SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Season 1 of Ultraman.
Netflix's Ultraman is an adaptation of the 2011 manga, which acts as a sequel to the 1966 television series. Foregoing all other stories in between, the 13-episode anime moves past the adventures of the original hero, Shin Hayata, and now focuses on his teenage son, Shinjiro, taking on the Ultraman mantle about three decades later.
However, at its core is a reimagined version of Bemular, tweaked from being a Godzilla-like monster to an alien ninja with a cynbernetic suit that puts him on par with Ultraman. But while Bemular appears to be pulling strings with some sort of vendetta against the Hayata family, the Season 1 finale reveals his plan is not what we envisioned at all.
When we're first introduced to Bemular, he decides to take on Shinjiro in a baseball field in a fight to the death. After the original Ultraman left Shin's body, despite no longer being bonded to him, it imprinted on his genetics, leaving an "Ultraman factor" behind. This was passed on to Shin, and now the SSSP (Japan's version of S.H.I.E.L.D.) want to weaponize the boy with a suit that feels like a cross between Iron Man and Teknoman.
Somehow, Bemular got wind of this plot and decides to ambush Shinjiro, telling him that he has to kill him because he can't afford to let the boy bond with the real Ultraman entity (a cosmic light god) should it ever return to Earth. The brawl lures out Shin in a makeshift suit and, sadly, the old man is left near death protecting his son. In the fracas, Shinjiro loses his cool, severely wounding Bemular, who flees in defeat. But before he exits, he leaves a stern warning to Shinjiro that Ultraman must never be reborn.
And so, throughout the season, we see Bemular monitoring Shinjiro and taunting his SSSP gang, including another hero who's suited up, Dan. But for some reason, Bemular doesn't engage again. He allows them to go on saving the city from the influx of aliens, leaving fans wondering why he's waiting to strike. It appears he's being precautionary, but when the truth's revealed about a terrorist attack years ago, the perception of Bemular drastically changes.
Bemular was blamed for blowing up a plane in that incident, one which ironically brought Shin's memories of being Ultraman back. This also kicked the SSSP into motion, restarting the initiative to create replacement Ultramen. But while they were all obsessed with hunting Bemular, late in the season we discover they're targeting the wrong man and Bemular wasn't the one who committed this act. It was actually a shadowy terrorist group led by Ace Killer. The villain wanted the plane incinerated, as it contained key delegates from the Universal Alliance who wanted to help Earth safeguard itself from future alien invasions.
It turns out Bemular was searching for the killer all along because he was being framed as part of a more nefarious scheme. In the season finale, when the terrorists take on the Ultramen army of Shinjiro, Dan and a rash youngster named Seiji, Bemular finally reveals his endgame as he helps the heroes. He was attacking Shinjiro to push him to the limits because he wanted the boy to max his power out and truly evolve into the real Ultraman.
The reason being, Bemular needed the true Ultraman to help him stop the Universal Alliance because they were actually the ones who hired Ace's troops to destroy their own plane. This was all a setup to create a chaotic situation on Earth so that the planet would turn to them for advice. And as planned, in the wake of the attack, Earth bought into the alliance even more for protection.
Somehow, Bemular knows these deep secrets, revealing how the alliance has been faking attacks all over the cosmos, spreading fear and developing planets technologically to become one big hivemind. To stop this legion, he needs Ultraman back, and that's why he had to scare Shinjiro. It's also the reason he didn't kill Shin when he could have, which ultimately wins Shinjiro's trust. Shinjiro even allows Bemular to take a dead Seiji away to resurrect him, as he knows it'll be all hands on deck soon enough against the alliance.
Now streaming on Netflix, Season 1 of Ultraman stars Ryohei Kimura (Eden of the East), Takuya Eguchi (Gosick), Megumi Han (My Hero Academia) and Hideyuki Tanaka (One Piece).