[Editor’s note: Drew is stepping in for me today, as I was busy attending Star Wars Fan Days this weekend. Thanks, Drew!]
It’s another volume of Karakuridoji Ultimo, or better known as simply Ultimo. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the title, it is based off a concept by American comic legend Stan Lee, who then let Shaman King creator Hiroyuki Takei go wild with it and do the writing and art. Long short of the story is it centers on a seemingly eternal battle between Ultimo and Vice, two Karakuri Doji, mechanical embodiments of good and evil.
This volume picks up a little bit into Ultimo‘s second story arc, where one of the lead characters, Agari Yamato, has decided to turn back time to avoid repeating a series of mistakes that built up to the Hundred Machine Funeral, the epic battle between Ultimo’s and Vice’s forces. After almost being tricked by Rune and his doji Jealousy, Yamato takes off with Rune as his hostage, which he is oddly willing to go along with because of his feelings for him (he’s actually the reincarnation of his lover from 900 years ago). They take off in a car driven by ally Darumada, only to find they are being pursued in a car by Sumako and Desir, who turns into the doji Lust and attacks them. However, the doji Service arrives, and the battle between Service and Lust begins, duking it out with a variety of odd transformations. I won’t give away the winner, but there’s a lot of changing, and re-combining with others into different mech-combinations before it’s all set. Between all of this we get a variety of subplot as these reincarnated characters in their new timeline start joining up with each other, and the villains further plot to stop Yamato from changing time.
This volume of Ultimo may be a nice place for new readers to jump on if you don’t want to hunt down the previous five volumes. The main story line is easy to follow, however, the subplot and introductions of the reincarnated characters on their new timeline may be a little hard to follow, and obviously not have any coolness factor for you if you didn’t read the previous five volumes. It cuts down on the cool surprise moments by jumping in here, but still could be an enjoyable read. Takei keeps running with Lee’s concept and is unleashing an epic tale for us. His art as it was on Shaman King is enjoyable, and I really enjoy his mech designs as the dojis combined for battle. Is the odd amount of undetailed nudity needed? I dunno, I guess since they have to take off their clothes to combine it is……Does everything else make sense art wise, though? Yes. Plus, for color he uses a painter who goes under the simple name Bob, and how weirdly hip is that?
So to sum it all up, volume 6, I liked it.