"Once, twice...it doesn't matter, you'll never be any good in physics anyway!"
At the beginning of the series, Ulrich, a year 8 student, is pretty much what you may call a bad student: his grades are pretty low and close to being unsatisfactory, in spite of some efforts that we can witness. Even though he sometimes studies for an important test, this young man can't help it: he really doesn't care about lessons and would rather isolate himself and stare out the window... He manages a shy average of 73/100, which makes his parents quite resentful, so they make him go through private lessons (episode 3 “Holiday in the Fog”).
He is a boarder in year 8, and then 9.
"Go ahead, Ulrich! With your speed, you'll get there first!"
#28 Unchartered Territory
- Supersprint! This ability allows Ulrich to be one of the fastest of the group. As you can guess by the name, this power enables Ulrich to run at a speed beyond belief, even in a virtual world: it almost equals that of the vehicles! He is so fast that he can sometimes run long distances on vertical surfaces...
This technique is characterised by an immediate acceleration when Ulrich says the world “Supersprint”. Then, he crosses great distances so fast that his legs turn invisible, and he can also jump further. In this wake, he leaves a long orange trail that gradually fades away.
It is a unique skill and it is very efficient for tasks such as flash attacks, short missions (such as the activation of the key) or a quick run to save Aelita from the Scyphozoa.
Combined with the next power, it makes Ulrich a first-rate Lyoko Warrior.
- Triplicate: this ability allows Ulrich to split into three!
This power is pretty much unclear compared to the previous one, and the nature of the three clones also raises issues.
The first season does not leave any room for doubt about the fact that two of the three Ulrich are but harmless dolls that can be taken away by a single shot, and whose purpose is solely to create a diversion and protect the real Ulrich, who retains all his skills and aptitudes.
But in the next seasons, Ulrich's mimics do not seem to be mere decoys anymore! In episode 47 “Tip-Top Shape”, each of the samurais fight and destroys monsters: they even pass a Kankrelat to each other like a soccer ball before finishing it off...
According to these facts, we can give a second hypothesis: that Ulrich divides into three instances of “himself”, each one being able to think by himself, feel as only one of them would...
This ability raises other questions, like: “What happens to the clones when the original one is devirtualised? Are life points equally allocated to each clone? Etc.”
Nonetheless, triplicating remains a key advantage in close combat against foes when there are too many of them, or when they re too powerful... And yet, it turns inefficient against William (Episode 67 “Double Take”).
The effect of this skill can be easily cancelled by the samurai, who just has to shout “Fusion”, then all the remaining Ulrichs become one again.
- Triangulate: it seemed appropriate to treat this skill as its own, though it is affiliated with Triplicate...
When Ulrich executes this technique, he stands near a monster – most often, a Blok or a Megatank – and starts running at the highest Supersprint speed. He thus creates an illusion that makes it look like there are three clones of himself surrounding the monster, drawing an equilateral triangle; but actually, there are not three Ulrichs: there is only one, running at full speed on the three sides of the triangle. The monsters do not know which way to turn anymore and get shredded into pieces!
This skill is only efficient in a small range of situations, against monsters like Bloks for example.
Vehicle, weapons and equipment
"Jeremy! I can't hold out much longer!"
Weapon: Ulrich's weapon is a digital sabre that looks pretty much like a Japanese katana if you examine the shape, the length and the design. It allows Ulrich to execute very powerful short-range attacks by focusing all the power of his digital muscles in his strikes. Though he can cut with the side of the blade, he is more inclined to thrusting the blade into the monsters' eyes in order to destroy them quickly, which he sometimes does while shouting: “Impact!”
His sword is both an offensive and a defensive weapon, as the digital samurai uses it to block normal laser shots with rather great accuracy, or other attacks (with less success...).
But this sword is not invulnerable: it can be devirtualised by repeated shots (like in episode 57 “Aelita”), or simply break under the pressure of more powerful attacks such as a Megatank's laser...
Ulrich was seen throwing his sword and getting it back immediately only once, in episode 53 “Straight to the Heart”; otherwise, when he throws his sword, he is unarmed until he gets it back! This problem is partially dealt with when Jeremy reprograms our heroes' avatars: Ulrich gets a second sabre. Which enables him to do more katas, faster combos and to more easily block violent attacks such as those of his XANA Warrior rival.
However, those twin blades do not compensate for Ulrich's major weakness: flying monsters, which are quite hard to reach with sword(s). What's more, his blade(s) can get stuck in a foe.
Another major weakness is that anyone can use a sword, and there have been occurrences when a XANA-controlled virtualised foe took away one of Ulrich's weapons and used it against its rightful owner: William in episode 70 “Skidbladnir”, and Aelita in episode 90 “Wrong Exposure”
Vehicle: Ulrich rides the Overbike!
Basically, it is a variation of a motorbike, except that it is green, one-wheeled, and equipped with a small jet engine at the back, which can be activated using the acceleration handles, like on a motor scooter... The seat is long and can carry a second rider. The sheath of his sword can be hung on the sides, which allows Ulrich to pull out his weapon quickly or to sheathe it back during the high-speed races.
"I'll stay here and clean up!"
#47 Tip-Top Shape
Ulrich is a fighter, he would rather not touch computers and stuff! He does not seem to be comfortable when Jeremy tries to initiate him to the arts of computing in episode 72 “Crash Course”.
On Lyoko, he is an unrivalled fighter, maybe the best of the group. Like he says in episode 51 “Revelations”, Odd has never beaten him (but is he really objective?) That's why he is ofter the one who has to clean up the passage to the tower with a deadly assault! It is not uncommon that, arriving late, he makes an amazing entrance and accomplishes what Odd and Yumi had failed.
That's what happens in episodes 36 “Marabounta” and 35 “The Chips are Down” : Ulrich, apologizing for being late, saves the day. This impression is brought to fever pitch by episode 12 “Swarming Attack”, when Ulrich wipes out by himself a whole squad of Hornets that had previously made fools of Yumi and Odd. From that perspective, Ulrich's role is crucial in action scenes. He is the key combatant, while Yumi is rather a tactician and Aelita a methodical element.
Since he holds a grudge against William and has swords to express himself, it is not rare to see him fighting his (love) rival. Yet it takes pretty much time before Ulrich is finally able to take William down all by himself. The girls of the team take away the pleasure to be the first one to defeat the dark fighter ; Odd takes away the glory of striking the final blow to Dunbar when our heroes rematerialize him in episode 93 “Down to Earth”. Generally speaking, Ulrich is the one who manages best when it comes to fighting William, and he often inflicts painful defeats at the end of the battle. But William frequently turned the situation round when Ulrich was apparently dominating it. Indeed, Ulrich's a tendency to rush headlong that plays tricks on him: he is often surprised by an unexpected use of Supersmoke. Even during their last battle, William evades Ulrich this way.
On Earth, his grumpy mood and bad temper make him an unpredictable character, which can make an episode more suspenseful! His mood swings can be intense scenes, especially when William is around...
Not to mention that Ulrich is the reason of Sissi's half-assed schemes!
To fans, Ulrich stands as a cool, handsome guy who makes us dream.
"Ok, suit yourself. Both of you can stay here! (...) Yeah, you and your bad mood!"
In my opinion, there are two sides to Ulrich's personality: one that's mysterious, and one that's predictable.
Mysterious because he never was the confiding type; predictable because he undeniably has some character traits that you can easily read, and sometimes his reactions are subsequently easy to guess!
On Earth like on Lyoko, Ulrich is determined and he always takes his decisions seriously. Even though he is sometimes in awe when faced with XANA's attacks, like in episode 1 “Teddygozilla”, Ulrich is courageous; therefore, most of the time, he is the one who does not dive into Lyoko and stays on Earth to deal with XANA's threats. He is quite daring and does not hesitate to take the risk of being electric shocked in episode 76 “The Lake” to allow Aelita to escape from XANA's trap and go to the factory.
Ulrich has the character of a young, proud teenager. He is short-tempered and you can easily make his blood boil with a single comment, even if it is just a joke. In which case, he can be so aggressive that he can immediately start a fight (episode 39 “A Bad Turn”) or tell his parents to buzz off! But if he manages to contain himself, he is likely to mock the person he is speaking to without hesitation – Sissi, in most cases.
If he is humiliated, Ulrich is generally seen to be unreachable as he tends to seek solitude, in order to put up with his humiliation alone (episodes 36 “Marabounta” and 44 “Vertigo”). He keeps on sulking until a great event or a crisis (often caused by XANA) shows up. However, as time passes, Ulrich seems to get more and more mature and causes less and less worries for his friends.
Sadly, on top of that, Ulrich is and remains hopelessly jealous (see below)!
His pride is not only visible when he violently reacts to problems, it affects his whole personality. Ulrich is a very competitive person, he enjoys challenges and tests, especially in sports or even on Lyoko, if you consider the slaughter of monsters to be a form of sports.
During action scenes, he does not hesitate before running in, especially if Yumi's life is at stake! However, (pretty much) unlike Odd, he sometimes takes the time to plan carefully, which only makes his fights more impressive!
But what makes him really enthusiastic is the idea of a good fight; so sometimes, he does not stop for a tactical pause...
As for his behaviour, he often appears with his hands in the pockets, with a far-away look in his eyes, playing the role of the good-looking guy who does not notice the effects of his presence on women's hearts and would not care about it anyway.
Ulrich really appreciates calm and quiet. So it's surprising to see him develop friendly ties with Odd, though there are times when he has it up to his ears with his roommate (episode 18 “Killer Music”).
Indeed, even when he is not worked up, Ulrich is still a grouchy person, as the end of episode 38 “Temptation” puts it. He would generally complain about classes, heavy weather or XANA.
But Ulrich's male pride calls for another word: mystery.
In episode 21 “Zero Gravity Zone”, Odd says that asking Ulrich to tell his secrets is like asking Jeremy to run 100 metres in less than 10 seconds! Ulrich is a silent character, therefore he is really mysterious. You never know for sure what is really going on in his mind or what he feels.
However, like many withdrawn people, Ulrich is actually big-hearted and sensitive. We can witness that in episode 18 “Killer Music”, in which he feels guilty for getting angry against Odd and leaving, which left the way open for XANA to attach his friend. Even though he tries not to show his feelings for Yumi, he is devastated when she dies in episode 6 “Cruel Dilemma” or when he thinks that William kisses her (episode 39 “A Bad Turn”). And when the Japanese girl is lost in the Network, he is so distressed that he won't listen to Jeremy (episode 77 “Lost at Sea”).
Ulrich also has a dreamy side, which explains why he doesn't feel comfortable being at school. He does make some effort, probably because of pressure from his parents, but he feels more at ease when he is on Lyoko saving the world, or at least on a soccer field trying to save Kadic. The last episode of the series (95 “Echoes”) echoes back to this aspect of his personality: even though he has been complaining about XANA's non-stop attacks, even though he had been hoping for the end of the war...in spite of that...well...
He somewhat enjoyed this hazardous life more than a chair in a classroom.
"...he's not only jealous, he's dumb."
#58 The Pretender
Ulrich's love story begins during his first martial arts lesson at Kadic Academy, when he meets Yumi Ishiyama! He is very quickly blushing before the beautiful face of the Japanese girl! Then, they are caught up in the Lyoko adventure and they get to spend a lot of time together...
Indeed, Ulrich fell in love with the young Japanese girl. This is pretty clear in episode 4 “Log Book” because Ulrich writes down his feelings in his private diary. Whn you watch this episode, you can feel his love. And he even says to Yumi that someday, he will tell her about it! He and Yumi continue to hope and to tenderly glance at each other while Sissi does everything she can to damage their relationship.
One of Sissi's worst dirty tricks happens in episode 12 “Swarming Attack”: she writes Ulrich a fake love letter, pretending it is from Yumi. Then, Ulrich tries to make a clumsy declaration, but Yumi replies, awkward and embarrassed, that she never wrote any letter to him. Therefore, Ulrich enters one of his famous sulking fits until the climax on Lyoko. After the Return to the Past, he rewards Sissi with some nice humiliation, and everything is back to normal.
But the relationship between Ulrich and Yumi just does not seem to evolve: sweet glances, sweet little words, then suddenly some big event, good or bad...and then, back to a quite tiresome routine!
One day, this routine becomes unbearable for Ulrich, who feels that he is nothing but a friend to Yumi. As a reaction, he hangs out with an other girl he likes, and they see each other more and more often! This new bind (episode 22 “Routine”) does not fail to make Yumi mad: in a bitter row, Ulrich has a go at Yumi and leaves her on the verge of tears! On Lyoko, the atmosphere is also very tense, since XANA launches an attack that would kill them if they are devirtualised. Faced with this new danger, the rancour quickly fades and our friends help each other; Ulrich saves Yumi from falling into the Digital Sea. At the moment when Aelita enters the tower, while Odd is elsewhere and Jeremy unconscious in the factory, Ulrich and Yumi indulge in a natural-feeling action, their eyes closed, their faces slowly move closer to each other and their lips...don't join because of the white light of the Return to the Past!
Nonetheless, for Ulrich, even if he and Yumi agreed not to mention the event to their friends, the routine is no more: he has got his answer...
It is quite difficult to guess why the two teenagers choose to keep their relationship a secret when you see how unsure and fragile it was from the start! Constantly threatened by Sissi, who manages to blackmail Ulrich into kissing her in episode 19 “Frontier” (which Yumi never actually knew anything about...) it will get even more fragile when a new faction joins the battle.
William, a newcomer at Kadic Academy (episode 27 “New Order”), soon falls completely in love with Yumi, so a deadly competition begins between him and Ulrich...
Since Ulrich only has eyes for Yumi, he often bumps into William pretty much everywhere: stalking whenever he is in Yumi's company (episodes 27 “New Order” & 36 “Marabounta”), imagining that she is late because she was meeting with him in secret: anything becomes an excuse to make trouble about William! In a quite ironic way, Ulrich turns out to be much more jealous than Yumi.
However, William's presence does somewhat improve things because it forces Ulrich to be more open towards Yumi, at risk of seeing William reveal his feelings in his place!
In episode 39 “A Bad Turn”, encouraged by his other friends, Ulrich is even about to make a declaration to Yumi. Unfortunately, when he arrives in front of her home, she is in the company of William, who she did not expect: he runs away with heartache...
What William calls “the race for Yumi” actually turns into a mini-war including provocations, challenges, teasing, and even fights. Ulrich has no idea that he still holds his position in Yumi's heart and that William has no chance for now!
As for Sissi, she does everything she can to worsen the situation with painful observations and again, she steals a kiss from Ulrich (episode 41 “Ultimatum”), about which Yumi never finds out! By the way, we can see that this kiss feels less disgusting that the one Ulrich initiated in season 1.
There is another misunderstanding at the beginning of episode 52 “The Key”, but Yumi makes it crystal clear that Ulrich has immediately been mistaken about her intentions and that she initially intended to go to the dance with him... Shamefaced, Ulrich decides to do it and goes to her place to say his feelings to her. But at the exact moment when we was about to make his declaration, Jeremy calls him for a trip to Lyoko...
Then come the holidays, leaving the relationship at a frustrating standstill. At the start of the school year, Yumi needs the situation to be clear so she coldly tells Ulrich: “We're just good friends, that's all”! Ulrich stays stunned by this cutting remark, but he does not complain about it at all (episode 53 “Straight to Heart”)...
As a result, the atmosphere in the group takes a serious blow...
Yumi's feelings remain unclear... Did she actually believe what she was saying?
Anyway, Ulrich's unconditional love does not fade, nor does his jealousy: even in front of Johnny, Hiroki's pal who has a crush on the gorgeous Japanese girl (episode 58 “The Pretender”)!
What comes next entirely depends on Yumi. Ulrich would rather act as if there was nothing between them, even though Odd is there to remind him that it is untrue. But the young man prefers to protect his heart from any further damage. However, he goes out of his way to stay in his loved one's good books. He bends over backwards to get back her respect after he forgot to wish her a happy birthday (episode 78 “Lab Rat”). He also helps Hiroki to reconcile with his sister (episode 77 “Lost at Sea”).
But yet again, he incurs the wrath of Yumi when he accepts to take the blame for one of Odd's stupid pranks (that is to say, giving the Kadic News a compromising photo of Yumi). Particularly annoyed by the resulting conflict, he orders Odd to tell the truth. Odd sneaks off, but unexpectedly, Yumi tells Ulrich that she had understood that “you wanted to get my attention, didn't you? I guess you thought that if we had a fight, then I would start thinking about you all the time...”
This said, she says that he does not need that to get her attention and sweetly kisses his forehead, which makes him turn as red as a tomato.
The absence of William does Ulrich some good since he does not have to handle their rivalry anymore; even Sissi's attacks seem to stop. He surprises himself by telling Odd that he hopes his relationship with Yumi is more than just friendship.
In the end, a quiet era begins and lasts until the end of the battle against XANA. Even when William comes back to Earth, it does not disturb our two bashful lovers. In the end, Yumi promises Ulrich that even without Lyoko, they will live plenty of nice times; the ultimate Return to the Past separates their holding hands, but the atmosphere resembles that of their almost-kiss, which happened several months before... So I guess time will do the rest.
"Hey, you're not so bad there, XANA! Full of surprises, huh?"
Ulrich was a normal teenager, until one very eventful week of his life (episode “XANA Awakens”). Just as science class was about to start, a strange-looking teenager approached him, saying that he was his new roommate in the dormitory! Far from appreciating the sudden appearance of this colourful young man, named Odd Della Robbia, in his life, he hardly bears it. What he bears even less is the presence of Odd's dog, Kiwi, who devastates their room as soon as night comes, including by relieving himself on Ulrich's bed!
He is not aware of how important this event will later be, but he also meets a young Japanese girl who is into martial arts: Yumi Ishiyama.
But the most important elements of this day concern his classmate Jeremy Belpois.
First, Ulrich accompanies him to the infirmary, after the little fair-haired kid be mysteriously electric shocked by the vending machine... But later, in the evening, the little genius once again falls victim to paranormal phenomena: his robots, which he had built himself, turn against him and Ulrich is again required to save him...
He corners Jeremy and forces him to explain the origin of the strange abnormalities... The kid, reluctant, hesitates for a few seconds, and then, suddenly asks him if he can keep a secret...
The following course of events changes Ulrich's life forever: Jeremy brings him to an abandoned factory and starts talking to him about stuff Ulrich does not understand. Ulrich, however, has just discovered the factory of his destiny, for the first time he sees the laboratory, the scanners, and above all, the girl he first thought to be a video game character: Aelita (known as Maya at the time).
Ulrich is told and informed of the existence of a digital world and Jeremy explains that he needs some kind of guinea-pig to see if the scanners work. With a revengeful smile, Ulrich goes to his room and kidnaps Kiwi; then he heads back running to the factory, tailed by his irritated roommate!
Ulrich puts Kiwi in one of the scanners but Odd accidentally switches places with his dog: Jeremy, who does not know about this, sends his new classmate to Lyoko! Enthusiastic about the perspective of this new experience, Ulrich also rushes into a scanner to be virtualised. He lands in a virtual forest, and is dressed like a samurai warrior equipped with a long sword.
Alongside Odd, Ulrich discovers all the rules of this new game, Lyoko. Soon, Yumi, the girl he can't help blushing at, joins the adventure and helps deactivate the first tower activated by XANA...
From now on, Ulrich has a secret activity that sure spices up his life, at least until Jeremy is able to materialise Aelita!
Months pass and fights against XANA keep occurring... Ulrich has now become a toughened virtual warrior. He ceaselessly fights, waiting for Jeremy to resolve the problem of materialisation. Still no change?
Of course not! Ulrich is now surrounded by his fellow Lyoko Warriors, who now are his close friends. And, when it comes to Yumi, there is more to it than mere friendship...
However, Ulrich's life is not as nice as it seems. He has a few problems: for instance, his difficulties at school, combined with parental pressure, shown in episode 21 “Zero Gravity Zone”. Another problem is the routine that begins to weigh upon his shoulders! Our hero is tired of this endless fight dragging on, tired of seeing his relationship with his love interest remain at a standstill... In episode 22 “Routine”, we can feel how weariness swamps our heroes, but they finally get out of it, stronger after all!
Do not think of this kind of life as a pleasurable cruise, because at any second, an evil, invincible entity may make an attempt on your life: Ulrich has cheated death many times! Be it in episode 1 “Teddygozilla”, 3 “Holiday in the Fog”, 14 “The Trap” or 20 “The Robots”, the junior high school student has been a hair's breadth away from not being saved by the Return to the Past in time! All the more so as he generally stays on Earth to block XANA...
In spite of memory loss (episode 17 “Amnesia”) or attacks by animals (episode 12 “Swarming Attack”), Ulrich always manages to make it out alive! He gets through other crises that sometimes really bother him, like mix-ups with Sissi and Yumi (episode 12 “Swarming Attack”) or with a megalomaniac producer who wants to make a film in the factory “episode 8 “End of Take”).
The day finally comes when Ulrich must fight a battle that he thinks to be the final one, the battle for Aelita's materialisation! Ulrich fights bravely and the young pink-haired girl emerges from the scanner. But with her comes the disillusion! The war must go on: the Supercomputer cannot be deactivated because it would kill Aelita! At the same time, XANA unleashes its Kakrelats and sends them to Earth: Ulrich faces them, with Yumi and Jim (episode 26 “False Start”).
The fight must go on, but its monotony harshly drops! Our heroes discover a new Sector, where Ulrich and his friends often have to go in order to retrieve data; Jeremy programs an Overbike for Ulrich; XANA creates some incredibly powerful monsters, the Tarantulas, to face them; Aelita comes and lives on Earth... The fight against XANA turns out to get more and more intense as our heroes are now aware that every Return to the Past allows their enemy to gain power.
The multi-agent program now uses xanafied people, and against them even Ulrich's Pencak Silat appears to be derisory...
The young man still has much to lose! His relationship with Yumi only gets worse because of a new guy named William, who hovers around the beautiful Japanese girl, which plunges Ulrich into a constant state of tension.
XANA's attacks get frighteningly dangerous: a zombie invasion (episode 40 “Attack of the Zombies”); xanafied people taking our heroes hostage (episode 41 “Ultimatum”), dangerous weather patterns (episode 45 “Cold War”)... But Ulrich still demonstrates his never-failing courage and determination!
Standing his ground in front of Creepers and xanafied people, Ulrich faces every danger XANA comes up with!
Once again, he must give his best as they are on the verge of giving XANA the coup de grâce! Against Megatanks (episode 50 “Contact”), polymorphic clones that copy his appearance (episode 51 “Revelations”) or even battling without weapons in Carthage (episode 49 “Franz Hopper”), Ulrich fights like a hero from a Greek epic; but in spite of their efforts, he and his friends are unable to prevent XANA from escaping the Supercomputer!
But after a new deal, the game continues! Ulrich must now defend the Core of Lyoko (episode 57 “Aelita”), prevent Aelita from destroying a Sector when XANA possesses her (episode 58 “The Pretender”) or even come to Yumi's rescue against an army of xanafied people (episode 54 “Lyoko Minus One”)!
Soon, William's permanent xanafication and the destruction of Lyoko seem to just be new elements that just add to the complexity of the frame of the cyberwar.
In the middle of those evolutions, Ulrich's role remains simple: he is, after all, a henchman. Of course, his life is not the most quiet one; but be it falling off the roof of Kadic, being disintegrated in the global Network or being hit in the face by a meteorite, the risk and the results are roughly the same. So Ulrich fights for his life and for his friends, on Earth and on Lyoko, alone or in a group. His relationship with Yumi being stuck at a standstill and his daily rivalry with William being gone, some kind of a slight routine sets in, sometimes broken by Odd's stabs in the back (episode 92 “Cold Sweat”) or unexpected attacks by XANA. Ulrich tries not to let himself go, by physically training with Jim (episode 74 “I'd Rather Not Talk About It”) or learning the mysteries of computer stuff (episode 72 “Crash Course”).
True to his two main traits (fighter and Yumi's guardian), Ulrich fights the xanafied William on Earth during an ultimate battle, after making sure that the Kolossus, the most powerful monster ever deployed by XANA, would not survive their fight. So in episode 94 “Fight to the Finish”, he fulfils an impressive double achievement. His last confrontation is one of great violence, until Jeremy, Aelita and Hopper finally destroy their enemy in the digital world.
As we could see, for Ulrich, it is then the end of precious days and the beginning of a time to discover new horizons, with Yumi among other things. Lyoko is no more, but he still has his 4 best friends.