By Leroy Douresseaux
July 18, 2010 - 12:33
|Ultimo Volume 2 cover image
Rated “T” for Teen
Published in Japan’s Jump SQ. II (the sister publication of Weekly Shonen Jump), Karakauri Dôji Ultimo unites the imaginations of American comic book legend Stan Lee, the co-creator of The Amazing Spider-Man and the X-Men (among others), and Japanese cartoonist, Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the manga, Shaman King.
Karakauri Dôji Ultimo focuses on two karakuri dôji (“mechanical boys) that are the creations of a mysterious figure named Dr. Dunstan (a character that resembles Stan Lee). Mechanical Boy Ultimo is the mechanical embodiment of perfect good, while Mechanical Boy Vice is the mechanical embodiment of perfect evil. Dunstan created them over 900 years ago and has given them a purpose – to battle to the death to prove once and far all whether good or evil is the most powerful force in the universe.
In Karakauri Dôji Ultimo, Vol. 2, high school student Agari Yamato must not only accept that he is connected to Mechanical Boy Ultimo, but also that they have a bond that goes back centuries. Yamato is approached by another evil Karakauri Dôji named Jealousy and his master, a slimy politician named Iruma Tomomitsu, to surrender Ultimo. Also, Yamato meets The Club of Good Dôji.
THE LOWDOWN: Some Shonen Jump titles, such as Bleach and Naruto, will attract older teen and adult male readers because of their action violence, knotty storylines, edgy conflict, and complicated character relationships. Ultimo has plenty of action violence, but is rather uncomplicated. It is merely a fight comic in which sporadic incidents of character drama occasionally pop up. The drama is OK, but is not really enough to warrant too much interest.
The treats here are the giant robots and transforming machines. Perhaps, when Stan Lee thinks of manga, his mind is really on anime, so he thinks of the mecha and super robot” genres. That’s not a problem, because when Hiroyuki Takei gives us Ultimo in battle, Ultimo the manga is suddenly alive and kicking. So less character drama and more mechanical boy drama.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: One of the perfect shonen manga for boys is Karakauri Dôji Ultimo.