Posts Tagged ‘Lock On!’

Shonen Shikku Canceled; Enigma to Debut

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Issue #40 of Weekly Shonen Jump marks the 15th and final chapter of Shonen Shikku, the first major work by newcomer Tsukuda Yuuto. Since becoming eligible for fan ranking, Shonen Shikku has never managed to escape the bottom 5 of the table of contents, even placing dead last five times. Its early cancellation is yet another in a string of poor performances from new Shonen Jump series, as has been evidenced by the similarly early ends to Lock On! and Kiben Gakuha, Yotsuya-senpai no Kaidan, and as it seems will further be proven with another cancellation expected next week.

The space left by Shonen Shikku will be filled starting next week by Enigma, a new series by Sakaki Kenji, a former assistant to Amano Akira (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!). An early preview picture is available:

(Click for full size)

Source: News-Paradise

Power Rankings – First Half 2010

July 15, 2010 1 comment
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%
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


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:

Lock On! 18 (end)

[chapter link]

Final chapter of a deservedly short series.

Unfortunately, Tsuchida did decide to stay with the groper storyline heading into the last installment.

Speed lines to the very end.

It seems Tsuchida is opting for the open, unresolved ending. It’s probably my preferred method of wrapping up a canceled series. Forced conclusions don’t feel right.

That said, Niko is falling in love pretty quickly all of a sudden.

That’s it. Niko admits her love for Utsuru to herself, and the series ends.

Final Flash: It’s always unfortunate in some capacity for a series to be canceled, but with the exception of one great chapter (16), Lock On! was decidedly unremarkable at best (and downright awful at worst) from start to finish. Here’s hoping Tsuchida improves his art drastically before attempting a new series.

Lock On! 17

[chapter link]

First chapter review since finding out this series is being canceled. The experience of reading a work that is known to end before it intended is always surreal.

It’s difficult to reconcile Niko’s heartfelt expression of her past problems with the cheap sexual harassment jokes that precede it and the “setting of the week” dojo that follows it.

I must say, I didn’t expect Utsuru’s shutter-eye to be used to nab a groper. That by itself isn’t a terrible plot device (though it’s far from a great one), but the way it’s being used is a microcosm of the overall problems with Lock On!: Poor execution of acceptable ideas. Casting someone important from Niko’s past as the groper is a fair choice, but for this revelation to carry any weight, the character in question needs to have been established as a positive figure for Niko. Instead, the introduction, conflict, and resolution all to take place within a single hurried chapter. As a result, any intended shock is weakened to the point that this chapter feels shallow, as though the author is throwing one of a dozen available plot devices at his audience, in hopes that this one will win them over.

On the positive side, this chapter has provided some overall storyline progression: Niko’s trust in Utsuru continues to grow, as evidenced by her accusal of her former teacher based solely on Utsuru’s claim. I particularly liked the following combination of panels, even without backgrounds, as they conveyed that sense well.

Proof of growing trust

As rushed as this chapter felt, the finishing kick still managed to end up on the last page. If this series is so intent on presenting brief stories, it should at least wrap them up properly within the chapters in which they’re introduced. A chapter like this doesn’t require an “aftermath” chapter the following week.

Final Flash: A potentially good storyline let down by insecure pacing.

Lock On! Canceled; SWOT, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen to Debut

June 21, 2010 1 comment

Early internet reports indicate that the final chapter of Lock On! will run in Issue 30 of Weekly Shonen Jump, which hits store shelves in Japan on June 28.

Lock On!, the first major series by newcomer mangaka Tsuchida Kenta, never strongly established itself within Jump, but fans of the series could be justified in crying foul over its cancellation prior to Kiben Gakuha, Yotsuya-senpai no Kaidan, another Jump series which debuted a week after Lock On!. Since both series became eligible for fan-voted rankings, Yotsuya has ranked below Lock On! in every week except for two, one of those being the upcoming issue in which Lock On! publishes its last chapter. Yotsuya itself is still far from safe, and could very well be canceled the week after Lock On! ends publication; this depends on whether the Jump editors will treat Hunter x Hunter (again on hiatus) as the other title to move aside in favor of new series. If the editors don’t regard HxH as such, another series would need to be cut to make room for the two debutants, and that series would likely be Yotsuya.

The two new series that will grace Jump are SWOT and Oumagadoki Doubutsuen, both of which received one-shots in Jump in 2009. SWOT, by Sugita Naoya, is a hybrid delinquent / romantic comedy series about a “swot” (defined as a person who spends too much time studying) with lofty ambitions who transfers into a once-prestigious school that has been overrun with delinquents. Soon, he meets a weak boy and a legendary delinquent girl, the latter of which causes him to experience unfamiliar feelings. The other series, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen (“Oumagadoki Zoo”) by Horikoshi Kouhei, is about a clumsy, animal-loving high school girl who applies to work at a nearby zoo which turns out to have a decidedly bizarre secret.

Read the one-shots that preceded each new series: SWOT, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen. (Remember that characters, events, and other plot elements in one-shots may be changed for their series publication.)

Lock On! 16

[chapter link]

P2, main panel: I found one! That’s a background! Right there!

“Why is he so stupid when it comes to relationships?” Because he’s a shonen protagonist.

The box punchline is rather good.

Cherish this moment, Matsuri. Everyone remembers their first time [sitting on a box].

Oh, come on. The immediate reaction would be childhood friend, not pedophile.

This flashback is actually incredibly touching. It’s not just good by Lock On! standards, either.

Disappointing to find a teaser for sexual harassment at the end of a notable chapter.

Final Flash: Good by any measure, and fantastic when compared to the rest of the series.

Lock On! 15

[chapter link]

P3, top-right: Regarding the fact that they’re in the same club, why hasn’t that actually manifested into a storyline? Getting the required signatures was such a major plot point before it actually happened. Now that the photography club has been formalized, the concept of its advantages and legitimacy has vanished.

For the record, I’m still just as embarrassed by the art in this series as I ever was; I just comment on it less because I don’t want to repeat myself. It hasn’t improved in the slightest.

Another new character. I suppose that’s not terrible, but I’d like to see a little development in those we already have.

This guy feels entirely flavor-of-the-week, but the “Hottie” tips are fine for a cheap laugh.

That chart might not apply as well to relationships outside of Japan.

Fortunately, Ikeya is being used as a catalyst to spark a little character growth between Utsuru and Niko. If that’s how new characters will be used, bring them on.

Heartfelt moments work better when characters don’t have a character trait as obviously bizarre as a differently-colored eye. Or a massive nosebleed. Or with backgrounds. (Sorry, had to get it in there.)

Final Flash: Still a subpar series, but chapters like these are acceptable. If the mangaka can do nothing about the art, I hope he’ll at least continue to focus on character development.

Lock On! 13

[chapter link]

Last chapter was surprisingly good. Well, good for Lock On!, anyway. Let’s hope the author builds on that.

A rival club? It has potential, I suppose. Arata (the cocky underclassman) could serve as a decent comic foil to Utsuru.

P4, bottom-left panel: See, this kind of stark panel would work excellently if Lock On! regularly had competent backgrounds.

Lots of festival/competition types of storylines in shonen manga right now. It’s almost as though that’s what’s happening in Japanese schools right now.

Yuki is a little too gullible, even for her role as the gullible kindhearted friend.

P16, bottom-right panel: Sadly, what’s clearly supposed to be a touching moment is ruined by the art style. This looks like My First Manga. Take off the training wheels already, Tsuchida.

Rival status confirmed.

Final Flash: I still feel Arata has some potential, but that’s not saying much in a series that began like a sinking ship. That potential needs to be realized quickly.

Lock On! 7

[chapter link]

Even the coloring on the cover page is uninspired.

A new character? She seems to have some personality.

Oh, she knows Sanada. That’s too bad. With a personality like that, she might have made a good rival.

Large panel, p9: Cementing that the series’ photography theme is an excuse for full-body shots of girls.

Sanada really is famous. Huh.

Yuki, the requisite kindhearted idiot. I swear, I’m not trying to hate this series, but it’s so standard.

Final Flash: A rescue mini-arc. I have no expectations. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Lock On! 6

April 1, 2010 1 comment
[chapter link]

These backgrounds are actually painful. They make it hard to read. Speed lines are bad enough in action scenes; don’t use them when a character is standing still. (Page 6, top-left.)

Niko’s nervous polygonal hair is pretty amusing. First time I’ve found a positive in the art.

Did I just compliment the art? Nevermind. What a disappointing full-page action scene p17 is.

To illustrate my point about the backgrounds, I’ve taken the time to examine the background of every panel in this chapter:

Total (% of 90 panels):
Drawn – 20 (22.2%)
Effects / Speed Lines – 41 (45.6%)
None (no room) – 7 (7.8%)
None – 22 (24.4%)

If you’re anything like me, effect/speed lines and no backgrounds (when space is available) are the same problem, which would mean that to you, a whopping 70% of the panels in this chapter were substandard. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just not acceptable for a series in a major magazine.

Final Flash: It’s not as though the art is detracting from a good series, either. Something needs to improve quickly.

Lock On! 5

Looks like Bleach is getting some competition for worst Shonen Jump art. These backgrounds, these buildings, these character designs…

Yamato may be generic, but he’s proving to be a more interesting character than Utsuru.

All the drama of Utsuru’s speech is wiped away by the photography references. Photography is not a good backdrop for this type of story.

Resolution within one chapter, and now they’re probably going to be standard schoolkids-series buddies.

Final Flash: Maybe the series will improve once there are enough members to start the club… if the series hasn’t been cut by then.

Lock On! 4

I don’t care how many different ways you draw them; speed lines are not proper backgrounds.

Everything about this series so far has been distinctly mediocre. The beginning of this chapter is no exception.

Here’s some guy who seems like a delinquent. I bet he’s not such a bad guy.

I know our main character has some ability related to the eye under that Akito/Agito-ripoff eye patch, but that back flip is just ridiculous.

Huh. That’s not exactly the twist I expected out of Yamato, at least.

Final Flash: This series has a long way to go to escape early cancellation.

Weekly Power Rankings – 3/7 – 3/13

March 18, 2010 2 comments