Now in color! Well, a fraction in color. But some color is better than no color. Unless it’s poorly colored. But we should probably save this line of thought for the Dragon Ball Z section. Weekly Shonen Jump Online can be a bit hit or miss. Sometimes we get just the basic number of chapters, and sometimes we end up with an extra thick issue when the monthly titles start rearing their heads again. This is one of those good weeks.
Dragon Ball Z Ch. 001
What can I say about Dragon Ball Z that hasn’t already been said? Well, I can probably say that the addition of color makes the panelling stand out a lot more than it did the first time I read through this series. It’s important to remember that Dragon Ball is an old series, and its panel layout is very different from modern styles. Normally I wouldn’t even notice it, but the amount of white space I saw this chapter just made it stand out.
The translation is a bit weird, I assume it’s just the same old translation Viz has been selling, in which case I think it’s a shame not to take advantage to update some of the vernacular. Picollo in particular had some strange phrasology going on.
Otherwise I am somewhat reminded of Highlander 2, with the revelation that Goku is in fact an alien. I think we can all agree that it worked much better for the Dragon Ball franchise than it did for the Highlander franchise. Other than that, there isn’t much to say about this chapter. I usually think in terms of episodes of the anime, so I was surprised at how short this chapter was. Still, I look forward to another chance to read through Dragon Ball Z again. I’ve been meaning to do it, and this gives me a chance to do so without bothering to go looking for my copies of the series.
Naruto Ch. 618
I promised myself I would be nicer to Naruto. And I have to say, this chapter was the least offensive chapter Sasuke has ever been involved in.
I kid, I kid.
Actually, I quite liked this chapter. Seeing Orochimaru active again fills me with two emotions; joy that the original interesting villain of this series is back, and frustration that his demise feels a bit like a waste of time. I can’t help but wonder what exactly we are supposed to get out of the four hokages being resurrected. While they are no doubt formidable, we just witnessed an army of legendary ninja. I can’t see this as being all that big a threat. Granted, this would have been a good opportunity for Naruto to discover his heritage, but since that has already happened that idea is a no go. It feels like perhaps Kishimoto would have liked to do something like that, considering how he used the edotensei to give closure to several other characters.
Ultimately, this was a good enough chapter, though it once again reminds me how far we’ve come from shuriken and traps. Makes me miss the good old days.
Rurouni Kenshin Ch. 008
I really, really liked Rurouni Kenshin when I was younger. Which is why it hurts to see this series dragged out again for a pointless retelling. What hurts even more is seeing why exactly Watsuki hasn’t had another hit. While the original Rurouni Kenshin could be ludicrous, Watsuki has only gotten sillier with age. Which is why the moment that soured me to this chapter involved a formerly minor villain turned arch villain beating Yahiko with a bag of money. Watsuki has brought up the evil of money before, but in the past he at least attempted to be somewhat subtle about it. Now he isn’t even trying. He’s almost literally beating a dead horse by this point. We understand, money is evil. Magic Samurai that don’t kill are good. This isn’t a concept that really needs to be brought up so often, and so clumsily. Even in bombastic shounen action series I appreciate a little subtlety here and there.
Long story short, I hated Kanryu as a villain before, now I hate him because he’s the symbol of everything that makes this retelling not only pointless, but even bad. In a way, I feel like we dodged a bullet by not getting a continuation to the series. Given what I’ve seen so far there is no way it could possibly have lived up to the original.
One Piece Ch. 697
Take one half classic Oda shmalz, and one half gruesome horror imagery, and you get this chapter. The marines’ confession to actually liking the Strawhats was classic Oda corn, but enjoyable nonetheless. What really made this chapter was the end, where Law confronts Doflamingo, putting him in an impossible position. This chapter just emphasized my prediction that something massive is going to happen for the seven hundredth chapter. What it is I honestly cannot say, but whatever comes next will be amazing.
Toriko Ch. 220
Toriko is one of those rare manga that I don’t mind when the entire chapter is nothing but punches, or even the aftermath of a single punch. Sure there wasn’t much content this week, but what we did get was just so very, very cool. By this point I am completely accepting of the fact that the cooking fest won’t continue, and ready to just sit back and enjoy the insane action.
Cross Manage Ch. 019
This is more what I’ve been wanting from Cross Manage for a while. Back when Kato got a chapter focusing on herself I thought to myself that we needed more of that. Now that Komatsu has gotten her own chapter I think of it as a confirmation that we will be getting some much needed character development for these girls. In an ensemble cast all the characters need developing. As an added bonus, Komatsu is probably one of the more entertaining cast members in a cast of entertaining characters. This was possibly my favorite chapter of this series so far.
One-Punch Man Ch. 003
One-Punch man manages to be as poignant as it is funny. The entire premise is that being the strongest is a lonely summit. As shown by the monster that accidentally killed his own brother, and by Saitama himself and his hillariously boring one sided fights. This chapter gives us a chance to get a closer look at the world that One-Punch Man is set in, as well as setting the stage for what the next few chapters will be like.
Bleach Ch. 525
This was a really, really good chapter. I’ve always been a fan of Kenpachi, and I’ve been somewhat partial to Unohana, even though she hasn’t done much in the series. This was a great chapter for both of them, and it actually explains why Kubo is having the two fight like this rather than having her train Kenpachi. Ultimately I hope that she won’t have to die to unlock Kenpachi’s true strength. It seems like a waste of a talented fighter to have one really strong fighter rather than two really strong fighters, even if one of them is a bit weaker than the other.
Nisekoi Ch. 060
I’m not a huge fan of comedies that try to get serious. And while there is plenty to laugh at in this chapter, ultimately it ends on a downer. And while that may work for some, it does not for me. Kirisaki seems to be the main source of downers in this series, so it’s little surprise she is not my favorite character. This is mostly just because of personal preference, but for the next bit I imagine I’ll just be waiting for the series to get funny again.
Blue Exorcist Ch. 043
While I’m not entirely up to date on this series and I find myself a bit lost in the plot sometimes, I can still appreciate a good chapter on its own merits. I loved seeing Konekomaru take charge. It’s so rare that group dynamics are brought into question in shonen manga that seeing the characters reevaluate their positions was a lot of fun. We don’t have enough series that focus on the tactics of fighting as much as they should. Overall, a great chapter with an awesome fight scene and a few good funny moments.
If you want to hear more, go listen to the Manga^3 Archives. If you want last week’s episode of the podcast, go listen to Episode 033 – January 28, 2013 – What Does Simultaneous Actually Mean and Bood Lad.