Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 141 (October 27, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Hi-Fi Cluster (which has officially joined the Weekly Shonen Jump lineup), One Piece, Naruto, Nisekoi: False Love, One-Punch Man, Toriko, World Trigger, Bleach, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. In addition, this issue also includes the fourth chapter for Death Note as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s new “Jump Back” initiative. There’s also a thank you section dedicated to Masashi Kishimoto and a con report from New York Comic Con.

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.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:004-005

Hi-Fi Cluster, which had recently been featured as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative, has officially joined the lineup of Weekly Shonen
Jump
. This issue includes two chapters in order to start catching up with the Japanese publication.

Chapter Four picks up right where Chapter Three ended. Kandera discovers that that the top brass hasn’t told them everything that they needed to know before going on this assignment, and they get some additional information from the highway patrol. Ekusa takes on the gang, but they split up, and Peta seems to figure out which one is the leader that they need to pursue. Ekusa manages to catch up with the leader, and Kandera is the one who ultimately apprehends him.

Chapter Five sees Peta meeting Heckt Okada, the guy in charge of Special Unit Six’s intelligence gathering and infiltration work. Heckt is the sort of person who doesn’t like making any effort, so when he shows up he’s asleep 80 percent of the time. A new case is also introduced: ten humanoid industrial machines that can be used with ability labels were stolen and it’s their job is to retrieve the robots and arrest the thieves. Heckt is sent to scope out suspicious people in a busy club because Peta’s ability doesn’t work with so many people around. We learn that Heckt’s Hi-Fi ability is the power to decipher all of the conversations that are taking place in a location. With Heckt’s help, they’re able to find the suspects and track them to their hideout. Unfortunately, the industrial machines are launched just as the chapter ends…

I’m glad to see that Hi-Fi Cluster was the series that was selected to become a regular part of Weekly Shonen Jump, because to me, this was the strongest of the four titles that were part of the “Jump Start” initiative. I’m glad to finally know how the storyline that introduced Ekusa ended. And we also get to meet another new character, which helps to expand the world of Hi-Fi Cluster. These early chapters are still working at trying to establish the characters and the world that they inhabit, but these establishing chapters aren’t that boring. There’s enough action to keep the story interesting as the establishing is still going on.

One Piece CH:765

At the beginning of this chapter, we’re still in Law’s flashback. At this point, Corazon and Law run into Doflamingo, who tells them they may have found a way to cure Law’s illness. It requires that Corazon eat the Op-Op Fruit to allow him to be the one to cure Law. But as we later see, Doflamingo suspects that Corazon has been the one leaking information about them to the Navy. Corazon realizes that Doflamingo’s caught on, so he comes up with a plan to steal the Op-Op Fruit before Doflamingo can get his hands on it; Corazon uses his contacts in the Navy to get pertinent information. After his phone call, he discovers Law collapsed on the ground with a fever. At the end of the chapter, Corazon manages to get his hands on the Op-Op Fruit, but he’s seen before he can get back to where Law is…

At this point, we’re definitely getting closer to the end of this flashback. While I’ve enjoyed getting Law’s backstory, I’m starting to hope that we’ll be returning to the main storyline soon so this story arc can continue. His backstory isn’t bad or anything, it’s just taking a little longer than I had anticipated to get it told.

It should be noted that One Piece will not be in next week’s edition of Weekly Shonen Jump and will return in the November 10, 2014 issue.

Naruto CH:697

Sasuke launches his most powerful move, which causes an explosion that knocks the heads off both of the statues at the Valley of the End; Sasuke also collapses on the ground. Sasuke is surprised to see Naruto get back up after the blast; Kurama’s Nature Energy had managed to reach Naruto before he was hit with Sasuke’s blast. But then Sasuke uses Amaterasu, but then Sasuke discovers he’s used up too much chakra so he can’t maintain control or use his left eye’s ability, either. Sasuke gets a shock when Naruto and two of his shadow clones run toward him and they work at beating him up; Sasuke fights back, but it’s not at the power he’d been at. But after a short bit, Sasuke’s getting the upper hand again…

Oh, no! I was really hoping that Naruto would get the upper hand by the end of this chapter! So their fight will definitely continue into the next chapter, and hopefully it’ll either conclude at the end of the next chapter or right at the very beginning of the following chapter. Even with that wish, I have to admit that this fight between the two of them is actually rather exciting. I still can’t believe that there’s only two more weeks left for Naruto

Thank You Masashi Kishimoto

This is a two-page spread of words from various people who have been involved with the English release of the Naruto manga over the years, including editors, a translator, letterers, and a designer. I thought it was a nice feature for what it was.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:144

This chapter continues the story that started in the previous volume of Weekly Shonen Jump. After Onodera and Raku discover they have to share a room that night, it becomes rather awkward for them. Later, when they go the hot spring, they discover that they’re both in the same one and become incredibly embarrassed; after a moment, they discover a sign reading, “Co-Ed.” Onodera seems to be the one to calm down about it first. During a conversation,
Raku asks Onodera why she said a year earlier that she’d be glad if Raku were her first love. But before she can answer, Onodera becomes overheated and has to be helped out of the hot spring.

While this chapter does a little bit to develop the relationship between Raku and Onodera, a lot of it felt like just another way to throw Raku into awkward situations with one of his potential love interests. Between what I’ve read in the first five tankobon, as well as what I’ve read in Weekly Shonen Jump, it just feels like Nisekoi: False Love is simply “spinning its wheels” and only making any progress by adding more characters into the mix. I’ve been starting to think recently that perhaps this series has started to become a little too bloated for its own good.

One-Punch Man CH:038

This chapter returns to focusing on King and Saitama, and Saitama realizes that King’s strength and battle history are a lie. And King realizes that Saitama’s a stronger fighter than he thought he was. King also recognizes Saitama’s voice, and believes that he’s encountered him before. Saitama then asks King if he plans to keep lying or quit being a hero, and then ends with asking King why he doesn’t try to get stronger. In the end, Saitama doesn’t seem to be the least bit upset with King over what he’s done.

Well, it appears that King’s part of the story has come to an end. It felt a bit anticlimactic, but oh well. I guess at this point, Saitama will be heading back to where Senos is and try to help him out with the smaller being that emerged from the melted G4. I’m guessing it’ll take Senos and Saitama teaming up in order to take that thing down, and that this will probably take at least one or two more chapters. I have to give this story arc credit, because it seems to be moving faster than the previous story arc had. Hopefully it’ll continue to keep moving at this pace and not bog down and become boring.

Toriko CH:298

It turns out the creature that approached Toriko and the othera at the end of the previous chapter is a Nitro, who says she will show the group the place where civilization once flourished on the continent. They explore the ruins, and the Nitro introduces herself as Kaka, one of the three flavor wizards. She explains she had heard about them from Chichi. It turns out that Kaka had been awoken from her drought dormancy by Komatsu. While they talk, Komatsu’s condition takes a sudden turn, but they manage to stabilize him. At this point, it appears Komatsu only has one week left, unless they can find a way to save him before they run out of supplies. Kaka tells them they must focus on acquiring Pair and that she knows how to do it. They are told they must go to the most dangerous part of Area 7 to complete their quest, which is 100 G Mountain and that one of the Eight Kings lives there; Toriko and the others must battle the Monkey King to get the Pair.

This chapter spends a lot of time introducing a new character to the reader, as well as establishes what truly needs to be done in order to rescue Komatsu. I was a little concerned when I saw Komatsu’s condition suddenly turn in this chapter, but was glad to see that they could take care of him for now. I really hope that there will be a happy ending for Komatsu, because he’s one of the characters I’ve come to enjoy when I read Toriko. If Komatsu is
killed off, I’ll be rather disappointed.

World Trigger CH:080

Osamu makes a break for it, but Mira manages to have enough energy to stop him. Just as Commander Hyrein approaches Osamu, he is suddenly attacked. At this moment, Osamu throws Replica toward the Neighbors’ ship. A “Return Home” command has been issued to the ship, and Hyrein takes the cube Osamu has; Hyrein discovers that it’s simply a Trion cube. Hyrein, Mira, and the other Neighbors are heading off in their ship, which also means that Replica will be going with them.

Finally! This story arc is over! It took how many months to get to this point? After stretching it out for so long, it sure seemed to wrap up in a hurry. I assume this conclusion is what’s been referenced by “the future crossroads.” Now the question is, where is the series going to go to from here? Since I jumped into the middle of this particular story arc and have only seen the first two episodes of the anime so far, I’m really not terribly familiar with what this series has done prior to this story arc.

Bleach CH:602

It turns out that the speciality of one of the Royal Guards is to accurately calculate the lethal dose of a particular substance and to adjust that amount at will. The Royal Guard uses this ability to Etsu’s blood, but Etsu counters it by starting to drain some of his own blood so it gets under the lethal dose. Etsu then uses Tenjiro’s red hot spring to replace the blood he lost with new blood. Etsu is able to defeat this member of the Royal Guard, and then turns his sights on Yhwach right at the end of the chapter.

The battle in this chapter is done in the manner that I’ve come to expect from battles that appear in Bleach. However, some time was spent on explaining what a lethal dose is, as well as some facts concerning blood. While these explanations were needed, they did bog down the chapter somewhat. While the battle between Etsu and the Royal Guard took some time, it wasn’t quite as long as I’d expected. But now that Etsu has turned his attention to Yhwach, I imagine that battle will take longer before reaching a resolution.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:47

After encountering E’rah, the deity of despair, Yuma and the others find themselves in a graveyard. It turns out that with the return of Kaito’s number, Astral has regained his memories… which includes coming from the astral world to defeat E’rah. The grave markers in the graveyard is for a hope that E’rah has destroyed. E’rah reveals that it’s her goal to destroy both our world and the astral world. It’s also revealed that E’rah was the one who scattered Astral’s memories and is the one who broke Yagumo. Yuma, Kaito, and Ryoga all decide to battle E’rah. During the battle, it appears that E’rah is very overpowered. At the end of the chapter, as Yuma is about to give up, something surprising happens…

At this point, it seems pretty clear that this storyline is getting much closer to reaching its conclusion. Obviously, with how overpowered E’rah is, it’s going to take several chapters to somehow defeat her. I also have a suspicion that I know what’s going on with the surprise happening, so I’m curious to see if I’m right. And if I’m right about this storyline getting closer to an end, does this also mean the manga itself will end after this?

Death Note CH:004

In this chapter, we see L pondering over what he’s figured out so far. Light, meanwhile, is trying to find ways to keep other people from touching the Death Note so no one else can see Ryuk. And from talking with Light, Ryuk learns that he’s done some of the things he’s done up to now is because Light wants to find L and eliminate him. Meanwhile, members from the Special Investigation forces start turning in their reginations because they don’t want to be killed by “Kira.” We then get to see what Light devised in order to hide the Death Note.

So it appears that this is the final chapter of Death Note that will be part of the “Jump Back” initiative. As someone who hasn’t read Death Note before, I really appreciated getting this sampler over the past four weeks. It’s interested me enough that I’ll need to try to read the whole series at some point. I hope to see some other “Jump Back” initiatives in the future.

NYCC Con Report

This section includes pictures of cosplayers at New York Comic Con, which runs for five pages. Readers who enjoy looking at pictures of cosplay.

Anime Film Review: Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black

Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black is the third film for the Bleach anime franchise. The film was directed by Noriyuki Abe, and it was released to Japanese theaters on December 13, 2008. VIZ Media holds the North American distribution rights for the film, and the company released it on DVD and Blu-ray on November 15, 2011. This review focuses on the DVD pressing, since that’s the version that I watched.

This film introduces a pair of mysterious siblings who wreak havoc in Soul Society. The brother has a scythe that erases memories, which he uses on Mayuri while he’s in his laboratory. Mayuri becomes so panicked and frightened that he damages a machine; this causes a massive reiatsu explosion that covers quite a bit of the Soul Society in a milky layer of reiatsu and freezes many Soul Reapers. During the chaos, the two siblings go to Rukia; the brother uses his scythe to erase her memories, and he and his sister take Rukia with them. At this point, everyone in the Soul Society appear to lose their memories of Rukia.

In the World of the Living, Ichigo briefly forgets about Rukia, but then recalls her after having a dream. Troubled by this, Ichigo and Kon go to the Soul Society to find out what’s going on. It turns out the Soul Reapers have forgotten Ichigo and believe he is the one responsible for the reiatsu explosion. Ichigo finds himself having to fight with people he thinks of as friends.

Rukia has a past with these siblings, who don’t have names. Rukia was supposed to give them names, but something happened that prevented this. And during his search for Rukia, Ichigo receives some unexpected help from Byakuya. I appreciated getting the reminder that Rukia’s older sister, Hisana, had been married to Byakuya, since this connection played an important role in this film.

Urahara actually ends up playing an important role in the story, and he actually goes to Soul Society wearing his captain’s uniform. It was cool to not only see Urahara dressed this way, but to also get to see him in action. Urahara actually participates quite a bit in one of the battles that takes place near the end of the film.

The story ultimately climaxes with Ichigo finding Rukia but being forced to fight her after the siblings possess Rukia. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that in some respects it was touching; however, the way it was played ended up coming off a little “over the top” at times.

Of course, as I’ve come to expect of these Shonen Jump films, everything is “reset to zero” at the end of it. This means that any character growth of progression that takes place here won’t be part of the story of the television anime series. Anymore, as I watch these films, I find myself wondering how exactly they’ll “reset to zero” in order to try and not cause any inconsistencies with the anime series.

Since this film focused so heavily on the Soul Society, we didn’t get to see many of the characters from the Land of the Living. Honestly, though, I didn’t see much of a reason to have included Kon in here, because I don’t think he added much to the story in the long run.

Animation-wise, it wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t quite up to the level of the first two Bleach films. There were occasional shots in this film where some of the computer graphics were more noticeable with some of the characters’ movements because these particular movements didn’t look entirely natural.

But to be honest, Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black isn’t too bad for a Shonen Jump film. There was an interesting story being told, and it was interesting to see many of the characters act in a way you wouldn’t expect, especially when they interact with Ichigo after they’ve forgotten about him.

When VIZ Media released Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black on DVD, it was released as a single disc instead of a two-disc release. Because of this, there aren’t nearly as many bonus features for this film that the previous two films received for their DVD releases.

The first bonus feature is “Movie Trailers,” which is split into Japanese trailers and English trailers. There are a total of eight Japanese trailers included, and they all have Japanese audio without English subtitles. There are two English trailers included.

For “Production Art,” there’s 16 pages of line art of the characters and locations that appeared in the film. The final bonus feature is “More From Viz Media,” which only includes the trailer for Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Bonds that appears at the beginning of the disc when it first starts playing.

The bonus features on this release are more on the “bare bones” side, but at least getting these bonuses are better than getting nothing. I’m not going to complain about this, since it could have been a lot worse.

If you’re a fan of Bleach, I think you’ll enjoy Bleach The Movie: Fade to Black and will want to add it to your anime collection if you don’t own it already. From what I can tell, it appears that the Blu-ray has the exact same bonus features as the DVD release, so it really would come down to a matter of preference as to whether or not you’d want to own this film on DVD or Blu-ray.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach the Movie: Fade to Black that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 13

Bleach DVD Set 13 is a three disc set that contains 12 episodes; each disc in this set includes four episodes and bonus features. The episodes on these discs can be watched either with English dialogue or with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles.

The first 10 episodes included in this set continue the story in Hueco Mundo. This includes character development for both Neliel and Nnoitra, as well as looking like the end is coming for Ichigo, Chad, Rukia, Uryu, and Renji. However, some Soul Society captains arrive to take on the Espada and help Ichigo and the others. Unfortunately, the arrival of the captains doesn’t mean these fights end easily; in fact, the battles the captains have against the Arrancar escalate and take several episodes to resolve. But before they can enjoy their victories, Aizen recaptures Orihime and launches an attack with the intent to destroy Karakura Town. In the final episode of this arc, Ichigo reaches Ulquiorra with the intent to take him on.

As I was watching these 10 episodes, especially after the Soul Society captains joined in the fights, I felt as if these battles ran longer than they really needed to. To me, it felt like these fights were being extended in order to stretch this part of the story out longer. My favorite part of these 10 episodes was getting to see the backstory and character development for both Neliel and Nnoitra, because this helped me acquire more respect for Nel and like her more as a character. While Pesche and Dondochakka also appear in this backstory, there wasn’t enough there to improve my view of them as characters. There’s one point where these two characters are sent flying, and I nearly cheered; I hope they’re gone for good.

I was dismayed to discover that the final two episodes are a short filler arc that sees the return of Rurichiyo, a character introduced in the filler arc that appears on Bleach DVD Set 11 and most of Bleach DVD Set 12. This was ultimately a stupid story about Rurichiyo getting mad with one of her retainers because he won’t let her play kemari because of the duties she has to do; she runs off to Karakura Town to find Ichigo and the others. When Rurichiyo’s retainer finds her, it leads to a kemari match being played between some of the characters of the series. But the game is interrupted by the arrival of a Hollow.

Ugh. Right when the canon arc was about to start into another major battle featuring Ichigo, the series cuts away to a filler story that just can’t fit in where it was put. Not only that, it features characters from the previous filler arc that I really didn’t care about. As a viewer, I was annoyed that this had happened again and that these characters made a return to the series. And it didn’t help that the filler story this time was just plain stupid. After making it through the intense fights earlier in the set and seeing the setup for upcoming major plot points, it was frustrating to have the storyline interrupted in this manner. It was probably a case where the anime was catching up too much with the manga source material, but couldn’t they have come up with a better filler than this? I really hope we don’t have to see Rurichiyo again during the series.

When it comes to the DVD itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” special feature that appears on each disc. I still hope this will be rectified in one of the future DVD box sets for Bleach.

The main menu on each disc in this set is also silent again. The Naruto Shippuden box sets made a similar change to their menus, but this change ended up not lasting very long. I hope this holds true for these Bleach DVD box sets. Seeing action taking place on the menu without any audio can be rather disconcerting to me as a viewer.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. Each disc includes nine pages of art. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features; the first two discs have the first ending that appear on this set, while the third disc has the second ending.

Each disc also has omake, as well as “sneak peeks.” There are three trailers in the “sneak peeks” on each disc, and the same three appear on each one.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have all of the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach DVD Set 13 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 140 (October 20, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, Naruto, One-Punch Man, Toriko, Bleach, and eIDLIVE. In addition, this issue also includes the third chapter for Death Note as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s new “Jump Back” initiative. There’s also a brief Q&A with Takeshi Obata.

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.

One Piece CH:764

This chapter continues the flashback about Law and his time with the Don Quixote family. It specifically focuses on Law talking with Corazon and learning the truth about Corazon and his brother, Doflamingo. During the discussion, Corazon tells Law that he needs to get away from Doflamingo and the others. When Law threatens to tell Doflamingo the truth, Corazon attacks; later, Corazon discovers that Law hasn’t said a word. Corazon takes it upon himself to get Law away and to try to find a cure for Law’s disease. Unfortunately, when Corazon takes Law to be treated, the hospital won’t do anything because they’re afraid of contracting the disease. Corazon keeps taking him to various hospitals, but they always get the same response.

I have to say that I felt so bad seeing the treatment that poor Law was getting over and over from the various medical professionals about his disease. While I know there’s no known cure for it, he was being treated as if he was less than human and that no one wanted to risk being around him. In a lot of ways, it makes me think of the fear and uncertainty we’ve been seeing in the news lately regarding Ebola. I know it’s purely coincidental, but it sure makes this chapter feel timely! But I also liked seeing how Corazon is coming to care for Law over the course of this chapter; unfortunately, I suspect this is going to somehow come to a tragic end.

World Trigger CH:079

We see Yuma get a hit in on Viza, and then Yuma heads off to where Hyrein and Mira are. Miwa is up against these two as Osamu realizes what he has to do. Mira tries to stop Osamu, but he turns off his Trigger and runs. Miwa attacks Mira, and she’s injured; also, because she used too many windows, she’s now out of Trion. Just then, Yuma arrives, and he and Miwa ask each other where the enemy is. And right at the end of the chapter, there’s only seven seconds left until the future crossroads.

This was probably one of the better chapters of World Trigger that I’ve read since I started reading the series earlier this year. There’s a lot of action taking place, and the story is finally starting to move a little more noticeably. I suspect that the story will somehow slow back down again, but with the declaration that there’s only seven seconds left until a major event, I can’t see how the manga author can stretch those last seven seconds out for months. Of course, there’s always a chance that the manga author will find a way to do that, though.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:143

This chapter sees Onodera approaching Raku and asking him to help out with a job at a hot springs resort that’s owned by one of her relatives. As they work together, they both so nervous because of their unspoken mutual attraction for each other. But as they try to clean up son futons, they find themselves in an awkward and compromising position. This causes even more awkwardness between them as they work. But when the chef throws out his back, Onodera recommends that Raku fill in for him. This forces Raku and Onodera to work together, and this improves the situation between the two of them. The chapter ends with an unexpected surprise awaiting both Raku and Onodera.

I just read the fifth volume of the Nisekoi: False Love manga the day before reading this chapter, and as soon as I saw the setup for this story, I wanted to facepalm. Onodera asking Raku to help out somewhere already happened back in the fifth volume of the manga, so that made this whole story idea feel recycled. While this was at a hot spring resort instead of at the sweet shop, the idea that Onodera and Raku have to work together and are nervous about it the whole time thing has already been done. It’s bad enough that Komi has been recycling ideas from other manga such as Ranma 1/2 and Love Hina, but now he’s starting to recycle his own ideas from Nisekoi: False Love. Resorting to recycling makes it feel as if Komi is struggling to come up with ideas simply to stretch the series out and make it last longer.

Naruto CH:696

In this chapter, Naruto and Sasuke take a reprieve from their battle and start talking about Sasuke’s philosophy. But after this short reprieve, their battle continues again. Sasuke then works on merging all the disseminated chakra into one, and Naruto tries to counter by using one of his jutsu and the battle continues. Naruto declares at the end of the chapter that he wants to fight and win against Sasuke fair and square… but not against the current Sasuke.

This chapter sees the fight between Naruto and Sasuke stopping and starting quite a bit. But both sides keep upping the ante, so this fight shouldn’t be lasting for too much longer. Of course, with only three chapters left, it can’t go on much longer. I really hope this fight can be resolved in two more chapters, and that the final chapter will show the aftermath. It’s still hard to believe there’s only three chapters left for Naruto, and I’m hoping this series will receive a satisfying enough conclusion.

After the chapter is over, there’s a four-page spread about the new Naruto Shippuden deck building card game that’s come out. These pages explain how the game works.

One-Punch Man CH:037.6

This chapter sees Senos going up against the smaller being that emerged from the melted G4 in the previous chapter. However, this being insists that it’s only interested in going after King. Senos manages to dump the contents of a foam fire extinguisher on it, and then dislodges a water outlet in order to create steam. Right at the end of the chapter, Senos is about to head-butt the being…

This ending up being a rather quick read, and this chapter only focused on the battle between Senos and the being. With the way the previous chapter had ended with the giant bird crashing through King’s window, I’d been looking forward to seeing how that part of the story would progress. Oh well. Perhaps we’ll see more with King when the next chapter is published in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Toriko CH:297

Toriko and the others find themselves surrounded by Gore-illas. Zebra fights against the creatures, and Toriko and the others have no choice but to join in. Toriko finds himself up against a Crazy Salsa-Simian, which is a monkey that can fight by using martial arts. The other members of the party find themselves up against other types of apes and monkeys. The group finds that this swarm of primates won’t be easily defeated. But the primates suddenly stop when one of the Eight Kings arrives on the scene. Suddenly, the Choo Choo Chomper, along with Toriko and his group, fall down a giant hole to someplace deep underground that has ruins. They are approached by a creature just as the chapter ends…

This chapter spent a lot of time explaining about the various kinds of monkeys, as well as the hierarchy of their society. But just as that finished, our main characters fall someplace underground. It just made me wonder why so much time was spent on explaining about the monkeys if we’re separated from them by the end of the chapter. I’m not sure what kind of creature has approached them at the ruins, but I suspect he’ll be providing a lot of exposition in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:601

This chapter sees Squad Zero starting into their fight against the royal guards. Etsu Nimana, one of the members of Squad Zero surprises the royal guards with his sword and how he uses it. Etsu is able to take down one the royal guards, and begins attacking another one. He seems to knock this other one down, but something happens at the end of the chapter that surprises Etsu…

So here’s a chapter that focuses on one character fighting with a couple of others. The first guy seemed to be taken down rather easily, but the second one pulls off the type of surprise I’ve come to expect from Bleach when it comes to thinking someone’s taken down an enemy when they really haven’t. In the end, though, the story really doesn’t progress much by the end of the chapter.

eIDLIVE CH:003

This chapter sees Chief Brick being briefed about the escape that happened in the previous chapter. But the important aspect of this meeting is the fact that a situation is headed toward our solar system. Chuta is examined by Professor Isaku, and learns that the powerful life-based technique that eIDLIVE uses to fight with is body odor. Back on Earth, Dory begins using his power to help Chuta out, whether it’s to cover up for him missing a kick in soccer or helping to take down shoplifters. But in the process, Chuta’s Aunt Mimi is hurt, which causes Chuta to be racked with guilt. While he’s at the hospital, Misuzu approaches Chuta and tells him that using Doru’s power in his everyday life on Earth is against the rules. While eIDLIVE has taken care of it this time, the next time Chuta will be punished for it. Chuta begins thinking that he should quit eIDLIVE. After Chuta has a conversation with his aunt, Chuta realizes he has to try harder for his aunt’s sake.

After it’s discovered that the shoplifter was an alien, eIDLIVE doesn’t plan to go after it since the severity of the crime isn’t a high enough level. But Miszuu decides to bend the rules so Chuta can use this as a way to level himself up. When Chuta gets more information about the alien, it’s discovered the perpetrator is a violent criminal wanted to multiple murders. When Chuta delivers the information to Chief Brick, he’s told an investigation will be opened, and Chuta makes a case for getting involved with the investigation. Chuta and Misuzu are sent to Earth to track down the alien. In the end, it takes both Chuta and Misuzu to capture the alien.

Unfortunately, my impression of this series didn’t improve at all over the course of this chapter. In fact, I found myself feeling rather bored as I read it. It also didn’t help that this chapter was so darn long! Of the four “Jump Start” series I’ve read, I’d have to say that eIDLIVE and Sporting Salt tie for my least favorite. It’s a series that I’m not in a rush to ever read again.

Death Note CH:003

In this chapter, we see that Light is trying to take a break from media exposure, since all that’s being talked about is L and “Kira,” the name that Light has been given by the public for what he’s been doing. We also see the special investigative bureau sharing what evidence they’ve gathered in their investigation into “Kira.” We also learn that Light’s father is part of the investigation into “Kira.”

What an interesting twist that Light’s father is part of the investigation into “Kira.” And it was also interesting to see that Light is trying to find ways to toy around with L and the police investigating the case. With each chapter I read of Death Note, I find myself becoming more and more interested in the story.

But I’m a little confused. According to what I saw at the end, it’s saying there will be another chapter of Death Note in Weekly Shonen Jump next week. Is this accurate? I thought the idea was to only provide three chapters for the “Jump Back” initative, just like the “Jump Start” initiative.

Q&A With Takeshi Obata

There’s also a one-page Q&A with Takeshi Obata. This allowed Weekly Shonen Jump to ask some of the questions sent in by fans that they weren’t able to get to during the New York Comic Con panel with Takeshi Obata. I wish this had been a two-page Q&A, because this just felt a little too short.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 139 (October 13, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Toriko, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, One-Punch Man, and eIDLIVE. In addition, this issue also includes the second chapter for Death Note as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s new “Jump Back” initiative. There’s also an excerpt from a 10-page interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro.

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:695

This chapter sees Sasuke and Naruto’s fight getting underway. During the fight, both of them go up to their next state to kick the fight up a notch. This is then followed by the two of them remembering how lonely they were when they were younger, and then memories of their previous battle at the Valley of the End. Naruto accuses Sasuke of trying to be alone again, and Naruto’s determined to not let that happen. Not much progress is made in the fight by the end of the chapter.

Basically, this chapter is meant to set the stage for what will hopefully end up being an epic fight between Naruto and Sasuke. In this chapter, more time was spent on reminding the reader about these characters’ pasts than on anything else. And with this, there’s only four more chapters remaining for Naruto; I’m hoping this fight between Naruto and Sasuke isn’t made to last for all four of the remaining chapters, because I’d like to see some kind of closure as to what will happen in the aftermath of their fight.

Bleach CH:600

Right at the beginning of this chapter, Senjumaru appears to be killed rather easily by the royal guards. But this turns out to be an illusion, because Yhwach and the others were lured to a false Reiokyu. A cage is built from a tree of life to trap the royal guards. And right at the end of the chapter, Squad Zero is ready to fight.

I have to admit that I hadn’t seen the twist of the fake Reiokyu coming. But for some reason, I have a feeling that this cage isn’t going to hold the royal guards as well as the chapter is trying to lead us to believe. And now the stage is set for a showdown with Squad Zero, but I can’t see the squad winning the fight so easily.

One Piece CH:763

There’s a strong focus on a flashback about the Celestial Dragons. We then return to the flashback of Law being brought when he ran away after stabbing Corazon. But instead of being punished, Law is offered membership into the Don Quixote family. When Law says he only has three years to live, he’s told they can probably find a devil fruit within that time that could save his life. And right at the end of the chapter, when Law reveals his true name to some of the others, Corazon pulls him aside and says that he needs to stay away from Dofy.

This is another chapter that focused very heavily on providing backstory for Law’s character. Since this was exclusively a flashback chapter, nothing happens to progress the overarching story. I don’t mind too much, though, since I’m getting some much needed backstory for Law; I knew nothing about him when I jumped into the middle of this arc in Weekly Shonen Jump several months ago.

Toriko CH:296

In this chapter, the Choo-Choo Chomper is attacked by large, round, spiky creatures as Toriko and the others are heading to Area 7. They determine that the “creatures” are actually pollen, and they discover when they reach Area 7 that everything on the continent is gigantic. After arriving at Area 7, a large monkey boards the Choo-Choo Chomper and tries to attack; however, the monkey is overcome by Zebra. But this could spell trouble for Toriko and the others…

This chapter introduces the reader to Area 7, which is just huge. As you’d expect from this series, arriving at Area 7 wouldn’t be a walk in the park. The stage is definitely being set for a confrontation between Toriko’s group and the inhabitants of Area 7. But with this confrontation, there’s going to be the issue of making sure that nothing happens to Komatsu in the process, since the whole point of them coming to Area 7 was to try to get him healed from his injury.

Interview with Kishimoto and Shimbakuro

This is a two-page excerpt of a 10-page interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro that’s included in Toriko Volume 24. It’s basically the two of them talking about various things they’ve gone through as manga artists. It’s OK for an excerpt, but hopefully the full 10-page interview is better.

World Trigger CH:078

At the beginning of this chapter, Mira captures Replica; unfortunately, this means that Osamu won’t be able to get inside the base, so he needs to find a different way to achieve his goal. But then we see that the Rabit is cubified and that Replica is with Osamu. While most of Replica’s functions have terminated, it can still open the entrance to the base. It’s going to take 20 seconds for Replica to analyze the entrance. Then the focus switches back to Yuma and the Black Trigger who looks like an old man. Yuma does something that surprises the Black Trigger right at the end of the chapter…

For the most part, not a whole lot truly happened in this chapter that progresses the overall story. Only minor things happen in both stories that take place in this chapter, but the story is pretty much just spinning it wheels in order to make this story arc last longer. I’ve been reading World Trigger in Weekly Shonen Jump for several months now, and in all reality, there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress in the story during that time.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:142

This chapter sees Marika declare that she’s going to conquer the animals of the school menagerie. Marika meets up with Raku, and Chitoge is there as well because Raku asked for her help. But as we see, Marika’s attempt at overcoming her fear of animals is just a front because she wants to be able to spend time around Raku while he’s around animals. Chitoge has figured this out on her own, though. When Marika meets the capybara, it makes its alarm sound; however, when Chitoge is around it, it makes its affection sound. Marika doesn’t have any better luck while she’s around a barn owl. And then Marika has an epic fail with a crocodile. In the end, Marika makes no progress whatsoever in regards to her fear of animals.

So here’s another stand-alone story that has nothing to do with the overarching story of the locket and the promise. Oh well. At least this stand-alone story provides some character development for Marika. There’s some humorous moments in this chapter, so that makes a little worthwhile. But hopefully we’ll start seeing some progress in the overarching story soon.

One-Punch Man CH:037.5

This chapter sees Senos still going up against G4. It looks like Senos has defeated him, but then a smaller being emerges from the melted G4. This smaller being begins attacking with lasers. Meanwhile, King and Saitama are still at King’s place. with Saitama talking to King as King plays videogames. Saitama asks King why he ran away from the fight and keeps persisting with his question; before King can say anything, an emergency warning sounds and warns that a giant bird has appeared in the city. The giant bird. As Saitama is about to leave, the giant bird suddenly flies right through King’s window.

So there was only brief movement in the story in this chapter. The purpose of this chapter seemed to be to set up the two plot points of the new being emerging from G4 and the bird crashing into King’s place. Will Saitama finally see for himself that King is a fraud in an upcoming chapter? It does seem to be what this is leading up to.

eIDLIVE CH:002

At school, Misuzu is asked if she’s friends with Chuta; her response is that she hopes he vanishes without a trace. Chuta later talks to the Monitalien that’s been inside him this whole time, and the creature is given the name “Doru.” Chuta also discovers in this chapter that if he tries to hurt Doru, he’ll also hurt himself because they share one body. This chapter then sees Chuta heading to eIDLIVE for his first day of work, with Misuzu giving Chuta the grand tour of eIDLIVE’s facility. While they’re on the tour, a suspect escapes from the detention center. It’s discovered that the escapee has transported itself to Earth, so Misuzu and Chuta are sent back to Earth to pursue him. Misuzu ends up being the one to take down the escapee, and she undergoes a transformation before she does.

Like the first chapter, this chapter was completely in color. I have to say that while seeing Misuzu’s transformation sequence was kind of cool, it raises more questions about her. Until the escapee element of the story happened, this chapter was a little on the boring side because it focused heavily on the exposition. Unfortunately, this chapter didn’t do much to improve my opinion of the series that I had after I finished reading the first chapter. I still haven’t found a real “hook” for it yet to grab my interest.

Death Note CH:002

At a G8 summit, which is a meeting of Interpol, they discuss the mysterious deaths of criminals that have been taking place. It’s decided to put a detective named L onto the case, but it’s revealed that L is already on it. It’s also revealed that websites are starting to pop up devoted to a messenger from hell named “Lord Kira” who is passing judgment on humanity, and Light has a long discussion with Ryuk about this. The conversation is interrupted by a report with L giving a press conference and guaranteeing that “Kira” will be caught. When L declares that Lord Kira is evil, Light decides to use the Death Note. But it turns out that the L on the television wasn’t the real L, and L makes some revelations during the broadcast. After the broadcast, Light declares that he’s going to find and dispose of L.

I have to say that I’m glad that Weekly Shonen Jump is providing this “Jump Back” initiative. Now that I’ve finally been exposed to more of Death Note than simply the first episode of the anime, I’m finding that the story is better than I had given it credit for. With the introduction of L, it looks like a game of “cat and mouse” is about to begin between Light and L. I can see a lot of potential for suspense and intrigue. I’m actually looking forward to reading the third chapter next week.

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 12

Bleach DVD Set 12 is a three disc set that contains 14 episodes. The first disc in the set includes four episodes and bonus features, which the other two discs include five episodes and bonus features. The episodes on these discs can be watched either with English dialogue or with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles.

The first 10 episodes in this set focus on the “filler” arc that focuses on Shusuke Amagi and Rurichiyo Kasumioji. In these episodes, Rurichiyo reveals that she knew that Kumoi has been trying to assassinate her. She escapes into Soul Society with the intention of participating in her marriage to Shu in order to keep Kumoi in line. But when Ichigo, Rukia, Kenryu and Enryu crash the ceremony, they discover the Rurichiyo at the wedding is an imposter. But before they can prove anything, the four of them become wanted by Soul Society and are being pursued by Soi Fong. Ichigo and Rukia befriend Shu, and he convinces them to take him as a hostage in order to escape and search for the real Rurichiyo.

Meanwhile, Kira voices his suspicions about Kibune to Amagai; Amagai is skeptical, but he tells Kira to continue observing Kibune. This leads to Kira finding an imprisoned Rurichiyo and being attacked by both assassins and Kibune himself. But in the end, Kibune is consumed by the power of his bakoto. But before this arc comes to an end, there’s a surprising twist that involves Amagai and leads into an epic battle between him and Ichigo. Although I have to say that near the end of the battle, I was feeling as if Amagai was becoming way overpowered simply to extend the story out a little longer.

Phew! I’m glad that this arc finally ended. I have to admit that I didn’t care for it for the most part, especially since I never really came to care about Rurichiyo as a character. For the majority of the arc I found her to be rather annoying. But on the upside, I was glad to see the Amagai’s running gag of not being able to drink alcohol disappeared in this set; I never found the gag to be funny and it overstayed its welcome on Bleach DVD Set 11. But when all is said and done, this will probably end up being a more forgettable filler arc than the Bount filler arc had been.

The final four episodes in the set return to the canon storyline. When the first episode of the canon arc started, I was dismayed to discover that there was no explanation for how we returned to this spot from the filler. However, I discovered that the omake at the end of episode 189 focused on the fact that the series was returning to the canon storyline; unfortunately, since the omake now only appear as a bonus feature, this really hurt the transition between episodes 189 and 190.

Episode 190 was almost exclusively a recap episode in order to remind the audience what had happened to lead up to the point where the canon arc ended before jumping into the filler. The beginning of episode 191 also has some recap, but this episode starts to move the story forward. Between episodes 191 and 193, there’s a focus on the battle with Szayel Aporro as well as on the battle between Ichigo and Nnoitra. During Ichigo’s battle, Nel ends up revealing a secret: that she’s the former Third Espada and that she can return to an adult form.

Well, these episodes finally turn Nel into an important character; prior to this point, she was simply annoying. However, I don’t think there’s anything that can help Pesche, and Dondochakka improve as characters. I honestly believe that Kubo created them to serve as comic relief for this particular story arc, but I don’t find either character to be funny. Instead, they’re simply annoying and I wish they’d go away.

The twist with Nel was interesting, and it gives Ichigo an ally that can help him fight against the Espada. Outside of this development, though, not a whole lot truly happened to move this story arc along in the final four episodes that were included in this set.

After making it through 22 episodes of a filler arc, I’m happy and relieved to see this set finally return to the canon storyline from the Bleach manga. About the only good thing about thing about the filler arc is the fact that I didn’t have to put up with Pesche and Dondochakka for a little while.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” special feature that appears on each disc. I still hope this will be rectified in one of the future DVD box sets for Bleach.

The main menu on each disc in this set is also silent again. The Naruto Shippuden box sets made a similar change to their menus, but this change ended up not lasting very long. I hope this holds true for these Bleach DVD box sets. Seeing action taking place on the menu without any audio can be rather disconcerting to me as a viewer.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters and locations that appear in these episodes. The first disc has 11 pages of art, the second disc has 12 pages, and the third disc has 11 pages. Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features.

Each disc also has omake, as well as “sneak peeks.” There are three trailers in the “sneak peeks” on each disc, and the same three appear on each one.

If you’re a Bleach fan, then you need to get a hold of this set in order to have all of the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Bleach DVD Set 12 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 138 (October 6, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Blue Exorcist, One Piece, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, Naruto, Sporting Salt, Toriko, Bleach, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, and One-Punch Man. In addition, this issue also includes the first chapter for Death Note to kick off Weekly Shonen Jump‘s new “Jump Back” initiative, which will publish three chapters of an older Shonen Jump title. There’s also a “World Trigger Japanese Editors Pick” feature that’s included.

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.

Blue Exorcist CH:061

Rin transforms into his demon self and is wielding the Flame of Satan. Professor Geodin tells Rin that Izumo has been willingly cooperating with this experiment and has been for five years. Rin becomes angry and shoots back that Izumo is crying. Izumo tells Rin that what the professor says is true and to leave her; however, Izumo asks Rin to save her mother. The professor sends zombies to attack Rin. When the others arrive, they wonder how to exorcise the Nine Tails out of Izumo; unfortunately, her mother seems to be the only one who knows how and she’s currently unconscious. But her mother regains consciousness and tells the Nine Tails to be still within her daughter. However, this doesn’t work, and Izumo attacks her mother. The others work together to attack the zombies and trying to keep them away from both mother and daughter. Izumo’s mother manages to grab Izumo and asks the Nine Tails to return to her body. This works, and Izumo’s mother declares that Nine Tails will die along with her. The chapter ends with the death of Izumo’s mother.

This was a very action-packed, as well as a rather emotional, chapter for Blue Exorcist. Since I jumped into this story arc in the middle, I have to admit to being lost in regards to the story for a while. By the end of this chapter, though, I think I finally acquired enough information to truly start understanding the chapters of this series that I’ve been reading over the past six months or so.

According to the text at the end, the next chapter of Blue Exorcist will be published in the November 10, 2014 edition of Weekly Shonen Jump.

One Piece CH:762

This chapter continues the flashback about Trafalagar Law’s backstory of how he came to join up with the Don Quixote Family and the time he spent with Corazon. It also goes into great length with an explanation about the town that Law came from, explaining how and why it was destroyed. We then see Law trying to exact his revenge against Corazon for the death of his family right at the end of the chapter…

As a reader who has jumped into this story arc in the middle, I appreciated getting some backstory for Law. It looks like this backstory will continue in the next chapter, so this should help to solidify Law’s character even more. Since my introduction to Law was in the middle of this story arc, I knew who he was by his name, but had no idea who he was as a person. Also, these chapters focusing on the backstory is giving readers a break from the frenetic action-packed chapters that have been dominant in One Piece in recent months.

World Trigger CH:077

This chapter picks up exactly where the previous chapter left off, with Yuma being face-to-face with the Black Trigger that looks like an old man. They start to battle, but there’s no easy victory for either side. Then the action shifts to the fight between Shuji and Commander Hyrein for a brief bit, and then we see Mira trying to capture Osamu. Just as it seems Mira is going to apprehend him, a Rabit suddenly appears.

Let me ask one thing: what was up with the art in this week’s chapter? The characters look more like pencil sketches than what I normally expect to see in a chapter published in Weekly Shonen Jump. Also, there were some panels where backgrounds and a character’s arm weren’t completed, either. As the scene with Yuma when on, the unfinished look became more and more blatant. When the story moved to another battlefront, it looked like a little more had been done on these panels, but they still didn’t look like they were finalized. This chapter ultimately looks sloppy because of this. Was the managaka running too close to deadline and had to turn in a manuscript that wasn’t completely finalized? After reading this chapter, I wonder why Shueisha allowed it to be published in this state.

And because the art looks so sloppy in this chapter, I found myself being distracted from the actual story. The art looked so bad that it drew too much attention to itself. Hopefully the managaka will go back and clean this up before it’s published in a tankobon.

World Trigger Japanese Editor Picks

In this feature, the Japanese editor for World Trigger talks about his favorite chapters and gives some behind-the-scenes insight into the manga. This feature runs for four pages, and it’s pretty good for what it is.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:141

Ruri is approached by a girl who asks if she knows Shu, and admits that she’s thinking about telling Shu that she likes him. Ruri takes the girl to see Raku, since Raku knows all about Shu. Raku insists that Ruri stay and help him out. Ruri tells the girl all of Shu’s bad points and then asks what she likes about him. The girl says that Shu is nice and sincere, but she doesn’t want to say anything to him yet because she’s heard a rumor that he’s dating someone. This catches both Raku and Ruri off-guard, but before they can do anything, Shu bursts in. When Raku and Ruri leave, Raku tells her about how Shu was friendly to him when he was younger and was alone due to others being too scared to talk to him. Later, when Ruri is heading off to club, she comes across the girl talking to Shu and asking if he has a girlfriend. When he says no, she comes right out and asks if he’d go out with her. Shu turns her down gently and says he’s honored but doesn’t feel like falling in love with anyone. After the girl leaves, Shu calls to Ruri that he knows she was eavesdropping. After learning who Shu liked, Ruri realizes that she doesn’t understand love, but realizes she’s a little interested and a little scared.

This is one of the better chapters of Nisekoi: False Love that I’ve read in a while. Even though it has nothing to do with the overarching story of the promise and the locket, it still provides some character development for both Ruri and Shu. And by the end of this chapter, it appears that perhaps Ruri is developing feelings for Shu; if that’s the case, it could add an interesting dimension to this series, especially since she has insulted him so much in the chapters I’ve read of this series. Maybe this development could help Ruri better understand what Onodera is going through in regard to her fear of confessing her feelings to Raku.

Naruto CH:694

Sasuke and Naruto are at the Valley of the End, and Sasuke starts explaining what he thinks it means to be Hokage, and tying his explanation into how Itachi ultimately lived his life. He also explains that since he is alone now, he can bear the weight of all the hatred and bring every single village under his control. Naruto remembers something the resurrected Itachi told him, which goes completely against what Sasuke’s current beliefs are. And Naruto points out to Sasuke that he couldn’t take on Kaguya by himself. But this doesn’t move Sasuke; he still insists that he’ll kill the Biju and take down all the previous Gokage. Naruto declares that he won’t let Sasuke have his way, saying that he learned everything he knows from the people from the past. The chapter ends with Naruto and Sasuke just starting into a battle…

The night before I read this chapter, news came out that the final chapter of the Naruto manga will be published in the Weekly Shonen Jump issue dated November 10, 2014. So that means there’s only five more chapters remaining until the end. This chapter basically spells out Naruto and Sasuke’s positions, and provides some background to explain philosophies and how the story reached this point. Basically, it’s a chapter meant to set up this final battle between these two characters. With only five chapters left, how is this battle going to be paced and how will it end?

Sporting Salt CH:003

Within the first three pages, Hiroyuki’s gag of grabbing at people with athletic bodies rears its ugly head when the ace of the soccer team comes to see him for help. It turns out Hyoka, the soccer player, is low on stamina. From talking to her, Hiroyuki learns that she’s very angry about her life. The next time Hiroyuki sees Hyoka, he has to pull out the weekly “doctor’s placebo item”; this is also a running gag that’s already worn out its welcome. However, it seems to appear that the “placebo item,” which is ordinary rice balls, are doing the trick. It turns out he put salt into the rice balls because it turns out she’s lacking salt, not stamina.

And this chapter brings about the end of this Weekly Shonen Jump “Jump Start” title. Now that I’ve read all three chapters, I have to say it’s my least favorite of the three series that have been featured in full up to this point. I have to give this chapter credit for breaking its formula somewhat when it turned out that the weekly placebo item actually worked for the problem the person was having. But looking at the series as a whole, I really don’t find Hiroyuki to be a very likable character, and I really feel no interest in ever reading any future chapters of this series.

Toriko CH:295

This chapter sees Toriko and the others heading on their way in order to try to save Komatsu. A shark that’s a train known as a “Choo-Choo Chomper” comes out of the water, and it will be what takes Toriko and the others to Area 7. Area 7 is ruled over by Monkey King Bambina, the most mischievous of the eight kings. The chapter ends with the group boarding the Choo-Choo Chomper and starting out on their journey.

This chapter is basically wrapping up the previous story arc and setting the groundwork for the next one. Because of that, this chapter was primarily exposition-driven instead of having much action. Hopefully the next chapter will get the next story arc moving.

Bleach CH:599

Yhwach and Senjumaru finally come face-to-dace in Reiokyu, and Yhwach sends out his royal guards as Senjumaru’s opponent. As they launch their attack, Senjumaru summons a second-level holy soldier. A surprising twist appears to happen in the battle right at the end of the chapter…

Well, this was a rather quick chapter that saw almost next to nothing happen in it. Sadly, that’s the way a lot of the Bleach chapters I’ve read lately have come across as. I’m starting to feel more and more that Kubo is simply trying to extend this arc out for as long as he possibly can in order to make the series last longer. It’s gotten to a point where it’s getting harder for Bleach to hold my interest.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:026

In this chapter, Guren and two members of his quad take on everyone in Shinoa’s squad. Rather quickly, it appears that Guren and his team members have the upper hand. Through this, Guren points out how little teamwork their squad has. Yu asks Guren how his team of three was able to beat their squad of five. Shinoa tries to explain, but her explanation is refuted by one of Guren’s team members. Just then, Narumi arrives and gets into an argument with Yu. As Yu is fired up to take on Narumi with his squad, Shinoa tells him to knock it off. Shinoa introduces herself to Narumi and apologizes for her squad’s behavior. Shinoa then declares that their squad needs to work on teamwork, but before they can do anything, it’s announced all squads need to form up into their groups and head out to Nagoya to commence the vampire noble extermination mission.

We then see Mika and the vampires herding up humans and present them to the nobles in Nagoya. As Mika wanders around, Mika can no longer control the urge to drink human blood. Mika traps a human, but ends up letting them go.

In a lot of ways, it almost feels like the story is starting to move more rapidly than it had in previous chapters that I’ve read in Weekly Shonen Jump. While it’s good to see that Shinoa and her squad finally realize they need to work on their teamwork, it’s too little, too late. They end up not having any time to improve before they’re told to head out on their mission. Hopefully their teamwork won’t be too dismal when they’re up against the vampire nobility. I’m wondering if this series may be getting closer to ending due to the fact that the action of the story is finally moving. There could be more battles to be fought after going up against the nobles in Nagoya, but there seems to be a lot of emphasis put on this fight and the fact that the nobles are very strong.

It should be noted that the next chapter of Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign will be published in the November 10, 2014 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

One-Punch Man CH:037.4

In this chapter, we see a frazzled King returning home and being grateful to get away. As he starts playing the game he bought, he hears Saitama talking behind him and is surprised to find Saitama there. King and Saitama get into a discussion. Meanwhile, Senos is going up against G4. The chapter ends with Senos launching an attack on G4…

Well, here’s another chapter of One-Punch Man where not much of anything really happens to progress the story. There was one amusing part when Saitama is with King. When Saitama mentions coming in through the window, King comments that he’s on the 22nd floor. I admit that that line made me giggle a little. But outside of that, this chapter was just meh.

Death Note CH:001

This is the first “Jump Back” spotlight that Weekly Shonen Jump will be publishing periodically, where several chapters of some of the Shonen Jump series of the past. I’m not surprised that they launched this new initiative with Death Note, since Takeshi Obata is going to be making an appearance at New York Comic Con this weekend.

At the beginning, we learn that a shinigami named Ryuk had dropped his Death Note in the human world. The story then shifts to the human world, where a 17-year-old boy named Light Yagami finds a notebook lying on the ground; he picks it up and discovers that it reads, “Death Note” on the cover. There are instructions on how to use it inside, but they’re in English. Although he laughs at it, Light takes it home and continues to read it. Five days later, Light receives a visit from Ryuk. Light shows Ryuk that he’s been using the notebook. When Light asks what Ryuk’s going to do to him, he says he’ll do nothing. The moment a Death Note lands in the human world, it belongs to the human world. Light is also told that the book now belongs to him, and that it’s a bond between the two of them. Light is also informed that any human who’s used the Death Note can’t go to heaven or to hell. Ryuk also admits that he dropped the book because he was bored. Light admits that he was also bored, and a flashback is shown of him trying to use the Death Note a few times. Light decides to use the Death Note to change the world.

Previous to reading this chapter, I had seen the first episode of the Death Note anime series about six years ago. That was still very early in my anime viewing when I got back into it, and at the time, I didn’t care for Death Note. But now that I’ve been immersed in anime and manga for several years, seeing this material again makes me realize that it’s not as bad as I had thought it was six years ago. I’ve definitely seen much worse and much stranger anime and manga in the intervening time. I’ll eventually get around to sampling more Death Note at some point after this “Jump Back” spotlight concludes, because this has become such a major title for both the manga and the anime.