Hey kids, you want to hear a nerd get irrationally angry over a fictional character? Head over to the Manga^3 Podcast Archives to hear the first time I get legitimately angry at a manga chapter. It should be up on Tuesday, but no guarantee, it’s a long one this week, so it might not be out until Wednesday.
But besides that, the rest of this week’s chapters were all either good or great.
Toriko Ch. 229
We start this week off strong with the return of Toriko. Surprisingly enough, Shimabukuro manages to continue making a fight between two characters we only just met entertaining. Writing and drawing interesting and dynamic fights is difficult enough, but to keep that up using characters that were only introduced to the series recently is impressive.
Not only that, but once again he explains powers in a way that makes sense. I don’t know how such outlandish powers could ever really make sense, but Shimabukuro pulls it off. He even manages to end the fight in a believable way—another thing that doesn’t break the established rules of this conflict. I’m all-around impressed. This chapter solidifies the idea that the enemies are getting slaughtered here. Granted, I hope a major character ends up losing to keep the fights from getting predictable.
Naruto Ch. 627
Based on my previous statements about this series I imagine most of you figured out it would be Naruto that had me so riled up. And yes, yes it is. This is the big chapter, where Sasuke finally realizes how much of an idiot he’s been (he doesn’t actually) and decides to fight for the village instead of against it. Oh, like how he probably should have done when he found out his brother died to protect the village! I have many reasons I dislike Sasuke as a character, all of which are major. But his ridiculous decision making process certainly hasn’t endeared him to me. No, I still remember the two years worth of manga that focused entirely on him. I remember and I will never, ever forgive. Mostly this decision comes across as not being properly developed. He spent the entire manga stubbornly blaming his woes on everyone else, and just one meeting with his brother was enough to finally have him change his mind. I don’t even believe anything Hashirama said actually influenced him. Were it not for that meeting with Itachi he never would have changed his mind; and after multiple years of negative character development I don’t buy for one second that Sasuke suddenly is going to be one of the good guys.
And then, of course, Karin comes back into the story and we get another of the major reasons I despise Sasuke as a character. He negatively influences others’ character development. Remember how Ino got great character development? Nope, she hasn’t developed in the slightest throughout the series. Remember how Sakura became a much more enjoyable character after Sasuke left? Well, the moment he comes back into the equation all that character development is discarded. I will be furious if Sakura just forgives him after he tried to kill her. And she probably will, because here comes Karin, immediately forgiving him the moment he apologizes. Her decision to give up on him was the first time any of his fangirls finally had character development that makes sense. And of course that is thrown out the moment he comes back into the picture. I just loathe, beyond all reason or sanity, how this character influences the series. He wasn’t interesting in the first place, and ever since the time skip he has consistently negatively influenced Naruto. Tip for any aspiring writers, if you have a character who negatively influences other characters’ development, consider cutting that character or rewriting them. Because chances are your readers will hate him or her as much as I hate everything to do with Sasuke and the Uchiha in general.
Hopefully that will be the last time you get an kind of major rant from me. I hope Naruto doesn’t ever give me a reason to do it again.
One Piece Ch. 705
I liken this week to a sandwich made of the most delicious bread, with a slice of month old spam in the middle. One Piece doesn’t disappoint in terms of being entertaining. Rather than a single storyline being expanded, all the storylines of this arc are properly established. And it wasn’t until this week that I realized how many different stories we had to follow. This is going to be a long, long arc. And I don’t mind. I like long stories out of One Piece. While I don’t have much to say about this chapter itself, I can say that from the snippets we got I’m looking forward to the rest of the arc. Something big is going down and it will probably devolve into a massive battle as the marines move in to take on the criminals at the arena, and most likely Doflamingo himself.
One-Punch Man Ch. 013
One-Punch Man wasn’t at its greatest this week. While it still had funny moments, they were overshadowed by the surprisingly gory deaths of Hammerhead’s gang. Not to say One-Punch Man isn’t gory, but usually it’s monsters being killed. I’m surprised to see so many regular humans killed. And since most of the chapter was the fight against Sonic and Hammerhead, there wasn’t enough comedy for me to really enjoy the chapter like I have previous chapters. It was still good, just not as good as I’ve grown accustomed to with One-Punch Man.
Dragon Ball Z Ch. 011
I definitely enjoy Dragon Ball most when it lets itself just have some fun with the world it is set in. The fights are interesting and everything, but those chapters are always far too fast and make for bad week-to-week reading. As long as we get more chapters like this I’ll be satisfied—especially as the mythology of the Dragon Ball world is expanded. Though, as we creep up the power scale, I’ll be laughing at the idea of characters like Enma and King Kai being more powerful than the main characters.
World Trigger Ch. 010
Nothing like a bunch of new characters I don’t care about to solidify how uninspired World Trigger has turned out to be. I found myself complaining against all the board members acting like idiots and discussing Osamu’s relatively trivial rule breaking instead of spending all their time figuring out why gates are opening where they shouldn’t be. I’d been giving World Trigger more than a few chances, but this chapter solidified it as one of the less interesting manga to be published in the online edition of Weekly Shonen Jump.
Cross Manage Ch. 029
Cross Manage, on the other hand, has endeared itself to me so much that I will be enraged if it gets cancelled. I don’t even care about the fact that we never see the games (though we better at least see the game against Choran), it’s all about the characters and the small moments between them. And that’s what this chapter was, a bunch of excellent small moments. All the cumulative development in the series coming together to make an enjoyable chapter. I pray that Cross Manage makes the next cut and lets us see what Kaito can do with the other characters.
Bleach Ch. 533
Besides the fact that I’m convinced Aizen and Urahara are conspiring to make Isshin and Masaki have a kid (hard to take the chapter seriously that way), I quite liked this chapter. This story has been a long time coming, and my general disappointment with Bleach over the last few years is being ignored in favor of finally figuring out what Isshin and Masaki’s story is. There are quite a few questions left to be answered, and a few this chapter has raised that I am interested to learn the answer to, rather than being annoyed that too many questions are muddling the story. I would like to get back to the characters I’m actually interested in, aka, the characters we started this series with (Orihime, Chad, Uryu, etc.) but since that’s probably not going to happen I can at least enjoy the series when it’s actually being good.
Nisekoi Ch. 070
This chapter was cuter than it should have been. Tsugumi is kind of the odd duck among Rakku’s love interests, being the only one not to have a childhood connection to him, but she’s also one of the more interesting characters. This chapter makes me root for her more, while at the same time employing some oddly out of place fanservice. It doesn’t happen that often in this series, and I’m impressed that Naoshi has avoided resorting to fanservice to help his ratings. I know harem endings are the worst endings for romantic harem comedies, but I can’t help but want that to happen for this series. All the girls are great, and I don’t want to see any of them disappointed!
I apologize if I offended anyone with my rant earlier, but it had to be said. And I know I can’t be the only person thinking it. Though, from what I can tell I have the majority of Naruto fandom on my side on this one. Let me know if you disagree, or if you have comments about what I said for any of the other chapters. In fact I might prefer if you talk about those instead.
If you want to hear more, check out the Manga^3 Podcast Archives. Or go directly to last week’s episode,