#SDCC: VIZ Media: Shonen Jump, with Toriko, Bakuman, and… Stan Lee?
The room was packed for Viz Media’s Shonen Jump panel, which
took place at 10:30 am in Room 10. The company announced two new series: Mitsutoshi
Shimabukuro’s Toriko, about a “gourmet hunter” of the same name who apparently
tracks down the most dangerous and tasty beasts, which he sells to exclusive
restaurants; meanwhile, the metafictional Bakuman from Death Note creators Tsugumi Ohba
and Takeshi Obata promises to shed light on that most mysterious of arts,
producing manga. Both began running in the Japanese magazine Shonen Jump Weekly
in 2008 and are still ongoing.
However, the star attractions of the panel were Hiroyuki
Takei (Shaman King) and Stan Lee– yes, THAT Stan Lee, not some Japanese guy with the same name– co-creators of Shonen Jump’s new manga,
Ultimo, which is making its English debut in the July issue. The story concerns
two robot boys, one who champions ultimate good (Ultimo) and one representing
ultimate evil (Vice) battle it out in contemporary Tokyo to determine which
force is supreme.
According to Takei, he’s already “vaguely” decided which
robot will win. He based the character design of the robot boys’ creator,
Dunstan, on Stan Lee himself. Apparently, he was quite nervous about showing
sketches of Dunstan to Lee, but Lee claims that he didn’t even see the
resemblance at first.
Lee noted that he’s really having fun working on a project that’s
such a departure from American comics, while Takei spoke about the challenge of
creating a manga that pleases both Japanese and American audiences. The
difference in approach is perhaps exemplified by the two creators’ answers
about what readers should “take away” from the manga. Takei said that Ultimo was
about “good and evil,” while Lee said that it was “all about selling a lot of