Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 147 (December 8, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Nisekoi: False Love, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judment, World Trigger, Bleach, Hi-Fi Cluster, E-ROBOT, Toriko, Food Wars!, and Blue Exorcist. In addition, this issue also includes the sixth chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative, as well as “Food Wars! Japanese Editor Picks.”

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.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:150

This chapter opens with the announcement that it’s almost time for Raku and his class to take their class trip; this time, it’s a trip to Kyoto. As expected, Raku already has some members of his harem asking to be in his group. It turns out there’s a famous shrine of love in Kyoto with a miraculous 90% success rate for having your love requited. But then it’s revealed that this year, the groups will be chosen by lottery. After the lottery is finished, we see that all of the main characters are in the same group together, except for Raku. He ends up in a group of guys who tease him mercilessly for his situation. On the day of the trip, Raku is running late and ends up having to help an old lady get to her destination/ He contacts Yui and says he’ll get a same-day ticket and catch up. He’s told to go to the school to be picked up by a taxi, along with another student running late; that student ends up being Onodera.

When I first saw that this story arc would be featuring a class trip, I almost groaned, “Is Komi reusing another story idea?” Fortunately, as I read the chapter, I determined that it would be a different class trip story from the one that appeared earlier in the series. I also liked seeing Raku not end up in the same group as the other main characters, because this was a refreshing change of pace. However, I was a little disappointed to see that Onodera ended up being late as well as Raku. However, this does provide the opportunity for some more character development between these two. At this point, it seems as if Komi’s dropping hints that Raku will somehow end up with Onodera at the end of this.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:028

This chapter continues Yu’s encounter with Lucal, and we see the rest of his squad come to back him up. Lucal is about to try to finish them off when Narumi’s squad jumps in to help out Shinoa’s squad; but before Narumi can do anything, Shinoa gets in the way. The battle with Lucal gets intense as the chapter continues. But as it looks like they have Lucal trapped with a chain around his arm, Lucal cuts off his arm to free himself. Both squads try to work together after this to take down Lucal. They’re able to use curse power on Lucal so he is unable to heal his wounds, which allows them to take him down.

The scene then changes to Guren and his squad trying to take down another vampire noble. They’re able to take him down, but it’s rather close since Guren didn’t assign as many people to this group. But their victory is short-lived when they’re approached by Kusunoki, who’s badly wounded. It turns out the 30-man attack team sent to Nagoya City Hall has lost 10 soldiers and the remaining 20 have been taken hostage; also, the vampires want the humans to come to them. After Kusunoki passes, a member of Guren’s squad says that this is an obvious trap. Guren adds Crowley Eusford, the thirteenth progenitor, to the hit list.

Overall, this was a rather action oriented chapter for Seraph of the End. It was great to see Shinoa and Narumi squads, who had been fighting constantly before heading out on this mission, being able to work together and take down their target. But when the story changes to Guren’s squad, the danger level is increased, especially after hearing about what happened to the 30-man attack team. As we see right at the end, this was definitely set as a trap. With Crowley now being added to the hit list, I expect to see the focus of the story shift to Guren going after Crowley at Nagoya City Hall.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:002

Abaku tells Tento to bring a witness to the stand: he brings in a fish tank. Ms. Shiratori sees the fish and realizes that it’s Suzuki, the fish that was supposedly killed. It’s revealed that the fish that was killed was an ordinary sea bass that Tento purchased and swapped for Suzuki, and Abaku explains what happened in detail. Tento also displays a note he received the day after the vote that said it was known that he was the boy who voted to save Suzuki, and that if he didn’t want to be exposed, we would have to kill the fish. Tento explains why he had told the boys that he would vote yes, and that he was afraid of being exposed as a traitor because he didn’t want to be lonely again. Pine desperately tries to come up with reasons why Tento is guilty, but Abaku finds ways to shoot them down, too. It’s revealed that the teacher played a big hand in what went down. In the end, the boys forgive Tento.

I liked how this case turned out. Honestly, I wasn’t able to guess what the real story was before Abaku explained it all at the trial. I have a feeling that this is ultimately leading to Abaku and Pine having to face off against each other over various cases, with Abaku somehow always coming out on top. While that could become formulaic, it all depends on how each case is handled in the manga. Of the three “Jump Start” initiative titles this time around, I would have to say that Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment is the strongest of the three.

World Trigger CH:086

At the beginning of the chapter, we see that it’s decided to take the points that were awarded to Osamu and Yuma and transfer them to Chika so she can be promoted to B-Rank. By doing this, Osamu forms a B-Rank squad with Chika and Yuma.

It’s the day of the B-Rank Wars. After an explanation for how they work, they begin. After Yuma does something impressive, Yoshizato Squad bails out, Mamiya Squad won’t move away from the building that they’re by. Chika is also able to contribute, and Mamiya Squad also bails out. With just that one battle, Chika and Yuma jump up to 12th place. The chapter ends with their victory.

So it appears that the next arc for World Trigger will be focusing on the Rank Wars, especially since this chapter ends with it being announced who Chika and Yuma’s next competitors will be. This could end up being an interesting arc, as long as it’s not stretched out like the most recent battle had been. So far, this has been a nice break from following the battle with the Neighbors for so many months.

Bleach CH:608

Ichibe uses “Paint It Black,” and his brush transforms into a blade; however, Yhwach doesn’t sense any spiritual pressure from it. This is a sword with no name, and everything it paints over loses its name. Yhwach uses Saint Altar and tries to steal Ichibe’s power. He succeeds, but the power he stole doesn’t belong to Yhwach. At the end of the chapter, Ichibe declares that all the black in the world becomes his.

Once again, here’s another chapter that has a short bit of battle with a lot of explanation and taunting. Really, very little progress was made in this particular chapter, and I wish this arc would get moving. It really feels like it’s moving at a glacial pace, and it’s harder and harder for me to stay interested in what’s going on because so little happens from chapter to chapter at this point. Please. Kubo, let’s get this story moving already!

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:013

This chapter continues the chase that started at the end of the previous chapter. The getaway driver suddenly goes into reverse and begins using weapons on the vehicle to attack Kandera, Peta, and the others. Kandera and the getaway driver authenticate gestures, and it’s revealed that the getaway driver is using a Hi-Fi ability that is absolute space perception. Heckt and Ekusa also get involved in the chase. Peta also gets involved and tries to rescue the girl that’s inside the car, but she freaks out, starts crying, and authenticates her gesture. It turns out her ability is to blow things up…

This chapter focuses exclusively on Kandera and the others chasing after the getaway driver and the girl he has in the car. We knew from the previous chapter that the girl had a Hi-Fi ability, but this is the first time that we learn what her ability is. And what a doozy of an ability it is! How can Kandera and the others possibly rescue her? It’ll be interesting to see how this story progresses.

E-ROBOT CH:003

Yuuki’s friend Tanaka comes to school and he looks all beaten up. It turns out some third-years took Tanaka’s treasure hoard (aka porno mags). Hikari walks in, and Tanaka tells her what happened without using the word “porno,” and she says she’ll go reason with them. Yuuki tries to stop her and then declares that he will be the one to get them back.

When then see Yuuki and Ai going to the third-years’ hideout. After Yuuki can finally get out why they’re there, the third-years say they’re not going to give Tanaka’s collection back. During the fight, we learn that in the three days between learning about the theft and going to take care of it, Ai trained Yuuki in her special self-defense course, Boob-Fu. During the fight, we also see Yuuki have a flashback to how he and Tanaka met and became friends…

Basically, this chapter is more of the “fanservice” that’s been present in the previous two chapters. Ultimately, this manga feels like it comes up with thin stories and puts it focus on trying to include as much fanservice as possible. While this manga will appeal to a certain demographic of manga readers, it really doesn’t seem like it will much in the way of mainstream appeal with readers in the U.S. I’m glad that this is the last chapter for the “Jump Start” initiative, and hopefully I’ll never have to see this one ever again.

Toriko CH:304

Well, it turns out what Sunny saw were destroyed poison dolls, so he thinks there’s a chance that everyone is still alive. Sunny has to take in Coco’s poison, and he does so successfully. Sunny quickly finds Coco and gives him his poison back. Coco then senses electromagnetic waves from the others and confirms that they’re still alive. Once they’re all together, they ask Kaka what happened. Kaka informs them that what they had wasn’t a battle, it was a game; the monkey king was playing the whole time. And what Sunny ultimately saw was Bambina sneezing from the Sundoriko pollen that Kaka had released. After learning all of this, Toriko and the others decide they’re not ready to face Bambina yet, since they aren’t even cut out to be his playmates. But after Komatsu has an emergency, they decide they need to go through Monkey Martial Arts training.

I knew there was no way that all of these characters would suddenly be killed off! I had no idea how they would have survived, but I knew that they must have. For me, it was interesting to see these usually cocky characters knocked down a couple of pegs after realizing they couldn’t even make good playmates for the monkey king. They were definitely in need of some humility, and it looks like the monkey king gave it to them. But they’re starting to recover from their wounded pride and are getting ready to train. I suspect the next chapter will be focusing on their training.

Food Wars! CH:098

This chapter sees Soma working at cooking his pike. Also, it’s revealed that Ryo will be making Acqua Pazza, which comes complete with an explanation of what the dish is and why Ryo picked it. There’s also a flashback that shows how Alice and Ryo came to know each other and how their rivalry developed.

This chapter ended up focusing very heavily on Ryo. I didn’t mind, though, since I really know nothing about him due to jumping into the series in the middle like this. This chapter also allowed me to see a little more of what Alice was like when she was younger. While we see a little bit of Soma here, he’s definitely not the one being focused on. I wonder if the next chapter will place the focus on the third contestant. But hopefully this competition won’t be stretched out for a ridiculously long time.

Food Wars! Japanese Editor Picks

This feature sees Seijiro Nakaji, the Japanese editor for Food Wars!, providing behind the scenes insight into the manga. He shares his favorite chapters and why they’re his favorites, how work is done for Food Wars!, and his favorite part of Food Wars! Fans of the series may learn something interesting from this feature.

Blue Exorcist CH:063

It appears that everything is winding down, but then Shima appears. After having some parting words, Shima leaves. Rin and the others realize they have to leave fast because the zombies are closing in; however, Kinzo arrives arrives with some others to start taking down the zombies. The surrounding area is now under control.

It’s now another day, and everyone is recovering. Izumo wakes up and we leaen that Professor Gedoin managed to escape. She’s also disappointed that she doesn’t know where Tsukumo is. She is approached by someone telling her that Tsukumo is still alive and gives her a key that will lead her to her sister. Izumo leaves and she finds her sister, who is now living under the name Tsukiko Takara. The President of Takara Computer Entertainment took her in, which makes her the informant’s cousin. Izumo approaches Tsukumo, but it turns out that Tsukumo has no memory of Izumo. Izumo goes to see Kamiki and shares her feelings about learning about Tsukumo and the fact that her sister doesn’t recognize her. Izumo and Kamiki end up sharing a moment.

So it looks like this particular story arc has come to its conclusion. It was a rather bittersweet conclusion for Izumo, but at least she now has closure when it comes to Tsukumo. But it appears that with both Professor Gedoin and Shima escaping that this story isn’t entirely over yet. I assume at this point that they’ll both appear again at some point and cause more trouble.

Naruto CH:006

This is the sixth chapter of the Naruto manga, which is being published as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative.

This chapter continues Team 7’s survival exercise. Naruto continues to have problems due to acting rashly and not thinking about the fact that Kakashi could be laying traps. Sasuke finally jumps into action, but Kakashi uses a substitution jutsu to thwart Sasuke’s attack. Kakashi also uses a genjutsu on Sakura to make her think that Sasuke is injured, which causes Sakura to faint.

Chapter Six shows off some jutsu that ninjas can use in battle, and it also allows us to see Sasuke in action. It continues to set the stage for where this exercise is ultimately going to lead the story.

The seventh chapter will appear in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, so I’m thinking I’m right that Naruto will be featured in the “Jump Back” initiative until the story reaches the conclusion of the survival exercise arc.

VIZ Media’s Top 10 Selling Digital Manga for the Week of November 18, 2014

VIZ Media has announced their top ten selling digital manga for the week of November 18, 2014.

1. Food Wars! Volume 4
2. One-Punch Man Volume 5
3. Naruto Volume 2
4. Naruto Volume 1
5. Naruto Volume 67
6. Bleach Volume 62
7. Blue Exorcist Volume 12
8. Mad Love Chase Volume 2
9. Zone-00 Volume 1
10. Dengeki Daisy Volume 15

VIZ Media Announces Its Top 10 Selling Digital Manga for the Week of November 11, 2014

VIZ Media has announced the company’s top 10 selling digital manga for the week of November 11, 2014.

1. Bleach Volume 62
2. Chibi Vampire: Airmail
3. Naruto Volume 67
4. Naruto Volume 1
5. Naruto Volume 2
6. Blue Exorcist Volume 12
7. Trinity Blood Volume 9
8. Lucky Star Volume 5
9. Nisekou: False Love Volume 5
10. Vampire Knight Volume 19

VIZ Media Announces Top Ten Selling Digital Manga for the Week of November 4, 2014

VIZ Media has announced the company’s top ten selling digital manga for the week of November 4, 2014.

1. Bleach Volume 62
2. Blue Exorcist Volume 12
3. Naruto Volume 1
4. Naruto Volume 2
5. Claymore Volume 25
6. Dengeki Daisy Volume 15
7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1 Volume 2
8. Kiss of the Rose Princess Volume 1
9. Food Wars! Volume 3
10. Naruto Volume 3

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 143 (November 10, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Naruto, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, One Piece, Toriko, Food Wars!, Hi-Fi Cluster, Blue Exorcist, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, and Bleach. In addition, this issue also includes the second chapter of Naruto as part of the “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.

Naruto CH:699

This chapter sees Sakura and Kakashi finding Sasuke and Naruto laying on the ground at the Valley of the End, and she uses her medical ninjutsu to stop their arm stumps from bleeding. As she does this, Sasuke apologizes for everything he’s done up to this point. We also see everyone being freed from the Infinite Tsukuyomi through Sasuke’s help. We learn that Kakashi is becoming the Sixth Hokage, and that Sasuke is being pardoned. Sasuke decides he needs to go on a journey in order to know what the world looks like to the current version of himself. Sakura asks if she can come with him, he says it’s a journey of atonement and that she has nothing to do with his crimes, and gives her a tap on the forehead just like Itachi used to do to him. At the end of the chapter, we see Naruto handing Sasuke his old Konoha headband.

This chapter did a fantastic job of wrapping up the overarching storyline, which of course was Naruto trying to bring Sasuke back. While there was a lot to be happy about, there were also parts that made this a bittersweet conclusion to this story arc. If this is the way the series had ended, I would have been satisfied with that. However, there’s still one more chapter to go, and it doesn’t appear until the end of this volume. Now I just have to make it through the other series and chapters in order to find out how Kishimoto brought the entire series to a close!

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:027

In this chapter, we see that Shinoa’s squad and Narumi’s squad have been given the task of going after Lucal Wesker, a fifteenth progenitor. Unfortunately, Yu keeps doing and saying things to annoy Narumi’s squad. The extermination mission has a goal of eliminating eight out of the ten vampire nobles in Nagoya within fifteen minutes. But when the squads begin their attack, they somehow mess up and Lucal senses their snipers’ presence. The snipersh havr to change plans and settle for going after regular vampires. As Yu tries to find Yoichi, he has a run-in with Lucal.

It took a little bit for the chapter to get going, but once the mission went underway, the remainder of the chapter went by quickly. Once the mission started, there was a lot more action taking place in the panels, which helped to make the last little bit of this chapter a quick read. With the mission finally underway, I imagine the next chapter will be a quicker read than many of the recent chapters of this manga have been.

One Piece CH:766

This chapter continues Law’s flashback and backstory. Cora brings the Op-Op fruit to Law and forces him to eat it. Cora is injured, and he asks Law to deliver something to a Navy scout ship on the west coast of the island; that something is a little tube that can save a place called Dressrosa. When Law finds someone to give the message to and to help Cora, it turns out to be Vergo, who had a mission from the family to infiltrate the Navy. Vergo starts beating up Corazon for being a traitor. Doflamingo arrives on the island, but Law and Corazon are able to give Vergo the slip. The chapter ends with what looks like will bring about the end for Corazon.

After reading this chapter, I feel even more confident that this section of flashback will be wrapping up sooner rather than later. I definitely have a better idea of the type of character that Law is and why he acts the way he does. Is it just me, or have the recent chapters really turned Corazon into a likable character? Even though I already know that Corazon is going to die, I still can’t help but root for him to find a way to avoid that fate.

Toriko CH:300

At the beginning of this chapter, Zebra increases the sharpness of his voice cutter and gets a hit in on Master Gorilla Taurus. Coco contributes to the fight with Drip Poison and Toriko contributes Flying Fork. By launching this attack, they force the master to show his true form. Toriko and the others are able to cover themselves with armor as the master attacks; he destroys everything except for where they’re standing. After this, quite a bit of the remainder of the chapter focuses on the fight with the master. Toriko and the others defeat the master, which brings about the collapse of the north mountain area’s rules.

This chapter focused very heavily on action sequences. But I’m happy that the fight with Master Gorilla Taurus wasn’t stretched out to a ridiculous amount of time. But it’s also hinted that perhaps defeating this master could throw the natural order of things out of whack. But to be honest, I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this particular chapter.

Food Wars! CH:094

This chapter sees Soma and Megumi heading to the market to try to find some pike for Soma to try and cook before the finals. While they’re there, they run into Kurokiba and Alice. Megumi, as well as the audience, is given a lesson on how to select pike for cooking. When Soma and Kurokiba disagree on which pike is better, Kurokiba challenges Soma to making sashimi to prove which one of them has the better eye for fish. When they finish, Megumi is asked to judge which one is better. She has to say that Soma’s fish has a weaker texture. Megumi and the reader are then given an explanation about the “rigor index” and the “cohesiveness” of a fish’s meat. After hearing that the third competitor also has a good eye, Soma realizes that he’s at a disadvantage.

This chapter ended up being one with a lot of explanation to it, and not much action. While the explanation was important, it just felt like it was bogging down the chapter for me, and I was having to try to force myself to stay awake and focus on the chapter. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m wanting to get to the final chapter of Naruto, which is the very last chapter in this week’s edition of Weekly Shonen Jump. Hopefully next week’s chapter of Food Wars! will be a more interesting read.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:008

In this chapter, Kandera jumps in and starts taking on the guy on the killing spree that has a Hi-Fi label. Peta is able to detect where the culprit will move to next, so Kandera suggests that the two of them work together to finish off the guy. Kandera’s plan works, and the bad guy is taken down. Afterwards, Peta asks Kandera if he had been involved in the Shibuya incident four years earlier; Kandera says, “Yeah, a little.” Peta also guesses that Kandera was the sole survivor of the special ops team back then. It turns out it was that incident that caused Kandera to lose his right hand. Kandera also reveals that he wasn’t the only survivor on his team. Some guy suddenly comes down, attacks Miri, and recognizes Kandera.

When I read the previous chapter, I had guessed that Kandera had somehow been involved in the incident that took place four years earlier, but I hadn’t come up with any specifics. Even if I had, I don’t think I would have guessed any of these revelations! At this point in the series, I have to say that Kandera is the most interesting character. It almost seems like Kandera should be the main character of Hi-Fi Cluster, not Peta.

Blue Exorcist CH:062

Professor Gedoin decides to use the Mask of the Chosen to force a demon to possess him because he believes that he’s the chosen one. After the mask does its thing, Gedoin declares that he’s demonically special. He turns into a necrophager and starts eating up all of the zombies. Izumo declares that she needs to fight, and calls on those who have gone on before her for their strength; Uke and Mike appear when she summons them. Izumo asks everyone to help protect her while she’s chanting a prayer. She finishes chanting to prayer to purify Gedoin as the chapter ends…

Recently, I read Volume 12 of the Blue Exorcist manga, which included Izumo’s backstory as well as the setup for this story arc. Now that I’ve read that, I have a much better understanding and appreciation for what’s been happening in not only this chapter, but the other chapters of this story arc that I’ve read since I started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March. Now that I understand it more, I’ve come to realize just how powerful of a story arc this is. I’m guessing that this arc will probably wrap up within the next couple of chapters, so I’m curious to see where the story of Blue Exorcist is going to go from here.

World Trigger CH:082

In this chapter, we see members of Border freeing people who are trapped in the rubble from the fighting. Meanwhile, Osamu is in the hospital, and Yuma is trying to find Replica. We see Osamu having a dream, which is actually flashbacks about the troubles Osamu had in getting into Border. At the end of the flashback, Osamu awakens and sees Chika and his mother watching him.

So the majority of this chapter ends up being a flashback/dream of Osamu’s. Since I didn’t jump into this story until this story arc was already in progress, I have no idea if anything from the flashback/dream has appeared in the series before or not. But because I jumped into the series so late, getting to see these scenes gives me a little more background on Osamu. So it doesn’t look like this story arc is completely over yet, but at least the battle that had been waging for some many chapters has finally concluded. This chapter makes for a nice break in the action.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:146

In this chapter, we see how popular Yui is becoming with the students at the school. Raku wants to offer her as much support as he can, but lately, he’s feeling like she really doesn’t need support from anyone. Raku talks with her and expresses his concerns. At home, Yui “accidentally” walks in on Raku while he’s taking a bath. After the incident, Yui’s bodyguard tells Raku to be more aware of Yui and to take her seriously. Right at the end of the chapter, Yui collapses.

I think it’s safe to say that Yui collapsed from working too hard, since we saw her doing so much for everybody at the beginning of the chapter. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really not a fan of Yui. She comes across as a manipulator when it comes to Raku, and at times, it comes across as if her being such a good person is really an act of some kind; she comes across as being “too perfect.” While she’s not as annoying as Marika, I still don’t like her that much. I suspect this storyline will continue in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:604

This chapter sees Renji and Rukia coming upon the Quincies who are being targeted for death by the light that’s coming down. Other Soul Reapers are seeing the lights coming up from the Seireitei. The story returns to Etsu, where he learns what’s going on; the lives and powers of unnecessary Quincies and distributing them to those who need it. Right at the end of the chapter, we see Yhwach coming face-to-face with Ichibe Hyosube.

How come it seems like with each chapter of Bleach recently, not much is really happening? For me, each chapter is a quick read, but with the end of each chapter, I feel as if I’m not satisfied. The way Kubo has been stretching this story out more and more is starting to be a little depressing. I love the earlier chapters of Bleach that I know, but the more of these recent chapters I’ve read, the less I’m starting to care. Maybe this is due in part to skipping ahead to much later in the series and missing out on various developments that led to where the story is now, but I don’t know.

Naruto CH:002

This is the second chapter of the Naruto manga, which is being published as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative.

This chapter introduces Konohamaru, the grandson of the Third Hokage, as well as Ebisu, Konohamaru’s tutor. After having a run-in with Naruto, Konohamaru decides he wants to become Naruto’s disciple. Naruto learns that Konohamaru is upset because people only see him for who he’s related to, and not for who he himself is. Ebisu finds the two of them, and gives Naruto he ugly look that he always gets from the adults in the village who only see him for the fox demon he has inside of him instead of who he himself is. Naruto combines his shadow clones with his sexy jutsu in order to get rid of Ebisu. At the end of the chapter, Konohamaru decides he no longer wants to be Naruto’s disciple; instead, he wants to be Naruto’s rival.

It’s been kind of fun for me to be re-reading these early chapters that are appearing in Weekly Shonen Jump. It’s a nice reminder to remember where the characters and the story started, and then to realize just how much things have changed between that point and the end of the series. I do like how Naruto and Konohamaru have a similar issue of being seen by others for something out of their control instead of the people they are. Ultimately, even though Konohamaru wants to become Naruto’s rival, he ends up becoming a lot like Naruto as the series progresses.

Naruto CH:700

Ahhh… I finally made it to the final chapter! I’d heard little bits about it on social media due to people posting spoilers, but it was nice to finally be able to see it for myself. As I’d heard, it’s a chapter set in the future, where we see many of the main characters are now married and have kids of their own, and the kids are now in the academy. When it comes to the various couples, I’d figured out most of them over the course of the series, but there was at least one that totally caught me off-guard.

This was a nice way to wrap everything up, although I know there’s some shippers upset that their shippings were capsized by the existence of this chapter. Right now, we know the movie is coming up that will help bridge some of the gap between Chapter 699 and 700. I wonder if the manga mini-series that’s supposed to be released in Spring 2015 will continue to bridge the gap.

New Manga Releases: November 4, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for November 4, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Alice in the Country of Clover: Knight’s Knowledge GN 3
All You Need Is Kill Omnibus GN
Attack on Titan GN 14
Attack on Titan: The Spinoffs GN Box Set
Black Rose Alice GN 2
Bleach GN 62
Blue Exorcist GN 12
Claymore GN 25
D.Gray-man Omnibus GN 5
Dengeki Daisy GN 15
Gantz GN 33
The Heroic Legend of Arslan GN 2
High School Debut Omnibus GN 4
Kiss of the Rose Princess GN 1
LBX GN 1: New Dawn Raisers
LBX GN 2: Artemis Begins
Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer GN 1-2
Nisekoi: False Love GN 6
One Piece GN Box Set 2
Phantom Thief Jeanne GN 5
Pokémon Adventures GN 25
Pokémon Adventures: Black and White GN 5
Ranma 1/2 Omnibus GN 5
The Sacred Blacksmith GN 6
Skip Beat! Omnibus GN 9
Spell of Desire GN 2 (18+)
Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee GN 17
Ultimo GN 10
Vampire Knight GN Box Set 2
What Did You Eat Yesterday? GN 5
Zero’s Familiar: Chevalier GN 3

Manga Review: “Blue Exorcist” Volume 12

Blue Exorcist Volume 12 is a manga by Kazue Kato, and it was published by VIZ Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; from what I’ve read of Blue Exorcist at this point, this seems to be a good rating.

The main character of Blue Exorcist is Rin Okumura, a high school boy who learns through an argument with his foster father that he’s really the son of Satan. After his foster father is killed by Satan, Rin decides to become an Exorcist in order to eventually defeat his father.  He’s now a first-year student at True Cross Academy and an Exwire at the Exorcism Cram School.

At this point in the story, a secret society known as the Illuminati is causing various phenomena to happen. An investigation by the True Cross Academy reveals that there are Illuminati spies that have infiltrated the school.

Volume 12 opens on the day of the academy festival, and most of the story focuses on Rin’s friend and classmate, Izumo Kamiki. Renzo Shima reveals himself as a spy and helps the Illuminati kidnap Izumo for a plot they have. When Rin and some of the other Exwires are sent on a mission to find Izumo, they, along with the reader, learn a lot about Izumo’s past.

I have to admit that my first exposure to Blue Exorcist came earlier this year when I started reading VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital anthology. After reading this volume, I can tell that what’s included here is the setup for the storyline I started seeing in Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of this year. So for me, this volume started to explain to me what I’ve been reading in the magazine these past few months.

Izumo has an interesting, yet tragic, background, and I’ve come to like her better as a character after reading her backstory in this volume. But, man, I have to say that after seeing Professor Geodin in this volume, he sure comes across as a major creeper. I thought he was bad enough in the later chapters I’ve read, but… wow. He’s even creepier than I thought he was.

Personally, I also appreciated getting to know Renzo better. Without providing any “spoilers,” I’ll say that he plays a major part later on in this story arc. But when I read those later chapters, I had no idea who he was or why he caused Rin to react in certain ways. Reading this volume, though, it’s all starting to make sense now.

And I liked getting to see Rin interacting with the other Exwires that he’s been assigned to work with in order to find and rescue Izumo. There’s a great scene between Rin and Ryuji, where Ryuji vents his frustration about Renzo being a traitor. Rin understands where Ryuji’s coming from due to his own background from earlier in the series; this was a nice character development and bonding moment between these two characters.

I have to say that I enjoy Kato’s art style, especially how distinct each character looks. There’s also just something about the art style that really grabs the reader’s interest and helps to keep them engaged with the story that’s being told, especially in the flashback that explains Izumo’s backstory. Another thing that impressed me is just how much light Kato uses in some of the scenes that feature the Illuminati early on in the volume.

Now that I’ve gotten to read a whole volume of Blue Exorcist, in addition to the chapters I’ve read over the past few months, I’m much more interested in this series than I had been previously. I’m going to have to find a way to read the previous eleven volumes in order to fill in the rest of the story leading up to this point.

If you’re a fan of Blue Exorcist, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 12 for the action and revelations that it contains.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of Blue Exorcist Volume 12 that was provided to me by VIZ Media.