If I was asked who my favorite superhero was, it'd be Ultra Seven.
We know "Ultra Q" and "Ultraman" are tokusatsu sci-fi TV classics in Japan, but the very peak of Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Series was reached with "Ultra Seven," which Japanese fans have, to this day, hailed as the all-time best Ultra Series, and for good reason! It is basically the "Star Trek" of Japan (long before shows like "Space Battleship Yamato")! Even underneath the wild battles between the red & silver alien from M78 and his alien foes, this is a very serious and thought-provoking sci-fi drama. Especially in the human scenes, with our protagonists, the Ultra Garrison. This is a very different series from its aforementioned two predecessors, in that this is a very serious sci-fi drama. Later Ultra Series like "Ultraman Tiga" and the more grown-up "Ultraman Nexus" would duplicate this formula.
Seven himself is different from Ultraman (who is a mysterious godlike being), as he's become the archetype for the high-tech Japanese superhero. His powers/weapons are incredible (who *doesn't* love his flying boomerang-like Eyeslugger weapon?)! But underneath his cool exterior, he has even more heart, personality and depth than his famous predecessor. And the transformation from Dan Moroboshi (Kouji Moritsugu) to Ultra Seven, each time he puts on the "Ultra Eye" glasses, is without a doubt my favorite Japanese superhero transformation *ever*.
The Ultra Garrison's not half-bad either! The team uniforms (helmets, jumpsuits and rayguns) are memorable (so much that some other Ultra Series would copy them, like the 1979 anime series "The Ultraman"). And the mecha is awesome! I really love the Ultra Hawk, which splits into three different jet vehicles ("Ultraman Dyna" had something like this, too)! Of course, just like in "Ultraman," the team members have similar personalities, but Dan Moroboshi (Seven's human alter-ego) is a different person from "Ultraman"'s Hayata. He's still a tough member, but he's also very considerate. And even in human form, he's well equipped to fight alien invaders, from having X-ray vision/telepathy to being equipped with miniature "Capsule Monsters" (Windom, Miclas and Agira), which are like tiny capsules that, when thrown like a grenade, explodes and transforms into a giant monster (and Dan can call it back into a capsule any time). I wonder which two anime series did *this* later on . . . ;)
And, of course, there's the bizarre and imaginative alien & space monster threats! Some of my favorites include Eleking (a fan-favorite), Dankan, the Guts-Seijin and Seven's final foe, Pandon!
Sadly, this was also the final Ultra Series by creator Eiji Tsuburaya, who originally wanted this to be the final Ultra Series. Due to this series' unbelievable popularity, a new Ultra Series was planned in late 1969 ("Ultraman Continues"), but Eiji died (in 1970) before any production began. The said project later became "Return of Ultraman" in 1971, when Eiji's first son Hajime Tsuburaya took over the studio (until his death in 1973).
This series was originally seen in the US in Hawaii in 1975 (the dub of which is now lost, but two episodes still remain), and on TNT in 1994 (from a comically-dubbed 1985 dub from Cinar in Canada), but "Ultra Seven" is a series that truly deserves the same revisiting as "Ultra Q" and "Ultraman" in the US.