Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 132 (August 18, 2014)

Weekly Shonen Jump is off this week in Japan, due to the Obon holidays. However, Viz Media has released a bonus issue this week, which focuses on the Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee manga series. I’d already read the first volume of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee prior to reading this issue.

After the first few pages of the manga, a page has been added that explains the various terms that appear in the series. This is followed by an advertisement for the manga series, and then the manga story itself continues.

Tegami Bachi: Lettter Bee is set in AmberGround, a land of perpetual night that’s only partially illuminated by an artificial sun. The main character of the story is Lag Seeing, a boy we first meet after his mother was kidnapped and he was sent as a “delivery” to his aunt. A Letter Bee named Gauche Suede makes the delivery, and Lag idolizes him and wants to become a Letter Bee himself. Five years later, Lag leaves the village he’s lived in with his aunt to go through the interview process in order to become a Letter Bee.

Throughout the material that’s included in this issue, “heart” becomes a major theme. It heart that’s used to fight against giant insects called Gaichuu, and heart is mentioned several times when Gauche talks about sending letters. I should also point out that whenever the word “heart” appears in the text, it always appears in bold letters. Making that word be in bold every time it appears is a clue to the reader that heart will play an important role in the story.

Ultimately, what ends up being included in this issue is the vast majority of the first volume of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee. While I’d read this material before, it’d been a while since I last read it. This issue helped to refresh my memory of what I’d read previously. Just like when I read the first volume previously, reading this issue reignited the intrigue I felt after I first read this material a few years back. At some point, I really do need to get try to read the other volumes of the series that have been released.

I also wanted to add that the art in Tegami Bachi, Letter Bee is very bright; Asada uses a lot of white and contrasts to make the art seem brighter than what you would normally expect to see in a manga. Because of this look, the art in this manga really stands out in comparison to most other manga out there.

Viz Media Announces the Release of Manga Story Collection Time Killers by the Creator of Blue Exorcist

Viz Media is announcing that the company is releasing Kazue Kato’s Time Killers manga story collection on September 2, 2014.

The single-volume standalone collection of manga shorts from the creator of the Blue Exorcist manga series will be published under the Shonen Jump imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $17.99 CAN. Time Killers also features 13 pages of full-color artwork as well as a fold-out, full-color gatefold poster. Included in this collection is Boku to Usagi (Me and the Rabbit), as well as the stories and character designs that would become her breakthrough series, Blue Exorcist.

A digital version of Time Killers will launch digitally on September 2, 2014 for $10.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the store fronts for comiXology, Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.

“This exciting new release offers a collection of captivating stories and a comprehensive look at Kazue Kato’s earlier work that preceded her current smash-hit manga series, BLUE EXORCIST,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “The stories in TIME KILLERS move at a quick pace and feature unique characters drawn in the exceptional style that has garnered Kato substantial critical acclaim and a strong international fan base. We invite readers to enjoy this new release from the Shonen Jump imprint in September!”

TIME KILLERS KAZUE KATO TANPENSHU © 2011 by Kazue Kato /SHUEISHA Inc.

Re: Hamatora: Episode 6 – “Advent”

Re: Hamatora is the second season of the Hamatora television anime series. This season begins three months after the end of the first season, and the Hamatora detective agency is still taking on cases that come their way.

Episode Six opens with a memorial service for Art’s former partner, Gasquet, who was killed at the end of Episode Five. It’s revealed that it’s being reported to the public that the assault that took place at the prison complex was a terrorist attack targeting the prefectural police.

Nice and Murasaki go to question their informant, and he tells them about the meeting he had with Gasquet during Episode Five. The informant also warns the two of them about not getting in too deep if they don’t want to cut their life short. With what happens later in Episode Six, you really don’t want to hear this phrase coming out of this guy’s mouth because it seems to be a precursor to something bad happening.

Honey uses Mighty to try to find security camera footage of the people who perpetrated the attack on the prison complex. They were able to cover their tracks except for a dashcam in a neaby taxi. When Honey enhances the image, they see that the Freemums were involved. Hamatora goes to the club the Freemums had used as their headquarters, only to discover that they’re long gone. We see that the Freemums are now running their operation out of Art’s place, which is a rather nondescript room.

Next, we see Nice and Murasaki having some kind of an argument. The audience comes into the middle of it, but from what’s said, it appears it has something to do tracking down Art and the Freemums. After Nice leaves, Murasaki starts acting as if there’s something wrong with him physically. We learn it’s a side effect of using his Minimum ability; the more he uses it, the more his body deteriorates. When that was revealed, I had a really bad feeling that something bad was going to happen to Murasaki.

We then see Murasaki walking down the street and dealing an inner conflict with himself. In the animation, this is depicted by showing his “inner voice” speaking to Murasaki as a ghostly apparition walking next to him. I understand what the animators were trying to do, but it comes across as weird. Unfortunately, I would discover there were things later in the episode that made the ghostly apparition almost look normal!

Murasaki then runs into Art, and the two say they need to talk to each other. Art takes Murasaki to his place, and tells the Freemums to leave them alone. Murasaki tells Art about how frustrated he is with Nice and says he wanted to talk to Art because he thought he’d understand his feelings. Unfortunately for Murasaki, Art realizes that Murasaki is trying to put on an act, and this leads to a major fight scene between these two characters. At first, Murasaki’s punches don’t do anything to Art, but after Murasaki powers up with his ability, he’s able to punch Art hard in several vital spots, and even holds him by his hair. Unfortunately, Murasaki’s leg gives out on him, so he has to pull out a gun. He shoots, and it looks like Art is shot and killed.

The Freemums barge in, holding Murasaki at gunpoint. Ishigami, the leader of the Freemums, provides a small “info dump” here when he explains why Art’s Minimum ability couldn’t be uncovered by the Facultas Academy; this is due to the Minimum central nerve not being in his brain. It was located elsewhere, which was the same place as his trigger. It’s then said Art is worthy of becoming the savior of Minimum Holders due to what lies in his chest. Ishigami stabs Art in the chest, and Art comes back to life in a resurrection that seems to be trying to evoke Jesus Christ with what appears to be a cross in the background.

OK, at this point, I was going, “What the heck?” Yes, Hamatora has done some strange things since the series started, but this resurrection was strange, even by Hamatora’s standards. If you ask me, Art has developed quite a God Complex, and I suspect this will end up being a major thing for Art’s character for the remainder of the series.

Right at the end of the episode, Murasaki is delivered to the café in a body bag. At first, I thought Murasaki was dead and was getting upset over the fact that this would be two episodes in a row where someone was killed. However, the preview for Episode Seven showed that the next episode is set in an emergency room, so it appears Murasaki isn’t dead yet. The question at this point is, “Will Murasaki survive this ordeal or not?” Considering that Gasquet was already killed, I don’t think anyone in the series is necessarily “safe” from that fate.

OK, I knew over the past couple of episodes that Re: Hamatora was turning into a darker series than the first season of Hamatora, but I didn’t expect it go get this dark and weird!  Episode Six was definitely a downer for me, and it’s started to dampen my enthusiasm for this series. Hopefully the weirdness in this episode is as weird as Re: Hamatora is going to get; if the series gets any weirder, that could really change my opinion of the entire Hamatora franchise.

Captain Earth: Episode 19 – “Your Smile Means Everything”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

Episode 19 opens with Daichi, Teppei, and Hana finally being able to communicate with Akari and the others at headquarters. Once Daichi catches headquarters up and what’s happened and what they’re planning to do, Akari changes the plan. She uses her hacking ability to hack into Australia Central Command’s main computer and knock it offline. Akari directs them to the Carpentaria base and tells them to commandeer the Bravnik, a heavy transport craft. By the time the three of them reach the base, Akari’s knocked their systems down as well; this makes it easy for them to take the Bravnik.

When Australia Central Command gets its computers back online, they discover the theft of the Bravnik, and the decision is made to get the Sarama Engine, an unmanned Impacter, online and pursue the Bravnik before it reaches Tanegashima. When Akari and the others at headquarters figure this out, they become worried.

Maybe it’s just me, but I would’ve thought that Akari would have figured out that the Kiltgang had somehow hacked into Cerberus. If not that, why didn’t she think about trying to find a way to hack into the Sarama Engine? Hacking seems to be her answer for just about everything, anyway, so why didn’t she think of that this time around?

There’s several flashbacks that appear throughout this episode that focus on Hana and how headquarters came to find her, as well as showing that Daichi is the only one who can get Hana out of the Blume. Hana’s flashback during the battle with Salty Dog was re-used from earlier, but it helped to have this flashback again to remind the audience what we had already learned about Hana prior to this point. The other flashbacks help to flesh out this re-used flashback from an earlier episode. Admittedly, the flashbacks felt like an “info dump” at times, but the audience needed the information that was being conveyed.

Near the end of the episode, Hana does something that surprises people and repels Salty Dog’s attack. It was awesome to see Salty Dog get its ass whooped again and being forced to leave with its tail between its legs again. Silly, Salty Dog. Don’t you know that you’re no match for the Midsummer’s Knights?

This episode also sees a scene that features Kube talking to Puck, and the audience learns about an email that Kube received from Peter in which Kube is asked if the way he thought would change if he had eternal life. During the discussion, Puck realizes that Peter wrote a report about the Livlasters are extradimensional life forms that took the shape of the gun; he also wonders if maybe this life form is the one trying to take over the galaxy.

I have to admit that I was a little confused with this scene at first, because I wasn’t sure if Kube was actually Kube or if Puck still possessed him. But right at the end of the scene, Kube and Puck say their lines in unison; at that point, I came to the realization that Puck appears to be in both places at once.

In this episode, we saw very little of the engineered children; there was only one scene that featured Amarok and Malkin, and it was a scene that didn’t seem to add much of anything to the story. It almost felt like it was thrown in to remind the audience that these characters are around. Seeing the preview for the next episode, it looks like Ai will be playing an important role. With only six more episodes to go, I really wonder why all of these other engineered children were introduced since they hardly ever seem to show up. Honestly, I tend to forget that most of them even exist unless I see them on the screen or I hear a mention of them. Hopefully these characters will start appearing more regularly during these last few episodes.

But it looks like the stage is being set for the final confrontation that I expect will be what ends the series. At this point, will both the engineered children and Salty Dog serve as antagonists and each antagonist gets roughly equal screen time? As it is right now, we haven’t see Salty Dog and the engineered children truly being depicted as antagonists at the same time.

Viz Media Posts English Dub Clip for Blood Lad

Viz Media is now streaming the first English dub clip for the Blood Lad television anime series. The company will be releasing a limited edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on September 2, 2014.

I am embedding the clip below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view the video due to region blocking.

Sentai Filmworks Licenses The Ambition of Oda Nobuna

Sentai Filmworks has announced that the company has acquired the license for The Ambition of Oda Nobuna television anime series.

The company is planning to release the series digitally and on home video. As of this writing, no further information is available.

Information on the Second Season of Log Horizon

NHK’s official blog is announcing that the second season of the Log Horizon television anime series will be premiering on October 4, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. JST on its E-Tele channel.

In addition, the staff has announced that three new voice actors are joining the cast:

  • Rie Murakawa is Lize
  • Yukiyo Fujii is Tetra
  • Tsubasa Yonaga is Kinjo

In addition, it has been announced that Yun*chi will return from the first series to perform the second season’s ending theme song, “Wonderful Wonder World*.”