Archive for the ‘Weekly Shonen Magazine’ Category

Mahou Sensei Negima! 306

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by reddevilshn]

The effects of Magia Erebea are kicking in, and Negi is obviously not himself. The art of the swirling energy is well done every time Magia Erebea appears, even if the art isn’t something I normally notice in Negima. The jagged edges and inverted colors Negi’s appearance takes on help the effect being created.

Excellently appropriate, and not a bad tribal tattoo

A big fight is about to happen. The attacks taking place are of an appropriately large scale, and they’re getting bigger as the fight goes on. A bit of a mini-revelation, for Dynamis to tell us that Magia Erebea is a technique of his master. We know that Negi learned from Evangeline; does that make her Dynamis’s teacher? I doubt it, which means we’re being foreshadowed for a little more story on one of the mages we saw Nagi fighting in his flashback.

Negi is shrugging off no small number of completely devastating attacks, while tossing attacks back that match the output from Dynamis. The return of the lightning spear, but black lightning this time. Maybe Akamatsu Ken is taking some sort of signal from Kishimoto on this being the time to illustrate huge scale attacks. In defense of Negima, it has been doing this sort of thing for a long time now.

While I don’t exactly want to see Negi only win this by being overcome with this sort of dark magic, I much prefer an evil-powered smackdown to the incredibly played out trope of restraining himself before the fight is settled in his favor for some reason like “not wanting to win that way”. All of the girls are trying to stop him, but the one who throws herself in his way is… our newcomer? This is going to be interesting.

This is how to establish a new character

Final Flash: Excellent action, some intense fights, and nothing but more of the same on the horizon.


Series Roundup: 10/10 – 10/16

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Gamaran 66

[scanlation by helz0ne]

If there’s anything worse for Gama than being demolished by his opponent, it’s being allowed to live “because that is Jinsuke-san’s will.”

The compassion shown by Zenmaru’s brother contradicts the rest of his character… until he then offers to “let him off” with only one arm lost. That’s reassuring in the worst way.

Naoyoshi may not be right about everything because his fault, but he is right to finally act.

It’s shocking enough that Naoyoshi’s mother was waiting for him at the castle, but her revelation that Naoyoshi is to become the next Daimyo is a complete surprise. It’s a great one, though, and one that helps the series transition from the previous long-term plot (Grand Tournament of Unabara) to new material.

Hayate no Gotoku! 292

[scanlation by [C]hán]

Six years is an impressive milestone. It’s been a quality journey throughout.

The concept of Nagi doing image training for a doujinshi convention is hilarious, and the Kamen Rider 555 reference is even funnier. Great comedy chapter thus far.

Housen has some kind of connection to the picture Hayate found of “the 28th.” We seem to be in store for some serious plot, which makes the backdrop of the doujinshi convention even more striking.

The gym teacher punchline (and subsequent “introduction”) is absolutely priceless. What a great choice.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 310

[scanlation by Binktopia]

I don’t recall Lambo being shown naked before. Has Amano taken influence from Baby Beel?

Of course the geological structure is exactly the same as where Vongola Primo did something. All this series cares about is what Vongola Primo did, probably because Tsuna is Vongola Primo in some stupidly convoluted time loop.

For as terrible as this series is, it’s still fun to see Lambo strut around confidently. Remember these few pages of comedy, as they’ll probably be the last bit of enjoyment to be derived for the next 50 chapters.

Obviously, it would have been too creative and fun to have young Lambo somehow stumble his way to a victory, so as always, here comes 10-years-older Lambo to save the day. Will that be enough, or are we in for 20- or even 30-years-older Lambo? Frankly, I don’t care, and it takes effort by Amano to make me stop caring about Lambo.

Mahou Sensei Negima! 304-305

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

(304) … why is Dynamis getting naked?

Excellent action scenes throughout this chapter. This is a case where manga action may actually trump what an anime adaptation would produce, since each scene would be focused on longer and lose the frenetic pace.

Ako’s 1.8cm syringe artifact presents a rather comedic (if awkward) scenario, yet also produces some impressive results.

(305) It’s no surprise that Asuna has been taken away, given both that Fate was here and that such an act is par for the course for such a fantasy storyline.

Kaede is as impressive as always. Her fighting is such a joy to watch.

Great reaction from Negi not to become intangible, but it was a bit naive of him not to take Dynamis seriously.

Nurarihyon no Mago 126-127

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

(126) The more we learn about Rikuo’s father, the better. The lack of information regarding him has effectively built up tension for any plot involving him.

The past between Hagoromo Gitsune and Rikuo’s father is being made deliberately unclear. Rikuo claims she killed him, but the small flashback vision she sees could indicate a misunderstanding.

Kurotabou’s plan hints at a mid-fight development of Rikuo’s powers of some kind. Meanwhile, is the Nue hatching already?

(127) The colors on the cover page are nice, but I would appreciated a scene even moderately related to the current action.

Finally, some concrete information regarding Nura’s father. His name was Rihan, and he invented Matoi. Those tidbits are nice, but the most exciting knowledge is that Matoi is a technique specifically designed for youkai-human hybrids. Considering Rihan’s implied strength and the fact that he was only half human, Rikuo stands to be established rightfully as even more powerful, considering he is three quarters human. This is a great way to explain the strength of the protagonist.

Amid the excellent action, Rikuo poses a fascinating question to Hagoromo Gitsune. If she is indeed partly human, it would prove an interesting twist in the story.

The Supreme Commander’s words and Gyuuki’s presence indicate some ominous and fun plot ahead. The Supreme Commander’s face at the bottom of page 18 is particularly well drawn, too.

If that huge eyeball-having youkai is indeed the character pulling the strings, I give tremendous credit to Shiibashi for setting him up properly. His lunge at the elder Nurarihyon when Hagoromo Gitsune was close to giving birth was an action befitting of an underling, so I never gave this character second thought. Well done.

Psyren 138-139

[scanlation by Muda Scantrad]

(138) Wonderful little scene with Marco, especially with the proud parent boasting afterward.

Miroku’s final intended action is impressive, and the facial expression Mithra gives in reaction is haunting. She may have been introduced far too late in the game to be a great character, but judging each scene on its own merits, that is a great shot.

So… this is just Chrono Trigger now? Time travel and Lavos? I know Iwashiro is probably trying to wrap things up far earlier than he intended, but this is a considerable reach. Knowing this and Mithra’s relation to Quat Nevas is also hugely disappointing in terms of missed opportunities: In Chrono Trigger, Lavos was just a huge alien being. Introducing Mithra as a speaker and representative of such an alien being could be fantastic, but she would have had to have been introduced much, much sooner. In fact, if this Quat Nevas business was a legitimate storyline option before a couple months ago, the groundwork should have been laid far earlier. It’s a shame.

(139) I can’t say I found the death of Kusakabe moving whatsoever. He’s never been any more than a completely minor character.

Old enemies are now allies by way of a common enemy! Well, they’re not all old; some just met for the first time mere chapters ago. Old and new enemies are now allies. Sort of.

The world is practically ending, and Nemesis Q appears, making a pseudo-closing statement. Are we in line for a “bad end,” with the world being consumed and destroyed? I can’t say I’d find that horribly out of place, frankly. It would still be jarring, considering we only just met Quat Nevas, but it would be a creative approach.


[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

What old TV theme song will make SWOT tolerable this week? Let’s try Starsky & Hutch.

This new bad guy is wearing his pants way, way too low. At least quit freeballing there, Murderface.

Sophomores! Run away!

… seriously though, of course the next class up is the next level of strength. It’s SWOT. Everything is predictable and bad.

The big guy can do E. Honda’s attack from Street Fighter II. If you’re going to rip off video game attacks, couldn’t you at least pick something interesting?

Wait, if his head is impervious to damage, how is he defeated after landing on it? It doesn’t matter if he fell from higher; the tiny establishment we got of this character was that he can’t be hurt on his head. This is idiotic.

Frankly, the delayed Resolve slash idea is actually pretty cool, but it’s being wasted on a dull character in a horrible series.

Oh good, it’s Yamikura. That’s all we needed: Bleach-style fight interruptions. Putrid.

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.

Series Roundup: 10/3 – 10/9

October 13, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Code:Breaker 106-107

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

(106) Finally, Yuuki is back to normal. He’s easily at his most enjoyable when he’s this straightforward. Even if he was acting pretty evilly in the last few chapters, he’s still the adorable kid we remember.

Maeda saving Yuuki from judgment is nice, but the follow-up speech is less desirable, and the Nyanmaru dialogue is ridiculous.

The Emperor’s appearance and insistence on sacrifice is a chance to make this character mean something significant, instead of simply keeping him as a mentor-type character.

(107) Rei having to lose senses for each level of power he gains is a completely appropriate “sacrifice” for him to endure.

The Emperor is taking Yuuki’s sound just after he gave it to Rei? That’s hugely disappointing. It’s not like I wanted to see Rei use a variety of powers — he’s not a power-collecting type of character — but this is far too immediate of a turn-around from Yuuki giving all his remaining power to Rei. Yuuki’s trust in Rei now seems cheapened.

Uesugi isn’t the Revenger, but a member of the Code:Names? I guess that’s fine, but it’s not much of a plot twist, considering he was only really developed in the last couple chapters. This does allow for the Revenger to be someone more interesting, though.

Defense Devil 68

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

Fanservice. Jody taking pictures of the girls was decently funny, the waterslide-plant was amusing, and the punchline with Kucabara was pretty good. Otherwise, very forgettable chapter.

Enigma 4

[scanlation by CXC Scans]

Sumio’s cheerful attitude is clearly setting up for a rift in the group. It may be able to win over a few of them, but at least one of the guys in the group that split off are obviously put off by it.

It’s Hiina’s turn to be developed. Her personality is pleasingly strong, and her ability nicely complements her fierce sense of independence.

After some excellent, creepy scenes with black backgrounds and deformed text bubbles in the first few chapters, seeing the same setup for a joke about the girls showering is a great touch.

It would make sense for Hiina to have to solve this puzzle, given that her ability has just been introduced, but it seems unusual to rely on a fairly weak manipulative power to save three people from a room filling with water. I’m curious to see whether her ability is used in an unexpected fashion, or whether yet another character steps in and reveals their own power.

Gamaran 65

[scanlation by Overload Scans]

I know this is hot-blooded shonen manga, but lines like “I’ve trained hard… to kick your ass!!” are pretty tired at this point.

Zenmaru’s brother is creepy and imposing just through his facial expressions alone.

It’s strange that the author feels another explanation of Narukami is necessary. It hasn’t been all that long since we’ve seen it.

Ranmaru is absolutely demolishing Gama. It’s one thing to have the protagonist suffer a loss; it’s a humanizing process that refocuses the character and the plot. It’s another thing entirely to so completely overshadow the protagonist that the reader is left to wonder exactly how he can even begin to improve to reach the level of the opponent that defeated him.

Even worse, Zenmaru was defeated by the mere hilt of his brother’s sword. This is a complete humiliation of the Ogame school.

GE ~ Good Ending 54

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

Seiji must be the stupidest protagonist in all of manga right now. This is setting new lows for main character obliviousness.

Izumi is the saving grace of this series. It’s a pity the author doesn’t have the courage to simply have Izumi tell every character who loves him/her.

Seiji’s speech to Yuki is decent, and he even came out and alluded to his feelings for her. Plus, at least the fireworks had context in which to make sense this time.

Hayate no Gotoku! 291

[scanlation by [C]hán]

Nagi is depressed enough to go to school of her own volition? This is some intensely depressing plot for such a gag-oriented series.

The reactions from all her classmates and teachers are somewhat darkly humorous, but mostly help to further the sense of malaise.

Even the test score praise backfired completely. Again, there’s some humor to be found in the twisting of readers’ expectations, and in the reactions of the other characters around Nagi, but this is seriously depressing.

The mood of the chapter makes the punchline on the final page that much more unexpected and hilarious.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 309

[scanlation by Binktopia]

So, the message of the first several pages is that Katou Julie is a sexual predator? I’m not impressed.

Not only that, but he also acted violently towards Adelheid. Lovely.

The Vindice guarantee that this entire arc will continue to lead towards an increased awareness of Vongola Primo. Amano still hasn’t learned.

Gokudera’s readiness for Lambo’s complaints is both amusing and a rare glimpse into character development. It’s a pity characters don’t receive this kind of focus anymore.

This entire chapter was a setup for a Lambo fight? What a waste of a week. I love Lambo, but he doesn’t exactly require preparation.

Nurarihyon no Mago 125

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

Sadly, these Onmyouji don’t stand any chance against Hagoromo Gitsune. They’ve been interesting, but they’re nowhere near “main character” status enough to make a sizable difference in this fight.

The misdirection and hidden intent of the Onmyouji is well done, though.

Tsuchigumo’s return to save the Nue is an unusual choice. It makes sense with the will of the character, and the Nue is still defenseless at this stage, but it does little to help Hagorome Gitsune as a credible villain.

Finally, Nura and Hagoromo Gitsune face off. This may not be the climax of the arc, given that the Nue will surely be ready soon, but this is the fight we’ve wanted to see for months.

The World God Only Knows 116

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

Kanon’s confession scene, in the middle of an exam, is a fantastic development with regard to every element of the plot.

It’s good that Apollo now has enough power to be able to switch places with Kanon, but her stubbornness in refusing to allow Keima to help is irritating, especially when Apollo doesn’t yet have all of her powers back.

The name “Vintage” for the group from old Hell is a great choice.

Some of these developments have been appreciated, but Fiore outright stabbing Kanon/Apollo through the stomach is absolutely too far. This is still supposed to be a fun, formulaic comedy series, and while long-term plot elements are necessary, they should not completely eschew the tone of the entire series. What a horrendously disappointing event.

Zettai Karen Children 233

[scanlation by JS Scans]

The exchange between Yuuri and Hyoubu might mean something more to me if I were at all invested in Hyoubu as a villain, or at this point, as a character whatsoever.

Perhaps the author has enjoyed Inception recently? Not that Nolan invented the concept, but this seems highly reminiscent so soon after the film.

The play is still completely uninteresting, but Minamoto being given a voiceover is pretty funny.

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.

Series Roundup: 9/26 – 10/2

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

Air Gear 289

[scanlation by SSA Scanlations]

We’re actually kinda supposed to root for Sarome? That’s helpful; I was doing so anyway. Anything to get Onigiri out of the picture.

He still won. Sarome disrobing herself was just fanservice after all, and not ridiculous Oh!Great logic.

Once again, I have no attachment to Sarome, so seeing her scrapped (then later saved) does nothing for me. Authors shouldn’t attempt to place emotional importance on brand new characters.

Even more Onigiri fighting? Surely he’ll lose this next one, but having to read more of him is tiresome.

Code:Breaker 105

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

That’s a pretty weak flashback. Yuuki deserved a stronger driving force in his past than this.

“[The fight is] merely starting” — and all variations of that phrase — is too overused to seem cool, even if I care about these characters and this situation.

I appreciate that Yuuki’s last resort isn’t intended to kill Ogami, but instead to give Ogami his remaining power, but Yuuki dying here feels cheap.

Thankfully, Sakurakouji is here to stop him. I sometimes tire of her preaching, but I’ll tolerate it here if it means Yuuki lives.

Morse code? Yuuki’s comatose friend just happens to know Morse code and have a telegraph. Ridiculous.

D.Gray-man 199

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Wait, I just barely understand why Alma is exploding, but why is Kanda crumbling? I need CliffsNotes for this series.

This just in: Alma is a girl. … sort of. There might be some kind of bizarre pseudo-reincarnation stuff going on here. I have no idea.

Alma turns into a giant-living-bubble-statue-thing, Kanda is somehow still alive, the Earl and the Noahs get wrapped up in something (literally), and Allen uses the Ark to teleport Alma and Kanda away somewhere to supposed safety. Did I get that right? I seriously can’t follow what’s going on. I promise that I’m trying, but I can’t really analyze and evaluate something that makes absolutely no sense to me. The one thing I take away from this is that Allen can freely control the Ark, which makes him pretty damn powerful. That aside, I’m totally lost, and I’m pretty sure the blame for that lies with the series and not me.

Defense Devil 66-67

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

(66) … what the hell, cover page?

I’m not terribly interested in Y’s past, actually. Her introduction is too recent and her actions and motives are too trite for her to get this much attention.

Y stupidly frees herself from Kucabara’s rescue and chooses to fight (and lose to) the Naive Devils, forcing both Kucabara and Bichula to drop down and use full power (granted from Idamaria) to protect her, thereby nullifying the last couple chapters. I don’t mind the action at all, as it’s a welcome change, but I do mind that this plot choice means that all that pacifism just wasted our time.

(67) Is it possible to be tsundere about sniping?

Kucabara is the warrior/tank, Bichula is the scout/thief, Idamaria is the cleric/support, and now Y will be the rogue/sniper. (I’m not counting the damn talking/flying car.) When did this series become so formulaic?

When Luffy is oblivious and stupid, it’s classic. When Kucabara is oblivious and stupid, it’s cliché.

Her name is Samus? Seriously? How is that not on the international list of Names Never to Use?

Enigma 3

[scanlation by CXC Scans]

At first glance, Hasekura seems only to fulfill the role of the mandatory group coward, but his exact interpretation of such a role is amusing.

Excellent scene in the hallway, with Hasekura revealing his power to escape the incoming shadow. That was pretty thrilling for a scene in the third chapter.

Hilarious bad photo of Hasekura in his flashback, too. I’m enjoying this character so far.

Sumio is a decent protagonist, and his optimism and attitude clearly have him set up for an integral leadership position, but his “Mayday call” catchphrase just doesn’t cut it.

Wow, what a creepy moment. The man in picture changed from wearing a serious face to one with a horrific grin. I’m truly impressed.

Appropriately intriguing cliffhanger for the next chapter, too. Chapters like these give the series great hope for the future. Very well done.

Gamaran 64

[scanlation by helz0ne]

I was hoping for something a little more imaginative and exciting than “I will conquer the the country” for Jinsuke’s backstory. After tremendous hype for the 63 chapters leading up to his introduction, something this straightforward and overdone is a letdown.

It’s also unfortunate that so much of Jinsuke’s imposing aura is being built up by his subordinate’s internal monologue, rather than through Jinsuke finally taking action himself.

Gama’s rage upon hearing part of Jinsuke’s plan is good. Even if he is completely outclassed here by Ranmaru, his hatred of his father needs to be made evident from time to time.

There will be an actual demonstration of technique from Ranmaru next chapter, apparently. That should be more interesting than this chapter.

GE ~ Good Ending 52-53

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

(52) No more baseball, please.

In addition to “summer festival,” “natsu matsuri” also translates directly into “mandatory yukata fanservice opportunity.”

It’s logical for Oonuma to be at the festival as well, but it’s disappointing that she had to join with this group. There aren’t nearly enough moments alone between Seiji and Yuki anymore.

Yuki had her moment alone with Seiji many chapters ago, and Shou had hers recently, so now it’s Oonuma’s turn. Yawn.

(53) Finally, Seiji shows a little backbone. I don’t expect him to suddenly be a likable protagonist, but judging each important moment on its own worth, this is a good one.

… and that’s followed up with a pratfall and a sudden lack of clothing. Way to ruin a positive moment.

Oonuma is certainly taking her time in covering herself back up, too. At least she’s been written consistently since her character transformation, I suppose.

Once again, Izumi’s observations are spot on. His exchange with Oonuma was direct and provoked an interesting response from her, too.

Nice conversation between Eri and Kouno.

Yuki sees Seiji and Oonuma flustered and starts forming a reasonable assumption about what they were doing. We’re headed for more drama. I know that the “right” girl in a harem series always has the bulk of her romantic development saved for the end, but can’t Yuki have any?

Hayate no Gotoku! 290

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

Nagi’s thoughts are surprisingly complex. We knew she thought highly of herself, but “needing” to be a genius is a revelation about her character.

What a devilish cover page.

Ashibashi-sensei’s facial expression and Nagi’s reaction are both excellent. This is a surprisingly serious chapter.

The fact that Ashibashi only read one page of Nagi’s manga makes his earlier long pondering that much more telling. Excellent delivery.

Appropriate ending to a very nice chapter. The manga part of this storyline probably won’t matter too much longer, but I hope Nagi’s realization about her place in the world affects future storylines.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 308

[scanlation by Binktopia]

“It looks exactly like the sun!” Please feel free to stare directly at it for extended periods of time, then.

“Maximum Sunshine Counter” is about as bad of an attack name as Amano could have come up with.

A draw. This fight ends in a draw. This colossal and unprecedented waste of time and effort doesn’t even have the decency to end in a way beneficial to either side. Pathetic.

More Vongola Primo stuff. Moving on.

Somehow Katou Julie had the silhouette of Mukuro. That’s fractionally more interesting than the fight that just ended.

Kekkaishi 323-324

[scanlation by Binktopia]

(323) Raijin’s conversation with the earth god is an interesting one, and one that continues to portray her as a fascinating character.

Kakeru not only is resisting Oumi’s mind control, but also plays a vital role in Oumi’s plan. That’s a good twist for a character who shouldn’t be neglected.

Oumi’s ultimate plan is immensely disappointing. He’s gone from an intricate villain to yet another with a world-destruction plan.

(324) It’s so nice to finally see Tokine in action again.

Yuugami is a good character, and I like his interactions with Tokine, but something about the way his hair sits on his forehead irks the hell out of me, especially in the scene when he offers his help to Tokine. Weird.

Everyone receiving precisely designated tactics is a huge positive. The author has done an excellent job establishing unique characters, and here she is taking full advantage of their specific strengths and abilities. That said, my excitement is wholly reliant on each character following through with their assignments, the most important of which being Masamori killing Oumi.

Nurarihyon no Mago 123-124

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

(123) Beautiful color page.

Nura’s masterful use of this new Matoi is impressive. It’s also a relief that it doesn’t seem like we’ll have to endure a training arc where he learns to use it properly.

The new Matoi enhances Nura’s existing Fear (and its related techniques), rather than replacing them. This is a very strong power, but I have to wonder how much of its future development relies on Nura improving, rather than just finding new members of his Hyakki Yakou to do it with.

(124) Of course they’re too late. The party is always late in stopping the cataclysmic event from starting, and stops it after it’s at full strength afterward. This is obvious, really.

A gigantic dark matter-baby is floating around and destroying buildings. If this was One Piece, I’d be begging for this to be cover story material after this arc ends.

Surely the Onmyouji are here to serve no purpose greater than losing to the Nue to make it look strong.

Psyren 136-137

[scanlation by Muda Scantrad]

(136) “There are billions of stars in space. For us to meet again on one of them, it sure is fate.” Well… maybe, but you did sort of kill billions of people on this planet, the planet where the two of you met. The chances weren’t exactly infinitesimal.

Nemesis Q and Amagi Miroku are siblings. I suppose that’s not as shocking as it seems; it’s a fairly common plot twist, and their hair color is rather similar.

I cannot overstate how much I appreciate the small comedic moment between Nemesis Q and Ageha (saving her when it was unnecessary) not being overdone. So many other series would have accompanied Ageha’s “Ah… my bad” with a ridiculous facial expression that would have been horrible out of place.

On the other hand, I’m not so sure I appreciate Ageha flying off into a rage as he activates his new Nova power. He hasn’t been written as that kind of a shonen hero; it’s a bit late to make him the temperamental type. At least his Nova looks cool, though.

(137) The way the new Melchsee’s Door is being drawn really accentuates its increase in power nicely.

Yes yes, dark is good and light is bad. You’ve switched them around. I see that.

The amount of dialogue in this fight breaks up the pacing of the action.

Miroku is dead within two chapters. I know Iwashiro is moving quickly towards the end of the series, but it took two chapters to kill off the only substantial villain of the series. Now we’re stuck with whatever aftermath results from his death, including the massive overflow of energy, whatever “new life” will be born that Miroku alluded to, and Mithra.


[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

It’s time to read SWOT! Put on the Magnum P.I. theme song or something; we need anything moderately exciting to get us through this.

Toudou was aiming for the top for a dead friend. Even this shoddy villain gets the “he was just misunderstood” copout. Leave evil characters evil! I’m going to have to turn this into a campaign.

“I– It’s not like I did it for you or anything” has just cemented SWOT as the worst series of the year. More anti-accolades are forthcoming, I’m sure.

A maid café. Wow. Apparently all it takes to get a series published these days is a large enough hat to put every shonen stereotype in, to later pull out a few per chapter.

There isn’t even the pretense of this series being bound by natural laws anymore. If people can transform weapons and command nature in this universe, why didn’t we find out about it until now? For anyone who may try to answer that rhetorical question, “the author is hopelessly grasping at straws, trying to keep his series alive” is not an acceptable answer.

Apparently every girl in this series works at this one café.

The World God Only Knows 115

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

It’s been fine for a couple chapters, but this blond devil working for the “old Hell” needs to take action soon or face irrelevance.

Thank goodness for Diana. Now that Keima is aware of the specific presence of a Goddess, the plot should move more quickly.

Kanon’s paranoia is excellent to watch. This series has disappointingly moved away from its strengths (short arcs featuring Keima capturing spirits) to uncharted territory with a long-term serious plot, but the tone of the series hadn’t yet made the switch. Apollo warning Kanon of constant imminent danger helps to legitimize the current plot.

Finally, the antagonist acts. This is about as genuinely scary as this series gets, and it’s an enjoyable change.

Kanon directly confronting Keima and confessing to remembering everything is fantastic. It saves us the time and agony of chapters of miscommunication.

Zettai Karen Children 232

[scanlation by JS Scans]

The heart attack medicine omake was hilarious.

This confrontation between Hyoubu and Yuuri, on the other hand, is less than exciting.

It makes sense for Kugutsu to control a fake Yuuri to cover up what’s happening, but I like that he’s been caught in the act.

Yuuri tricks her opponent’s brain into thinking that she has been wounded, and the body reacts as though it’s in pain… but the art shows a real wound with real blood? That’s a bit much to chalk up to artistic license. Representative artwork is fine, but that usually is done more effectively without the accompaniment of lengthy logistical explanation. Then again, representative artwork in general is a bit problematic (see Air Gear).

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 202

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

I hope the cover page’s claim of “The strongest cat in all of FT history!!” is intended to imply that Pantherlily is the strongest cat in the entire series universe, rather than simply the strongest one yet in the series timeline, or the strongest we’ve seen. Him being the strongest overall lessens the chance of future cat introductions.

Natsu choosing Happy as his partner is such a boring choice. This is a rare chance for Mashima to explore chemistry between characters who rarely interact, and instead we’re given the most obvious choice right from the start. Often, series with side characters more interesting than the protagonist translate to praise for the author, for creating such interesting diversions; in Fairy Tail, unfortunately, the side characters are more interesting than Natsu because Natsu is boring.

It may only be conjecture, but an explicit mention of Igneel after so long is pleasing.

Gray’s choice of Loke is an excellent one. That’s exactly the kind of surprise choice that I wanted from Natsu.

Lisanna pairing with Lluvia hopefully means that Lluvia will play a major role in this arc, considering how immediately relevant Lisanna is.

Elfman with Evergreen! Levy and Gazille! Mest and Wendy! With each choice, I’m more incredulous as to how Mashima can mess up Natsu so badly, given how well he’s pairing up everyone else.

Partner contrast is vital

Cana will obviously be integral to the upcoming plot. Whenever we finally do get to learn her backstory, I hope it’s convincingly sad. Natsu bears obvious rooting interest, whether relying on the crutch of being the protagonist or in hope that attaining S-Class really will facilitate a meeting with Igneel; others such as Lluvia are personal choices at best, with little established reason for success; Cana’s plot will need to be important enough to strongly rival Natsu meeting Igneel for the arc to carry real tension (again, as with last chapter, assuming that only one person will be promoted, which isn’t the kind of super-happy arc ending that Fairy Tail tends to provide).

Final Flash: Mostly exciting choices (save for Natsu), thus another promising chapter. That’s enough promise, though; it’s now time to start delivering.

Fairy Tail 201

September 29, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Hello again, fanservice. Invite yourself in, why don’t you?

It took six pages to get to a character wearing clothes. Maybe I shouldn’t have complained all those times Fairy Tail cover pages have been so shameless; Mashima is evidently deciding to move things around.

This kind of bustling activity within the guild is considerably more exciting than the usual incessant partying.

Charle’s power of precognition must be kept as explicitly limited as shown here for her character to fit it with the ensemble cast at all.

Lluvia deserves so much more involvement in the main plot. She’s such a fun character, and she isn’t lacking in ability.

More of her, please

The S-Class Wizard Promotion Trial is very promising. The strength of Fairy Tail has never been originality, but rather solid execution of classic shonen formulas. An exam- and/or tournament-style arc is the perfect way to get the series back on its feet.

Tenrou Island is designed interestingly enough. It should prove a good backdrop for the arc.


Most importantly for such an arc, the eight chosen participants provide great variety. Natsu and Gray are obvious choices, Lluvia and Elman are welcome surprises, Fried and Mest are the necessary unknown quantities, and Cana provides great plot tension in relation to the more “main” characters, given that only one entrant passes. (… that is, if we are to take this information as gospel; it’s entirely possible that some sort of crisis will befall the Trial and multiple wizards will display enough skill to warrant the promotion.)

Charle’s premonition is a worrying note amid an otherwise intriguing chapter. An exam among guild members is exactly the kind of positive change of pace the series needs right now; weighing the arc down with this sad-looking boy and whatever depressing plot he carries makes the arc lose its freshness. Mashima needs to learn that not every arc can be a climactic masterpiece. For an author who looks to One Piece so much, it’s a surprise that Mashima completely overlooks Oda’s “serious arc, fun arc” approach. Would Water 7 / Enies Lobby have felt nearly as powerful without the Davy Back Fight right before it, to relieve the tension built up over the course of Skypiea? Fairy Tail has a fun cast of characters with excellent comedic traits, but they (and, by proxy, we) are rarely given the chance to relax anymore.

Final Flash: Hugely promising setup with an undertone of worry. I wish I could trust Mashima more not to screw this up.

Kimi no Iru Machi 106

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

That cover page is… suggestive. Ahem.

It’s great that everyone is planning on heading back to Tokyo this soon, because that means we’re likely in for some immediate plot development, but this small town has easily been a better setting than the big city. Plot advancement would be welcome; a return to drama would not.

Haruto’s memories of Mishima are amusing. She has certainly stood out since her introduction.

Uh-oh. “We need to talk” is rarely a good sign.

Men, this is a red flag. Learn it well.

There goes another romance series love interest deciding things all on her own.

Fortunately, Mishima’s anxiety isn’t at all a lead-in to unwarranted drama. Seo has quite a gift for impactful panels.

Excellent scene

Fantastic last few pages. This is exactly the right step for the series to take.

Final Flash: Pleasantly nostalgic chapter with a wonderful ending.