Archive for the ‘Weekly Shonen Sunday’ Category

History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 408

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by aegon-rokudo and FANtomCore]

Pretty tame cover page compared to what we’ve been getting. That’s an up note for this chapter, right? There’s at least one. I can approach the rest of the chapter knowing that. The bit of exposition we’re given for how they got out of a U.S. army base fits with the things we’ve seen before. Ryouzanpaku calling in favors from all over the world is nothing new.

Well, it’s been a while now, but I still feel as though Apachai should be dead. I love the character, he’s definitely my favorite of the masters. However, I cannot accept the fact that we were so built up towards his death, and now seeing him struggling on the airplane while gravely wounded just seems like salt being rubbed into the wound. The comedy of Akisame being a miracle doctor is normally welcomed when he’s resurrecting Kenichi from some training from hell, but in this context I can’t find it funny.

Kenichi himself is still a good character, and it was funny to see him try to get up and then collapse because he was told that he was badly injured. His fight with Koukin was good, and historically I like the post-fight cooldowns Kenichi has been given. It’s slightly ruined this time with the interplay between Kenichi and Apachai, and I definitely have some issues with using Apachai’s “final words” as a joke on the fact that he’s still alive.

Thank you, Overly Obvious Girl!

I should note that the fanservice this chapter has been completely and utterly acceptable. It’s still there, but only because the females of HSDK are fanservice by their very nature. There’s no gratuitous amounts of chest showing, no downright blatant camera angles, no torn clothing. This time, it isn’t just because there are no females present. They’re present, and not being used for it. Despite everything that’s happened with the plot, I find myself somewhat fond of this chapter for this reason alone.

The sub-plot going along with Niijima finding that data is pretty interesting. We’re approaching the main plot to the story here, and the war with Yami seems to be developing as well. I think we’re overdue for meeting some more members of Yomi, the satsujinken disciple division. Also way past due is finding out more about Miu’s father. All we know now is that he killed her mother, and that he seems to be a  silhouette. His disciple is one of the more interesting disciples we’ve met, which is undoubtedly on purpose. There’s so much we should be finding out, that any plot advancement is welcome.

Niijima is more taxing than a knee to the ribs

Hermit shows up, which is interesting, given he’s now a member of Yomi. Niijima is on to him, but not enough for anything to come out into the open just yet. I like the idea of him sticking around the main group of good guys while secretly being in the enemy group, it adds an element of suspense to everything.

With little left to say, the Elder timely moves everyone out to give Kenichi rest, and when he wakes up, surprise. Suddenly police cars are everywhere, and Ryouzanpaku is taped off. Shocking twist!

He just read chapter 407

Final Flash: An okay chapter with acceptable levels of fanservice, but still severely hurting from coming off last chapter.


Hayate no Gotoku! 297

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by [C]hán]

The opening pages are building up a feeling of tension for Nagi meeting Luka, which is understandable from the reader’s perspective as we now know who Luka is. I can’t help but feel a little bit of Nagi’s tension myself, for her this is the author whose works she has been such a fan of. Also, after the page actually showing us Luka’s manga, I feel like a fan myself. This is such an awesome idea, while at the same time being hilarious. Nagi’s perspective on the manga is perhaps slightly different than my own, but no less valid.

A tale of love and loss

Man, Chiharu sure is stringing Nagi along as to Luka’s identity. She’s having a lot of fun, and it’s fun to watch Nagi getting more and more fed up with the small tidbits she’s being fed about this mystery author. Of course, not so long ago, it was us in that position, having only received a name and the same phrase a few times (“She’s a girl that closely resembles Hayate”) and just as ready to have her revealed. I do appreciate having been told before Chiharu’s teasing, because otherwise we’d be getting teased, too.

The interactions between Luka and Hayate are still funny, and they’re even funnier when you have to constantly make yourself see things in the story’s setting: Luka still thinks Hayate is a girl. Luka’s dedication to her job despite being seriously injured already goes a way towards making her an endearing character. She obviously cares a lot about her fans, and isn’t willing to miss the concert despite having a pretty good reason. She’s a hard worker, but I think we expected that given her resemblance to Hayate.

Because she can take it. Because she's not our hero.

Finally, all the buildup the whole chapter for Nagi culminates on the final few pages, when Chiharu brings Nagi into the concert. Luka is standing onstage in full idol gear with the lights shining down on her, and Nagi is staring up at her awestruck, with the internal monologue boxes relating her thoughts to us. It’s a huge moment of impact, and after going through the Athena arc, you can’t help but think that this is something that will affect the course of our story for many chapters to come. Nagi thinks Luka looks like a god, and it must seem that way from her perspective. I have to wonder if maybe Nagi will want to try and become an idol.

Final Flash: A good chapter with less than normal amounts of comedy, but that only served to enforce the feeling of the serious moment at the very end.

Kekkaishi 329

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by A-Team]

The big bonsai tree is evidently experiencing a bit of a growth spurt, presumably a sign that Tokine’s ongoing negotiation with Mahora has yet to produce interest on his part.

Mahora’s attacks have certainly gotten more intense, or at least thicker, over the chapter for which this front has been on the back burner. Things have clearly been escalating without much in the way of resolution, which is visibly bad for Tokine, given the time and stamina limits imposed on her by the usage of Utsusemi. What’s worse, she’s already got dark bags under her eyes, which would seem to hint at her already being near that limit.

She needs more than a cup of coffee

This is unexpected; forget worsening, the negotiations are just flat out breaking down. Tokine has resorted to threats and begging, and Mahora’s attacks have essentially become an ocean of darkness. Watching Tokine gradually losing her cool, despite still being intangible, gives a great sense of the magnitude of her situation.

The way the deep ocean motif of Mahora’s attacks transitioned into Tokine being swallowed up was excellently done, a bit more so than the fact that Tokine seems to have “lost.” It is something of a surprise to see Tokine consumed by the torrent this quickly, and a minor disappointment. Mind you, there’s no guarantee that this is the last of her; she could still be following a plan. Still, even if this were the end of the negotiations, there is an important factor which makes this an acceptable twist: in order for Yoshimori to accomplish his priority of protecting Tokine, she did need to be in danger in the first place. Being able to truly save Tokine is something he deserves to be able to do in the endgame.

Oddly, a scene of the noncombat members of the Sumimura and Yukimura houses doesn’t include Shigemori or Tokiko. It seems as if they’re going to be involved in the ensuing action which, given their ability levels, is a foregone conclusion. It would have been nice to see some hint before now, but it very clearly sets them up for an appearance later down the road. I have no idea when or where, but they’ll be there somewhere.

Masamori’s observations on Nichinaga and Haruka, the girl who might be his power source, ring true, given what we’ve seen of Nichinaga’s uncharacteristically emotional reaction to Zerogou spiriting Haruka away. Watching characters formulate theories about things we, the readers, know already produces an interesting dynamic. The mustache guy does remind Masa to go for the kill as opposed to seeking a non-lethal means of victory, but given his past actions, somehow I doubt Masa is a character that needs reminding.

The interaction between Yoshimori and Chuushinmaru very quickly gets serious when Yoshi reveals the truth of Chuushinmaru’s seclusion and vast power. The reaction to this should be quite something.

Are we there yet? And so on...

Final Flash: The focus seems to be squarely on Yoshimori now. Sad to see Tokine go, but the main character needs a chance to show his stuff.

Zettai Karen Children 238

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by JS Scans]

The Children’s initial reactions to the mission briefing: more delusions. I would have been fine if Minamoto going Bond-style suave on Momiji was just the whole chapter. As it stands, there’s been a tad too little of his competent side visible lately.

Even Minamoto is curious as to how this became their job, and rightfully so. Despite the fact that level 7s have been specifically assigned to this mission, it’s true that, except for Shiho, their powers are pretty useless for this. The government is throwing espers at their problem expecting a brute force solution, but as an experienced terrorist agent, Momiji is really unlikely to be persuaded via force. Seduction as a mission is going to take other experienced hands at Babel who actually know how to handle women, which means Sakaki, pimp cowboy outfit and all.

Sakaki’s inclusion in this arc pays immediate dividends. He may be capable of hitting a sniper rifle with a thrown scalpel, but his most important job is that of the womanizing comic relief. His shift in tone from enthusiastic to evasive is quite amusing. Of course, he’s not getting out of there so easily.

Got a Death Star you want blown up instead?

Apparently, the obvious way of blackmailing Muscle is out; Robiet is claiming the ambassador is a different person from the criminal that fires Hard Gay beams. I had been wondering about why Muscle’s past wasn’t being used as leverage. If anything, it’s a testament to the competence of Babel that somebody kept that footage intact, presumably resisting the urge to burn the computer it was on.

Yet more signs of growth from Kaoru. This time she’s practicing cooking, starting from the basic omelet. This act of maturity is quite possibly the biggest step forward. Before, she was taking more responsibility for and being more conscious of the actions of those around her, but now she’s actively concentrating on self-improvement. This is such heartwarming progress she’s made from the 10-year-old who relied on her natural gifts for everything and thought that “adult” only meant 18 and over.

Though it may take a while yet

At last, we finally start to see Minamoto reacting to Kaoru’s maturity. Like a real parental figure, he’s happy for her, but immediately he starts feeling lonely. While he’s a long way yet from being an empty-nester, he’s definitely paying for Kaoru’s newfound independence with the closeness they used to share as pseudo-parent and child. Those are some very complex emotions, and the method used of displaying old memories use to depict them is very effective.

Well, it’s officially a date; Minamoto, Sakaki, and Momiji are going out to have some fun. I’m really looking forward to more exposition on Momiji, and the prerequisite comedy that comes from Sakaki trying way too hard.

Final Flash: Excellent chapter for a number of reasons, from cowboy Sakaki to Minamoto’s memories.

History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 407

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Not a very convincing start of the chapter. Miu herself is not a bad character. She’s capable and fairly intelligent, and has proven that up to this point she’s at least on par with Kenichi as a fighter. In fact, the last time they fought, she was still considerably stronger than Kenichi. That said, having her serve as nothing but base fanservice cheapens her character beyond belief. It’s a bad omen for the rest of the chapter.

Forget that, what about our eyes?

The scenes with Apachai continue to be powerful, particularly with the way the point of view is being done. The shot of Apachai standing like a giant, his massive back presented to us, really gives you a feel of the enormity of the character. The parting words between Apachai and Agaard are fitting and welcome, just a confirmation of the victory that the Katsujinken has won. It’s time for Apachai to go.

What follows is the most unwelcome page I’ve ever read. I had my worries when Sakaki showed up while Apachai was still standing, but when Ma and Akisame show up, they’re confirmed. Apachai isn’t dead. He’s going to be fine. Every single bit of emotional impact we’ve received from everything going on has essentially been for nothing. A complete victory for the side of good, because with the two medically trained masters present, I have no doubt Apachai will be fine.

I can’t even begin to stress how much of a disappointment this chapter was. HSDK had the chance to do something real with the plot, something that would introduce a new element to the story, and change things forever. Instead, it opted for the easy way out of the situation. Nothing has changed, and in the bargain, pages upon pages of “death scenes” have been made ridiculous and embarrassing. Shigure shows up and there’s some more ridiculous fanservice, but I couldn’t even be bothered to find it offensive at this point. Something like fanservice couldn’t possibly be as insulting as having the past five chapters made meaningless.

Better female character than what we're stuck with

Final Flash: This chapter was utter garbage by default. I’m completely disappointed in it, and I don’t know what the series going to have to do for me to enjoy it with no reservations. Every step forward is followed by two steps back.

Hayate no Gotoku! 296

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by [C]hán]

This chapter is definitely starting off on the right foot. Hayate naturally wants to get Luka to a hospital right away, and if that blood leaking everywhere is any indication, she probably needs to be taken there. However, she’s pretty against being taken to one, and you don’t have to guess why for very long before it’s revealed. It’s probably exactly the reason you’re thinking.

Should move to Canada

I’m easily seeing the parallels between Hayate and Luka now. She has no money, and she’s driven to get to her job right now at the expense of her own well-being. If you rewind the series back to the beginning, Hayate was in a very similar situation. He was saved by Nagi taking him in as a butler, but sadly, Luka has received no such luck.

The gags this chapter have been hilarious. Luka struggling to get to work while passing out from blood loss, and Hayate playing a perfect comedic straight man while cross-dressing as a maid. Joking aside, or maybe at the forefront, Hayate sure does work quickly. Luka is already becoming an admirer, despite the fact that Hayate is the reason she’s now seriously injured and in danger of being late for work.

Your heart is already broken

A brief respite from comedy as Housen shows up, examining the remnants of the battle between Invincible Maid Star Hayate and her robot. This serious plot has been promising, but I hope we actually learn something soon. Who is Housen working for/with, and why are they so desperate to get the picture of the mysterious “28th” from Hayate?

Luka, of course, is being carried to her destination by Hayate, because neither of them had tax fare. Suddenly, we’re reminded Luka still believes Hayate is a girl! This is going to lend itself to some great comedy later on, as we know Luka is far from gone. Nagi is still planning to meet her soon.

What kind of twist ending is this? Luka has dragged Hayate off into the bushes after he asked her for a change of clothes. Despite the ridiculousness of the situation, I can’t help but wonder what sort of wardrobe she has in store for Hayate. Perhaps the mascot outfit?

Final Flash: Great comedy between Luka and Hayate, and Housen is as mysterious and intriguing as ever.

The World God Only Knows 122

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

Excellent chemistry between Haqua and Keima continues to entertain, especially after that shower scene last chapter. Keima has to be one of the most single-minded harem protagonists of all time (TWGOK soon will be one if it isn’t already). He’s seriously so centered on the goddesses that he continues to miss the most obvious hints of tsundere coming from Haqua. I’m not complaining; it’s kind of hilarious.

Excellent use of bold text

Make no mistake about it, Keima’s focus right now is the goddesses, and he’s definitely done a good job of thinking ahead. Yes, they need the goddesses drawn out quickly, but the Vintage agent is still around, and bringing out a powerless goddess would just invite more stabbings.

Starting with Ayumi, the mass conquest plan begins. The apple on the desk is a pretty classy touch, and the rooftop confession scene is an extremely enjoyable one, all the way to the ending high-kick by Ayumi. For all the extra plot elements behind Keima’s actions now, Wakaki Tamiki never loses his touch in making romance cute. It’s also fun to see the school tabloids have not been idle.

Your source for all Idol x Geek related gossip

Keima’s plan is to power up the goddesses through copious doses of love, with the end objective of stealing first base. This plan is totally appropriate for this series. Frankly, it’s just a great excuse to see more quick romance.

A similar confession scene with Chihiro brings about a fantastic punchline: Keima not only has a script for each confession he’s going to do, but it’s the same script (albeit with a decision tree built in) for each one. That is so very like this manga. I’m loving this arc already, and we’ve still got a couple more interesting characters to go through. This series has been showing us nothing but its very best of late.

It always pays to plan ahead

Final Flash: Hilarious, fast-paced, and fun. There’s still no evidence as yet as to what part of Keima’s new plan is “demonic.”