This one of the earliest works of Miyashita Akira author of Sakigake!! Otokojuku, Bakudan, Family of Brahman and much more. Sadly, out of all of Miyashita's works, this story deserves to be obscure in Shonen Jump history; it's not a good manga.
The plot basically follows the misadventures of the students from Ultimate Path High; a school for yakuza. While the characters are delinquents who aim to be part of the Japanese underworld, they also have "some" redeeming qualities with the biggest emphasis on manhood; a common trait in Miyashita's works. To be rather blunt, this manga ranges from average to bad as it has no direction for a story and often preaches in very unethical morals which the author would later contradict himself in his future works as a mangaka.
As this series was made in 1979 it certainly delivers in intense action but comes off as very mindless and pointless. The content reaches a point where I wonder "is this a shonen?", as it doesn't follow any tropes whatsoever being friendship, effort and victory. In other words, Ultimate Path High is a vulgar series that didn't pursue any sort of heroic ideology or at least an inspiring story such as Ashita No Joe. It is a very rough manga that has no real aspirations to be something greater other than looking cool and claiming itself to be a badass among other titles in its decade. By behaving in that manner, the series comes off as rather immature even for shonen standards. It should also be mentioned that Shonen Jump was still in its early stages as some of the legendary titles and story themes have yet to be fully bloom such as Kinnikuman and Space Cobra to name a few from its range of 1978-1979.
As you may have noticed from the plot statement above, Ultimate Path High sounds very similar to the style in Sakigake!! Otokojuku where it featured a private school where men would refine their manhood. While reading this series you will notice that this is basically a rough draft on what would later be known as Sakigake!! Otokojuku as most the events and certain characters are recurring in both series. There is a drastic change in tone between the two manga as the writing and story themes are far more honorable in Otokojuku than in Ultimate Path. The goals of each school are basically the opposite where Ultimate Path would being fourth criminals while Otokojuku would embrace the idea of a courageous yet respectable society. The most likely answer to this change is the influence of 1983 series Fist of The North Star as it focused on masculine heroics and selfish acts of kindness while maintaining a manly tone through its story even during its tragic death scenes.
Basically, if you're curious on the drastic improvement of an author where even his ideologies changed due to the influence of a historical series, then read Ultimate Path. It's not a good series but I am glad that it gave birth to something better being Sakigake!! Otokojuku, Akatsuki!! Otokojuku, and Edajima's spin-off. read more