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.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 138 (October 6, 2014)

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

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

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

Blue Exorcist CH:061

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

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

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

One Piece CH:762

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

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

World Trigger CH:077

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

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

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

World Trigger Japanese Editor Picks

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

Nisekoi: False Love CH:141

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

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

Naruto CH:694

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

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

Sporting Salt CH:003

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

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

Toriko CH:295

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

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

Bleach CH:599

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

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

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:026

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

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

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

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

One-Punch Man CH:037.4

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

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

Death Note CH:001

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

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

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