Pretty good batch this week I have to say. Some chapters weren’t the greatest, but overall even the chapters I don’t usually care for were pretty good.
Naruto Ch. 662
All I can say about this chapter (well that’s not entirely true) is, “Ding dong the witch is almost dead!” But I jest, my condolences to anyone whose heart broke when Sasuke got stabbed last chapter and remained stabbed this chapter. Honestly I’m surprised he didn’t think to switch places with a handy log.
What really stands out this chapter is how romance in this series works. I know right? We start off talking about an almost dead person and suddenly it’s all about romance. Allow me to explain. As it turns out apparently Ino and Karin’s “love” for Sasuke is so great that they were able to telepathically realize that he is mortally wounded. I can understand Ino being capable of that, what with her ability to transmit thoughts across multiple minds. But how exactly is Karin realizing that he’s been mortally wounded? If the answer turns out to “True Love” then I just might break something.
More amusing is the fact that neither Sakura nor Hinata reacted when Naruto was mortally injured. In fact, Sakura was one of the only characters who’s ever had a thing for Sasuke that didn’t react when he got stabbed. Make of that what you will.
Overall the chapter is actually enjoyable if mostly because seeing our two main characters in such a life threatening situation makes for good drama no matter how the rest of the series fumbles the ball when it comes to storytelling. And the shipping implications are entertaining for anyone that enjoys watching the shipping communities go mad.
All You Need Is Kill Ch. 002
I didn’t get around to reviewing the first chapter because it was in a special issue instead of a regular issue. Should I have reviewed that special issue? I say Nay because there were only three chapters in it, all of them from Obata’s old series. Instead I’ll tell you what I thought right here.
The first chapter was interesting, the concept certainly has my attention and I do like body armor. But I find the female character designs a bit problematic in that they don’t seem to fit in the world this manga is trying to build. They look like they’d be more at home in Bakuman, rather than a gritty action sci-fi series.
The second chapter continues to be worth the time it takes to read by introducing the idea that Keiji can change the outcome of each time loop slightly. Ultimately he is unable to change his ultimate fate without more experience, but as he comes to realize that while his physical abilities will not increase, he can improve himself mentally by learning how to properly use his armor, learn battle strategies, and more importantly gain combat experience from facing the mimics over and over.
Seeing how this series is not only being made a manga, but a western style comic, as well as a movie, I have to say this odd cross promotion has been strangely effective. I originally wasn’t intending on seeing the movie “Edge of Tomorrow” but after seeing the basic concept handled well in the manga I’m curious to see how the big budget adaptation turns out.
One Piece Ch. 735
One Piece can be hard to review because each chapter has so much content that it almost deserves its own review. There’s so much to say that if I were to say only a fraction of it I would feel like what I did say didn’t do the chapter justice.
But enough creative stalling, the chapter was of course, as usual, excellent. I still don’t understand what Oda is trying to do with Señor Pink, but this time around I actually thought he was kind of cool. If he weren’t such an odd parody of I don’t know what he’d definitely be a cool type of character. I think it deserves mention that this is the first chapter of One Piece, ever, that acknowledges that sex exists in the One Piece world. Sure we’ve had children born in this series before, but never before has Oda gone into the specifics of how such an event comes to be. And then this chapter we have one of the random groupies flat out ask Señor Pink to “Make love to me, Señor!”
Fujitora’s plan to undo the seven warlord system is fascinating, and definitely makes him stand out as a character, and not just another Admiral. This arc has been very good with its characters, even moreso than the Fishman Island arc because with these characters we can expect them to stick around and show up later in the arc. At least we can with Fujitora and the newly appointed Lucy who is making his appearance in the finale of the tournament.
Nisekoi Ch. 107
I continue to wonder why Haru gets so much focus in this series, even when she’s tolerable she’s far from my favorite character, so it becomes hard to enjoy chapters of which she is the focus. However, the reveal at the end where she discovers the truth about Raku and Chitoge’s relationship is definitely worth it. Now we just have to see how she reacts now that she knows her sister isn’t trying to steal another girl’s boyfriend.
One-Punch Man Ch. 032
I think the main thing this chapter highlights is that the weakness of One-Punch Man is how the characters kind of appear without any real development towards their personalities. They usually are introduced during a fight, rather than the standard way of introducing them outside of a battle. To be fair, I call this a weakness, when I’m not sure that’s the right term I’m looking for. It’s a unique approach certainly, but it does mean that we’re spending a lot of time with characters that are perfectly fine, I just haven’t had enough time to grow attached to them, so anytime Saitama isn’t on screen I feel myself struggling to remain invested in the other characters.
Bleach Ch. 565
Not only do we get to learn Yhwach’s powers, but we also discover, in a kind of roundabout way, that Uryu definitely hasn’t turned against his friends, but that he most likely went to avenge his mother, only to find himself trapped. And the Quincies find themselves in a never ending battle because if Yhwach ever stops battling he will return to an infantile, helpless state.
An interesting concept, but the chapter was a bit too explainy to really be entertaining.
Dragonball Z Ch. 048
People can say what they want about Chi-Chi, I will contend that she’s in the right. Think about it, how happy would you be with your spouse if they got your child involved in a life or death battle for the sake of the planet? Sure everyone would have died had they not, but keep in mind this is your son that hasn’t even hit puberty yet. I’d be pretty furious too in that situation. So to see the characters all complain about what a terrible wife she is kind of pisses me off. What exactly was Toriyama trying to say? That caring about your offspring makes you a terrible spouse? Yes she’s overbearing, but the extent to which the other characters call her out on not caring about Goku is a bit sickening. Because, let’s face it, Goku isn’t exactly a model husband and father. Ultimately I feel that her portrayal in this chapter was excessively political in that she was clearly there to make a statement, and the statement being made is problematic at best.
El Viento Del Norte
I’ll spare you the rant about how Katanas are not the greatest swords ever made, and how the constant praise heaped on them by manga kind of pisses me off (We get it manga artists, your ancestors made good swords, well guess what so did my ancestors. And Katanas aren’t actually all that unique, the form was simultaneously developed/adopted on the asian mainland by Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma to name a few. Not identical, but the basic shape of the swords of these four countries are very similar. And how exactly does some goon in the middle of the US Mid-West (or wherever this is set exactly) know what in the flip a Katana is? These are the people for whom the basic name for Chinese people was offensive at best, and to them EVERYONE asian was Chinese. I doubt they’d even care to make the distinction between Chinese or Japanese, so how are they supposed to know what the smeg a flipping Katana is??!?!? And don’t get me started on cutting guns, a Katana can’t even cut a basic European longsword, how are they supposed to cut an entire gun?!?!?).
Anyway, as for the manga itself. The idea of a sword wielding cowgirl is interesting, and while I have to suppress my inner fanboy to accept that said cowgirl wields a Katana, the execution of this one-shot is amateur at best. Which, of course, makes sense considering it was written by an amateur. But it feels like the whole thing was an attempt to appeal both to the Japanese and the Americans voting. “Oh hey, Americans like Cowboys right? Well let’s make it a Cowgirl, and give lesbian overtones because the Japanese (and some Americans) like that along with Katanas.” It feels like something Nobuhiro Watsuki wrote at the beginning of his career. The art style even resembles it a bit. And if Watsuki wanted to write a western with Katanas I would be down, but this story feels like a watered down version of what he would have drawn.
The characters are difficult to get invested in, mostly because of lack of space, which is somewhat countered by the old manga fallback of exaggerating their every interaction. The lesbian overtones from Marianne are a good touch, as sexual attraction can easily explain the attachment between two characters, but the two act like they’ve been lifelong friends instead of people that have only known each other for less than two days.
It’s fun, but when compared to professional standards I wouldn’t expect this to be a long lasting series were it being given the chance at serialization.
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