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Ultimo, Volume 1

Review

Ultimo, Volume 1

written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei, original concept by Stan Lee

What’s more powerful: good or evil?

In Medieval Japan, this question intrigues an inventive foreigner named Dunstan. He makes two mechanical boys, one of whom (Ultimo) is the ultimate good, and the other (Vice) is the ultimate evil. They look like dolls, but they can come to life at a moment’s notice.

That’s what happens when a bandit named Yamato takes a peek at Dunstan’s belongings. He thinks they’re only dolls, but they come to life before his disbelieving eyes. From that point on, Ultimo and Vice will fight each other. When one wins, it will prove whether good or evil is more powerful.

Flash forward to 21st-century Japan. Yamato is here…well, the reincarnation of Yamato. About a thousand years have passed, and he’s managed to get reincarnated with the same name. But these days, he’s not a bandit. He doesn’t think about good or evil, either. He’s a senior high school student who wants to buy a gift for the girl he’s liked since elementary school. Can they finally be together?

Yamato steps into an antique store to look for gifts. One of the items being sold is an odd-looking doll with enormous red hair and a very thin body. Ultimo! Having been asleep, Ultimo wakes up once he feels Yamato’s presence. It creates quite a scene. Yamato starts to remember bits and pieces of what happened in his past life, which doesn’t mean he’s ready for what’s happening in his life now. All he wanted to do was buy a present for a girl.

Ultimo is awake, but so is Vice. The fighting is going to begin again.

A review on Ultimo wouldn’t be complete without commenting on the people behind it. The story and art are done by Hiroyuki Takei, the mangaka behind Butsu Zone, J?ki Ningen Jumbor, and, most famously, Shaman King. He’s a big name in terms of shonen manga. He still isn’t especially well known in the average American household, but the same doesn’t hold true for the other name associated with Ultimo. Stan Lee himself is the creator of the original concept for this series. This is the man who brought us so many of our favorite Marvel Comics creations and almost single-handedly helped redefine the entire comics industry in the 1960s.

Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei coming together on a project is going to garner attention and get many readers interested in Ultimo. Libraries and bookstores can keep that in mind when they choose which books to have on their shelves. Ultimo has an interesting premise and lots of action, making it a fun read for older kids, teens and adults.

Reviewed by Danica Davidson on February 2, 2010

Ultimo, Volume 1
written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Takei, original concept by Stan Lee

  • Publication Date: February 2, 2010
  • Genres: Manga
  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
  • ISBN-10: 1421531321
  • ISBN-13: 9781421531328