Running Action-Packed New Series Created By Two Legends Of Comics And Manga Begins With July Issue Of Monthly Manga Anthology

San Francisco, CA, JUNE 17, 2009 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the debut of the serialization of the ULTIMO series (KARAKURIDÔJI ULTIMO) in SHONEN JUMP magazine. Originally announced to a packed house at a Press Conference at New York Comic Con in 2008, the serialization begins in the July issue of SHONEN JUMP magazine, which is on sale now at retailers and newsstands nationwide.

ULTIMO represents a historic collaboration between comics legend Stan Lee, co-creator of many iconic superheroes including Spider-Man™, the Fantastic Four™, and the X-Men™, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of the popular SHAMAN KING manga series, published in Japan by Shueisha and in North America by VIZ Media.

The ULTIMO back-story: High above Farmless City, citizens are stunned by the sudden appearance of two floating figures. Are they human boys, monolithic robots, or something much more strange? As the battle ensues between them, destruction and devastation falls on the hapless city. One figure is Vice, and seems to be as evil as his name implies. The other is Ultimo, intent on trying to stop Vice from wreaking more havoc. But who are Vice and Ultimo really? Where did they come from? Find out in the first chapter of ULTIMO!

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Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil Vol 1 Manga Review

Title: Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil Vol 1

Story: Kazuki Nakashima

Art: KarakaraKemuri

Publisher: Tokyopop

ISBN: 9781427815705

May Contain Spoilers

Take three guys named Takeru, mix in a land mired in warfare, and the result is a fairly entertaining fantasy with plenty of action and non-stop pacing.  The three Takerus meet in Oyashima, and they couldn’t be more different.  Izumo-no-Takeru is the most outgoing of the three, and he doesn’t waste any time getting the other Takerus to join in the search for the sword of Susanoh with him.  Kumaso-no-Takeru relies on his fists more than his brain, and Oguna-no-Takeru is reserved and a little mysterious.  He also thinks the other two are complete fools.  Why do these guys want the magical sword, and what are their intentions once they find it?

Takeru: Opera Susanoh Sword of the Devil is the unwieldy name for a light-hearted fantasy.  More Eddings than Tolkien, the story blends humor and action with prophesies, swordplay, and an evil invading army.  Oyashima has fallen before the might of the Amamikado army, and life is now very unpleasant for the unfortunate losers.  Izumo-no-Takeru arrives from across the sea to collect an object he’s arranged to purchase, only to discover that it has fallen into the hands of the invaders.  He’s not very happy that he’s traveled all that way for nothing, and so he recruits the other Takerus to help him retrieve it, and then the sword. 

They believe that the sword is hidden somewhere in the Jagara territory, a land ruled by women warriors.  Jagara has been fending off Amamikado, but each battle is harder to win.  When the Takerus arrive, a prophesy is unveiled, and the Takerus might hold the key to defeating the invading army.  They are put to a test, to prove that they are worthy of the Jagara’s trust in them. 

Nothing is new or groundbreaking, but the plot elements are woven into a fast-paced story with engaging characters.  Everyone has their own hidden agenda, the Kingdom of Amamikado is suitably evil, and the Takerus are good-natured and easy on the eye.  The art is very clean and helps to carry the story along on its breakneck path.  Takeru is a light summer read, one that doesn’t demand much from the reader.   It will keep you entertained while catching a few rays, but overall, it’s a little insubstantial. 

Grade: B-

Review copy provided by Tokyopop