Archive for the ‘Weekly Shonen Magazine’ Category

Mahou Sensei Negima! 309

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Animum Mutare]

Negi is still completely out of the action for now, so much so that he’s a hindrance to their plan. They’re going to have to get him capable of moving, or else even when they succeed, they’d have to drag him out of the place. The plot lends itself to some good comedy, and it’s nice to see Chamo still carrying the ranking list of who likes Negi the most. I’d like to point out that if girls who like Negi would help the healing, literally having all of the class excepting two or three girls would definitely speed things up.

That list grows exponentially

Yue has learned quite a lot during her stay in the magical world, and she’s become fairly capable. Her idea makes a lot of sense and is pretty creative, while solving what did seem like a major problem. That aside, I’m still not sure how I feel about the plan as a whole. Fate doesn’t seem like the kind of enemy that you can just sneak past, and that anti-magical field seems like it should extend more than far enough for him to have a healthy amount of time to trash everyone in the party. That is assuming, of course, that Negi stays comatose, which he won’t.

I’m not sure I like the idea of the whole “no one dies” thing. Sure, it is Negima, so I’m not expecting Fate to off a bunch of cute girls from the class. Do we need to be explicitly told that no one will die, they’ll just be sent to dream world? I don’t think so. It somewhat subtracts from the gravity of the situation. I guess it is enough to know that if they fail and are sent to the dream world, the erase of the magical world would be pretty much guaranteed, which means the failure of Negi’s plan, whatever it may have been.

Fate being literally face to face with the group is a very intense moment. True to his character, he must have sensed that something was up, because he randomly attacks the area our heroes are on. The frantic escape resulting from the attack, and the scale of the destruction caused by an offhand attack at nothing but a feeling, do a great job of showing off what a villain Fate is. There’s a very good reason all the battle-capable party members don’t just team up and fight him, and that reason is that they would very likely just be annihilated. Natsumi’s hat flying off her head as she collapses, and the resulting desperate grab by Kotarou, are just more examples of how well the tension of the moment is being done.

Tastes like haute couture

Natsumi’s resolve as she walks straight towards Fate is perhaps the best moment of courage we’ve seen in a while. For a series like Negima, which has so many super-powered fighters, it sure is ironic how the most heroic moments often result from the most normal characters. Nodoka, who was an introverted bookworm, stealing the staff of the lifemaker and using it against Dynamis. Chisame, a normal girl with no battle potential, being the driving force behind the magical hurricane of destruction that is Negi these days. Now Natsumi, who has no real way of protecting herself, leading the entire group directly into the reaches of the most powerful enemy they’ve faced. These “normal girls” are anything but, and the series would sorely miss them if they left.

Next week is the grand finale of the plan. How will it work for the main party? Hopefully we get the action-packed climax that we’ve been looking forward to for so many chapters.

Final Flash: A good chapter, but it still basically felt like setup. Hopefully we’ve gotten all the preparation out of the way, and next chapter can go straight into the meat of the climax.


Mahou Sensei Negima! 308

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Animum Mutare]

Negi is still out, but the girls have a plan. I have to say I like that this is being followed through, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the girls handle the fact that they’ve basically lost the core of their plans. That said, it’s almost sure that Negi will need to come back to fight with Fate. The fight has been hyped too much at this point, and the arc conclusion just wouldn’t feel right if Negi was left out of it.

This chapter is basically going to work like a little summary of events so far, and the current statuses of enemies and allies alike, framed by the characters using the exposition to fill each other in, of course. It is a little helpful at this point, admittedly. With as many girls as Negima brings into this, we need reminders of who is still fighting, and the two enemies left by Fate’s side.

Diagrams - Deceiving Evil 101

Plan B is being laid out by the remainder of the force with Negi, and it isn’t unacceptable. The girls know they can’t go head-to-head with Fate without Negi there, so they opt for a stealth route to just snatch both the key and Asuna and run away. Sadly, the plan feels like it’s doomed to fail from the very beginning, just from the virtue of knowing that in a series like Negima, this kind of thing isn’t going to be pulled off. After all, that would mean there’s no fight with Fate, which by now is a certainty.

Everyone has their own clearly defined roles for this, further enforcing the idea this is some kind of carefully formed RPG-style party. There’s the steal group to sneak in and grab Asuna, the long range tactical group to grab the key from a distance, and the decoy/battle group to draw attention away from the others. It’s well thought out, and an indication that all of these girls had a place in the group since before they were given Pactios.

Doomsday Device calibration is a must

We’re left with a single page of Fate, and a very cryptic comment. Exactly who are they planning to resurrect? My only guess would be the Mage of the Beginning, who Nagi Springfield defeated back in his confrontation with this group.

Final Flash: Decent setup chapter, but solely setup with a little bit of summary.

Series Roundup: 10/31 – 11/6

November 11, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Code:Breaker 110

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

Sakurakouji’s comedy on the first page is totally unnecessary and ruins much of the suspense and interest built up from last week’s major cliffhanger.

Heike’s account of power users in the Meiji era is interesting. This series has answered some of the questions regarding characters and identities, but this is the first time it’s really delved into its own history. World-building is fundamental, and while this is very nice, it should probably have been addressed sooner.

The Emperor used to be terrifyingly strong. I can accept that he’s somehow contained in Ogami’s body now, but it’s a pity he’s lost all of his edge and become cute.

Heike has always had the power of light, but this is the first time I can recall him explicitly using certain aspects of such an ability, such as speed and refraction. He’s become a legitimate opponent.

Despite everything going on with Heike and the Emperor, Yukihina could have provided the most interesting moment in the chapter, but he is stopped right before the Emperor steps in and handles matters. I still want to know what those markings on Yukihina allow him to do.

Defense Devil 71

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

The cover page depiction of the priest is pretty exciting, but is this really the time for more backstory? There is no plot to propel the series forward right now.

Father Selma had some pretty awful hair back when he was Kanto.

It’s great to see Elimona brought back in to the story in a more directly involved role. Certainly, it always seemed as though she had a part to play in the overall story, but I appreciate that we’re finally getting to see some of her behind-the-scenes dealings. Handing a second chance to Kanto is an interesting choice.

Little Idamaria is cute, and having her visibly being possessed by this legendary demon makes for a strong scene. Not only does this further raise questions about the motives of Elimona, but this is also enough to bring the entire story back to its main focus, provided that this flashback mini-arc is the last bit of sidetracking the plot takes.

GE ~ Good Ending 57-58

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

(57) Yuki stood up for herself! Stop the presses! Alert the internet!

It’s sad that Shou has to be the one to pull away from more-than-casual interaction from Seiji, but as long as someone is doing it, I’m satisfied.

“If I die […] please burn the porn magazines in my bag…”? You carry them around with you at all times? That’s dedication.

This surprisingly deep conversation is tarnished a little by our idiot protagonist trying to sound wise. No amount of false bravado or humility can make up for all his actions over the last several months.

Cue stereotypical romantic comedy situation. This time, at least, it involves the right people.

(58) Yuki’s fear of ghosts is an amusing trait that I wish we’d seen sooner.

Seiji trying desperately to be manly and climb up to the second floor is funny as well. This is a way that his stupidity can be applied in a positive manner.

Finally, a beautiful, rewarding, drama-free scene of romantic development between Yuki and Seiji. I can’t even complain that Yuki had to take the initiative, negating the chance for Seiji to finally grow a backbone, because Yuki’s expectation of a proper confession gives Seiji such an opportunity, yet with added incentive. I still worry that Seiji will be distracted by other girls along the way, but future concerns aside, this moment was excellent.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 313

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

Further illustrating how terrible Amano’s idea of cliffhangers is, the Lambo/Rauji fight ends in the first four pages. Without the slightest hint of exaggeration, I can safely say that her style of twist-cliffhanger (showing the pose/form of an attack on the last page, only for it to connect in the following week’s chapter) is worse than Bleach twists. As pitiful as many Bleach twists have been, at least Kubo has had the decency to show actions in full within the same chapter.

As bad as these fights are proving to be, equally terrible is knowing that after every one, we have to suffer through another boring flashback. I cannot possibly overstate my disdain for Vongola Primo and constant references to him.

At least Lambo provided a decent line to end this fight. Tsuna really should be the “brother”-style of leader, instead of the dull, uncharacteristically suave leader he has been for a few arcs.

… no. I refuse to accept that Byakuran, the character at the root of the ruination of this series, is here. He was defeated, and has absolutely no reason to exist, not that he ever should have been conceived in the first place. Now, he’s back to interfere with the first arc after his own miserable one? No. This is practically grounds for dropping the series, and it certainly cements Reborn as one of the five worst series currently publishing.

Kimi no Iru Machi 111

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

I’m a bit tired of references to Antonio Inoki. They were amusing at first, but why not change the wrestler being referenced? It’s like calling every strong person Hulk Hogan.

I know the Japanese education system tends to push through masses of students in the same manner, but I find it a little naive of Haruto to immediately assume that Shiori is the same age he is.

Mishima deserves so much better than the drama she’ll inevitably receive thanks to the unnecessary plot interference of Shiori.

There exists such a thing as a “Hot Spring Circle.” If ever there was a reason to wish you had been born in Japan, I think that’s it.

Takashi is making this chapter irritating. He is a walking stereotype of “annoying buddy.”

Unsurprisingly to anyone but Haruto, apparently, Shiori is older than him. The brief explanation of her age in relation to her schooling year is actually rather interesting, as an attractive young woman with an active interest in studying makes for a decent character, but it’s not enough to redeem her from being the “wrong” choice girl, particularly because she was introduced far too late.

Wow. She’s pretty direct. I’ll give this character credit for one thing, at least: She is decisive, and decisiveness is a trait not often found in love interests in romance series.

Nurarihyon no Mago 129

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

Seimei is reviving? This is so abrupt that I had to double-check to make sure I hadn’t missed a chapter. I suppose this cements how repetitive and subpar last chapter was.

Lovely imagery as the memories of Hagoromo Gitsune are displayed on the shattering fragments of the Nue’s shell. For all of the faults of the anime, this scene would adapt wonderfully to animation.

As expected, Hagoromo Gitsune is unable to strike the decisive blow, because of the flood of memories from her human side. While this is demeaning for Rikuo, it does help the long-term future of the series that he wasn’t strong enough to defeat her on his own, and that he will (presumably) only attain a circumstantial victory.

I still have no emotional attachment to any of the onmyouji except Yura. This far into the story, I don’t think there’s any rectifying that.

The conceptual design of the invocation of the Hagun is solid, but the overly-stylized skulls take away from the scene. They’re far more warped and comical than scary or impressive.

father?! Rihan is her father? That would make Rikuo her brother. Is this right? I’ve re-read it several times, and I keep reading it the same way, but it keeps seeming to be wrong. If that’s true, that’s an excellent shock.


[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

Perhaps a little MacGyver music will inspire us to overcome the challenge of reading this chapter. I could use an elaborate contraption, though.

Manabizaki is the worst tsundere ever, and the scene is made even worse by his hard-hatted lackey stating the painfully obvious in an internal thought bubble.

What the hell is this? Good Ending? SWOT can’t even stick to its own terrible storyline; it has to continue to try to steal ideas and themes from other series. Give it up, author; you’re getting canceled.

Pages and pages of woeful attempts at romantic comedy. This is painful.

After a brief interlude of the main plot of the entire story, we’re right back to harem idiocy. This chapter may not have been as overwhelmingly awful as chapter 14, but it was still thoroughly putrid. I genuinely cannot fathom how anyone can write a story this terrible.

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.

Fairy Tail 207-209

November 4, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Fairy Tail reviews return with a triple-chapter week mega-post! My anticipation and expectation is high for this series of chapters.

(207) We begin with Mest demystifying himself by trying to eat snow. Right out of the gate in such an important week, Mashima uses comedy to kill the tension (and, by association, interest) surrounding a character with limitless potential. His comedy moments are decently funny, but these character traits could either have been assigned to someone else, or saved for much later, when this character isn’t at the center of attention.

Comedy is well-covered, thanks. Be serious.

Mest and Wendy losing this early can’t be right. Regardless of any criticism I may have towards Mashima, he’s not foolish enough to build up a character this much only to swerve us this badly. Something is amiss.

As evidenced by Gray and Loke failing to remember any vital details about him, Mest is apparently a completely unknown quantity. A mystery element would add considerable excitement to this arc.

Poor Gazille. Certainly, he was the last person who would have wanted the “Quiet” route, even less so than Natsu. As far as a writing choice, though, having Gazille avoid fighting right now is the right decision. He needs the spotlight firmly on him for his next fight, instead of sharing it with others fighting around him.

Juvia lost?! What was the point in including her in the S-Class Exam, then? Mashima better have something major planned for her in this arc, or I’m going to be incensed. Well, I’ll be more incensed than I am now.

That's quite the understatement, Gray

Uh, Natsu, perhaps you missed the point of … well, this entire exam… but you already are challenging your fellow guild members to see who can become an S-Class mage. That’s the whole reason all of you are here. (Seriously, generic shonen hero statements are one thing, but this is a slap in the face.)

The last page unveils the major plot twist: Mest really isn’t who we’ve been made to think he is. We don’t really know who he is, but to an extent, we know who he isn’t. Also, we know he can make one hell of a creepy face. Incidentally, having Pantherlily be the character to figure things out is a nice touch, given both his association to Mystogan and the fact that he’s the last person to join Fairy Tail, meaning that if Mest is using some kind of manipulative magic, Pantherlily should be the least affected by it.

Fantastically scary

(208) Suddenly, Tenrou Island has become Little Garden.

I still don’t like Happy, but a comedic straight-man was definitely needed in the scene where Natsu interrogated the beast, and Happy duly delivered.

Halfway through, the chapter still hasn’t shaken the comedy focus. Fairy Tail is good at comedy, but an unprecedented triple-chapter week might not be the best time to get sidetracked from the main story. Incidentally, the Conan O’Brien “If They Mated”-esque concept of what Elfman and Evergreen’s baby would look like is nowhere near as funny as Mirajane’s head-in-hands reaction in the following panel.

World's unhappiest would-be aunt

In a twist that wouldn’t shock even a child whose first reading material is Fairy Tail, romantic tension is being developed between Elfman and Evergreen. The most insulting aspect of that plot cop-out is that, if predictable and unnecessary romantic development is all we’re set to gain from Elfman and Evergreen progressing in the exam, they might as well have lost instead of Juvia and Lisanna.

Emo kid is back, and he’s still on the verge of tears as he tries to get Elfman and Evergreen to run away. Sadly, those two don’t have the chance to prove their worth, as Natsu enters the scene from out of nowhere to save them from “Death Preying,” which is one of the most redundant names ever given to an ability.

Oh, nevermind. Emo kid isn’t on the verge of tears at all; he actually is crying.

Cheer up, genocidal terror

(209) It really is unfortunate that this whole “depressed character with an unwanted devastating power” storyline has been done enough already, because each individual aspect of this storyline is being handled well. Still, I can’t overlook obvious authorial laziness.

Emo kid has been waiting for Natsu to grow strong enough to kill him? Again, that’s tried-and-true at best. More interesting to me is the fact that Natsu has no idea who he is.

As unusual of a sacrificial lamb as a muffler is, any involvement in the storyline from Igneel is worthwhile. We’ve had to wait far too long for any advancement of this plot; I’m certainly not suggesting that Mashima should have had Natsu head directly for a reunion with Igneel without any adventures along the way, but entire arcs have gone by without even the mention of his name. This is a good sign.

Do you have any idea how few Targets exist in Earthland?

Mest is apparently aware of the existence of emo kid. His creepy face conveys mixed messages, however; it’s difficult to tell whether Mest is fearful or excited.

... or both fearful AND excited, perhaps?

Emo kid now has a name, but I don’t like “Zeref” as much as “emo kid.” I suppose I ought to let the manga speak for itself, though.

An airship full of baddies shows up, headed by a man named Hades. Could there possibly have been a more boring way to introduce the antagonists of this arc? Here is an airship, this guy is named Hades, this other guy is ugly, this narrative box says “Dark Guild.” Completely unimaginative.

As long as none of you are secretly Gérard

Final Flash: 207 was the standout of the three, but each chapter had some quality to it. That said, there was no incredible event or unified storyline that warranted a triple-chapter week. In that sense, then, this was a bit of a letdown.

Mahou Sensei Negima! 307

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Animum Mutare]

This is a strikingly effective opening page. If your mouth was left open after this, I’m sure you aren’t the only one. Shiori looks gone, and Dynamis is declaring the victory of their faction. Negi is going out of control, and the girls can barely do anything to stop him.

Surely not the first time Negi was covered in high school girls

Chisame is an incredibly strong character, and this is in stark contrast to having basically zero combat potential. It’s a testament to how well written she is, both that she can stand out among 30 other girls, and that she can remain vitally important to the plot despite not fighting directly.

Shiori barely escaped the fatal blow, and Negi has ceased his advance into being a creature of darkness. I don’t know how I feel about the former. A straight-out death isn’t something expected in Negima, but it might not have been a terrible development. Negi is rendered useless for the foreseeable future; he’s a shell of his former self.

Shiori’s speech cements her as a mainstay of the already gigantic cast of females who have gathered around Negi. In another series with this many characters, it may be seen as too much. In Negima, though, adding another girl seems more like a “why not?” sort of decision.

She has a pretty good point

Negi is out of it, but the girls realize the finality of the situation and decide to press on. I wonder how they’re going to manage without Negi, who according to Dynamis is the only one who could possibly take on Fate.

Final Flash: A climactic buildup to a moment that dodges a climax. Nevertheless, some brilliant characterization.

Series Roundup: 10/24 – 10/30

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

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.


[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.

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Series Roundup: 10/17 – 10/23

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Air Gear 291-292

[scanlation by SSA Scanlations]

(291) Just in case you weren’t convinced that this is a bizarre arc, Kaito utters the phrase “Even if you’ve trained your balls […]”

Kaito’s cigarette trick is a nice touch on its own, and Lind knowing to take over control of the body and not interfere shows another facet of the relationship between Kaito and this multi-persona character.

Apparently Lind is Gazelle? That’s interesting, but it’s also just the same cliffhanger/twist as last week.

(292) This proposed trade is a neat idea, but Lind shutting it down might be for the best. Arthur and Shalott are decent characters, but we’ve been away from the main group for too long.

I’m curious about this Gazelle concept, but with the pacing already stretched because of all the individual fights going on, this is not at all a great time for a flashback. This could have been saved for after this entire arc.

Code:Breaker 108-109

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

(108) The opening pages of post-mystery explanation are slightly tedious, but Aoba being revealed as the Code:Revenger is a good enough twist to reclaim my interest. Great two-page spread artwork of Aoba’s glare.

Ogami using Belphegor to no effect shows that Aoba isn’t using any abilities. This is a great writing choice; this series has become entirely about special powers, to the point that a character being this strong on innate power is a pleasant surprise.

Aoba reveals a hint of her motivation, saying that Ogami took her beloved away from her. The One, perhaps?

(109) Heike’s introduction might finally lead to some serious development. He’s been hinted as having his own motives ever since he was introduced, but the plot has yet to focus on him intently.

Aoba’s leg submission on Ogami is another clever touch, and Ogami’s attempt to counter it leads to losing his power. Finally, Sakurakouji’s intervention prompts a pained expression on Aoba’s face. In its entirety, this is a fantastic exchange, and a great way to establish Aoba as a meaningful character.

Interesting aside about Toki. His presence has been sorely missed recently.

Wonderful series of pages to wrap up the chapter. Heike’s role as one of the founders of Eden (whatever that is – we need some more information about that), as well as his age, finally gives his character enough material to stand out. These were a great couple of chapters.

Defense Devil 69

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

Judging from the opening pages, it seems this chapter is yet another diversion from the main storyline. A Shugarl chapter should be more acceptable than last week’s fanservice, at least.

That said, Shugarl does serve as quality female fanservice, apparently. His female onlookers are amusing.

Jupiter’s nightmare is suitably scary for a series that doesn’t focus much on horror.

Attempting to intervene on Jupiter’s behalf is an effective way to solidify Shugarl as a “good” character. I suppose that was necessary development, but this still felt like an oddly detached chapter.

Donten Prism Solar Car 1

[scanlation by CXC Scans]

Immediate impression of this series: Great art, as was to be expected from Murata. Also, the use of narrative boxes to quickly establish the protagonist is much appreciated in a monthly series. Also, the protagonist himself is an interesting character, with a good backstory, character design, and traits.

What a unique scenario presented by the first conflict in this series. Building a solar car is (to my knowledge) completely unprecedented shonen plot, and Kaneda’s displeasure with these students coming into his everyday life should make for interesting relationship development for many chapters to come.

Whether he’s justified or not, Kaneda is being a jerk to the engineering students. That fact alone makes him far more dynamic than most protagonists through one chapter.

It’s a pity this is a monthly series, rather than weekly, because the first chapter was about as engaging as it could have been. I’m already looking forward to next month.

Gamaran 67-68

[scanlation by Overload Scans]

(67) It’s been long enough since we’ve had a break from serious action that I’d forgotten that this series is capable of good comedy.

These two idiots are boasting in front of the absolute last person in this series to mess around with. They’d be better off joking around with Jinsuke than challenging Iori.

Juuren Village? Sounds like a training arc. That wasn’t too hard to see coming, though.

(68) Of course some folks from Juuren Village just happen to be wondering about the Ogame school. How convenient.

Interesting note about Ranmaru becoming Naoyoshi’s bodyguard. That, combined with Ranmaru’s conversation with an aggressive Kai, sets up the long-term possibility of Ranmaru having his own motives independent from Jinsuke’s vision, despite all the emphasis placed on Ranmaru’s loyalty in this chapter.

Great little scene of Naoyoshi having a crisis of conscience regarding helping his mother versus remaining loyal to Gama. So far, despite the Grand Tournament of Unabara ending, Naoyoshi is still getting necessary spotlight and development.

A foreign ninja girl attacks the Ogame group? This is the most out of place character design yet shown in the series, so Juuren Village is already looking to be a change of pace.

GE ~ Good Ending 55

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

Pages and pages of aggravation. I can’t quantify how much I’d rather be reading a series about Eri or Izumi.

Errand boy Seiji crashes into a girl at the photo lab. The absolute last thing this series needed was another harem member, and yet this series is terrible enough that such a meeting already cements this girl as a love interest.

The mixup between Seiji and the mystery girl means each character’s photos land in the wrong hands, and some professional photographers get a look at Seiji’s pictures. As uninteresting and unrelated to existing plot as this is, perhaps it will lead to Seiji finding something to do as a career, which would satisfy his self-imposed requirement for dating Yuki. Maybe this could lead to something positive.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 311

[scanlation by Binktopia]

It’s depressing that Amano feels the need to explain the concept of the 10-year bazooka. That’s yet another sign of how far downhill this series has gone; if Reborn! was still as good as it used to be, Lambo would have been featured prominently in fun roles all along.

Rauji is a huge stag beetle. Ridiculous.

Lambo’s “pride” is pretty comical. Even in 15-year old form, he’s still the most enjoyable character in the series.

Oh so coincidentally, Lambo’s weapon gives him horns. Horns vs. jaws. Yawn.

An entire chapter wasted on putting on a helmet. Even Lambo can’t redeem this.


[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

This week’s SWOT despair-saving TV theme is the intro to CHiPs. Help me, Erik Estrada.

Of course Yamikura can use Resolve already. He’s been off-screen. That’s all it takes in bad shonen.

Yamikura was able to defeat the sophomore in a matter of pages. I know this series is on the verge of cancellation (thankfully), but that’s still criminal.

Wonderful, a moody eyepatch character. Thanks for reminding us that no matter how bad it was, Lock On! was still indescribably superior to this garbage.

What the hell? Discounting the overall idiocy of the last page, look at Manabizaki’s teeth. It’s obvious the author can’t write worth a damn, but at least have the decency to draw properly.

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.