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Posts Tagged ‘Hata Kenjiro’

Hayate no Gotoku! 297

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

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

A tale of love and loss

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Hayate no Gotoku! 294

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by reddevilshn]

We’re promised action straight from the start, and then shown an excellent cover page. Isumi has always been one of the funniest characters the series has; her expressions are perfect.

Nagi is going to war with a popular doujinshi circle artist. It should be an interesting story, seeing whether or not she can write a passionate manga that will draw in people. It also gives her a great reason to keep working at making her own unique brand of manga, without which the series wouldn’t feel right. Her blank look as she asks what she just agreed to is priceless.

You're on, I -- wait, what?

The whole discussion about burning spirit is great, and it segues directly into Luca overhearing everything Nagi says. Bonds are being forged between the two characters before they’ve even formally met, and Luca just keeps getting more interesting. Her flashback to selling Chiharu her manga is drawing some serious parallels between herself and Nagi.

Hayate is in trouble, in a few separate ways (not the least of which is cross-dressing in the middle of a cosplay event). The robot is starting a fight, and Hayate is in true Hayate form when he makes the battle seem like a play.

Hayate is male, we promise you

Next week we have the trap-maid vs. robot battle, which I’m sure sounds as dull to you as it does to me. That’s the kind of thing you see happening in every manga at least once a month. I suppose I can look forward to it at least a little.

Final Flash: Good comedy and quick setup, and we’re building tension for the identity of the “28th.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hayate no Gotoku! 269

[chapter link]

Few series deliver immediate punchlines as well as Hayate. Poor Alfred.

Mikado really is going through with this. Wow.

The Yakuza guy! Hayate’s interactions with him have always been amusing.

Hayako!

This has been a Klaus-intensive chapter… comparatively.

Final Flash: Some fun jokes and some nice scenes of Nagi’s friends worrying about her. Light chapter, but nice.

Hayate no Gotoku! 268

[chapter link]

Great color spread. Nagi’s shirt is fantastic and should be made available for purchase.

Fourth wall-breaking advertisement! That’s the Hayate I like.

If Hata really does intend to follow through on Mikado’s intent to take away Nagi’s inheritance, it will mark a huge change in the manga. Not necessarily bad, but considerably different. Should be interesting to see where we go from here.

Tama! It’s been a while.

Final Flash: Not exactly sure where this is going. I like authors that have the conviction to force real change in a series with an established formula, but Hayate without infinitely-rich Nagi may not feel right.

Hayate no Gotoku! 267

[chapter link]

Wow. That’s a pretty sudden return to comedy.

“This is called a hat.” Isumi at her deadpan best.

Hayate walking in on her was a little too telegraphed.

Current financial climate joke! Actually, quite a good one. Unexpected.

Final Flash: The return to this style of episodic comedy could only have been more jarring if Hayate wasn’t on break last week. Funny, but difficult to get used to again.

Hayate no Gotoku! 266

[chapter link]

Bikini-clad girls splashing around in the sea. Quite a sharp difference from the last few chapters.

Hina found out, which will surely lead to her not giving up on Hayate. Hina fans, rejoice.

Sand Gundam! Working our way back towards familiar comedy, I see.

Good, I was wondering if Athena and Nagi would ever meet. That’s a pretty spread, too. If colored, it would make for an excellent wallpaper.

“I’ll return that for today.” Great layered conversation going on.

She’s returning after all? That might work out for the best. The rejection saves the harem comedy style, but she can just join the harem now.

Poor Klaus.

What a cute and interesting last page. If this is a new storyline, let’s hope for more Genshiken than Comic Party.

Final Flash: This concludes Hayate‘s first major serious arc. Overall, considering the existing style and perception of the series: Extremely well done.