COAST OF JAPAN — Was it an accident? A hero’s overenthusiasm in figthing anything seemingly evil to save humanity? Or was it a case of a superbeing’s indifference to the environment and the planet?
Whatever the reason, Ultraman, Japan’s 200-foot superhero, self-proclaimed saviour of humanity and protector against evil, is in trouble for killing a rare breed of giant crocodile, which migrates to the island nation every 76 years to lay eggs. The incident happened yesterday, as the crocodile, lovingly dubbed by locals as ‘kyodai-na wani’ (giant crocodile) approached the shore from its deep-ocean habitat.
The unfortunate event began when the 250-foot, 550-tonne benign beast broke the water surface approximately 850 feet from the beach at 5.13pm. An American tourist, obviously ignorant of the local wildlife and legendary creature, panicked and called the authorities, erroneously describing how ‘a giant monster is coming to devour Tokyo’. The call naturally went up to the Japanese chapter of the global agency assigned to tackle sinister alien and giant monsters, a special police force known as the Science Special Search Patrol, or SSSP, which has a close working relationship with Ultraman.
However, unlike what is stipulated in SSSP’s S.O.P. (standard operating procedure), which demands that alien or giant visitors be granted ‘friend or foe status check’ before any action is taken, the agency immediately called its Ultra-being friend and the crocodile was methodically attacked and violently killed before it could begin laying its eggs.
“If the SSSP had followed procedures, they would have found out that the crocodile was harmless,” said Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara. “Anyone with a little knowledge of history and an ounce of respect for nature would simply have done a background check with the city’s administration office — or even the library — and seen that the gentle creature visited the shore every 76 years or so simply to lay eggs, and not to destroy anything, like many of the usual monsters who visit us.
“But look what happened now. They killed kyodai-na wani, one of the very few left of its kind in the world. Just like that. Like many denizens of this great city, I’m very angry.”
Captain Muramatsu, head of SSSP Japan, confirmed that ‘a breakdown in process flow’ had resulted in the killing of the friendly giant.
“My team had just returned from a fierce battle with a gigantic mutant lobster in north Honshu in the morning, and was not in any state to fight another giant monster in the evening. The guys were tired, and immediately summoned Ultraman when the call came,” said Muramatsu. “I’m not offering any excuse. They should have checked first before calling Ultraman. But really, I wouldn’t blame SSSP. We cannot control Ultraman or what he does when he ‘deals’ with the alien or monster threat.
“Whatever the case, I promise a thorough investigation.”
The agency has a long record of letting their alien partner settle their giant problems in the past. It is believed that this year alone, Ultraman disposed of 38 out of 41 hostile visitors who wreaked havoc in the city.
“Ultraman is nothing but SSSP’s hired killer,” said Hitoshi Kobu, founder of Save the Monsters, an NGO that has been fighting for giant rights for the last 30 years. “He himself is a destroyer, not a saviour. Like a rabid rottweiler, his first instinct is to kill, and what could be better than getting a target once or twice every month, courtesy of the SSSP? And now, we’ve got a dead giant crocodile, a gentle and lovable soul whose only motive was to precreate.”
Kobu said that this was not the first time Ultraman was involved in a ‘friendly fire’.
“In 1994, a giant squid broke the water surface near Kobe after losing its bearing. It approached a passing cruise ship to ask for directions, but the ignorant people called the SSSP instead.
“The rest, well, we all remember the story. The bay had to live with the black ink from the innocent squid for the next three months.
Kobu said that for the longest time, his organisation has been saying that the SSSP was more interested in a monster killing spree than respecting life. He also added that he suspected that one of the SSSP operative could be Ultraman himself.
“We’ve had inside information that a certain ‘Officer Hayata’ was actually Ultraman, but when we tried to verify this lead, the contact person inexplicably disappeared.
“But think about it. If Ultraman was directly working for SSSP, then obviously the agency has a policy of destroy first, talk later.”
Governor Ishihara, meanwhile, said that the city would have a tough time dealing with the loss of the giant crocodile.
“Cleanup will be the least of the problem. We’ve been cleaning one giant carcass every month, so we’re OK there,” said the governor sadly.
“It’s the loss of a national treasure. Yes, there are reportedly four giant crocodiles left in the world, but this one is only one who visits Japan. In a way, it is — it was — part of our heritage… our identity.”
Ishihara said that sanctions against Ultraman and the SSSP management are possible.
“We’ll have to relook at their powers after this, to prevent more of this kind of mishap. A restricted residence order for the so-called superhero, perhaps. We’ll see.
“Whatever it is, we will not have the silver-and-red monster, or his Ultra being siblings, running around killing anything they like. It’s bad enough that we’ve had to live with the colossal collateral damage from their epic battles for last few decades. Enough is enough.”