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Posts Tagged ‘Slam Dunk’

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
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Beamcast – August 23

[download link – 138min, 57mb]

In this week’s show:

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

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

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

New releases

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

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

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

The Great Shonen Tier List

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

Re-tiered this week:
Kuchiki Byakuya (Bleach)

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

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

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

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

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

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

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.

Sket Dance Wins Shogakukan Award

January 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Sket Dance, a Weekly Shonen Jump comedy series by Shinohara Kenta, has won the 55th Shogakukan Manga Award in the Shonen category for the year 2009. Sket Dance follows the adventures of the “Sket-Dan,” a small group dedicated to helping students and staff of their school. The character traits and interplay between the group members meshes well with strong comedy writing, which is sometimes appropriately counterbalanced with heartfelt story arcs. Sket Dance has been running in Jump since 2007 but has yet to receive similar recognition from Western audiences as other Jump series, or indeed series in rival magazines. Fan scanlations for the series have fallen behind, and at the time of writing, Sket Dance doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia.

That said, receiving such a prestigious award is a fantastic honor for the series and could be the sign of a surge in relevance in the next couple years. Volume 11 of Sket Dance debuted at #11 on the Weekly Oricon charts with over 100,000 units sold. Sket Dance also recently received a drama CD, which is typically intended as a precursor to an anime adaptation. Two other Jump series, Bakuman and Nurarihyon no Mago, already have anime adaptations in development, while Toriko received a short OVA for Jump Festa; it would not be surprising if more anime announcements were forthcoming, and Sket Dance would certainly be deserving of consideration. Furthermore, recently-formed scanlation group Iconoclast has announced Sket Dance as its first project.

Sket Dance is now in elite company as only the eighth Jump series to receive this particular award from Shogakukan, the publisher of major magazine rival Weekly Shonen Sunday. The other seven series (and the year they won the award): Play Ball (1976, tie), Dr. Slump (1981), Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin (1986), YuYu Hakusho (1993), Slam Dunk (1994), Hikaru no Go (1999, tie), and Bleach (2004).

Source: Shogakukan, Oricon