Ah yes, the infamous San Diego Comic Con. We meet again. The most popular of conventions that we attend is also the one we are afraid of the most before it starts. There’s so much prep time for it that sometimes you almost have to force yourself to have fun. Luckily, this year was not the case for us, and fun was had by all! Join Dennis and Kate as they give a quick recap of all their Avatar universe related adventures (no, not the blue cats) along with dealing with exclusives, a pirate ship adventure, and a great story that took years in the making for a friend. Episode 46 is a go! Read more
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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
That’s right folks, we have a double issue review thanks to convention and podcasting delays. Not going to do these in their normal SJA order since they are different in both issues, so we’ll just go alphabetically.
Barrage 2 & 3
The Little Prince – Interesting character quirks in chapter two. I wasn’t expecting Tiamat to be weak to girls like Yamcha in Dragon Ball. And Jino’s fear of Prince Barrage makes her spout “I’m sorry, please don’t hit me!” So if you thought that the prince was cooler than Astro, female servant punishment tells you otherwise. I did like that they just went gung-ho for the “Barrage is now Astro” reveal. I assumed it would’ve taken longer, so glad to be wrong in this case. The forshadowed surprise attack did help keep me interested. And will you look at that, Astro gets to keep his promise to the kids as long as he gets to be the prince and save the world. So, anyone taking bets as to when Barrage comes back from the dead?
The Prince’s Job – So the important thing is that Jino wasn’t just introduced as fodder character. Glad she’s safe, but even though she know’s it’s Astro and not Barrage, she still acts the same way (trauma). Now Astro gets to see the world outside of the castle, as he and Tiamat are sent to deal with some bandits. Astro regrets being away from his family so soon, but soon learns of the hardships these villagers face. When the villagers attack, Astro just rushes in, though he doesn’t have any real battle experience besides the previous two chapters. I enjoyed that Tiamat being a soldier took out everyone of the fodder villains while Astro took on this week’s big bad. Also, Tiamat can shoot out his blade. Neat. And who’s the guy that wants to boil the bandit?! We end with Tiamat agreeing to teach Astro the ways of the for-I mean how to wield the Orgue.
Bleach 493 & 494
Light of Happiness -Quilge transforms and just obliterates Ayon. He also takes is left arm for himself. What? The arrancar try to hide Chad and Inoue along with themselves, but he quickly cuts down their barrier and begins to absorb them. Ichigo comes in for the rescue naturally, and already figures out how to stop the absorption process. Back in Soul Society, looks like the quincies took the first move.
The Closing Chapter Part One – Really nice colorspread of the Soul Society captains. Anyway, pillars of fire sprout all over Soul Society. Soldiers gather at the base of the pillars to meet the enemy, but many are taken out very easily. The invading group is revealed to be the Stern Ritter (and why am I not suprised that there’s a token attractive girl in the group). Seven minutes in the attack, and over 1000 soul reapers already dead. And of course, last panel featuring Ichigo just to say that he’s in this chapter.
Naruto 587 & 588
Nine O’Clock – We get an easy to understand explanation of how the Izanami works to get the infinite loop status along with the reasons of developing it. Itachi used it on Kabuto because he saw his former self in Kabuto and wanted to change him. Kabuto still does not grasp what is going on and remains trapped in the technique. On the outskirts of battle, Kabuto’s childhood friend Urushi remembers him and wishes for his safe return home.
Burden of a Kage – Itachi will now stop the Edo Tensei, destroying himself and the other ninja zombies. In the meantime, the Five Kage are struggling against Madara’s minions. Stamina is a key issue, and Tsunade’s ability is greatly draining hers. As she falters, the Raikage loses focus for an instant and is caught by Madara. Tsuchikage is able to save him from defeat in the nick of time. Pretty intense battle moments, and a great combination attack counter. But Madara has a final trick up his sleeve: the Perfect Susano’o. Will Itachi make it in time?
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan 203 & 204
Eve of Attack – Rikuo is concerned about Aotabou and Kurotabou’s situation with the Chubu yokai. Rikuo’s friends arrive and are surprised to find Yura there, along with other onmyoji. They discuss the status of Abe no Seimei along with his perception by the world. Kuro and Ao return, which means it’s time for Rikuo’s night parade to take off.
Ressurection – Now we see Nue’s night parade, which consists not of just yokai, but demons as well. And before Rikuo can set off for battle, it seems that his mom wants to have a heart to heart talk with him. At the same times, we get glimpses of Gitsune wondering what will happen when she meets Nue. Rikuo’s mother tells him of a village of half yokai where her father now rests. Rikuo vows to visit once this battle is finally over. It seems that we’re heading on towards the home stretch/final battle for Nura. Think two Shonen Jump series will end in the same year? It could happen.
One Piece 668 & 669
Pirate Alliance – The final “From the Decks of the World” cover story showcasing Whitebeard and Ace’s graves. Someone was kind enough to place the newspaper of Luffy along with some sake for Ace. And all this time, I thought his name was “Portgas” and here it’s “Portgaz.” Luffy quickly agrees to join Law’s pirate alliance, surprising the rest of the crew. While they are at first against it, it seems flattery gets Luffy everywhere. To make good on their alliance, Law swaps back their bodies…except for Nami. Lots of great gags here, including Robin, Chopper’s aftermath, and Nami’s remorse. Law gets more than he bargained for as Luffy makes these demands not part of the alliance, but Usopp does a great job of explaning and making Law see that it’s no use to argue. First, Law gets a new Chopper hat, but instead he gets a Chopper sword charm. It’s funny how Luffy just casually says that besides him, Zoro and Sanji can use haki on his crew. While the Marines charge in to Caesar’s lab, Caesar himself gives orders to release his gruesome creature, simply known as Slime. That is definitely not a Pokémon.
Commence Operation – Oh look, Team Zoro is still alive. Who would’ve guessed? (Everyone did.) So what exactly happened? Well, this flashback will help! The Yeti brothers knock them out with gas and break the ground beneath them to fall onto ice spikes. Before Zoro loses consciousness, he cuts the spike plateau allowing them to fall (still far) down onto the snow. Before they get captured by Caesar’s men, Sanji revives and makes quick work of them. Back in the present, they find the samurai! He’s not just stuck there because he’s freezing. It seems that his torso has fallen into the lake. The three agree to help and after that, Sanji wants to challenge him to a duel. Before they reach the lake, the run into what they think is a mountain. Caesar explains that Slime is the manifestation of the chemical weapon that destroyed Punk Hazard. Back at the lab, the Marines continue to struggle (well, mostly just Tashigi struggling with Smoker’s abilities). And Law somehow uses his powers to transport himself and Chopper to the back door entrance trying to sneak in. But of course, you can’t sneak when Luffy is about, as he, Franky, and Robin come crashing the party.
Toriko 188 & 189
Decisive Battle at Chowlin Temple – Master Chin hurriedly flies back to Chowlin Temple to stop Chiyo’s rampage. Turns out Otake’s stabbing was from a Revival Knife, a taboo art. Thank goodness, because it’s not like Komatsu hasn’t nearly died often enough in this series. Arriving, Master Chin prepares to go all out and isolates his battle with Chiyo to the air. I was not expecting her to get the upper hand so fast, especially not with the first attack. But Toriko arrives, and now he’s a Super Saiyan?
Master of Honoring Food – With Toriko’s arrival, Master Chin uses his techniques to create a spoon dome, further isolating his battle with Chiyo. Glad that his appearance didn’t change for more than a chapter length. Being able to honor the food, Toriko easily takes care of the golem, and not even using his full strength. The spoon dome opens, but Master Chin falls.
Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration 2
The Fight Merchant – Looks like Kanryu has hired a lot of people to take out the legendary Battousai. Though, instead of going together, they draw straws to decide the order. At the Kamiya dojo, we discover that Kaoru can’t cook, even though she’s been learning from Kenshin. The first opponent arrives and disrupts their breakfast, demolishing the door with just his fist. He introduces himself as Sagara Sanosuke, the fight merchant (of course, fans of the original will simply shorten this to Sano). Challenging Kenshin, his fists swing but do not connect. It seems that Kenshin will not really fight him since he’s not there to hurt Kaoru and Yahiko, or take the dojo. But after revealing the Two Layers strike and issuing promise to obey one command should he lose, Kenshin agrees to the fight. Sano goes to break the sword, but Kenshin disrupts the technique by striking Sano with both his sword and scabbard. With the fight done, a mysterious figure appears, and discovers that Kenshin no longer kills. Could he be the next opponent? Fulfilling the promise of the duel, Kenshin requests that Sano use his strength to help people. Looks like Sano will be staying at the dojo. And we get another mysterious figure in shadows at the end?
The oft-delayed Shonen Jump Alpha impressions finally makes its return this week, with the US premiere of Barrage that was announced at Fanime. Ready to start a series from the beginning? It looks pretty promising.
*This edition of SJA Impressions was delayed for you by Cosplay Jam editing and Diablo III.
Piercer – I’m going to go ahead and say it. Got a big Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann vibe from the main character Astro. Especially with the whole “pierce” thing in the title. We get a decent enough look at his upbringing, seeing his beliefs and motivations. It’s pretty par for the course, and he is likeable. I was getting a very much “The Prince and the Pauper” vibe once we see Astro’s look-alike Prince Barrage. And then it all went away. We quickly meet the king and Lieutenant Tiamat, and we end it with a glimpse of the Orgue bonding with Astro, giving him great power. Interesting weapon choice there, being a spear. Well, chapter one is pretty intersting. Let’s hope it gets better during its first year. Let me know how you like this new series.
The Izanami Activated – I must admit. This fight so far has been pretty good. Even with the somewhat unnecessary flashback in the middle of the fight, it’s been pretty good. First chapter was pretty confusing, but I’m sure most of you were able to understand somewhere in the middle. The Izanami is one strong technique. Will this be the end of all the zombie ninjas? Well, not right away.
One Piece 667
Cool Fight – Not much going on in this cover story volume, but let’s hope this won’t be the last we see of Ivankov. We start off with some really great Franky-Chopper antics. Who couldn’t see that he was going to use the Rumble Ball right away? Looks like Caesar wants to examine Franky’s cyborg body for Vegapunk’s tech. Unfortunately, we still don’t get a clear look at Scotch and Rock’s faces. Luffy shows off some new abilities, and I really like that Gum Gum Balloon has been changed so that he can aim it. And at the end we get Law! New pirate alliance to be formed? Granted, this was predicted back on Saobody Archipelago. But to take down one of the Four Emperors? That’s new. Guessing it’ll be either Kaidou or Big Mom.
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Lord of the Capital – Gitsune is back and reunites with one of her former comrades. One of the Gokadoin is there to “greet” her, but she quickly makes him retreat, surprising even Ryuji. While she also gathers her own yokai horde, Kubinashi’s trip doesn’t far so well, with a majority of the clan he wanted to recruit killing themselves under the control of another. Looks like Rikuo will once again be heading off to face Nue again. Felt like it was just recently when they met for the first time. But now they’ll be backed by the full (remaining) force of the Keikain clan.
Balancer’s Justice – So Ayon’s summoned or formed by the fusing of those two girls’ left arms. And he seems to be giving Quilge more trouble than he thought. And just in case you forgot, we get some back story of the Quincies, and how this has been a war in the making for some time. Back in Hueco Mundo, just when you think it’s over…right? Quilge gets back up and has another transformation?
A Taste of Bubble Fruit – On verge of death, Toriko finally achieves his goal: the Bubble Fruit! But Master Chin can’t stay long, as he rushes back to the temple to face Chiyo, who is now aligned with the Gourmet Corp. And that is actually one of the most brutal death’s I’ve seen in a modern shonen manga. But it was handled very well with not actually showing the violence. The outcome is really all that matters. Also, ew. Ootake reappears, looking very much more differently than he was abducted. But WHY WAS KOMATSU STABBED?! D:
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.
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!)
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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?!
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.
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.
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?!
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?
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.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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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. 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!
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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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.