Weekly Shonen Jump (February 23, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, Black Clover, Kagamigami, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Food Wars!, My Hero Academia, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, Toriko, World Trigger, One-Punch Man, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. This issue also includes the first chapter of Cyborg Roggy, which is the next title for this wave of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative.

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.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

Cyborg Roggy CH:001

Cyborg Roggy is the next title to be included as part of this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative.

The series is set in a world where about a decade earlier, artificial biological implants known as “augmentation parts” started to get around.

Dog is hired to find out who attacked a cyborg. He’s handed the clothes of the cyborg who attacked, with the hopes that he can get a smell of the attacker. His car is vandalized, and his items inside it are stolen, including the bag of clothes he was given to try to track down the cyborg’s attacker. Dog is able to use his sense of smell to track down the bag of clothes, and he comes across a cyborg attacking the guys who wrecked his car. Unfortunately, a couple of nearby homeless men grab the bag and burn it. Dog talks to the cyborg and explains his situation. It turns out the cyborg wants to talk to Ignite, the leader of the group that hired Dog. Dog calls some of Ignite’s men over, claiming that the cyborg is the one who committed the crime. When Ignite arrives, the cyborg meets with him. When Dog tries to get away, the cyborg accompanies him as he’s fleeing from Ignite and his men. After they make it to a location with few bystanders, the cyborg is ready to take down his pursuers. When the cyborg is able to talk to Ignite again, he says he’s trying to get an umbrella back for a little girl and demands to get it back. The cyborg explains he’s trying to get the umbrella back because he made a promise. The cyborg also reveals that he actually has another score to settle with Ignite from much further back. After the cyborg defeats Ignite, Dog comes back with the umbrella. At the end of the chapter, the cyborg introduces himself as Roggy.

I have to admit that when I first saw the premise, it was making me think about how the idea of something enhancing people in a sci-fi setting was sounding kind of like the recently cancelled Hi-Fi Cluster. But as I read the actual chapter, it was quickly apparent that Cyborg Roggy and Hi-Fi Cluster are nothing alike. Roggy is definitely an interesting character. He comes across as such a “tough guy” right at first, but then we learn that he’s trying to talk to Ignite because of something that most people would regard as a silly reason. Roggy isn’t what I expected from a character with his type of design, but I think that this dichotomy works. It looks like Dog is going to be his weaker sidekick, so it’ll be interesting to see how this series continues with the two of them teaming up together. I definitely see some promise with this manga, and I’m hoping the next couple of chapters will see that promise manifest itself.

One Piece CH:777

It’s revealed that Kyros defeated Diamante in the battle. Unfortunately, Kyros, Rebecca, and Robin’s relief is short-lived when Pica arrives. After a conversation with Kyros, Pica leaves and returns to the battleground where he and Zoro were fighting. But instead of going after Zoro, Pica starts attacking the weak and injured. Then Pica is on the move, and it appears he’s after King Riku. Zoro decides to go after him.

So we officially wrap up the battle between Kyros and Diamante, and it now appears that the focus has shifted to Pica. But Pica isn’t satisfied fighting with Zoro, so he goes after King Riku in order to prevent his return to power. With the chapter being titled, “Zolo vs. Pica,” I had assumed that most of the chapter would have focused on their battle, so it was a little disappointing that they don’t actually battle each other at all. The only thing we get is Zoro getting ready to take Pica on right at the end of the chapter. I’m hoping that the next chapter will actually focus on Zoro and Pica’s battle. While I wouldn’t expect a battle between them to end in one chapter, I’m hoping to see their battle renewed in the next chapter since so much built up to that.

Black clover CH:002

Six months have passed since the end of Chapter One, and the story is set at the Magic Knights Entrance Exam venue. We see that both Asta and Yuno are here. While at the venue, Asta accidentally bumps into Yami Sukehiro, a leader of the Black Bulls, one of the Magic Knight squads; unfortunately, Asta doesn’t leave a good impression. When the exam is underway, William Vangeance, the captain of the Golden Dawn squad, calls for a magic tree to descend, and from its roots, it hands out broomsticks. The first test has the Wizard Knights hopefuls flying on a broomstick. Yano is able to do this easily. Asta, unfortunately, can’t even make himself float. We briefly see some of the other tests, and Asta is struggling. The final test has the participants engaging in actual combat. Asta is approached by a guy who simply sees him as a bottom dweller that will make him look better, and Asta accepts. Asta’s battle ends up being first. Everyone thinks Asta is going to fail, but he surprises everyone when he uses his grimoire and easily knocks out his opponent.

First of all, I have to say that I couldn’t help but think that Gordon Agrippa, one of the characters introduced in this chapter, strongly resembles Marilyn Manson. That was so distracting! But when it comes to the actual story itself, I couldn’t help thinking that Black Clover has accelerated the Naruto formula a little and moved the important exam up to the second chapter. While the Magic Knights Entrance Exam isn’t exactly like the Chunin Exam, they’re both very important exams for their respective stories. And the main reason the test was moved up so much earlier is the fact that Asta doesn’t need to worry about the team building that Naruto and the rest of Team 7 had to go through. While this chapter isn’t quite as blatant about the Naruto formula as the first chapter was, I can still see it here. I’m really hoping that Chapter Three can succeed in breaking away from the Naruto formula even more than Chapter Two did.

Kagamigami CH:003

This chapter shows us that someone going by “Hollow Rabbit” has given the power to control shikigami to someone that he met on the Internet, and the Shikigami Association is concerned about it. It’s also revealed that the ripper who was captured back in Chapter One had an unregistered ghost device embedded in his chest area, as well as a huge parasitic worm in his abdomen. An executive named Karasuma is assigned to talk to Kyosuke Kagami, since he was the one who captured the ripper.

Karasuma goes to visit Kyosuke at Mako’s place. He tells the both of them that he’s the association’s task broker, and that it’s his job to match an appropriate shikigami user to a task. It turns out that there’s an outbreak in Tokyo of random grudge killings using shikigami, and Kyosuke is given the task of hunt down the individual who is sharing the knowledge of shikigami usage.

Later, Karasuma takes Kyosuke to the person he’s been paired up with for the task. He’s been paired with one of the association’s top three most violent people. We’ve been seeing “Hollow Rabbit” trying to convince someone to acquire the power to control shikigami, and it turns out that this person is the guy that Kyosuke has been teamed up with. We learn the guy’s name is Keiichi Shido, and he’s already started attacking “Hollow Rabbit.” Right at the end of the chapter, it’s discovered that Mako has stowed away in the vehicle with Karasuma and Kyosuke.

Well… this isn’t the direction I had expected this manga to go in. It’s not necessarily a bad direction, but it’s not what I was expecting. From the three chapters of this series that I’ve read, I think it has a lot of potential. Unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be able to read more of it immediately, since this is the final chapter that’s going to be run as part of the “Jump Start” initiative. If it gets a good enough response, it could end up being added to Weekly Shonen Jump in the future.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:011

Abaku and Tento go to school on a day that it’s closed in order to meet with Hikari Takasu, who has been accused of plagiarism. Meanwhile, Sarutobi is meeting with Vin Daichi, the one who has accused Hikari of the crime. Sarutobi’s meeting isn’t very productive, but Abaku’s meeting with Hikari is much more helpful. Abaku is shown three pairs of art; the first two really aren’t that similar, but the third one appears to be an exact match. They meet Ms. Goh, who helps out with the third and fourth grade art classes, and is an alumnus of the school. She had an artwork that placed in a prefecture-wide contest, and Hikari looks up to her. She used to paint with both Hikari and Vin when they were younger. Hikari has an article with him about Ms. Goh’s teacher that she studies under, and Abaku notices that Ms. Goh’s work that placed in the contest has a similarity to her mentor’s work.

Later, Abaku and Tento go to observe Sarutobi at a classroom session that’s taking place at the school next door. But when they get there, they find an end-of-day meeting going on instead of a classroom session. They’re five minutes late, and the classroom session is already over and done. Sarutobi tries to wager that if Abaku loses, the two of them should join forces; Abaku refuses. At the end of the chapter, Tento admits to seeing Abaku’s clippings about the Bloody Session and asks Abaku about it.

From what I saw in this chapter, it appears that somehow, Ms. Goh is involved with this plagiarism case. However, I can’t quite figure out how she did it or why yet. And it also appears both Abaku and Sarutobi were involved in the Bloody Session that had been hinted at earlier in the series. With Tento admitting to seeing the clippings and asking Abaku outright, I wonder if the next chapter will see Abaku providing some background for that, or if the next chapter will jump straight to the civil suit. I’ve been really curious about the Bloody Session since it was first mentioned, and I’m really hoping the next chapter will at least provide a little more information on it.

Food Wars! CH:107

In this chapter, we see that Megumi and Erina have been paired up together for Stagiaire Week, and they’re assigned to work at a restaurant called Excellent. Erina tells Megumi to concentrate on nothing except staying out of her way. The head chef tells them both that they’ll be starting out by washing dishes. Erina says she refuses, because it is proper to assign a person tasks appropriate to their skill level. Three days later, Erina has proven herself with her culinary skills. However, the head chef isn’t happy about Erina taking over his kitchen.

Overall, this chapter focused more on Erina and Megumi than it did on Soma and Hisaki. Not surprisingly, Erina makes a big splash in the kitchen. While the head chef isn’t happy about this at first, he ends up having to admit that Erina knows what she’s doing and allows Erina to give her opinions on the dishes. But at the end of the chapter, it appears Soma may not be entirely satisfied with the location where he and Hisaki have been assigned and thinks there needs to be a change. It’ll be interesting to see if the next chapter will show us what Soma is thinking.

My Hero Academia CH:031

Midoriya is approached by Todoroki, who asks Midoriya is he’s All Might’s illegitimate child or something. Midoriya denies it, but then asks Todoroki why he would think that. Tadoroki believes that Midoriya is hiding some kind of connection. And since Todoroki is the son of the second greatest hero of all time, he’d want to crush Midoriya if he was connected to All Might, the number one hero. Meanwhile, All Might encounters Endeavor, Todoroki’s father, and asks for advice on training the next generation. Endeavor isn’t willing to help; all he says is that he created Todoroki so he could be molded in order to defeat All Might. We then see Todoroki explaining his situation to Midoriya and saying how much he hates it. After sharing some words, Midoriya makes his own declaration of war: he says he’ll beat Todoroki.

The primary purpose of this chapter was to provide backstory for Todoroki. As someone who’s jumping into the middle of this series, I appreciate getting backstory on any of the characters, because I hope it will help me to better understand who these characters are and the story that they inhabit. We definitely seem to be building to a rivalry between Midoriya and Todoroki, which becomes a second generation rivalry of Endeavor and All Might. From what’s shown at the end of this chapter, it looks like the next chapter will start showing the final event that pits the 16 members of the winning teams into a series of one-on-one battles.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:159

This chapter opens how the previous chapter ended, with Shu asking Raku who he likes more: Onodera or Chitoge? Raku insists that he only sees Chitoge as a friend, but Shu doesn’t seem entirely convinced. Shu even bluntly tells his friend that he thinks that Raku has started to like Chitoge. Raku then runs into Onodera, who is making a farewell cake for Chitoge. Onodera says that all it seems she can do now is decorate cakes, and Raku gives her words of encouragement. When Raku mentions that he wishes there was something he could do to help Chitoge, Onodera surprises Raku and herself by saying that he should help her. This is because he knows more about Chitoge’s home situation than she does.

Raku goes to look for Chitoge. When he finds her, she tells Raku she’s come up with a great plan. Since her father won’t let her stay in Japan because she won’t be well-guarded, Chitoge comes up with the idea to move in with Raku so she’d be under the protection of Raku’s father’s yakuza. Raku tries to argue, but Chitoge points out that Yui lives there. Raku justifies Yui’s being there by saying that she’s more like a big sister. He also argues that her father and Claude would never truly let her live there. Chitoge looks sad and has to admit defeat. But when he sees her sad expression, he decides that he’ll try to convince his father and the other members of the yakuza. But then he asks what Chitoge’s plan is if he’s able to succeed; her response is that she’ll sneak out without a word and hide at his place. She mentions that Tsugumi would probably stay with them as well. But at the end of the chapter, we see that someone has been listening in on the conversation…

Well, at first glance, it appears that Komi has found a way to keep Chitoge and Tsugumi in Japan and keep the series from ending. When I thought that, I found myself feeling a little disappointed. But seeing those final two panels makes it obvious that this isn’t going to go according to plan. I suspect that the person listening in on the conversation will somehow keep this plan from coming to fruition. And if I’m right about that, there’s still a good chance that what we’re seeing now could potentially be leading toward the end of Nisekoi: False Love.

Bleach CH:616

Yhwach tells Ichigo and the others that no matter what they do, Reio cannot be resurrected. Then the scene shifts to the Soul Reapers, where Ukitake declares that he will take Reio’s place. He summons something called Mimihagi. We learn that Ukitake was supposed to die when he was three. His parents went to a shrine for Mimihagi, a god who is said to be the enshrined right arm of Reio that fell from the sky long ago. His parents began a prayer to offer Ukitake’s lungs, and because of this, he lived. Ukitake is performing a ritual called Kamikake, which allows Mimihagi’s power to spread from his lungs to all the organs in his body. He has now become Mimihagi’s dwelling. Right at the end of the chapter, we see Shunsui calling out to Aizen.

Wow… what a backstory for Ukitake. It’s interesting, but I’m also a little sad to see that he is now transforming in order to replace Reio. I’ve always liked Ukitake as a character, and with this change happening, he won’t ever be the same again. But just like with last week’s chapter, it truly feels like Kubo is finally trying to progress this story arc for Bleach. Events are starting to happen one after another, and the story isn’t feeling like it’s being unnecessarily stretched out. Please, Kubo, keep this up, and don’t drag out any more battle scenes.

Toriko CH:313

Kaka sees Komatsu awake and sitting up, but then he appears to start melting. Meanwhile, Toriko and the others join together for an attack; but before they launch the attack, Sunny envelops the ring with his hair in order to conceal their fight from outside viewers. During this “fight,” Toriko and the others finally understand what Monkey Martial Arts really is. We also get to see a flashback of when Coco explains something he had seen in a mural at the ruins they visited earlier, and how this helped them to come up with their theory about the truth of Monkey Martial Arts. And near the end of the chapter, it appears that Kaka may not be what they appeared to be…

In the end, not much really happened in this chapter. It was more of a chapter to share some exposition with the reader and to build up to what should be the next action sequence in the story. It looks like Toriko and the others understand what Monkey Martial Arts is, and what they need to do in order to reach their objective. And it appears Kaka hasn’t been entirely honest with Toriko and the others. Hopefully more will be answered about Kaka sooner rather than later.

World Trigger CH:093

This chapter sees Ko Murakami from Suzunari-1 introducing himself to Yuma, and Yuma introduces him to Osamu. Ko is there to see the rookie attacker who cut down Arafune and the team whose strategy forced him to draw his Kogetsu. When Ko is looking for someone to help him practice, Yuma volunteers. Yuma is warned not to do it, because he’ll jeopardize his next match. When Arafune and Yosuke say they’ll keep their mouths shut, Ko says he has two conditions for his fight with Yuma. While this is going on, Chika is having a conversation with Reiji, and we get a little bit of backstory for him. We then see at the end of the 10 rounds of Yuma and Ko’s battle that Ko won, and that Yuma lost five times in a row. Right at the end of the chapter, Ko’s Side Effect is revealed.

This was a chapter that was focused more on building up toward the next battle in the B-Rank Wars, as well as providing some character development for Reiji. It was a little disappointing that we never actually got to see the battle taking place between Yuma and Ko. All we saw was when they took a break at the halfway point and right after they finished their final round. If the anime makes it this far, I really hope that they’ll see fit to animate the actual battle instead of mentioning it’s going on but not showing any of it. After the big deal that was made about the risk Yuma was taking to accept this fight, I felt cheated that we never got to see any of it.

One-Punch Man CH:041

This chapter opens with Wild Monkey, Hellish Blizzard, and Eyelashes going after a target’s hideout. Meanwhile, Genos senses something approaching quickly. When Genos goes to investigate, he finds Speed-O’-Sound Sonic, who claims to be Saitama’s rival and wants to settle things with him. But then someone calls out for Saitama and says that Hellish Blizzard wants to talk to him. Saitama has no idea who she is. Hellish Blizzard’s sidekicks call Saitama a cocky noob who hasn’t come to see Hellish Blizzard and offer her a customary greeting for when joining Class B. He’s told about the hero factions that exist, and is told he won’t last long unless he joins one. She asks Saitama to join her, and he refuses. She sics her goons on him, but Saitama easily punches them away into the sky.

Basically, this chapter introduces the idea of hero factions, as well as a new hero that I’d personally never seen before. Hellish Blizzard definitely came off as being really cocky, and I was so glad to see Saitama easily punch away her goons. She so deserved that! I wonder if future chapters of the series will end up introducing other heroes from other hero factions, and if they’ll try to recruit Saitama.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:51

Yuma says they’ve got one hope left, and that the other guys protected this last hope with their lives. They are truly able to release the power of the four elements, and that the legend of the Astral World rises again. By combining with Astral, Yuma becomes Zexal. Zexal plays a Spell Card. He also explains that for the ultimate duelist, all duels are preordained. Not only that, but the cards he draws are created by the duelist. Zexal is able to summon Hope Zexal, which keeps his opponent from activating effects. Zexal uses his Hope Sword and slashes at E’rah, knocking her Life Points down to 0. With that, E’rah is defeated and her world is gone. Those who died also come back to life. Yagumo’s soul is also freed from E’rah’s control. Haruto also comes running over, and his soul has returned to normal. Right at the end of the chapter, Astral says that all of their Numbers must be returned to him.

Yes! The battle with E’rah is finally over! But in a lot of ways, once Zexal was summoned, it became rather anti-climactic. I found myself thinking, “You built this up all this time and then it ends this quickly?” Oh, well. At least that battle’s over. But even though the major battle is over, the series isn’t done quite yet. It looks like the situation with Yuma and the Numbers still needs to be resolved. But it does seem like this manga may be ending sooner rather than later.

Weekly Shonen Jump (February 16, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, My Hero Academia, Bleach, Food Wars!, Nisekoi: False Love, Kagamigami, Toriko, and Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment. This issue also includes the first chapter of Black Clover and Boys Over Flowers Season 2, which are two more titles for this wave of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative.

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.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

Black Clover CH:001

Black Clover is the second title to be included as part of this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative.

In this series, humanity has come close to being decimated by the demons, but one mage was able to save mankind. He has become known as the Wizard King and has become a legend.

The story focuses on a 15-year-old boy named Asta, whose goal is to someday become the Wizard King; unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to use magic. Not only that, he keeps trying to propose to a nun. Asta sees another young man named Yuno as his nemesis, but Yuno tries to brush him off.

It’s now March, and it’s time for the 15-year-olds to have their awarding ceremony for grimoires, which are supposed to increase their magical powers. We see that the orphans, Asta and Yuno, are looked down by their peers as they come to the ceremony. When the grimoires are handed out, Asta discovers that one isn’t coming to him. Yuno, meanwhile, gets one with a four-leaf clover on it, which apparently is the same one that the first Wizard King received. Asta is disappointed, but he’s still determined not to give up.

Yuno is captured by Revchi, a former member of the Magic Knights, who tries to steal Yuno’s grimoire. Asta suddenly appears and tries to take Revchi on with brute strength, but it doesn’t work. When Revchi uses his chains on Asta, he says they can sense a person’s magical powers… and that Asta has absolutely no magic power within him. When Revchi mocks Asta and calls him a loser, Yuno defends him. We also see a flashback of an event that happened with Yuno and Asta when they were younger, and the promise they made about becoming the Wizard King. During this confrontation, Yuno declares that Asta is his rival. As Asta is about to attack Revchi again, a grimoire suddenly appears in front of Asta, and it has a five-leaf clover on it. It appears to
transform into a sword. It appears that this is the grimoire of anti-magic. Asta declares that his magic is never giving up. At the end of their chapter, they renew their promise to see who becomes the Wizard King.

So far, it feels like this author is simply trying to apply the Naruto formula to his story, but has accelerated the pace of the formula somewhat. A loudmouth, obnoxious boy wants to be a ruler someday, but currently does not have the skill(s) needed in order to achieve that goal. The loudmouth sees the aloof and naturally talented boy as his nemesis, but the other boy wants nothing to do with the loudmouth. The loudmouth is also looked down on by the other townspeople. The loudmouth is also determined that he will never give up on his dream. The loudmouth also declares that his way is “never giving up.”

Black Clover isn’t necessarily a bad series, but I think I would be able to enjoy it a lot more if I wasn’t seeing the overly blatant use of Naruto‘s formula appearing in this first chapter. The use of the formula was so obvious that it was hampering my enjoyment of the chapter because I was distracted by how easily I was noticing it. To be honest, it really hasn’t been that long since Naruto ended, so I think it may be a little too soon to try to publish a series that’s so obviously using its formula. Oh well. Hopefully the other two chapters that will be published as part of the “Jump Start” initiative will start to noticeably deviate away from Naruto‘s formula.

One Piece CH:776

This chapter sees the Tontattas and their allies starting to tear Smile Factory down to the ground. The scene then shifts to Fourth Step, Flower Field, where Kyros continues his battle with Diamante. Diamante uses his power to disguise spiked metal balls as confetti. Robin uses her Devil Fruit power to create a flower umbrella to protect herself and Rebecca. Kyros, meanwhile, is able to knock the spiked balls aside with his sword. At one point, it looks like Kyros is down for the count, but he gets back up and is able to make it through the remaining spiked metal balls. Kyros launches an attack on Diamante just as the chapter ends.

This chapter basically focuses on Kyros and Diamante, which some flashbacks for both Kyros and Rebecca during Kyros’ battle. While the battle may not quite be over yet, it’s looking like Kyros will ultimately defeat Diamante and get revenge for the death of his wife, Scarlet. I hope we can see the conclusion of this battle in the next chapter, because it will tie up one of the various battle storylines that’s going on across Dressrosa. The more of the battles that can be resolved, the easier it will become to start following what’s going on.

My Hero Academia CH:030

The Human Cavalry battle is still underway. Team Bakugo steals two headbands, which puts them in third place. There’s now 20 seconds remaining, and Izuku gets a headband. Unfortunately, he discovers that his team has been tricked as to which one they were getting, because the other team switched the headbands around. But thanks to the work of his other companions, Team Midoriya still manages to make it to fourth place, which allows them to proceed to the final event.

So this chapter wraps up the Human Cavalry battle. It was a very action-packed chapter, and several surprises happen along the way. It’s good to see Izuku’s team moving on to the final event. but it was hard for me to root for anybody since I really don’t know any of these characters yet. I’m hoping that as I’m able to read more of the series and get more a feel for the characters and the concept, that I’ll care a little more about My Hero Academia and maybe even come to enjoy it.

Bleach CH:615

Yhwach tells Ichigo that it will be by his hand that Reio’s life will end. Ichigo wonders why the sword he has won’t leave his hand. Yhwach explains what happened with Ichigo and the sword. In response, Ichigo lunges to attack Yhwach. Meanwhile, Urahara and the Soul Society captains see the roof coming down around them, and Urahara wonders if Reio is dead. He then says that if they do nothing, the Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and even the World of the Living will cease to exist. Back with Yhwach, Yoruichi tells Orihime to restore Reio with her power. She tries, but it doesn’t seem to work…

Wow, after how the long the story has been dragging on, it seems like Kubo is finally moving things along! The situation is looking very bleak right now, and Kubo has really upped the stakes with this chapter. Is everything destined to be destroyed, or will our protagonists find a way to bring an end to this? Kubo did a good enough job with this chapter that I have to say that this is the most interested I’ve been in the recent Bleach material in almost a year. Keep it up, Kubo!

Food Wars! CH:106

Soma and Hisako meet Mamoru Mitamura, the third-generation owner of Mitamura’s Western Cuisine. The owner asks the two of them for autographs, since they’re students at Totsuki Institute. Later, when Soma and Hisako talk, Hisako says she won’t be hanging around Erina anymore because she failed during the quarterfinals of the fall classic.

Hisako has to deal with her first experience with a rush of customers. We discover that the customers come from the bullet trains at the nearby station, and it gets so hectic and crazy that people cancel their orders because the restaurant can’t keep up. They discover that as one wave of customers leave, another wave arrives. Soma takes charge with the second wave, and things are going a lot more smoothly, due to his real world experience from his father’s restaurant. When it looks like one table’s food isn’t getting to them, Soma hands table duty to Hisako and he cooks. The end of the chapter hints that the true test of Stagiaire Week was just beginning.

The reason for the chaos at the restaurant ended up being different than I had thought it was after reading Chapter 105 last week. However, I like this explanation a lot better than the one I had come up with. I have a feeling that over the course of this story arc, Hisako will start regarding Soma more seriously than she has at this point. Soma was really able to shine in this chapter by being able to show the real world experience he’s acquired from working with his father. And now I’m curious as to what the “true test” of Stagiaire Week is, because I can’t even begin to guess at what this is hinting at.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:158

We now see the announcement being made in Paula’s class that she will be transferring as well, and that this will be her last week at her school.

We then see Tsugumi talking with Raku, and she mentions that she’ll more than likely not going to continue going to school when she goes to America. But Tsugumi also admits that she enjoyed going to school with Raku and the others and getting to spend time with classmates her own age. And then she says that Chitoge is unable to stay in Japan because she’s not strong enough. Tsugumi also asks Raku to write to Chitoge often, because she will miss him terribly. Raku tells Tsugumi to keep in touch with him, too. Raku gets a surprise when Tsugumi says she’s glad that Raku was Chitoge’s boyfriend and that he really did well by her.

Chitoge has gathered signatures of ten members of the family who have agreed to stay with her in Japan. Claude shoots her down, though, saying they can’t leave so many Beehive members behind in Japan. Chitoge declares that she’s not giving up, that there are people in Japan she doesn’t want to leave behind.

We now skip ahead to Chitoge and the others’ last day. Shu and Raku discuss what’s going on, and the chapter ends with Shu asking Raku this question: “Right now, between Onodera and Kirisaki, who do you like more?”

At this point, it still appears that Chitoge really is leaving and that the series may finally be winding down. It could still turn out to be a story to psyche the readers out, but I’m hoping that’s not the case. If that happens, I’m going to feel very deceived by Komi and potentially not be interested in what would happen next in Nisekoi: False Love. To be honest, I believe it’s time for the series to be wrapping things up, because there really isn’t anywhere else for the story to go outside of finally solving the mystery of the locket and the keys.

Kagamigami CH:002

This chapter sees Kyosuke and Hakuten-Maru moving in with Mako. They discover the office area is super clean, but everywhere else is rather filthy. Unfortunately, the landlady arrives and demands that Mako pay the rent. When the landlady says Mako has no skills as a detective, Kyosuke jumps to her defense and says that he is her assistant. The landlady gives them the case of finding her missing cat. If they can find the cat by midnight, Mako will get a two-week extension on her rent. Since it’s 10:00 p.m., they only have two hours. Kyosuke merges with Hakuten-Maru and help Mako out. Mako has borrowed the cat’s favorite basket, but it appears Mako’s ability hasn’t fully returned. Just as it looks like Mako didn’t make the deadline, Kyosuke appears saying that he’s found the cat. The landlady is willing to grant the extension, but tells Mako that she has to start working harder.

So far, I’m very happy with how this series is continuing. Having Mako bringing Kyosuke to live with her and almost be evicted due to non-payment of rent was the logical next place to go, since we knew she wasn’t making any money through her detective agency. Kyosuke was able to save her butt this time, but I think that by working together, she’ll be able to start building her business. Mako and Kyosuke seem to have a good chemistry for working together, so that should be an asset for going forward.

So far, of the two new series I’ve read for the “Jump Start” initiative, this one has been my favorite. There’s still two more series to sample, so we’ll see if this opinion continues or not.

Toriko CH:312

The Four Kings’ demons emerge in their left arms, even though they didn’t mean for it to happen. But this ends up protecting them from the Monkey King’s first attack. The Monkey King is pissed about having his balls grabbed, and he’s no longer interested in simply just playing. While Toriko and the others take on the MOnkey King, Kaka goes to see Komatsu and discovers that he’s awake and sitting up.

For the most part, not a whole lot happens in this chapter. It’s primarily the Four Kings and Kaka talking. There’s the beginning of a fight right at the end, with Kaka’s discovery with Komatsu. At this point, I’m more interested in getting an explanation for what’s going on with Komatsu than the fight that’s taking place with the Monkey King. Hopefully the next chapter will touch on the mystery surrounding Komatsu.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:010

Abaku is approached by two art students who claim the other is stealing their ideas and are seeking a classroom arbitration. Abaku isn’t interested in copyright cases, though. But when Abaku sees a couple of the art pieces, they look exactly the same, so he decides to take it on after all. Because of the type of case it is, it’s a civil suit.

Meanwhile, a student is stopped as he runs through the halls, and he’s dressed like a ninja and uses shuriken-shaped magnets.

When Abaku gets the information on the forthcoming civil suit, he discovers the other attorney is Kotaro Sarutobi, and Kotaro suddenly shows up in Abaku’s office. It turns out that Kotaro is Abaku’s rival, and is the ninja student we saw running around the school. Kotaro announces that he’ll be transferring into Tenbin Elementary next week, and he wants to bet Abaku’s office on the civil suit session. Abaku turns him down. Later, Abaku tells Tento that Kotaro is probably better than him, because going by the numbers, Kotaro hasn’t lost any cases.

So the series is introducing a new character, and it appears to be one who’s going to be obnoxious. And it looks like Pine isn’t going to be involved with this particular case. But why am I not surprised that a ninja character has the last name of Sarutobi? Even with the obnoxious new character, this case is introducing the concept of a civil suit to the series; previously, all of the other cases had been criminal trials. So I’m curious to see how a civil suit is done through the classroom arbitration concept, as well as what exactly is going on with this case.

Boys Over Flowers Season 2 CH:001

This new Boys Over Flowers manga is being released digitally twice a month in English for free simultaneously with Japan on VizManga.com and the Viz Manga app. Beginning with this issue and continuing for the next four chapters, Boys Over Flowers Season 2 will be joining Weekly Shonen Jump as part of the “Jump Start” initiative.

Boys Over Flowers Season 2 is set after the F4 from the original series graduate from Eitoku Academy, and this series follows a new set of characters. It appears the new group is the Correct 5. But here, we see that Eitoku Academy is starting to fall apart, and fewer students are enrolling in the school.

The Correct 5 is conducting a “Peasant Hunt” and forcing people to withdraw from the school if their parents aren’t paying into the school endowment. But as we see the Correct 5 talking, we learn another elite school called Momonozono has opened up and is attracting students away from other schools. They’ve had an 18 percent increase in enrollment, while Eitoku Academy has seen a 20 percent decrease in applicants over the past two years. If Eitoku can’t meet the enrollment quota, they’ll have to admit more students and they won’t be able to maintain their high standards. That’s why they’re driven to get rid of the “paupers” who can’t provide the school with donations.

A girl named Oto is trying to hide the truth about her situation from the other girls at school. Unfortunately, on her way home, she has a run-in with the Correct 5. She uses another lie and manages to run off. Later, when Haruto from the Correct 5 tries to disguise himself to pick up some items at a convenience store, he runs into Oto, who works there. They recognize each other, and Oto thinks her time at Eitoku is over. Haruto is afraid that Oto will spread rumors about him around the school.

The next morning, Haruto confronts Oto, but they’re interrupted by a couple of guys from Momonozono trying to convince a girl to leave Eitoku. Oto asks Haruto if he’s going to protect the girl being cornered by the guys from Momonozono. She has something he forgot to pick up at the convenience store, throws it at him, and tells him if he has the time to buy junk like that, he should use the time to better himself. Oto goes to help the girl, but the guys from Momonozono starts hassling her, too. Haruko has a flashback, which gives him the courage he needs to stand up to the guys from Momonozono. Oto tells Haruko that she won’t say anything about him for now, but if he tries to force her out, she’ll blab about everything.

From what little bit I know about the original Boys Over Flowers manga, this is very much in the same vein. Although it’s interesting to note that the Correct Five includes a female character, which wasn’t the case with the F4. And with this volume, while the main female isn’t rich like the main female in the first series, she’s got something she can hold over the main male’s head as blackmail in order to keep him from making her leave. I’m not sure where the series will be going from here, but I’ll find out as the other three chapters appear in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Weekly Shonen Jump (February 9, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for Food Wars!, My Hero Academia, Toriko, World Trigger, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Bleach, and Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign. This issue also includes the first chapter of Kagamigami, which is the first title being introduced as part of the next wave of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative. In addition, there’s also a My Hero Academia catch-up feature 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.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

Kagamigami CH:001

Kagamigami is the first title to ne included as part of the next wave of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative. This series is based on a one-shot titled, Shikigami Twilight Days, which ran in Weekly Shonen Jump last year.

Mako was born with an ability which allowed her to see a thread of light that led to an item’s owner whenever she touched it. Everyone kept praising her as a great detective, so she grew up and became a detective. Unfortunately, she has lost her ability, so she currently has no jobs and no clients. When she hears about a murder case where the police investigation has come to a standstill, and she decides to see if she might be able to solve it. However, a police officer on the scene refuses to let her in. She witnesses a boy releasing kodama. From talking with him, Mako learns that he’s Kyosuke Kagami, a Shikigami user who was sent by the Shikigami Association to investigate the crime. He travels with a creature called Hakuten-Maru, who is from the celestial fox tribe.

Mako asks Kyosuke what he’s looking for, and he replies a yorishiro that the murderer may have left behind. The kodama find the item and bring it to Kyosuke. Mako insists on joining Kyosuke in his investigation. As they walk, they discover that the police officer who had been standing guard at the scene has been attacked. They also encounter a razor shikigami. Kyosuke summons a creature called Rashomaru to deal with the murderer. During the fight, Mako, who holds the yorishiro, discovers that her ability has returned, and it leads her to the shikigami user. Mako goes to confront the culprit, and as things go wrong, Kyosuke and Hakuten-Maru come to her rescue after Hakuten-Maru possesses Kyosuke’s body. Between the possessed Kyosuke and Mako, they are able to bring down the culprit. The culprit is taken away by the Shikigami Association. Afterward, Mako invites Kyosuke to come stay with her so she believes that with him around, she can become a great detective for real.

When I read the one-shot last year, I remember liking it a lot and thinking that it would make a good starting point for a series. I’m glad to see that Weekly Shonen Jump thought so, too, and are now launching a series based on that one-shot. This chapter pretty much tells the same story that appeared in the one-shot, although I think there were some minor changes made between the one-shot and what appeared in this chapter. I’m very interested in getting to read the next chapter to see if the series can continue to be as strong as either the one-shot or this first chapter.

Food Wars! CH:105

Several days have passed since the end of the close of the fall classic. As some of the students cook together and talk at the dorm, it’s revealed that Soma is hanging out with Akira and Ryo. It turns out they’re getting together to try each other’s dishes from the finals out.

It’s then revealed that in just a few days, Stagiaire Week is going to begin. This is when all of the first-year students are assigned to work in various real-world culinary environments. Some students make a big impression during that week that they’re hired right on the spot. However, if a student does anything to harm the school’s name, they will be punished. The requirement to pass the week is to make at least one visible accomplishment while they’re at the environment. Then, the story jumps ahead to the beginning of Stagiaire Week. Soma discovers that he’s been paired with Hisako Arato. They discover they’ve been assigned to work at Mitamura’s Western Cuisine, which appears to be a restaurant that’s not doing well.

So this chapter starts out giving the reader a brief breather after the finals, but then jumps right into the next story arc with the revelation of Stagiaire Week. We already see that the location Soma has been assigned to isn’t doing well, and that he’s assigned to work with someone who appears to not like him. This could very well be a recipe for disaster, so it’ll be interesting to see how Soma will overcome these obstacles.

My Hero Academia Catch-Up Feature

Since we’re jumping ahead 28 chapters in My Hero Academia, Weekly Shonen Jump provides this catch-up feature to help readers learn what has happened in the intervening chapters so they don’t jump into Chapter 29 totally blind. This was a very helpful feature and it does a good job summarizing the story up to this point.

My Hero Academia CH:029

U.A. High is having its sports festival, and the second event is the Human Cavalry battle. The teams are going all out in order to get the headbands that the others wear, which have points written on them. The characters are using their various abilities in order to win the competition. The one in first place has a headband worth 10 million points. Izuki is currently the one in possession of the 10 million point headband, so everyone is targeting him. After a bit of action, someone manages to grab the 10 million headband. Izuka launches an attack to get the headband back right at the end of the chapter.

Since this chapter dumped me into the middle of an active storyline, I really can’t comment too much on what’s happening. Even though I read the catch-up feature, I still had some problems following what was going on since I don’t know most of the characters that appear in this chapter. Hopefully I’ll have an easier time following what’s going on in this particular story when I read the next chapter.

Toriko CH:311

The Monkey Martial Arts festival continues. As Zebra holds the Monkey King back, he catches a glimpse of the difference between the Monkey King’s small stature and the sheet magnitude of his presence. The group decides that rather than fight the Monkey King one on one, they’ll gang up on him. When Toriko smells the pair, his severed arm works at reattaching. Toriko manages to grab the Monkey King’s balls, and there’s an explosion. After the explosion, the Monkey King shows his true form.

OK, this chapter ended up being really strange. Yes, Toriko can be a strange manga, but this is the strangest that I’ve personally seen Toriko get. Just as it seems something is about to make some kind of sense, the ante is upped and the story just gets stranger. The objective was to grab the Monkey King’s balls, and now that that’s occurred, something unexpected happens. With the way the chapter ended, I don’t know what relevance the Monkey King showing his true form has, so hopefully the next chapter will help make this make better sense.

World Trigger CH:092

Everyone files out from the match. Several characters gather together and talk over what happened in the recent match. The chapter also introduces three characters: Shohei, Shiro, and Ryo. It’s also revealed that the Black Trigger, Fujin, will stay at headquarters and can be used by anyone compatible when it’s necessary. Jin will teach others how to use it. Later, Reiji and Shiori are talking about Chika.

We then see Yuma participating in a solo Rank War with Midorikawa. Right at the end of the chapter, we see Ko Murakami come into the area, and he’s from Suzunari, the next team that Tamakoma will be up against in the B-Rank Wars.

In a lot of respects, not a whole lot took place in this chapter. It was primarily a chapter full of talking. While some information is revealed, this still made for a rather boring chapter. World Trigger will be off in the next week’s issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, so we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks to see if this story will progress somewhere or if the chapter is primarily going to consist primarily of talking.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:157

The chapter opens with an announcement that Chitoge and Tsugumi will be leaving the school at the end of the week. Due to family circumstances, they are returning to the United States. We see a flashback of Raku’s which gives an explanation for what’s going on. Raku finds himself feeling torn; while he has wanted to be able to drop the false lovers act, he now finds himself feeling upset. We also see Chitoge have a flashback of talking with her father.

In the classroom, we see tearful goodbyes being given to Chitoge… except from Marika, of course. It’s revealed here that Chitoge and Tsugumi will be leaving that weekend.

We then see Chitoge telling her father that she wants to stay in Japan on her own. When it’s argued she can’t stay on her own due to a security standpoint, Chitoge declares that Tsugumi could stay with her. Tsugumi has to admit that she hasn’t been protecting Chitoge single-handedly. The chapter ends with Raku looking at what appears to be his locket…

I have to say, I can’t believe how this story has been progressing. It feels rather sudden that Raku and Chitoge are suddenly no longer a fake couple and that Chitoge and Tsugumi will be leaving. I’m almost expecting a future chapter to declare that the readers have been fooled. But, if it turns out that all of what’s going on right now ends up actually happening, then I expect it will finally lead to what I’ve been wanting for a while… a return to the storyline with the locket ad keys. I’m really hoping that what we’re seeing now is finally leading the series toward a conclusion and that the girl with the right key will finally be revealed.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:009

Abaku calls a witness. After several objections are made, Abaku takes something down from a cabinet, and Tanaka asks Abaku if there’s Magical Powder inside and if he’s trying to trap him because it’s bringing out his withdrawal symptoms. Abaku removes the sheet and reveals that there’s a dog inside a carrying cage. Abaku asks Shiratori if she was in the phys ed storeroom because that’s where she kept the dog. Shiratori admits that the dog was why she was there and explains what happened. Abaku also points out that Tanaka’s “withdrawal symptoms” are actually allergic reactions to the dog. He also exposes that the Masked Dude also has a dog allergy, and is able to pinpoint which witness is actually the Masked Dude. The culprit is sentenced to be transferred to Onigashima Elementary at first, but since it really wasn’t drugs being distributed, the sentence is reduced to nine months’ probation until graduation. The very end of the chapter also gives a hint that something major will be going down in the next story arc.

I definitely hadn’t guessed any of the information that was revealed in this chapter. But that’s what I enjoy about Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment: the answers to the cases aren’t predictable. The stories may feature elementary school students, but they do make the reader think. It looks like the next story arc may finally shine some light on Abaku’s backstory, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about him.

Bleach CH:614

Urahara and the captains are getting ready to head to Reiokyu. Urahara tells Hiyori, Lisa, Love, and Macchi to change into Soul Reaper uniforms and join them.

We then return to Ichigo and the others confronting Yhwach, who tells them that he foresaw their coming to see him. They learn that they were too late, that Reio is already dead. Yhwach goads Ichigo into pulling out the sword in Reio and bring down the Soul Society. The sword does something that surprises everyone, and Yhwach reveals that Ichigo has Quincy blood in him…

This chapter was a quick read. It spends most of its time getting the Soul Society captains ready to go to Reiokyu, and the only important thing that takes place happens right at the end. Had the information about Ichigo having Quincy blood been revealed before now? Since I had to jump so far ahead in the story about a year ago, I could have missed that if it had been mentioned previously. So for me, at least, seeing Yhwach mentioning Ichigo and Quincy blood was a major shocker. But at this point, though, it does look like Kubo is finally trying to do something to progress this story arc. Maybe he’s finally making more progress towards ending the series?

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:030

Mikaela asks Aihara if she knows Yuichiro. She has a flashback of hearing his name, and Mikaela sees her expression. He demands that she tell him everything. When she doesn’t, he tells his comrades that she’s dead. The other vampires are investigating the area discover that their comrades in this location are dead. When Aihara hears them mention Nagoya City Hall, she gets up and holds Mikaela at knifepoint. She manages to tell Mikaela that Yuichiro is there without the other vampires hearing her. Mikaela crushes her wrist and asks her where the rest of the humans went who attacked this place. In exchange for her life, Aihara tells Mikaela and the other vampires information. After the other vampires leave, Aihara asks Mikaela to kill her. After a brief argument, Mikaela does just that. After her death, Mikaela says he’ll check out city hall while his companions head to the automobile museum.

The scene then changes to Nagoya City Hall, where Yu and the others are. They try formulating a plan for what to do. They’re just about to start their mission when the chapter ends.

This chapter placed a lot more focus on the vampires than it did on the humans. That’s not a bad thing, though, because we haven’t seen much of their side. We also got to see Mikaela quite a bit here, and he’s someone we haven’t seen in a while in the story. It looks like he may soon come face-to-face with Yuichi, and that could end up being an interesting reunion. The next time a chapter of Seraph of the End appears in Weekly Shonen Jump, it looks like we’ll see some major action going down… and hopefully this action will help to progress the story.

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 15

The Soul Reapers and the Fraccions battle it out in the fake Karakura Town!

Bleach DVD Set 15
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 11, 2012

Bleach DVD Set 15 is a three disc set that contains episodes 218-229 of the Bleach television anime series. Each disc in the set includes four episodes and bonus features, and the episodes can be watched with either the English dub or with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.

The first nine episodes in this set focus on the battle between the Soul Reapers and the Fraccions in the fake Karakura Town. Over the course of these nine episodes, we see battles that feature Yumichika, Kira, Izuru, Hisagi, Komamura, Soi Fong, Omaeda, Kyoraku, Ukitake, and Matsumoto. Matsumoto’s battle even includes a surprise appearance by a character that we haven’t seen for a while in the series.

Is it just me, or do Kubo’s designs for the Arrancar and the Fraccions make them look like the freakiest villains up to this point in the story? It almost seems like Kubo keeps challenging himself to up the ante in how freaky the villains look with each new story arc. One of the freakiest things I saw in this set was when the three female Fraccions merged their left arms into a giant, grotesque and stupid creature named Ayon.

These nine episodes feature a lot of action due to all of the battles going on, but the pacing for the overall arc in this set is slow, due to how much recap is utilized at the beginning of each episode to help stretch out this section of the story. Closer to the end, it became even worse when Ichigo suddenly starts narrating an additional recap at the beginning that goes all the way back to when he first met Rukia at the beginning of the series! With the way this recap was done, it wouldn’t be of use to anyone just starting out in the series at this point, so it felt rather pointless. It definitely felt like this was added in order to have another way to make the battle in the fake Karakura Town last longer and hopefully not catch up to the manga source material too quickly. The worst, though, was in Episode 226, when the recap runs for nearly five-and-a-half minutes! This particular arc would have been more enjoyable if it could have been animated with a more natural pacing.

Right at the end of Episode 226, the story finally returns to Hueco Mundo, where we get to see Ichigo and Ulquiorra clashing swords. As this battle is just getting started, the episode ends… but then in the preview, it’s revealed that the canon story is taking a break at this point in order to focus on filler episodes. Ugh! This is the second time the anime teased the audience with the beginning of a major battle and then switched to filler episodes. I was upset enough when this trick was used the first time, so I was rather unhappy to discover that this trick was used a second time.

This set includes a total of three filler episodes to finish it off, all of which either serve as a prologue for the story or take the viewer back in time to somewhere within the actual series continuity. Of the three filler episodes, the first one is the only one that’s truly worth anything.

The first filler episode is set on Ichigo and his classmates’ first day of high school, and we get to see what happened that day. This episode also shows that at the same time in Soul Society, Rukia receives her orders to patrol Karakura Town and Renji receives his promotion to lieutenant of the sixth division. I recognized some of what happened at the school from reading the manga, but the rest, as far as I can tell, was created for this episode. At least this filler shows the pieces falling into place for what was seen in the very first episode of the series, so it feels like it’s actually adding something to the series.

The second filler episode was definitely the worst of the three in this set. I can’t pinpoint exactly where in the series this would have been set, and it simply feels like an excuse for Bleach to be able to have the “beach episode” that a number of anime series seem to have at some point in their run. It also felt like an excuse for the animators to be able to draw many of the female characters in bathing suits in order to provide “fanservice” to the audience. When I finished this episode, it just felt like a pointless waste of time.

The final episode in the set sees Ikkaku and Yumichika being sent to Karakura Town on an assignment to catch a particular Hollow. They need to find a place to stay, and they end up being forced to stay at the home of Ichigo’s classmate, Keigo. Keigo’s older sister Mizuho is all over Ikkaku because she loves men with shaved heads, so Yumichika tries to help Ikkaku out by gluing a wig to his head. I think this was an attempt at a humorous episode, but I didn’t find it as funny as I think I was supposed to. I’ve never been much of a fan of Keigo’s older sister to begin with, so that didn’t help. And I found the overall story to be rather lame and stupid. Both this and the beach episode felt like the anime production crew was struggling to come up with story ideas for filler episodes.

When the series briefly returned to Hueco Mundo, there was one section that bothered me when it came to the animation. It’s a scene where Renji and Chad are in a fight, and both of these characters are animated in a way where it’s obvious that the animators skimped on details. They looked much less defined than usual, and it really bugged me just how noticeable this was. Either they got the C team animators in to animate these two characters, or corners had to be cut due to not having enough time to finish the episode.

Unfortunately, I have to say that Bleach DVD Set 15 wasn’t as enjoyable of a viewing experience as I had hoped it would be. The stretched out canon material, combined with overall unenjoyable filler episodes, made this set more of a chore to watch than usual for me when it comes to the Bleach DVD sets.

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’s included on each disc. I still hope this will be rectified in one of the future DVD box sets for Bleach. Not only that, but the main menu on each disc continues to be silent; personally, I have a dislike for silent DVD menus.

Each disc has Production Art, which is line art of the characters that appear in these episodes. All three discs include 10 pages of Production Art on each one.

Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features; all three discs have the same ending theme included on them. Each disc also has the omake that should have been included with the episodes that appear on the disc.

If you’re a Bleach fan and want to have all the episodes of the series in your anime home video collection, then you need to get a hold of this set. However, if the earlier part of the review didn’t make it clear, this set may not be a very enjoyable viewing experience.

The reviewer wrote this review after watching a copy of this item that was checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Bleach” Volume 63

Bleach Vol. 63
Written by: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki is the main character of the series, and he has the ability to see ghosts. After meeting a Soul Reaper named Rukia, his home is attacked by a Hollow. Rukia tries to transfer some of her powers to Ichigo so he can protect his family; however, he unintentionally absorbs all of her power. Ichigo defeats the Hollow and begins serving as a substitute Soul Reaper. In Volume Seven, Rukia was taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. Rukia faced execution, and Ichigo and his friends went to Soul Society to save her. During their time in Soul Society, it’s revealed that Aizen, Gin, and Tosen are traitors.

Ichigo meets Shinji Hirako, who reveals himself to be a Visored, a Soul Reaper who has obtained Hollow powers. Shinji keeps trying to recruit Ichigo into the Visoreds, but Ichigo refuses; however, he later goes to the Visoreds only so he can learn how to control the Hollow that is inside him. This story arc also introduces the Arrancar, Hollows who have removed their mask and gained Shinigami-like powers; they also work for Aizen, who is now in Hueco Mundo.  The ten highest-ranking Arrancar are known as Espada.

Orihime is threatened by an Arrancar named Ulquiorra, saying he’ll kill her friends if she doesn’t go with him. After the Soul Society declares they will do nothing to save Orihime, Ichigo and some of his friends go to Hueco Mundo to save her. This then leads to another story arc that sees the Soul Society fighting against the Espada; at the end of all this, Aizen is imprisoned and Ichigo loses his powers.

Ichigo then meets Ginjo, who offers to help Ichigo get his powers back and to develop Fullbring powers; however, Ginjo only wanted steal Ichigo’s powers. But thanks to help from Rukia, Ichigo gets his Soul Reaper powers back. War is then declared on Soul Society by The Wandenreich, who are a group of Quincies that survived a massacre centuries ago.

Volume 63 sees the war in full stride, with Soul Reapers fighting against the Quincies. This volume starts in the middle of the battle where Kensei and Roujuro are fighting against Mask De Masculine. Unfortunately, both of the Soul Reapers are knocked out of the battle. But Renji arrives, and there’s a very exciting battle between Renji and Mask De Masculine that takes place here, with Mask thinking that he’s defeated Renji, only for his opponent to appear again.

During the battle, though, we see Renji have an important flashback to a conversation that he had with Ichibe. Here, it’s revealed that Renji’s zanpakuto had only revealed half of its name because it didn’t fully recognize Renji’s power. After the flashback, we hear Renji use Zabimaru’s full name, and his weapon becomes even stronger. Of course, this development ultimately turns the tide of the battle.

I’m sorry to say this, but Mask De Masculine scared me a little with his looks at the beginning of the volume, and then he absolutely frightened me when he powered up. Fortunately, we didn’t have to see him in that powered up form for long.

This volume also includes some backstory for Yhwach, the leader of the Quincies. We also see that Uryu is with the group and learn that he is to be Yhwach’s successor. Even though I knew about Uryu being with the Quincies from reading the more recent chapters that have appeared in Weekly Shonen Jump, I still found it jarring that he’s now with the Quincies, since I haven’t seen this happen in where I’ve gotten in the anime or the earlier volumes of the Bleach manga that I’ve already read. It can definitely be a problem when you’re at various different points in the story between the anime, the manga volumes, and Weekly Shonen Jump. At least this volume has started to help me piece together what I’ve been reading in Weekly Shonen Jump over the past year!

We then see Rukia encountering As Nodt and the two of them have a battle. During the battle, Rukia reveals the truth about Sode No Shitayuki. But just as things look bleak, Byakuya arrives; together, he and Rukia are able to take As Nodt down. Afterward, Rukia is taken aback by the praise that her brother gives her. Rukia’s reaction made for some good character development for her, as well as for Byakuya as well.

The final chapter sees Kotechi and Kusajishi are in confinement, and something calling itself “V” suddenly appears in the room; this is where Volume 63 ends. It turns out that the final two chapters that appeared in Volume 63 are the first two chapters of Bleach that I read in Weekly Shonen Jump when I first started reading the digital publication almost a year ago now.

Early on in Volume 63, it’s a very action-packed story, where the panels focus primarily on the fighting between the characters and there’s a minimal amount of dialogue. This especially makes the first chapter in the volume a very quick read. When Renji enters the battle, there’s still a lot of action, but the amount of dialogue goes up quite a bit. Even with the increase in the dialogue, the first 80 pages or so end up going by quickly. While there are battles later in the volume, the overall pacing of the volume slows down noticeably. But the slowdown was necessary, since important revelations and plot points were taking place, and the reader needed to be able to spend a little more time on those in order to get the full impact of what’s being said.

I can’t really speak for the first battle in this volume, since I jumped into the middle of it, but the other battles in this volume didn’t feel overly drawn out; drawing out the battles has become a problem in recent months in the serialized chapters of Bleach in Weekly Shonen Jump, so I’m glad that that wasn’t the case in Volume 63.

I can’t entirely place my finger on it, but there’s something different about the art in these more recent chapters than there was in the early chapters of the Bleach manga. In some respects, it feels like Kubo isn’t putting as much effort into the details in his drawings now and seems to be focusing more on the absolute basics. I have to admit that the more recent art that I’ve seen for this series has been disappointing to me, because I know Kubo can do better than this.

If you’re still following Bleach at this point and enjoy what you’ve been reading, then I would recommend reading Volume 63 in order to see how the story continues. If you’ve been following Bleach in Weekly Shonen Jump, then you’ll already know what’s going on and would probably only want to read Volume 63 if you like this part of the story and want to read it again.

New Manga Releases: February 3, 2015

Here are the new manga releases for February 3, 2015. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Assassination Classroom GN 2
Black Rose Alice GN 3
Bleach GN 63
Blood Blockade Battlefront GN 7
A Centaur’s Life GN 5
Food Wars! GN 4
Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends GN 10
Happy Marriage?! GN 10 (18+)
High School Debut Omnibus GN 5
Honey Blood: Tale Zero GN
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan GN 25
One Piece Omnibus GN 11
Pokémon Black and White GN 20
Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Coccon of Destruction GN
Spell of Desire GN 3 (18+)
Toriko GN 26
Voice Over! Seiyu Academy GN 9
The Wallflower GN 34
World Trigger GN 4
Yu-Gi-Oh! Omnibus GN 1
Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal GN 6

Weekly Shonen Jump (February 2, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, Food Wars!, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Bleach, My Hero Academia, and Toriko. In addition, this issue also includes the fourth chapter of Rosario + Vampire as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative.

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.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

One Piece CH:775

The story returns to Franky versus Senor Pink in the Smile Factory, and both of them seem to be at their limit. But after Franky says he’ll take everything that Senor Pink’s got, Pink launches a final attack. But Franky ends up using his Iron Boxing move and emerges victorious. As the fight is coming to an end, we see Pink have a flashback as to why he goes around wearing a baby bonnet. The chapter ends officially declaring Franky the winner of the battle.

I admit that I hadn’t seen much of Senor Pink prior to this chapter, due to the fact that I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump around a year ago. But even so, I still found myself moved by Pink’s flashback, due to how tragic of a story it was. Outside of that, though, the majority of the chapter was action oriented due to the fight between Franky and Pink. I’m happy to see another one of the many battles raging in Dressrosa officially come to an end, and I hope that future chapters will continue wrapping up these battles.

Food Wars! CH:104

This chapter focuses on Akira’s reaction to winning the Classic Culinary Tournament. Chef Dojima comes up to Akira and tells him to keep in mind that a talent such as his will eventually turn on itself and the hopes he’ll be able to handle it well. Soma also goes up to Akira and asks him to make more of the carpaccio; Ryo asks for some as well. Chef Dojima watches the three of them interacting from the sidelines and thinks they could become an interesting trio. Soma also has an important phone conversation with his father.

This chapter basically wraps up the Classic Culinary Tournament, and it appears to be establishing that Akira, Ryo, and Soma are going to end up becoming a trio that will be important to the series. It’ll be a rocky start to any kind of a friendship, naturally, but I suspect as time goes on they’ll somehow become allies. It also appears that Soma is starting to better understand what it is he needs to do in order to improve his skills and talents.

World Trigger CH:091

Chika launches a surprise attack, which causes Hisato’s combat body to exceed its limit. While this saves Yuma from immediate danger, Suwa continues to go after him. When Suwa catches up to Yuma and launches a major attack, Osamu comes to the rescue. This causes Suwa’s combat body to exceed its limit, and he also has to bail out. Tamakoma-2 wins this match in the B-Rank Wars. Most of the rest of the chapter focuses on commentary that’s being made about the match that just took place. At the end of the chapter, we see that Tamakoma-2 has moved up to eighth place, and their next opponents are announced: Nasu Squad and Suzunari-1.

This chapter wraps up this particular match in the B-Rank Wars, and it wasn’t as long or as drawn out as I was afraid it might be. However, if Tamakoma-2 continues going higher up in the rankings, I imagine that later matches will be done in a way to make them last longer in order to build up the suspense. But it looks like the next matchup could potentially show whether or not Tamakoma-2 is as good as they appeared during this match, or if most of their success is due to Yuma’s abilities.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:156

Just as it looks like Raku is going to be hit by the arrows, Shu jumps in the way so he can be hit by them instead. But before they can hit him, Ruri grabs them. Ruri also hits Shu with a black stone, which turns out to have a love charm ten times stronger than the arrows. The scene then changes to the battle between Honda and Tsumugi briefly, which includes Honda taunting Tsugumi about her feelings for Raku. Marika and Chitoge continue to try to hit Raku with an arrow, and they each only have one arrow left. Ruri tries to get Onodera to fo after Raku with arrows as well. Four arrows shoot in Raku’s direction, but only one hits him… and it’s Chitoge’s. Marika realizes it was never said it had to be the first arrow that hit him, so she hits him with one. Tsumugi also touches Raku with an arrow that she picked up.

Afterward, Chitoge and Raku have a conversation, and just as Chitoge is about to confess her feelings, her phone rings. It’s a call from her father, which ends with a shocking revelation… he says that Chitoge and Raku no longer have to be a false couple.

This chapter starts off with the usual hijinks that I’ve come to expect from the series, and I was feeling rather “meh” about this chapter for most of it. But the ending of the chapter caught me off-guard, and I thought it was the best part of not just this chapter, but for this story arc overall. If Raku and Chitoge don’t have to be a false couple, it really changes the series. Is this a sign that maybe Nisekoi: False Love is getting closer to reaching its conclusion? And maybe future chapters will finally start focusing on the locket again?

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:008

When Pine goes to the magical powder transaction site, she finds Shiratori there. Shiratori keeps staying home from school to avoid a classroom arbitration, and we see her crying in her room and declaring her innocence. Meanwhile, Tento is trying to search for witnesses with information about the masked dude, and Pine grudgingly helps him out because it’s the only way she can to see to help her friend Shiratori. Some of the other students pitch in to help as well.

The day of the classroom arbitration arrives. Abaku calls three people at random from the witnesses that Tento found, and he suspects one of them is the masked dude. One witnesses contradicts himself by saying a different color of mask on the stand than he did when he was interviewed. The third witness describes the time he encountered the masked dude, and he only wore one mask instead of two. Abaku summarizes what happened and says he’ll be revealing the answer to the case in the next chapter.

This chapter seems to be setting up inconsistencies in the three witnesses’ testimonies, but it appears that one of them said something sketchy that should be a clue as to which one is the masked dude. I admit that I haven’t figured out which of the three that it is, so I’ll be surprised no matter who Abaku proves is guilty. I’m still enjoying this series quite a bit, and it’s my favorite of the newer series to be introduced into the English version of Weekly Shonen Jump in recent months. I can’t wait to read this one week after week.

Bleach CH:613

Ukitake comes out into the room where Urahara and the others are, and declares that everybody except Captain Zaraki is recovered enough to be active again. But then Zaraki comes out and claims that he can be active and asks where Yachiru is. When he’s told a squad is looking for her, Zaraki tries to leave. Urahara refuses to let him go, though. Right at the end of the chapter, Ichigo goes to confront Yhwach.

Well, it finally feels like this story is trying to progress somewhere, although it is a little disappointing to only see Ichigo briefly right at the end of the chapter. Hopefully this means the next chapter will have more of a focus on Ichigo and Yhwach. But I’m also glad to see what happened to Zaraki and the other Soul Reapers who had been injured in the fighting, and that they’re doing OK. Right before the chapter switches to Ichigo, it looks like the Soul Reapers and Urahara are just starting to do something, so perhaps they’ll get involved in the story again as well.

But what is with the art in this chapter? There’s quite a few panels that look as if Kubo drew it in a hurry due to how little detail there is in them. I’ve said it before, but I know that Kubo is capable of better art than this. I can only hope that these drawings will be cleaned up before they’re released in tankobon format.

My Hero Academia CH:001

The series is set in a world where 80% of the population consists of superhumans with special abilities. The crime rate also exploded, but some people with abilities have become superheroes. The series focuses on Izuku Midoriya, a boy who dreams of becoming a superhero. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a “Quirk” and is bullied by his classmates because of it.

We see a flashback of Izuki’s that show when he was younger, a doctor determined that there was no hope for him getting a Quirk. But even being told that, he decides not care what anyone says and to keep his chin up and move forward. As Izuki is walking along, he is followed by a villain that wants to hijack his body. Izuki is saved by the number one hero, All Might, who he has worshipped since he was a child. But in the process, Izuki learns something shocking about his idol. All Might also tells Izuki to give up his dream of being a hero and to be more realistic.

One of Izuki’s classmates is possessed by a villain, and the various heroes are unable to do anything to stop him. When Izuki sees his classmate, he springs into action. When Izuki is asked why he acted, he says he thought his classmate looked like he needed saving. While Izuki himself couldn’t do anything, All Might seemed to find the power he needed to defeat the villain. Later, All Might comes to see Izuki. Right at the end of the chapter, Izuki says this is the story of how he became a great hero.

I have to admit as I started reading the beginning of this chapter, it was feeling like a Tiger & Bunny clone. Fortunately, while the basic idea of people with mutations and special abilities have become heroes, the actual story is done in a much different manner. The majority of the main characters in this series are teenagers, while the Tiger & Bunny characters had a mixture of ages. Also, this series focuses on a character who wants to be a hero but doesn’t seem to have inherited a Quirk that will allow him to become one. That dynamic doesn’t exist in Tiger & Bunny. This story seems to have a promising start, and I’m hoping that this promise will continue as the series progresses.

Toriko CH:310

It turns out a festival that’s held once every several hundred years, where the masters of Monkey Martial Arts challenge the Monkey King to try to earn the right to assume his mantle, is taking place. It turns out the fighting style for this festival is Monkey Wrestling. We see that Coco took some damage from a prank the Monkey King pulled earlier, and that Toriko and his team’s strength was only at about half its peak. They have to try to grab the Monkey King’s balls, which are known as the pair of bells, but don’t succeed. However, the flavor they give off helps Toriko the others get back to full strength.

Toriko and the others get in the ring, and Sunny says that he’ll go first. The Monkey King quickly throws Sunny into the ropes, and Zebra goes up behind the Monkey King and restrains him just as the chapter ends.

Well, at least the group’s fight with the Monkey King just got going in this chapter. But for the most part, this chapter was more here for exposition and to build up to the wrestling match that was to come. Hopefully the next chapter will focus a lot more on the actual wrestling match of the Monkey King versus our four heroes.

Rosario + Vampire CH:004

Rosario + Vampire is being featured as part of Weekly Shonen Jump’s “Jump Back” initiative, and this is the fourth week that this title has been part of
this initiative.

This chapter focuses on Tsukune, Moka, and Kurumu meet for the first time as the newspaper club. They meet a fourth member of the club, a guy named Ginei Morioka; he’s the editor of the school newspaper. Gin is a playboy and a pervert. When Tsukune catches Gin looking up the girls’ skirts, Gin tries to claim that it was Tsukune doing it. Later, Moka’s rosario says she senses something dangerous about Gin. Moka forgives Tsukune, but she believes has her sense of pride to think of, so she’s giving him the silent treatment. Gin starts asking around about Tsukune and Moka, and later pulls Tsukune aside and declares that he will make Moka his. Tsukune is tricked into peeping into the girls’ locker room, and Gin takes a picture. Gin uses the picture to blackmail Tsukune.

Gin tries to get Moka alone, and while they’re under a full moon, he transforms into a werewolf. Kurumu and Tsukune find them, and Tsukune tries to rescue Moka. But, as usual, as hope seems to be lost, Tsukune somehow gets the rosario off of Moka and she transforms. And of course, Moka is able to defeat Gin at the end.

This chapter once again falls into the formula that I’ve griped about in previous write-ups for Rosario + Vampire. A situation is established that ultimately causes Tsukune to be in trouble, Moka is somehow involved, Tsukune pulls off the rosario, Moka transforms and kicks the bad guy’s butt. These early chapters definitely fall into a formula, which make this a boring read for me. Perhaps it gets better later on, but these early chapters just don’t interest me enough to want to read more.

Fortunately, this is the last chapter of Rosario + Vampire to appear in Weekly Shonen Jump