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Ultraman (ウルトラマン, Urutoraman) is a character featured in tokusatsu (special effects) television programs in Japan. Ultraman, the first and best-known of the "Ultra-Crusaders," made his debut in the tokusatsu SF/kaiju/superhero TV series, Ultraman: A Special Effects Fantasy Series (ウルトラマン 空想特撮シリーズ, Urutoraman: Kūsō Tokusatsu Shirīzu), a follow-up to the television series Ultra Q. The show was produced by Tokyo Broadcasting System and Tsuburaya Productions, and was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) from July 17, 1966 to April 9, 1967, with a total of 39 episodes (40, counting the pre-premiere special that aired on July 10, 1966).
Although Ultraman is the first series to feature an Ultra-Crusader, his is actually the second Ultra Series. Ultra Q was the first. In fact, Ultraman opens with the Ultra Q logo exploding into the Ultraman logo. A major pop culture phenomenon in Japan, the show has spawned dozens of imitators as well as numerous sequels and remakes, which continued to be popular as of early January of 2011.