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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Ultraman Manga: Chapter Six Review

This is the big chapter for the Ultraman Manga, it's is the end of the first volume. Looking back, it established things pretty interestingly. It started off smoothly, slowly introducing us to the characters and setting, which is in the Original Show's continuity. Shinjiro, which is abbreviated as Shin, put on the Ultraman armor two chapters ago. He's been neither a great protagonist or bad one...he's just there. The last chapter was basically just a continuation of the fight between him and the alien, nothing big happened. This changes here, because not only one shocking thing happens, but another. This is definitely the best chapter yet.

The battle has concluded. Shin is tired, but so is the Alien, whom has lost part of his body. The latter cannot fight, so he retreats, but not without letting Shin know his true identity. (Holy moly!) Shin goes to his father, but passes out. Later in a hospital bed he is greeted by Ito...and a familiar looking thing. This chapter concludes the fight, it's more dialogue based, which is a good thing since not much happened in Five. The Alien's identity is revealed to be...are you ready for this...Bemular. History lesson for non-fans, this guy was the first ever monster Ultraman fought. (Famous for his immobile arms, but that was fixed in Mega Monster Battle.) This came as a huge shock for many reasons. The main one being that if this thing is Bemular, how the heck can he talk? The author succeeds greatly in capturing the reader by surprise, this was a truly shocking (and cool) twist.

The other big thing about this chapter is the arrival of Alien Z-Ton. Another history lesson, Alien Z-Ton appeared in the final episode of the original Ultraman. They are aliens which are famous for summoning the monster Zetton. So this was also pretty shocking, and an amazing plot point. (Is that really Ito? Is he being tricked? Manipulated?) Now this manga is really going with establishing very interesting plot points. The art improves upon the last chapter, there's some really nice detail. The splash page with Z-Ton and Ito was a true highlight. But the true thing of why this chapter shines? It successfully builds suspense with great dialogue and carefully unveils the twists. This chapter was surprisingly only 22 pages, yet it managed to have satisfying content.

Overall, Chapter Six of the Ultraman Manga is a true highlight. Fans really should be checking this out, lots of great stuff. The twists are quite shocking, but aren't forced. The story is taking its time with the plot, giving us information, good action, and big reveals. After this chapter, I am officially hyped to see what comes next.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ultraman Manga: Chapter Five Review

Many Ultra fans probably have no idea that there's currently an ongoing manga. You can find the chapters at Mangahere, all fans should be reading it. This chapter continues the fight from previously. Shin is now in full Ultraman mode. The Alien has taken down Hayaya, so now it's all up to the main character. Nothing really much is revealed here in this rather short chapter. (It doesn't even crack 25 pages.) The fight continues with the only new thing being Shin using the Spacium Ray, which was pretty exciting.

Hayata is the ground, battered and defeated. Thankfully Shin is doing a solid job fighting the Alien...until the latter whips up some kind of Spirit Bomb straight out of Dragon Ball Z. How can Shin hope to combat that? By unleashing the Spacium Ray of course. As stated a paragraph ago, this chapter was severely short, so this review is going to be one paragraph shorter since nothing really happened. The fight continues, it's pretty entertaining. Who doesn't love a good Spirit Bomb? Obviously the big thing here is that Shin uses the Spacium Ray, which was very cool to see. The art actually isn't as great as the previous chapter, many panels don't look quite finished.

Overall, there's not too much to say about Chapter 5 of the Ultraman manga. It's under 30 pages and nothing important happens other than Shin using the Spacium Ray. Entertaining? Sure, but I expect big things to happen in 6, which I believe ends the first volume.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ultraman Manga: Chapter Four Review

This is the big payoff chapter in the Ultraman manga. This story has been taking its time with developing the characters and situation. It's done a pretty solid job using the classic series as a backdrop. Sadly Shin, the main character, has yet to leave any type of impression. He's been just a depressed kid for no apparent reason and now in this chapter he's emo for revenge. We're still early on of course, and if I know how mangas work, we can expect plenty of character development as the story progresses. The last chapter had Hayata confront the mysterious alien and on the final page Ito unveiled the armor for Shin. This chapter demonstrates how awesome the action can be.

It starts out with the alien and Hayata battling it out. Sadly the former Ultraman is beginning to lose steam, but is saved by Shin, whom is now in the armor. What follows is a huge fight. First, I just want to say that the armor itself is pretty cool, except it doesn't look like Ultraman at all. You could place it in a Gundam or Robotech manga and nobody would know the difference. That aside, this chapter was a blast. You thought the fight previously was good? Here we have a full blown battle encompassing the entire chapter. Obviously the story itself doesn't progress too much, but we could always use a good chapter fight.

Now of course the major thing here is that we finally get to see Shin in the Ultraman armor. Once again he fails to leave an impression. So far we've seen him in emo depressed mode, surprised and yelling mode, now we have him in revenge mode. He has yet to become a solid protagonist. Of course, like I've stated, this is just the prologue to the bigger event, I'm sure he will improve. The art demonstrates how epic it can do the fights. Blows are felt, it's really good stuff. I know it's a manga, but the opening colorized pages are a tease of what the whole thing could look like within, they look great. Still, the artwork has improved since Chapter One.

Overall, a very action-packed chapter of the Ultraman manga. The first three were about developing the story, here it's one big fight. We finally get to see what Shin in the armor is going to be like, plus this mysterious alien is always a blast to see. I'm looking forward to seeing how things play out in Chapter 5.


Monday, February 11, 2013

The S.H. Monsterarts are Rolling Out

The SH Monsterarts line from Tamashii Nations is easily one of the greatest figure lines for Godzilla. Starting with the Heisei version of G two years ago, the line has pretty much covered the Heisei era. (The only ones without an announcement at the moment are Mothra, Battra, and Mecha King Ghidorah.) Last week another figure was unveiled, this time from the Showa era, Godzilla 1964.

This was pretty big. For quite a bit now fans have been wondering where would the Monsterarts go after the Heisei era. This figure seems to answer that question, the company is well on their way to the classic movies. In the meantime, we can look forward to my personal favorite figure coming up at the end of the month, Destoroyah.

Awesome, isn't it? We also have the the evolutionary set coming later in the year. (Destoroyah's aggregate and the long awaited Flying form.) We also have the first American monster, the Peter Jackson version of King Kong to look forward to.

But not too long ago, another hotly anticipated monster was unveiled. The thought of her getting a figure in this line was almost unthinkable.  Yes, her. She goes by the name of Biollante.

A couple of months ago this prototype was shown, mainly due to fans requesting her. That's right, the more people that post they want something made, the greater the chance. This prototype is an example of that. Many people kept requesting and it was made. Sadly since then there has been no info. She did get a mention in the latest issue of G-Fan, but that's it. So, once again, the fans must voice their desire to see her released. How? By going to Bluefin's Facebook page here. The more people that post, the greater that chance we'll see this rose of a kaiju sooner than later.

Stay tuned for my review of Destoroyah near the beginning of next month.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ultraman Manga: Chapter Three Review

Three chapters in, the Ultraman manga has yet to establish a status quo, we're still in the prologue stage. It's taking its time with establishing the characters and plot, which is a good thing, as long as we get some pretty big things soon. The first chapter introduced us to the characters and what 20 years after the Original Series is like, the second chapter showed us how Shin would be as the main character, and finally here is when he realizes what the Ultraman gene is. This chapter was pretty exciting, having a great fight and Shin about to become the new Ultraman. It looks like things are coming into place.

It starts out right where Chapter 2 left off, with the intervention of Hayata. Shin is shocked to see his dad wearing an Ultraman armor and about to take on the 'Fake Ultraman.' Shin is taken into safety where Ito pulls off the sheet of armor for Shin to wear. There's plenty of the usual manga type of emotion, such as Hayata talking to his son about him growing up. It's touching, slightly overplayed, but pretty good. This chapter will go down as the one to give us our first official fight. (The bully fight from Chapter 2 doesn't count.) The battle between Hayata and the alien is definitely the highlight. It's very well choreographed, now I'm really looking forward to future battles.

Shin doesn't improve or de-prove as a character. This is him just being shocked about everything he discovers. The next chapter will most likely be him in the new Ultraman armor, so we'll see how he fares. The alien or 'Fake Ultraman' as Shin calls him is making for a pretty cool and mysterious antagonist. Who is he? Why does he think the Ultraman gene is too powerful? The story is really succeeding in building a mystery surrounding this guy. Art wise, it's pretty good throughout. It's definitively improved since Chapter One. The fight is well drawn and I love how deliberately cool the alien is made to look. If this battle is any indication, we're in for a treat with future fights.

Overall, a pretty exciting chapter of Ultraman. The last one was all about Shin and the arrival of the alien, while this one is him realizing the power he has and the fight between Hayata and the antagonist. Things are being set up, we'll see how Shin fares as the new Ultraman in Chapter Four. I also hope to see some kaiju soon.