Viz Media’s Top Ten Selling Digital Manga for the Week of August 19, 2014

Viz Media has announced the company’s top ten selling digital manga for the week of August 19, 2014.

1. Food Wars! Volume 3
2. One-Punch Man Volume 4
3. Lucky Star Volume 1
4. Chibi Vampire Volume 11
5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3 Volume 13
6. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3 Volume 14
7. D.N. Angel Volume 11
8. Fate/stay night Volume 7
9. Bleach Volume 61
10. Naruto Volume 66

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 133 (August 25, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for One-Punch Man, Toriko, Naruto, One Piece, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, World Trigger, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal.

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

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

One-Punch Man CH:036.2 + CH:037

In Chapter 36.2, Saitama comes out and starts receiving a lecture from Tornado, and she also starts insulting him. Genos says he’ll pulverize her; but the joke’s on him when Tonado and defeats him. Before she can attack Saitama, she is given a lecture by someone else over her behavior.

In Chapter 37, a Lizard Man appears and starts to terrorize a city. King, who is called the strongest man in the world, approaches the Lizard Man; before he can do anything, the Lizard Man cowers in fear and faints.

The first piece exists in order to finally conclude the story arc that’s been running in Weekly Shonen Jump since I started reading the online magazine back in March 2014. And all I can say is, “Finally!” This particular story was drug on for waaaaay too long, and I had gotten rather bored of it.

The second piece is here to establish the beginning of the next story arc. It appears that a Class S Rank 7 hero named King is going to be playing an important role in the new story arc. It turns out that while he may be strong and have a scary-looking face, he actually doesn’t seem to be quite the “tough guy” that everyone thinks he is; this is shown when he goes to buy a romance simulation game. Saitama makes a very brief appearance in this second part, right at the end. I suspect that somehow, Saitama and King’s paths will end up meeting and they’ll probably have to either fight each other or fight together against an enemy.

Toriko CH:289

In this chapter, Brunch is able to chop the air and the maturation process for the air fruit begins accelerating. Komatsu then begins to prepare the air fruit with help from some of his comrades. As they work, the air fruit falls; they have to make sure it doesn’t hit the ground and burst…

This chapter spends all of its time building up the suspense as Komatsu works to prepare the air fruit. In some respects, the narration is a little “over the top” at times. The result of their work is revealed at the end of the chapter; however, I’m not going to provide that “spoiler.”

Naruto CH:689

In this chapter, Kaguya is creating a new time space, and intends to use Naruto and the others as its sacrifices. Kakashi gathers Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura together for their last mission as the former cell number seven. Kaguya tries attacking Kakashi, but he’s gained Obito’s abilities that help him dodge her attacks. Right at the end, Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura work together to try to take Kaguya down…

Well, it looks like we’re getting closer to wrapping up this fight. Kaguya suddenly doesn’t seem quite so overpowered anymore, and I really hope her luck has finally run out! But it was so awesome to see the former cell number seven working together again!

One Piece CH:757

At the beginning of this chapter, Luffy and Trafalgar begin heading toward the Fourth Step. Meanwhile at the Fourth Step, Rebecca is approached by the man who shot her mother to death. Before he can do anything, Kyros jumps in and takes the guy on. As they’re about to face off, Luffy and Trafalgar arrive and ask Rebecca for the key…

Hooray! This chapter doesn’t jump around nearly as much as many of the recent chapters have, and the story is finally progressing! Luffy and Trafalgar FINALLY make it to the Fourth Step, and are able to get the key to set Trafalgar free. It looks like the stage is being set for Kyros to take on the guy who killed his wife, and for Luffy and Trafalgar to go after Doflamingo. But I suspect the story will continue to be drawn out for a while longer to build up to the climax between Luffy, Trafalgar and Doflamingo.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:135

This chapter sees Yui being assigned to teach music at the school because the regular teacher quit and they haven’t found a replacement. Unfortunately, it turns out that she’s tone deaf, but she doesn’t realize it herself. When she tries singng for the class, it goes horribly wrong. The vice principal says at the next assembly, it’s Yui’s turn to lead the school song. Yui begs Raku and Marika for help, and after a moment, Marika agrees to work with Raku. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go well. But when Yui hears Tsugumi sing, she asks Tsugumi for help. But Yui ends up practicing so much that she develops a sore throat…

This is basically a chapter that focuses on Yui, and it tries to pull in Raku and a couple of the other girls from Raku’s harem. This is one of those one-off stories that don’t do anything to progress the overarching story. If there hadn’t been such an emphasis placed on the overarching story earlier in the series, I’d probably be able to tolerate these one-off stories a little better. Oh well. I can only hope that Komi will progress the overarching story about the promise and the locket at some point again!

Bleach CH:593

In this chapter, Hitsugaya attacks Mayuri. Fortunately for Mayuri, he implanted something in his blade that’s able to detect other blades and automatically block their strikes. Hitsugaya uses his Bankai, but then the scene suddenly starts repeating itself. When Hitsugaya uses his Bankai a second time, the same thing happens. It turns out Mayuri gave Hitsugaya the power to see the past, and that he returns to the past each time he kills Mayuri. But there are limits to what the drug Mayuri gave Hitsugaya can do. A side effect of the drug happens right at the end of the chapter…

This chapter ends up focusing completely on Hitsugaya and Mayuri. I knew from what I’ve seen of the anime that Mayuri could be twisted, but wow, this takes the cake. With the way this chapter ends, I wonder if this will be used as a cliffhanger in order to put the focus on something else that’s going on, or if the next chapter will continue the storyline with Hitsugaya and Mayuri.

World Trigger CH:072

In this chapter, Director Shinoda tells his subordinates to take Enedora, the Black Trigger into custody as a prisoner of war; but before they can, Mira arrives to retrieve Enedora. It turns out she’s only there to retrieve the Black Trigger and not Enedora himself. Mira leaves, and Enedora dies. They still take him into custody so they can study his horns, which are an unknown trigger technology. We also get to see a couple of the other battlefronts before the chapter ends…

I’m glad to see that the storyline with Enedora finally came to an end; his storyline felt like it was dragging after a while. But through his defeat and ultimate death, I was able to learn a couple of things about the Black Trigger. Perhaps readers who have been following World Trigger since the very beginning might have already known this information, but since I jumped into the story during this story arc, I’ve essentially been going blind this whole time. Hopefully future chapters can reveal more information to me as I read them so I can better understand this series.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:45

In this chapter, Yagumo begins telling Ryoga about what happened to his brother before their battle gets going. There’s a lengthy flashback sequence that takes place during this point of the chapter. When we return to the battle, we see Yagumo determined to destroy the world. After they battle, Kaito jumps in to battle Yagumo. Then, Yagumo uses his monster to attack Ryoga directly…

So this chapter is a combination of an “info dump” and the usual battles that the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise is known for. Basically, playing the cards and spending time describing in detail what the card will do, as if this is a manual for playing the game. The story hardly moved forward in this chapter at all, so for me, this was kind of a boring read. But then again, I don’t personally expect much out of this franchise at this point.

Manga Review: “Naruto” Volume 21

Naruto Volume 21 is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America y Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki; he’s the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. Naruto’s dream is to become the leader of his village one day and to be acknowledged by others. When Naruto was a baby, a fox demon was sealed inside of him; because of this, the adults in the village have shunned Naruto out of fear of the fox demon. He started proving himself a little during the Chunin Exam, and has started receiving training from Jiraiya, one of the three Legendary Sannin.

At the beginning of Volume 21, Sasuke decides to take Orochimaru up on his offer in order to become stronger so he can defeat his older brother, Itachi. Sakura finds Sasuke the night that he leaves and tries to stop him. She pleads and cries to him, even going so far to say that she loves him and would do anything for him. Sasuke thanks her, but then knocks her out and lays her on a nearby bench before he makes his escape.

When Sakura is found the next morning, Tsunade is informed of Sasuke’s leaving. Since the jonin are unavailable to lead a mission to retrieve Sasuke, Shikamaru is given his first command as a chunin. He has to assemble as many genin he deems necessary to carry out the mission; the only stipulation is that Naruto must be included in the mission.

The squad that Shikamaru assembles includes Naruto, Choji, Kiba, and Neji. Once the squad is assembled, Shikamaru demonstrates the tactical genius that he has that ultimately led to him being the only one of the Hidden Leaf genin in the Chunin Exam to be promoted. I especially enjoyed seeing in the images how Shikamaru visualizes his thinking by using a shogi board. I also liked the drawing that Shikamaru draws to illustrate the formation, because I thought the chibi drawings of the characters were so cute! But right before the squad heads out, Sakura comes up and asks Naruto to promise her that he’ll bring Sasuke back. Naruto readily agrees and promises that he’ll bring Sasuke back when they return.

There were a couple of things that hit me at this point. During the Chunin Exam, Sakura seemed like she was starting to become a stronger character than she had been earlier in the series; however, between her actions at the beginning of Volume 21 and the promise she asks Naruto to make, it shows that she’s regressed a little at this point. Also, since I’ve a lot further along in the anime, I know what repercussions Naruto’s promise will have going forward. With this knowledge, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad when I read this part of the manga.

Meanwhile, the Sound Four tells Sasuke that Orochimaru gave them a task. Sasuke has to take a pellet and “die once” in order to awaken the curse mark’s power to second state. When Sasuke questions this, he’s told the Sound Four will use a barrier ninjutsu to rein in the side effects. After a brief hesitation, Sasuke agrees.

As Shikamaru and the others start into their mission, they discover some other Hidden Leaf ninja have already encountered the Sound Four. Armed with what they learn, Shikamaru starts watching their surroundings carefully. They eventually find the Sound Four, and it leads to Shikamaru’s squad facing off with one of the Sound Four as the others leave with Sasuke.

Shikamaru’s squad is fighting against a ninja that uses earth style, and he traps them inside a dome of eartg. He also absorbs chakra, so any attack they use to escape seems to be absorbed. But thanks to some help from Neji and Choji, they’re able to escape. Choji decides he’ll take this guy on while the others in the squad go on ahead. As Choji battles this Sound Four ninja, we also get to see a touching flashback of when Choji and Shikamaru became friends when they were younger.

During Choji’s fight, he is just so freaking incredible! We get to see that he actually has a rather impressive ability; unfortunately, it does require needing something that could have major side effects in order to activate it. But Choji was still amazing!

Even though I’ve already seen the story from watching the anime series, seeing it again in a manga form is just as good as when I saw it on television. By seeing the original manga source material, I could see that the anime was rather faithful to the story as it was presented in the manga.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 20 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I believe that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 21.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 21 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Viz Media Releases New Weekly Shonen Jump Print Edition “Jump Pack” Volume 3

Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine has released its third and latest edition of the Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack. The new issue is now available in-print throughout the U.S. and Canada, exclusively from retailers serviced by Diamond Comic Distributors and also from the leading online anime/manga retailer Right Stuf. The Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack 2014, Issue 3 is rated ‘T’ for Teens and carries an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

The latest Jump Pack issue features individual manga chapters from a sampling of Weekly Shonen Jump’s fan-loved, smash-hit continuing series including the paranormal exploits of Bleach, the ongoing ninja saga of Naruto, the high seas adventure of One Piece, the apocalyptic vampire thriller Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, and the kinetic action of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal.

The latest issue features a special promotional code for a 3-month weekly digital subscription to the magazine and also includes a limited edition Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Evening Twilight Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card. This card is exclusive to Jump Pack Issue 3 and Weekly Shonen Jump annual subscribers.

© 1996 KAZUKI TAKAHASHI

© 2011 NAS•TV TOKYO

© 1999 Masashi Kishimoto

Viz Media’s Top 10 Selling Manga for the Week of August 12, 2014

Viz Media has announced their top ten selling digital manga titles for the week of August 12, 2014.

1. Deadman Wonderland Volume 4
2. Itsuwaribito Volume 12
3. Magi Volume 7
4. Bleach Volume 61
5. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3 Volume 11
6. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3 Volume 12
7. Rosario+Vampire Season II Volume 13
8. Naruto Volume 66
9. Deadman Wonderland Volume 3
10. One-Punch Man Volume 3

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 232 through 244 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

The vast majority of the episodes in this set are filler material. In fact, out of the 13 episodes included on this set, 11 of them are filler. Only the final two episodes include canon material.

When it comes to the filler material, a lot of more of it focuses on what’s happening in the village while Naruto is away, and less of it focuses on Naruto’s journey at sea. The filler that takes place in the village includes stories that focus on Hinata, Shino, Tenten, Sai, and Kiba. Of these stories, my favorite is “Sai’s Day Off,” where he goes for a stroll through the village and he thinks about the bonds he shares with Naruto and Sakura. For a filler episode, this one did a fantastic job of providing some character development for Sai. He’s definitely not the character that we first met at the beginning of Naruto Shippuden, and I liked how reflective he got in this episode as he seems to realize for himself how much he’s changed.

For the comedic filler episodes, my favorite was “Kiba’s Determination.” Kiba’s frustrated over how much a loser like Naruto has improved and become the village hero. After being chided by both his mother and Shino, Kiba decides to train to become stronger. When he tries to get Kakashi to help him, Kakashi summons his ninja hounds and has them work with Kiba. The training with the ninja hounds was really amusing, especially when the ninja hounds bite Kiba as he’s trying to defeat them to get a scroll from Pakkun. The funniest part of that is when Big Bark Bull bites the top of Kiba’s head and almost looks as if he could devour Kiba.

Most of the Naruto filler stories weren’t that good, except for “Naruto’s Vow,” which was the final filler episode before returning to canon material. Here, Naruto meets Akatsuchi and Kurotsuchi from the Hidden Stone village, who have an assignment to deliver a letter from the Tsuchikage that’s addressed to the Mizukage. This filler episode provided some background for the conflict between these two villages, and I was almost convinced that it was actually canon material from the manga. However, after doing some research, I discovered that this was actually a filler episode. It ended up being a well-done filler episode, and it definitely ranks up there as one of the better filler episodes to appear in this section of Naruto Shippuden.

And then, we finally return to canon material when Naruto arrives at his destination and meets Killer Bee. When Naruto learns that Killer Bee is the jinchuriki of the Eight Tails, he asks Bee to help train him so he can learn to control the Nine Tails. Bee refuses because he’s on “vacation.” After Naruto gets to know Motoi, he is taken to the Waterfall of Truth, since this is where Killer Bee started his training to control his tailed beast. Naruto meets another version of himself, the part of him that exists that still harbors ill will toward the people of his village for shunning him for so long. The final episode in the set sees Motoi telling a story about himself and Killer Bee when they were growing up, which gives the audience a glimpse into Killer Bee’s backstory and what his life was like before we met him in the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, there are four bonus features included. The first is storyboards, which contains three pages from Episode 238 and three pages from episode 239. This feature is pretty much what’s shown up in previous box sets for Naruto Shippuden. However, I was surprised to see that there wasn’t an Art Gallery included.

“Clean Openings and Clean Endings” includes three versions of the opening and the closings that appeared on this set: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” includes links to a lot of trailers for properties that Viz Media was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

After watching this set, I would primarily recommend it for the canon material that appears right at the end of the set. There’s also the occasional filler episode that’s decent to watch, but you can skip a lot of the filler and not miss terribly much.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 19 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 131 (August 11, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for One Piece, Toriko, Hunter x Hunter, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, Naruto, and a short story by Kazue Kato called Astronerd.

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

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

One Piece CH:756

At the beginning of this chapter, Viola says that during her time coming and going from the palace, she had never heard once about Princess Mansherry being held there. She then realizes that the princess must be in a small room behind the chapel. Leo takes this information and he and the Tontattas go to rescue her. As Robin and Rebecca head to the flower field, Robin starts to fall and tells Rebecca to take the key to the field. Then it’s back to Viola and Usopp, and Viola can see that Sugar is now awake. Sugar declares that the whole country will be turned back into toys, starting with Usopp and the rest of the Straw Hat crew. Then, the actions cuts to Luffy and his group as they continue on the 3rd step of the new royal plateau, and they find themselves fighting with what look like large and evil nutcrackers. During the fight, Robin and a rooster-headed guy fall on one of the nutcrackers. Gladius then appears, and Luffy, Traffy, and a soldier are told to go to the flower field, because Rebecca is waiting there with the key. As Rebecca reaches the flower field, there’s someone waiting for her…

And this chapter continues all the jumping around that’s been prevalent in many of the recent chapters of One Piece. I have to admit that there was so much jumping around in this one, that I was having trouble keeping everything straight. Hopefully some of the various plot lines that are running through this story arc can start concluding sooner rather than later, so there won’t be so much to try to keep track of!

Toriko CH:288

In this chapter, Komatsu declares that the air fruit isn’t totally ripe yet and that it’s too soon to prepare it. The rest of their group assemble at the tree, and Komatsu says that technically, he can prepare the air fruit at this ripeness, but it’s flavor will probably only be 70%. He thinks the best time to prepare it is when its fully ripe and at the moment it hits the ground. Then it’s asked if they’re just supposed to wait until it ripens and falls. Brunch uses the sword he has to cut through the thick air of Slow Rain Hill. He then says he can slice the air around the air fruit in the hopes that it will speed up the fruit’s maturation. They also have something to use to help nourish the fruit. Meanwhile, the Blue Beast inside Toriko realizes that Heracles is acting so desperate because she’s pregnant. She creates a vacuum to protect her child…

The majority of this chapter focuses on Komatsu and the air fruit. In typical shonen fashion, it appears that they won’t be able to do something, but then someone has some kind of ability that allows them to bypass the obstacle and start working toward getting that something done. Considering the type of series that Toriko is, this isn’t too surprising. The main thing now is seeing how many chapters it takes for the air fruit to ripen and be prepared.

Hunter x Hunter CH:349

This chapter we learn there’s a scramble for a throne which is limited to only the children of the legal wives of King Nasubi Hui Guo Rou who board the Black Whale and take part in a departure ceremony. The sole survivor will be the official heir to the throne. We are then introduced to all 14 princes. Then, there’s a long section dealing with Beyond and suspicions about a spy named Saiyu.

Overall, this was a major “info dump” chapter. Honestly, there’s really not a whole lot I can say about this one, especially since I’m still learning about the characters and the world of Hunter x Hunter. Hopefully the action will pick up in the next chapter.

World Trigger CH:071

In this chapter, Director Shinoda starts battling with the Black Trigger. When the Black Trigger deploys trion in a gaseous attack, Shinoda says to turn the air conditioning onto full. By doing this, it allows Shinoda to see the dummies as well as the original, and he goes in for a major attack against the dummies. The Black Trigger tries to create new dummies, but he can’t create them fast enough. At first, it looks like the Black Trigger has been defeated, but he had actually managed to dodge and move elsewhere. The Black Trigger attacks Shinoda, and Shinoda’s relay center is shredded. The Suwa Squad Operator turns on Star Maker, which renders the dummies useless. One of the underlings tries to attack the Black Trigger, but to no avail; the underling has to bail out. Two other underlings launch a surprise attack and destroy the Black Trigger’s relay center and supply system…

It was nice to see this chapter focus on just one plot point. Previous chapters tended to jump between two or three plot points, which could make the story a little hard to follow at times. But with how this battle went, there really wasn’t any way to break it up and insert another plot point into the chapter. I’m glad to finally see that Black Trigger defeated, though. And hopefully the next chapter will show us what’s going on with Osamu.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:134

This chapter continues the beauty contest at the school festival. Kosaki and Haru are competing for the grand prize; Kosaki wears a schoolgirl costume, and Haru comes out wearing a wedding dress. There’s a final Q&A session where several questions are asked. The final question asks them if they have special feelings for anyone right now. Kosaki stammers and says no, while Haru says there is someone but he doesn’t know that she’s alive. She adds she’s taking part in the contest because she wants him to notice her. Now the judges are told to fill out their ballots. It’s a close race, but Haru ends up winning. Haru’s prize is that she gets to choose her dance partner for the folk dance that’s after the contest. Haru asks Raku to dance with her. Later, when Fu asks Haru if she’s going to tell Ichijo how she feels, she says no. When she found out what the prize was, she made a decision: after the dance, she won’t see Ichijo anymore. Unfortunately, she loses her resolve…

Finally, the beauty contest is over! It really wore out its welcome for me. I admit that I was a little happy when I saw Haru delcare that she wasn’t going to see Raku anymore, because it’d be one less member of his harem. But I should’ve known she’d lose her resolve and not follow through. I’m sorry, but this is getting be just as bad as Ranma 1/2 with the amount of suitors that are interested in Raku. But with the beauty contest finally being over, I wonder where the story will go to next.

Bleach CH:592

In this chapter, we see Captain Hitsugaya make an appearance on the battlefield. Yumichika tries to use a kido on him, but Ikkaku stops him. But Ikkaku loses a leg, and is then stabbed in the back by Hitsugaya. Yumichika clashes swords with Hitsugaya to avenge what happened to Ikkaku, but Hitsugaya manages to get a slash in on his opponent. Mayuri then appears and learns that Hitsugaya was turned into a zombie before he was dead. One of the Arrancar zombies starts to attack Hitsugaya, but Mayuri tells him to step away. But he ends up being slashed by Hitsugaya, and Mayuri tells the Arrancar zombie that he will be left to die as punishment. Mayuri starts talking with Hitsugaya as the chapter ends…

Oh, no, no, no, no. I don’t want to believe that Hitsugaya was turned into a zombie… I love his character! And I don’t want to believe that Ikkaku and Yumichika are dead, either. No, no, no. I don’t want to believe it. Why am I afraid that things are only going to get worse as this story arc continues?

Naruto CH:688

In this chapter, we see Obito talking with Rin in the afterlife. He says he wants to go back temporarily in order to help Kakashi. Rin says she’ll wait for him. He tells Kakashi that he doesn’t him to come to the afterlife yet, and he’s bothered by the fact that the eye Obito gave him to celebrate Kakashi’s promotion to Jonin has come back to him. Obito then adds that while he wants Naruto to become Hokage, he wants him to become the Seventh after Kakashi becomes the Sixth. We then see that both of Kakashi’s eyes now have the sharingan. Meanwhile, Naruto and Sasuke team up to go after Kaguya. Naruto uses his Super Biju Rasen Shuriken, and Kaguya transforms into the Ten Tails. A white hand from the Ten Tails reaches out and tries to grab at Naruto and the others. When it seems Sakura is in danger, she receives some surprising help from Kakashi…

Yay! Not only did Kakashi get the sharingan back in the eye he’d had it in, he now has it in both eyes. With how this chapter progressed, it’s starting to look as if this battle may actually be starting to wind down. While I enjoy Naruto, I’ve been starting to feel as if this particular arc has been drug out a bit. It would be nice to see how this battle ends soon and to find out where the story will be heading after it’s over.

Astronerd

Astronerd is a short story that will be appearing in Time Killers, a forthcoming short story collection by Kazue Kato, the author of the Blue Exorcist manga series. The main character of the story is a 16-year-old boy named Yoshio Fujiko. He decides that now he’s in high school, he’s no longer going to be the astronerd that everyone bullied back in junior high. He has a crush on a girl named Tezuka, and it turns out she has an interest in space. He doesn’t tell her about his interest, since he doesn’t want to be branded as a nerd. When Tezuka calls Yoshio to invite him to view the ring nebula with her, he has a flashback to being bullied in middle school and yells that he’s no longer an astronerd. Tezuka apologizes for bothering him and hangs up. Yoshio is about to call her back and apologize, he is approached by three small aliens, who say the space creature picture book bureau has ordered them to collecting an Earthling sample. They used a special formula to select Yoshio. He’s told he has to sign something in order to accept. Yoshio passes out, and the aliens take him home.

The next morning, Yoshio is taken out of bed to hear a news bulletin that a meteor swarm including the comet “Freeman” will hit Asia that day. Everyone in Yoshio’s region is told that they have to evacuate. As they leave, a meteorite hits his school. Yoshio is worried about Tezuka, so he leaves his parents and rushes over to the school. As he goes, he sees the comet and is approached by the aliens, who ask if he understands the situation. The aliens say they are exterminating the Earthlings, and if he becomes their sample, he’ll be stored in a capsule and live forever. When they ask him to sign the form, he says never. The aliens decide to push Yoshio to the edge in order to gain his consent. An explosion takes place in front of Yoshio, which causes him to fall off his scooter and become unconscious. When he awakens, he’s told it’s 7:28 p.m., and he’s been unconscious for five hours. The comet will strike in less than one hour, but Yoshio insists he has to get to the school; he realizes that not going is the same as running away. This leads him to also realize that he’d been running away from who he really is. Just as it appears Yoshio is going to sign his consent to be an alien sample, he gets an email on his phone. It’s from Tezuka, saying she’s safe and she tells him to get to safety. When Yoshio sees this, he realizes that Tezuka still believes in him. He gets on his scooter and attempts to jump over the crater that’s between him and the school.

Yoshio makes it to the school and finds Tezuka, and he admits that he actually loves the stars and apologizes for hiding that from her. He also says he wants to start the astronomy club again. She agrees, and Yoshio thiks that he was born for this moment. The aliens are shocked because he solved the eternal space mystery. This ends up causing a change to Earth’s fate…

I have to say that overall, this was a rather enjoyable short story. The two main characters were very well-defined, and Yoshio goes through a lot of growth over the course of the story. The aliens bring on a serious aspect to the story, which is the destruction of the Earth, but they also add some light humor as well. This story was definitely designed to be a one-off, because the way it ends doesn’t really leave room to be able to continue the story adequately. If this short story is indicative of what else will be appearing in the Time Killers compilation, then that may be worth checking out at some point.