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Series Roundup: 9/12 – 9/18

September 19, 2010 12 comments

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

Air Gear 287

[scanlation by SSA Scanlations]

Beautiful color page. This is a perfect example of quality art and a tiny bit of fanservice easily trumping over-the-top gratuitous fanservice.

Ringo has every reason to feel like she’s at fault about this. Regardless of where the blame lies, though, Ikki’s Regalia must be repaired quickly, or else not only will he be unable to win his fight, but also the plot will be unable to progress.

This is mostly setup after setup for each fight. I suppose it’s acceptable as a way to refresh the audience’s memory, after six weeks of no Air Gear.

Ikki demonstrates some strong leadership qualities by getting everyone back on track. Between the Regalia hunt and the various battles, the next few chapters should be exciting.

AR∀GO 35

[scanlation by Trinity BAKumA]

Cute cover page.

Interesting nod by Arai towards boxers, and lightweight boxers specifically. It’s true that this training should help Arago’s evasiveness.

I’ve finally figured out the secret behind the worst arc of Hajime no Ippo: Woli had Brionac.

The reactions from Rio, Coco, and Seth to Arago’s request are as funny as they are vastly different.

Captain Tsubasa now? This is an oddly sports-themed chapter.

Arago’s idea of a duel (and the werewolf’s immediate acceptance) is fascinating. The two-page spread of them exchanging blows is great, as well.

Code:Breaker 104

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

Not that I could put a face to the name, but Dekasugi going missing right after Yuuki drops the hint points to Code:Revenger having been closely watching everything all along.

Ogami’s new flame is incredibly powerful and far more versatile than the first flame. It’s also more bizarrely supernatural, perhaps even spiritual.

Once again, Ogami’s unique sense of justice, where he continues to quietly burden himself with others’ problems, is enjoyable to read.

Yuuki is obviously torn over having to fight Ogami, but chooses to turn to his trump card, in the form of some pills in his collar. I hope Yuuki doesn’t die in all of this action.

Defense Devil 64

[scanlation by I Eat Manga]

Kucabara’s focus on pacifism is a bit out of place. He has been established as a “good” character, but this feels more like time-wasting than personality establishment.

Several pages later, and Kucabara has exactly the same stance. It’s taking far too long for anything to happen.

His brilliant plan was to shoot out the lights? That’s a bit childish.

The naive devils throw the “soccer” field into chaos, and Kucabara drops in like Batman to save Idamaria. Sadly, the spurt of action at the end of the chapter doesn’t redeem the time wasted at the beginning.

Enigma 1

[scanlation by CXC Scans]

Love to see a brand new series get scanned right away. I hope CXC will keep up with this one.

The main character has a “Dream Diary” that predicts the future. A future diary. In Japanese, one would call that a Mirai Nikki.

Sumio’s flirting is a decently enjoyable character trait, but not one that stands out too greatly.

The skull with the reversed jawbone is an appropriately scary symbol. Good design.

The way Sumio’s mother panics provides some intrigue as to exactly why Sumio saw the symbol.

Sumio’s larger panel poses are too generic.

Sumio and six others wake up in a gymnasium, unable to exit or contact the outside world. Then, the Enigme symbol appears on a screen and gives them an objective. So, this series isn’t just Mirai Nikki; it’s also Gantz. Wonderful.

Based on only one chapter, this series has far more potential than recent Jump newcomers (Lock On!, Yotsuya, SWOT, etc.), but its success will depend entirely on the execution of the premise introduced in this chapter. Sadly, the two major concepts the series is built on are far too derivative of other, existing series.

GE ~ Good Ending 50

[scanlation by iMangaScans]

Yuki’s farewell smile to her mother and attendant is creepy as hell.

Evidently Yuki’s family is aware of whatever horrible business went down between Yuki and Touru. I appreciate him being unwelcome there; I don’t appreciate the focus being on him running around trying to find her. This series needs less drama.

This bald guy being on a Koushien-bound baseball team comes out of nowhere. How odd.

Oonuma finally snapped at Seiji! That’s exactly what needed to happen. Finally, a little positive progress.

Never mind. It’s all undone by some ludicrous fireworks and a statement that reflects just how right Oonuma was about Seiji’s superficial kindness. Seriously though, fireworks?! Fireworks.

fireworks.

Kure-nai 34

[scanlation by JAC Scans]

It’s finally sinking in to Shinkurou that Kirihiko is an assassin. To be fair, she’s right in pointing out that she said that when they first met.

She stabbed him, with no effect. Is she taking it easy on him, or is has his Houdzuki training again rendered him impervious to blade attacks?

Interesting competition proposed by Kirihiko. It’ll be good to see how Shinkurou reacts to her when she’s in a killing mindset.

I can’t accept Yuuno’s explanation of the manner in which Kirihiko cut Shinkurou. A time-delayed cut? This makes absolutely no sense.

Strangely comedic ending. Saving someone from suicide does not tend to immediately lead into a job offer.

Hayate no Gotoku! 288

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

Nagi’s “plans” are hilarious. Her obliviousness is always great, but she’s so certain here that she can succeed.

Excellent meta comedy! The Jump joke is apt, and the Sunday praise is fun.

Ashibashi-sensei may have been a completely minor character, but he was very funny in his limited role as the author of the successful series “This or That Depresses Me,” which clearly does not parody any real life series whatsoever. He should provide great interaction with aspiring mangaka Nagi.

Brilliant punchline from Ashibashi, and an even better reaction from Hayate and the girls. What a funny chapter.

I love that Ayumu had no idea how successful Ashibashi was.

Mahou Sensei Negima! 302

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

Excellent detail in Akamatsu’s drawing of the various magic attacks.

Negi is trying to be everywhere at once. He should rely on the girls more. He’s obviously far more powerful than any of them, but they’re far from incompetent.

Dragonfolk? I thought it was Demonfolk. The Dragonzord joke is catching on… sadly.

Nodoka is ridiculous. Time manipulation is one of the most potentially broken powers in any setting, and she just crashes into the user. Wasn’t she supposed to be the shy one?

Very nice affirmation of the girls’ abilities over the final pages.

Nurarihyon no Mago 122

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

Multiple ways to perform Matoi should eventually both solidify Rikuo as a seriously strong protagonist, and also keep the more prominent members of the Hyakki Yakou involved in the main plot. This technique is a fantastic idea.

Kidoumaru is a legitimately strong enemy with some good techniques of his own. Ouka is impressive.

Kurotabou’s pride is nice to see. Rikuo really has grown considerably since the beginning of the series.

Beautiful full-page art of Rikuo using the new variation of Matoi.

Rikuo is wearing Kurotabou in a far more literal sense than his previous uses of Matoi. Does this mean Rikuo will become the type of character who routinely uses other characters’ powers? While this version of Matoi is interesting, I hope Rikuo doesn’t rely on it too much. Members of the Hyakki Yakou need to stand out on their own, rather than be relegated to pure supporting roles for Rikuo.

Psyren 134

[scanlation by Keishou Scans]

“Now, the battle between Matsuri and Grana–!!” … and two pages later, we switch focus to Kagetora. Amusing.

Kagetora has always been fun to watch fight, but he’s even more interesting here in the future, surrounded by those with flashier abilities.

Back to Matsuri/Grana, and this fight is far more of an exchange of psychic abilities. Grana’s admittance that Matsuri has more battle sense is what keeps this fight balanced and interesting.

Ageha and Amamiya chase after Miroku, and the chapter ends. Some fun fighting, but not too much plot progression.

Zettai Karen Children 230

[scanlation by JS Scans]

Great omake page. Of course Hanzo is a Naruto fan. … oh, pardon me. Maruto.

Kiritsubo’s overprotective nature has grown tiresome.

Hanzo’s Naruto fandom extends within the chapter! He even has the Mangekyou Sharingan. Good comedy.

I’m pretty sure the shirt worn by the character on the last page is intended to represent a browser’s Refresh function. The shirt says “F5” (the keyboard shortcut for Refresh), and has circular arrows above and below the lettering. Amusing. That said, the comedy of this chapter far outweighs the attempt at engaging serious plot.

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.

Beamcast – September 13

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

[download link – 121min, 53mb]

In this week’s show:

News
One Piece Strong World tops DVD/BD charts for second week

Weekly Oricon rankings (8/30 – 9/5)

New releases

[anime]
Dragon Ball Z – Season 4 Dragonbox Set (DVD) $59.98
Dragon Ball Z Kai (DVD 2) $49.98
Dragon Ball Z Kai (Blu-Ray 2) $54.98

[manga]
Arata Kangatari / Arata: The Legend (vol. 3) $9.99
Hayate no Gotoku! (vol. 16) $9.99
InuYasha (vol. 52) $9.99
Oh My Goddess! 2nd edition (vol. 15) $10.99
Rin-ne (vol. 4) $9.99

Listener Mail

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

1. Beelzebub (38%) | 2. Gintama (22%) | 3. The World God Only Knows (15%)

This week:
Multiple choice – Which of these shonen genres do you enjoy?
(Action, Comedy, Mystery, Romance, Sports)

The Great Shonen Tier List

Characters re-tiered:
Nura Rikuo (Nurarihyon no Mago)

Characters added:
Portgas D. Ace (One Piece)
Uchiha Itachi (Naruto)
Yuki Onna (Nurarihyon no Mago)
Komatsu (Toriko)
Nougami Neuro (Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro)
Father (Fullmetal Alchemist)

Anime Discussion
Highschool of the Dead (ep. 10)
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 11)
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep. 10)

This Week in Manga
0:48:51 – Bleach 419
0:54:17 – Naruto 509
0:58:51 – Bakuman 100
1:05:01 – Beelzebub 76
1:10:18 – Fairy Tail 199
1:13:05 – Hayate no Gotoku! 287
1:15:55 – Kekkaishi 319-320
1:20:29 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 397
1:25:32 – AR∀GO 34
1:28:33 – Toriko 109
1:35:21 – Gamaran 62
1:40:07 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 300-301
1:44:51 – Nurarihyon no Mago 121
1:49:25 – Kimi no Iru Machi 104
1:52:24 – SWOT 9
1:55:25 – Bloody Monday: Season 2 – 40
1:57:12 – Code:Breaker 103
1:58:10 – D.Gray-man 194
1:58:46 – Gintama 322-323
1:59:25 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 305

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-I3

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

Series Roundup: 9/5 – 9/11

September 9, 2010 1 comment

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

AR∀GO 34

[scanlation by Trinity BAKumA]

Great action in the fight between Arago and the werewolf. Arai’s art style makes even speed lines feel new and interesting.

The werewolf has regeneration similar to Arago’s Brionac and unbelievable speed and strength. Arago defeat is unsurprising, but the process reveals two interesting notes: the seam in the werewolf’s fur, and the fact that the werewolf didn’t kill Arago.

Joe reveals a variation on the now commonly-accepted werewolf legend, and his version is absolutely fascinating. This is a brilliant writing choice.

Code:Breaker 103

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

This is becoming bizarrely metaphysical. Granted, this series isn’t restricted by any sense of realism, but Ogami entering “the hell of darkness within [his] heart” is still jarring.

The physical incarnation of the Emperor is disappointing. Even if this form is supposed to be a weaker, limited version of the character, this character type is overdone.

After a rather cliché test, Ogami is granted the second of seven flames. Suddenly, Flame of Recca comparisons are completely appropriate. Ogami’s use of Belphegor of the Dark is interesting and well-drawn, though.

Gamaran 62

[scanlation by helz0ne]

Iori seeming like he’s in control of his situation while at a numerical disadvantage makes some sense, as he’s been established as an incredibly strong swordsman, but seeing the same poise from Ranmaru is unusual.

Wow. Ranmaru’s killing blow this time is at least as brutal as his last one. Jinno serving as the setup for it is a little disappointing, because it does little to explain Ranmaru’s confidence, but the scene is still strong.

If the teaser is true, Gama vs. Ranmaru should be thrilling.

Hayate no Gotoku! 287

[scanlation by reddevilshn]

Hugging someone of the opposite sex is the universal symbol for “I’m here to rent a room.”

Why does “Gundam” need to be censored in text bubbles if the word is left intact on the box?

After a series of individually amusing jokes, “She was quickly kicked out” is a great punchline.

The mystery girl was behind the fireworks incident after all, but the name Housen Yozora doesn’t ring a bell, and her motives aren’t yet obvious. Interesting.

Kekkaishi 319-320

[scanlation by A-Team]

(319) Lovely atmosphere as Masamori is led towards the castle.

Hazama certainly is demanding, but his sudden meeting with Masamori finally helps to tie his actions directly to Yoshimori’s. Also, it’s interesting to see Masamori simultaneously shot down in comparison to Yoshimori, yet also reinforced as important because of his own particular skills and connections.

(320) A little too much time is spent on Shichiro remarking on events. If so many interesting things are happening, the author would be better served just showings those events directly.

Raijin may have ended up being introduced as a seemingly devious woman, but she has both the power to legitimize herself and superior connections than Masamori, considering her ability to bring Nura into the fold. Also, her claim that Masamori is to defeat the founder is an intriguing one.

Mahou Sensei Negima! 300-301

[scanlations by reddevilshn: 300 | 301]

(300) After so much preparation and so many chapters of diversion and side characters, it’s fun to see Negi himself firing off some of his devastating magic.

No matter how impressed Anya is by Negi’s display of power, I can’t accept her statement that he could be as strong as his father.

Haunting panel at the bottom of page 13. The stark lack of background combines well with Negi chasing after his barely-visible father.

Unusual timing for Asuna to be so moved by Negi’s determination. Nothing has been accomplished yet.

(301) It’s difficult to reconcile the serious side of Dynamis with the one that jokes with his young female subordinates.

Very little to comment on, as this chapter is mostly setup for the next fight for Negi’s group. The bit with Koutarou’s covert group is amusing, at least.

Nurarihyon no Mago 121

[scanlation by ShinraTensei]

Rikuo’s reasoning is perfectly befitting of someone in his leadership role. Great speech, and an excellent full page pose.

Beautiful art as Kidoumaru invokes Rajoumon.

Kidoumaru being able to prevent Tsurara and Rikuo using Matoi presents interesting complications for that ability in the future. Even if Rikuo presumably wins this fight, he’ll certainly fight tougher opponents in the future. Rikuo could stand to adapt a new way to use Matoi, such as perhaps being able to use the fear from his Hyakki Yakou through the markings on his back, rather than needing his followers to physically cast their fear on him in person.

Kurotabou and Kubinashi are a welcome sight. They should provide some interesting complexity to the fight next week.

SWOT 9

[scanlation by Red Hawk Scanlations]

The fighting maniac’s special move is called “Chaos.” Was he not generically counter-culture enough already?

“Pray that Manabizaki will defeat this monster” is the kind of senseless, idealistic comment from an onlooker that I would expect from someone watching Ichigo fighting in Bleach. That scenario is already bad enough, but at least Bleach has the publishing length to back up such a statement. Why should the audience be invested in the fate of a one-dimensional protagonist in a series that hasn’t yet reached double digit chapters?

Manabizaki’s opponent suddenly has glowing hands. I wasn’t aware it was possible for a series to “jump the shark” within 9 chapters, but I am ready to declare that SWOT has not only done so, but that it also holds absolutely no reading value.

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.

Beamcast – September 6

September 6, 2010 2 comments

[download link – 137min, 60mb]

In this week’s show:

News
Beelzebub anime adaptation
One shots for Watsuki and Arakawa
To LOVE-Ru Darkness premieres in Jump SQ #11 (Oct. 4)
Shonen Shikku Canceled; Enigma to Debut
Light Wing to Debut in Jump
Hayate no Gotoku! gets Taiwanese live action adaptation
One Piece DVD/BDs earn 2.16 billion yen in one week
Moonlight Mile author, Eyeshield 21 artist collaboration
Golden Boy II

Weekly Oricon rankings (8/23 – 8/29)

New releases

[manga]
Hoshin Engi (vol. 20) $9.99
Naruto (Chapter Book 15) $4.99
Oh My Goddess (vol. 36) $11.99
Shaman King (vol. 30) $9.99
Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee (vol. 3) $9.99
Toriko (vol. 2) $9.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
What is your favorite currently-running comedy series?
(Beelzebub, Gintama, Hajimete no Aku, Hayate no Gotoku!, Onidere, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Sket Dance, The World God Only Knows, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan)

The Great Shonen Tier List

Characters re-tiered:
Asakura Yoh (Shaman King)

Characters added:
Edward “Whitebeard” Newgate (One Piece)
Hoshigaki Kisame (Naruto)
Amamiya Sakurako (Psyren)
Nogami Aoi (Zettai Karen Children)
Saitou Hajime (Rurouni Kenshin)
Kenshiro (Hokuto no Ken)

Anime Discussion
Highschool of the Dead (ep. 9)
Seitokai Yakuindomo (ep. 10)
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 10)
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep. 9)

This Week in Manga
0:58:27 – Mirai Nikki 55
1:00:28 – Naruto 508
1:07:07 – Bleach 418
1:11:40 – Bakuman 99
1:18:57 – Beelzebub 75 + extra
1:24:07 – Fairy Tail 198
1:28:22 – Hayate no Gotoku! 286
1:31:24 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 396
1:36:28 – AR∀GO 33
1:38:58 – Toriko 108
1:43:41 – Gamaran 61
1:47:03 – The World God Only Knows 112
1:49:17 – Psyren 132-133
1:52:43 – Zettai Karen Children 229
1:54:42 – Hajime no Ippo 906
1:59:24 – GE ~ Good Ending 49
2:02:43 – Kimi no Iru Machi 103
2:07:24 – Bloody Monday: Season 2 – 39
2:08:36 – Code:Breaker 102 (new series!)
2:10:29 – Defense Devil 63
2:12:05 – Gintama 320-321
2:14:17 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 304
2:14:59 – Nurarihyon no Mago 120

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-Fg

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

Weekly Power Rankings: 8/22 – 8/28

September 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Code:Breaker 82

[chapter link]

This is a rarity in shonen: The leader falling in battle before his subordinates. Very interested in what will happen next.

It’s somewhat of a pity that he gets in some last words. I thought the ending to the last chapter was great.

Middle panel, p12: What an unsettling blank stare. Excellently drawn.

The two-page spread here is an example of an acceptable lack of background. Used sparingly, it can achieve great effect.

Shigure? I suppose I should have been trained by shonen always to keep an eye on the weak one, but this surprised me.

Final Flash: Right back into the action, then. Someone really should have been keeping an eye on that box.

Weekly Power Rankings – 3/14 – 3/20

Code:Breaker 81

It’s a little cheap the way The One Being Sought always has another power handy. Now he’s Diavolo and Wolverine?

“Presser” is a bad attack name.

Code:Names? Uh-oh. That’s the sign of the next major series of fights. I never like when enemies are prefaced like this. At least these won’t all have Spanish titles. (I hope.)

The Seeking One, is it? That sounds a little less cool. Too bad.

The direction this chapter is going, by humanizing The Seeking One, is making me worry that we have another Itachi on our hands, i.e. the credible villain the series has built up since the beginning is actually a good guy (… well, kinda) and other, stronger people are the real evil ones.

“Deep Presser” is even worse.

The two-page spread is pretty cool.

The second two-page spread is even better. Itachi scenario avoided; this storyline has a little similarity, but is far better.

Final Flash: Mixed feelings about this climax, because of the foreshadowing of the Code:Names, but overall, the fights were good.

Code:Breaker 80

We’re starting with a flashback? Last chapter ended on such an excellent moment, too. Interesting.

There’s not much depth about The One Being Sought. He’s evil, sure. That’s really all we know. The flashback is only serving to reinforce that, rather than expanding upon it. Maybe there’s nothing to expand upon. Too bad.

It seems The One’s power is a little less Dio and a little more Diavolo.

The little twist in the action is giving this fight a very end-of-series feel, which can’t be right (given, at least, the foreshadowing remarks at the end of Toki’s fight).

Final Flash: This fight is odd. It isn’t bad, but there’s an awkward feeling about it.

Code:Breaker 79

Really like the seams on Ogami’s shoulder.

It must be said of The One Being Sought: “ZA WARUDO”

Little Ogami is a strange combination of cute and gruesome. Kamijyo’s art style is suiting these scenes rather well.

I like how hard Toki has fought throughout this arc, and I also like how The One can so easily throw him and Sakurakouji aside.

Flame powers may be overused in shonen, but this one is fairly interesting.

Final Flash: Good, but not quite the impact of the last few chapters.

Weekly Power Rankings – 1/17 – 1/23

February 1, 2010 4 comments