ultra (for the most part) aren't evil, so why would they be fighting? Thus, we get the Doppelganger. The audience gets to see an Ultra fight an Ultra and the reputation of the Ultras is preserved, despite the villain's attempts.
This fight is rather easy to set up, as most invaders in the franchise seem to have the uncanny ability to mimic a human form, and/or turn into a giant. So why can't they mimic an Ultra's form.
So you have two giants fighting each other, one good and one evil...how do you tell them apart? Well, you could make the evil one look a bit different, small little differences that gives them away but mostly keeps the design of the original. Or...you could put an evil smirk on their face.
This is usually paired with different colored eyes, and/or dark markings, usually around the eyes. So yeah, those black lines actually serve a purpose beyond looking edgy.
For as long as Tokusatsu has had heroes, or perhaps almost as long, said heroes have had finishing moves. Moves of such great power, that they cause their opponents to explode without reason or past logic. Moves, so powerful, some begin to wonder why they simply don't just start with those moves...
The Finishing Move, with Ultra Heroes, it's generally a Beam, unless you're Leo and you take the Kamen Rider path of KICKING HIM IN THE FACE SO HARD HE EXPLODES!!!!! But that's your choice. Especially with Ultras, your hero can have multiple Finishing Moves and no one will (or at least should, but knowing people...sigh) judge you.
It's how you turn your hero into multiple toys, er...I mean it's how you give your hero the power to adapt to any situation...yes...
While upgraded forms and Super/Final Forms are a whole other trope, even if they are admittedly so similar. This trope refers to Ultras like Tiga, Dyna and later Zero, a red and blue form, which is balance, a strong red form and a blue speed form.
This trope allows they hero to fight in different situations without worry...or it just looks pretty, your pick. (It is advised you pick the first one...)
The Ridiculously Cute Critter
Often...the series if not the Attack Team/Defense organization has one of these as a mascot. Why...? Because little girl bug their parents to...I mean, because...why not (shrugs shoulders). Whether it's hugely important to the plot...or serves no purpose other than to look cute...is up to you guys.