It’s time to bring this big battle against the Ace Killer Squad to a close. What will happen to our heroes though when all is said and done. Is it good?
Writer: Eiichi Shimizu
Artist: Tomohiro Shimoguchi
Translated/Adapted by: Joe Yamazaki, Stan!
Lettering by: Evan Waldinger
Publisher: Viz Media
Ultraman Vol. 8 brings to a close a major part of the story and enters the next phase of the tale. The story wraps up the big battle with the Ace Killer Squad in a pretty spectacular fashion, pushing Shinjiro into a new stage of his life and career as Ultraman. New alliances are formed, new issues are raised about established characters, and the future is both exciting and uncertain. The new storyline also seems to be taking us to another part of the world, America, a few months into the future and with a new character that shows some promise (especially given the ending). The plot is very intriguing with all of the games that the characters are playing with each other and the conflicts that are arising. At times, the pacing is a bit too quick for its own good and it can be a bit difficult to keep up with the story. The plot does get very intricate in how everything is laid out and how things are slowly introduced over time, but this is still a rather juicy story that’s worth biting into.
Character-wise, a lot of the cast had some great and rather surprising moments that went to further developing their characters. The biggest one is Shinjiro, who seems to finally come into his own as Ultraman, accepting who he is now and understanding what needs to be done to save the day. He even seems to have grown more confident outside of the costume as well, like when he meets Rena’s dad. It feels very earned given all the buildup and struggling with his role for past several volumes. There are minor bits with Rena’s dad, Seiji, and even Red that help to establish where they all are at the end of the everything and where they’ll be going. Though the most surprising development goes to Jack and his revelation of working with some group in America. What’s his goal and what’s his plan? For a character who has been very laid back for the most part, this sudden change really makes me want to go back and read all of his earlier appearances to see if there were any hints at this. But overall, great development with a lot of the characters. I just kind of wish there was more with Rena and Shinjiro’s mother (she exists, but we’ve barely seen her).
The artwork looked great as usual and helped elevate the quality of the story a lot. Besides how good the characters are usually drawn and how well the layouts are constructed, what truly shines is how incredibly effective Tomohiro Shimoguchi is at presenting and making a truly effective scene. There are lot of powerful, heavy, or triumphant moments throughout the volume and Shimoguchi brings them to life wonderfully. He knows exactly how to angle a shot, use space and the background in a panel, how much detail to put what is happening, and how to draw expressions and body language of a character to get the emotion and power of each moments down. It’s a terrifically drawn series and I’m eager to see more of it whenever the next volume arrives.
Ultraman Vol. 8 is a great volume that brings a sense of closure to a major part of the story, but it also harkens to a new beginning for the series. Many things have changed, many things have been discovered, new allies and new villains have appeared in places we’ve least expected it, and the future is intriguing. If you’ve enjoyed the series up until now, this is a fantastic outing and here’s hoping the next 8 volumes are just as good.