The Ultraman manga is a sequel to the 1960s television show of the same name. If you aren’t familiar with the Ultraman mythos, Ultraman is an alien who came to earth and merged with a human host, Shin Hayata, to protect humans and the earth from an invasion. Now with the mysterious super being Bemular making his presence known, a string of high profile murders, and alien attacks in the news, a new Ultraman is needed. Shinjiro, the son of Shin Hayata, has reluctantly answered the call. Born with enhanced speed, strength, and a measure of invulnerability due to his father’s time as Ultraman, Shinjiro is the perfect candidate to protect the earth as the new Ultraman.
Ultraman, vol. 3 opens with Shinjiro questioning his role as Ultraman after the death he was forced to deal in volume 2. Meanwhile the Science Special Search Party continues their investigation into the mysterious serial killer targeting people who speak out against idol Rena Sayama. In an effort to capture the murderer Ultraman is sent in for the final confrontation, but this Ultraman is uncompromising in ways that haven’t been seen before.
Ultraman isn’t a series that I would recommend readers jump into if they haven’t been following along from the beginning. But fans of the first two volumes will find a lot to love in this third volume that will only increase their desire for the next part of the series. All of the angsty hanging threads are continued from the earlier volumes and more complications are introduced to belabor Shinjiro’s Ultraman journey.
The art style is reminiscent of many shonen manga—such as Gundam Wing, Dragonball Z, and Bleach—that feature high action sequences marked by quick precise lines, and even without color these scenes leave an impression. The gripping and intense plot often speeds along so quickly you might not have time to notice all of the nuances in the art during your first read through, especially as it flips rapidly between the two different plotlines.
The graphic violence of the murders and the science fiction/fantasy violence of Ultraman’s fight scenes in this series make this a definite teen manga. But by the time readers reach the last page I guarantee that the twisty and abrupt ending will leave fans clamoring for answers and desperate to get their hands on volume 4 when it is published in May.
Ultraman, Vol. 3
by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi
Viz Media, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: Teen