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Zettai Karen Children 235

October 25, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by JS Scans]

No omake this time around, and another Hyoubu cover. This claims to be the last chapter of the arc, which should work given that most of the action is wrapped up.

We get to see a little more of the play. Not fantastic, but it is supposed to be middle school students acting. They’re not all going to be Oscar-winners.

Kaoru gets a vision of Yuuri in her head somehow and rushes off in the middle of the play, leaving Kazura and Hino to cover for her. The script for the play may not be great, but watching characters improvise on stage is a ton of fun.

Written by Gainax

Kaoru rushes backstage to find Yuuri is fine, except for a total gap in her memories of the first half of the play. With all the maturing she’s done recently, she could stand to come out of this a little more suspicious of Yuuri.

Apparently, Hyoubu got Nai and Hanzo to take Yuuri back for him, after having temporarily sealed Mirage off. An interesting thing I took out of this flashback: Hyoubu changed his wording when saying that normals had made Yuuri suffer. He casually corrected himself and instead blames the adults around her. This is a subtle shift in the character that used to blame normals for everything without a second thought, appropriate for the long-term track this series takes.

The decision to get Mirage to quit Black Phantom on her own, allowing her to spend time as Yuuri, is not perhaps the best possible one to come out of this arc, but it is more suitable for Hyoubu. He can’t kill other espers for two reasons very central to his character: 1) needing to be morally above Minamoto in Kaoru’s eyes, and 2) his own strong esper-supremacist stance. It wouldn’t quite be appropriate for him to go all Killer 7 on other espers now.

As always, the anti-villain

Thus, the play ends with a middle school-level story twist – a reincarnated character. I guess it sort of fits with the serious part of the arc.

Final Flash: The play itself didn’t amount to much story-wise, but Yuuri vs. Hyoubu was interesting, and Mirage being sealed means that Black Phantom is not going to be a plot focus for at least the next arc. I’m looking forward to whatever Shiina decides to shift focus to.

History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 404

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Straight into the action, and Kenichi fully intends to make good on his promise of using Muay Thai to finish this. The art is doing an excellent job of relating how beat up both fights are. The blood and bruises work with the ragged, torn clothing so well that you can nearly feel the wear on both Kenichi and Koukin.

This chapter is doing some great work with technical martial arts that we haven’t seen in a while. Fights like this are what I’ve been missing: pure martial arts with a minimal amount of text.

Koukin has the upper hand, as well he should. Kenichi beating him on technical merit in Muay Thai would be out of character. What Kenichi pulls out to turn the tides, however, is an excellent move. Master eyes! Certainly Kenichi isn’t a master, but he’s channeling Apachai so faithfully that he’s mirrored his eyes.

But do they shoot lasers?

A tiny flashback to set up the fact this is an Apachai move. Something as basic as putting all your strength into an uppercut is befitting of Apachai, and Kenichi should have that down pretty well — after all, he gets sent flying by it every other day. (Good job, now dodge!)

Agaard speaking out during the match is a huge taboo. The manga goes so far as to have Agaard thinking about how it was a mistake to do so, and a reaction panel of silence from Koukin. There has to be something that will happen as a result of this, it simply has too much focus. All that said, the CHAI-KICK is excellent, and the stark whiteness used for the attack makes it seem devastating.

Everything but his hair is gone!

A nice bit of closure to the fight. I’m ready to wind down and feel the implications from this. Apachai seems to have died the permanent kind of death, but we’ll see. Also, if this whole ordeal hasn’t left a mark on Kenichi’s character and evolution, I will be incredibly disappointed.

Final Flash: The past two chapters were a return to form for HSDK, and everything that we originally wanted out of this arc. It’s a shame they came so late, but that doesn’t lessen the quality they present.

Kekkaishi 326

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Tokine’s dive to the center of the earth continues. She’s still using the Kekkai for makeshift stairs rather than just freefalling, a cautious approach that makes perfect sense in light of how much Mahora’s power has been built up.

As Tokine closes in on the center, we’re treated to a bunch of appropriately otherworldly imagery. When she actually reaches him, she wastes no time waking him up. Typical no-nonsense Tokine.

Interesting negotiating tactic

Well, Mahora’s awake now. Diplomacy commences with all the necessary formalities, and Mahora immediately responds by spearing her through the chest with a mass of shadow. This is a pretty neat development. I certainly wasn’t expecting the negotiations to be any kind of easy, but there’s no way Tokine’s done now. How exactly she copes with this will be an interesting measure of her training while she was out of the main story.

Spearing for a spearing

Leaving off at that ideal cliffhanger, the focus switches to Shichiro, whose land god makes a passing comment to the effect that whatever Mahora just did was significant. This is more reaffirmation that land gods are interconnected somehow.

Yoshimori’s mom shows up to ask Shichiro for help with the sealing. Interesting banter between the two, but most of it is just her continuing to to be supremely confident. As little as we’ve seen of her, she feels like an overpowered character already.

Either extremely powerful or extremely arrogant

We come back to Tokine fairly early. I was expecting to have to wait until the next chapter to see more of her.

… not that I mind at all. The panels that depict Tokine sliding out of a skewer are on the high end of fantastic. Her power-up, Utsusemi, is full-on intangibility, something that goes such a long way towards legitimizing her as a capable diplomat. She now has the technique necessary to stand against the worst of demons, nicely complimenting the levelheadedness she’s always had. Without there being some specific limit on how long or how much she can use this one, I sense a significant shift in her Tier List position.

Final Flash: Awesome Tokine chapter, period. Her character was lagging behind Yoshimori’s in power for the longest time. Here, she survives a situation that would likely have killed him, perfectly reestablishing her as a relevant character.

The World God Only Knows 118

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

So the item the Vintage agent dropped was more than just an accessory. The goddess detector should make the whole festival arc go much quicker.

… unless the author introduces some other constraint, like the goddesses being warned off.

Six goddesses, leaving four more. That’s a bit more than I expected. I wonder if all of them are in girls we’ve already met. Also, if I remember my Roman mythology correctly, four of those names are of male goddesses. That probably doesn’t mean anything, though, seeing as Apollo is one of the aforementioned.

Slash Diana being a part of the festival arc. Just as well, she would probably be more of a hindrance in that case anyway, and she might as well be hiding while the other goddesses are. Anyway, Keima has much more important things in mind right now.

Perfectly executed mood transition

Elsee, of all people, is going to being playing the role of Kanon to make sure she’s not missed. Stellar comedy, and good use of the fact that Elsee is a fan of Kanon’s music. Firetruck-themed concerts, anyone?

All it takes to change Elsee into Kanon is a new haircut. I was expecting Wakaki to at least recolor her hair. Guess Kanon’s staffers are just going to overlook that somehow. That bugs me a bit.

Nevermind, Haqua cast an optical illusion spell invisible to the readers. That’s still kinda lame. Oh well, magic is magic.

Next in the line of characters being removed from the main plot: Keima’s mom. Fortunately, this one is both plot-independent and totally hilarious.

Lest mom wonder why a stabbed girl is on her couch

This leaves room for some quality time (read: shipteasing) between Haqua and Keima. This is exactly as much setup as the dance festival needs. Start the main arc now, please.

Final Flash: Very funny moments in this chapter, and the setup part of this arc should now be 100% done.

Hayate no Gotoku! 293

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

First page of the chapter and Hayate is already in a maid costume. This bodes well. The comedy between Hayate and Kotetsu is always great, mainly because Kotetsu is such a blatant pervert regardless of the fact that Hayate is a guy.

What exactly is he hoping to catch a glimpse of?

Another flash of this picture of the “28th”. The plot is certainly moving. Meanwhile, the small insights we’re getting into the world of doujinshi and doujin-cons is pretty interesting. Nagi certainly seems to be in a better mood. The Hayate-Girl (not to be confused with Hayate dressed as a girl) is back, and she’s… wearing a mascot costume? Fair enough. Whatever it takes to get her into the focus of things, I’m game.

The mark of an important, serious character

Things are looking up for Nagi. It looks like she’s going to be able to pull out of this, after seeing people enjoying manga she feels like she could stack up against. It was an excellent move to bring her into the world of amateur doujinshi, she’s definitely going to be a natural at writing manga for something like this.

Oh no. Right when things were going well, it looks like we have a new antagonist, someone appropriate for this doujinshi-based arc. Nagi’s empassioned speech shows she has her spirit back. And am I mistaken, or is that our Hayate-Girl-in-mascot-costume spying on the goings-on at Nagi’s table? Based on her reactions to the disparaging comments and the fact she’s presumably disguised herself, I don’t feel it’s a stretch to guess that she’s the author of the Dolphin circle that Nagi and Chiharu are selling, which cements her as… being on a level with Nagi in terms of her manga? Nevertheless, it means Chiharu knows this girl, and ties her closer into the plot.

At the very end, shocking twist. Housen is back, and she’s standing over where Hayate’s photoshoot is. Something ominous is about to occur.

Final Flash: A few bits of good comedy, but mostly some very solid plot progression and a good recovery so far for Nagi.

History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 403

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

Cover page of fanservice. At this point, I guess it needs to be featured as prominently as possible. What better way than the cover.

As usual, HSDK does a great job of relating to a reader the feel of power behind the large clashes of the fighters. The destruction of the floor and the stylized beams shooting through Koukin are perfect examples.

Koruinuki didn’t connect cleanly; they traded blows. This is a little played out, and removes a clean win that Kenichi sorely deserved.

Guaranteed to feel that in the morning

I really feel like this sequence of events would have done better if related by the art, as opposed to Agaard Jum Sai narrating everything while lying face against the ground. It’s a little ridiculous, but okay. Following his rant, however, Kenichi takes a turn at bat. It shows character progression that Kenichi can spot when his opponent is bluffing now, but did he really need to take three pages and a few bubbles of inner monologue to do so? I think the art related just fine that they both took a hit.

Kenichi is showing the resolve we know he has. Excellent intensity in his eyes when he stares Koukin down and questions his reason for fighting. It’s a great move to have them finish it both using Muay Thai, and a completely in-character choice for Kenichi to honor Apachai as a master. However, I don’t like that the series seems to be adopting a theme of letting Koukin get off with an honorable loss.

Does this look like the face of a bad guy to you?

They’re going to finish it off with one final exchange, in what I would call a very traditional fashion. It’s a fitting end, but all the animosity between the two combatants has been removed. Kenichi, please try not to forget that Apachai is still lying ten feet from you with a hole through his chest. You were ready to dismantle Koukin. What happened?

Final Flash: One page of fanservice is a deal I’ll take every time. I can only hope this fight ends in a satisfying manner next chapter after this chapter worked to make Koukin’s character seem so much lighter and less imposing.

Kekkaishi 325

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Tokine chapter coming up. After being mostly absent for half a year, it’s about time.

Since this Shinyuuichi is, for all intents and purposes, the “ultimate” one, it makes sense that it’s as vast as it seems. Should make it easy for Tokine to evade any pursuit from Oumi’s people.

Tokine’s conversation with Yuugami shows she’s still as serious about her Kekkaishi job as ever. Makes me wonder exactly what she’ll do if if the lord is sealed.

Being able to read a Shinyuuichi isn’t a very flashy power, but it fits Tokine’s analytical style.

Oops, she’s been found! One of the most effective ways to escape any guard is the ability to phase through solid walls. The guard is appropriately flummoxed.

Snake never had it this easy

This guard does seem to have some tricks up his sleeve, using his pipe to conjure up a whole bunch of hunting birds. The subsequent series of panels of Tokine repeatedly escaping is a fun one.

When the guard catches up, he seems to have an offer for Tokine. Apparently he’s one of the many pawns Oumi brought in unwillingly, and is eager to get out.

She finds out that Mahora is directly beneath the tree she encountered earlier. Interestingly, though, she keeps the exit location she was asking for to herself, promising to tell him once she’s done with Mahora. Yoshimori would have told the guy straight off – her not doing so is another indication that she still knows when to reserve trust.

Suddenly there’s a whole lot of intimacy between Zerogou and Suigetsu. I don’t remember these characters being significantly close before.

Either an embracing pose or a kidnapping one

Zerogou seems to be the latest addition to a list of characters with his own separate agenda. This conflict is going to contain a ton of separate plotlines whenever it starts in full.

We leave off with Tokine diving towards a structure that looks a lot like Uro’s bed did way back when. Meeting with Mahora is imminent.

Final Flash: Tokine’s first limelight chapter in a while was well populated by moments reaffirming the type of character she is.  More than anything, though, this was a prelude to negotiating with Mahora.

The World God Only Knows 117

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

I believe we already knew the story of old/new Hell. Doesn’t mean much to tell it again here.

The dark mass surrounding Kanon’s wound was indeed darkness from a curse rather than blood, meaning she’s alive, although in a coma for now.

This series is definitely dialing up the serious tone, what with Keima slumped behind the chair/computer setup in his bedroom, for once not playing galge. Regret for not noticing Kanon earlier evidently hit him pretty hard.

Maybe the floor is just more comfortable

Attempts to pull the cursed dagger out from Kanon’s body are met with predictable failure. They’ll need more magical power than one goddess can provide, evidently.

Vintage is confirmed as the organization in charge of being bad guys. I guess this series was going to get one for the sake of plot, and I’m less dubious about said plot after the whole 3-chapter stretch re-introducing Kanon, but villains for this type of series could stand to be a bit less overtly wicked.

So there is confirmed to be a double agent somewhere in the New Hell squad. Probably won’t be any of the three we’ve seen thus far, though.

Hey there, Keima. After sulking about for half a chapter, our main character has regained his calculating approach to problem-solving. He does still play the cool, logical type fairly well.

Because she hasn't been cleaved in two, and this isn't Bleach

So our time limit is one week, conveniently enough time to fit in the dance festival goddess-hunting Keima was going to do anyway. Maybe it’s just me, but Keima’s bold declaration just comes down to reaffirming what he was going to do anyway.

Final Flash: Okay chapter, but all we really got was a little bit of new information. Expect the dance festival to be a bit darker-toned with Kanon hanging over Keima’s head.

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.

SWOT 12

[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.

Zettai Karen Children 234

[scanlation by JS Scans]

So ends the saga of Yo’s impending death. Apparently Feather is broken enough to change the future in totally irrelevant ways as well.

I don’t usually have a problem with Shiina’s characters looking too similar, but Yuuri on page 3 looks exactly like Kaoru. Don’t tell me she’s also Feather. Fortunately, she starts looking normal come next page.

Yuuri falling off the roof of a building with a hole blasted through her chest places her fairly high on the list of fatal injuries accrued. It also shows Hyoubu is still willing to kill people off, which we haven’t seen much lately.

The brief flashback showing Yuuri’s past starts by revealing she was a test-tube baby, and that she knew that at an early age. This does an alright job of giving her another set of believable issues, as opposed to the fact that she didn’t have a proper mom, which has been done before and carries less impact.

So now Yuuri’s life is legitimately flashing before her eyes. This is exactly the kind of moment I wanted to see from this arc. The three pages that mix close-ups of her coughing up blood and slamming into the ground with memories of time spent with Kaoru are short, but deliver very solid emotional impact. The ragdoll-style way her body is drawn on page 13 is a fitting cap to end this fight sequence.

Sad way to go

Nai teleports in…

… and is immediately shut down by Momiji. Hanzo also attacks, but gets oneshotted by Magi. Say what you want about the majority of Pandra’s staff, but those two are the no-nonsense pair, nicely complementing the serious tone for this arc.

Ninja this, Maruto fanboy!

So Yuuri died in Hyoubu’s illusion and fell into unconstructed dreamspace. A little bit of a disappointment given how good the “death” scene was. This means my overall impression of this arc still hinges on what exactly Hyoubu’s got planned.

Final Flash: Good emotional chapter for Yuuri’s flashback, and the fight has been taken care of. I’m really curious to see the happy ending for the play to which Yuuri alluded.

AR∀GO 40

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Trinity BAKumA]

I’m still thrilled at the prospect of Cloteaux, the Black Horseman, being embedded within the group of perceived friendlies.

The exchange between Arago and Cloteaux doesn’t seem to have alerted Arago, who could stand to be a bit more discerning about who to trust.

Cloteaux staring intently at Coco potentially indicates a motive of his involving her. Kidnapping is the obvious choice, as it’s someone close enough to Arago that Cloteaux could threaten to bring Brionac closer, but it’s also such an obvious choice that it would be a little unimaginative of an otherwise creative author to rely on such a crutch.

Hello there, shonen hero. You’re looking dangerously like Tsuna in this shot, complete with Dying Will Flame. Cut back on that a little, would you?

As long as it isn't Reverse Resolve

Seth’s explanation, understanding, and coaching of the Brionac power makes me think Arago is going to be considerably stronger not too long from now. That’s exciting news for those of you who follow The Great Shonen Tier List, but it’s also somewhat worrisome, as much of the charm of Arago’s battles comes from the clever application of the limited Brionac ability. AR∀GO is not at all a generic shonen battle series, and the writing could suffer greatly if Arago becomes too much like a stereotypical overpowered shonen hero.

Not all shonen characters should have beam attacks

For being coy about his motives and his status in relation to Arago, Seth sure is proactively analytical about Arago. Granted, this is giving him an opportunity to learn about the power he’s chasing after, but it’s still amusing to see a character as intentionally distant as Seth drawing up detailed diagrams.

Arago is getting a named finishing move? What is this, Gintama?

Cloteaux’s new golem is appropriately fearsome, and it certainly makes an instant impact, ripping Arago to shreds. This will surely be a test of the regeneration ability of Brionac, and it’s enough of a dire and urgent situation to put Brionac to the ultimate test, especially considering how worn out Arago is from training.

Final Flash: Interesting insight on Brionac, great Seth moments, and a good villain, but a little too close to formulaic shonen for this series.

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.

SWOT 11

[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.

Series Roundup: 9/19 – 9/25

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Air Gear 288

[scanlation by SSA Scanlations]

I would like to casually remind you that the girl you see on the first couple pages with practically nothing on is, in fact, body-swapped President Obama.

The color cover page is another example of fine artwork (despite some fanservice) from Oh!Great.

Am I the only one who finds absolutely zero interest in anything involving Onigiri?

Sarome not being a Gravity Child isn’t much of a revelation, considering how new of a character she is.

Rika at risk of being brainwashed into becoming the Thorn Queen is a much better and more urgent reason for Kogarasumaru to rescue her than a simple kidnapping.

Defense Devil 65

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

I suppose it’s been a little while since the last blatantly fanservicing cover page. Acceptable.

Kucabara’s plan may be working, but it’s not doing much to promote him as a credible hero. It’s fine to rely on intelligence, but a protagonist in this style of series really needs to support that with at least a small display of power.

This is a decent time for Y to reveal her true motive, but it’s not at all a good time to reveal her troubled past, much less through a flashback.

Kucabara, suffering greatly from poison, still manages to save Y. This is far too straightforward.

Enigma 2

[scanlation by CXC Scans]

Our group of protagonists has cleared the first suspense/thriller hurdle, at least: Don’t split up. Never split up.

Poor Shigeru. Even when faced with only one female adversary, Sumio’s attention doesn’t fall on her.

In such a completely modern trap, a typewriter-lock on the door is a nice anachronism.

The secret “emergency evacuation” broadcast code is an excellent and realistic touch.

Matsurigi is the first casualty of the shadow. (Lower case, mind you. I don’t see Interceptor anywhere… yet.) The art depicting the abduction is effectively scary.

The focus of Sumio’s Dream Diary is obviously the prediction it generates, but the accompanying artwork is amusing.

We’re set to see a new power, as Hasekura apparently must “erase” the person in the photo blocking the necessary name tag. Without yet knowing the exact nature of this power, the initial concept is already suitably interesting. Good chapter and a good sense of intrigue heading into the next one.

Gamaran 63

[scanlation by helz0ne]

Funny exchange between Gama and Zenmaru, and great artwork of their faces.

What an incredible difference in power between Gama and Ranmaru. I could have expected Gama to be at a disadvantage because of his recent fight, but this sheer gap in class is surprising.

Jinsuke already had much to live up to, but our anticipation is made to increase even further with the news that he is behind literally everything that has happened to Gama recently. With this much riding on his shoulders, let’s hope Jinsuke’s introduction lives up to the hype.

Zenmaru’s reunion with his older brother is both suspenseful and shockingly informative, with the news that the grand tournament of Unabara has ended.

This underling of Jinsuke looks as close to Two-Face as a samurai-era character could reasonably get.

Finally, Jinsuke himself. Not much in the way of plot-related introduction, but his appearance alone is monumental. Nakamaru has done a good job of drawing him to look similar to Gama.

GE ~ Good Ending 51

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

It was about baseball.

… seriously, if the author can’t be bothered to write a chapter that has any relevance to the plot, then I can’t be bothered to review it.

Hayate no Gotoku! 289

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

The summary of Important Detective is riotously funny.

Ayumu’s ignorance regarding manga is proving useful for multiple solid punchlines.

Plenty of meta mangaka humor here. It’s like if Bakuman tried pure, nonsensical comedy.

Hilarious face-off between Ayumu and Azumamiya.

Amazing realization by Nagi on the last page. It takes a seriously excellent moment to overshadow such a strong comedy chapter, but this is worth the praise.

Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 307

[scanlation by Binktopia]

P3, top-right panel: Pitiful art. I can see he’s against the spiked barrier, and that he’s bleeding, but what the hell is that black mass by his waist supposed to be?

Ryohei needs to charge up to full power to defeat him? No kidding. Thanks for pointing out the obvious flaw with your ridiculous power: Every fight of yours from now on will be an endurance test until you’re fully charged.

Speed lines around the characters, in the projectiles, and in the physical attacks themselves. I derive more enjoyment from looking at graph paper.

He’s fully charged. Yawn.

Kekkaishi 321-322

[scanlation by A-Team]

(321) Interesting and pleasantly brief exposition on Shiromi’s family life. That, combined with the knowledge that he has two powers, could set him up to be an interesting character.

Bizarrely direct conversation between Masamori and Hazama, consider their complete lack of any relationship.

Tokine! Finally.

(322) Yoshimori’s dad is… unique.

Wow, Tokine is flooding Yoshimori’s thoughts. This series hasn’t handled their relationship too much until now; this is a pleasant change.

Tokine’s job as a diplomat is perfectly suited to her. She’s strong enough to support herself, yet not quite strong enough to take on a role akin to Yoshimori. This is an effective differentiation between the two main characters.

The embrace between the two is just what anyone could have hoped for. It provides just the right amount of connection between the two, without over-developing their relationship at this stage.

Mahou Sensei Negima! 303

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

It would have been amusing if Koutarou had just taken out Fate here.

This “meeting” is really just Akamatsu’s roundabout way of cementing Fate as a colossally strong character. I’m not entirely convinced Fate didn’t notice and ignore Koutarou’s group, either.

Setsuna’s fights are always a good source of action. The art complements the action nicely, too; speed lines are used in such a way as not to overpower the characters or attacks, and the most important scenes have no speed lines at all.

That teacher in Setsuna’s flashback seems far too similar to Tsuruko Aoyama, Motoko’s older sister in Love Hina, just to be a coincidence.

Tsukuyomi wielding a cursed sword is a minor disappointment. I’m frustrated at the ever-growing trend of evil characters having a particular reason why they are so evil, therefore redeeming them. Why can’t evil characters just be evil sometimes?

Psyren 135

[scanlation by Muda Scantrad]

It makes sense for Vigo to be killed off, considering Vigo has had his moment of spotlight, but it’s unfortunate that he’s being replaced by someone as unknown as Mithra.

No, Marie! You’re able to contact Shao, so get out of there! Don’t sit around with dying Vigo! Don’t pull a Vivi!

Mithra’s flashback regarding Miroku is decent enough, but the wolf/sheep metaphors make no sense whatsoever.

Some nonsensical turns of events later, Ageha arrives, right behind Miroku and poised to attack with Melchsee’s Door. It’s a pity that the preceding backstory made such little impact, but I’m ready for what could be the series’ climactic final fight.

SWOT 10

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

It’s confirmed, then: This is no longer a terrible delinquent series. It’s now a terrible supernatural delinquent series.

Manabizaki has a “99.9% chance of losing.” Could this series try any harder to be generic?

Reverse resolve. In one chapter, our semi-realistic protagonist learned a perfect counter to a newly-introduced supernatural element. Absolutely pathetic. This series has managed to evoke the same feelings that I typically reserve exclusively for Bleach, except that SWOT has managed the feat about 200 chapters sooner. What a thoroughly putrid series. Nothing deserves cancellation more than SWOT right now, Bleach included. That statement isn’t even exclusive to Jump, either; I’d cancel SWOT sooner than MiXiM☆11, too.

The World God Only Knows 113-114

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

(113) Keima’s attempts at building his own perfect human are amusing but obviously futile. This seems hopeless.

What a strange series of panels, featuring awkward, pseudo-philosophical dialogue. I’m not exactly sure what the author was trying to achieve, but unless the goal was to alienate me, I think the objective wasn’t quite met. I don’t see how any of the points raised in these pages couldn’t have been better addressed through ordinary storytelling. There’s no need to over-complicate the narrative.

Keima was unable to win from the very beginning. This teacher is rather interesting, but she needs to proceed with whatever she’s planning. This is the second time she’s been teased as a major behind-the-scenes character; best to capitalize on the existing anticipation before it’s lost.

(114) Not only is Kanon back, but she has a goddess! This is a refreshing change, particularly after the previous chapter.

Apollo is certainly less reliable than Diana, but that better suits Kanon.

Fairly sad last couple pages focusing on the distance between Keima and Kanon.

Zettai Karen Children 231

[scanlation by JS Scans]

The brief comedy of Kaoru holding a cherished maid cafe ticket is considerably more interesting than anything the preceding or following pages have to offer.

The maid cafe mixup is amusing.

Thanks, Shiina, but I haven’t forgotten that Kaoru is in love with Minamoto.

Good dialogue in the last panel. The wordplay works well with Hyoubu’s current double-natured character.

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.

AR∀GO 36

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Trinity BAKumA]

This is a vastly different style of fight than Arago has had in the past. It’s no Ippo, but the focus on speed and precision provides interesting contrast to simple reliance on the Brionac power.

Arago bore the brunt of the werewolf’s finishing blow? This is some supreme confidence he’s showing in his regenerative abilities.

… and evidently, given that he just regenerated his entire left arm from bone and limp flesh, he was right in doing so. Whether the power itself has improved or Arago is simply more adept at using it, Brionac is more impressive now than it ever has been.

Notable sign of improvement

Underneath the pelt was “just some normal old guy.” On one hand, I appreciate that the focus remained on the pelt, since that myth has proven extremely interesting. On the other hand, it’s a slight disappointment that this plot is entirely self-contained, rather than linking to any larger premise, whether or not that would involve Patchman.

So, according to Seth and what little I know of nutritional science, Brionac and the wolf pelt are similar because they’re both like supernatural caffeine?

Final Flash: Ultimately, this arc (and particularly this chapter) served to provide some insight into the nature of Arago as a character, but little else. It was enjoyable, but the conclusion of this mini-arc feels strongly of missed opportunities.