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.

Mahou Sensei Negima! 308

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

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

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

Diagrams - Deceiving Evil 101

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

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

Doomsday Device calibration is a must

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

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

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.”

Weekly Power Rankings: 11/7 – 11/13

November 20, 2010 Leave a comment
Rank
Change
Series
Chapter
Score
1 +1 Enigma 9 78.45%
2 +1 One Piece 603 78.45%
3 +1 Code:Breaker 112 78.45%
4 -3 Beelzebub 84 77.82%
5 +4 Gamaran 72 77.52%
6 +4 Psyren 142 75.82%
7 +1 Hayate no Gotoku! 296 74.22%
8 -3 Nurarihyon no Mago 130 74.13%
9 +4 The World God Only Knows 121 73.04%
10 -3 History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 406 72.76%
11 Bakuman 108 68.94%
12 Fairy Tail 210 68.03%
13 +3 Kekkaishi 328 64.95%
14 +1 Defense Devil 73 64.09%
15 +3 GE ~ Good Ending 59 59.42%
16 -10 Toriko 59.23%
17 Kimi no Iru Machi 112 58.76%
18 +2 Mahou Sensei Negima! 308 57.90%
19 +2 Air Gear 294 56.83%
20 +2 Naruto 515 50.07%
21 -2 AR∀GO 44 46.79%
22 +3 Bleach 425 45.97%
23 Kyoukai no Rin-ne 73 45.15%
24 Zettai Karen Children 238 36.70%
25 +1 Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 313 22.63%
26 +1 MiXiM☆11 119 21.55%
27 +1 SWOT 18 14.24%

Removed: Gintama

Kekkaishi 328

November 17, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by A-Team]

Kekkaishi’s getting the Shonen Sunday cover for once. Excellent.

Shichiro and Raijin are up in the sky, sporting some sweet new banchou-style outfits. Also, talk about a large-scale kickoff to the festivities. The giant storm that they whip up should certainly be some effective camouflage, which is kind of a necessity given the nature of what’s about to start. Certainly, any storm large enough to cause school closures will keep normal people from noticing large scale paranormal warfare.

Free at last

Surprisingly, our cool new outfits get a bit more exposition. Apparently they’re what Raijin and Shichiro’s father used to wear. The way this comes up in conversation is a reminder that Shichiro still has outstanding family issues of his own, as do most of the side-characters in this series. This little chat doesn’t exactly add much to the plot at hand, but it does continue to contribute to the richness of character background that this series thrives on.

Cut away to the Yagyou, who are prepping for the support role they’ll have to play in the upcoming battle. This is probably one of the last times we’ll get to see Sen, and he seems more committed now than ever to the background role of information gatherer. Given his abilities, it was the job that most suited him; his acceptance of that is a sure sign that he’s matured.

Especially compared to a certain someone

In rather ironic contrast with his squad, Masamori does actually have a critical role on the front lines, and he’s visibly feeling it. For a long time, he actually was the strongest character that we knew, before others such as Shichiro and Mrs. Sumimura started showing up. Once he wasn’t the strongest, we saw increasingly visible signs of an inferiority complex. All of this buildup gives his excitement at having finally gained a chance at the spotlight completely understandable.

Pressure he's always wanted, that is

The plan Zerogou mentioned last chapter is revealed: Suigetsu and Nichinaga’s companion girls are in hiding, stored away in a magic room that will presumably be quite difficult to find. Nichinaga is as pissed as we’ve ever seen him. At least as far as psychological warfare goes, Zerogou’s plan seems to have worked excellently.

Final Flash: We got see a couple of nice moments from the allied forces, and Zerogou chose the correct way to hurt Nichinaga.

Toriko 117

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Hi Wa Mata Noboru]

It looks like this isn’t the real Melk after all. The title page definitely seems to indicate that the real Melk is in fact super-buff like Toriko was expecting.

Toriko’s explanation of how he deduced that this Melk was fake is another reaffirmation that, while Komatsu may be better at observing ingredients, Toriko is no slouch in the brains department. The size thing wasn’t exactly easy to miss, but it’s pretty impressive that he didn’t just chalk up Melk’s youth to Gourmet Cell magic (as I did at first).

The shocking truth is that this Melk is the second generation disciple of the previous one. That’s not too surprising, really. Given that Melk knives have still been coming out without anybody noting a drop in quality, somebody had to have been doing it in the first generation’s stead.

Having finished the Century Soup continues to pay dividends for everyone’s favorite midget chef. It’s good to know this widespread recognition isn’t changing his personality at all. Classic impressed-by-everything Komatsu is one of the main linchpins that makes this series fun.

Some handle fame more smoothly than others

Komatsu’s knife taking three years to finish due to order backlogs is the kind of obstacle this series overcomes regularly enough. That segment is worth nothing aside from a quick Komatsu facial gag. Much more interesting is the notice Melk II takes in the blade of Komatsu’s old knife. We know Komatsu’s been handling his knife well, and this is just another way of indicating how impressive of a chef he is.

Melk I has been away hunting for the stardust for six years, and now Toriko’s going to go retrieve him and the stardust in exchange for getting Komatsu’s knife faster. That neatly wraps up the three main plots of this arc: finding old Melk, finding the stardust, and getting Komatsu’s knife. Given the fact that this arc is very marginally relevant to the main plot, I appreciate that it’s going to be handled with appropriate brevity.

We close by introducing a new environment: the Heavy Hole, a super-gravity cavern. Considering that Toriko recently dealt with something similar in the gourmet world’s enhanced gravity and got his tail whipped, he’s going to have to step up his game just to get to the bottom. As a side note, the sequence of panels with the dinosaur struggling to get up is a pretty effective way to show off truly crushing amounts of gravity. Not only can’t he get up, he’s actually sinking into solid rock. That’s an appropriately intimidating introduction.

Should have done more Pilates

Final Flash: Heavily an exposition chapter, but the Heavy Hole looks promising.

Bleach 426

November 15, 2010 3 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

I’m really enjoying the humor in Ichigo’s abrupt, jerky movements lately. A couple chapters ago, he intercepted Keigo with a deadpan headlock; here, he flies in from off-screen and shoves one of the delinquents’ heads to the ground. This is effective communication through artwork, which is something I never would have been able to say about Kubo before the timeskip.

Pop quiz: Name that wrestling move

The obnoxious intruder is nonchalantly eliminated by both Ichigo and Ishida, and his now-removed teeth serve as the backdrop for the chapter number. That was clever.

Good dichotomy established by Kubo, as the competitive relationship between Ichigo and Ishida is played out through dialogue while the art shows them cooperating to rid themselves of the intruders. It’s nothing new, but considering Kubo’s questionable writing talent, there’s no shame in relying on established plot devices.

I actually had to look up who Yoko-chin is, and even after that I don’t really have strong memories of his involvement, but the punchline he delivers about Ichigo’s obvious flashback was worth bringing him back. Good comedy in the first half of the chapter.

This random lady is Ichigo’s boss? What excellent news! Ichigo working for someone other than Urahara further distances him (and the overall story) from boring Shinigami plot.

Oh dear, another small group of people that performs assorted tasks for those who require assistance? If there was such a thing as a reasonable limit on this kind of plot device, then Jump would have long since exceeded it, what with Gintama, Sket Dance, and Medaka Box.

Ikumi has a son. Not only does he provide a nice (if easy) little piece of comedy, but he immediately makes Ikumi’s introduction one of the most successful and interesting in the entire series.

Our Rob Lucci lookalike makes his grand entrance, but pleasingly, his menace is tempered by the fact that he has oddly brought a bowl of ramen to Ichigo’s workplace. This scene isn’t perfect (there’s still no excuse not to draw backgrounds, especially indoors, when it could just be a wall), but it’s much better than I would have expected of this character’s return.

Do you always carry ramen around with you?

Final Flash: We still have yet to truly establish a sense of direction since the timeskip, but I’m not complaining about that. This was good comedy and acceptable seriousness.

Naruto 516

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

I’m still sickened at the sight of all these resurrected characters, but at the very least, I can appreciate that they are aware that they’ve been resurrected. I realize that this facet of Impure World Resurrection had been established as far back as the Third Hokage vs. Orochimaru fight, and again reestablished as recently as the beginning of Deidara vs. the Tsuchikage, but it bears repeating that this quirk of the jutsu exists, because it’s the only minor detail preventing this scenario from being 100% awful. With this included, it may only be 99% awful, but that’s worth something.

It's not much more enjoyable for us

Sasori’s remarks on the present state of Akatsuki do provide a somewhat surreal feeling, as it’s bizarre to watch someone learning about the world after their own death. That poignant moment is quickly moved past in favor of unsatisfyingly easy comedy between Sasori and Deidara.

Kabuto’s plan to erase each resurrected character’s personality is a tactically wise one, and one that is in keeping with his intelligence, but it will negate the only redeeming quality of his overall decision to revive meaningless characters.

After some more moments of discovery by returned characters, and an irritating mention of Sasuke, some action begins, in the form of a fight between Kabuto and Anko. This is tremendously disappointing; of all the possible fight combinations and potential matchups, we have to begin with one that is entirely too familiar? The plot between Anko and Orochimaru may never have been thoroughly resolved, but that plot thread seemed to have been ignored on the basis of lack of interest, not on the basis of a later return. Kabuto clearly isn’t going to lose here, thus Anko will either be rescued and still seek revenge, or blatantly lose and negate the point of even having her exist.

Predictably, a hastily-assembled army comprised of warring factions must deal with internal strife. I realize that Gaara’s rank would rightfully be questioned by those unfamiliar with him, but it’s a shame that such doubts weren’t played out in a more subversive way.

Gaara’s speech doesn’t really suit him. His transition from brooding antagonist to anti-hero to leader has mostly happened off-screen, so while I can accept that he’s an ally of the protagonists now, I have a difficult time accepting that he’s able to deliver such an inspiring, impassioned speech.

Furthermore, Gaara’s speech revolves around Naruto to a fault. Using Naruto as an example of the heroic people in the world worth protecting is fine, as is mentioning Madara’s plan to collect the tailed beasts, but relying on Naruto at the end of speech sounds entirely selfish. “Save my friend” is far too specific of a cause to inspire true unity among such a large, diverse group.

"Also, I want you guys to do my laundry!"

Final Flash: Complete setup chapter. After the lingering disappointment of the resurrections, Kishimoto has a long way to go to recapture the excitement surrounding this arc.

One Piece 604

November 14, 2010 4 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Lackluster Jump cover, but the chapter cover page more than makes up for it.

Brook mistaking a whale for Laboon is funny enough, but Luffy correcting him by claiming it’s Whitebeard is even funnier.

Any worries over Caribou attacking pretty quickly are being assuaged by the appearance and reaction of Mohmoo. These circumstances are funny, and I appreciate that we aren’t diving into a serious battle right away, but reintroducing Hatchan might have been enough of a nod back to Arlong Park. That said, this the precursor to Fishman Island, after all, so I can’t criticize it for simply being a forced attempt at nostalgia.

It would be uncharacteristic of the Straw Hats to simply throw Caribou into the ocean, but I’m a bit disappointed they didn’t. Caribou isn’t a particularly interesting character so far.

Usopp serving as the crew’s lie-detector would be an amusing touch.

Trust him, he's a professional

Sanji kicking Caribou for ogling Nami leads to a comedy scene, but the kick itself should not be ignored. The fact that Sanji was able to make contact with a character who has claimed to be a Logia user means either that Sanji has developed Haki more than was perhaps expected of him at this point, or that Caribou was being deliberately vague, and he isn’t a Logia at all.

What is this, Bill Nye the Science Guy? I’m supposed to be reading about a glorious adventure into an amazing undersea world. Stop scientifically explaining away every last detail of the mysticism.

Magic everywhere in this bitch

At least all of Nami’s intelligent dialogue led to a great group punchline. Luffy judging things as “mysterious” truly never gets old, and he finally has company.

Caribou giving a warning to the Straw Hats to turn back makes me think that he may end up serving as a “guide” type of character instead of an antagonist. I could easily see him being frightened by a display of strength from Luffy, realizing he has no chance, and instead offering some guidance and advice to help push the Straw Hats forward into new territory, both figuratively and literally.

Ignoring unfunny catchphrases and jokes, the use of a Kraken here is actually a positive choice. It’s too early for the crew to get involved in a major battle against a particular antagonist, but a limited demonstration of their newfound strength against a neutral creature is a perfectly acceptable way to show a little action without requiring a major investment of time or future consequences. This also lends some credence to my thoughts regarding Caribou, as taming the Kraken would seem to be more than sufficient proof that he is outmatched.

Final Flash: The Caribou stuff is acceptable but not hugely engaging, and the explanation of climate and currents was too lengthy, but the Kraken seems like it will provide the first genuinely interesting plot element since the timeskip.

Enigma 9

November 14, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by CXC Scans]

Congrats to Sakaki Kenji on earning enough votes for a top-5 Table of Contents spot and a color page. This manga certainly deserves it.

Last chapter, we were left waiting with baited breath to find out the nature of Matsurigi’s “cubic subtraction” ability. This chapter wastes no time with the reveal: Matsurigi can shrink (and otherwise modify) objects. The ability does fit the name, but I’m not sure how a miniaturized flagpole will solve our current predicament.

Further proving that these abilities are well thought out, the cubic subtraction ability is numbers-based, restricted to powers of 10. This makes it a bit less useful than straight alchemy, but such a limit allows Matsurigi’s character and intelligence to be brought to the forefront. Even the most creative power is still only just a power until it gets paired with an interesting user.

Matsurigi’s motivation is perhaps the easiest to appreciate of any other thus far; he wants to be a doctor because he wants to save lives. His motivation, more than any other, hints at character development he underwent between discovering his power and the current e-test, probably something having to do with seeing his parents work as doctors. It’s an appreciably subtle way of hinting towards something deeper with this character.

Ok, that’s how you use a shrink-regrow power. That whole sequence – shrinking it from 600cm to 6cm to get it through the crack, then partially regrowing it to 60cm to block the heat vent, then returning it to full size to ram down the incinerator door – was an unpredictable level of badass from this character. That’s what I’m talking about; limited powers make their users look much cooler.

Cool guys don't look at explosions

Haiba reminding Matsurigi of “that man” is a worrisome tidbit. First of all, we don’t have any clue who “that man” is. Also, it feels a little soon (specifically for a mystery series) to start drawing comparisons between the main character and important people from the past. It’s not a huge concern, but this device for building up the main character has been abused a lot over the years.

Of course, there are consequences for Matsurigi’s busting down the incinerator door: Haiba now has blackmailing material to get out of cleaning toilets. This is a delightful short comedy bit showcasing the chemistry between these two characters.

Not friends in everyday life

They’ve acquired the third password, along with a capsule which cures the shadow. Shockingly, Matsurigi not only chooses to avoid taking it, but makes a big show of fooling the others into thinking he has. I can only guess as to what his reasons are, but they’ve got to be good ones.

Now the guy wearing the mascot costume is evidently set for an arc. Talk about total unknown quantities.

Final Flash: The use of cubic subtraction was the most badass utilization of powers this far this series, and one of the best-planned.

Weekly Power Rankings: 10/31 – 11/6

November 13, 2010 Leave a comment
Rank
Change
Series
Chapter
Score
1 Beelzebub 83 77.33%
2 Enigma 8 76.76%
3 +3 One Piece 602 76.76%
4 +1 Code:Breaker 111 75.22%
5 +3 Nurarihyon no Mago 129 75.08%
6 -3 Toriko 117 73.72%
7 +3 History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 405 72.29%
8 -4 Hayate no Gotoku! 295 71.69%
9 Gamaran 71 71.12%
10 +3 Psyren 141 70.75%
11 +6 Bakuman 107 67.52%
12 +3 Fairy Tail 207-9 66.46%
13 +1 The World God Only Knows 120 65.85%
14 -3 Gintama 329 63.33%
15 +4 Defense Devil 72 63.30%
16 -9 Kekkaishi 61.66%
17 +4 Kimi no Iru Machi 111 59.36%
18 +4 GE ~ Good Ending 58 58.27%
19 -7 AR∀GO 43 58.06%
20 -4 Mahou Sensei Negima! 57.09%
21 -3 Air Gear 52.51%
22 -2 Naruto 50.03%
23 Kyoukai no Rin-ne 72 47.33%
24 Zettai Karen Children 237 36.31%
25 Hia Bleach 424 31.72%
26 -1 Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 312 24.46%
27 -1 MiXiM☆11 118 23.24%
28 -1 SWOT 17 16.61%

History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 406

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

I don’t think Apachai has ever looked more imposing or dangerous than he does now. The eyes are being used to showcase his current state, and they’re blazing with light. Consider this “fight” over before it has begun, folks.

Protector of Children

The whole dialogue about how Apachai gained his strength, and the small flashback, were both handled very well. Not only did Apachai have the strength to disable Agaard for two whole days without killing him, but he has enough left to defend his disciple to the very end. Very well done, and if anyone had any doubts remaining about who came out on top in the fight between masters, this should settle it.

Once again an excellent use of white space, breaking through the sword and through the weapon user’s face, also. This page and the one following it relate force through artwork, something which is tough to do well. You can feel the impact of the blow, and you can tell that the force is something out of this world.

Out of nowhere, four straight pages of some of the most gratuitous fanservice I’ve seen in Kenichi, and that’s saying something. I don’t understand what’s happening, and at this point I really hope this is an issue introduced by the editorial staff and not the mangaka. I understand that sex sells, but this is cheapening key moments of plot and distracting from the focus of the story. I want to be able to recommend Kenichi to people without an asterisk commenting on the fanservice.

I had to separate myself from those pages so I could appreciate the final page of the chapter, but it does its job well. No one following this manga wants to see Apachai go, but his exit has been handled exceptionally well, and at this point I would consider it an insult for him to survive this storyline. Based on what respect I have for Matsuena-sensei, I take this as his farewell, and it is fitting.

Heart-wrenchingly delicious

Final Flash: A well-handled end for a beloved character, marred by a few pages of very shameless fanservice.

Hayate no Gotoku! 295

November 12, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by reddevilshn]

Luca not having any money draws an immediate parallel to Hayate in my mind. When I realized it did so, I had to laugh a little to myself, that I could associate something like poverty to a character. Perhaps wherever she needs to get to in a hurry is a job? That would seem pretty appropriate.

Nagi has no idea what to make, but she wants to do something original? So that means her previous works we’ve seen are things she doesn’t consider original. I’m interested, to say the least. Her offhand comment about Maria being a weird maid was pretty funny in her current company.

Hayate no Gaijin 4-koma

Hata Kenjiro is definitely not out of touch with the mainstream comedy of today’s internet. He’s put a few things in this chapter that are obvious shout-outs to 2ch- and 4chan-type internet culture. They’re not out of place in a comedy series like Hayate, which makes so many references and in-jokes.

Hayate’s fight with the robot is handled pretty well, in that there’s one page where I felt like I was reading a magical girl series. Maybe the attack names help. Hayate quickly realizes things are getting out of hand, and moves the fight elsewhere. It should be noted that Hayate doesn’t really do action except in these small flashes, but they are well done. By no means do I ever want this to turn into a battle series.

He manages to settle it in a timely manner, but Luca being hurt tosses an interesting event into this. I’m not at all against it; we’re getting a direct encounter so soon. I just hope Luca also resembles Hayate in her ability to take abuse.

Useful without any editing

Final Flash: Great comedy as always with excellent references. Next chapter, I hope we get a conscious Luca talking to Hayate.