Series Roundup: 10/24 – 10/30

Mini-reviews for all the series without full individual posts.

Air Gear 293

[scanlation by SSA Scanlations]

I’d love to see more of the Air Gear world before ATs, or like this, more of the world as they’re just starting to discover them and everything associated with them.

Gazelle is a girl now? Seriously, what’s going on here? I’m sure Oh!Great has a direction he’s going with this, but constantly changing the identity of Gazelle without any real indication of plot connection is starting to become tiresome.

“Upside-down glowing ice cream cone” is the best description of Tokyo Tower ever. More relevant to the plot, Gazelle being a blank slate and serving as the world’s (or at least this part of the world’s) introduction to ATs is a nice touch.

This suddenly-revealed relationship is far too happy to last, unfortunately. Tragedy is poised to strike Kaito at the end of the chapter, but it’s safe to assume he’ll be saved, which perhaps directly leads to Gazelle’s demise… or turning into Lind? That part is still confusing. What an unfortunate time for a missed chapter next week.

Defense Devil 70

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

Maybe it was conveyed or drawn in an awkward fashion, but Kucabara’s back-and-forth reaction to his watch being taken isn’t very good. Everyone falling asleep right after that is pretty funny, though.

The very moment of her first mention, Kucabara’s sister arrives, flying beside Jody. That’s a little too convenient.

She has a spell called Pyun-Pyun Bird. Combine that with her face, and I’m finding this character difficult to like already.

There’s an acceptable twist. Bird just being an illusion created by Kucabara’s late sister is far more interesting. The powerful magic she has and her invisibility to anyone but Kucabara still means that she’d be out of place in the main cast, so I hope she doesn’t stick around permanently, but she’s far more tolerable with this kind of bittersweet feeling to her.

Flashback, rainbow bridge, clock hands moving again, end of chapter. Is Defense Devil ever going to return to sensible, extended plot?

Donten Prism Solar Car 2

[scanlation by CXC Scans]

The unnecessarily convenient introduction of Professor Saeki effectively ruins all of the tension from the excellent first chapter. What a complete and immediate disappointment.

Saeki’s lofty speech about the lives and ambitions of students is made bizarre by the mention of the solar car as the path to the future. It’s still a bit early to lean on the crux of the series like this, given that this series is likely an introduction to solar cars for most of the audience.

The car accident provided the perfect opportunity to introduce a little romantic tension, as well as reintroducing some resentment via the destroyed bicycle. Instead, the author opted not only to have Shouta electrocuted, but also to have him talk to his dead father in his sleep? Ridiculous.

Freshly released from hospital, Shouta confirms that all chapter 1 tension is gone by repairing the solar car by himself. Surely, it was obvious that he’d eventually come around, but the second chapter is far too soon.

Junko’s insistence that this project is a responsibility could provide some much-needed drama. With all but the long-term goals from the first chapter resolved, there simply isn’t enough conflict to engage the reader.

Gamaran 69

[scanlation by Overload Scans]

This is a pretty comical conversation to be having with someone ostensibly related to the fearsome village where the Ogame school knows to train.

Rintaro is pretty jovial for a huge swordsman. However, his potential menace is revealed as his eyes are hidden from view when he comments on Gama’s intent to defeat Jinsuke.

The design of Juuren Village is immediately promising. That huge spire seems particularly menacing, and will likely play a major role in the upcoming training arc.

Sakura’s face is noticeably somber after the mention of Juuren being the location where the next Ogame head is chosen.

69 chapters in, and we finally meet the first woman in the series to be introduced as attractive: Rika. This is actually a positive; the fact that the author didn’t go out of his way to draw previous females in a more presentable fashion nicely evokes the era, as well as being a small victory for rightfully-empowered ordinary women everywhere.

Excellent emotion displayed by Gama, and even more pleasingly, the forced rest is completely skipped over, with the end of the chapter leading directly into the beginning of training.

GE ~ Good Ending 56

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

In addition to being one of the worst, most thoroughly inept romance protagonists of all time, Seiji is also the world’s worst Uno player, in that he fails to meet even the most basic requirement of playing the game.

A training camp arc in a romantic comedy only works in series with at least a halfhearted focus on its particular sport. For example, Suzuka could have pulled it off, because the two protagonists visibly participated in their sport. In Good Ending, tennis is an ignored backdrop at best, but more often a laughable extra.

The brief cooking comedy is welcome, but the positive interplay between Seiji and Yuki is frustratingly kept out of focus. Instead, the spotlight falls on Shou, who is saddened to notice the two having fun together. This author is absolutely infuriating.

Regardless of whether or not the window was open, how the hell would Shou think that Yuki overheard her express her love for Seiji? That’s another example of terrible writing.

Shou asking Yuki for help with Seiji is irritating, because of all of the drama it will inevitably bring, but Shou is at least a respectable character for being honest and brave with her feelings.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 312

[scanlation by Binktopia]

“Never refuse an invitation to get it on!!”? Are you coming on to me, Reborn?

This “Lightning vs. Stag Beetle” fight has been amended to a “Lightning vs. Earth Stag Beetle” fight. That’s at least a little more appropriate.

With lines like “I can make the very earth my ally,” I’ve finally figured out Reborn: It’s for kids. I don’t mean it’s aimed at a demographic of young adults and teens, as defined by its publication in a shonen magazine. I mean, it’s actually for small children. Eight year olds (… Dude). Think about it: If you were eight, stag beetles would still be cool and relevant to you, Rauji would be huge and imposing, and the line “I can make the very earth my ally” would be badass. Judged by typical shonen standards, Reborn is trash, but if you look at it as My First Shonen, it starts to make sense.

Lambo dials back on the motivation, so that he can obviously dial it back up later for yet another silly linear powerup.

Reborn (the character) finally plays a role for once. Why has he been ignored so much? He was such a huge reason why this series was so entertaining in its early days.

“Just now, I remembered how to use the Vongola Gear from my past memories.” Complete and utter drivel.

As bad as some other series can be (Bleach, MiXiM☆11), at least they have the decency to attempt cliffhangers properly, even if they often overdo it. A Reborn cliffhanger goes as far as showing the form of an attack, but then doesn’t actually show it striking at anything. Pitiful. Frankly, the most credit that I can give to this series anymore is that it’s making me run out of negative descriptors.

Nurarihyon no Mago 128

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

There’s another reference to the human side of Hagoromo Gitsune. This fight seems to be headed for a murky ending, sadly.

It’s pleasing to see that older characters aren’t being forgotten. Though his appearance is brief, Jami is a welcome sight.

The 13th has become annoyingly repetitive. We’re well aware by now that Rikuo and Yura must work together, and that the final blow must be struck with Nenekirimaru. Continuing to emphasize this point is a waste of space.

Yet another interruption in the fight from Hagoromo’s human side. We’ve had enough teases for this; it’s time to reveal what’s going on.

The pieces are all in place, but the first major action leading to the resolution of this fight will have to wait at least until next week, at which point the fight will need to end fairly soon. This battle just never felt quite right.

Psyren 140

[scanlation by Muda Scantrad]

Everyone being sent back is an odd choice, considering how little publishing life is left in the series. It does provide a truly painful scene, though, as all the kids are essentially left behind to die.

Being sent a year ahead of the previously established present is a good choice if the plot has time to unfold, but again, with a matter of weeks left to tell the end of the story, the author might have been better off ending the series with a climactic fight in the future.

The final arc is set: Find Present (+1 year) Miroku, probably fight him, kill Mithra. That’s a lot to fit in to a few weeks. I’m pleased that this series has a semblance of a chance to wrap up, but breakneck pacing isn’t much better than an abrupt ending.

SWOT 14

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

Speaking of series with only a few weeks left, if SWOT doesn’t get canceled before Psyren, I may just shut down the website completely. This week’s distraction is the Knight Rider theme song, because even David Hasselhoff commands more respect than Manabizaki… and because watching KITT jump over things is infinitely more entertaining than reading this.

A tsundere in the first panel is an appreciated warning about the forthcoming suck.

No, adding romantic comedy elements to your series is not going to help matters. You’re still going to get canceled, so you’re only watering down what little substance you have.

All the girls in the series worked at one café, and now Yamikura works at the one convenience store we’ve seen? Does this city only have three locations?

Ladies and gentlemen, the transition between pages 8 and 9 is, officially, The Single Worst Manga Moment of the Year. Granted, SWOT could yet trump itself in its remaining chapters, but it’s going to take some serious effort to top this. No matter how bad a manga may be, the single most fundamental aspect of a manga is using art to tell a story. By replacing visible action with speed lines, SWOT has failed to achieve even the simplest, most basic, most absolutely necessary concept in all of comics, let alone manga. Even Bleach chapter 396, Aizen’s infamous “everything was according to my plan” chapter (and my previous contender for Single Worst Manga Moment of the Year) at least managed to show characters performing actions. This is an affront to manga. This is unforgivably abominable. I rate each chapter of each series that I read on a scale of 1 to 10, and while chapters like Bleach 396 deservedly earned a 1 for culminating years of plot in a single putrid sentence, SWOT has set a new low. SWOT 14 earns a zero.

There isn’t much else to review. Some little kid is the leader atop Teppen. I’m not concerned about that. I’m concerned with people who actually enjoy reading this series. I don’t even mean that in an aggressive or confrontational way. I simply don’t understand how anyone can find this remotely legible on a recreational basis. I feel like observing you with binoculars from behind a massive steel fence, as though we are from completely different species. I want to learn from you. Please, someone, explain a single point of appeal presented in SWOT that hasn’t already been done exponentially better in another series.

Feel that one or more of these series should be getting full-review treatment each week? Show your support by participating in chapter discussion in comments. Actively-discussed series will be considered for full reviews.

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