Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 19

Bleach DVD Set 19 includes episodes 268-279 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 19

English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: December 10, 2013

The episodes in Bleach DVD Set 19 focus completely on the canon storyline from the manga source material. The first five episodes in the set have a strong focus on the battle that’s raging between Ichigo and Ulquiorra, which leads to Ulquiorra transforming into his second release. An epic battle takes place between the two, and Uryu and Orihime also find themselves in the middle of everything. Of all the battles that appear in this set, I would have to say that this one is the best and most interesting one. I was actually a little sad to see it come to an end.

While Ichigo and Ulquiorra’s battle is taking place, there would be the occasional cutting away to Rukia, Renji, and Chad battling with Rudbornn Chelute and the Exequias. While there was some progress made in this particular battle, it ended up not being as memorable as the Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra battle or the battles taking place in the fake Karakura Town.

There are three battles that are focused on in the fake Karakura Town: Hitsugaya vs. Halibel, Soi Fon and Omaeda vs. Baraggan, and Kyoraku vs. Stark. A lot of action took place during these battles, and it seemed like Hitsugaya and Soi Fon had actually beaten their opponents. Unfortunately, thanks to interference from Wonderweiss, the Espada are able to escape from what the Soul Reapers did to them and continue fighting. Let’s just say that after how long it took for those characters to be subdued, it was more than a little frustrating to see that we weren’t done with them after all.

Right near the end of the set, the Visoreds make an appearance in the fake Karakura Town, with the potential to possibly turn things around. They may be unhappy with the Soul Society, but they like Aizen even less. At the end of this set, it appears the stage is set for the Visoreds to play an important role in this particular story arc.

While it was great to finally see more of the canon storyline, the ending of this set was frustrating due to the fact that it basically wiped out most of the progress that had been made in the fake Karakura Town. At least Ichigo’s battle and its outcome truly advanced the story. Here’s hoping that this story arc will make more of a progression in the episodes that appear in the next box set.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake continue to be cut off from the end of the episodes and are gathered together in the “Omake” feature that’s included on each disc. I genuinely laughed out loud at a couple of the omake in this set, but for the most part, I was left feeling like, “Meh. Whatever.”

Each disc also has Production Art as a bonus feature, which include either 21 or 22 pages. For this set, all of the images included were line art of the characters that appear in these episodes.

It was surprising to discover that this set also included a “Clean Opening,” because a textless version of the opening hasn’t been included on the Bleach DVD sets prior to this one. It’s the same clean opening on each disc since only one opening theme was used for all 12 episodes that were included in this set.

Each disc also has a “Clean Ending.” The first disc has one clean ending, while the second disc has two. The ending theme changed for the final episode that appeared in this set, so that’s why two are included on the second disc.

“More From VIZ Media” is the exact same five trailers that appear at the beginning of each disc when it first starts up. It didn’t seem worth it to also include them in the bonus features.

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 Bleach DVD Set 19. While the story progression may be on the slow side, at least every episode included here has canon material from the original manga source material.

The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System

The Bleach Manga Is Taking a One-Week Hiatus Due to Tite Kubo’s Sudden Illness

This year’s 21st issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine is revealing that Tite Kubo’s Bleach manga will not appear in the issue.

The Shonen Jump Editorial Department is posting a notice in the issue, which explains that the manga is taking the break due to the author’s “sudden illness.” The notice states that manga is slated to resume in the combined 22nd/23rd issue on April 27, 2015.

Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece manga is also taking a one-week break in the issue.

Source: ANN

Weekly Shonen Jump (April 13, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, My Hero Academia, World Trigger, Food Wars!, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, and Black Clover.

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:783

The fight between Luffy and Doflamingo continues. Luffy tries to rescue Law, and asks Robin to take care of him. Luckily, she can use her Devil Fruit ability to create a net and catch him. However, Doflamingo tries to turn his attention to Law since he’s not finished with him yet. Cabbage arrives and decides that she needs to cross swords with Doflamingo now that he has seen her. But after Luffy says he needs her to take care of the others, she agrees. Luffy gets Doglamingo to turn his attention back onto him. As Doflamingo fights and appears to be getting the upper hand, he also gloats that the birdcage will begin to kill people. But this seems to egg Luffy on, and he just launches an attack when the chapter end.

This is one of those chapters where there’s a lot of action going on, but not a lot actually happens in the long run. It looks like Law has resigned himself to not making it out alive from this battle, but at least Cabbage is with him to keep him company. I’m sure that by the end of this arc, Luffy will triumph over Doflamingo and Law will make it through, but I don’t know how much longer Oda intends to stretch this out. And with the added tension of the constricting birdcage getting closer to claiming its first victim, the tension has risen dramatically.

It should be noted that One Piece will be off next week.

My Hero Academia CH:038

The fight between Midoriya and Shoto begins. Unfortunately for Midoriya, Shoto’s matches have ended in a flash before this point, so he had no way to learn much from watching him. So Midoriya has to learn while fighting. Unfortunately, Midoriya finds pretty quickly that his right hand is done, followed close behind by his other hand. But Midoriya surprises everyone by using his quirk while he has broken fingers. Right at the end of the chapter, Midoriya tells Shoto to come at him with everything he’s got, instead of just half of his power.

I’m not surprised to see that this chapter ends before Midoriya and Shoto’s match comes to an end. Knowing how the story had been building up to this moment, there was no way I could think that it’d be done in one chapter. Hopefully this match can either come to an end or be right about to end as the next chapter finishes. The pacing is good so far, and I don’t want it ruined by the mangaka trying to stretch things out for too long.

World Trigger CH:099

Kumagai and Murakami begin duking it out, but during the battle, her Trion body loses one of its hands. She uses meteor to try to turn the fight into her favor. We learn through Kumagai’s thoughts that this is the first time that she’s used a shooting trigger. But in the end, Kumagai ends up having to bail out. Yuma appears in front of the victorious Murakami right at the end of the chapter.

The first part of the chapter placed a strong emphasis on commentary, so the action part of the chapter was near the end of the chapter. While the commentary is useful to help the reader figure out what’s going on, having too strong of a focus early on in the chapter like this does make the chapter more of a boring read than if the commentary and action could be have been intercut a little more. But it looks like the foundation is being set for the next chapter to focus on Murakami and Yuma, and it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

Food Wars! CH:114

Shinomiya allows Soma to submit a dish to the new recipe contest. We learn from Mr. Chapelle that the dish Soma comes up with will essentially decide if he passes or fails this week’s Stagiaire. Soma learns from the others that they’re all taking the new recipe contest very seriously. We then see Soma furiously working on making his dish. He has a flashback of learning things from his father and comes to realize that everything his father came across his life as a chef he condensed into his ideal vision of a family restaurant. It’s now time for the judging, and Soma brings out his dish right at the end of the chapter.

This chapter basically focuses on Soma as he realizes that he has to break free of everything he used to be as a chef. The flashback that’s included in this chapter also gives us a little bit more insight into what Soma has learned from his father when it comes to cooking. I wasn’t surprised to see that the chapter ended just as Soma brought out his dish. I figured it would be that way in order to build the suspense. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with his dish in the contest during the next chapter.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:018

As Higashide is trying to arrest Tento, Abaku and Sarutobi are invstigating the crime scene. Abaku swears to save Tento, while Tento is sent to the Children’s Detention Center because of being taken into custody for a Class A Offense. Yui Kijima, the third of the three tongues, has been named the lead prosecutor for Tento’s classroom session. We see she has a violent way of questioning people, and we see that she’s already decided that Tento is guilty. She can tell he isn’t lying at first, but once she asks if he’s hiding something right now, she figures out that he lies when he says no. Just as Yui is about to question him further, Abaku arrives and the two begin sniping at each other. Meanwhile, Higashide receives news that a metal bat was found on the rooftop and it’s thought to be the weapon that was used in the attack. When dusting for prints and comparing them with fingerprints voluntarily submitted by all of the students, they found a positive match that isn’t Tento. Right at the end of the chapter, Abaku reveals to Tento that he had received an email prior to transferring to the school that appears to be from Red Ogre, who apparently is the true perpetrator of the Bloody Session.

Wow, that Yui is a rather frightening kid. But it was also disappointing to see that a sixth grader has been sexualized in the way that Yui has; this was done with both her attire and through the fact that it appears her interrogation methods look suspiciously like BDSM.

But from everything that’s been presented in this chapter, it appears that Tento is indeed innocent. And with various revelations made near the end of the chapter, it’s becoming clearer to see that this series is close to ending, and that it wasn’t planned to run for this short of a time. It appears that the reader may already know who Red Ogre actually is and that both this case and the Bloody Session could be solved rather quickly. At this point, I think it just depends on how many more weeks Weekly Shonen Jump is willing to give this series before it’s forced to conclude.

Bleach CH:623

Kurotsuchi makes it clear to Aizen that he is controlling the level of his restraints. Aizen challenges Kurotsuchi to turn his device all the way up, and Kurotsuchi obliges. Just then, NaNaNa Najahkoop and some of the other Quincies arrive. Just as Nanana is about to attack, Bazz-B attacks NaNana. Bazz-B says they’ll give the Soul Reapers a hand because if Reiokyu falls then they’ll have problems, too. But in order to get their help, he demands something in return. If the Soul Reapers build the gate to Reiokyu, the Quincies want to be taken to the royal palace so they can kill Yhwach for abandoning them.

The early part of the chapter establishes what Aizen’s power is, while the end of the chapter sets the stage for the Quincies to potentially team up with the Soul Reapers. The Soul Reapers don’t give an answer by the end of the chapter, so hopefully we’ll see where this storyline goes in the next chapter. There’s definitely potential for the story to get exciting soon, so I hope that the potential I see will manifest itself in the series’ upcoming chapters.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:165

Raku and Onodera continue to kill time as they wait for the lighting of the legendary fir tree. They have some awkward interactions, but the two of them still seem to be having fun together. But as time goes on, the awkwardness starts to go away, and they genuinely seem to be having a great time. At seven o’clock, Raku decides he wants to buy a present for Onodera and suggests they split up for a little bit and that they’ll meet at the plaza with the tree right at eight o’clock. While he’s looking around, Raku discovers that the battery on his phone is dead and that he hasn’t heard from the locksmith. The locksmith finds Raku and tells him that the pendant and key are missing. The locksmith figures they were accidentally thrown away and says they have until eight o’clock to find it at the central collection spot.

It was fun getting to see Raku and Onodera having such a great time together, but already knowing what had happened with the pendant and key in the previous chapter made it clear that their good time wouldn’t last. I was just waiting for Raku and Onodera to find out the bad news, and we finally saw it right at the end of the chapter. So now they have to get to the central trash collection and find their items by eight, as well as get to the legendary fir tree. It looks like getting both things accomplished could be impossible, so it’ll be interesting to see how this is handled in the next chapter. I have to say that this has been one of the more interesting chapters of Nisekoi: False Love that I’ve read in a while.

Black Clover CH:005-007

We get three chapters of Black Clover this week to help the readers of the English version of Weekly Shonen Jump get caught up to where the series currently is in the Japanese edition.

Chapter 5 introduces the other new recruit to the Black Bulls, Noelle Silver. It turns out she’s a member of the country’s royal family. She’s a snob and holds the fact that she’s royalty over others. That night, Asta gets lost while trying to find the bathroom and wanders outside. He finds Noelle practicing her magic, which she seems to have little to no control over. Later, Noelle traps herself with her own magic, and it’s up to Asta to neutralize it. He succeeds, but it looks like he’s going to fall to his death; fortunately, Yami comes to his rescue. When the Black Bulls learn Noelle can’t control her magic, they don’t make fun of her like she thinks they will. Hopefully Noelle’s attitude will start improving after this.

Chapter 6 officially introduces the other members of the Black Bulls, so the reader gets to learn their names and personalities. Asta and Noelle are given their first mission, which is to go to the village of Saussy and hunt boar. Getting to the village is a problem because neither Asta nor Noelle can fly on a broom. Magna has to take them on his broom. When they reach the village, they find it’s been covered with magic, and Asta is asked to neutralize it. When they clear the mist, they find an execution in progress. Magna uses his magic to stop it. As the executioner tries to continue with what he was doing, Asta tries to use his sword to stop him.

Chapter 7 reveals that the executioner is Lord Heath. When one of his men tries to conjure another mist, Asta is able to negate it with his sword. In a flashback of Asta’s, we learn that there is prejudice against commoners with weak magic. As a kid, he decides that he wants to become the Wizard King and get rid of the prejudice. Lord Heath launches a major ice attack against the villagers, but Asta is able to repel that magic. Noelle tries to help, but she can’t control her magic. Magna tells Noelle to retreat. She’s about to run, but a little girl comes over and begs her to save them. Noelle develops heightened emotions and her magic becomes stronger and she can control it.

These three chapters start progressing Black Clover a little further. At first, I thought I wasn’t going to like Noelle, but she has started to grow as a character by the end of Chapter 7. While I can still see some of the similarities Black Clover has with Naruto, it does seem like this series is starting to diverge away from the Naruto formula as it progresses. I really hope that this continues to be the case, because I do think there’s potential for this series to become more than just a Naruto clone. It’s just a little frustrating that it had to start out as a such a Naruto knock-off, though.

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 18

Bleach DVD Set 18 includes episodes 256-267 of the series on two DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 18

English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: September 10, 2013

The first 10 episodes in Set 18 continue the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale story arc, and these episodes show what happens after the fall of Muramasa. The final two episodes in the set finally return to canon material from the Bleach manga.

The first 10 episodes introduce the Sword Beasts, which are the zanpakuto of Soul Reapers who have died. The zanpakuto didn’t die with their respective Soul Reapers, so they are lost and start going on rampages. These episodes see the Soul Reapers and their zanpakuto in their materialized human form taking on these various Sword Beasts. Each of these episodes is a stand-alone story; while there were one or two stories in this filler arc that were interesting, the vast majority of them were rather stupid.

The final episode of the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale made it clear through various dialogue cues that the episode would end with everything resetting to zero. The fact that a super Sword Beast that absorbs the spiritual energies of other zanpakuto and causing them to turn back into swords also helped cement the idea of this being the final filler episode in this set. The frustrating thing about this episode is that the zanpakuto talk about this super Sword Beast like they’ve known all about him for a while, yet this episode was the first time this particular Sword Beast was mentioned or referenced.

And while it was great to finally return to canon material in this set, the first of these two episodes was simply a recap of the various battles that had taken place between the previous filler arc and the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc. And the final episode in the set does a short recap of the very end of the previous canon episode before finally progressing the story arc forward. So while I was grateful to finally return to the canon storyline, I was also disappointed at just how little that story progressed before Set 18 came to an end.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, the omake are still being cut off from the end of the episodes and only appear as part of the “Omake” feature that’s included on each disc. The omake on this set were rather mixed when it came to how humorous they were. Some were amusing, while others just seemed to fall flat.

Each disc also has Production Art as a bonus feature, which include either eight or nine pages. Most of the production art is line art of the characters that appear in these episodes, with a few pages that also included occasional color art.

Each disc also has a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features. The first disc includes the textless version of the first ending theme that appears on Set 18, while the second disc includes textless versions for both ending themes that appear on that 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. Unfortunately, it’s still primarily filled with filler material and only includes a couple of canon story episodes that don’t progress the main storyline very much. But if you want to have all of the episodes that feature canon material, then you need to get a hold of Bleach DVD Set 18.

The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System

Weekly Shonen Jump (April 6, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for My Hero Academia, One Piece, Black Clover, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, World Trigger, Food Wars!, Bleach, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Toriko, Nisekoi: False Love, and Blue Exorcist.

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.

My Hero Academia CH:037

The first round of the one-on-one tournament is now over. During the break between rounds, Midoriya runs into Bakugo. Bakugo believes that Midoriya came up Uraraka’s self-sacrificing scheme, and Midoriya insists it was all Uraraka’s idea. We then get to see a phone conversation that Uraraka has with her parents, and we learn that while her parents support her being a hero, they don’t truly understand the technical side of it. Midoriya has a run-in with Shoto’s father, Endeavor. During this, Midoriya declares that he is not All Might, and that Shoto is not Endeavor. Right at the very end of the chapter, we see that the first match of the second round will be Midoriya against Shoto.

This chapter is basically here to give the reader a break before the big match against Midoriya and Shoto gets going. The biggest takeaway from this chapter is getting to see the kind of relationship Uraraka has with her parents. Outside of that, it consisted either of discussions to wind down Uraraka’s match, or conversations to get the reader psyched for the upcoming battle between Midoriya and Shoto. I suspect that the next chapter will at least get Midoriya and Shoto’s fight started but that it won’t finish over the course of that chapter.

One Piece CH:782

This chapter sees Luffy facing off against Doflamingo. But just as it looks like Luffy has the upper hand, Trebol lays down some sticky goop that traps Luffy. But even through he may be stuck in the goop, he’s able to get a hit in on Trebol. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much. But Luffy keeps trying anyway. In the midst of all this, we get to see flashbacks of when Doflamingo was younger and how he was raised by his henchmen to become a king. And even though Law may be unable to move much, he’s still able to pull off an incredible feat.

Overall, this was a rather action-packed chapter of One Piece. Even though flashbacks may have been included, they didn’t really bog down the pacing of the chapter. While this battle may be nowhere near decided yet, at least a couple of things happened that helped to progress it somewhat. I’m expecting the next chapter to continue with this battle that features Luffy, Doflamingo, and Law.

Black Clover CH:004

Asta makes his first appearance among the Black Bulls, but no one seems to notice that he’s there. Yami appears and tells his squad to knock off their nonsense. With his arrival, Asta is introduced to the others. But when they learn he’s a run from the boonies, one of the females flirts with him, while one of the males says that Asta has to prove that he’s worth wearing their squad’s robe. Magna Swing, Yami’s top underling, says he’ll launch attack magic on Asta, which he must block or avoid, in order to get the robe. At first, Asta thinks he’ll be able to cut through it with his sword, but he figures out quickly that with his current skills, he won’t be able to cut through this magic. While his brain shuts down, his body moves and finds a way out. Magna Swing is impressed, and Asta receives his robe. Right at the end, we see someone watching and not being impressed with what they saw.

Well, it looks like Black Clover is starting to look a little less like a Naruto clone, especially with the introduction of the Black Bulls. It’s starting to get a little more interesting, but it’s too bad that a lot of setup felt like it was lifting many of the concepts that made up the setup for Naruto. Here’s hoping that Black Clover can continue moving away from its Naruto clone roots.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:032

Seishiro Hiragi goes visits Shinjuku to see what Kureto is doing there, and the two brothers have an argument. It gets to the point where Kureto’s men take down Seishiro’s men. It seems that Kureto believes that he’s going to be the hero who saved the world. Kureto is heading off to Nagoya, believing that he’ll be able to imprison the vampires there. Kureto has Seishiro thrown into the brig.

We then return to the upper floors of Nagoya City Hall, where Guren and Shinya try to escape, but Crowley catches up with him. Just as Guren orders Shinya to run, Yuichiro bursts through the floor right in front of Crowley.

Wow, Kureto sure as a kust for power, doesn’t he? I have a suspicion that Kureto’s going to end up being killed during this whole thing, or will end up being the one responsible for destroying the plan that had been put in place. Either way, I think Kureto is going to end up being a big disgrace instead of being the hero who saved the world. And it looks like the stage is being set for Yuichiro and the rest of Shinoa Squad to try to rescue Guren. I suspect that this will be the focus of the next chapter of the series.

World Trigger CH:098

We see that Tamakoma Branch has a prisoner, a Neighbor who was left behind after the invasion. We then return to the BRank Wars, where the fight rages on. Akane is told to bail out, but she chooses to stay and goes for a shot. Unfortunately, Yuma was within a certain radius, so Akane was unable to bail out. Yuma is able to do a trick that gives him the advantage and allows him to knock Akane out of the fight.

In the long run, not a whole lot happens here. For most of the chapter, it was primarily in a holding pattern, with people doing a lot of talking and trying to figure out their own strategy or predicting the other team’s strategy. The only real action took place right at the end with Yuma and Akane, so the chapter ends just as something is finally happening. Hopefully the next chapter will have more in the way of action.

Food Wars! CH:113

It’s now the last day of Shino’s Tokyo Pre-Opening. Soma is learning various tricks about French cooking from the head chef. At the end of the day, Shinomiya gets asked if he’s going to open a third restaurant, a reporter wants to put together a special feature on him, and another reporter wants an interview. Then a very special group of guests arrives, which includes Shinomiya’s former classmates, former teacher, and even his mother. Right at the end of the chapter, Soma declares that he wants to participate in the restaurant’s new recipe contest.

Probably one of the most interesting parts of this chapter is a combination of getting the background on why Shinomiya decided to learn French cooking and the history lesson about food in regards to World War II. I found the history lesson to be interesting, and I didn’t think it bogged down the storytelling. It was also amusing to see Shinomiya talking so differently when his mother was around, because this allowed us to see a different side of the usually serious Shinomiya. And it looks like the next chapter will be devoted to the new recipe contest.

Bleach CH:622

The Soul Reapers are shocked to see Aizen, and even more surprised when they learn that Kyoraku is the one who lifted Aizen’s sentence. Kyoraku says he thought they need Aizen’s power, but the other Soul Reapers are not cool with this. When Aizen tries to get Kyoraku to remove more of his restraints, Kyoraku unleashes eyeball monsters to get Aizen to cooperate. Aizen attacks the eyeball monsters. Elsewhere, Byakuya tells Kyoraku that freeing Aizen is an insult to them, and Kyoraku says they can smack him all they want later after they save the Seireitei. They see that Aizen has destroyed the eyeball monsters, and Aizen tells the Soul Reapers what they need to do.

This entire chapter focused on Aizen and the Soul Reapers. But this was a good thing, since we needed to learn why Kyoraku decided to free Aizen from prison. Aizen is as much of a jerk as ever, but his abilities will be useful to help the Soul Reapers battle against the Quincies. Hopefully we’ll get to see what has happened with Ichigo and the others sooner rather than later.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:017

We see a meeting at the Children’s Division Special Investigations Unit at the Tokyo Public Prosecutor’s Office. They point out just how many classroom sessions have been taking place in Abaku’s class. It’s also revealed that there’s not a single piece of data about Tento that exists from prior to his arrival at Tenbin Elementary School this spring. Then we see Tento going to take care of the rabbits in the animal shed, and one of the rabbits escapes. As Tento catches the rabbit and takes it back, he runs into Airin and Hatakeyama, who tell him that he can’t say that he saw them there. Unfortunately, this causes the rabbit to escape again.

When Abaku and Higashide arrive at school, Pine tells them they need to go to the animal shed. They see a female student has fallen over inside, but the door is locked and no one can get inside. Sarutobi arrives to help out. They both use a special gun they are provided as prosecutors and attorneys for self protection to get the door open. When they get inside, they discover it’s Reiko Shiratori inside. It turns out to be a case of attempted murder. Tento returns with the rabbit, and he has the key to the animal shed. Tento is then taken into custody for the attempted murder of Reiko Shiratori and suspicion of involvement in the series of incidents attributed to Red Ogre. It’s revealed that Shuichi is an undercover police inspector. At the end of the chapter, we see that Yui Kijima, the last of the three tongues, will be taking on this case.

Wow, this series went up a couple of notches in a hurry. It’d been hinted that there was more to Shuichi than what we knew, but I never guessed he was an undercover cop. Between the type of this case this is, the fact that the chapter is titled, “Beginning of the End,” as well as the revelations that have come out for Shuichi, Tento, and the third tongue, I’m getting the suspicion that this series may be getting close to winding down. If the series really is ending, then I’ll be disappointed. To me, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment has been one of the better series to be introduced to Weekly Shonen Jump in recent months.

Toriko CH:319

Toriko and the others find that the Choo Choo Chomper is in bad shape. Komatsu asks for a drop of pair, which he uses to heal the Choo Choo Chomper. Then Komatsu notices that Toriko’s arm is missing and freaks out. They realize that it must have been Terry and the others who made sure that the Choo Choo Chomper was here, and they wonder where the others are. As Toriko and the others try to figure out how to get down the mountain, the various monkeys they’ve met appear. But then another creature arrives, which turns out to be the camping monster that all the monkeys rode in on. As they all board this cloud, which turns out to be made of the Monkey King’s poop, 100 G Mountain begins regenerating. They make it to the birthcry tree, and everyone gathers together to eat food treasure pair.

It was really amusing to see Komatsu’s confusion over so many things, since a lot of things were introduced and a lot of things happened while he was unconscious. I didn’t mention it in the write-up, but the camping monster they ride on is known as a “Flying Nimbutt,” which probably got its name from the fact that it’s made from the Monkey King’s poop. I wasn’t entirely sure whether to find this amusing or disgusting. I imagine Toriko is getting ready to move on to its next story arc, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a couple of weeks in order to find out how the story will progress.

It should be noted that Toriko will be off next week.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:165

Haru tells Onodera and Raku that they need to go on a date to the shopping mall a few train stations over to see a legendary fir tree. They’re giving away special limited edition plushies, but you have to go as a couple to get one. She really wants one, but since she has to work, she hopes Raku and Onodera can go for her. They make it to the legendary fir tree, and discover there’s a legend: if a couple watches the special tree lighting ceremony together, they will live happily ever after. The tree will be lit at 8:00 in the evening for only five minutes, and that’s when the plushies are being given away. They then overhear people saying the people get married by the legendary fir tree, and Onodera and Raku freak out. But since it’s only noon, they have a lot of time to kill. While at the mall, Raku notices there’s a locksmith, and he asks Onodera if she has her key with her. Raku suggests seeing what’s inside the pendant. Onodera agrees. They go to the locksmith, hand over the lock and key, and the locksmith says he’ll look at it that day and call them when he’s done. Right at the end of the chapter, we see the locksmith’s granddaughter playing around and knocking the locket and key into the garbage.

I don’t care much about the legend of the fir tree, but seeing Raku and Onodera taking the locket and key to the locksmith raised my hopes that perhaps there might be some kind of progress coming in regards to this whole mystery surrounding those items and the promise. But my hopes were dashed when I saw the little girl knock them into the garbage, especially with the locksmith saying the truck would be coming soon. I feel like Komi has teased us yet again. But it turned out I was right when I suspected that Haru had some kind of ulterior motive for wanting her sister to go on a date with Raku.

Blue Exorcist CH:066

Mephisto says he has to take everyone with them becaue there’s a visitor from The Vatican waiting for them. Mephisto takes them to his offce in Johann Faust’s mansion. They find Lewin Light, nicknamed Lightning, waiting for them. Lightning has come to determine whether Renzo Shima is trustworthy. They have all been gathered to present evidence. Shima is given the first question, and is asked how he ended up returning to the order. As he starts to answer, the scene shifts into a flashback that explains what happened. Lightning then asks the others if they think Shima is trustworthy. Rin says that he believes that Mephisto is not trustworthy, and that’s why people think Shima is untrustworthy. Izumo says that while she’s grateful that Mephisto protected her sister, she asks why he didn’t tell her. After a confrontation, Mephisto admits that he’s been testing them and that they are pieces in a game that he controls. He then tells an angry Rin that they have to listen to him in order to defeat Lucifer. When they get back on topic, the other kids say in their own way that they trust Shima.

For the most part, this chapter focused very heavily on exposition and on various characters confronting Mephisto. Mephisto is a major jerk, and I feel the same as the kids; this guy just isn’t trustworthy. It was interesting to see that the kids thought Shima was trustworthy, and I’m hoping that they’re right about that. Considering he’s been a double agent for two different groups, who knows where his loyalties actually lie. This chapter also feels like it may be setting the groundwork for whatever the next story arc will end up being.

Anime DVD Review: Bleach DVD Set 17

Bleach DVD Set 17 includes episodes 243-255 of the series on three DVDs. Audio options include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Bleach DVD Set 17

English Publisher: VIZ Media
Format: DVD
Release Date: June 11, 2013

Set 17 continues the Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale story arc, which sees the Soul Reapers’ swords assuming human form and declaring war against their wielders. They are led by a former Zanpakuto named Muramasa.

The first three episodes in the set focus on continuing the battles between the Soul Reapers and the Zanpakuto in their human forms. Unfortunately, the battles in these episodes tended to jump around rather quickly between several characters, so no one’s battles seemed to progress much at first. This made for some rather boring viewing.

The story starts picking up again when Ukitake, Kyoraku, Kenpachi, Yoruichi, and Ichigo go on a mission to rescue Yamamoto. The rescue attempt forces Ichigo to come face-to-face with Muramasa and fight with him. During this section, it’s revealed that Muramasa’s goal is to destroy Karakura Town and to free his owner, Koga Kuchiki, from a seal. With the story moving its focus to Karakura Town, this allows Uryu, Chad, and Orihime to become involved with this story arc. This was a welcome change at first, but became frustrating when Orihime healed Muramasa. By healing him, this made it so the story had to continue for a while longer.

Since Koga Kuchiki is a character created specifically for this anime filler arc, two episodes are devoted to providing some background on him before the seal placed on him is broken. But after the seal is broken, things don’t go as planned for Muramasa. And it also turns out that Koga has something to do with why Byakuya betrayed the Soul Reapers. As was already being shown with this, revelation the “resetting to zero” of this filler arc was already starting; by this, I mean that the writers were using the standard trick of shonen anime of removing the effects of the actions that have taken place during this filler arc in order to return things to being what they were like in the canon material before the anime took a break with filler.

But one of the most frustrating things that happened with this “resetting to zero” is that the other Soul Reapers suddenly appear in Karakura Town with their zanpakuto in human form working alongside them. Instead of seeing how the Soul Reapers got their swords back, we just got a very brief explanation of what happened. Whatever happened to “show, don’t tell”?

The final episode in this set brings this particular story to a close, and everything seems to be “set back to zero” again. However, the preview for the next episode seems to indicate that another filler story with zanpakuto is about to begin.

In the end, I wasn’t very satisfied with this particular filler story, because the whole premise behind this arc just didn’t ring true with what has already been established in the canon material. In a lot of ways, it felt like a really bad fan fiction story that someone wrote for Bleach. Of what I’ve seen of the series up to this point, I can safely say that this particular story arc has been my least favorite part.

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” feature that’s included on each disc. The omake on this set were a rather mixed bag. While there were still a number of them that just weren’t funny, I at least laughed at a small handful of them. This is more than I can say for the omake that appeared on the previous set.

Each disc includes Production Art, which range from 7-19 pages on each disc. Most of the production art is line art of the characters that appear in these episodes, with only a very small amount of color art included.

Each disc also includes a “Clean Ending” option in the bonus features. All three discs have the same ending theme, since the same theme appeared on each episode included in this set.

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. Unfortunately, it’s filled with episodes from a filler arc that may not be very enjoyable to watch, so keep this in mind if you decide to purchase a copy of Bleach DVD Set 17.

The reviewer checked out a copy of this item through the King County Library System

Weekly Shonen Jump (March 30, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for Food Wars!, My Hero Academia, Nisekoi: False Love, One Piece, World Trigger, Toriko, Bleach, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. The fourth chapter of Claymore is also included for Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative, and the fourth chapter of Boys Over Flowers Season 2 is included for 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.

Food Wars! CH:112

Soma thinks that even though he’s so far behind, but he swears that by the last day he’s going to catch up. Afterward, Soma is told by Shinomiya that after seeing his work today, Shinomiya almost wishes that Soma wasn’t there. We then see Soma studying to learn various things he needs to know, and the chefs are surprised to this when the arrive the next day. When Soma asks for advice, the head chef tells him they need to clean and get things ready and that they don’t have time to help him. But then he sees that everything is already clean and that the peeling is done. Lucie is then told to answer Soma’s questions.

We then see that Soma has been asking questions for three days straight. And then we see that Soma is starting to get what he needs to know. It turns out he’s absorbing the knowledge he needs at an unbelievable pace. Shinomiya seems to think that Soma is finally able to do more than just base prep. Afterward, Soma is told that he can’t make any mistakes the next day, since it will be his last day.

This chapter shows Soma going from not knowing all the preparation techniques and falling behind to picking up the skills and what he needs to do in a rather quick manner. The growth Soma shows during this chapter is incredible, but the next chapter should have his final day included in it. I suspect that the real test for him will be that final day, especially since Shinomiya made it clear to Soma that he isn’t allowed to make any mistakes.

My Hero Academia CH:036

This chapter focuses on the match against Uraraka and Bakugo. Uraraka tries to get the upper hand, but Bakugo manages to keep reacting faster than she anticipates. And Bakugo tries going all out. so all Uraraka can do is try to dodge. A group in the crowd starts booing Bakugo for toying with Uraraka. It’s revealed that Uraraka was keeping Bakugo’s attention focused on the ground so she could set up her weapons above them. But before her meteor storm can affect Bakugo, he launches an attack. The chapter ends with Uraraka unable to continue, and Bakugo advances to the second round.

Even though Uraraka lost, you hvave to give her credit for trying. She did manage to successfully distract Bakugo so she could make her plan work. It’s just too bad that the best that she could do still wasn’t enough to take down Bakugo. Now that this match is over, I wonder if the next chapter is going to rush through any remaining matches in order to advance to next round. I also wonder if, once we get into the next round, that the matches won’t be rushed through quite so much.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:164

Onodera thinks she’s found the missing pages of a picture book and wonders why they were in Haru’s room.

We then see Chitoge and Raku walking down the street, and Chitoge realizes it’s Christmas Eve when she receives a text from her mother. Chitoge has made plans to spend Christmas Eve with her mother since she’s in Japan at the moment. Raku receives an email from Haru, asking him to come over. When he gets there, she tells Raku to go to her room and wait. He finds the picture book on a desk and discovers pages he’s never seen before in it. Onodera sees him just as he discovers them. The pages include references to “Zawswe in love,” as well as a locket and a key. Onodera mentions that Raku had said that the first time he met the girl he made the promise with he wrote in the picture book she was reading to give it a happy ending. She wonders if this picture book might be it. He recognizes the handwriting as his in the pages that were found. Unfortunately, they still haven’t found the ending pages yet. Right at the end of the chapter, Haru asks Ichijo to go on a date with Onodera.

Well, then, perhaps we haven’t entirely returned to the status quo after all. While there’s obviously still some pages from the book missing, I really hope that maybe this is finally the clue they need to start resolving this locket and key business. I wouldn’t be surprised if Onodera was the girl he made the promise with all along. But what’s this about with Haru asking Raku to take Onodera on a date. Hmm… I don’t know. I smell something fishy here, but I’m not sure what.

One Piece CH:781

It’s announced that the terms of the game have changed. The birdcage surrounding the city is slowly closing in, and in one hour, it will slice through everything in the country. Luffy begins launching attacks on Doflamingo again, but before he can do anything, Law gets up and hits him first. And after Doflamingo talks badly about Corazon, Law attacks him again. It looks like Law has the upper hand, but it turns out that with enough time, Doflamingo can perform emergency care on himself. But just as Doflamingo is about to strike Law, Luffy gets in the way.

This was a very action-packed chapter, and it’s pretty much continually in motion. It’s wonderful to see the focus being on Luffy and Doflamingo, and it was quite a pleasant surprise to find that Law wasn’t dead after all. But it was disappointing to see that Law wasn’t able to take Doflamingo down. But hopefully Luffy can pick up from where Law left off and finally finish Doflamingo off.

World Trigger CH:097

Now that the bridge is gone, it’s harder for the squads to meet up. Yuko, Ko and Yuma begin battling it out. Meanwhile, Osamu is up against Rei. Nasu is also showing how good her sniping skills are with her Viper. At the end of the chapter, we see the other members of Tamakoma Branch watching what’s going on, and it sounds like Hyuse may not be very confident that Osamu’s team can make it.

Overall, this chapter jumps around a bit between Yuma’s position, Osamu’s position, and Chika’s position. But of the three, Chika definitely gets the least amount of focus in this chapter. Even though we see some action in the chapter, there’s not much in the way of any real progression in the battle. The chapter basically keeps the story in a holding pattern. Hopefully the next chapter will find a way to progress this battle for the B-Rank War.

Toriko CH:318

The first few pages of the chapter focuses on Komatsu and the others having a tearful reunion. Actually, it’s Komatsu that’s tearful; the others are dealing with the effects of the Sundoriko pollen. Komatsu tells them the flowers and edible and that if they eat them, the symptoms might stop. It turns out that Komatsu’s guess is right. When they realize they don’t know what’s happened to the Monkey King, and then 100 G Mountain completely crumbles. With the mountain gone, they discover a house standing in the middle of the rubble; the Monkey King is inside the house. They also learn that they had done the Monkey Dance right all along, and that they were mistaken about what the Monkey King had wanted to do at the end.

Well, it appears that the Monkey King story is finally reaching a conclusion. The truths about the Monkey King and 100 G Mountain that are revealed during this chapter are actually rather sad. But at least Komatsu is alive again, so that made this story arc worth it in the end. Hopefully the next chapter will begin a new story arc.

Bleach CH:621

Urahara and the Soul Reapers discover the Seireitei is being closed off. Meanwhile, we see a torrent of Reio’s power that was released from Ukitake’s seal becoming an unstoppable torrent passing through Yhwach’s body. Soi Fon takes it upon herself to try to take care of the situation on her own. The unstoppable torrent reaches the Soul Reapers, and they try to destroy it. Right at the end of the chapter, a character from the past makes a surprise appearance.

This chapter basically focused on the Soul Reapers, and there was nothing to indicate what happened to Ichigo and the others after Uryu’s attack. Hopefully we’ll find out what happened to them sooner rather than later. But from what we did see in this chapter, it appears that the Soul Reapers could have quite the uphill battle against the torrent. And how will the surprise appearance by a particular character affect what’s going on?

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:016

Abaku presents evidence that was found in the pool, which is an aquarium. Abaku performs a magic trick which has to do with light refraction. Abaku then points out that Inako’s testimony verified the aquarium was in the 5-meters deep area when she said a boy thought he saw the face of a child staring up. Abaku also explains how the perpetrator made the fish appear right on time during fifth period. This also involves the court-ordered necropsy of the fish by the science club. Abaku then points out when the tank had to be placed there and the only person who could have done it at that time. Abaku is right, and the motive is revealed. In the end, Pine’s father concedes. Pine also tells her father that she doesn’t want to change schools. Pine’s father allows her to stay.

The resolution to this case rather interesting. However, I have to wonder if perhaps how the case was carried out might be a little too complex for sixth graders. Oh well. If I can overlook rather complicated explanations in Case Closed, I should be able to overlook them in Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment as well. I’m glad to see Pine’s father get shown up during the classroom session, but his change of heart at the end felt a little rushed. But if he hadn’t had that change of heart, Pine wouldn’t still be at the school.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:52

We see some of the characters return to Heartland, but it’s pointed out that Yuma, Kaito, and some of the others haven’t returned. We see the others are still in the other world, and Astral asking them to return their Number Cards to him. They are Astral’s memories and must not remain in their world. However, Yuma refuses to hand over Utopia. Instead, Yuma challenges Astral to a duel, and he accuses Astral of trying to duck out with a secret; when E’rah disappeared, the two of them had become one and Yuma learned what Astral’s other mission is: to seal E’rah’s fragmented soul forever by sacrificing himself. Astral explains that while they defeated E’rah, they have not completely destroyed her. Astral ends up agreeing to the duel, with Yuma wagering his Utopia card.

The duel between Yuma and Astral begins. Astral quickly demonstrates a lot that he’s able to do on his first turn. The chapter ends just as Astral is finishing his first turn.

Even though E’rah has been defeated, there’s still a little more of the story left to tell. Darn it, I was hoping this story was closer to ending than this. But now that Astral has regained his memory, he knows what he needs to do, but it’s something that Yuma disagrees with. So now Yuma plans to duel Astral, and I guess it’s an attempt to keep Astral from going through with his mission. At this point, it appears that the cards are stacked against Yuma, but knowing what I know of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, I expect Yuma will be able to pull something unexpected off and ultimately defeat Astral.

Claymore CH:004

The “Jump Back” initiative continues with the fourth chapter of Claymore.

Raki and Clare begin traveling together, and Raki learns that Claymores only have to eat once every couple of days. Clare suddenly gets up and tells Raki not to follow her. It turns out she’s meeting with the guy who arranges the jobs for the Claymores, and he hands her a black card. When Clare returns to Raki, and she tells him that they’ll be crossing Mount Shire the next day. The next day, Raki learns that Clare is being sent to take down another Claymore, because she has become a full-blown monster. The black card was sent to Clare by Elena, because she specifically wants to be killed by Clare. Clare and Raki find Elena. When Elena begs for Clare to kill her, Raki tries to intervene. But Clare does the job that she was asked to do.

This is a very moving chapter of Claymore, and it shows that they have to learn to put duty above friendships and their own desires. Raki is learning some awful truths while on his journey with Clare, and I’m sure he’ll learn more as they continue to travel together.

This chapter of Claymore is the final one being highlighted for the “Jump Back” initiative, and I have to say that these four chapters establish a very strong story. While I’ve already seen the anime, I know that the story diverges at some point. Reading these four chapters makes me want to pick up the manga and catch up with the more recent volumes that I read and reviewed for my blog.

Boys Over Flowers Season 2 CH:004

Haruto tells Oto not to think that he was coming to her rescue or anything. But he slips and says he wasn’t following her or anything. She asks why he’s following her, because that’s creepy. Oto runs off, but comes face to face with Kaito. He tells Oto that she’s right about what Haruto is doing not being normal. Kaito tells her that Haruto is afraid that she’ll blab his secret, and he gives her a cold look as if she’s trash. Later, as Oto thinks about what happened with her co-worker, she finds herself thinking about what would have happened to her if Haruto hadn’t come.

We then see Haruto at home, and he’s upset over what happened. Before he can talk to the butler, a maid tells him that someone has come to see him and that they’re waiting by the gate. When Haruto gets to the gate, he finds Oto standing there. She’s come to thank him for saving her.

And this is the end of this “Jump Start” title. After reading these four chapters, I have to say that Boys Over Flowers Season 2 isn’t a bad manga, but at the same time, there wasn’t much about it that stood out to me in the long run. I think it’s due in large part to the fact that the main audience for this series is teen girls, and there’ not much here to really grab a 40-year-old woman.