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Karakuridōji Ultimo
Karakuridōji Ultimo vol 1.jpg
Japanese cover of Karakuridōji Ultimo volume 1
(Karakuri Dōji Urutimo)
Genre Action, Science fiction
Karakuridōji Ultimo:0
Author Stan Lee (concept)
Hiroyuki Takei
Illustrator Hiroyuki Takei
Publisher Shueisha
English publisher Canada United States Viz Media
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Jump SQ.II (Second)
English magazine Canada United States Shonen Jump
Original run April 18, 2008unknown
Volumes 1
Author Stan Lee (concept)
Hiroyuki Takei
Illustrator Hiroyuki Takei
Publisher Shueisha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Jump SQ.
English magazine Canada United States Shonen Jump
Original run March 2009 – ongoing
Volumes 2 as of 3 February 2010 (2010 -02-03)
Anime and Manga Portal

Karakuridōji Ultimo (機巧童子ULTIMO Karakuri Dōji Urutimo?, lit. "Mechanical Boy: Ultimo"), commonly referred to as Ultimo, is a manga series created by Hiroyuki Takei and Stan Lee (and his production company Pow Entertainment). The pilot was inked in by Daigo and painted by Bob, the other art staff are, Ka-Toon, Akira Yuki, Killer-R, Reki, and Crazy-Lili. The pilot chapter Karakuridōji Ultimo:0 (機巧童子 ウルティモ: ゼロ?) was published in the special issue of Jump SQ. called Jump SQ.II (Second) on April 18, 2008.

Karakuridōji Ultimo was serialized in the main Jump SQ. magazine in March 2009. It follows the story of two robots named Ultimo and Vice which were created by Dr. Dunstan 1,000 years ago. Vice and Ultimo are set to be unleashed when the last war begins. In West Tokyo, Farmless City a monster wearing a noh mask levels an observation deck on a city skyscraper. Ultimo is shown flying above the city and the monster wearing a noh mask transforms into Vice, the two get into a massive duel stunning pedestrians who have come to the scene.

The manga was later translated into English by Viz Media and chapter 0 was published in the September 2008 issue of Shonen Jump. Serial publication of chapters beginning with chapter 1 started in the July 2009 issue. In promotion of the English adaptation a press conference was held at the 2008 New York Comic Con with promotional artwork.




Pilot chapter

1,000 years ago in a one hundred-storied pagoda, two "mechanical boys" named Ultimo and Vice were created by a scientist named Dr. Dunstan (drawn to resemble Stan Lee). Ultimo was created to be "perfect good", while Vice is "perfect evil", and both contain ultimate power and the creator's noh abilities. It is said that when the world finally begins its last war, Ultimo and Vice will be awakened. 1,000 years later in West Tokyo, Farmless City, a monster wearing a "noh mask" levels the observation deck of a city skyscraper. The S.K.A.T. Police attempt to stop the monster, but to no avail. The monster then attempts to crush a woman and her child, but Ultimo plunges in and guards her before destroying the monster. Dahlman, a local Farmless police, confronts Ultimo asking him about the chaos just caused by the monster. Ultimo, interrupting Dahlman, explains the creature is turning into its true form. Vice, Ultimo's evil counterpart, emerges from the monster's "corpse". Member K of the S.K.A.T. team becomes enraged and fires at Vice, trying to kill him. Vice analyzes the weapon (a gun) and creates several copies for himself, and begins firing bullets at the crowd. Ultimo blocks the bullets and begins fighting with Vice, severing Vice's arm in the ensuing battle. As a last resort, Vice attempts to destroy the city with a "demon drum". The ensuing battle leads them both into outer space. Later, three mysterious men began to head for Tokyo, where the incident began, from Kyoto. Member K, meanwhile, finds Vice's powerful shape-shifting arm and takes it for himself. Ultimo's body was later found in Mt. Fuji by a hiker.


The story then cuts back to 12th century Japan, where Dunstan is transporting Ultimo and Vice in a cart. Dunstan is halted by a gang of bandits, who, despite Dunstan's warnings, open the boxes containing Ultimo and Vice. The two mechanical boys quickly awaken, and Vice's demeanor provokes several bandits to fire a volley of arrows at him. Vice quickly counterattacks, and then transforms himself into a large demonic monster. Unfazed by Vice's power and appearance, the bandits stand their ground and prepare to battle Vice. Ultimo, unwilling to allow Vice to kill anymore people, attacks Vice. Dunstan, who has already explained that Ultimo and Vice are "ultimate good and evil", states that he created Ultimo and Vice to see which force, good or evil, is stronger. The bandit leader threatens to kill Dunstan, but Dunstan simply disappears, claiming "I do not die."

Back in the 21st century, a student named Yamato Agari (with the same name and face as the bandit leader) and his friend Rune Kodaira walk into an antique store, only to spot Ultimo among the store's wares. Yamato, upon saying the name "Ultimo," unwittingly awakens Ultimo, who bursts out of the glass case he was contained in and hugs Yamato, but in doing so Ultimo accidentally impales Yamato with glass shards. It is quickly revealed that the bandit leader had become Ultimo's master a thousand years ago, and that Yamato was his reincarnation (revealing why he remembered Ultimo's name, but not Ultimo himself.) The Karakuri Dōji require a master to enhance their already significant powers. Ultimo explains that Vice "has appeared in this time period," and that he required a master to combat him. However, Yamato declines, wanting simply to buy a birthday gift to impress Makoto Sayama, the girl he secretly loves.

Yamato and Rune ride back to school on a bus. Rune mulls over the oddities of Ultimo, including the fact that Ultimo was dirty and damaged in his case, but became "clean and shiny" when he embraced Yamato. Yamato is unconcerned, instead agonizing over the fact that he cannot find a birthday present for Sayama. Rune reflects to himself that although Yamato does not want to be involved with Ultimo and Vice's battles, Yamato is the type to not let a conflict go.

Suddenly, Vice (who now has his arm restored) appears in front of the bus and slices it in half with a Karakuri Henge named "Turtle Saw." Ultimo appears and holds the bus halves in the air to protect the riders, and admits that he had followed Yamato there. Vice reveals that he already has found a master, and is now more powerful than Ultimo. Vice stabs Ultimo in the chest, barely missing his "spirit" (a kind of battery that the Karakuri Dōji require to survive). Yamato bravely attacks Vice with his book bag, distracting him and giving Ultimo an opening to attack with a Henge named "Crane Sword", employing the attack "Millenium Cut." As Ultimo cuts Vice in half, the remains of the bus explodes, and Vice's blade creates a small scratch on Ultimo's spirit, nearly killing him.

Out of nowhere, K, who has quit his law enforcement job, appears and reveals himself to be Vice's master. Angry at Vice for being defeated and nearly destroyed so easily, K takes his frustration out on Vice's disabled body. Yamato becomes angered and punches K, who demonstrates no will to defend himself. Suddenly, Police Inspector Darumada appears, having come to investigate the cause of the explosion, and attempts to place Yamato under arrest for assault and battery. K attempts to frame Yamato for the exploded bus, but as Yamato punches at K again, K orders the barely functional Vice to help him escape.

Later, at Senju Academy, Hibari Oume is recounting the bus battle she witnessed, her enthusiasm met with skepticism by her classmates. As Sayama arrives, Oume also recalls seeing Yamato and Rune at the scene, this fact catching Sayama's attention.

At the same time in an alley, Yamato and Rune argue over their next move, Yamato stating his intent to repair Ultimo. Rune is doubtful, but then shows a little faith in his friend and departs for school. With strong resolve, Yamato sneaks back to his apartments through a back route, where he is discovered by Agari Fushimi, his mother. He is able to hide Ultimo from her, and after his close call, successfully gets Ultimo into his room. There, Yamato studies Ultimo's limp form and recognizes that Ultimo is not completely destroyed, since his spirit sphere had been seen shining in the dark alley. Yamato readies himself to renew the pledge of devotion, but then realizes that he does not know how to do so. Recalling fairy tales, Yamato figures that a kiss will revive Ultimo, but before he can do anything else, Ultimo awakens on his own, able to speak. Right after that, Sayama opens the door, telling Yamato that she had skipped out of school to check on him out of concern over his absence at school. However, upon seeing Yamato kneeling over Ultimo posed to give a kiss, Sayama makes an understanding face and departs. Yamato collapses, horrified that Sayama had seen him that way, causing Ultimo alarm. The image of Dr. Dunstan can be seen over the apartments, laughing genially.

A distance away, the silhouette what appears to be a third Karakuri Dōji is seen, placing one of its pointed hand tips into its mouth and growling.

That night, Yamato has a dream about the past. The bandit leader has become Ultimo's master, and he and his bandits have been traveling the countryside laying waste to the possessions of the "evil nobles" for three years.


Karakuridōji Ultimo was first announced as an unnamed work between Stan Lee, the co-creator of iconic superhero titles such as Spider-Man and X-Men, and Hiroyuki Takei, the creator of Shaman King.[1][2] According to Stan Lee in an audio interview,[3][4][5] he was called by Dream Ranch and JEA told that they wanted him to create a manga with them, and was to be published by Shueisha. Stan Lee stated that he has never made a comic about two robots of the same level of power, with one not being as heroic as the other.[5] In conceptualizing Karakuridōji Ultimo, Stan Lee wanted to create something that both Japanese and American readers would enjoy.[6] The first fully colorized picture of Vice and Ultimo was released on the Jump SQ. website on April 4, 2008.[7] The pilot chapter was finally finished and published in the off-shoot issue of Jump SQ.Jump SQ.II (Second).[1]

I am deeply honored for this great opportunity to collaborate with an award-winning artist/writer of the stature of Hiroyuki Takei. I enthusiastically expect that the combination of an American story-telling style merged with Takei-san's acclaimed Japanese style will result in our joint creation Ultimo presenting an original, exciting type of manga that will appeal to comic book fans around the world.
Stan Leequoted from press release.[8]

On the same day as the release, Viz hosted a press event in the Shonen Jump panel,[9] attended by Stan Lee, Takanori Asada (Jump SQ. editor), and Marc Weidenbaum (Shonen Jump editor-in-chief) at the 2008 New York Comic Con.[2][10][11] Also at the press event, Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei signed the first copy of Jump SQ.II (Second) to the winner of a Shonen Jump sweepstakes.[2][11] It was optional whether the winner could come over to the press event and get the issue signed in person or get it sent in the mail.[8] The Shonen Jump sweeps ended in April 11, 2008.[12] Two promotional art pieces by Hiroyuki Takei were created, one with Ultimo and the other with Dr. Dunstan both including the manga's logo.[13] "I'm so happy that we can work with such a great creator as Stan Lee. I am so happy that two great actors are working together, and I know that Ultimo will be a great work," said Takanori Asada at the press event.[6]


The 32-page pilot chapter premiered in the first issue of Jump SQ.'s Jump SQ.II (Second) with the first three pages in full color.[2][14][15] The first three pages were revealed as part of a preview for Jump SQ.II (Second) on Shueisha's S-Manga.Net.[16] Karakuridōji Ultimo was later translated to English by Viz Media,[17] and published in the September issue of their Shonen Jump manga anthology,[18][19][20] which went on sale on August 5.[18] The original script was written in Japanese by Hiroyuki Takei and the English was adapted by Stan Lee with the English version being edited by ASDF.[4][21] The manga in the United States underwent some editing, for example: the monster wearing a noh mask's buttocks line was edited out.[22] There were also other changes to the graphics, for example: the logo of Karakuridōji Ultimo:0 simply took out the :0 and put "Chapter: 0" under the logo, and on the second color page the names of Ultimo and Vice were altered to remove Japanese.[22] A side note of Karakuridōji Ultimo claimed that the series would be continued in the main Jump SQ. anthology,[23] no further information was announced until recently that the series will be serialized in the March 2009 issue.[24]

A pamphlet inside of Jump SQ.II (Second) entitled "Spider-Man" "X-Men" o Tsukutta Otoko: Stan Lee the Book! (「スパイダーマン」「X-MEN」を作った男 スタン·リー the Book!?, lit. "The man who created "Spider-Man" and "X-Men": Stan Lee - the Book!"), features artwork of Marvel Comics characters by Weekly Shōnen Jump and Jump SQ. artists, including Masakazu Katsura, Yamato Yamamoto , Yusuke Murata, Tatsuya Endo and Yutaka Minowa.[6][25] The book also includes a Question & Answers page with additional sketches of Ultimo by Hiroyuki Takei and a page explaining the English comic series Stan has created. The translated title is a reference to the saying "Stan the Man".[25] The rest of the magazine featured an interview with Stan Lee.[6] According to Marc Weidenbaum the Marvel character pin-ups will also be released in the United States.[26]

In the May 2008 issue of Jump SQ., a two-sided poster of Karakuridōji Ultimo was announced with Tista on the other side.[27] A picture of the poster was also revealed in the Promotion Movie "Fusion!!" (created by Tera-Engine (テラエンジン?)) to promote the magazine's sales.[28] A Karakuridōji Ultimo postcard of the pilot chapter was released in the second issue of Jump SQ.II (Second) as one of many SQ. Special Supplements.[29][30][31]

Dream Ranch (a Sony music company) is helping Stan Lee on making an anime of the full upcoming series.[24][26][32] "I am tremendously thrilled and excited to be partnered with Sony's Dream Ranch in creating and producing Ultimo, a brand-new animated superhero TV series which I hope will one day be as popular as Spider-Man. Working with the talented artists and writers at Dream Ranch has both been an honor and pleasure and together we're doing our best to make sure that Ultimo will become a household name throughout Japan-and later, the world!" Stan Lee quoted about the anime adaptation of Karakuridōji Ultimo.[32]


  • 0. "Karakuridōji Ultimo" (pilot)
  • 1. "Nanban-Okina Misty Pass"
  • 2. "Kurenai Doji"
  • 3. "A Blaze Surrounds Yamato"
  • 4. "Raseimon Dream"
  • 5. "Carnage Under the Moonlight"
  • 6. "The Masters Meeting Ward"
  • 7. "The Bus Gas Explosion Man"
  • 8. "Master on the Cliff"
  • 9. "The Ceremony of the Vow"
  • 10. "A Nonchalant Lovers Suicide"
  • 11. "The End Of The Beginning"
  • 12. "The Destruction of Life and The Heavens"


The English adaptation of the Karakuridōji Ultimo pilot chapter was reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux of Comic Book Bin. "This prologue of Ultimo doesn’t really offer enough to evaluate it, except to say that the dialogue and exposition are awkward and clunky enough to seem like the work of an amateur rather than a seasoned veteran" said Leroy Douresseaux. Leroy referred to Karakuridōji Ultimo as a blend of mecha manga, Dragon Ball, and Green Lantern. "I’m too intrigued to be disappointed by what I read. Stan Lee’s best work was created when he riffed off unique and powerfully imaginative creators (Jack Kirby and Stan Lee), so I’m curious to see what this combo of Lee and a manga-ka like Takei can do."[33]


Yamato Agari (東 大和 Agari Yamato?)(16)
The 21st century high school student and master of Ultimo. He has the same name and appearance of the bandit who met Dr. Dunstan in the 12th century. When he finds Ultimo in an antique shop, Ultimo instantly awakens and recognizes Yamato as the reincarnation of the bandit from the 12th century. Further suggesting that Ultimo's words are true are Yamato's frequent flashes of recognition of people he has never met. Yamato is dense on the surface, usually focusing on something that does not seem important in the matter (when Ultimo was saying that they had to team up to save the world from being destroyed, Yamato said 'no' because he only cared about buying Sayama a birthday present), but there is always a shred of goodness behind it. He does not want any part of the Karakuri Dōji, but is drawn into the conflict once more.
Ultimo (ウルティモ Urutimo?)
The main protagonist, and uses the "Cleanse" technique. Ultimo got in a fight with Vice, ending with them clashing and getting scattered across the galaxy. He represents ultimate good, as apparent by his desire to protect the innocent from Vices' rampages. He's very polite, good with children, and is a wonderful cook. He cares very deeply about his master, Yamato, and tends to hug him a lot. However, while he's sweet as pie on the surface, get him mad or threaten Yamato, and he becomes deadly serious and not afraid to go all out to protect Yamato. His Karakuri Henge involves cranes and lions, his personal power is the control of time, usually resembling a crane or a lion and his theme color is scarlet. And is the second Doji to appear.
Rune Kodaira (小平 ルネ Kodaira Rune?)(16)
Yamato's friend and classmate. He acts in a level-headed and practical manner, often at odds with Yamato, but shows concern for his friend regardless. He appears to come from a rich family as he lives in a mansion. Chapter 10 revealed that in the past life from when Yamato was a bandit, Rune was a girl (also a noble) who was in love with Yamato. However, in the present, he was reborn as a boy and did not seem to remember this until Jealousy revealed these memories to him. He is Jealousy's new master.
Makoto Sayama (狭山 真琴 Sayama Makoto?) (17)[34]
Sayama is a student at Senju Academy, and Yamato's love interest. She is so far not fully aware of Yamato's involvement with the battle between Ultimo and Vice, although she has seen them together. She seems to be a kind girl who is very polite and understanding. Like Rune, she resembles and has the same name as a girl who was one of Yamato's bandit companions in the 12th Century.
Member "K" (「K」 Ke?) (31)[35]
K is a member of the S.K.A.T. Police with rat-like buck teeth. K wasted bullets trying to kill Vice, in response, Vice copied his weapon. At the end of the pilot chapter, K found Vice's arm which got severed in the battle. K supposedly takes the arm, and uses its power, it is unknown until the series continues. After becoming the master of Vice, K quits his job and rents a room, relying on Vice to steal to support him. Most of the time he acts with a calm and creepy manner, but can erupt into violence and hysteria, such as the time he was angry at Vice for breaking after fighting Ultimo at the bus battle. He tries to frame Yamato for the mess that he made before taunting Yamato with the knowledge that he now knows about Sayama and escapes with Vice.
Kiyose Matsumoto (松本 清瀬 Matsumoto Kiyose?) (17)[36] and Akitsu Otake (大竹 秋津 Ōtake Akitsu?) (16)[36]
Kiyose and Akitsu are students of Senju Academy and Sayama's friends. Akitsu has a crush on Rune.
Hibari Oume (青梅 ひばり Oume Hibari?)
Hibari is a 16-year old girl who is a friend of Sayama and her group Oume witnessed the bus incident between Ultimo and Vice.
Masami Darumada (達磨田 正美 Darumada Masami?)
Darumada is a police officer who confronts Yamato after the battle between Ultimo and Vice on the street. Yamato does not trust him and Darumada does not trust Yamato. He resembles Yamato's lieutenant back in the 12th Century.[37]
Vice (バイス Baisu?)
The main antagonist. Vice is disguised as the "Spawn" masked creature at the beginning of the story. He represents ultimate evil, as apparent by his love of destruction and carnage. He dislikes Ultimo with a passion and seems to go out of his way just to wreak havoc, deciding to kill the Bandit Yamato and his follows simply because 'they weren't worthy enough' to wake him up. His Karakuri Henge usually resemble a turtle or a fox and his theme color is green. And is the first Karakuri Doji to appear.
Dr. Dunstan (ダンスタン Dansutan?)
The creator of Vice and Ultimo and Jealousy, Regula, and Pardonner as well as Eater. Dr. Dunstan's laboratory is in a 100-story pagoda. Dr. Dunstan is also modeled after Stan Lee himself. It is also hinted that he is immortal, with his claim "I do not die." He apparently has the ability to move through time and space, as shown in Chapter 1 when he suddenly disappears after Ultimo and Vice have been woken up. He also has a Feminine Doji who is neither evil or good but a 'middle' way.
Dahlman (ダールマン Dāruman?)
A Farmless policeman. Dahlman asks Ultimo a few questions, although Ultimo stopped to tell him that the "Spawn" masked creature is going to turn into its true form.
Fushimi Agari (東 伏見 Agari Fushimi?)
Yamato's light-haired mother, who raised him by herself. It is stated in Act 4 that she and her husband are separated.
Jealousy (ジェラス Jerasu?)
He is the apparent "younger brother" of Ultimo and Vice since he is a newer model of Karakuri Dōji created to fill in the gaps in "evil", representing envy. When he first appeared he called Ultimo "Uru-niisan." He seems to like doing things his way and is more stoic that his 'older brothers'. He is, however, easily excitable at times, seeing no problem with killing, and views Ultimo as a hypocrite for being so nice, yet so violent. His Karakuri Henge involve spiders, his personal power is reading thoughts, usually resembling a spider and his theme color is sapphire blue. He is the third Doji to appear and Rune is currently his new master.
Tomomitsu Iruma (入間 智光 Iruma Tomomitsu?)
The master of Jealousy from the 12th century into the 21st. When he re-meets Yamato he is a political candidate and offers Yamato one hundred million yen for Ultimo. He states that it is because he wants to put an end to the Dōji, but in truth, he wants Ultimo for himself. In a recent chapter, Jealousy appears to kill Iruma. Jealousy states that his master threw too many tantrums and got on his nerves.
Regula (レグラ Regura?)
The fourth Karakuri Dōji to arrive, that represents discipline and is one of the good Karakuri Dōji. He appears to be older in appearance and acts rather casual about things, but is actually very serious about the actions of others, scolding Ultimo roughly for losing his temper. His Karakuri Henge and theme color are currently unknown. Has the power to manipulate memories, even can erase them in order to keep the Karakuri Dōji and their masters a secret by rewriting memories via the hippocampus.
Shin Ekoda (江古田 しん, シン Ekoda Shin?)
Shin "Eco" Ekoda, a 38-year old sushi chef, is Regula's master. He is the head of the restaurant Eco Sushi (エコ寿司 Eko Sushi?).[38] He has a wife and two sons.[39]
Pardonner (パルドネ Parudone?)
One of the six Perfections and represents patience, the fifth Karakuri Doji to appear. Has the power to heal others by supercharging cellular functions to the point where genetic information has been rewritten. Like Regula, his Karakuri Henge and Color scheme is unknown.
Koun Shakujii (石神井 小雲 Shakujii Koun?)
He is a 66-year old doctor and a member of Ekoda's group. His doji is Pardonner (patience).[40]
Machi Shina (椎名 マチ Shiina Machi?)
She is a 28-year old fortune teller and a member of Ekoda's group. Her doji is Slow (diligence).[41]
Hiroshi Kumegawa (久米川 ヒロシ Kumegawa Hiroshi?)
Hiroshi is a 21-year old "street punk" and a member of Ekoda's group. His Doji is Gauge (contemplation).[41]
Yoichi Oizumi (大泉 洋一 Ōizumi Yōichi?)
He is a 42-year old salesman and a member of Ekoda's group. His doji is Service (charity).[41]
Musashi Murayama (村山 武蔵 Murayama Musashi?)
Musashi is a 19-year old student and a member of Ekoda's group. He is from the 30th century, making him also a time traveler. His doji is Sophia (wisdom).[42]
Hana Koganei (小金井 花 Koganei Hana?)
Hana is a 5-year old girl who is the master of Eater.


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  34. ^ Shonen Jump #81. Volume 7, Issue 9. September 2009. 114.
  35. ^ Shonen Jump #81. Volume 7, Issue 9. September 2009. 92.
  36. ^ a b Shonen Jump #81. Volume 7, Issue 9. September 2009. 115.
  37. ^ Shonen Jump #81. Volume 7, Issue 9. September 2009. 105.
  38. ^ Lee, Stan and Hiroyuki Takei. Karakuridōji Ultimo Act 6: Masters Meeting in a Sick Ward. In Shonen Jump #84 Volume 7, Issue 12, December 2009. 206.
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  40. ^ Lee, Stan and Hiroyuki Takei. Karakuridōji Ultimo Act 6: Masters Meeting in a Sick Ward. In Shonen Jump #84 Volume 7, Issue 12, December 2009. 234.
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