It’s always interesting to get a new series in Weekly Shonen Jump. Though in the case of monthly series the experience is altered a little bit. Rather than spending every week wondering if the series will get cancelled, we find ourselves not even considering that because there are already several months worth of chapters that have been published in Japan. But, as Cross Manage proved, just because something hasn’t been cancelled in Japan yet doesn’t mean a Western audience will like it, and vice versa. So let’s take a gander at the newest series and the rest of the issue.
Seraph of the End Ch. 1
If this magazine was aimed at adults there is no way a series like this would fly. And considering how many adults read the magazine (unless I’m the only one) then I can’t say this series will be very well received. Why? Because for starters the creepy overtones I got from the one vampire made me think we needed to get Chris Hansen on standby. Now there’s a manga idea, “Chris Hansen: Pedo-Vampire Slayer”. And then there’s the climax of the chapter where a baker’s dozen’s worth of children get massacred by one of the vampires. Now, if any of you didn’t feel uncomfortable during this segment then I must ask you to stay well away from my family.
The idea of children fighting vampires had potential, uncomfortable potential, but still potential. But that is immediately undermined when at the end of the chapter we discover that not all adults died. Only those in Japan apparently. So the first promise the series makes is already broken. I can’t say I hold high hopes for the rest of it.
Worst of all is the tonal shifts. I admit to not knowing many orphans, but I refuse to believe any of them could talk about how their parents died, often in horrible ways, with any kind of smile on their face. I call all kinds of bullshit on every single element of the main character’s backstory. This is a problem throughout the whole story, where we switch from typical shonen enthusiasm to incredibly dark events. It’s just that one scene in the orphanage encapsulates the entire problem. I know manga likes to make these kind of tonal jumps, but it doesn’t always work, and in this case it most definitely doesn’t work.
I’m probably being harsher than I need to be, but that tends to happen when I’m made to read the wholesale slaughter of a bunch of twelve and youngers. I may not have my own children, but I’m certainly at the point where I feel protective of those hobbit sized humans. So this was not the best way to endear a new manga to me.
One Piece Ch. 723
Oh One Piece, at least you only mentally scar your children instead of outright murdering them. Sadly there are only so many ways I can say this series is awesome without growing repetitive. Perhaps that’s why so many reviewers, and I myself, fall into the routine of writing bad reviews. But don’t think I’m trying to put a negative twist on a great series by trying to find some kind of fault with it. Even if that fault is me complaining about how I can’t find any fault with it. Okay so that may actually be me trying to do what I said I wasn’t doing. But can you blame me? Most of the time One Piece is so perfect and I’m such a fanboy that I’m probably the worst person to be analyzing it.
At least this chapter finally gives Sanji a chance to show his badass self. Even if we all know he’s going to get his butt kicked next chapter. But with plenty of comedy, and a great climax I have to say that One Piece is as amazing as ever. But when one always excels it becomes harder and harder to stand out. And I fear that One Piece has been at risk of this for the past couple years. We’re so used to expecting amazing things, and while One Piece has been amazing it feels like it hasn’t exceeded any expectations it’s just been meeting them. And as much as I love this series it feels like the chapters just continue to be amazing rather than wowing me like they did a couple years ago.
Naruto Ch. 649
Oh Naruto, you’re my favorite series that I don’t actually like. Why? Because I can find so many things wrong with every single chapter. Usually. Sometimes you just bore me and I can’t find the will to even bother complaining. This week I don’t have as much material, but there are a couple bones I feel the need to pick.
It constantly surprises me how big of a fanbase this manga continues to have, despite the fact that Kishimoto has shown himself incapable of writing characters beyond their base stereotypes. Such as several chapters ago when Ino showed that she’s just as terrible a character as she was at the start of the series. Maybe even more so. Don’t get me wrong, stereotypes can be very useful, very powerful tools. The thing is that when writing characters you need to expand beyond the initial stereotype, not constantly bring it back to that original stereotype without any further development. For example, when the Mizukage was introduced her gimmick was that she was an unmarried woman approaching middle age who just wanted to get married, and was very sensitive about the subject, to the point where she would make threats against people for the most innocent of comments. Not the most progressive portrayal but amusing enough. Any other writer would use that character trait as a bouncing off point towards character development. Maybe she would find a man, maybe she would realize that she didn’t need a man, maybe she’d realize she liked women instead. Or maybe she’d come to realize that real relationships take a lot of work but are ultimately more rewarding than the fairy tail romance she’d built up in her mind. But since this is a shonen action series and not a romantic comedy, that would never happen. So instead she’s the exact same character she was before. Why do I make such a big deal about this? Because with her comment about not being married this chapter I once again am reminded that Kishimoto does not write character traits, he writes gags that are confused as character traits. Rather than actually giving us any kind of satisfying development his characters stay in the same limbo they were at their introduction and we end up with nothing but a bunch of uninteresting characters cracking unfunny jokes.
Fortunately Shikamaru still has a semblance of a character and is actually undergoing some growth. And I’m not about to cry sexism since so many of the female characters remain unrealized, because Kiba shows us this chapter that he hasn’t developed in the slightest either. So yay, some semblance of equality, even if it’s equality in mediocrity.
Bleach Ch. 551
You know, it doesn’t make villains any smarter when they point out the abject stupidity of the protagonists. The whole “You should have taught this skill to others” isn’t so much a keen villainous insight as it is an exercise in the basic mental faculties of any human being whose brain is still capable of breathing. And Nanao is supposed to be one of the smart ones! And here she didn’t consider that maybe, just maybe this ultimate barrier spell would be useful elsewhere as well. It’s really hard to root for the good guys when I’m too busy praying they don’t accidentally hurt themselves with the swords they’re carrying. The intelligence displayed by these characters would make me think twice before letting them have safety scissors let alone weapons.
And of course rather than building up the tension for a bit longer we discover that Urahara has a way to win back their bankai. Well isn’t that just convenient.
Nisekoi Ch. 93
Whether you like this chapter depends entirely on what your views are in regards to female stereotypes. Are you the kind that becomes enraged when a girl worries about her weight? Possibly consider avoiding this chapter. Unless you like getting angry, like me. If you don’t mind it then read on. It’s plenty funny and plenty cute, but not the most outstanding chapter in this series. Though the punchline at the end of the chapter is well worth the chapter.
Toriko Ch. 252
The majority of this chapter is made up of small montages. While these are enjoyable enough I can’t help but feel like this is all something that needs to be expanded upon. And maybe if we were living a couple decades in the past we’d get a full flashback. But for now I guess I can just look forward to the anime expanding on everything that happened in this chapter.
Though I have one complaint. Under what circumstances is it realistic for a starving person to have the gall to ask for better food? I know there are some people out there with an amazing amount of gall, but the segment where Froese was feeding the hungry felt so unrealistic it dragged me out of the story. And I know, I know, there’s plenty of other more unbelievable things happening in this series. But for the most part they make sense in the context of the series. But what cannot be treated subjectively is how people act. Even in the most outlandish series there needs to be some sense that people still follow understandable human logic. And a starving person asking for better food just doesn’t make any sense.
One-Punch Man Ch. 28
The one thing I really appreciated in this chapter was the end. Saitama getting promoted was all good and fine, but I’m glad to see that Mumen Rider made another appearance, possibly as a future friend and ally of Saitama. I’m partly glad that my earlier prediction was right, but for the most part I just think he’s a fun character that I hope we will get to see more of.
World Trigger Ch. 33
Well, at least this arc isn’t a straight up tournament just yet. By which I mean at least the candidates aren’t all just fighting each other. That would be cliche and boring. Too bad most of this chapter is spent explaining things with very little actual payoff. This series has been somewhat getting better, but it’s far from being any kind of favorite of mine. It’s just really dull, and I’m pretty enraged that the series is doing so well in Japan when better series have been cancelled. No, I don’t ever intend to let Cross Manage’s cancellation go.
Blue Exorcist Ch. 50
I have to give Blue Exorcist props for pulling off a character betrayal while retaining that character’s personality. It’s so easy to have an established character turn into a traitor and then completely change their personality, turning them into a total villain. Shima on the other hand is still the same person he was before, he just has different loyalties now.
Shiemi being a bad cook is a manga trope, but at least in her case it makes sense. Too often the joke is played as “Look at these people putting disparate ingredients into their food!” in a way that makes no sense whatsoever. Any intelligent human being knows that you don’t put curry powder in cookies! But rather than mix ingredients that clearly don’t go together Shiemi tries to make healthy food and ends up making it really bland. That works for me because it’s more realistic than mixing ingredients that clearly don’t belong. \
Dragonball Z Ch. 34
I must confess. Dragonball Z is not the most engaging manga to be writing about. Let’s just say Goku and Vegeta fought and leave it at that. Though, it is worth pointing out that this chapter we get to see the first part of Goku falling so in love with fighting that he makes terrible decisions in the future.
And that’s our reviews for the week. Some decent chapters, but nothing that really stood out. Though, once again, that might have something to do with my unreasonable expectations.
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