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Posts Tagged ‘Cross Game’

Beamcast – October 11

October 11, 2010 Leave a comment

[download link – 172min, 75mb]

In this week’s show:

News
The World God Only Knows anime second season listed for April 2011

Licensing announcements
Dark Horse: Kekkai Sensen (USA: Bloodline Battlefront), Drifters, Shinjuku Azul

Weekly Oricon rankings (9/27 – 10/3)

New releases

[manga]
Case Closed (vol. 36) $9.99
Cross Game (vol. 1) $19.99
Hyde & Closer (vol. 2) $9.99
InuYasha (vol. 53) $9.99
Kekkaishi (vol. 23) $9.99
Yakitate!! Japan (vol. 24) $9.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

What is your favorite Naruto arc?
1. Chuunin Exam / Invasion of Konoha (44%) | 2. Invasion of Pain (22%) | 3. Land of Waves (11%)

This week:
Which of these Fall 2010 shonen anime are you watching?
(Bakuman, Shinryaku! Ika Musume, To Aru Majutsu no Index II, The World God Only Knows)

The Great Shonen Tier List

Characters added:
Aokiji (One Piece)
Temari (Naruto)
Mephisto Bart Kucabara (Defense Devil)
Apachai Hopachai (History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi)
Kid Buu (Dragon Ball)
Shimura Shinpachi (Gintama)

Anime Discussion
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 15)
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep. 14)
Shinryaku! Ika Musume (ep. 1)
To Aru Majutsu no Index II (ep. 1)
Bakuman (ep. 1)
The World God Only Knows (ep. 1)

This Week in Manga
0:58:49 – Soul Eater 78
1:05:43 – Naruto 512
1:16:09 – Bleach 423
1:26:12 – One Piece 599
1:41:27 – Bakuman 104
1:46:32 – Beelzebub 80
1:51:49 – Fairy Tail 204
1:54:07 – Hayate no Gotoku! 291
1:57:29 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 402
2:05:54 – AR∀GO 38
2:08:38 – Toriko 113
2:13:55 – Gamaran 65-66
2:17:32 – The World God Only Knows 116
2:22:02 – Psyren 138
2:26:00 – Defense Devil 68
2:28:14 – Zettai Karen Children 233
2:30:37 – GE ~ Good Ending 54
2:33:24 – Kimi no Iru Machi 108
2:33:57 – Enigma 4
2:39:21 – Bench!
2:44:49 – Deadman Wonderland 38b
2:46:27 – Air Gear 290
2:47:39 – Bloody Monday: Season 2 – 42
2:48:45 – Code:Breaker 107
2:50:02 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 309

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-Mg

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork
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Beamcast – August 23

[download link – 138min, 57mb]

In this week’s show:

News
One Piece volume 59 sets first-week sales record of 1.85 million copies sold
Dragon Ball Z Kai premieres on Toonzai
Love Hina one-shot in September
Pyuu to Fuku! Jaguar ends

Licensing announcement
Viz: Nurarihyon no Mago (Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan)

Weekly Oricon rankings (8/2 – 8/8; 8/9 – 8/15)

New releases

[last week]
20th Century Boys (vol. 10) $12.99
Vagabond (vol. 32) $9.95

[this week]
Bleach (DVD 31) $24.99
FMA: Brotherhood Part 2 (Blu-ray) $54.98
FMA: Brotherhood Part 2 (DVD) $49.98
Genshiken DX (DVD) $34.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Which ending of these manga series did you enjoy the most?
(Cross Game, Death Note, FMA, Love Hina, Rurouni Kenshin, Shaman King, Slam Dunk)

The Great Shonen Tier List

Discussion (Freiza vs. Bleach characters, Orochimaru vs. Jiraiya)

Re-tiered this week:
Kuchiki Byakuya (Bleach)

Introduced this week:
Namikaze Minato / Fourth Hokage (Naruto)
Urahara Kisuke (Bleach)
Brook (One Piece)
Hiei (YuYu Hakusho)
Cell (Dragon Ball)
Giorno Giovanna (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

Anime Discussion
Highschool of the Dead (ep. 6-7)
Seitokai Yakuindomo (ep. 7)
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 7-8)
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep.6-7)

This Week in Manga
0:47:52 – Soul Eater 77
0:54:25 – Kure-nai 33
0:56:59 – Sankarea 9
0:59:55 – Naruto 506
1:02:49 – Bleach 416
1:08:35 – One Piece 596
1:18:10 – Bakuman 97
1:22:09 – Beelzebub 73
1:26:35 – Fairy Tail 196
1:29:22 – Hayate no Gotoku! 284
1:32:39 – Kekkaishi 316
1:34:56 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 394
1:39:36 – Toriko 105-106
1:43:51 – The World God Only Knows 110
1:45:40 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 299
1:49:10 – Psyren 130
1:51:11 – Zettai Karen Children 226-227
1:54:07 – AR∀GO 31
1:56:15 – GE ~ Good Ending 46-47
2:01:27 – Metallica Metalluca 11
2:04:34 – SWOT 6-7
2:09:15 – Deadman Wonderland 37
2:10:36 – Gintama 319
2:12:21 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 302
2:14:14 – Kimi no Iru Machi 101
2:15:39 – Nurarihyon no Mago 117-118

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-AI

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

Power Rankings – First Half 2010

July 15, 2010 1 comment
Rank
Series
Chapters
Score
1 One Piece 569-589 86.55%
Aside from overall excellent quality, chapter 574 stands out as the most important shonen manga chapter in the next 10 years.
2 Bakuman 68-91 81.92%
Great character development across the entire cast, most notably Mashiro and Iwase. Highlight: Mashiro breaking down and calling Azuki (ch. 74).
3 Cross Game 156-160 81.50%
Brilliant ending to a magnificent series. In particular, the last page of chapter 158 is still breathtaking.
4 Beelzebub 43-66 78.58%
Expertly funny. Highlights: OHKO (ch. 56), Demon World / huge Baby Beel. Furuichi still among best comedic straight men.
5 Toriko 78-101 76.50%
Toriko vs. Tommyrod: Best fight so far this year.
6 Bloody Monday: Season 2 10-33 76.08%
Consistently thrilling and packed with interesting twists. Highlights include a powerful death and a wonderful kiss.
7 Gintama 291-314 74.83%
Four Heavenly Kings arc again proving Sorachi’s talent for poignant seriousness amid absurd comedy.
8 Psyren 101-124 72.75%
Great trip to Psyren. Excellent Shao/Vigo fight. Kyle, Frederica, and Kabuto also noteworthy.
9 AR∀GO 2-26 72.30%
Fascinating narrative and a perfect cast of characters combine for a strong showing from a young series.
10 Kekkaishi 289-312 71.92%
Few series make training arcs as interesting, and the huge steps forward in the story have left nothing to be desired.
11 Hayate no Gotoku! 254-277 70.67%
An extremely impressive serious arc (Athena) set this series apart from ordinary comedy fare.
12 GE ~ Good Ending 18-41 70.67%
Great relationship buildup that has only recently begun to disappoint.
13 Defense Devil 34-55 70.27%
Fantastic art, clear action, and solid (if not overwhelmingly engaging) plot.
14 The World God Only Knows 81-104 70.25%
Uncharacteristic half-year for this series, with neither major arc following the series’ tried-and-true formula.
15 Nurarihyon no Mago 89-112 69.00%
Finally experiencing a return to form after focusing on everyone except Nura for far too long.
16 Ane Doki! 25-26 68.00%
Suitable, enjoyable conclusion to a short series.
17 Hajimete no Aku 47-71 67.50%
Fun but unremarkable episodic comedy.
18 Gamaran 31-54 66.08%
Excellent fights interspersed with fights featuring comparatively less interesting characters.
19 Mahou Sensei Negima! 275-294 65.50%
Straightforward, enjoyable fantasy action with just enough humor (and a little fanservice) to keep things lively.
20 Hunter x Hunter 291-310 65.00%
Biggest “what the hell” moment of the year to date (ch. 299). Great to finally see Gon relevant in this arc.
21 Kimi no Iru Machi 74-95 60.27%
Strong start to the year marred by a largely disappointing trip to Tokyo.
22 History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 366-389 59.83%
Some fantastic fights, some fantastic new enemies, a heartwarming moment, and entirely too much fanservice.
23 Air Gear 265-283 53.34%
Excellent art, unintelligible plot, “fanservice” bordering on hentai, and President Obama body-swapped with a high school girl.
24 Zettai Karen Children 200-222 53.28%
Notable positives (Kugutsu, Kaoru’s maturity) counterbalanced by questionable moments (“Lost Guys” arc, Feather’s tremendous power).
25 Hajime no Ippo 879-899 52.74%
A horrible half-year for an otherwise fantastic series.
26 Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 272-295 48.17%
Thankfully, the end of the pitiful Future arc. The Shimon arc started well, but is beginning to regress into Future arc territory.
27 Naruto 477-499 48.07%
Sasuke ruined any plot involving him. Madara’s “Moon’s Eye” plan is laughable. Series very recently began to improve drastically.
28 Fairy Tail 165-190 46.90%
Cats.
29 Metallica Metalluca 1-7 44.79%
Acceptable but completely generic shonen, most notably borrowing liberally from Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Hunter x Hunter.
30 Lock On! 1-18 43.22%
Horrible art, formulaic plot, generic characters. One exceptional highlight: Sanada’s flashback in chapter 16.
31 MiXiM☆11 78-102 37.90%
Over-dramatization of ridiculous elements (the death of a finger puppet), predictable fights, and dime-a-dozen characters.
32 Bleach 387-409 22.41%
Invisible story, uninteresting characters, terrible pacing, awful art, incomprehensible fights, most insulting moment of the year (ch. 396 – ‘everything according to plan’).

Beamcast – First Half 2010 Review

July 14, 2010 1 comment

[download link – 143min, 60mb]

The Beamcast crew presents a special 2+ hours mega-episode recapping the first half of 2010!

Series Discussed
0:00:17 – One Piece 569-589
0:16:59 – Naruto 477-499
0:27:46 – Bleach 387-409
0:37:16 – Bakuman 68-91
0:49:24 – Beelzebub 43-66
0:57:53 – Fairy Tail 165-190
1:05:07 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 272-295
1:07:23 – Hayate no Gotoku! 254-277
1:12:36 – Kekkaishi 289-312
1:17:05 – Gintama 291-314
1:18:45 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 366-389
1:23:03 – Toriko 78-101
1:28:12 – Gamaran 31-54
1:30:27 – The World God Only Knows 81-104
1:37:14 – Hunter x Hunter 291-310
1:39:16 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 275-294
1:44:16 – Psyren 101-124
1:51:02 – Deadman Wonderland 31-36
1:52:22 – D.Gray-man 191-195
1:53:11 – Soul Eater 70-75
1:55:31 – Zettai Karen Children 200-222
2:00:59 – Hajime no Ippo 879-899
2:03:30 – AR∀GO 1-26
2:06:11 – Nurarihyon no Mago 89-112
2:08:47 – GE ~ Good Ending 18-41
2:12:25 – Kimi no Iru Machi 74-95
2:13:37 – Lock On! 1-18 (complete)
2:14:36 – Cross Game 156-160 (end)
2:15:24 – Mirai Nikki 49-53
2:17:23 – Fullmetal Alchemist 103-108 (end)
2:19:20 – Metalica Metaluca 1-7

Awards

First Half 2010
Best Comedy
Best Drama
Best Action
Most Improved
Biggest Disappointment

Second Half 2010
Most Promising
Least Promising
Dark Horse

Series of the (half-)Year

We encourage you to let us know what you’ve thought of the first half of 2010. Leave a comment, email the Beamcast team, make your voice heard. We’d love to hear from you!

Share this with your friends! Convenient shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-ta

Weekly Power Rankings – 2/14 – 2/20

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Cross Game Retrospective

February 19, 2010 1 comment

Cross Game, the most recent series by renowned mangaka Mitsuru Adachi (Touch, Rough, H2) has finally come to a close. Beginning in Shonen Sunday in September 2005, it has entertained readers for nearly five years, and with a breathtaking climax that does justice to the quality of the entirety of the work, it belongs in any recommended reading list.

Cross Game follows Kitamura Kou, the son of a sports equipment store owner, a pleasant, somewhat sarcastic boy with only enough of an interest in sports to push sales for his family’s shop. Most of the story and character development is driven by the relationship between Kou and the sisters of the Tsukishima family, primarily the middle two sisters, Wakaba and Aoba. Kou and Wakaba were born the same day in the same hospital, and have shared a close relationship since birth, while Aoba is jealous of the attention her older sister gives to Kou. Aoba is a naturally talented pitcher, and Kou, with an increasing interest in baseball, uses her as the inspiration after which he models his pitching form. These scenarios, coupled with a momentous event early in the series, form the foundation of the fascinating relationship between Kou and Aoba, which itself is the focal point of Cross Game.

That focus on character relationships is complemented by Adachi’s ability to give his characters a familiar humanity. The current shonen landscape is overwhelmed by unrealistic characters defined almost entirely by one trait each. Natsu (Fairy Tail) is indomitable. Sasuke (Naruto) seeks revenge. Some series even feature an entire cast of one-note characters; Mahou Sensei Negima! is an enjoyable series, but the members of Class 3-A are hardly shining examples of character depth or development. By contrast, the cast of Cross Game features realistic complexity, with entirely ordinary traits used tastefully. Senda is showy, awkward, insecure, yet positive. Azuma is independent, determined, and driven (but not ruled) by his past. All are human traits, and all are displayed in balance with each other to further reinforce the series’ realism.

Similarly, the writing is true to life. On the diamond, Cross Game accurately portrays the duality of Japanese youth baseball, combining the professionalism of self-imposed pressure to strive for Koshien with enough mistakes and immaturity to remind the reader that despite any measure of success, the protagonists are still a group of kids. Unlike other sports series such as Prince of Tennis, which announced the dominance of its stars too early and robbed the series of any building anticipation, Cross Game uncovers talent slowly and subtly. Kou’s pitching ability grows throughout the course of the series, and that growth is largely dependent upon those around him, particularly Aoba. Meanwhile, the romantic comedy elements of the series are intentionally faint. Even quality shonen romantic comedies like Suzuka put the characters’ feelings on full display, leaving nothing to the imagination, and depend heavily upon fan-service. By contrast, Cross Game credits the intelligence of its audience with characters authentically secretive about their romantic interests, characters with which the reader can relate.

As a visual piece, the art style is appropriate for the tone of the story. Each character design is clean and suitable to each personality, if perhaps somewhat familiar. After all, when presented with a picture from one of his many series, even an avid Adachi fan would be forgiven for confusing one character with another:

Touch

H2

Cross Game

That said, Adachi deserves as much credit for his art as for his writing. The foreground action is supported by detailed backgrounds evoking a calm suburban Japan. Scenes are also carefully interspersed with views of the landscape or wordless crowd reaction, speaking volumes through art alone. In fact, Cross Game was used in a 2007 academic presentation to the International Research Society for Children’s Literature as an example of silent narrative. Many series have both excellent art and writing, but few series feature art and writing that complement each other so perfectly.

Like respected predecessors Slam Dunk or Hikaru no Go, Cross Game transcends its genre. It is not just an excellent baseball series, but an excellent series, requiring no particular love for or interest in the sport. The characters are diverse, the story is compelling, the art is enriching, but above all, the cohesive work is brilliant. Cross Game has long been well-received, even winning the 54th Shogakukan Manga Award for shonen, and it will continue to receive far more lofty praise than a review on a blog, but nonetheless, I offer my personal recommendation:

I read a huge amount of manga, some out of self-appointed obligation but most out of enjoyment. That enjoyment varies, but even the most amazing chapters of my favorite series rarely elicit more than a smile and a good mood from me.

Chapter 168 of Cross Game froze me in my seat, sent chills down my spine, and left me with an impression I still feel three weeks after reading.

I hope you read it, and I hope you feel the same.

Weekly Power Rankings – 2/7 – 2/13

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment