Ultraman Manga, by Eiichi Shimizu & Tomohiro Shimoguchi (Mildy Spoiler-ish)

Volume One

I picked this up since I was a fan of the old Ultraman TV show when I was a little kid. This story is a direct sequel to the original series, ignoring the myriad subsequent Ultra-series.  Earth has been at peace for the several decades since Ultraman went back to wherever it was he came from. Shin Hayata, Ultraman's human host,  eventually retired from the Science Patrol, married, had a son, and rose to become the Minister of Defense. Shin no longer remembers his time as Ultraman, although since he retains a certain measure of super-strength, I have to wonder where he thinks this power came from.  

The protagonist of the story is Shinjiro Hayata, Shin's son, who has inherited Shin's super-strength. His father is aware of this, but, oddly, never discusses it with him. Shinjiro hides his powers until one day he decides to try to impress a girl who's being bullied by some older boys, and accidentally cripples one of them.

The third major character is Mitsuhiro Ide, a member of the Science Patrol from the old days. He runs a sort of "Ultraman Museum". At one point, he reveals to Shin that hostile aliens have begun to take an interest in the Earth again, and that the museum is actually a front for the continued research of the supposedly long-disbanded Science Patrol. 

The fourth major character is Bemular. In the old show, Bemular was the first monster Ultraman fought.  Here, he's a human-sized alien who confronts and attacks Shinjiro.  Shin (who has remembered that he was Ultraman*) defends his son, and sends him off to safety at Ide's museum. Ide reveals to Shinjiro that they've built an exo-suit to help magnify and control his powers, which may one day surpass Shin's.  Shinjiro dons the suit and rushes to confront Bemular, who is beating the crap out of the now somewhat elderly Shin. Shinjiro manages to drive Bemular away, but is left with more questions than answers.

Overall 

I enjoyed this book. The art is pretty good, it suits the subject matter. The exo-suit only vaguely resembles the original Ultraman outfit, but it looks OK. So far, the action has been kept at a human-sized level, I'll be curious to see if that continues. So far, it's been a standard, "Kid discovers that he's the secret heir to the legendary hero" story, but I feel that it's reasonably well-handled. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this.

*Ide reveals that back in the day, the Science Patrollers all knew that Shin was Ultraman, but kept quiet about it for Shin's sake.  I'm personally OK with this revelation. It makes sense to me.

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Asked and answered. Thanks Baron!

I've seen a little of this. It looks good.

I read this and liked it, too. My one quibble is that Shinjiro's armor makes him more "Iron Man" than "Ultraman."

Picked up Volume Two, today.  One thing I noticed - the covers are on upside down!

I was underwhelmed by issue #2. My complaint (as I indicated said last time) is that it's more "Iron Man" than "Ultraman." The art on Ultraman and the villain is good, but the supporting (human) characters look a bit sketchy.

I WANT TO SEE A GIANT ULTRAMAN FIGHT GIANT MONSTERS!

Interesting. I've read Volume Two, I just have to gather my thoughts into a coherent form.

Volume Two


We get some new characters in this.  The first is an odd-looking alien that was introduced at the end of Volume One. He (It?) calls himself Edo, although Earthmen knew him as Zetton. He was an enemy of humanity, who is now ostensibly on our side.  I find him a little shifty, he seems to be quite willing to deceive Shinjiro in order to persuade him to become Ultraman. He definitely seems to have an agenda of his own.

We also meet Rena, an idol singer who is obsessed with Ultraman. It's conceivable that they're setting her up to be a love interest for Our Hero.

Next up, we meet  two police detectives, Endo and Kurata. They are a typical Japanese senior/junior duo. They're investigating a series of brutal murders when they're warned off by Moroboshi of the Science Patrol. In the best fictional police tradition, Endo insists on continuing his investigation, reasoning that as professionals, they're liable to catch things that the SSSP guys might miss.  The murders seem to be connected to an alien living secretly on Earth, and to members of Rena's fan club.

The main thrust of the volume is Shinjiro agonizing over whether or not to become Ultraman, and ends with him battling Adacic, an alien who's been secretly living on Earth and eating people. Ide releases the suit's limiter and Shinjiro  easily defeats his foes.

Overall

I'm still enjoying this, myself. It's a bit of a slow build-up - I mean, we know that Shinjiro will become Ultraman, so his agonizing has a limited impact.  I don't see that much similarity with Iron Man, myself, apart from the fact that they both wear battle-suits.

I don't see that much similarilty with Ultraman (the one I grew up with), either.

I haven't given up it it yet, though.

Volume Three

In this volume, Moroboshi shows Shinjiro a hidden city filled with aliens, and takes him to see an alien "fight club" where a human called "Jack" serves as an informant.  Shinjiro hangs out with Jack, and gets caught up in a fight with an alien.  Moroboshi hints that someone else can become Ultraman. We also learn that Rena is the older cop's daughter.  The two cops set up a stake-out to capture the serial killer. the Sceince Patrol allows them to do so in hopes of capturing the killer themselves.  We end with the reveal that Moroboshi is a second Ultraman!

Overall

This is not bad, it's still holding my interest.  The whole business of Shinjiro agonizing about being Ultraman is dragging on a bit longer than I would like, but it's not too annoying.

Volume Four

Moroboshi, in his new Ultraman armor, easily captures the killer. Shinjiro finally decides to be Ultraman, only to be sent after Jack and his alien pal, Red.  This, however, is all a set-up by the Science Patrol to motivate Shinjiro. Shinjiro learns how to fly, and Red surrenders. Moroboshi reveals to Shinjiro that his new suit is the seventh upgrade of the armor, making him "Seven".  An alien called Adad attacks one of Rena's concerts. Shinjiro and Moroboshi show up, as does Bemular, who has been helping Endo and Kurata.

Overall

I'm quite enjoying this. Lots of interesting twists and turns in the story, as we still don't know exactly what's going on here. I liked the variation on Ultra Seven, as well.  Not exactly like the old Ultraman, but I'm still having fun reading this.

I forgot to tell you last week that I'm still reading this series, too. I noticed you didn't post a reaction to v3 last month; I haven't read v4 yet.

Yeah, I fell behind, but now I'm caught up.  For some reason, I thought you'd dropped it.

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