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Posts Tagged ‘Prince of Tennis’

Beamcast – October 25

October 25, 2010 Leave a comment

[download link – 157min, 68mb]

In this week’s show:

News
Sket Dance anime adaptation set for Spring 2011
One Piece has 200 million books in print
New shonen magazine, Sakura Hearts

Licensing announcement
Viz: Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)

Non-shonen news
Fruits Basket, Pluto live action adaptations

Weekly Oricon rankings (10/11 – 10/17)

New releases

[anime]
Fullmetal Alchemist – Second Season Viridian Collection (DVD) $49.98
Naruto – Season 4 Box Set 1 Uncut (DVD) $49.95
One Piece – Season 3 Part 3 (DVD) $49.98
Trigun – Complete Series (DVD) $49.98

[manga]
Kuroshitsuji (vol. 3) $10.99
Cirque du Freak (vol. 7) $10.99
Code:Breaker (vol. 2) $10.99
Hero Tales (vol. 4) $10.99
Negima! (vol. 28) $10.99
Pastel (vol. 15) $11.99
Soul Eater (vol. 4) $10.99
Zombie Loan (vol. 10) $10.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which among the Jump “Super Legends” is your favorite author?
1. Toriyama Akira (Dragon Ball, Dr. Slump) (46%)
2. Sorachi Hideaki (Gintama) (20%)
3. Kishimoto Masashi (Naruto) (17%)
4. Konomi Takeshi (Prince of Tennis) (10%)
5. Akimoto Osamu (KochiKame) (5%)
6. Usuta Kyousuke (Sexy Commando Gaiden: Sugoiyo! Masaru-san, Pyuu to Fuku! Jaguar) (2%)

This week:
Which of these 100+ chapter series is most deserving of an anime?
(Bloody Monday, Code:Breaker, Kimi no Iru Machi, MiXiM11, Psyren, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan)

The Great Shonen Tier List
Characters added:
Oars (One Piece)
Akimichi Chouji (Naruto)
Dio Brando (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)
Jirou (Toriko)
Sasagawa Ryohei (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!)
Son Gohan (Dragon Ball)

Anime Discussion
Nurarihyon no Mago (ep. 16)
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 17)
Shinryaku! Ika Musume (ep. 3)
To Aru Majutsu no Index II (ep. 3)
The World God Only Knows (ep. 3)
Bakuman (ep. 3)

This Week in Manga
0:41:57 – Donten Prism Solar Car 1 (new series!)
0:47:18 – Naruto 514
0:54:42 – One Piece 601
1:03:11 – Bakuman 106
1:11:31 – Beelzebub 81
1:17:12 – Fairy Tail 206
1:21:27 – Hayate no Gotoku! 293
1:24:51 – Kekkaishi 326
1:31:27 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 403-404
1:38:23 – AR∀GO 40
1:44:07 – Toriko 115
1:50:23 – Gamaran 67-68
1:55:22 – The World God Only Knows 118
1:58:49 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 306
2:04:19 – Zettai Karen Children 235
2:08:33 – GE ~ Good Ending 55-56
2:12:35 – SWOT 13
2:16:44 – Enigma 6
2:26:27 – Bankara-san ga Tooru
2:31:49 – Air Gear 292
2:32:48 – Code:Breaker 108-109
2:34:17 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 311

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-Qa

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork
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Beamcast – October 4

[download link – 132min, 57mb]

In this week’s show:

News
One Piece, Toriko 3D movies
CLAMP one-shot Gate 7 to appear in Jump SQ
Kodansha USA to take over Del Rey titles
New Berserk anime (seriously)

Weekly Oricon rankings (9/20 – 9/26)

New releases

[anime]
Linebarrels of Iron – OVA Collection (DVD) $14.98
Linebarrels of Iron – Part 2 (DVD) $49.98

[manga]
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (vol. 5) $9.99
Eyeshield 21 (vol. 33) $9.99
Naruto (vol. 49) $9.99
One Piece (vol. 55) $9.99
Reborn! (vol. 17) $9.99
Slam Dunk (vol. 12) $9.99
The Prince of Tennis (vol. 39) $9.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

What is your favorite One Piece arc?
1. CP9 (43%) | 2. War (34%) | 3. Skypiea (10%)

This week:
What is your favorite Naruto arc?
(Bridge, Chuunin Exam / Invasion of Konoha, Search for Tsunade, Sasuke Retrieval, Kazekage Rescue, Sasuke and Sai, Hidan and Kakuzu, Itachi Pursuit, Invasion of Pain, Five Kage Summit / Confining the Jinchuuriki)

The Great Shonen Tier List

Characters added:
Buggy (One Piece)
Inuzuka Kiba (Naruto)
Roy Mustang (Fullmetal Alchemist)
Oumi Nichinaga (Kekkaishi)
Uvogin (Hunter x Hunter)
Nicholas D. Wolfwood (Trigun)

Anime Discussion
Legend of the Legendary Heroes (ep. 14)

This Week in Manga
0:29:02 – Mirai Nikki 56
0:30:34 – Sankarea 10
0:32:13 – One Piece 598
0:46:34 – Bleach 422
0:52:34 – Bakuman 103
0:55:58 – Beelzebub 78-79
1:03:41 – Fairy Tail 203
1:07:42 – Hayate no Gotoku! 290
1:11:21 – Kekkaishi 323-324
1:16:54 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 400-401
1:23:27 – AR∀GO 37
1:26:22 – Toriko 112
1:30:14 – Gamaran 64
1:34:43 – The World God Only Knows 115
1:38:21 – Psyren 136-137
1:42:48 – Nurarihyon no Mago 123-125
1:47:18 – Zettai Karen Children 232
1:49:29 – GE ~ Good Ending 52-53
1:54:18 – Kimi no Iru Machi 107
1:56:30 – SWOT 11
2:01:01 – Enigma 3
2:06:45 – Air Gear 289
2:07:34 – Code:Breaker 105
2:08:38 – D.Gray-man 199
2:09:30 – Defense Devil 66-67
2:09:45 – Gintama 325
2:10:25 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 308

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-Lt

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

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.