Even though the subtext is usually Ultraman's cluelessness--he makes the same thing for dinner for several days in a row, but he doesn't that everyone but him is sick of it--it's a nice book with great pictures, and a slice-of-life-driven narrative. [As opposed to some contrived, "Oh no! Clifford fell off the bar of soap! Oh but now he's fine," crap. Sorry, Bridwell, but you were asleep at the wheel on that one.]
Part of the fun, of course, is the surrealism of discovering the domestic side of the extraplanetary, world-saving helmethead. But Ultraman is far more ingrained in Japanese culture than he's ever been in the US, and after 40 years, they really need to keep him fresh somehow.
While I wait for my Ultraman Daddy And Childcare Book[!?] to arrive from Amazon Japan, I can't resist posting a link that hints at the dedication Ultraman inspires in his fans. Check out this unbelievably great, off the wall photo collection on flickr: My Ultraman Daddy.
It's just gone up in the last few months, but it was obviously shot over the course of three, going on four years. One dad somewhere [I'm guessing Japan], an Ultraman otaku if ever there was one, has been taking photos of himself--as Ultraman--with his daughter, starting before she was even born.
All the typical domestic scenes, plus plenty of trips out around town, all with the shiny metal helmet and goggly eyes of Ultraman looking on with love. There's a great backstory here, I imagine, and when I find out more, I'll hopefully let you know. Shuwatch!
My Ultraman Daddy's photos on flickr [flickr.com]
Otousan wa Ultraman: Otousan no kyujitsu/Daddy is Ultraman: Daddy's Vacation and Ultraman Daddy And Childcare Book are available at Amazon JP [amazon.co.jp]
The Aprica USA site hasn't been updated since early 2004. [apricausa.com]