Sometimes the difference between mediocrity and perfection manga is just a single page. One perfect page can tip the scale from “good” to “brilliant”. Don’t know what I mean? Well let me show you.
Nisekoi Ch. 121
The hardest part of any harem series is legitimizing another romantic interest later on in the game. I’ve found that most other series either don’t bother, or half-heartedly do so. Nisekoi manages to show once again that it is at the top of the pack of harem series. Yui not only works as a legitimate romantic interest, she is characterized enough to the point where her addition to the cast improves the series rather than denigrating it. For an example of a new character later in the the game that does not improve the series look no further than the introduction of Haru.
Slowly we’re getting to the truth of what happened ten years ago, but as curious as I am to finally learn what actually happened, Nisekoi has been enjoyable enough that I would rather we don’t reveal the big mystery just yet, especially if it means the series continues for a couple more years.
All You Need Is Kill Ch. 014
I’m sure fans of coffee appreciated the opening of this chapter, but all I could really think about while Rita was going on about how good the coffee she has is, was how terrible the stuff smells to me. There are things other people enjoy that I don’t particularly care for, but I can understand why someone would like it. Coffee is not one of those things. It smells so bad that I can’t believe anyone actually likes it. Imagine if people went around grinding up rabbit pellets and making a drink out of them. That’s how I feel whenever someone goes on about how good coffee is. You’re all crazy.
It’s always fun to read characters of one’s own nationality when written by someone that does not share said nationality. For example, Americans in old british shows tend to be just a few steps away from an insulting stereotype. Conversely, seeing Americans written by manga authors is always good for a laugh. In this case Rita is probably one of the most realistic Americans in manga, but I have to chuckle at how often she expresses genuine interest or admiration for Japanese products and culture. I’m going to just come out and say it, most Americans would not go around complimenting Japanese glass. In fact we would be more likely to begrudgingly admit that the glass is adequate, and then extol the virtues of Made in the USA glass. We would then put on an American flag like a cape and ride a giant bald eagle into battle. Since we’re dealing in stereotypes here.
Needless to say, whenever an American character compliments Japanese craftsmanship I can’t help but feel like it’s a bit of wish fulfillment on the part of the author. “Look how great Japanese workmanship is, even Americans admit it.” Normally I wouldn’t point that out, but it’s so oddly out of place and not something that anyone I know would ever say so it pulls me out of the story just a little bit. And once I’m distracted no amount of alien monsters can bring me back.
Toriko Ch. 276
I hope eating creatures with human faces doesn’t become too common here. I know a lot of vegans refuse to eat anything with a face, while I don’t ascribe to that I do draw the line at anything that has a human face and can talk. Nonetheless, Toriko has managed to be about as bizarre as it has ever been with this first step into the gourmet world. So I think we can all look forward to an extended “Whaaaa…?” as my review every week.
Seraph of the End Ch 018
I like chapters where I learn something new. Seraph has the issue of having to fight against my initial impression, and while I still don’t care for the series I have found as of these most recent chapters that the characters are much more tolerable than before, and I’m slowly becoming interested in the series. Maybe it’s just me? I tend to hate the first several chapters of any new series in Jump, so maybe they’re actually just fine and I’m just a bitter, jaded jerk of a manga reviewer.
While that may possibly be true for other series, I stand by my conviction that Seraph of the End was not a good series. It’s interesting now, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a good series. The backstory intrigues me, but the characters only just manage to escape me hating them completely.
One Piece Ch. 746
This was the chapter I was talking about earlier when I said a single page can be the difference between a good chapter and a great chapter. In this case it’s actually two pages. The entirety of the chapter is awesome. But it’s those two pages where Doflamingo assigns the bounties that make this one of my favorite chapters in a long time. Which is fortunate, since this is still a bit of a setup chapter for the finale of the arc. It looks like we will be spending longer in Dressrossa than we thought, which works just fine for me, it’s been a good arc and I like a good long arc.
Naruto Ch. 675
Sometimes I feel silly for how much I can rant about manga that I hate. Then I remind myself that storytelling in any form matters to me, and played a big part of growing up for me. So to see something that is flagrantly doing a terrible job at telling a story kind of rubs me the wrong way. For example, it is bad writing if you have a character who has one sole purpose in the story, and to then give that character’s ability to someone else. I used to hate when people would hate on Sakura, but now I can’t help but agree. She has become completely useless, and it kinda pisses me off that Kishimoto has taken her one ability and made Naruto better at it. I’ve read a lot of manga that does a terrible job with its female cast, but Naruto somehow manages to be the worst at it while not being so flagrantly awful. Sure the women aren’t constantly damsels in distress, but they also contribute nothing useful to the story. Cut Sakura out and the story doesn’t change one bit. Except that I wouldn’t spend so much time getting angry at what is apparently meant to be a touching love story between her and Sasuke but in reality is a terrifying example of how abusive relationships start.
I’ve never understood how Kishimoto could ever seriously want to pair Sasuke and Sakura up. From the very beginning he has been portrayed as the kind of character that would grow up to be abusive at best. And yet even the fact that he tried to murder her is just used as a sign of how “devoted” she is. Sakura has been universally reviled for her selfish crush throughout a good chunk of the readership. It doesn’t help her one bit to suddenly say “she is so devoted” without actually showing how she is any different now than she was ten years ago.
And to make matters worse, the entire climax is relying on a powerup that is based on a concept we only just knew existed in the Naruto world. Up until the past few months we never knew reincarnation was even a thing here, and suddenly the big bad is going to be defeated thanks to the sudden existence of reincarnation? That’s just bad writing! And I don’t see how anyone could possibly think it’s anything but. I’m not even being rhetorical here. I’m sincerely confused. Someone please tell me why this series is still so popular!
One-Punch Man Bonus Chapter
What can I say about this extra chapter? It really was to short for me to have any indepth opinion of it.
Bleach Ch. 579
Well, it was fun while it lasted. But I think we all knew that a fight with a character who could create anything he could imagine would not end well. And yet somehow I feel disappointed that his undoing was that he imagined Kenpachi’s power too well, but couldn’t imagine a stronger body for himself. There literally was no way the end of this fight wouldn’t be cheap, so I chose to remember it as a one of a kind fight, and then just forget the ending ever happened.
World Trigger Ch. 059
World Trigger has been quite good at portraying strategic combat. This chapter was as good as any of the past ones, but when too many chapters are good I find myself without anything that stands out enough to be commented on. So it was good, but not amazing. I enjoyed it, but don’t necessarily have anything to talk about. Though I will mention that we’re getting into the C List cast here and I can’t remember who any of these people are. Which goes to show that the manga can get me invested even in characters I can’t quite remember. And that’s just fine by me.
Stealth Symphony Ch. 011
I have to admit I’m intrigued. The ending of this chapter gave me that little extra something I needed for a mediocre series like Stealth Symphony to attract my attention. I’m certainly curious to see where the story will go from here, and am hoping that we go the unconventional route with this one. Though I have been noticing a worrisome trend where new characters are designed with maximum fanservice in mind. It’s rarely a good sign when a manga starts relying on that.
Blue Exorcist Ch. 057
I’m not the kind of person to cry “Sexism” at every little opportunity. I think that some people are a bit sensitive where that topic is concerned. But when a mangaka just comes out and says that a character needs saving because she is a girl, then I can’t help but nervously glance at the big red “Sexism Alert” button I’ve installed on my computer. The only thing stopping me from pressing it is because I’m too confused by the fact that the author of Blue Exorcist happens to be a woman. Does that still count as sexist? Is it even my place to say anything if a woman wants to say girls need saving? Or is this a case where I need to separate the author and the character more? Is Yukio just a sexist? Because if that’s the case I didn’t exactly need another reason to dislike him.
That aside, the fights are quite entertaining. Miwa managing to escape thanks to his brains is a lot more interesting than the “Hulk Smash!” style of shonen battles. And even Yukio incapacitating his foe thanks to the zombie’s regeneration being too aggressive was a lot of fun. So overall a good chapter, but the beginning distracts me with some very worrisome implications. Oh well, at least next month I get to look forward to a bazooka battle.
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