Ultraman Volume 1 Manga Review
“Ultraman” is an engaging continuation of the original TV series.
Written by Eiichi Shimizu and drawn by Tomohiro Shimoguchi, the first volume of the new “Ultraman” manga is a sequel to the wildly successful 1966 Japanese TV series of the same name. The manga is set several years after the series and begins with an older Shin Hayata (now free of Ultraman) with his young son (Shinjiro). We learn that Hayata remembers nothing of his time as Ultraman and that his son possesses strange abilities. When the story jumps further ahead in time, his now teenage son is confused by his powers. To say anything more would be spoiling the development of the story, but expect more father/son moments, a new alien menace, and more tidbits about Ultraman.
On the cover of this Viz Media manga release, the words “This is the beginning of a new age” are proudly displayed and that is most certainly true. This is “Ultraman” for a new generation, but it’s thankfully not a reboot that disregards continuity. Instead, the manga wisely continues the story from the TV series and gives longtime fans of the franchise many nods and winks to the past. This is easily the manga’s strong suit as it is fun to catch up with the characters and learn what has happened and what is happening in the present.
Alas, as with any new take on a classic, there is one aspect that has been overhauled and that is the Ultraman suit. As you can gather from the cover image, it has been modernized and now needlessly resembles “Iron Man.” I’m sure I’m not alone in being put off by this change, but the 6 chapters of content do make up for the lousy design.
From an art perspective, Tomohiro Shimoguchi’s is rather hit-and-miss. The striking color images at the start of the manga are the highlight here, but the B&W manga pages themselves are all over the place. The action panels are generally well done, but the character designs are flat and several environments appear bare and simplistic.
Overall Thoughts: “Ultraman” enthusiasts will surely want to check this first volume out. It may not be perfect, but there’s a lot to admire here. Note: The back of the manga contains character sketches and a brief little comedy story with the author and artist.
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