Karakuri Doji ULTIMO
Written by Hiroyuki Takei & Stan Lee and drawn by Hiroyuki Takei
Published by Viz Media. 216 pages. 2010. $9.99.
I read this series, not just because it is a crossover between comic legend Stan Lee, and Hiroyuki Take (mangaka of Shamen King). I read this to just experience if English comic/collaboration crosses over well into manga. Reading this type of manga is just as what Ray is doing with watching the Japanese adaptations of Iron Manand Wolverine. Difference is that, Ultimo is a new and original collaboration. There is currently five volumes in Japanese for this ongoing series, and three volumes with fourth book coming out March in English.
The plot premises of Ultimo is on the question of which is more stronger, good or evil? Dunstan, a scientist/doctor creates two powerful dolls (Ultimo/Vice) that personifies good and evil. They are to be locked in an eternal battle that can annihilate worlds around them. They listen and bond with one human master, and from there learn what makes the world tick for better or worse. (Warning for lots of rather obvious shota moments.) Ultimo bonds with Yamato, a reincarnated bandit who for better or worse is the main human character in this one. Talk about a dense male lead.
My opinion, from the three volumes I have read, is being provided with a quick superficial entertainment for the most part. I am reminded of flipping through Chinese wuxia manga. Especially during the action battle scenes, scenes are depicted with extreme/epic graphic/text. Also do check out images of Dunstan, who is obviously modeled after Stan Lee. Then again there are photo of Mr. Lee himself wearing a white spider print yukata.
This series I definitely wouldn’t want to have on my bookshelf, but for a one time read then it is good. If the franchise is successful enough, then I definitely wouldn’t be surprise if they adapt this into an animation series. This type of story has enough action scenes that would entertain fans of Bleach, Yugioh, or even Gurren Laggen.
Story by Tsugumi Ohba and Art by Takeshi Obata.
Published by Viz Media. 208 pages. 2010. $9.99
Just how many noticed the past fall season?
Anime Diet has been pretty heavy in discussing Bakuman which had its anime run Fall 2010. (Mike’s 1st post, 2nd post, 3rd post) Now I am finally bringing up a review for the graphic novel version, to which I am pleased to say is quite engaging, and definitely eye opening.
Moritaka aka Saiko (a play on his name) and Akagi aka Shujin are both junior high school student who has a goal of becoming pro mangaka, and having an anime made from a series of their creation by the time they are 18 years old.
So far the first two volumes are out in English, with two more coming out this year (2011) in English. There are 11 volumes in Japanese. I can only say that it would be a bit of a waiting game to wait for this graphic novel series to come out. But would be artist/authors can be in the know on some aspects of publishing industry.
This manga follows a slice of life Japanese path. Do you want to stray from the “normal” path to pursing a dream? It can either make or break a person. This manga is quite realistic to the real life, with even blurring the lines of reality or not in mentioning Shonen Jump employees. Call this a realistic parody if you must.
I have yet to read other manga that would be a really similar read alike, but if you do like this book, and want to go for another of a similar vibe.. then Dramacon, or Genshiken would be pretty good choices in my opinion at the moment.
As the week of One Piece on MMF draws to a close. I find myself inspired to at least get out another article for this week of feasting. Earlier this week I wrote this entry for my own blog. So I am am selfishly indulgent to drag Anime Diet into the feast. Now I am still on my tip toes just reading other blogger’s impressions, and thinking about a personal invested and beloved series. All I have to say that I can contribute some more is of my love for Color Walk, which is the artbook equivalent to this long running series of 60+ volumes.
The Color Walks are released infrequently, since I can only imagine it would happen when the mangaka has time to oversee projects like this. Nearly all other popular series like Gundam, and Evangelion to name a few anime titlesget this type of treatment in Japan. There are other franchise business other than the manga, and for the One Piece lineup, there are the Data Books, or Linear art books or Production work books.
Benefits of a Color Walk
Color Walks are used to highlight or recap key images from the various manga arcs, giving it the Color treatment, so it is very much like a yearbook, since in the pages table of content mentions years.
You have to be a fan to really really appreciate throwing the money onto getting this. Since it is very much a coffee table book purchase.
Fan keepsake, since it take a lot of shelf space to keep 60+ volumes, so to know that these are representative art work from those periods make it more nice.
Knowing the artist’s feelings when making these is nice, there’s always pages of notes at the end of the book.
Shows a linear development/improvement of art. Because I have always been in the mindset that initially the art was hard to get into for One Piece, so to see the art evolve into the later art is a great record to have.
So far of the four Color Walks that has been published, only one of them got picked up to be released in English from Shonen Jump. Watching the price of all of the existing Color Walk being sold for $50+ by Amazon sellers shows of a market that is tied to how much supply and demand that there is.
As I was in the middle of reading the arcs of Waters 7 and Thriller Bark. One Piece Color Walk 4 specifically featured art from the Waters7 arc. I was quite happy to finally read a translation of a mini-story in Volume 32, which is around the area of Davy Fights Back mini-arc. This I believe mostly ties into the initial wish of what type of people Luffy wants on board his ship, so for this mini-story, it showcases music and food for him.
The 5th Color Walk: Shark, is going to be out soon, and New York’s Kinokuniya will have in in the next two weeks or so, since its release date is December 6 in Japan. It would probably include images from Thriller Bark, Sabaody Archipelago, and Amazon Lily. I am grasping at straws if I am going to hope that Impel down be included, since the Color Walks are often a year or two, OKAY Five years behind. I can only try to predict what is in it. I do see the recent calender that is for One Piece in 2011, that has more possible future Color Walk inclusion.
I am right now putting on my hopes to see more inclusion of Franky and Brooks to finally be integrated within the art pages of the Color Walk line up. Randomly, the Mugiwara Crew got showcased from the very beginning on the covers of the Color Walk, but that doesn’t mean the cover reflect the contents
For fans it definitely is a dent in the wallet, and prolongs the longevity of the series, so in a good and bad way. Critics would mention that this is just placing the series to another level. I was recently having a conversation with @OtakuDan, and we got into the conversation of when will the big 3 end.. The big 3 meaning, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. He disclosed that all three series had a time skip. Just knowing when One Piece can gratefully bow out is probably going to be Edo’s call. If he still has the vision, then he would be going on with the series, so with this success, will the story become a big fish?
With the speed of the internet, and cell phone… postal mail might be not in the minds of many people nowadays. I am always throwing out any spam snail mail, but I definitely love mail that means something to me personally, so in the AmberGround World of Tegami Bachi, mail is a very important form of communication.
Never let the appearance of what genre are out there, is specified to a specific type of audience. This title is definitely released under a shonen imprint in Japan, but with the emotional personality of Lag Seeing, and how cute Gauche Suede and other characters are, this is a series that is definitely not lacking in female fans. Dare I say that this is a very female friendly title.
Also what makes this series a good series to get on, other than the plot is obvious how cute Niche is, since she won’t wear anything other than what Lag tells her, laundry day gets quite interesting. Then there are other obvious humorous quirks in the story such as a running joke of why certain female cooking always never as perfect as they look.
There are so far about three graphic novel volumes of this series in English, 11 manga volumes in Japanese, and two anime seasons. Other possible readalikes for this series is D-Gray Man for mysterious characters aspect and Aria for the human slice of life aspect in a very unique world.
I may be late in the reading specific titles.. and if anyone ever pays attention to my tweets, I posted this photo one time. Yet I digress… I am pretty much fascinated, and furiously reading/devouring Yakitate!! Japan, as much as I can.
This gives a whole other meaning to learning some really random facts, that is not really useful in every day living, but can definitely break conversation on the topic of foodies, and probably make some people drool over the food descriptions. In Yakitate!! Japan, that is the aspects of making bread.
Kazuma Azuma is on a quest to bake the best Ja-pan – that is bread, and to achieve this goal, he gets employed at Pantasia a well known bread making chain store.
With most of Shonen Jump series, there are clear story arcs defined. At this point of reading up to volume 17, I can point out three arcs. Surprisingly this is a relatively short Shonen Jump series, only about 26 volumes. (There is a 69 episode anime series that came out from this manga.)
Starting out at Pantasia
Quest for Pantasia food competition.
One thing that makes this a great read is the highly over exaggerated comedic reactions of the characters. At some points I am mentally cheering, and at other point, I feel very grossed out. There are some characters I love to hate.. *cough* Yukino *cough*.. *cough* Kirisaki *cough*
Back in the Monaco Cup arc, with the character of Pierrot, definitely reminded me of Hisoka from Hunter x Hunter. There are many interesting tidbits shared about the country of Japan, and with Pantasia Food competition, I notice a parody on SMAP…that is a group I love to pay attention to.
Other good read alikes for this book is obvious food manga like Oishinbo, for the many references that there is. Another is like Toriko, with the obvious food search, competition.
A thing to note is that from the recipes mentioned in this book, Erinf, and Reverse Theives also made experiments to see if recipe mentioned in the book, can actually be put up to the test of what was mentioned at the book.
Buy Toriko, Vol. 1
by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro. Published by Viz Media. 208 pages. 2010. $9.99.
Enter a world where gourmet food is quite prized, and if you can eat the most unique foods, then what is all worth living for is the satisfaction of fulfilling your taste buds. Since the world is suppose to be about foods, and gourmet, notice all the unique animals and fruits that there is.
Hunters exist to seek out rare ingredients for chefs to prepare, and the namesake of this manga is Toriko, one of the best hunters that there is in the world. He is ranked to being known as one of the four kings. Similar to all shonen jump manga leads, he has a bottomless appetite, and a simple ambition of creating his ideal menu. He only kills what he eats, so expect lots of action scenes as well as powering up scenes. Though when Toriko powers up, definitely reminds me of a certain saiyans.
One thing that cracks me up is that Toriko lives in a Hansel and Gretel house, that attracts. So he can definitely have his cake and eat it too, although I personally imagine that I will get a stomach ache from the sweets. Definitely reminding me of Gintoki from Gintama. Toriko, being that it is a shonen title is filled with muscular manly man. (Yum!) Also if you have read Hunter x Hunter, this entire series is centered around Gon’s second exam stage.. so this take Gourmet hunting to another level.
Personally I don’t believe that there are enough manga translated in English about foods, and I know that there is a huge section of manga that is devoted to talking about food in Japanese. So if you are a regular reader for Shonen Jump manga, and can’t seem to get enough of food manga like Oishinbo or Yakitate!! Japan this is a manga for you to check out. There are ten volumes out in Japanese, and at this time only two volumes out in English.
If you note the popularity of Dracula, or in pop culture of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or even the recent Twilight series. Then what is the mystique about vampires.
Other than being quite mysterious, and romantic images- take a look at Shirodaira Kyo and Kimura Yuri’s interpretation. The writer definitely states that she knows of the countless adaptation out there, but what else is there to do, but write of a new adaptation.
Strauss is off looking for his queen who was sealed away. He faces humans, dhampires (half humans/half vampire), and the Black Swan (the only human with the ability to kill him, and have these cool tattoos on her arms.) Eventually aliens get thrown into the picture, so what to do? I am still reading the series of nine books. I can only write of what interests me about this series, and might interest you.
The suspense is quite good.
This is actually not a shoujo manga for once, so don’t ask me to recommend this alongside Vampire Knight.
The art is pretty good, and there’s also some humor in it.
If you already read vampire stories, there is a thing of never having enough vampire stories out there.
The twist that comes out in the middle of the story is just surprising. Unlikely but surprising.
A possible read alike is Castlevania. Castlvania is on my reading list of things to review for Anime.com.
Soooooo…. if you are a regular reader of Shonen Jump titles, then this title should have already been on your reading lists already. If not, then what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for aliens to take over the Earth, and then you would even considered reading this title? I wouldn’t..
The anime is done with 201 episodes and a movie. There are currently 19 volumes released by Shonen Jump in English. 35 volumes in Japanese, so if there is a need for speeding up the series to bring out in English, this is the next title that Shonen Jump should tackle, and tackle it fast, just as they did with Naruto or One Piece! Though the manga is not done, this is such a witty series in how many multiple layers parody sequences there is for other Shonen Jump titles – Prince of Tennis, Bleach, One Piece, Kochikame, Death Note etc. You can even complain that the series has some pretty crass topics, such as cockroaches, or Neo Armstrong Cyclone Jet Armstrong Cannon, the Otaku debate of loving either 2-D or 3-D modesl, or even a baka ouji (prince).
I kid you not.. this is a funny series with its ups and down in terms of serious and comic. The mangaka- certainly knows how to pull fans along, from actually running a fan contest to submit a new alien, to the consistent answering of fan questions within a special segment of the show….that is if anyone know what I am talking about 3 nen B gumi Kinpachi Sensei, which is a pretty popular drama series. It is at moments like this I wish that I was able to spend more time at Japan. Monsieur LaMoe, you sure are lucky to live in the land of the rising sun. Even though a lot of things are inflated, limited, and downright expensive – but to live in the land where it is to be drool worthy for any anime fan – I salute/envy you.
Please read the manga before you even watch the Television series, just because the manga is so much more funnier to read through first.
So then to review why you even would want to start reading Gintama.
Appreciate parodies, satire, or comedy. Want to laugh your head off, even though some of the jokes are downright silly.
Shonen Jump FTW… (I am thinking of “Shonen Heart” by Homemade Kaizoku as I am typing this line)
Want to read an alternative version of the samurai – spirit.
Any other read alikes – for this title, based on friendship – pick up any other shonen title that this title spoofs, just as an FYI. For other aspects such as talking about a manga within a manga, where the characters point to another published work – High School Debut, Otomen. But based on character types- you might want to try Cowboy Bebop, Trigun or Get Backers or even Kodomo no Omacha for the fact that there are silly yet serious moments. For the randomness – Sayonara Zetsubou -sensei is the obvious choice.. (Oh you can’t imagine how I feel every time I hear Sa-chan’s voice – she is voiced by Yu Kobayashi who Kaere’s voice in Sayonara. However this is not an anime reivew.. so don’t even get me started on Kazuya Nakai’s voice….)
Toradora is the standard-setter anime about high school shounen romance. It does for high school love what Kare Kano does for adolescence in general and Honey and Clover did for post-adolescence–and that well-defined scope is both its strength and its ultimate limitation.
“There never was much hope. Just a fool’s hope. Our enemy is ready, his full strength gathered…” Gandolf, from Lord of the Rings.
I’ve never seen such a close to realistic war drama in anime. NEVER. In movies, sure. The first thing that comes to my mind is Saving Private Ryan. Even for that, I was told that if a human is shot with these machine guns he’d be charred meat (as told by my army and marine friends; this was back in States), instead of just having his guts cut open. Another “war drama” was Lord of the Rings, written by someone who’s been through 2 world wars, one he fought, the other one he witnessed.
The odds are so stacked against these claymores, so much so that it looks like even Miria’s command ability will not matter in the least bit. 3 awakened defeated? So what! Try to defeat 27 of these including one Priscilla and one Abyssal.
However, is there hope after all? I really don’ know.
One very strange event greatly puzzled me (PLEASE, I know everyone who has kindly left comments are pretty restrained but once again I will ask please NO SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION) : The reaction of Priscilla and (obviously) Isley toward Raki.
I thought the same way with probably most people, Raki is now food for the Awakened/Abyssal One. But very strangely, Priscilla hasn’t even tried to eat Raki at all (neither did Isley). She…almost seems to really like him similar to the way a character from peanuts likes his blankie. Why? Priscilla’s behavior kind of reminds me of when she first became an awakened. She skipped past Clare without so much as to acknowledging Clare’s existence. There was Clare, having fresh and young guts. But Priscilla didn’t even bother to look at her. And here’s Raki, having fresh and young guts, and Priscilla isn’t treating him as food at all. But her feelings toward Raki is stronger. Isley’s explanation is that Raki smells like the south, where Priscilla comes from. I just can’t quite buy it.
There’s something about Priscilla…
I read in the manga that Clare thought (we don’t know what went through Priscilla’s mind except perhaps – “want…guts…now”) that she was so insignificant and worthless that Priscilla probably couldn’t be bothered with her. OK, I don’t know if that’s true, but this time around, Raki, who looks like a healthy boy, should be a decent meal for her.
Not at all. Priscilla is glad to hold on to him and be comforted like a little girl next to her older brother or even her father. Because of that reason, even Isley, the demon king of north, is willing to teach Raki how to fight with a sword. Not that it will matter at all – since it takes a lot of yoki in the claymore world to be effective against anyone. Unless the author pulls off a classic shonen stunt – that the weakest character in the show often has the greatest hidden powers. But, somehow I don’t think Norihiro Yagi (the author of the manga) and studio Madhouse’s director for this show would be that conventional. Anyway, Clare is kind of like that character already. So in the end I suspect that it won’t matter how strong Raki’s sword technique will become. But at that moment, I almost wish it would.
So what’s the significance here? I guess I’ll find out soon. My theory is that somehow, Raki’s encounter with Isley and Priscilla will save at least Clare. Although that may not be the case at all.
Let’s go back to “the close to realistic war drama in anime bit.”
Everyone’s scared, just in different ways, no surprises here. What is surprising is why different people got scared. The people who seemed most daring or indifferent (stoic) or have it all together, turn out to be the most scared or worried about (gasp) death! Some of the rest, however, are more afraid of something people in real world aren’t afraid of – having more power and turn to mindlessly violent…wait, I take that back. I’m sure some soldiers in Vietnam, Iwajima/other Pacific fronts in WWII, and even Iraq were or are afraid of turning into killing machines without conscience.
Mike will probably do a better analysis about powers and God and other stuff in the future. Here, I offer my observations and thoughts.
I was simply shocked (though I suspect a lot of other people saw this one coming) at what Deneve discovers in the back of the supply house – that Undine is really scared of death, and she has a really frail and feminine body just like most other Claymore ladies!!! Holy Shit I was just shocked!!!
To me, Deneve plays 2 roles: 1. The role of the curious audience – who wants to see what’s wrong with Undine. 2. The person who truly understands and knows that Undine has to be confronted and talked exactly at her weakest moment. I never thought I’d say this, but (blush) the real, vulnerable Undine is kind of…cute! No, I’m not strange. You have seen the episode, you know. As part of the curious audience, Deneve barged into the backroom, and she found Undine sitting on the floor crying and shivering, without her bulging muscles. She’s just a scared young woman, ooooh (just kidding).
I was so shocked that I almost fell out of my chair. Undine acts so fearless in the last episode that I didn’t think anything would faze her. Not true. There are two reasons why she seems so brave. Reason 1 has something to do with her past. But, let’s look at the second role that Deneve plays.
Deneve knows a scared person when she hears one. In a war, it’s very important to help a comrade, especially if that comrade happens to be your captain. Deneve goes to the store house. Inside, she hears Undine yelling at her and commanding her to get out.
Knowing what a person sounds like when she pretends to be commanding and tough but in reality needs a lot of comfort and help, Deneve takes a chance and walks into the backroom, with the other sword that Undine has in hand.
Undine has two swords. However, one of these isn’t hers. Deneve figures out why.
In this sequence, I learned why Claymore is such a good drama. It portrays fear realistically. No some guys with their jaw dropped and utters “uh…uh…uh…” for 50 seconds. No “OH MY GOD HE’S IMPOSSIBLE! I MUST FIGHT HARDER, LET MY BLOOD BOIL!” crap. Just some realistic fears against impossible odds and an almost certain death.
Without a God or any other deities to help out. Not at all. You’re on your own and no amount of good luck is likely to get you out of this one alive.
In short, Deneve shares her story with Undine with a somewhat flat voice. Half of the story involves the death of her family, the other half involves her best friend, Helene, who’s very realistic about fear.
Oh god (or Mr. Yagi) please don’t kill Helene or Deneve!
What Undine says in some way mirrors the sentiment of an older soldier who lived through WWI, even though it’s not quite the same. The old soldier said (about his experience about the death of his friend): “Yes, we were war buddies. But when the shell blew up my buddy and not me, my first thought, as disgusting to me as it’ll be later, was that I was glad that it wasn’t me.”
Deneve, after the death of her family, specifically her sister, who used her own life to protect her, decided to become a defensive Claymore and not an offensive one. Those who know the show enough just think about it and you will realize her cowardice.
Or maybe she’s not a coward. She’s just human. Just like Helene said.
Let talk about our protagonist next.
Here’s another good scene that I just have to talk about – Flora confronting Clare. The character I want to talk about isn’t actually Clare or Flora. It’s Jean.
It seems like Flora have been wondering about Clare, specifically Clare’s right arm for some time, and she isn’t going to trust Clare without some good explanation, or at least a good fight. She thought Clare got the arm of Irene using dirty methods.
I can’t blame her. Clare never bothered to explain how she got Irene’s only remaining arm to anyone. I’m sure since Irene had only one arm left, that arm must be precious to her. Yet Clare has that arm now. Therefore I can’t blame Flora being very suspicious about why Clare has that arm.
Thinking that Clare used an improper method to obtain that arm, Flora decides to challenge her.
Jean steps in. Her reason for stopping Flora from challenging Clare is simple.
“Clare saved my life and therefore I can’t forgive anyone who pulls a sword on her.”
I don’t know what to say except old fashion values still touches my heart, even though I’m the demon king (Ma-oh) of cynicism and jadedness. Jean is the perfect portrayal of a classic warrior. I applauded again.
Knowing that trusting and working in harmony with the others is important in this war, Clare tells the whole story – It seems obvious to me that Clare still thinks that Irene is still alive, and Clare is trying to hide that fact as long as possible. Clare has no intension of telling the story until Flora tells Jean and her that she simply can’t fight with a person who she can’t trust, and that she is going to get Clare kicked off the team.
After Clare tells her story and her intension, which is to make sure she doesn’t lose what she wants to protect and for making up for what she has lost, and she wants to cut off Priscilla’s head. She gained the trust of Flora. Whew! That’s a relief. The three (Clare, Jean, and Flora) crosses their swords a swears an oath that they will survive. This scene happens thanks to no small part of Jean stepping in. Clare probably didn’t want to get Jean involved in a senseless fight. Although here, Clare is definitely not the best character.
This moment is so touching in a warrior kind of way that I can’t help but be touched. I also can’t help but wonder if Yagi-sensei have read novels like Lord of the Rings or some kind of samurai stories after all.
Even someone as jaded as I am is a sucker for these types of stories. In LotR, when they send Boromir’s body away by the boat I shed silent tears. There, I said it.
Next, after Undine surly forgives and purposely forgets what her team members have said, we get to see Helene and her seemingly silly way of comforting a scared Claymore (I feel bad I don’t even know who this one is). Helene talks about food.
But you know what? Sometimes you just have to cheer someone up with seemingly really silly things. In a war where death lurks very near in every corner, even simple things can be so encouraging. Even if it’s just an apple.
Just as Helene says, “Of course, we’re human, too!” While trying not so obviously to comfort that scared Claymore.
Again, the author somehow knows something about war. Next, we come to Miria.
she doesn’t show much emotions after all. But she whispered a silent prayer, to…nobody? She prayed “If possible, let not one soldier here perish.”
(I cried again. There, I said it again.)
It’d be nice if God were real. Alas, at least in the Claymore world, there is no God. Only the fighting spirit of the warriors are keeping them alive. Their only hope is their own strength.
Miria is a little embarrassed and self conscious about her prayer, and saying something about that even though there is no God to pray to.
So why bother then?
Miria discusses the bleak possibility, which is coming into truth, that these claymores have no chance if Isley gets serious.
With Raki passed out, Isley meets with the scout who reports back, and then he issues an order to utterly destroy the town of Pieta.
Leave nothing alive. To sum up what he says. Nothing living is allowed to be left behind.
The future is looking impossibly bleak indeed. I know this is only an anime but I’d pray for these Claymores if they were real people.
But prayers won’t save them.
This episode is 100% recommended for your daily anime diet even though the only action is Isley demonstrating his sword fighting skills and Raki practicing his useless sword technique. I can’t be more impressed with this episode even if I tried.
P.S. one issue that a lot of recent shonen anime talk about – one person tries to do everything on his (in this case her) own, because someone he (she) really cared died because he (she) was powerless. The solution? Deneve said it the best: “Your comrades are here. what you can’t achieve by yourself, we’ll help you achieve it. So don’t force yourself too much, Captain Undine.” (tears again for me. There, I’ve said it for the 3rd time.)
P.S. 2 I really hate to predict this (DON’T read if you don’t want to feel I gave you the spoiler) but Jean, Miria, Helene, and probably Deneve is probably not going to come out alive. I’ll probably scream like Shinji when Jean dies…Man, that will suck so bad…