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Ultraman Review

Ultraman volume 1

Ultraman Volume 1

A new take and direct sequal to the original Ultraman(1966) television series. This story is drawn by Tomohiro shimoguchi and written by Eichi Shimizu. As the new continuation of Ultraman, this series follows the story of Shin Hayatas son, Shinjiro Hayata. Being the son of the first Ultraman comes with its problems. First of all, strength, speed and dexterity; Then responsibility. Shinjiro had no idea of his fathers legacy until the day he was attacked by an alien then everything changed for him.

Shin Hayata, being the original Ultraman faces a difficult time. After years of being Ultraman, Shin cannot remember anything. He fears that the true Ultraman that was within has left his body and escaped into space. You see, Shin was never the hero, he was just a vessel from which Ultraman used to protect the people. All that is left is just his genetic code which in turn was passed down into Shinjiro. Upon reaching this realization, Shin fears he is no longer capable of upholding that banner. Believing that his son might inherit this “curse” as he puts it. This fear is later reafirmed after Shinjiro is attacked by an unknown enemy. To which Shin comes to Shinjiro’s resuce but to no avail, because Shin is now to weak and old to keep up with these enemies. Just as this occurs, his fears come to fruition and Shinjiro himself dons the suit of Ultraman and comes to the rescue.

I haven’t watched the original series at all before. Nor have I read any of the comics, not really a comic dude. I don’t know if its a good thing or bad but the story seemed quite interesting. Without having read this before, I did some research and saw some differences. This series goes along with a downsized version of ultraman. He is nolonger a giant and he no longer fights giant Kaijus(think Godzilla), he fights aliens a bit taller than humans. That is the case so far, I’m not confident it will change although there is a chapter later in the series where he fights a giant monster. So if your into the Kaiju business look away, because its more 4-10 foot aliens vs a dude in a suit.

Ultraman manga

The characters.

After reading 4 volumes, I can’t say the characters have all that depth. Problem is, there isn’t all that much character development. There was a feeling I had throughout most the the volumes that pointed at the pace of the series. First of all, volume 1 was great as an introduction to the series. The character introductions and development there was simple and quick. However, it couldn’t carry it on throughout the series.

Like I said, its the due to the pacing. Bringing Ultraman as the major focus is somewhat an issue. It pushed the side characters to the back. Only Shinjiro and his father have development and its an issue if this series wants to continue. We can’t have him in the lime light all the time. I’m guessing  this is due to the fact that they want make it as realistic for the character as possible. What I mean by this is, they want to create a situation that forces MC to make a final decision to get it out of the way. If I’m correct then that might be a good reason, I really don’t like arcs where MC has doubts. They usually feel dragged on and makes me lose some interest. I get that they might have conflicts but when a series pushes this later down the line sucks.

Ultraman manga

The art.

By far the best part of the series. I mean just look at those images above. Damn that armor looks bad ass and I mean it. The artist, Tomohiro did an amazing job with the action sequences in Ultraman. He put a ton of detail into the armors and weaponry used in this series. Since hes in a mechanical suit, he almost looks like a version of Iron man. In fact, hes quite similar to Iron man from the comics when it comes to his suit. Maybe Tomohiro got his inspiration from there? Not quite sure but the similarities are obvious. Heck he has a light in the middle of his chest that signifies his strength(It lights up a ton when full power) and the dude can shoot beams just like Iron man.

Anyways, besides the action scenes and armor. Ultraman has some decent art. Character designs are good, I quite enjoy the Japanese manga style and glad they didn’t go like the comics. Not a fan of the goofy looking armor they wear and silly proportions. Like really, have you seen some of the Captain America designs. Dude literally has cannons for arms, its crazy. Lastly, the background art is sub par at times. Tomohiro uses a lot of solid black to color in the background and its mostly the usual modern buildings in the background. So don’t expect much world building like in other series.

Conclusion.

To be honest, I was expecting a lot from this series. I wouldn’t call it a recently created manga since it was first published in 2011. However, now its 2017 and there’s only 7 volumes on Amazon. Couldn’t find much details about its scheduled releases so I’m guessing maybe bi-monthly? Really sucks when each chapter is so short, I’m talking 20-35 pages short and for a bi-monthly that’s short. Something to think about if your about to purchase this. So expect very spaced out releases.

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