Shin Ultraman is the realization of a dream generations in the making for Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Hideaki Anno—working with Shinji Higuchi to craft his own spin on the legendary franchise that inspired legions of his own work. And now, it’s getting even easier to see just how long Anno has been influenced by Ultraman.
At least, in Japan that is. Amazon Japan’s Prime Video service has stealth-dropped an HD remaster of Daicon Film’s Return of Ultraman, the 1983 short film Anno produced for the Osaka-based Japan SF Convention. The short, marking Anno’s directorial debut, also stars the budding director as Ultraman Jack—or really, Anno as himself, rendered giant sized and wearing an Ultraman Jack jacket—as he battles Kaiju in an homage to the ‘70s classic, Return of Ultraman.
Although the short has been available in varying qualities over the year, its release on Prime Video in Japan marks the arrival of Shin Ultraman on the streaming service as well—and marks something of a poetic pairing, given that Anno first met his Shin collaborator Higuchi at a Tokyo screening of Daicon Film’s Return of Ultraman, starting a relationship that would culminate with them making Shin Godzilla and Shin Ultraman together. As Anno looks to continue his fandom streak helming Shin Kamen Rider next year, it’s a nice little look back at where he started.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.