Manga Review: “Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal” Volume Two

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal’ Volume Two by Shin Yoshida on Blogcritics.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Volume Two is a manga written by Shin Yoshida and illustrated by Naohito Miyoshi. This volume was released in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2012. The series has been rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Yuma Tsukumo is a Duelist who has freed an apparition named Astral. Astral introduces Yuma to the concept of the “Numbers,” which are supposed to the Astral’s lost memories. Unfortunately, a man named Mr. Heartland is also looking for the “Numbers”; he needs these special cards in order to launch his evil plan. He has a boy named Kaito working for him as a “Number Hunter” under the guise that the “Numbers” are needed to help Kaito’s younger brother.

Early on in Volume Two, Yuma finds himself targeted by Kaito, since Yuma has two of the “Numbers” cards. After Yuma and Kaito have a battle, Yuma and friends decide to form the Numbers Club in order to search out the other Numbers before Kaito can find them. The rest of the volume focuses on the Numbers Club going to a fantasy theme park called Heartland in their quest for Numbers cards.

Yes, I know I said near the end of my review of Volume One that I wasn’t terribly interested in continuing to read this series. However, I found a copy of Volume Two sitting on the shelf at the library; I decided that since it was right there, I would go ahead and check out and see if Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal got any better.

Unfortunately, I have to say that I found the story to still be on the strange side, and nothing in this volume made me want to rush out and read Volume Three. While there’s a backstory provided for Kaito the Number Hunter, I didn’t find it so compelling that I felt a desire to read more to find more about him.

I also have to comment that as I read one of the scenes that takes place at the amusement park, I thought that someone had either read The Princess Bride or had recently watched the movie adaptation of that book as they wrote this scene. Yuma encounters a villain called Captain Corn; apparently, he had started out as a corn kernel on an ear of corn that had been on board a ship that was attacked by the Dread Captain Roberts. After the ear of corn was boiled, the kernel fell off the corn as the Dread Captain Roberts ate it; the kernel ended up in Roberts’ compass. When Mr. Heartland got a hold of the compass, the kernel came out and acquired a body. Also, Captain Corn has a Duel Monster called “Incornceivabe.” And if that wasn’t bad enough, Captain Corn uses a lot of puns and play on words about corn; to me, this felt rather corny and stupid after the first couple of times this appeared in the dialogue.

I also found something to nitpick about in the battle between Yuma and Kaito. During one of his turns, Yuma uses a card that’s clearly labeled “Kagetokage” that he also calls by this name is his dialogue when he pulls out it; the picture on the card shows the shadow of a lizard. On the very next page, Yuma refers to the card as “Shadow Lizard” instead of “Kagetokage.” My guess is that the first time the card was referenced, someone forgot to change it from its Japanese name to the name it was given in English. While this is the only instance I found in this volume, this inconsistency was very jarring to me as a reader.

At this point, I really have no interest in moving on to Volume Three; in fact, the only way I would bother reading it as this point is if it suddenly appears on the shelf at the library, because I wouldn’t be willing to go to the effort of placing a hold with my local library system to get it.

I wrote this review of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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