A preschool teacher in north China leaned into his class's fascination with the Japanese superhero Ultraman by dressing up as the character to "defend the children from monsters".
The video of the teacher from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, surnamed Yang, went viral in China, with people calling him a "dream maker".
Yang, who is in his twenties, teaches three-to-four-year-old children in Ordos city and, according to him, there are more boys than girls in his class and all of the boys are fans of Ultraman, a popular Japanese superhero character.
"I thought to myself, 'If they like Ultraman so much, why don't I transform into him for them?'", Yang told Wutong video, a mainland Chinese news platform.
Rather than simply donning a costume and showing up to the class, Yang decided to make a video that showed him acting as Ultraman when he is not teaching.
Yang followed a handful of bloggers who posted their own Ultraman transformation videos and asked them for advice about how to turn the idea into a reality.
"I incorporated my thoughts into the video and recorded myself transforming into Ultraman to save the preschool. Our school buildings were the backdrop," Yang explained.
Yang showed the video he made to his class on April 20 and, because the video was so vivid, all of the children believed their teacher was the real Ultraman. They were absorbed and astounded to see him transform.
"The kids were having a great time watching the video, and they kept asking me how to fight the monsters," Yang said.
To make the idea that "their teacher is an Ultraman" more credible, Yang showed the children a small injury on his hand from a few days prior and explained that it was caused by his battles with monsters.
"Once they saw the scar, they were even more convinced that I was Ultraman," Yang explained.
Many people praised Yang and called him a "dream maker" after seeing the video.
"This teacher is so cute, and he created a fairy tale dream for the kids," one person said.
Another said: "I guess the kids will be bragging to their peers in the next class every day that their teacher is Tiga," another said, referring to one of the Ultraman series' most popular characters.
Ultraman, a Japanese superhero who battles monsters the size of buildings, was first launched in 1966 and has been popular in China since the 1980s.
In September 2021, an Ultraman feature film was removed from a handful of popular online distribution platforms, such as iQiyi and Youku, after the government said it might be too violent for children. However, some videos related to the character were not censored.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.