With girl and money troubles, life is hard enough for high school student Yamato, but then he stumbles upon Ultimo, a peculiar-looking puppet. Things only get stranger when Ultimo awakens and his archenemy Vice shows up. Will this be the battle that finally decides good versus evil, or is this just the beginning of a most fantastic adventure?
Ah Ultimo, one of the shonen manga I remember reading chapters of when it was in the American Shonen Jump magazine. When the chapters were stopped being shown in the magazine, they weren't really scanning chapters online and I wasn't in a position to buy the volumes. So for a while I had forgotten about the series until I saw all 12 volumes at my college library at MCC. Now that I finished reading all the volumes today I can give an honest review for Ultimo. Let the battle between good and evil begin! Story- Dunstan, the main antagonist of the series, creates two doji, Ultimo and Vice, as a test to see whether Good or Evil is stronger. Yamato, the main protagonist, discovers Ultimo in a shop and that's how it all begins. The story is a bit slow at first but once the first story arc is finished then it really starts to pick up. More of the doji are introduced and other characters are shown to have an important influence on the story. There's some time travel involved with the story telling, much like Higurashi and Psyren, all climaxing into the final battle. Talk about epic, with all those mechas fighting, especially God Ultimo. Art- I really the designs for the doji. They have this beautiful and elegant look for a lot of them, and when they're in their in their Icon mecha forms they look really cool. Takei has always had a interesting style with his human characters. For me I guess its okay as long as the story is told well. Characters- Yamato is a pretty straight forward character who seems to be pretty unlucky to end up in the war with Ultimo. Despite that, he's a pretty good partner with Ultimo. I like how each of the characters have their motivations and what makes them interesting, like with Rune and Sayama. But most importantly is how the concepts of good and evil are explored so deeply, leaving the reader with a lot to think about with each of the characters. Overall- This series actually really surprised me in a lot of good ways. However, Stan Lee creating an insert character of himself for the series left me feeling a little weirded out. Thankfully he's a likeable character which makes it okay in its own way. In some ways I think I enjoyed Ultimo more than Shaman King, which I think is a good thing. I hope thi is a series some people may give a chance at some point, cause I can say that I enjoyed it.
This manga surprised me with its quality. At first I was wary of it because I saw that it was co-written by Stan Lee and I've always disliked American comics because they never have good stories or characters. (They have cool characters, but never interesting.) Also, I read the other review by Mangaislife. (I don't mean any offense, but) This review, in my opinion, is totally off-track. The characters are actually engaging. Ultimo is amazingly cute, and yet he can be totally badass at the same time. The amazing thing is, though, that the characterization makes total sense! Then there is Rune (or Lune, depending on the translation). His backstory makes sense for what actions he takes! (I won't give anything away, but he is good.) The art style for any manga, really, is fairly important for me. If I don't like the art style, I won't read a manga. However, I greatly enjoy the art style of Hiroyuki Takeshi because it's a good balance between the traditional "anime" style and a realistic style which draws me into the story and the struggles of the characters. Overall, I greatly enjoy this manga, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good mecha or fantasy manga. :)
What starts out as a fun, unique blast outside of the norm quickly becomes a pretentious, insipid, vapid and repetitive wander through pointlessness in an attempt to find something resembling a plot. The plot it finds? A shallow rehash of Shaman King's overall premise, with lame and distracting Stan Lee cameos that only reaffirm just how terrible the writing is. It's always cheesy, but never the good kind - it takes so bad it's good one stop beyond until it's just wallowing in the depths of absolute horridity. The dialog is the worst part, worse than even Bakuman's romantic moments. A line will start out with little potential, but fails to be anything but pretentious and increasingly stupid. It tries to be cryptic, but fails even to be confusing. It's the problem I had with Code Geass: Suzaku of the Counterattack's technical explanations - the babble is understandable, and when you can see what they're see you suddenly understand just how insipid and meaningless it all is. The characters range from standing in the corner drawn in a confusing manner to kind of having a personality. Everything ruins the interesting - albeit too simple - premise. Not even Mr. Takei's gorgeous art redeems it. What You'll Like: An interesting premise that's not afraid to break out of the box. A neat and original introduction that sucks you in. Absolutely gorgeous art, especially in color. What You Won't Like: Absolutely horrid, pretentious, vapid dialog making up the majority of the manga. Almost nonexistent characters. A story that tries way too hard to be complex. A story that never really lands its feet in deciding what it wants to be, ruining an interesting premise. Numerous plot holes, introduced in the heat of lame battles. Bad pacing that doesn't contribute to any plot effects what so ever. It wants to introduce new things so much it never resolves other things, rushes around and feels like a two year old has some ideas but never ever uses them. Final Verdict: STAY AWAY.
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