Tag Archive for bakuman

Shonen Jump Alpha is now Weekly Shonen Jump

January 30, 2012–Shonen Jump Alpha launches for North America, bringing six very popular titles from Japan’s Weekly Shonen Jump to a legal, digital format. There were two caveats with this launch: there were only six titles, and there was a two week delay from Japan. But now, the Alpha days have passed. It’s a new era for the Shonen Jump brand and Viz Media. Shonen Jump Alpha will become the new digital Weekly Shonen Jump as of January 21, 2013. Read more

Shonen Jump Alpha – 5/7/2012

Bakuman Finale

It’s finally here! The finale of Bakuman is in this issue of SJA. Sorry about that folks, I would’ve had this up earlier, but I was very distracted by birthday celebrations and multiple viewings of The Avengers (I hear it’s pretty good). Also, it’s not all about Bakuman. We got the rest of the manga series, and the announcement of what’s to come next.

One Piece 664

Master Caesar Clown - That’s a fantastic colorspread. Reminds me very much of that mafia-style colorspread a few years ago. Also, the 10th movie Strong World. Liking the colors, but I wonder why Nami and Robin are missing? Anyway, we start off with the body-swapped Tashigi and Smoker. God-bless (or curse for some of you) the clothing in One Piece. I don’t know how Smoker-Tashigi’s open shirt is able to provide that much breast support. I’ll just leave it to Oda-physics. I wonder if there’ll be a daring Tashigi cosplayer willing to do that? Well, it’ll most likely be true. We got a huge amount of info this chapter. Kidnapped children, a possible mole in G-5, NEW names/characters of Joker and Foxfire Kine’mon (most likely the samurai who’s looking for his kid), Straw-hat headbands, Caesar’s perception by his lackeys versus the real truth, and a new devil fruit: the Gas Gas Fruit. Loving the antics of Franky in Chopper’s body the most so far. Glad Oda toned back Sanji a bit for now. And with Luffy finally entering the New World, looks like all the pirates from the “Worst Generation” are now heading towards the end.

Bleach 489

March of the StarCross - Looks like the captains of Soul Society are having an infight among them, as blame is cast on Mayuri for the disappearance of the villagers. Quilge Opie (that’s a dumb sounding name) takes on Ichigo in Hueco Mundo, and reveals to him what we already know: they’re quincies. Looks like the final big-bad is gathering his main force called the Star Knights, as they’re preparing to invade Soul Society. With Mayuri clearing his name with a valid reason for moving the villagers, it’s been revealed that Captain Yamamoto fought the Vandenreich leader 1000 years ago and let him live. Not too sure what Ishida’s role will be in the end, if he’ll side with the quincies or with Ichigo. Still intrigued by the story so far, but let’s hope Kubo can come up with better names for future characters.

Naruto 583

Who Are You? - No, it’s not a song from The Who. That’s the chapter title. Back when I was first getting into Naruto, I actually liked Kabuto. That even includes the time where he was revealed to be a villain. Unfortunately, things change over time, and I no longer care for Kabuto. So his flashback story has come too late for me, but I’m sure there are readers who do still enjoy the character. Rest assured I’m not going to half-ass this. Growing up a spy must have surely been rough for a child. Adding to the complications, your adoptive mother also has to become one, too. Separation from your fellow siblings and mother, no child really deserves that. I thought it was touching that he still remembered them and wanted to see them again. Sadly, things don’t turn out that way. Mission compromised, and ending up having to kill your adoptive mother who no longer recognises you. Yeah, Kabuto does have it rough. In a Star Wars-y sort of way, we also get the start of Kabuto’s temptation towards the dar–I mean to Orochimaru’s side.

Toriko 184

Chowlin Temple Training - It’s the continuation of hellish training, where the consequences are literally starving to death, oh and pain, too. All the training exercises seem pretty hellish. But they are really emphasizing the fire one. The one I liked best was the ham flower. Toriko wants to call it quits, but Komatsu’s attitude helps motivate both of them to finish. Unfortunately, Toriko loses his cool, but suddenly sees some results of his training. Now reinvigorated, both he and Shu want to see Komatsu’s results, which are excellent too. My favorite bit came from the huge, dead fish that is somehow still swimming. So far, really enjoying this part of the sidequest.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 199

Proof of Strength - Poor Dassai. We don’t get to see any of your talents yet besides drinking and dodging. You don’t even get to defeat your opponent, either. Nope, this chapter is reserved for the Spider Clan allying with Rikuo. Hiruko tries to use his earlier super-destructive attack. But this time, Tsuchigumo is able to withstand it and protect their land. So, did anyone guess that they would side with Rikuo during this arc? Oh, ALL of you did? Well, I feel less special now. Well, we’ll have to wait til next time for Rikuo to defeat Hiruko.

Bakuman Final Chapter

Dreams and Reality - I am not even going to spoil the ending for you. I highly enjoyed the series, and I thought it was a very fitting send-off. I’m glad the characters remained true to themselves to the very end. Thank you to Ohba and Obata. I can’t wait for your next series. For now, get some rest and relaxation.

 

And that’s it. Next issue, there will be a new series: the new Rurouni Kenshin monthly retelling that is featured in Japan’s Jump SQ. I loved the original, so I’m looking forward to this release, too. Also, remember that there will be no issue of Shonen Jump Alpha due to the Golden Week holidays that occured recently. Til next time!

Shonen Jump Alpha – 04/30/2012

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan

Return from Anime Central successful! And with that, we’re back to more Shonen Jump Alpha impressions. Bakuman is nearing the end (boo). And in Japan this week, it’s currently Golden Week. So that means no SJA in two weeks. Well, you can bet I’ll keep going to the best of my ability, but without manga, perhaps Viz will give us a pleasant surprise during the break? We’ll just have to wait and see. Enjoy the Nura image!

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 198

Yura and Rikuo – Hey! Looks like Nura finally gets first in line after a while. Good to see. Tamazuki’s attack defeats Nagachika in just one blow. Good thing he didn’t use that on Nura when they fought, otherwise this would be a short series. Kind of a graphic and disgusting way to kill someone, but remember, these guys are technically monsters. We get a nice flashback between Rikuo and Yura. We get the implications that she still likes Rikuo as a human (more than friends), but does a complete 180 once he takes his night-monster form. Hiruko thinks she can take care of both of them, but Yura’s new abilities seem amazing! I like her power-up, and hopefully it won’t be over-used in the coming arc. I can’t guess what her second attack will be, but if you have any guesses, feel free to leave comments.

One Piece 663

CC – No, that’s not Saldeath’s taller brother, that’s really him. I don’t know how he had a growth spurt after joining Impel Down, but I guess with a promotion and new responsibilities, one gets taller? Anyway, Law is still wrecking the Marines, even with Luffy’s reunion and new nickname of “Traffy” (hahaha). But it looks like he also has some sort of relationship with Brownbeard. Another personality switch happens (this time between Smoker and Tashigi; end chapter spoilers, sorry). After Law tells Luffy where to go, we get the hilarious part of the chapter, Sanji’s realization that he’s in Nami’s body. The samurai’s abilities are weird, too. I’m going to assume something related to the tanuki. So, what will Ceasar’s intentions be with those kids, and does it have anything to do with the hearts that Law is collecting? Next chapter can’t come fast enough.

Bakuman 175

Sales Date and Night Before – I don’t even want to do impressions of this chapter because I’m sad that Bakuman is ending next week. :( Lots of good cameos and warm sentiments. (I’M NOT CRYING, DAMMIT!)

Naruto 582

Nothing – Kabuto almost gets the upperhand on the Uchiha brothers, but two against one is tough, even for him. After Itachi’s speech, we get a surprising look at Kabuto’s past. Tragic orphan? You bet. Amnesia? Okay, that’s a little different. Poor eyesight? That’s why he has glasses, yup. Parental figure looking like current Kabuto? Kind of creepy. I’m sure we’ll get more of his sad past next week. I’m actually looking forward to this.

Bleach 488

Bond Behind Blast – Looks like two of the three Tres Bestia don’t get along, but they do show their strength against the Hueco Mundo invaders. Seems that all but one are fodder, though. The captains of Soul Society confirm what we all guessed from the beginning of this arc: they’re a group of quincies. Will Uryuu join them as well or will he be the one quincy to either oppose or reveal their weakness? With Ichigo about to take on the unknown guy with a bad haircut, anyone else find it funny that he’s going to get revenge for people who tried to kill him a few years ago?

Toriko 183

The Power of Honoring the Food – A sparring match against Toriko, and a chef’s match against Komatsu. Shu seems like he’s just asking for trouble. Of course, things should’nt always be that easy, as Toriko soon finds out. Pretty interesting, since we knew that the characters in Toriko use calories as a power level, this next power up will allow Toriko to regulate that calorie usage even better. While I wish the previous short quests were more interesting, I’m generally intrigued by the training he and Komatsu will be doing. Of course, the last panel with the 5-meter long chopsticks will ensure that there will be lots of comedy during this training period.

Shonen Jump Alpha – 04/16/2012

Shonen Jump Alpha

Toriko

Sorry it’s been a while since the last SJA impressions post. Been super (SUUPAA) busy with real life dual jobs getting in the way along with working on cosplay. But now, I can get back on track, and continue with this week’s SJA release!

Toriko 181

Chowlin Temple – Master Chin Chin-chin’s quirks of getting Toriko and Komatsu’s names wrong are pretty hilarious to me. I thought it would get old at the end of the chapter, but I was wrong. I’m glad that the disappearing chefs are mentioned again, because it didn’t really seem that it was noticed by our heroes a few chapters back. We’ve just kept going and going with these short stories. I’m sure Chiyo will be very important in the future. Chowlin Temple kind of reminds me of the Indiana Jones movies in a way. Lots of traps to surpass in order to get to the treasure inside. But with Master Chin-chin’s Spoon technique, looks like Toriko will eventually add his missing utensil attack. Of course, when he does use it, I’m going to imagine him yelling it in an elongated manner, just like in The Tick.

Naruto 580

Brother Time – I’m really glad I was wrong in assuming it would be Itachi vs Sasuke round 2. This is way better. Kabuto seems very formidable with his techniques, and while I really dislike Sasuke as a character, this is some good quality flashback between him and Itachi. Fast paced action, great callbacks, and even a little comedy. Yes, I’m willing to eat my own words that I’m liking a Sasuke-centered story. Though, I’ll definitely fanboy for another Shikamaru-centered one.

Bakuman 173

Moment and Final Volume – Azuki did it! Oh man, after years of wondering when their dream will finally come true, here it is! Let’s see, it’s been about four years in serialization, but I think in manga time they’ve worked at this for 8 years. Amazing how time flies. I can’t shake this feeling that they’re wrapping up the series. Can they actually extend it after Saiko and Azuki get married? Love that Kato is still really guy-crazy. And our heroes are growing up so fast. Saiko wants a house?! With eight chapters left of Reversi, the tension grows between Editor-in-Chief Heishi’s intentions and Shuujin’s desires to be number one in Jump. Of course, leave it to a Jump series to hammer in the belief of “Let’s all work hard together toward our goals.”

[update]

I just found out that Bakuman will be ending in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump issue that comes out on April 23. That means the May 7th issue will be the final chapter in SJA. *sadness* What will take its place after? Stay tuned!

One Piece 662

Warlord Law vs Vice Admiral Smoker – So, does anyone think that Smoker would be part of a Buster Call? Anyway, creepy and cute is the best way to describe the new jailer, Minochihuahua. How long has that guy been dead on that noose? Law is kicking all sorts of Marine ass, including Tashigi’s. While we only caught a glimpse of his strange abilities back in Saobody, Punk Hazard seriously shows how fearsome they truly are. Of course, in two years Smoker’s really stepped up his game, too. I wonder how big Law’s “ROOM” ability can extend? We get a lot of reveal here, too: Brownbeard’s confirmation, Monet the Harpy, a better image of gas dude, AND that newspaper with half of the Straw-hat crew photographed! Still love the running gag with the inability of Sanji to be photographed properly! Of course, we’re left with quite the cliffhanger, Smoker’s heart taken and Luffy joins the fray?!

Bleach 486

The Crimson Cremation – Hueco Mundo attacked? Looks like we’re getting everyone involved in this last Bleach arc. Nel and Pesche as Ichigo for help. Meanwhile, Soul Society is still recovering from the previous attack. Once again, Urahara comes to lend a hand. Vandenreich members discover Ebern’s medallion, with it having failed to capture Ichigo’s bankai. Looks like we’re going back to Hueco Mundo again.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 196

Tsuchigumo History – Gyohoga Iwaya, a village with more members of the Spider Clan. I never expected Tsuchigumo to have other clan members, let alone this many. It’s good to see more Ryuji and Mamiru, and with more surprises from Mamiru! Yeah…we really don’t know that much about him. Hope he gets more spotlight scenes. While it surprised me that Hiruko was able to follow Yura and Tsuchigumo, I shouldn’t have been since it would be a letdown having an unfinished fight. But it looks like the rest of the Spider Clan that’s there are injured. Of coure, Rikuo comes to the rescue, with Dassai and Tamazuki in tow. Let’s see how these three work together in the upcoming battle! I can’t wait to see what their Matoi looks like.

Shonen Jump Alpha – 03/26/2012

Bakuman

 

Another Alpha issue, and this one actually early! Bakuman takes the cover along with the lead story. We got the second part of Oda’s interview (yay!). Unfortunately, I also have some bad news, manga fans.  Bleach and Toriko will be on break next week. That’s two-thirds of content. Will we get a special one-shot or crossover issue next week? We’ll see when it comes. It’s bound to happen folks, manga creators aren’t machines.

Bakuman 170

Fame and Popularity - Not really sure who those other voice actresses are behind Miho, but I’m fairly sure that they’ll be important in some future issues. And here’s why: it’s a voice-actress idol showdown! Looks like the rest of this arc will actually focus on Miho most of the time, a strange but nice change of pace. I wanted to try to make some type of American Idol pun, but they’re already called idols. And there are so many types of idols (race, game, voice actress…all female actually) that it wouldn’t really work. Enjoyed some of the gags and spit-takes from Saiko earlier, too. BRING ON THE CONTESTANTS!

One Piece 569

About My Torso -  From right to left: Law, Luffy, Kidd. WHO’S THE FOURTH WANTED POSTER?! Someone tell me in the comments please. :3 We get a lot of different viewpoints in this chapter. Team Luffy is still struggling with trying to get to the icy part of the island to meet up with Brook and the Sunny. Okay, Usopp’s ammo now reminds me of Capsule Corp. items from Dragon Ball. Also enjoyable, Robin imagining herself and Luffy riding atop of Zoro and Usopp as they swim across the river of fire and ice. (Reminder, Game of Thrones season 2 is out this Sunday). But at least we are a step closer to finding out what’s with all those animal/man hybrids. Team Nami is still running away from the kids, and Team Sanji is still kicking ass. Are you Sanji fans happy with what he’s doing so far? And Brook taking on ANOTHER samurai (well, just a torso) was actually funny. Though we finally come to the meat of the chapter. Marines land on the island, and discover the owner of the mansion: Trafalgar Law, one of the Royal Seven Warlords?!

Naruto 577

Hale Blade - Finally get to see the Five Kages take on Zombidara for a bit (yes, we’ll go with Zombidara for the resurrected Madara, and Tobidara for the masked man who calls himself Madara). The combo attacks looked great, but we can’t have a legendary opponent just go down that easy, can we. Let’s hope that Tsunade won’t stay down for too long. I was under the assumption that Itachi was going to meet the Five Kages and aid them against Zombidara, but I was wrong. It makes sense that he would go after Kabuto. But it looks like Sasuke managed to keep up with him. With both containers of Orochimaru, will we see him resurrected, too?

Bleach 484

The Buckbeard - While I do make up words a lot (especially in these SJA impressions), what in blue blazes is a Buckbeard? Ebern can’t defeat Ichigo…well, for the moment anyway, so he retreats using a shadow teleportation. And we’re now at the quincy/arrancar base (Quinrancar?). One of the masked guys reveals his face, but loses an arm for pissing off what appears to be the ringleader.

Toriko 179

Fortune Roll Complete!!! - Looks like Monchy brings a whole new meaning to tenderizing your food. Well, he is dressed as a luchador after all. All this wrestling terminology reminds me of when I used to watch the WWF back in the day (now WWE). But I was really surprised at how big the Fortune Roll turned out to be! Holy cow! The size makes sense since it has to fall in the direction you’re supposed to go. Though, losing a big chunk of the Fortune Roll to a thief or two doesn’t help, we once again get side-tracked as Komatsu and Toriko stop in front of the Vanishing Japanese Cuisine Restaurant. How many more sidequests do we have to go on?

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 193

Tsuchigumo Returns Home - Poor Yura, being sort of kidnapped by Tsuchigumo. But, he needs directions and has to get his other three arms back. Rikuo’s newest allies are impressed with the demeanor and character of his yokai form. Unfortunately, as they gather their forces, it looks like Nue is beginning the purification process. But I never expected GIANT SNAKES COMING FROM THE SKY?! So, purification by digestion? This chapter felt really fast paced, and I still don’t know the names of those two human-looking yokai. :(

Shonen Jump Alpha – 3/19/2012

Shonen Jump Alpha 3/19/2012

Yes, we know how much you love meat, Luffy. Glad to have One Piece back in the issue ALONG WITH!… An interview with Oda! Hurrah!

One Piece 685

The Biscuits Room - Well, even though Perona found Kumacy, doesn’t do much now that he doesn’t have a shadow in him. And already the cover stories are at Thriller Bark? It has been a long time, but it seems like we’re going so fast. Getting a better view of the children, Sanji points out that they’re all different sizes. And now we know who Samurai Head is looking for, Momonosuke. I’m sure if I were young, and saw a cyborg like Franky, I’d be in awe, too. Unexpectedly, I never would have guessed that the children would want to be saved. Some great character moments for both Nami and Sanji (sort of, since he dislikes the kids for being able to sway Nami). Brook makes his triumphant reappearance (well, off-screen triumph). Looks like the other half of the Straw-hat crew are going to meet up. Let’s hope that they can solve this mystery together, like in Skypiea. What’s with those other man-animal hybrids? A man-leopard and man-giraffe? And FINALLY! Confirmation of theories from a few weeks ago: Vegapunk’s involvement (island named “PUNK” and “HAZARD”) and the dual between Aokiji and Akainu. \o/

Toriko 178

Eco Seaweed!! - A fine reunion of friends and old characters, welcome back Gourmet Knights! Today’s side adventure for the Fortune Roll (remember that food?) takes us to Eco Land for the Eco Seaweed. Looks like sushi chef Monchy has a twin brother, Nonchy, mayor of Eco Land. It was pretty interesting and silly how they use gourmet foods for everyday items, like running water and electricity. I liked that there were multiple Solar Turtles, too. Kind of a meh chapter in terms of actual development. It’s beginning to feel like a real filler arc.

Naruto 576

Signposts - Looks like once again, Sasuke is chasing after Itachi. But instead of a fight, we get a verbal argument with questions from Sasuke. We see why Itachi did not kill him, along with why he tried to make Sasuke find him. Of course, things don’t go Itachi’s way. He doesn’t stop, even at Sasuke’s behest. Instead, he keeps charging to face Zombie Madara. Some new info to me, I didn’t realize that Tsunade is a descendant of the First Hokage. A few disparaging and sexist remarks aside, looks like we’ll get to see a Tsunade’s full determination and fighting strength come out…relatively soon.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 192

The Big Meeting - Title of the chapter is right, this is a really big meeting. Rikuo gathers many clans to his house, both friendly and opposing. His attempts to rally them together to face Nue are met with much disapproval. It’s a little fun seeing Rikuo argue with his yokai side every now and then. It’s not crazy if it’s a split personality that manifests itself once twilight sets in, right? Of course, if you hadn’t noticed, it’s the two yokai who look the most like humans that rally to join Rikuo. Though, he does present a much bigger offer with news of the Kyushu Ayakashi being the first victims of purification. Meanwhile, what’s this? Tsuchigumo is back? Well, hell yeah!

Bleach 483

Kreigs Erklärung - The intruders aren’t afraid of Yamamoto’s strength, which hopefully means they are able to back up their courage or arrogance when the inevitable fighting happens soon. Looks like the group Ebern is involved in somehow allows them to either nullify or destroy a soul reaper’s bankai. But of course Ichigo is able to overpower it. It’s the last arc, you think it would end here? We’re left with the name of the group being Vandenreich, a fallen Saskibe close to death, and an ominous warning that Soul Society will be annihilated in five days. As long as we don’t get some sort of BS hyperbolic time-chamber, color me very interested. Still wish the chapters didn’t feel so abrupt.

Bakuman 169

Voice and Response - Got to admit. Miho was really able to turn this predicament around. Granted, there will always be some sort of fanboy hostility. I was surprised by the last minute open Q&A, but the scenes where Saiko called in were really touching. Makes you just want to root for them, right? Of course, Miho’s manager’s flippant attitude toward the whole thing had me laughing while reading. Now with this out of the way, what’s next? The audition, or some other sort of problem to get the anime made?

Shonen Jump Alpha – 03/05/2012


Well check that out, two Bleach covers for Shonen Jump Alpha in a row! Well, with the anime ending (its current time slot; it’s moving to a new one) in Japan along with the manga entering its final arc PLUS news of an American produced live-action film, the Bleach property is the talk of the town.

Toriko 176

King Vinegar - A sushi chef that looks like a luchador? I love it! Kind of reminds me of some of my local sushi restaurants. Still tastes fantastic though. I did think it was too easy for them to just finish gathering the sushi ingredients, so luckily, they’re on another sidequest. That’s a lot of booze to consume, though. Most likely we won’t get to see their severe hangovers afterwards. And it’s always fun to see Jiro. I’m glad to see that Toriko is able to maintain a good balance of humor with mostly self-contained chapters and the adventure feeling in between the huge battles they get into. I felt like it was still too soon to get into the Gourmet World.

One Piece 657

Severed Head - Looks like Zambai’s gone from Franky Family chief to the head of his own dismantling and parts union. Some pretty funny antics between Luffy and that lower torso (let’s call him “Pooter” for now). We FINALLY get the reveal of the island also being half ice. So if you haven’t guessed the primary reason for this…well, then there’s no helping you. :P But your guess is as good as mine regarding that winged person. And looks like my thoughts were right from last week: if you paid attention to those captors, they never accounted for Brook. So, looks like once again he might be the one who rescues the captive Straw-hats. Except this time, they don’t really stay captive. Well, at least in their current holdings. But out of curiosity, how does Sanji know so much about the Wano Country? From the guy’s head layout though, we are still with 3 dominant thoughts as to how it happened: 1) Law is able to extend his ROOM ability effects even after he’s gone somehow, 2) Buggy has grown in his abilities, making him capable of splitting others, or 3) a new character. And with a room full of big children, the mysteries and excitement just keep on coming!

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 190

Purification - This week includes a color page from Nura, featuring Tsurara and Momoishi, whose hair circle dealies look even weirder to me in color. Haven’t seen Rikuo in his human form in a while, so it’s a good thing that they aren’t always keeping him in his badass yokai form. Taisei trying to commit suicide came out of left field for me, and that’s kind of dark for a shonen manga. We finally get to see Momoishi’s abilities: she’s an itako, or spirit medium. With possessings and purifications, it almost seems like an exorcism is in order. Kind of a dull setup chapter, but still enjoying the setup since our sidequest to get the Master Sword Nenekirimaru is complete. Oh, and might I add, Momoishi being possessed by the 13th Head is both creepy and hilarious at the same time.

Naruto 574

Eyes that See in the Dark - Ugh… Karin. Well, with Sasuke’s return last week, guess I should’ve expected the return of Hawk. Or are they back to Snake? Whatever. I felt that the Jugo/Suigetsu fight was a little forced, but the whole point of it was to just discover another of Orochimaru’s hidden rooms. Guess we’ll find out what that scroll contains sometime in the future. We see some more of Sasuke’s new (borrowed? stolen?) abilities with his new eyes. And it looks like it’ll be a rematch between the Uchiha brothers. I’ll just leave this here: Sasuke vs Itachi Comic.

Bleach 481

The Tearing - LOOK! MORE VISOREDS! Let’s hope they get featured some more in this last arc. I can’t really tell what’s going on with the cut that Hiyori is looking at. Is it healing? Warping somehow? Anyway, we don’t get that much time with that, because instead, let’s focus on RYUNOSUKE! For someone who was almost deathly injured, he sure stayed awake long enough to see Ichigo and his friends gather around to kick ass. Finally, that’s one confusing name: Asguiaro Ebern? Is that even a Spanish word?

Bakuman 167

Nonsense and a Word - Man, some VA idol fans are ruthless. Sad thing, too, this is probably a commentary on things that really happen in Japan. Try as they might, they just can’t seem to brush this under the rug. Even the anime producers are worried at the publicity this is getting. But then we get the best part. FUKUDA’S CRYING FACE! Oh man…was NOT expecting that. And looks like instead of podcasts, if an anime is popular enough, they get radio program blocks in Japan! Neat! Here’s hoping that Fukuda can rally the hearts and minds of his fans to help out his friends.

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.

Bleach 480

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.

Naruto 573

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)

One Piece 656

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.

Toriko 175

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!

Bakuman 166

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).

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 189

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.

Bakuman 165

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.

Toriko 174

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.

One Piece 655

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.

Naruto 572

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?

Bleach 479

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.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 188

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.

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!

 

Toriko 173

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.

One Piece 654

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!

Bakuman 164

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.

Naruto 571

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.

Bleach 478

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.

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 187

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.