Karakuridoji Ultimo Volume 9 Manga Review

Ultimo 9Title: Karakuridoji Ultimo 9 Volume 9

Original Concept: Stan Lee

Story and Art: Hiroyuki Takei

U. S. Distributor: Viz

U. S. Release Date: Nov. 5, 2013

Format:  Manga/210 pages

Genre: Shonen, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: T+

Overall Personal Rating: B

It is the time of the Hundred Machine Funeral; the ultimate battle between good and evil, all plotted by Dunstan. The question remains, what really is good?


Some of them attend Eco’s funeral. The only way to set this right is to win the Hundred Machine Funeral, then everything will return to the way it was. It is more than just destroying the enemy. The winner will be the side that gets the others to change sides. Yamato knows he needs all the power of the Doji behind him to beat Dunstan since he has the power of the future.

Tensions are high, yet there is a reserve in order to not to kill, but change hearts. Things are chaotic, lines and plans aren’t clear. A fight breaks out between Kodaira and Akitsu. Jun seems to have a death wish. In a dramatic and graphic twist, Kiyose uses memory and manipulation to transport them into to a WWII battle. But, is his heart reachable? K is confronted and Jun tries to take control of Vice. Hibari and Gage are training and stumble into the conflict. As they too engage in battle, the lines become unclear.


I always find myself calling it Ultimo, but there is an American comic Ultimo also with Stan Lee, which isn’t the same thing at all. Karakuridoji Ultimo is a blend of east and west as a collaboration. As this story goes, anything goes. It is complex to the point of confusing with rule twists, time and location jumps, and chaotic battle events. Since there isn’t a clear linear path, I don’t even have a sense where this is headed. The character, their relationships with the Doji and transformation are also complicated. Except for a bit with Eco and Yamoto, the characters don’t draw me into their story, leaving the action much less engaging. I stress that this is the way I struggle to understand the story. There are definitely others who roll with it all and get caught up in the action.

What Karakuridoji Ultimo does well is the art work. The illustrations are wonderfully dramatic and bold with heavy inking. The design is energetic and there is a lot of skill in portraying the characters. Much of it seems more akin to western comics than an average manga as the pictures are also a blend of east and west. The WWII scenes were extremely dramatic and disturbing. Even so, as they seem to be making an important point, it ended with no noticeable result. As the book later ended in the middle of a scene, this still might be pulled together in another volume.


Overall Grade: B I  ncredible images flounder in a complex story with no clear path.


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