Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 129 (July 28, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Naruto, Bleach, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, One Piece, Toriko, and Hunter x Hunter. There’s also a series review for Psyren and a one-shot manga titled, Shikigami Twilight Days.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

Naruto CH:686

In this chapter, we see the Sage of Six Paths talking with the Hokage that have been reincarnated. Meanwhile, Kaguya is attacking Naruto’s shadows clones in an attempt to find the real one. Kakashi laments that he can’t do anything to help Naruto, but he hears Naruto declare that it’s not over yet. Suddenly, Sakura, Obito, and Sasuke arrive in the time-space that Naruto is in. With Naruto and Sasuke reunited, Kaguya unleashes a heavy gravity plane. Kaguya launches an attack on Naruto and Sasuke, and Kakashi and Obito go to act as shields…

So this battle continues on. While it had been exciting at first, I found myself thinking by the end of this chapter is that it feels like it’s beginning to drag on. The part right at the end with Kakashi and Obito was good, though. But most of the chapter did feel like the story is starting to bog down a little. Hopefully Kishimoto will be able to progress the battle soon and keep it from bogging down too much more.

Bleach CH:590

In this chapter, Mayuri arrives on the scene during the battle between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies. Mayuri talks down to the Quincy that he’s talking to, and she sends her companion Bambi to take on Mayuri. Bambi shoots some bombs, but they don’t go off when they’re supposed to; it turns out Mayuri has a reishi looking device that can halt the activity of spirit energy that in comes in contact with for a preset amount of time. The Quincy who can create zombies has created some from officers of the 13 court guard squads to attack. Right at the end of the chapter, Mayuri summons some Arrancars to fight the zombies…

Here’s another battle that’s starting to feel like it’s dragging out. And now there’s at least two or three different storylines going on, and one storyline will go for a while and then suddenly switch to the other briefly, just to return to the first storyline. While I like Bleach, I’m hoping that Kubo will work at trying to get this story progressing a little faster.

World Trigger CH:069

In this chapter, Chika is turned into a cube. Osamu blames himself, because he attacked instead of running away like Izumi told them to. Izumi tells Osamu that he can rescue Chika when he gets to the base. Osamu grabs the cube that’s Chika and starts heading for the base. Osamu is chased by the enemy, and Osamu has to figure out how to protect himself. At one point, Osamu is sent flying and loses his hold on the cube. Fortunately, he’s able to distract the enemy enough to be able to retrieve the cube. Replica arrives and says it’s come to escort Osamu and Chika. Just as they’re about to go, a Rabit appears in front of them…

Well, the story finally seem to advancing somewhat compared to previous chapters. Yes, we’re still in the middle of the same battle that we’ve been reading about for a few months now, but the event of Chika being turned into a cube finally forces Osamu to not only try to get back to the base, but he also has to really try to use the skills he’s learned to protect himself and Chika. Hopefully with this turn of events, the story of this battle can truly start going somewhere.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:132

In this chapter, the beauty contest for the school festival gets underway. Haru believes that she’ll be eliminated in the first round. We see that Shu is serving as the emcee for the event. When it’s Haru’s turn, she’s so flustered that she starts mispronouncing words when she’s interviewed. As she continues, she accidentally gives a shameless plug for her family’s shop, but the audience seems to think that Haru’s being cute. The contestant after Haru ends up being Paula. She goes on stage but doesn’t say anything before her turn is over. Marika is the next contestant after Paula. Marika takes off her outfit to reveal a bikini, but this causes her to be disqualified because overexposure is strictly forbidden at a high school festival. The five finalists are announced, and Haru advances. Right at the very end, the older Onodera is brought on stage as a special final contestant…

As I expected, this chapter focused on the beauty contest. It ended up focusing primarily on the first round of the contest. And since the contest didn’t end in this chapter, it will continue on into the next chapter. This puts focus on most of the members of the harem that attend the high school, because a lot of them are participating in the event as contestants. Chitoge is part of the competition, but she’s serving as a judge rather than as a contestant. Hopefully after this story’s done, we might see a little more progress on the overarching story of the locket…

One Piece CH:754

In this chapter, the focus is first on Team Kin’emon, which is located below the former royal plateau. The group decides that they want to leave where they are go up above. After this, the story returns to the second step of the new royal plateau, where Luffy and his group are, and they find themselves embroiled in another battle. As they’re about to get to the fourth step, their way is blocked by giant puppets. And then the story moves to the top of the Pica statue, where Zoro is in the middle of a battle…

And this chapter yet again does some jumping around. While it’s not quite as bad as the jumping around that’s been taking place over the past couple of chapters, it’s still jumping around. But near the end of the chapter, I was happy to see Zoro because I hadn’t seen him in a while. It was awesome to see Zoro acting so badass. Hopefully we’ll see more of Zoro in the upcoming chapters!

Toriko CH:286

This chapter sees a flashback of Toriko and the others each receiving one vial of curing water. We also learn in this flashback that Toriko actually has two demons inside of him instead of just one. Then we see the continuation of where the previous chapter ended, with Toriko lying on the ground after being knocked down by Heracles. A small air tree begins increasing its production and letting off a fragrant smell. We then see the blue demon inside of Toriko taking over his body. The awakened Toriko grabs the fruit from the air tree and consumes it. With the power of the blue demon, Toriko attacks Heracles…

Well, then, this revelation of the two demons makes it feel like Toriko is trying to outdo Naruto. And ultimately, not a lot happens in this particular chapter. It’s basically just the air tree getting ready to bear fruit and the awakening of the blue demon that’s inside Toriko. Hopefully there will be an epic fight between the blue demon and Heracles in the next chapter.

Hunter x Hunter CH:348

This chapter opens with a Hunter final exam test taking place. They’re discovering there’s still a number of spies mixed in with the applicants, even though they thought that had weeded a lot of them out in the first round. Meanwhile, we see some guy who talks about him and his brothers, who are trying to get guards through the Hunter exam; all of these brothers hope to become the next king. Back at the Hunter exam, there’s a discussion going on as to whether or not someone could circumvent the double-layer trap. They also talk about the potential for Pariston to have already put a spy in place. Mizai then meets with the other Hunters and expresses that there’s a chance that there’s a mole among them. Right at the end of the chapter, we see that they have figured out who the informant is.

Ultimately, not a lot really takes place in this chapter. It primarily seems to be talking and “info dumping,” with maybe something minor to help move the story along. And hopefully later we can learn a little more about the brothers who are trying to get spies through the Hunter exam, because at this point, I personally don’t know much about them and how they fit into the overall story.

It should be noted that Hunter x Hunter will be off next week.

Series Review: Psyren

This feature is labeled as a “review,” but it feels more like an overview to explain to the reader about the characters and stories in the Psyren manga. The only parts that truly qualify as a review is the last paragraph of the section labeled, “Beginning of the End” and the final section (which is labeled as, “Complete Series”). It’s a very informative piece for readers who are unfamiliar with the series, even though the last little bit is the only part that can truly be called a review.

Shikigami Twilight Days

The story is set at a time when the Gates of Hell between Tokyo and the underworld were just about to open. The police are investigating a mutilation murder case that has just claimed its fifth victim. The victims are blown up, and the murderer leaves a happy face symbol at the scene of the crime; the attacker has become known as the “Smile Bomber.” A woman named Mako is a detective, and she supposedly had a power as a child to find things. Unfortunately, the only cases she gets are for missing cats three times a month. When she sees a report about the Smile Bomber, the case seems to pique her interest. Mako goes to where the investigating is taking place and tries to force her way onto the case, but the officer doesn’t let her. A boy comes by and says there’s weird people nearby. The cop sees them and chases after them. After he’s gone, it’s revealed the boy is Kyosuke, and has a talking fox. Kyosuke enters the crime scene and summons some shikigami to aid in finding anything that gives off a strange spiritual vibe. Kyosuke was sent by the Shikigami Association to investigate the Smile Bomber incidents. The shikigami find something, and it’s a yorishiro; it’s the used shell of the weapon the assailant used. He determines the murderer is someone trained to use shikigami, but that they’re an amateur. Kyosuke advises Mako not to get involved in the investigation, but she follows after them. When Mako picks up the shell, it reawakens her ability she had as a child. They return to the scene of the crime, and they see something there that attacks them. Kyosuke summons something to fight against it while he and Mako try to flee. Another creature that looks like the first one appears, and Kyosuke tries to attack it. A police officer comes and ends up shooting Kyosuke. It turns out the cop isn’t actually a cop…

This was a good one-shot manga, and it works both as a one-shot and as the launching point for a new manga series. It was a well-told for a one-shot, and with the way it ends, it would be possible to continue the story if the author wanted to. Personally, I think there’s an interesting premise here, and I like how the supernatural elements worked within the world that was established in this one-shot. I haven’t read Psyren, another work by this mangaka yet; however, after reading this one-shot, it makes me think that I need to find time to check out Psyren at some point.

Free! Eternal Summer: Episode 4 – “The Somersault Turn of Promise!”

Free! Eternal Summer is the second season of the Free! Iwatobi Swim Club television anime series. This season begins in spring, when the new school year is getting underway. The focus of the series is still on the Iwatobi High swimmers (Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, and Rei), their manager Gou, and Rin from Samezuka Academy.

A big emphasis in Episode Four is on Gou trying to get the members of the Iwatobi swim team to eat a balanced diet, and she starts by conducting a surprise bento check. Unfortunately, not a single member passes the check. When they ask her to make what she feels would be an acceptable bento, she takes up the challenge. Later, Rin makes a list of foods that contain the ideal amount of proteins and vitamins for swimmers, while Gou has come up with a training regimen to get the team ready for the prefecturals.

Episode Four also has a strong focus on character development for both Sousuke and Rin, especially concerning the childhood and their friendship. We learn that it was because of issues that Rin and Sousuke had working together on the same relay team that Rin transferred to Iwatobi and began swimming with Haruka, Makoto, and Nagisa. Near the end of the episode, Sousuke and Rin kind of butt heads over what’s important for attaining the dream of competing in swimming at an international level. Fortunately, Rin is able to win the argument by showing his conviction but not yelling about it.

This episode was very instrumental in providing the back story for Sousuke and Rin that had kind of been hinted at. This was the first episode to truly delve into why Rin didn’t stay where he had been for swimming as a kid; it also gave the viewer insight into why Rin was so insistent on swimming relays when he came to the Iwatobi Swim Club.

And when it comes to Momo, the younger brother of Samezuka’s former team captain, his obsession with Gou is definitely much more of a running gag than his older brother’s interest in her. In this episode, Momo gets into her face and starts blathering at her; while Rin did come to the rescue, he was a little slow to do it. And poor Gou just looked so uncomfortable, and it was obvious that she’s not the least bit interested in him. I almost wish she had said something about him not having enough muscles for her taste or something like that. And Rin really needs to be a good big brother and have a talk with Momo about his behavior toward Gou.

It also looks like that the Iwatobi team has given up recruiting new members at this point, because not a single word was uttered about recruitment over the course of Episode Four. With half of the current team being third-years, it could basically spell doom for the team if they can’t manage to recruit anyone else. Hopefully the team can have a good showing during the prefecturals later this season and be able to bring about more recognition for the team.

Haikyu!!: Episode 16 – “Winners and Losers”

Haikyu!! focuses on two first-year high school volleyball players named Shoyo Hinata and Kageyama Tobio. The previous year they had competed against each other in a junior high tournament, and Shoyo decides to become Kageyama’s rival. The two boys come from very different volleyball backgrounds: while Kageyama was part of Kitagawa Daiichi’s team and is a self-centered setter, while Shoyo spend most of junior high practicing being a spiker by himself because his school didn’t have a team until his last year. On the first day of high school, Shoyo and Kageyama are surprised to see that they’re both at Karasuno High School.

The first half of Episode 16 focuses on the match between Karasuno and Tokonami, and Karasuno quickly wins the first set. During the second set, it cuts between flashbacks that Ikejiri has about playing on the same team as Daichi in junior high and the match that Karasuno’s girls’ team is having. The second set is a bit more hard-fought than the first set was, but Karasuno manages to win in the end. We also see that Karasuno’s girls’ team has lost their match.

It’s determined that Karasuno’s next opponent will be Date Kogyo. This is the team with the “Iron Wall” that kept blocking Asahi’s spikes in a match the previous school year that made Asahi want to quit. Suga asks Shoyo and Kageyama to help bring out the best in Asahi during the match. Later, Nishinoya gives a pep talk to the team that seems to restore the team’s confidence. Episode 16 ends just as the second match is about to start…

One of the parts of this episode that really stood out to me was after both of the Karasuno teams’ matches ended, and seeing the intercutting between Ikejiri’s thoughts and Yui’s thoughts. I thought this was a very effective way of getting those thoughts out there without it feeling like an “info dump.” Also, during this scene, Ikejiri has a thought of, “If this were all a work of fiction, the guys who go to nationals would be the protagonists, and the rest of us would just be extras.” It’s actually a bit a humorous line, since they are characters in a fictional work, Also, could this be some kind of foreshadowing for how the series will progress?

I have a feeling that the match between Karasuno and Date Kogyo is going to be a bit more of a nail-biter than the one with Tokonami was. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this match not conclude at the end of Episode 17. So against this team, will Karasuno be able to win, and if so, how?

English Dub Cast for Watamote

Sentai Filmworks has announced the full English dub cast for the Watamote television anime series.

The cast includes:

  • Monica Rial is Tomoko Kuroki
  • David Matranga is Tomoki Kuroki
  • Emily Neves is Yuu
  • Margaret McDonald is Hina
  • Ashley Miller is Okada
  • Blake Shepard is Kiyota
  • Clint Bickham is Suzuki
  • Blake Shepard is Yandere Boy
  • John Johnston is Teacher
  • Carli Mosier is Nurse
  • Johnny De La Cerda is Kosaka
  • Beth Lazarou is Gym Teacher
  • Elizabeth Bunch is Sniper
  • Shelley Calene-Black is Mrs. Kuroki
  • David Wald is Mr. Kuroki
  • Leraldo Anzaldua is Ishimine
  • David Wald is Narrator
  • Juliet Simmons as Kii and Imae

The English dub was directed by Emily Neves.

English Dub Cast for A Certain Magical Index II

FUNimation has announced the English dub cast for the A Certain Magical Index II television anime series. The dub will be premiering at the Otakon convention that’s taking place August 8-10, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

The English dub cast includes:

  • Alex Moore is Agnese Sanctis
  • Kristin Sutton is Angelene
  • Bryn Apprill is Awaki Musujime
  • Ed Blaylock is Charles Conder
  • Rachel Robinson is Lidvia Lorenzetti
  • Lauren Landa is Lucia
  • Jennifer Green is Oriana Thomson
  • Mallorie Rodack is Orsola Aquinas
  • Bob Carter is Ouma Yamisaka
  • Duncan Brannan is Saiji Tatemiya
  • Skyler McIntosh is Seiri Fukiyose
  • Haley Esposito is Tushim
  • Andrea Freyberg is Uragami

Seven Seas Entertainment Announces Two New Licenses

Seven Seas Entertainment has announced that the company has acquired two new manga licenses:

  • Servamp by Tanaka Strike
  • 12 Beast by OKAYADO

The first volume of Servamp is scheduled to be released in March 2015, while the first volume of 12 Beast is scheduled to be released in April 2015.