TOKYO - The Merlion, Singapore's beloved icon which marks its 50th birthday in September, transforms into a superhero in a new tourism video commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and released Tuesday (April 12).
In the 6½ minute video, the Merlion, with a red-and-white mane and red paws, rises from the waters of Marina Bay to join hands with Ultraman to fend off monsters that lay siege on landmarks such as Gardens by The Bay, Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport.
STB began a tie-up with Japan production house, Tsuburaya - which owns the Ultraman copyright - last year to mark 55 years of diplomatic relations between Singapore and Japan - a milestone that also coincided with Ultraman's 55th birthday.
At a tourism campaign event in Tokyo's youth hub Shibuya on Tuesday, Mr Markus Tan, STB's regional director for North Asia, said that Covid-19 meant the brakes had to be slammed on the SingapoReimagine Ultraman campaign but that more would be done this year.
"Singapore is ready to connect with the world," he said. "We're very proud to have partnered with Tsuburaya for Ultraman is not only a very iconic character in Japan but all over the world. He'll be helping us with our tourism recovery programmes."
The bulk of Tuesday's event was devoted to whetting the wanderlust of Japanese travellers. In a talk session with Ultraman series actress Hikari Kuroki, 21, new attractions such as Jewel Changi Airport, wellness experiences like yoga on the rooftop of Marina Bay Sands, and food like chili crab were introduced.
Mr Tan told The Straits Times that tie-ups involving Ultraman will be progressively rolled out in the coming months with Singapore Airlines, the Night Safari, as well as a "luxury hotel" that cannot yet be named.
The STB has also commissioned a mural featuring Ultraman and the superhero version of the Merlion, which was created by artist collective DPLMT and is now on display at a shophouse in Haji Lane.
Ultraman director Kiyotaka Taguchi said in a recorded video message that while he has never visited Singapore, he was thrilled to see the beloved character juxtaposed against the actual city landscape.
"While I could not visit Singapore while producing the video, I am looking forward to visiting the country soon," he said.