Archive for February 27, 2012

Shonen Jump Alpha 02/27/2012

Ichigo

What’s up with your neckbrace, Ichigo? Also, gravity how? I know that was there in the previous chapters, but I thought it was actually attached to more, like an article of clothing.

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The Final Chapter: Thousand-Year Blood War Arc – So, I’m not a big fan of putting the title of the chapter at the very end of it. Also, not really feeling the forced naming of the arc when we’re just one chapter into it. But fans are treated to a quite a few color pages and a two-page colorspread of Ichigo along with what could be the arc’s villains (don’t worry, the colors didn’t change). Seems that Hollows are disappearing, and it seems bad, though they get killed a lot anyway. We get to meet two young shinigami in Yuki and Shino (whose names probably won’t matter in a few chapters), pupils under Kuramadani (afro guy). Of course they get assigned to Karakura Town in their first assignment! At least the earlier pages were very reminiscent of the first Bleach chapters. There was comedy, peril, even a semi-rescue. They’re not out of the woods yet, and of course there’s a “mysterious figure in the shadows” cliché. Well, two of them, but I think they’re the same person.

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The Path to Light – There’s not that much that happens in this chapter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. We get a lot of cameos, and the resolve of Naruto’s actions being a huge morale boost for the ninja army was pretty cool. It was good seeing that all the other hero characters are still moving about. Hopefully they’ll be able to do a few more important things in this arc. Of course, just in case you forgot, we are reminded a few times about Sasuke, and then…guess who’s back? Yup. My most favoritest character ever! (No…no, he is not)

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Adventure on the Burning Island – Yay! More Water 7 characters! I could spend the whole post on this cover image (especially Puffing Ice), but instead, I’ll leave it with this: who’s the unfortunate guy to be standing behind Paulie when this was taken? So, in case you forgot last week, A DRAGON! The fight was pretty entertaining, but I have two gripes: 1) top right panel on page 52, Zoro is missing the sword in his mouth, and 2) Robin didn’t do a damn thing in this fight. *sigh* Unfortunately, home base gets raided while adventure team is hunting dragons. Those full-body suits look terrible, but at the moment, my mind is running through various Oda-style images on what they could look like. Of course, I’ll be surprised either way. Who could their master be? But we get a Seven Warlords mention (who could have visited the island before?) and a half-bodied samurai who might have a similar power to Buggy. But ending his sentence with fart sounds, kind of funny for now. And of course, love the running gag from Luffy at the end.

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Stew Pond Competition!! – D’aww, Yun the Wall Penguin even makes his return this chapter. Zebra has made some good headway to his full-course meal. We get a reminder of everyone specialties when it comes to food finding: touch, electro-waves, sound, luck, and smell (Toriko’s, but he doesn’t mention his; I’m just reminding you). Lots of fun antics, especially with Zebra and Yun. Some really great character designs on the fish, especially the ugly ones! And of course, Komatsu’s luck is the strongest when it comes to finding food. A shame though, I thought we would get at least one more chapter for this competition. Well, nothing wrong with a quick resolution. On to making that fortune roll!

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Rumor and Article – INTERNET RUMORS! This is like a super-nerdy TMZ, and also plays on my assumptions of the worst offenders of chan boards. Everyone from our plucky duo, to Miho, to everyone at Jump HQ–they all do their best effort at damage control. But leave it to one super-otaku to ruin everything. This is definitely a reflection on what has gone on in real life of a few Japanese voice actresses. Some people really need to get over this celebrity “purity” they seem to perceive. The tabloid at the very end was a genius touch, though. Well, hopefully this won’t put the dream to a screeching halt. I was hoping they would move on to something different and let the first dream to be achieved. Though, in some cases, what happens after isn’t always the best (*see Eyeshield 21; which I love).

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The Voice of the Sword – Taisei’s abilities with the scythe are pretty badass. I never would’ve expected them to fly freely like that. It reminds me of that yo-yo character from the Yu Yu Hakusho Dark Tournament Saga. Akifusa can’t reach him, and it seems that he still doesn’t understand that they are enemies. Rikuo seems to be very aloof for a while. But things change once he finally gets serious. I was worried that the whole speaking to his sword would be a little too much like Bleach, but thankfully it isn’t. And of course, the sword-breaking scythe is broken by the sword that will never break with unwavering hope. Looks like no more walking dead now…not the show or comic. That’s still going on. Okay, just be glad that they’re gone so I can stop making this dumb pun.

Shonen Jump Alpha – 02/20/2012

Bakuman

This week’s edition features a congratulatory spread from Bakuman, featuring the main characters, Miho, and the title characters from Reversi. Pretty cool that Shonen Jump Alpha is getting some distinguishing cover pages. Also, if you guys think these impressions are long, I agree. Let’s see if I can’t truncate these in the coming weeks. Or I could just save myself some pain and drop one or two. Nah. But don’t forget Alpha subscribers, there’s part one of Tite Kubo’s interview at the very end of this issue.

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Practic and Recharge – Oh wow, a color page AND a double-page colorspread? Great week for Bakuman. No wonder it’s placed at the front of the issue. For the colorspread, it was pretty awesome seeing the authors and most of their respective works. Though, I don’t know what that strange character behind Hiramaru is. Miho practicing lines from Reversi was kind of touching, but it was made even more so after she recited them to Saiko later in the chapter. I’m sure there will be some plot that revolves around Hattori making sure our duo doesn’t tell that many people about their anime until it’s officially announced. They’re so close! Miho telling her manager that she won’t accept new work was a pretty silly situation. But being kept out of the loop, I can understand why the manager things she’s strange. But that otaku creeper, that guy’s a dick. LET’S START ALL THE INTERNET DRAMA! That’s what that look appears like to me.

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Madam Fish – It’s a cold opening, but we haven’t had that in a while. And it’s nice to see some animal discovery again. Here’s what we get with the exposition, which looks like a quest chain in an MMORPG: get ingredients for Fortune Roll, give to sushi chef Monchy, Monchy tells which direction to eat Fortune Roll, Toriko travels that way to Chowlin Temple aka “Vanishing Temple” in the Lost Woods to obtain the ingredient in the list that the President gave him. Got all that? Not being interested in any of the fish so far, Toriko and Komatsu get news about capturing the Madam Fish in the now frozen-over Stew Pond. The catch is, the President summoned all Four Kings to catch it. Even Rin tags along! That’s two chapters in a row for her! With a capture level of 83 and their clashing personalities with Zebra, it now becomes a race as to who can capture the Madam Fish first. I’m not sure if they’ll face any battle hardships, but those adventure chapters can be very enjoyable. And let’s not forget that Chef Setsunon has an apprentice now! Well, she probably had her prior to when we first met her those many chapters ago. In any case, looking forward to seeing interactions with Nono in the future.

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Punk Hazard – Yay, Iceburg! So reading that description right, that means the secretary was eight years old when she was hired. And Tyrannosaurus got kind of fat in two years, but he still looks cute in a suit. But back to the fiery water. There are some real gag gems this chapter, along with that sense of excited discovery I keep getting each time the crew goes to a new island. But a transponder snail distress call breaks up that excitement. Next destination: the island of Punk Hazard, an incredibly hot island surrounded by fire, but the man over the snail call said he was cold? If you don’t know about Wano Island, that’s okay. It’s an obscure reference from Thriller Bark and Oda’s one shot called Monster. Once again, Usopp gets to go on the Mini Merry to the new island, joined by Luffy, Robin, and Zoro (remember, last time was at Thriller Bark with Nami and Chopper). Smoker’s new look is pretty much the same as the old look. Add a long coat with fur-trim, slicked back hair, and some sunglasses…bam! Smoker cosplayers can now dress as time-skip Smoker. We get an obligatory shot of the Straw-hats partially undressing due to the heat (fellas…and ladies…). So we find out three interesting things about Punk Hazard once they land: 1) it looks like an abandoned (and melted) government facility, 2) Nami notices that the far end of the island should be frozen over due to the clouds, and 3) DRAGON! Can’t wait for next week! For some interesting theories, check out this week’s One Piece Podcast episode.

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Nine Names – So instead of exploding and nuking a huge radius of land, somehow the Biju Bombs blast up into the air to explode, minimizing the damage? With all of them connected through the Nine-tails’, uh, tails, it’s interesting to see even deeper into the Biju Psyche Plane. They’re all acting reasonably friendly considering the Nine-tails rampaged a lot in the past (sure, there was that whole being controlled by Madara bit).  Of course, after that whole ordeal I had last week trying to figure out who was attacking, NOW we get the names of all the tailed beasts, and their hosts. Looks like we’re not only getting parallels with Naruto and the Fourth, but now with the Sage of Six Paths, too. Oh, and BROFISTS FOR EVERYONE! Anyone else getting that same vibe from the Green Lantern: Blackest Night? Naruto:combined biju chakra::Sinestro:White Lantern? There’s a geeky SAT question if I’ve ever seen one. Don’t tell me you don’t see it, now. Black Lantern superhero and villain zombies? Super-powered ninja zombies featuring past favorite characters?

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Goodbye to Our Xcution – That is one goofy Ginjo grin. It was nice seeing Ichigo interact with the current captains and vice-captains in Soul Society. No Yoruichi cameo, though. But hey! Promotions for Kensei! Status return for Shinji! Sorry folks, not much story here. Ichigo wants to bury Ginjo on earth and he keeps the deputy soul reaper badge. And Riruka leaves. I could just end it there, but then…yeah. I’ll just end it there.

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The Hopes of a Thousand Years – So what happens when you bring a scythe to a sword fight? Well, you have the upper hand if your scythe breaks any sword. Taisei’s scythe still looks really cool. I thought that they all broke free from the zombie barrier, but looks like it was just Rikuo. At least the others got some spotlight, even Tsurara! And we now know what Yukari can do besides ride on Itaku’s shoulder: fear based on luck. The sword actually being complete in terms of smithing was a good touch. I do like that cliché of “a sword and its master are one,” so I am very much okay with Nenekirimaru only being fully done once Rikuo holds it. Here we go: the Kekain clan’s finest weapon plus the strength of a yokai versus the Gokadoin clan, round 2. Oh, and did anyone else have to look up “zashiki warashi” like I did? Or did you already know it. Shut up, smarty-pants.

Episode 12 – Scuttlebutting Around

Join us for a very very VERY special trio of guests on this
special episode of Cosplay Jam, with Dusty and JD from
Scuttlebutt Ink and Astel, San Diego locals who have competed
as Gomu Gomu no Cosplay & Sakura Mochi. We get a great look at
masquerade competing, some cosplay origin stories, lots and
lots of fanart, working on a webcomic, and juggling cosplay +
masquerade + artist alley. Stay for the tangents of zoo trips,
thrift stores, and a few inside jokes you won’t get. Like, is
“Toddlers in Tiaras” the distant cousin to cosplay
masquerades? We were all having so much fun that I didn’t even
realize that we’re a little bit too loud. Just a little bit
excited to tell these stories. Hope you enjoy it! And don’t
forget to get yourself some Scuttlebutt Ink fan badges at your
next convention! And update your ACP profile! SECRETS~!

00:00 Introduction
00:48 Suupaa Scuttlebutt Zoo Trip
02:25 Bird Landing
04:06 JD Cosplay Origins
04:50 Dusty Cosplay Origins
05:50 SECRETS!
08:44 Grouping with Astel
10:11 Astel Cosplay Origins
11:35 Thrift Store Tips
13:05 Gomu Gomu no Masquerade
19:00 Hair Tips (Some not Helpful)
21:02 Masquerade Stress
23:33 Scuttlebutt Ink
27:06 Mahou Shonen Fight
31:45 Juggling the Artist Alley & Masquerade
35:15 Okama Sanji
37:04 Voldo & Merlin
38:04 Zoro & Paulie
40:21 One Piece Skypiea
41:40 Question 2: Dream Cosplay
43:55 Question 3: Favorite Con
45:21 Business Time
47:49 Something Special

Go to www.scuttlebuttink.com for fan badges!
Read the webcomic at www.mahoushounenfight.com
For more cosplay, check out gomugomu.org

This episode also marks the first time we will be offering our
episodes in the popular MP3 format. Unfortunately, there will
be no pictures included in the MP3 or included in an external
link. But if you just want to listen, then it’s perfect for
you.

For more episodes, vist www.skcosplay.com or on iTunes at
http://itun.es/iS73Qm | Like us on Facebook @
www.facebook.com/skcosplay | Follow us on Twitter @
www.twitter.com/skcosplay | Email us at skcosplay@hotmail.com

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Shonen Jump Alpha – 02/13/2012

Aw, Viz. What a nice Valentine’s Day gift! Awesome cover featuring Toriko, and it looks like Viz is now shuffling their manga series a bit. Well, not really shuffling as much as moving Toriko to the forefront thanks to the cover. So, if you haven’t heard yet about the Viz Media CND to Mangastream, read up what you can from both sides, then head to this interesting take on the aftermath: http://onepiecepodcast.com/blog/2012/02/12/the-war-on-manga/. There won’t be any commentary about it on this post because my thoughts are not reflective of Suupaa Kaizoku as a whole. That, and due to myself being a Shonen Jump Alpha subscriber, my feelings won’t be perceived as being as unbiased though try as I might. Feel free to post your feelings about this matter (and towards me, Dennis/Ichnob) personally in the comments or on Facebook. For now, on to the reviews!

 

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Gourmet Santa – Fantastic shot of the Four Gourmet Kings, and there’s only one pet-peeve of mine which I’ll get to later. With this title, you can kind of tell it’s a filler-like chapter, but there is some actual canon story that is involved. In the IGO Biotope 1, Chief Mansom packs what looks like is the back of an 18-wheeler truck. Mansom is dressed in a Santa-like outfit. So you can tell where this is going. Zebra doesn’t show up (MY ONLY GRIPE!), but it’s revealed that he’s already fulfilled his prison release conditions. The rest of the group also dons their seasonal garb, and OH LOOK! It’s Rin! And she’s still got it bad for Toriko. Looks like it’s both Christmas and Valentine’s Day for her…though from what I hear, Christmas is very couples friendly in Japan. They split into four groups to deliver food to impoverished nations not part of the IGO member nations. It’s not every chapter you get to see everyone’s partner animals, too. Ricky and Terry got huge! Coco’s Crow and Sunny’s Mother Snake look roughly the same, big size as before. But with the Mother Snake, it’s hard to tell since the full body never really fits in a close panel. In a surprise twist, Mansom partners with Komatsu since Rin forces herself on–I mean to go with Toriko. The IGO are allowed to do this generous gift due to using Christmas as a disguise for their operation. And here is where we get some interesting story bits. See! It’s not just all filler. Toriko and the other Four Kings apparently were from very poor nations themselves. Ichiryu gets very serious about wanting to stop someone but it’s not revealed who (Midora). And there could be a very Komatsu-centric arc in the near future, as we get the first name drop of the Cooking Fest (what I’m hoping will be the Toriko equivalent of Iron Chef). I love how the author has Rin completely break the fourth wall with the line “I’m so HAPPY (to be back in the manga)!” And we see some new IGO technology development, where Rin unveils the capture level measuring device (that’s too long, so I’ll shorten it to CLMD for the rest of the post). Right now, they are only able to register capture levels of 100, but Rin hopes that once the CLMD is finalized, it could accurately read those higher than 100. She decides to test out the CLMD on Terry (it sort of acts like a frog tongue), but is very surprised to see the reading. Unfortunately, we don’t get to find out why. Damn you, Shimabukuro (author)! But we’ve now reached the literal heart of the chapter. Two kids on the brink of death by starvation, and Toriko arrives just in time to bring food and joy to those two and the rest of the village. Across the world, the others are able to drop off their goods, too. We end with Toriko’s promise to return next year, and the falling of flavored snow that only falls once every few decades. It was a pretty touching short story, mostly self-contained. I am looking forward to the developments that we’ll get from those tidbits in this chapter.

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A Gam of Whales – While “gam” makes sense, I know that “pod” is a more common term for a group of whales. But now you can add “gam” to your word of the day…or week until the next SJA issue. The cover story! This is a great two-for-one right here. Lola and the Risky Brothers are in Kiwi and Mozu’s bar, formerly owned by Blueno. And their familiarity with the Straw-hat crew definitely explains their friendly dispositions. Can’t wait to see the next cover stories. Will it be Iceburg? Franky Family? Michael and Hoichael? Don’t tell me the next few, those current in Japan, please. Well, looks like we get a bit of Nami fanservice along with a disturbing look at Chopper’s hygiene habits. Though, I do enjoy that Chopper thinks Nami’s shower tempo cloud looks like cotton candy. And for the first time, we get Sanji AND Brook peeking at Nami bathing. I’m not surprised at this gag, and it’s been a few years since it last happened (Luffy falling into the bath at Amazon Lily). Of course she retaliates at Sanji and Brook, but this is the exact opposite of Happiness Punch. We haven’t had the crew fish in a while, too. Man, I just realized how much I missed the mundane things the Straw-hat crew does. Usopp readies a special fishing hook. Zoro, Luffy, and Usopp all pick their respective fish to grab to pull them up and potentially eat. Being the captain, Luffy gets his choice and knocks one of them out. Usopp unveils Capture Star and… a new slingshot?! Don’t know if it’ll be used for attacking or if its just a special weapon on board the Thousand Sunny. Well, the caught fish ends up being bait for a bigger fish, which then repeats. I have to admit though, the first fish that Luffy knocks out looks hilarious (it does look like an old dude). Showing even more developed skill, Zoro unveils his 360 Pound Phoenix attack using only ONE SWORD! For those who don’t remember, he had to use three before his training. We get to see the aftermath of Nami’s attack on Sanji, but unfortunately we don’t get to see it on Brook (Sanji: Oda’s current favorite punching bag). Suddenly, a whirlpool current! The Whiteström, which Robin helpfully explains, and Nami seems to know about, too. Which she should…she’s the navigator. The return of one of my favorite Luffy gags: “So it’s like a magic warp zone.” Oh Luffy, we can’t explain anything scientific to you. They get dragged into the current, because the boys don’t want to cut the line for the fish. SUNNY DIZZY EYES! The stop and run into…Laboon? No, it’s not, but it’s a gam of island whales, all bearing similar head scars. Brook goes through a full cycle of emotions knowing that he’s closer to fulfilling his promies. It was nearly tear-jerking. I love the translation of “Bink’s Sake,” and the lyrics are very singable to those who know the anime tune. There’s a few spots where the meter is a little off and needs some funny reworking, but I applaud the effort at making it like this. Let’s hope Funimation does a similar good enough job when they eventually get there. With the help of Brook’s music, the whales guide them through the current, and help them surface a lot further than they anticipated, since their New World Log Pose is not pointing to the nearest island. Where they emerge, though, is some dangerous waters: stormy skies, strong winds, and a fiery ocean. NEW ISLAND TIME!

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Decision and Joy – A lovely color page of Miho and chibi team Fukuda + Kaya. But more importantly…anime? Will they get it or won’t they? That’s the cliffhanger ending last week. Shujin and Saiko are still running off their euphoria from their meeting with Hattori, and even Kaya is kind of weirded out by their goofy grins. Ironically, she’s wearing a shirt that says “Make you happy,” which they kind of comment about how they’re happy because she’s cute. Back at Jump HQ, I don’t know how Nizuma got all those storyboards for Zombie*Gun so fast–OH WAIT! He’s a genius, in case you forgot. With both editors in somewhat of a standoff, we get a flashback to how Eiji made all those storyboards, complete with typical Nizuma antics and poses! Not wanting to lose to Ashirogi Muto, Nizuma cranks out page after page of original storyboards that are just for the anime. He’s able to create storyboards IN CONJUNCTION with the manga? Yup, genius. And as the other editors realize, the quality of the stories are great. Of course, the final decision comes down to Editor in Chief Heishi. Both Hattori and Yujiro are adamant that their respective artists need their series to become an anime. Heishi states that he’ll make his decision by the end of the month (look at how cool he looks adjusting his glasses). Hattori visits our duo, bringing the unfortunate news about Nizuma’s submission. The next day, both are feeling very glum, and it’s like the exact opposite of the opening of the chapter. Not even cute Kaya can cheer them up! But what’s this? Hattori visits suddenly, and he’s out of breath, too. He has news to tell them directly in person. ANIME! CONGRATULATIONS! STARTING SEPTEMBER 4! Wait…I thought Heishi was going to make his decision by the end of the month? It’s technically January 11 in Bakuman time. Oops, sorry. Let’s get back to CELEBRATIONS! TEARS OF JOY! I have to admit, my eyes were getting a little misty. They’re all so excited, and even Saiko nearly faints since he’s that much closer to marrying Miho. Hattori eventually reminds them that they have to gather themselves and focus on Reversi, stating that Heishi chose them because he wants their series to be one of the true signatures of Weekly Shonen Jump. Though, Heishi personally calls Nizuma at his studio detailing the reason why he didn’t choose Zombie*Gun: Nizuma is the better author currently, but with Ashirogi Muto finally getting an anime he hopes that they will soon be able to stand on equal ground, and that their future competing series will become the ideal future of Weekly Shonen Jump. Even more excited and determined, Nizuma grins at the prospect of the future. His passion for his manga burns even brighter. Well, now that Saiko’s primary goal is even closer to being completed, will Bakuman end soon? I sure hope not. There’s so many more plots to be resolved! And I’m glad the whole dangling of the anime carrot issue has been resolved, and very well if I might add. That was definitely a hurdle that they had to get over in order for their character growth.

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Biju Mode – Finally in sync (not the band), Naruto goes into his Nine-tails chakra mode. But the situation is dire for Guy and Kakashi, as they’re about to take on five close-range Biju bombs! But Naruto is able to deflect them, literally in a flash. Kakashi even mistakes Naruto for the Fourth Hokage for a second. The other beasts attack, but the Nine-tails charges in to stop them. And now we finally get the full Biju mode for Naruto, which I must say looks really impressive. Though, I am a sucker for long coats (even if they’re made from energy/chakra). At the moment, Guy and Kakashi are safe within the Nine-tails chakra. Even B is impressed at Naruto’s new strength. At the moment, their link isn’t perfect, and that form will only last five minutes. The beast battle is a little tough to follow, so I’ll do the best I can. And to make it easier, I’m just going to call them by their tail numbers instead of their actual names. Nine-tails leaps into the air, catching the Three-tails and Seven-tails, then tossing the Three-tails to the ground. Nine-tails presses the Seven-tails into the ground nearly also crushing the Three-tails who rolls out of the way. Six-tails grabs one of the Nine-tails limbs (not tail), given the Three-tails a chance to counter-attack with the distraction. But Eight-tails stops the Three-tails, along with stopping a sneak attack by the Five-tails. Two-tails tries to attack Nine-tails from behind, but Nine-tails uses the Six-tails as a weapon and smashes it into the Two-tails. And after that brawl, Naruto discovers all the controller rods. Holy crap, that’s a lot of tails! Hope you’re less confused now! The tailed beasts controlled by Tobidara (you thought I wouldn’t get that in this week, did you!) form a combined Biju bomb, but Naruto in Nine-tails mode uses a Biju bomb of his own, though he’s never perfected it before. Yup, we’re ending on a DBZ-esqu blast attack cliffhanger. Man, figuring out all those tailed-beasts attacking was pretty confusing, but not impossible. Hope you had better luck figuring it out than I did the first read.

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The Lost 3 – Apparently, Tsukishima is “the lost one” here. Losing his direction after Ginjo’s death, an injured Tsukishima wanders aimlessly. But Shishiwagara appears, finally finding Tsukishima. On the other hand, Jackie meets up with Yukio, and she no longer has her fullbring powers. She is a little melancholy about losing her powers, because she feels that it was the only thing that brought all of them together. But Yukio tells her to meet up with him after three years, when he’ll be able to increase the size of his company and be able to hire her and protect her. Ririka wakes up in Uruhara’s shop, her wounds seemingly healed (you know by whom). A crying Orihime is lying next to her. Ririka asks if she remembers Tsukishima. She doesn’t, implying that either his powers no longer have control of her, or that he is losing his powers due to dying. Speaking of, Tsukishima is being carried by Shishigawara, who in his final words, thanks him for being with him. Fullbring Arc/Rescue Ichigo’s Powers Arc end…I hope.

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The Kekkaishi Kuchiyose – Facing the army of undead, Rikuo asks Tsurara for his sword, which she doesn’t have. Apparently, he already gave it to him, and he didn’t realize he was carrying it. Before Rikuo could get an attack off, Itaku disposes of the immediate threat. Okay, I thought this gag was dumb and it made Rikuo look like an idiot. At least they discover who summoned the dead. But before they mount an attack, he performs the Kuchiyose ritual to stop their journey. He states that Seimie was able to control the dead easily, prompting Ryuji to deduce that he is of the Gokadoin! I was not expecting this type of enemy this early. Summoning more and more dead, he seals the protagonists in a barrier of undead. At least that explains the title of the chapter. “Kekkaishi” has been translated as “barrier master.” And if you have yet to read that manwha, please do. It’s a really good series. And “kuchiyose” is a ritual to summon the dead. So, this brings the title to “the master of the summoned dead barrier.” Mysterious figure then heads back to…a mountain of swords?! Holy crap. Yup, that’s Akifusa tediously forging Nenekirimaru. And all those swords were failed attempts. We’re introduced to Momoishi, who doesn’t do much other than give Akifusa some food. Oh, and she has these weird circle things in her hair. *shrug* But unfortunately for them, Taisei returns, and he knows of Akifusa’s plan to give the sword to a yokai. A battle between a Kekain and Gokadoin! Which holy order will triumph? Taisei pulls out an awesome looking scythe out of the ground. But Nenekirimaru is yet to be complete! Rikuo comes in at the last minute, having escaped the undead barrier. Not really a good introduction of Momoishi or Taisei, and Rikuo felt out of character to me at the beginning. Not that cool, aloof of his ancestors. Those few things irked me this week. Hopefully what’s missing from completing the Nenekirimaru isn’t something too much out of left field.

Shonen Jump Alpha – 02/06/2012

So from the looks of things, it seems that Shonen Jump Alpha will keep the same order of One Piece, Toriko, Naruto, Bakuman, Bleach, and Nura. To make things fair (sort of), I will rearrange the series order by placing last week’s first series to last, and keeping the same order. Enjoy!

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Ichiryu and Midora!! – Though by himself, Ichiryu does not back down from the Gourmet Corp. They use a combination attack to slow him down and hold him in place, while the gorilla prepares a leaping attack! I don’t know how Ichiryu does it, but the president shows off his skills, keeping the gorilla dude afloat and easily breaking out of the trap. More of the Gourmet Corp. prepare to attack, but Boss Midora finally steps in to speak to Ichiryu. It turns out the IGO President just wants to have a meal…WITH HIS LITTLE BROTHER?! Ichiryu asks Midora to eat “GOD” together, which Midora declines. Both of them also used to train under Acacia. Midora even declines sharing just a little bit, and constantly refers to his brother as “old geezer.”” Seeing as there’s no use to argue, Ichiryu leaves, but gives them a warning: should a war actually break out between their forces, he will forget his manners and not hold back. The ending left me a little disappointed. There wasn’t really much in terms of progression of the story. But the hook near the middle was more than enough for the chapter. I can see these two face off near the end, or somehow teaming up together to take on some third, unexpected force going after “GOD.”

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Kurama – Just as he planned (I know! He planned this!), Naruto is able to remove the controlling rod from the Four-tails and destroy it. Unfortunately, it’s not enough as the Four-tails is still chained to the Gedo Statue controlled by Tobi-dara (yup, still calling him that). Unable to save him, the Four-tails instead wants to pass on something to Naruto that will help him someday. Though to me, it just looked like a bro-fist. Or maybe a tailed-fist. Either way, Naruto smiles. The Four-tails gets reabsorbed, leaving behind the deceased body of the host. Naruto looks exhausted after defeating just one host, and the rest of the opponents now change into their respective full-form tailed beasts, as the look like they’re about to completely crush Kakashi and Guy. That two page spread looks FANTASTIC by the way. Before rushing into battle, Naruto has an inner dialogue with the Nine-tails, who suggests that he should aid Naruto by lending him a little strength. Before he agrees, Naruto wants to thank him for lending him strength earlier against Madara. Both get a little uncomfortable and weird around each other for a moment, but the Nine-tails motions for his own bro-fist, so it seems that all is cool. Newly revived, Naruto wants to attack in tandem with Killer B. B wants to go with them as a two-man cell, where B leads the attack while Naruto covers his back (okay, when talking about B, rhyming can’t be helped). But Naruto reveals to him that he has “a ton of reserve power left.” A little reminiscing and a lot of acknowledgement later, Naruto lifts the seal, and prepares for a full-powered attack with Kurama. Okay, really looking forward to next week’s chapter. Only disappointing this is that Guy and Kakashi have yet really do anything substantial, so hoping they get some good screen time with full-beast mode Naruto and B.

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Confirmation and Consent – So, which will be made into an anime, Zombie*Gun or Reversi? That’s the question we were left with. Heishi asks what was Hattori’s opinion about Reversi becoming an anime, so the rest of the editor captains bring it up to him to find out. Excited, Hattori has further questions if it’s true or not. Being brought up to speed, it seems Reversi would be better suited since it is much more dense and can be spread out well enough, while Zombie*Gun does not have enough story yet to sustain the momentum from Crow. Though he’s excited, he cannot give an answer yet without consulting Shujin and Saiko. He realizes that there could be many problems with them having an anime this soon. You know…like the actual Bakuman series ENDING once it gets an anime. And I can’t believe the Crow anime aired for SEVEN YEARS! (within the story anyway; talk about time skip). Cut to Yujiro visiting Nizuma (love that his home studio says Nizuma Eiji Co., Ltd). Surprisingly, they’re both in agreement that it’s too early for Zombie*Gun to be an anime. But thoughts change as soon as it’s been brought to Nizuma’s attention that Reversi is being considered. After a sleepless night, Hattori sees Shujin and Saiko, explaining the possible anime beginning. Of course, they’re both super excited, and they accept quickly. Hattori has to explain further, though. Could they actually extend the story to have a long running anime series? They initially stated that they would be fine with a short series as long as it was of their highest quality. It’s not that they won’t get their series animated if it’s short; it’s just that most companies would be hesitant to pick up something that short, or his higher ups might just cancel deals knowing it will be short. They tried to compromise: Shujin saying he could extend the story without the story quality dropping, or finishing the manga while the anime still going which would give them a year (maybe two seasons?). Hattori suggests tabling the current offers and wait til the series did end. But now, we get to the most interesting part of the chapter: the reveal of the dream. Hattori is moved so much that he decides that they should accept the offer and end the story their way. The next day, Hattori tells his captain that they accept, but Yujiro rushes in with twenty original anime episode storyboards! Nizuma really doesn’t want to lose to Ashirogi Muto. With only one time slot available, which will get the anime? With Bakuman not likely to end soon, it’ll probably be Zombie*Gun that gets it. Dick move, Nizuma (but you’re still my favorite character~!).

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The Lost 2 – YES! COLOR PAGES! Now we know how they’ll be handled in the future. To keep with the whole two-page spread deal they got going on, future color spreads, double-page color spreads, along with odd-numbered chapters will just get a black page with the series logo. AWESOME! Oh right…a Bleach chapter. As the two clash, Ichigo finally gets the upper hand by cutting through Ginjo’s sword and his torso. With his final moments, Ginjo wonders if their roles were reversed, would Ichigo become the same way? Seizing the moment post-battle, Tsukishima (I really had to look up how to spell that) strikes at Ichigo from behind. Rukia steps in, which is then revealed to be Riruka, who protects Ichigo and takes the attack. Apparently, he has a separate sword just for killing. Tsukishima wants to save Ginjo from dying, but Riruka, injured, tells him that Ginjo was already saved by Ichigo. And we’re left with the first page of a flashback where Ginjo and Tsukishima meet. The color page was really the only exciting thing for me.

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On the Way to Mt. Osore pt 2 – A second color page! Now, before you wonder why two series have them, remember, Bleach is on delay. So technically it’s Nura that is supposed to have the color page this issue. It’s a little strange seeing Ryuji front and center in the spread, but his dark outfit serves nicely as the focal point to the brighter colors of Rikuo and Itaku. At the village sweet shop, Rikuo orders what looks like the biggest parfait I’ve ever seen drawn. That’s something akin to old Dragonball Z. It influences the other yokai so much that they want to order one, too. Meanwhile, Lord Akagappa shows everyone the stories of Tono Village’s heroics, and even summons their scribe Yohi Fuguruma. She was the one who drew the picture of the Gokodain successors, so they ask her about the guy who looks similar to who they saw. But it is in fact the same person (which you should have seen coming in a story about folklore monsters). Fearing the worse, Akagappa realizes that Seimei Abeno learned the Taizan Fukun, a spell to prolong a person’s life. With descendents alive for hundreds of years along with a recently reincarnated Abeno, Akagappa warns Rikuo to not face them. Of course, what type of shonen series would this be if Rikuo actually listened to him? He continues his journey to Mt. Osore. We get a glimpse of Abeno still trying to recover. Really more of fluff rather than something of importance. Kind of like, “Hey! Remember this guy?!” Our heroes finally arrive at Mt. Osore, which turns out to be a training ground of sorts for Holy Men. Cue mysterious figure clad in black. But what’s this? He’s a NECROMANCER?! So with the septagram on his gloves, I’m going to assume he’s also a Holy Man. His ability looks really impressive. Wonder if he knows Ryuji or vice-versa? Anyway, don’t forget that The Walking Dead season 2 part 2 starts this Sunday!

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The Hero Hat – OH GOD MY EYES KOKORO! Like Zoro and Sanji, I’ve sort of blocked that image from my mind. And now it’s back again. Dammit Oda! Yokozuna looks like he got bigger, and the shark she’s riding on looks very similar to Megalo, just smaller. And that alcohol bottle had better be sealed tight, because she’s either promoting drinking and driving or defying water physics. Back at Madam Sharley’s Mermaid Cafe, Caimie and the other mermaids are excited to see Luffy off. But before she leaves, Caimie sees Sharley’s crystal ball broken. She’s still worried about what the future holds, but Sharley shows her faith in Luffy. Shirahoshi cries all the tears, and the Sanji and Zoro argument dynamic has yet to get old so far. “Nosebleed” as an insult was hilarious. New Brook song? We’ll hear it next year in the anime. Usopp and Chopper realize the troubles they will face in the near future against Big Mom. Robin almost hears Neptune and the Minister of the Right talking about the bomb in the Tamate Box. Also, new outfit! (I’m a cosplayer; shut up). New World Log Pose! Looks very interesting, so Nami cosplayers have something new to make. This is also the first time I feel like that we see Luffy use his powers in a similar vein to Mr. Fantastic. Odd. Also, kind of creepy how he wraps up Nami, but at least it’s meant in a very humorous way. Luffy of course wants to travel in the direction that would be the most dangerous, much to the dismay of Nami and Usopp. I think the most important part of the chapter happens right here: NEW FRANKY HAIRSTYLE! Everyone gathers to see the Straw-hats off, and now the moment arrives. Will Jimbe join their journey to face Big Mom? Nope. But Shirahoshi gets one last goodbye with Luffy, promising that she’ll no longer be the crybaby he knows and that he should take her out on a stroll the next time they meet. Instead of just Luffy, the rest of his crew make the promise as well. Luffy’s pinky wrapped around Shirahoshi’s giant pinky was really adorable. Back to the island, the children all want to get Luffy’s straw hat, which they now dub the “hero hat.” Jimbe will arrange a trading ship to acquire those for the kids. YAY! (I want a Luffy hat, too). NEW TECHNOLOGY: Hollow Banyan, used to help the Sunny float to the surface. Reminiscing about what has happened over two years ago, Luffy gets very excited to finally be in the New World, the same sea as Shanks and his crew are. TO THE NEW WORLD! Ending left me super excited! Love explanation chapters like these, and can’t wait for next week.

Episode 11 – Alpha & Bejitaballs

So have you gotten your digital manga on? On today’s episode, we have returning special guest Diana, along with Mike, who are both part of Bejitaballs Cosplay. We’ll go over the Shonen Jump Alpha launch party sponsored by Viz Media and AC Paradise, and the merits of actually subscribing to this wonderful service. Plus photos from the event itself, courtesy of Imari and Jason@i360’s galleries on AC Paradise. Then, Diana and Mike give us an in-depth look at their prep for Katsucon and the World Cosplay Summit competition. Lots of photos! Lots of cosplayers! And a whole lot of fun! Sorry about the mic change, but stick around til the very end for something fun. Episode 11 is a go! (and damn those helicopters)

00:00:00 Introduction
00:00:55 Shonen Jump Alpha launches
00:04:15 The Wonders of Technology
00:09:21 Bonuses and Future Thinking
00:11:10 Party Party, Join Us Join Us
00:12:05 Reborn!
00:12:28 ACP Galleries and One Piece
00:13:10 Bakuman
00:13:33 Prizes and Food
00:14:47 Son Goku
00:15:16 Super Saiyan Goku
00:15:30 Kon (Wayne)
00:16:32 Naruto
00:16:45 Great Turnout
00:17:20 Luffy checks out SJA
00:18:25 Misaki (as the alpha symbol)
00:20:05 Nura Rikuo
00:21:25 Chopper Backpack
00:23:13 Bejitaballs and World Cosplay Summit
00:25:59 Differences from a Convention Masquerade
00:29:23 Previous Years’ Competition
00:31:55 Competitive Spirit
00:35:21 Gains Beyond the Competition
00:37:04 Appreciation for the Other Teams
00:38:28 Business Time

Diana (binkx) on AC Paradise – http://www.acparadise.com/loves/binkx
Mike (badman) on AC Experience – http://www.acparadise.com/ace/display.php?a=81197
Bejitaballs in WCS Prelims – http://on.fb.me/yKRvhH
Shonen Jump Alpha Launch Gallery on Facebook – http://on.fb.me/xxDdB9

And a special thank you to @StrawHatPirate9 (on Twitter) for keeping me sane during the launch event along with taking photos. All photos provided by Imari & Jason@i360 courtesy of AC Paradise and Viz Media.

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