Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 116 (April 21, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Bleach, Naruto, World Trigger, Seraph of the End, Toriko, Nisekoi, Stealth Symphony, One-Punch Man, 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.

Bleach CH:577

In the previous chapter, after Kenpachu was able to get some blows in on Gremmy, he taunts his opponent about imagining his death. This snaps Gremmy out of what was slowing him down, and he starts recovering. By the end of the chapter, Gremmy created a second version of himself by using his imagination, and that second version is also unable to be cut. And since there’s two of them that are the same, they can both use their imagination. In this chapter, a meteor suddenly starts coming down, and Gremmy intends to destroy both Kenpachi and the Seireitei itself. The members of Soul Society seem to feel they’re safe because they believe the meteor will be obliterated by the Shakonmaku Barrier; unfortunately, the barrier is unable to obliterate it. When Gremmy taunts Kenpachi, Gremmy is surprised to see that Kenpachi isn’t fazed at all. As Kenpachi jumps up to attack the meteor with his sword, Yahiru has a flashback of when she met Kenpachi. At the end of the chapter, it appears that Kenpachi has succeeded…

This chapter basically spent time on the others in the Seireitei and their reactions to the meteor that’s coming down on top of them. Only the last bit of the chapter focuses on Kenpachi and Gremmy, and I have to admit that Kenpachi surprised me by jumping up to attack the meteor. When Yachiru was having her flashback, I was almost afraid Kubo was setting it up for Kenpachi to die. He appears to have survived after the attack on the meteor, but there’s still nothing guaranteeing that he’ll make it through the battle with Gremmy. I’m also starting to wonder how long Kubo is intending to make the fight with Gremmy last. Hopefully it won’t be so long that it ends up wearing out its welcome…

Naruto CH:673

In the previous chapter, Guy and Madara continued their fight, and it looked like it might be the end of Guy. Just as Madara is about to finish off guy, Naruto jumps in and intervenes. In this chapter, we learn that Naruto has stopped the eight gates’ endgame. Naruto begins fighting with Madara, and asks for some chakra from the tailed beasts that are now inside of him. With the chakra, Naruto creates a large rasen shuriken, which causes a huge explosion when he uses it to attack Madara. Naruto grabs Guy and is able to escape from the blast. When the smoke clears, they see that the Divine Tree has disappeared; however, from something we see with Madara, I think it’s safe to say it hasn’t been destroyed. Sasuke, meanwhile, approaches the Second Hokage for his teleporation power. The Second Hokage only has enough power to teleport one person, and Sasuke says that’s all he needs. Madara gets back up, and claims that he is now immortal. Sasuke appears on the scene, and Naruto says that together, he and Sasuke will take down Madara. The chapter ends with Madara declaring that this will be the final battle that will settle who is superior, once and for all…

With each chapter of Naruto that I’ve been reading in Weekly Shonen Jump, the story has just been getting more and more intense, and it’s just becoming more and more obvious that the story will have to be reaching its climax soon. This chapter sets the stage for a major battle of Sasuke and Naruto teaming up together to fight against Madara. I’m sure this battle will probably be stretched out over the course of a few chapters, but it’s awesome to see Naruto and Sasuke working together again after all this time. At this point, I think I can predict who will ultimately win this major battle, but there’s still the suspense of how that resolution will come to be. Right now, Naruto is one of the main reasons I look forward to reading Weekly Shonen Jump every week, because I really want to know what’s going to happen!

World Trigger CH:057

In the previous chapter, there was a focus on Shiro Kikuchihara and his side effect of enhanced hearing during flashback sequences, and how he ultimately joined Soya Kazama’s squad. The flashbacks were intercut with Kazama Squad’s current battle. The enemy figured out they’re relying on sound and tried to do what he can to confuse them. Just as Kazama Squad thought they’ve gotten the upper hand, the enemy surprised them. In this chapter, Osamu and his group find out that Kazama Squad had to bail out. Then we see Ko Murakami from Kuruma Squad fighting with the enemy. Kogetsu arrives says he has orders to destroy these enemies and asks if he can take over. After defeating the enemy, and a new plan is being formulated.

Overall, there’s not a lot of action in this volume, except for the brief fight that Ko and Kogetsu have with a Neighbor. There’s also not much plot progression in this chapter. Overall, there’s a lot more talking going on about things that should be coming up in future chapters. Definitely not one of the more interesting chapters I’ve read of World Trigger.

Seraph of the End CH:016

In the previous chapter, the vampires were recovering after the battle and they talk about the forbidden research that the humans are doing: the “Seraph of the End.” Mika was summoned by the Third Progenitor, Krul Tepes. Meanwhile, Yu woke up and found out he’s been in a coma for a week. Shinoa came to see Yu, and she filled him in on the parts of the battle that he forgot. In this chapter, it’s one week after the vampire attack. Yu is doing research to see if he can find any information on turning a vampire back into a human. Shinoa catches him and figures out what he’s up to, and she offers to tell Yu what she knows about humans turning into vampires. Suddenly, there’s an announcement on the intercom for Yu to report to the Shinjuku Central Army Headquarters First Office. On his way, Yu runs into Guren, who reminds him of everything he’s done for Yu; he also tells Yu not to swear any allegiance to the Hiragi family. Yu runs into Mitsura at the headquarters, and learns she’s getting a promotion and that she’s been ordered to keep an eye on a “squad mate with suspected vampire ties.” When Yu enters the office, he finds a vampire in the room, and the two begin to fight. It turns out it’s a test, and the interview with the Hiragi is just about to start when the chapter ends…

This chapter has a large focus on Yu. We see Yu trying to find information on how to save Mika, and through his conversation with Shinoa, the audience is informed about how someone becomes a vampire and how their strength as a vampire is determined. Through his conversation with Guren, we learn just how much of a relationship the two characters had prior to this point in the series. And with his interactions with Mitsura, the audience is given the idea that the Hiragi family isn’t entirely trusting of Yu. It looks like the stage is being set for the next chapter of this series to focus on Yu’s interview with the Hiragi family. Now that I’ve been able to read some more chapters of this series over the past few weeks, I’ve been starting to develop a stronger appreciation for the story now that I’m starting to get more information.

Toriko CH:274

In the previous chapter, a giant ray popped out of the water while they’re traveling on the Octomelon. Unfortunately for them, the Giant Ray was stronger than the Octomelon and spotted them. Just as they were about to attack, the Giant Ray was stabbed by the waves of the Thorned Sea. They realized their first opponent in the Gourmet World isn’t a creature, it’s the waves. They manage to escape the Thorned Sea, and they saw Yuto Island; they got a surprise when they thought they made it to Yuto Island. In this chapter, they find there’s no land, and they’re attacked by torpedo sausage. During the fight, they are approached by arm rhamphorhynchus. And then something else pops out of the water. During the fight, Toriko and Coco are separated from the others. They smell food where they end up; they find a village and wonder where they are. They also run into someone that they recognize.

At first, there’s a bit of action, but this chapter does get a little jumpy. Because of that, I kind of had a hard time following what was going on. I found myself going back and re-reading several sections to be sure I truly understood what was going on in the story. From what’s said right at the end of the chapter, it appears that Toriko and Coco could be in danger.

Nisekoi CH:119

In the previous chapter, Raku’s family gets a visitor: his old friend Yui, who has now become the boss of the Char Siu Chinese Mafia Syndicate. It turns out that Yui has come to Japan to be Raku’s homeroom teacher. In this chapter, when the other boys in the class learn that Raku and Yui are old friends, they glare at him. There may only be a two year age difference, but it turns out Yui skipped grades as a child and graduated from college four years ago and acquired her teaching license. Raku is also surprised to learn that Yui will be staying at his place, and that she’ll be staying in the room next to his. This chapter also makes it clear that Yui has feelings for Raku, but he’s absolutely clueless about it. That night, she sneaks into his bed, and he discovers that she has a key.

Sure enough, Yui has become a new potential love interest for Raku. And here’s yet another similarity with Ranma 1/2: Both Ranma and Raku have a potential love interest who comes from China. OK, Shampoo was a Chinese Amazon and Yui is a Chinese mafia boss, but still… it’s just one more similarity in premise between the two series. Ultimately, Nisekoi isn’t a bad series, but I’m starting to get a little bothered by the fact that there’s a number of character traits and a major concept (a forced engagement) that’s shared between the two series. Maybe I’d enjoy Nisekoi more if I hadn’t already been familiar with Ranma 1/2.

Stealth Symphony CH:009

In the previous chapter, Jig and Raika had to figure out how to stop the trailer. Troma figured out what Raika was trying to do and destroyed her satellite up in space before she could attack with it a second time. When Jig was in danger of being run over by the trailer, Troma intervened and attacked it. Right at the end of the chapter, Jig is able to activate his Heirloom. In this chapter, Troma’s actions helped the people on board the trailer are able to escape. Since it’s V&V’s job to deliver the people, and it’s Jig’s job to rescue the people, Troma suggests that the location is within walking distance, and they can all walk there together. Suddenly, Wavess, the president of Human Trafficking Corporation STORK appears; it turns out that she’s a mermaid. She tries to attack Jig, but the Heirloom protects him. When she orders V&V to kill the mercenaries, they refuse; when they do, Wavess declares she doesn’t need them anymore. Right at the end of the chapter, it’s revealed that Wavess also has a Dragon Heirloom.

It was nice to see that Jig and V&V were able to work side by side, and I also liked Troma’s suggestion for a compromise that would allow both parties to complete their jobs. It’s too bad that Wavess interfered and kept it from happening. Now that Jig has met someone else with a Dragon Heirloom, I’m wondering what kind of battle the two of them could have. At this point, that’s what I’m predicting will happen; if so, the main question will end up being how Jig can defeat Wavess. Stealth Symphony is off to a good start, and I’m interested in seeing where the story will go to next.

One-Punch Man CH:034.4

In the previous chapter, another battle happens; the fight seems to end quickly, but they can still sense a big opponent still looming above them. Then the action returns to Saitama and his battle. At one point, the villain thinks he’s won, but he manages to survive. In this chapter, Saitama’s opponent powers up, and looks like a cross between a Super Saiyan and some kind of sci-fi creature. The opponent tries to attack Saitama, and at the end of the chapter, it’s no clear how the attack ended…

Okay, this ended up being a rather short chapter, and it basically consisted of the opponent powering up and then launching a major attack on Saitama. That’s it. The story really didn’t progress at all in this chapter, so I really don’t have much to say about it. Of the manga I’ve been reading in Weekly Shonen Jump, One-Punch Man is easily my least favorite. Perhaps it’s because I’m not in the target market for it, but I just cannot get into this at all.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:41

In the previous chapter, some backstory was provided for Yagumo. The group looking for Haruto finds him inside a device, and it’s revealed that Yagumo is using the duels to collect Numbers energy. It turns out the device is what’s keeping Haruto alive, so Yagumo insists on continuing his duel. Yuma also continues his duel. Just as it looks like Yuma might get the upper hand, Kaito manages to turn the tables. In this chapter, Yuma is attacked, and he is knocked down to 1 Life Point. It turns out Yuma had activated a card before the damage hit, which gives Yuma one point of life when he’s about to take damage that will wipe him out. When Kaito despairs that he has no one, Yuma declares that he’s Kaito’s friend and that he’ll be there when things get tough. Kaito is determined to find Haruto’s soul. Yuma draws his next card, and its XYZ Reborn Plus, which brings a monster back from the graveyard and becomes an overlay for that monster. Yuma then activates a spell card, it changes the creature’s ATK to the number of life points Yuma lost. Yuma attacks, knocking Kaito down to 1 Life Point. The group with Haruto, meanwhile, is free Haruto. The device hasn’t stopped, so they ask Yuma and Kaito to stop their duel; however, Kaito refuses. When it looks like Kaito is going to win, Yuma activates a trap card. Kaito then uses a quick-play spell, and it ends with Kaito saying he still has another card to play…

This chapter has a strong focus on Yuma and Kaito’s duel. Unfortunately, this particular chapter is bogged down by all of the explanations that are given when they play their various cards. The previous chapters I read hadn’t been quite as bogged down by this. The whole explaining each card as its played business got old to me when I would watch the Yu-Gi-Oh! anime series back in the early 2000′s, and that aspect does not seem to have gotten any better in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal manga. At least Haruto has been freed, so I guess we can call that progress.

Manga Review: “Naruto” Volume 19

Naruto Volume 19 is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America by 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.

Volume 19 sees Tsunade rejecting Orochimaru’s deal and she starts attacking him. As the fight gets going, Jiraiya, Naruto and Shizune arrive on the scene. Orochimaru and Kabuto get into skirmishes with the various characters. When Naruto ends up being rather wounded, Tsunade does everything she can in her power to protect him.

The climax of the volume sees the three Legendary Sannin (Tsunade, Jiraiya, and Orochimaru) summoning their various creatures and having an epic battle.

Tsunade really gets to shine in Volume 19. She comes to the realization that her attitude about the village and being the Hokage really wasn’t the best attitude to be taking on. We also get to see her medical ninjutsu in action, and there are times when we get to see her incredible strength.

When I watched this story in the anime series, it was at this point in the story that I was sold on Tsunade. She has become one of my favorite characters in the Naruto franchise. Volume 19 ends with Tsunade heading on her way to the Hidden Leaf Village in order to accept the responsibility of becoming the Fifth Hokage. I think it’s safe to say that she will officially take on the position in Volume 20.

I really enjoyed getting to read Volume 19, in large part due to how much focus is put on Tsunade. Although, I have to say that it was so nice to see both Orochimaru and Kabuto getting their asses kicked in this volume. Even though I already know how the story is going to go from the anime, I’m still looking forward to reading Volume 19 in order to see how this part of the story was portrayed in the original manga source material.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 18 volumes of the Naruto manga series, then I feel confident that you’ll enjoy reading Volume 19.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Naruto Volume 19 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

New York Times Manga Best Seller List: April 6-12, 2014

Here are the top ten selling manga in the United States for the week of April 6-12, 2014, according to the New York Times.

1. Naruto Volume 65 by Masashi Kishimoto
2. Crimson Spell Volume 3 by Ayano Yamane
3. Sword Art Online: Aincrad by Reki Kawahara and Tamako Nakamura
4. Bleach Volume 60 by Tite Kubo
5. Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda and Yu
6. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
7. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic Volume 5 by Shinobu Ohtaka
8. Attack on Titan Volume 2 by Hajime Isayama
9. Fairy Tail Volume 36 by Hiro Mashima
10. Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare by QuinRose and Yobu

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 115 (April 14, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Nisekoi, One Piece, All You Need Is Kill, Naruto, Seraph of the End, Bleach, Stealth Symphony, Toriko, and World Trigger.

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.

Nisekoi CH:118

In the previous chapter, Raku got appendicitis and ended up in the hospital. During his stay, it’s clear to the audience that Chitose has some kind of feelings for Raku that she can’t admit to either herself or to Raku. This chapter sees Raku and Chitose talking about a picture book they’d seen in Onodera’s room and that they can’t find any information on it. Raku invites Chitose to come over and look at it, because he’s borrowed the book from Onodera. When Raku arrives at his house, he learns they’re expecting an important visitor, the boss of the Char Siu Chinese Mafia Syndicate. It turns out the boss is Yui, an older girl that he knows and hasn’t seen in six or seven years; it turns out Raku didn’t know she had become the bos of that syndicate. Chitose is introduced as Raku’s girlfriend, and Yui is surprised. She also recognizes Chitose’s last name. It turns out that Yui had made arrangements to attend their high school while she’s in Japan; however, as we see in the final couple of pages, she’s there to be Raku’s homeroom teacher.

Well, well, well… it looks like Raku’s harem has just gotten a little bigger with the arrival of Yui. As soon as I saw that the mafia boss was a young girl, I knew she’d be joining the harem. As it turns out, she lived with Raku’s family for several years when he was younger, and she claims that Raku gave her her first kiss. However, I will say that I didn’t predict that when Yui said that she’d be going to Raku’s school that she’d end up being his homeroom teacher.

The more I’ve seen of Nisekoi, the more parallels I’m starting to see with Ranma 1/2. Fortunately, the gender swapping part of Ranma isn’t part of this, though. But the fact that Raku and Chitose are forced into an engagement by their families, the fact that the girl in the forced engagement can’t cook, and the growing number of love interests, at least for Raku, is growing just as much as it did for Ranma. I hope that over time, I’ll be able to start seeing more elements that it will help make Nisekoi feel less and less like it’s borrowing from Ranma 1/2‘s playbook.

One Piece CH:744

In the previous chapter, Robin and the others who were turned into toys returned to normal and the curse of the Hobby-Hobby Fruit is undone. Usopp asks the Tontattas to find his friends, because the battle is only beginning. Luffy learned that the one-legged toy is actually Kyros, and that he is Rebecca’s true father. Kyros, meanwhile, has a fight and wins. In this chapter, an explosion happens in the coliseum, and chaos ensues. Amidst all the chaos, two characters appear: Hack and Sabo from the Revolutionary Army. They’ve come to put a stop to the weapons leaving the port that are aiding wars around the world.

This was a very busy chapter! There’s so much action and so much going on I had a hard time keeping track of it all. Of course, it didn’t help that I jumped into the middle of this particular story arc, so I don’t know about some of the things that happened earlier in the arc or who some of the characters appearing in this chapter are. I think if someone has been following this arc from the very beginning, they’ll probably be able to better understand everything that’s taking place and have a better appreciation for it. It should also be noted that One Piece will be taking a week off in next week’s issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

All You Need Is Kill CH:012

In the previous chapter, Rita learns that Keiji also goes through time loops. In this chapter, Keiji is determined to make the battle he’s been stuck in end today. Before he can do anything, Rita appears and says she needs to borrow Keiji. She is given permission to take him. They work together to defeat the enemy, and Keiji learns how to survive by mimicking Rita’s skills. Keiji takes on the mimic at the root of his time loops. Unfortunately, at the end of the chapter, it appears that he has failed…

I felt a little deceived by this chapter. As it went along, I felt so sure that with Rita’s help, Keiji was going to be able to break out of the time loop. However, from what we see at the end, it appears he’s failed. I really want to know why this failed. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait an extra week, because All You Need Is Kill will be taking a week off in the next volume of Weekly Shonen Jump. Ack! What a point to be taking a week off at!

Naruto CH:672

In the previous chapter, it was revealed that Naruto is the reincarnation of Hagoromo’s son, Ashura, and that Sasuke is the reincarnation of his other son. Hagoromo asks Naruto to stop Madara. Naruto then discovers that Obito did something rather surprising, and it appears that the day the child of prophecy shall change the world has arrived. Sasuke suddenly appears, and Hagoromo shares his power with both Sasuke and Naruto. This chapter returns to the fight between Guy and Madara, and it looks like it might be the end of Guy. Meanwhile, both Sasuke and Naruto say that it’s time for them to get going. There’s also a flashback of Kakashi and Guy when they were kids with their fathers and the first time they met; it appears this is the start of their now infamous rivalry. Then we return to the fight, and Guy lets loose on Madara. Just as it looks like Madara is going to finish Guy, Naruto jumps in and intervenes.

Ahhhhh! This was an intense chapter! Guy looked like he was going to a goner there! My favorite part was seeing the flashback of little Kakashi and little Guy meeting, and seeing Kakashi’s dad basically planting the seed for Kakashi and Guy’s rivalry. Now that Naruto’s gotten back into the battle, I can’t wait to see how he might be able to turn the tide.

Seraph of the End CH:015

In the previous chapter, the part of Yu that isn’t human starts to run wild and attack humans. Shinoa is told to embrace Yu because it should bring him back from what he’s become. When she does, it appears to work. The story moves ahead five days later, and Shinoa discovers there’s a lab in the underground of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army’s Shinjuku Barracks; it’s there to experiment on their guinea pigs. After Shinoa shows she’s a member of the Hiragi family, the guards take her on a tour of the lab. She goes to see Lt. Colonel Guren to ask what he’s trying to do to Yu, because he hasn’t woken up yet. This chapter sees the vampires recovering after the battle we’d seen in previous chapters, and they talk about the forbidden research that the humans are doing: the “Seraph of the End.” Mika is summoned by the Third Progenitor, Krul Tepes. Meanwhile, Yu wakes up and finds out he’s been in a coma for a week. Shinoa comes to see Yu, and she fills him in on the parts of the battle that he forgot.

So we get to see a little bit of the vampires in their natural surroundings, which is good for me, since I jumped into this series after it had already been going. Between this and what was said in the hospital scene with Yu, I have a better understanding of Mika and why he was so determined to try to save Yu in the previous chapter. I also got to see Yu and his comrades interacting with each other off the battlefield, which also allowed me to get to know some of these characters a little better than I had known them from what few chapters I’ve read of this series so far. Hopefully getting to see more chapters like this one will help to improve my appreciation for the series.

Bleach CH:576

In the previous chapter, Kenpachi tells Yachiru to get out of the way, and she does. After she leaves, Kenpachi says he wants the real fight to start and then says something that makes Gremmy stop and think. After thinking about it, Gremmy realizes that he really wants to crush Kenpachi. In this chapter, a new battle between Kenpachi and Gremmy gets underway. Gremmy ends up being slow using his imagination, so Kenpachi is able to get blows in on Gremmy. After Kenpachi taunts Gremmy about imagining his death, this snaps Gremmy out of what was slowing him down, and he starts recovering. Gremmy ends up creating a second version of himself by using his imagination, and that second version is also unable to be cut. And since there’s two of them that are the same, they can both use their imagination. A meteor suddenly starts coming down, and Gremmy intends to destroy both Kenpachi and the Seireitei itself. The meteor is coming down as the chapter ends…

Darn it! Just when it seemed like Kenpachi had found Gremmy’s Achilles Heel, Kenpachi had to screw everything up with his taunt. Now, not only is Gremmy able to fight again, it’s now double the danger with the new version of himself that Gremmy has created. And how is Kenpachi going to destroy the meteor with his sword? It’s quite a cliffhanger, though, and I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter in order to find out what’s going to happen.

Stealth Symphony CH:008

In the previous chapter, Jig discovers that Alice and Troma from V&V are protecting the trailer that he’s trying to rescue the prisoners from. At the end of Chapter Seven, Jig is able to talk to Troma through a transmitter that Alice drops, and he declares that he will become Troma’s enemy if it’s necessary. In this chapter, Troma tells Jig that’s an excellent idea and he has faith that the path Jig chose is the right one. Now, Jig and Raika have to figure out how to stop the trailer. Troma is able to figure out what Raika is trying to do and destroys her satelitte up in space before she can attack with it a second time. When Jig is in danger of being run over by the trailer, Troma intervenes and attacks it. Right at the end of the chapter, Jig is able to activate his Heirloom…

This was a rather action-packed chapter for Stealth Symphony. Just as it looked like Jig would end up becoming enemies with V&V, that idea ends up being turned on its head when Jig finds himself in trouble. And during this chapter, Jig comes to realize that he doesn’t need to be afraid of his curse; in fact, during the very last panel, Jig is embracing the Heirloom and the power that it possesses. So now, what will happen to Jig after this story is all over. Will the cyborgs still accept him after his assignment is done?

Toriko CH:273

In the previous chapter, an octomelon awakens and becomes the tent for the first leg of Toriko and the others’ journey through the Gourmet World. At the end of Chapter 272, they boarded the octomelon and head on their way to the third entrance to the Gourmet World, Yuto Island’s Bay of Evil Spirits. In this chapter, the group has a new capture level measuring device which is a tray that serves as a computer tablet. There’s an ID card that includes 300,000 items in the human world. as well as data on many food found in the Gourmet World. They’re able to test out the device when a giant ray pops out of the water. They’re able to determine that the device works. Unfortunately for them, the Giant Ray is stronger than the Octomelon and has spotted them. Just as they’re going to attack it, the Giant Ray is stabbed by the waves of the Thorned Sea. They realize their first oppnent in the Gourmet World isn’t going to be a creature, it’s going to be the waves. They manage to escape the Thorned Sea, and they see Yuto Island, the third entrance to the Gourmet World. They get a surprise when they think they’ve made it to Yuto Island…

The vast majority of this chapter is spent on Toriko and the others as they’re working their way toward Yuto Island. They encounter another creature that, according to the footnotes, was created by someone other than the mangaka. I never would have guessed that the sea itself was as dangerous as it was. Admittedly, I’m not terribly familiar with the Gourmet World yet, since I jumped into series so late. I guess I should expect more of the unexpected as Toriko and the others travel through the Gourmet World.

World Trigger CH:056

In the previous chapter, Lord Hyuse is sent to capture a target that is supposed to possess a powerful trion. Konami is ordered to take on the new models of Aftokrator, and Osamu is ordered to protect Amatori with his life. The remaining members on the battlefield fight against Lord Hyuse and his group Meanwhile, there’s another confrontation east of headquarters. This chapter opens out by focusing on Shiro Kikuchihara and his side effect of enhanced hearing, which a lot of people think is pretty lame. One day, he’s approached by Soya Kazama, Shiori Usami, and Ryo Utagawa. Shiro is told that he will be the ears of his squad and that they’ll share his audio information via transmission. He’s told that when he’s a full agent that he needs to join Soya’s squad. Then we see that he’s a member of that squad and that they’ve made A-Rank. These flashbacks are intercut with Kazama Squad’s current battle. Unfortunately, the enemy figures out they’re relying on sound and tries to do what he can to confuse them. Just as Kazama Squad thinks they’ve gotten the upper hand, the enemy surprises them…

This chapter basically gives a little bit of background information on Kazama Squad in order to help the reader understand why Kazama Squad is fighting against the enemy the way they are. There ends up being a surprise right at the end of the chapter that’s connected to Soya, and the chapter ends on a cliffhanger. Can Soya make it out of the problem he’s in, or is he not going to make it?

New York Times Manga Best Seller List: March 30-April 5, 2014

Here are the top ten selling manga in the United States for the week of March 30-April 5, 2014, according to the New York Times.

1. Naruto Volume 65 by Masashi Kishimoto
2. Bleach Volume 60 by Tite Kubo
3. Soul Eater Volume 19 by Atsushi Ohkubo
4. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
5. Sword Art Online: Aincrad by Reki Kawahara and Tamako Nakamura
6. Attack on Titan: Before the Fall Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama, Ryo Suzukaze and Satoshi Shiki
7. Fairy Tail Volume 36 by Hiro Mashima
8. Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story Volume 1 by Magica Quartet and Hanokage
9. Wolf Children: Ame and Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda and Yu
10. Attack on Titan: Junior High Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama and Saki Nakagawa

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 114 (April 7, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Naruto, Stealth Symphony, One Piece, World Trigger, Bleach, One-Punch Man, Nisekoi, All You Need Is Kill, Toriko, Blue Exorcist, and a special Dragon Ball bonus story.

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.

Naruto CH:671

In the previous chapter, Naruto regains consciousness and meets Hagoromo, the Sage of Six Paths. Hagoromo tells Naruto a story about his mother and his sons, and the chapter ends with Hagoromo saying that his son Ashura has been reincarnated in Naruto. When Naruto is not surprised by this news, Hagoromo believes that Naruto already knows who the reincarnation of his other son is; he does, and it’s Sasuke. Naruto then asks what happened to the other reincarnates before him and Sasuke. It’s revealed the reincarnates right before them were Hashirama and Madara. We learn a little more history about Hagoromo’s mother and that she had a couple of the ocular powers that we’ve seen in the series. Hagoromo asks Naruto to stop Madara. Naruto then discovers that Obito did something rather surprising, and it appears that the day the child of prophecy shall change the world has arrived. Sasuke suddenly appears, and Hagoromo shares his power with both Sasuke and Naruto.

Ummm… wow! There’s a bit that’s revealed in this chapter, and it’s becoming more and more obvious with each chapter that Naruto is getting ever closer to its ending. Will Naruto really be the child of prophecy and change the world? And how will Sasuke help him out?

Stealth Symphony CH:007

In the previous chapter, Jig goes out on his job for the cyborg agency, which is to rescue prisoners from a trailer. However, at the end of Chapter Six, Jig discovers that Troma and Alice are in the trailer, having been hired to watch over the prisoners. Troma, as a ninja, fights against the cyborgs. As Jig wonders why V&V are there, Alice arrives and asks Jig why he’s there. He says he’s there to rescue the people inside the trailer. Alice recommends that he leave immediately because he’s a novice. Alice ends up fighting against Colt Yukimiya. Jig ends up being able to talk to Troma through a transmitter that Alice drops, and he declares that he will become Troma’s enemy is it’s necessary.

It appears that after initally establishing V&V as allies for Jig, they will now potentially become his enemies. That would definitely be an interesting turn around if that does actually come to pass in future chapters of the series. So far, Stealth Symphony has done a good job of establishing the character of Jig and the world he inhabits, and I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter in order to find out what will happen next.

One Piece CH:743

In the previous chapter, we were given backstory for Kyros and Rebecca. At the beginning of this chapter, we see that Sugar and Usopp are both knocked out. Robin and the others who have been turned into toys are returning to normal and the curse of the Hobby-Hobby Fruit is being undone. The Tontattas declare that Usopp is a hero, and he asks them to find his friends, because the battle is only beginning. Luffy learns that the one-legged toy is actually Kyros, and that he is Rebecca’s true father. Kyros, meanwhile, has a fight and wins. An explosion happens in the coloseum as the chapter comes to an end…

This was a rather action-packed chapter, especially after the toys returned to their original selves. With the curse lifted, Rebecca remembers that she has a father, and this gives her the determination she needs in order to continue her fight in the coloseum. Now that the curse is lifted, I expect the rest of the arc will focus on the people trying to remove Doflamingo from Dressrosa.

World Trigger CH:055

In the previous chapter, there was an explanation about Kion and Aftokrator and about the horned Aftokrators. Osamu then encounters a man with horned humanoid Neighbor. Meanwhile, a horned humanoid Neighbor makes an appearance at another area of the battle; quite a bit of the chapter focuses on this area of the battle. In this chapter, Lord Hyuse is sent to capture a target that is supposed to possess a powerful trion. Konami is ordered to take on the new models of Aftokrator, and Osamu is ordered to protect Amatori with his life. The remaining members on the battlefield fight against Lord Hyuse and his group. Meanwhile, there’s another confrontation east of headquarters.

This chapter focuses primarily on Osamu and his group, and we get a little bit of explanation as to the moves that Konami and some of the others are using against the enemy. Outside of that, it was a chapter filled with a lot of action with the battles going on. I suspect the next chapter will continue the various fights that are taking place.

Bleach CH:575

In the previous chapter, Gremmy and Kenpachi started into a fight. When Kenpachi tells Yachiru to get out of there, Gremmy says her bones have turned into cookies with his ability, and that if she tries to move, her bones will shatter and she’ll die. Kenpachi then jumps into the air, and Gremmy turns it into water. Gremmy then creates a crack in the ground and sends Kenpachi and the water down into it. Gremmy expects Kenpachi will die within an hour, but is caught off-guard when Kenpachi comes out of the ground. And by something else that Kenpachi does, he proves that Gremmy’s power isn’t nearly as powerful as he tries to make it out to be. In this chapter, Kenpachi tells Yachiru to get out of the way, and she does. After she leaves, Kenpachi says he wants the real fight to start and then says something that makes Gremmy stop and think. After thinking about it, Gremmy realizes that he really wants to crush Kenpachi. A new battle is just starting when the chapter ends…

Kenpachi tells Gremmy that if he’s the strongest Quincy, then he should want to crush the strongest opponent. Gremmy realizes that he always thought that he was the strongest and had no need to kill an enemy to prove himself. He then realizes that he has a sudden urge to want to crush Kenpachi. It appears that Kenpachi has managed to turn Gremmy into a monster that’s ready and willing to kill. Will Kenpachi be able to defeat Gremmy, or has he made a mistake in provoking his opponent this way? I should be getting my answer to that within the next few chapters.

One-Punch Man CH:034.3

In the previous chapter, the focus was primarily on Saitama’s comrades and the fights that they’re having, with only a brief scene of Saitama and Boros’ fight. As Saitama’s comrades start defeating the enemy, Boros’ men begin whimpering and saying they want to go home. This chapter opens with another battle starting. The fight seems to end quickly, but they can still sense a big opponent still looming above them. Then the action returns to Saitama and his battle. At one point, the villain thinks he’s won, but he manages to survive.

Due to all of the fighting that’s taking place, there’s a lot of action taking place. Right now, I’m finding myself having a hard time getting into this series. I’m guessing it’s due to the fact that not only did I jump into the middle of the series, I also jumped into the middle of a story arc. All I’ve really seen at this point is a lot of fighting, and nothing to help me truly get to know any of the characters. If I’d been reading this one from the beginning, I’d probably have a better appreciation for it. As of right now, though, it’s probably the manga I look forward to reading the least in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Nisekoi CH:117

In the previous chapter, Chitose and Marika get into a competition over who can make a delicious lunch for Raku. In this chapter, Raku and Chitose are out walking and he complains about his stomach suddenly hurting. Then, there’s a five day timeskip and Raku is in the hospital; he had appendicitis and his appendix was taken out. Chitoge goes to visit him the hospital, and she seems to be acting nicer than normal. He also gets visits from Shu, Onodera, Tsugumi, and Tachibana. Chitoge sneaks back that evening and brings him yet another apple after several other people already did. Unfortunately, something happens that causes Raku to stay in the hospital a couple more days…

This chapter definitely establishes an idea that Chitoge actually has some kind of feelings for Raku. Unfortunately, she can’t bring herself to admit to either herself or to Raku. This may have been a stand-alone chapter, but unlike the other stand-alone chapters I’ve read, this one seems to have some importance for the overarching story in the series. I also have to say that of the stand-alone chapters, this one has been my favorite one to read.

All You Need Is Kill CH:011

The previous chapter continued with Rita’s backstory, ending with her appearing to have broken out of the time loop and becoming a test subject for top-secret research to study the time loop. This chapter opens with an explanation that Rita’s method was to always loop back to the same battle once; she’d determine the injuries in the first loop so she could improve the situation in the second loop. But she only loops back once, no matter who died. She then runs into Keiji and seems to recognize his eyes. She meets up with him and notices a number written on his hand. When she asks what that means, he says he wants to answer a question she asked him earlier. With his response, she realizes that he also goes through time loops.

This chapter sees Rita feeling a little lonely and frustrated because it appears that she’s the only one who goes through the time loops. However, when she sees Keiji, she thinks there’s something different about him. When they finally talk face-to-face and she receives confirmation that he also goes through time loops, Rita is shocked and also starts crying. I’m very curious to see now that Rita has found someone else who is like her, what she’ll end up doing as the story goes forward. I really hope that she does something to help him learn about the time loops and how he can find a way out of them.

Toriko CH:272

In the previous chapter, Toriko and the others learn Chichi’s backstory, and then he shows them an apple that causes them to showsigns of the appetite demon reflex. It turns out the apple has the smell of Acacia’s full-course meal. In this chapter, an octomelon awakens; it’s a creature that people can travel and live in. Chichi says the octomelon will serve as their tent for the first leg of their journey through the Gourmet World. When they go to head off to the Gourmet World, their friends come to see them off. President Mansom also asks Toriko to send food from the Gourmet World to the human world. Toriko and the others board the octomelon and head on their way to the third entrance to the Gourmet World, Yuto Island’s Bay of Evil Spirits.

This chapter is basically providing the setup for the journey of Toriko and the others as they head out on their mission. It should be noted that there’s a footnote at the beginning of the chapter that the octomelon was an idea provided by someone (I’m assuming one of the readers of the manga). I thought it was kind of neat to see a mangaka incorporate someone’s idea like that into the manga. At the end of the chapter, it says they’re headed for a new location, and I’m curious to see what kind of adventures Toriko and the others will have on their journey.

Blue Exorcist CH:056

In the previous chapter, the group encounters a zombie, and there’s a brief explanation of the differences between a zombie and a ghoul and the methods of exorcism for each. After taking down that one, the group is approached by a group of zombies; however, these zombies appear to be defective. The group tries to flee. They’re surrounded and try to find a way to escape. Suddenly, a trapdoor opens underneath the group. Izumo, meanwhile, is trying to escape on her own and ends up in a fight. In this chapter, it appears Rin and the others have been separated after falling through the trapdoor. Chief Researcher Mikhail Gedoin has arrived and he gives an update on what’s going on with Izumo and that he will be transplanting the nine tails from her father’s body and put it into her. He also relays that he’s captured Rin and his younger brother. Gedoin is ordered not to do anything to Rin. After leaving the meeting, Gedoin is informed that Izumo’s transplant capability is only 0.08 percent, and if they perform the procedure now, the transplant may fail and that Izumo will die. Gedoin then decides he’ll kill Rin, going against the commander’s orders. Meanwhile, a creature is unleashed to go after Rin and the others…

This is only the second chapter of Blue Exorcist that I’ve read, but this chapter did help me to start to better understand what’s going on this arc. There’s still some things that I don’t understand yet, but I’m nowhere near as lost as I was when I read Chapter 55. There definitely seems to be an interesting story being presented, and I hope that I’ll be able to better appreciate Blue Exorcist as I get an opportunity to read more chapters.

Special Bonus Story: Dragon Ball

It opens with a two-page spread labeled, “History of Goku.”

From here, there’s a note saying that “Akira Toriyama has written a special story about Goku’s departure, which even he did not know about until now.” Goku’s father, Burdock, is out fighting a battle, only to be told that Freeza has ordered all the Saiyans to return to Planet Vegeta. When Burdock returns, he learns through various conversations that one of Freeza’s men was asking around about a Super Saiyan. Then, we see Freeza declare that since the Saiyans are a bit too proud to truly be loyal to him, it’s time to wipe them and their planet out; he decides to carry his plan out in a month’s time. We get to see a young Vegeta and a young Raditz, as well as Burdock’s wife, Gine. We learn that Kakarrot (aka Goku) has been in an incubator for three years. After seeing Kakarrot, Burdock decides he’s going to steal a space pod at night and launch him to a different planet for Kakarrot’s safety. Burdock senses that Freeza’s up to something. Burdock programs the pod to head to a place called Earth. Then we see that Jaco the Policeman has been sent to find the projectile from Planet Vegeta after it lands on Earth.

Now, wait a minute here… doesn’t this conflict with what was presented in Dragon Ball Z? From what was stated in the main series, Kakarrot was sent to Earth on a mission to take it over… but this one-shot is now saying that it was his parents who sent him to Earth. It was neat to finally see Goku’s mom, but I wish the story didn’t present such a contradiction! And the addition of Jaco the Policeman at the end as a cross-over with Toriyama’s current work just felt forced to me. There really should have been a way to do this story so it could fit in with what’s already been established in Dragon Ball Z. While it’s a good story, I have a hard time buying it since it contradicts already established facts. The only way I can truly enjoy this is to think of it as some kind of alternate timeline story.

Attack on Titan is #5 Selling Graphic Novel in the U.S. for March 2014

Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama is ranked at #5 on Nielsen BookScan’s list of top 20 graphic novels in the United States for March 2014.

Other manga volumes to make the list for March 2014 include:

  • Attack on Titan Volume 2 by Hajime Isayama (#7)
  • Naruto Volume 64 by Masashi Kishimoto (#8)
  • Attack on Titan Volume 3 by Hajime Isayama (#15)
  • Blue Exorcist Volume 11 by Kazue Kato (#17)
  • Black Bird Volume 18 by Kanoko Sakurakouji (#18)
  • Attack on Titan Volume 11 by Hajime Isayama (#19)
  • One Piece Volume 70 by Eiichiro Oda (#20)

The BookScan rankings include sales at Barnes & Noble and other book chains, independent bookshops, and online purchases; however, sales at comic book stores, Walmart, and some other venues are not included.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 113 (March 31, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Seraph of the End, One Piece, World Trigger, All You Need Is Kill, Naruto, Toriko, Nisekoi, Stealth Symphony, and Bleach

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.

Seraph of the End CH:014

In the previous chapter, Yuichi recognizes Mika and is unable to kill her. Mika declares that Yuichi is being used by the humans and vows to save him. The Seventh Progenitor says he can turn Yuichi into a vampire, but Mika declares that if the Seventh Progenitor lays a hand on Yuichi, Mika will kill him. After a noble named Crowley joins them, Lt. Colonel Guren and his group try to flee; they are attacked. Yuichi sees his comrades having their blood sucked by vampires, and he suddenly sees Asuramaru, a demon who possesses Yuichi. The part of Yu that isn’t human starts to run wild and attack humans. Shina is told to embrace Yu because it should bring him back from what he’s become. When she does, it appears to work. The Hiragi family arrives, led by the arrogant Lieutenant General Kureto Hiragi, to defeat the vampire nobles. The vampires decide to retreat, but Mika says that Yu still needs to be rescued. Mika is forced to leave.

The story then moves to five days later. Shinoa discovers there’s a lab in the underground of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army’s Shinjuku Barracks. She learns it’s there to experiment on their guinea pigs. At first, she’s told she is unable to pass, but once she shows she’s a member of the Hiragi family, the guards let her through. She takes a tour of the lab. Then she goes to see Lt. Colonel Guren to ask what he’s trying to do to Yu, because he hasn’t woken up yet. All Shinoa gets are snide answers. Before she leaves, he says the drugs are wearing off and she should pay him a visit.

I’m still basically lost when it comes to the section of the chapter that was taking place during the battle. However, after the skip of five days, the story started to make a little more sense to me. The section with Shinoa in the Shinjuku Barracks helped to explain a little bit about what’s going on and why Shinoa acts the way that she does. If I’d read the series from the beginning, I might have known some of this beforehand; however, since I jumped in the middle, there’s some information presented earlier in the series that I don’t know. Seraph of the End does seem to be an interesting story, and hopefully it’ll start making more sense as I read more chapters.

One Piece CH:742

In the previous chapter, Usopp is trying to get away. Meanwhile, the toys keep saying that Usoland (aka Usopp) will save them. Usopp hears what they’re saying, but he tries to ignore what he’s hearing. However, he runs over to the toys and admits to all the lies that he’s told. But after his admission, he does something surprising. This chapter opens with focusing on a character named Kyros and seeing his backstory. It turns out he is the father of Rebecca, a character I saw briefly in an earlier chapter. This also reveals to the audience who the one-legged toy is. Then we see that the one-legged toy is having a flashback while he’s with Viola and Luffy. Then we see Rebecca in the coliseum, where she learns the truth about who shot her mother years earlier. And right at the end of the chapter, something happens to Usopp…

Quite a bit of Chapter 742 delves into the backstory for both the one-legged toy and Rebecca. Since I jumped into the middle of this particular story arc, I found the backstory to be rather helpful for me to better understand what’s been going on as well as getting a better idea of the setting for this arc. There wasn’t much action in this particular chapter, but that’s okay.

World Trigger CH:054

Chapter 53 switched focus to another squad at first, but then returns to Osamu and his group. Another squad arrives to help Osamu and the others out, and the new squad will work on rescuing Kitora while Osamu is assigned to support the C-Rank trainees. Chapter 54 opens with an explanation about Kion and Aftokrator and about the horned Aftokrators. Osamu then encounters a man with horned humanoid Neighbor. Meanwhile, a horned humanoid Neighbor makes an appearance at another area of the battle; quite a bit of the chapter focuses on this area of the battle.

After getting the explanation at the beginning of the chapter, the rest of Chapter 54 is very action-oriented. This battle also allows the reader to see the horned humanoid Neighbors in action after getting the explanation about them. From the one we see fighting in this chapter, it appears the horned humanoid Neighbors are rather formidable foes. Several new characters are introduced in the new area of the battle that’s being focused on, so I do feel a little lost, especially since I jumped into the middle of this particular story arc. It seems to be an interesting story, though, so I’m hoping that reading future chapters will help me to better understand the story.

All You Need Is Kill CH:010

The previous chapter continued Rita’s backstory, which focused on when she discovered she was in a time loop and her determination to try to solve the mystery of why it’s happening. The backstory continues in Chapter 10, with Rita reliving a moment over again and that her headache seems to get worse the more she loops back. As Rita is walking, something happens that hasn’t happened to her during the previous time loops. From this incident, Rita learns that data for every solider on the battlefield is being recorded. Rita learns that there’s a backup of her data because of how important she is, and this gives Rita an idea as to what she needs to do in order to get out of the time loop. She puts her plan into action, and it appears she may have broken out of the loop. Rita then became a test subject for top-secret research to study the time loop.

This chapter finally provides the conclusion for Rita’s backstory. It made me wonder, though, if she might try to help Keiji break out of his time loop in a future chapter. Since she knows how to break out of the loop and is aware of the fact that Keiji is in a loop, could she end up trying to help him? Future chapters will reveal whether or not she may do that, as well as where the story will be headed to next.

Naruto CH:670

In the previous chapter, Guy opens the Eighth Gate and launches a barrage of attacks on Madara. Minato, meanwhile, comes up with a plan for him, Kakashi, Gaara, and Lee to assist Guy. This chapter opens with Naruto regaining consciousness and not knowing where he is. Naruto encounters a man named Hagoromo, and Naruto notices that he has Rinnengan. Naruto is informed that he has not died, but that he is in his inner mind. Naruto and Hagoromo have quite a conversation… and it’s revealed that Hagoromo is the Sage of Six Paths. From here, Hagoromo tells Naruto a story about his mother and his sons. Hagoromo tells Naruto that he’s a lot like his son, Ashura… in fact, he declares that Ashura has reincarnated in Naruto!

This chapter allows the reader to finally meet the Sage of Six Paths and to get a little bit of backstory of how everything in the ninja world of Naruto came to be. The part of the story about Hagoromo’s two sons had appeared earlier in the series (I saw it told in the Naruto Shippuden anime when I watched Naruto Shippuden Set 16 recently), but it was good to see it again to remind the reader that this story is important to the plot. From what I saw in the Naruto Shippuden anime, it had been strongly hinted that Naruto was a reincarnation of Ashura, while Sasuke is the reincarnation of Inora. This chapter confirms that yes, Naruto is indeed the reincarnation of Ashura. This was a great chapter for imparting some important information, but I’m hoping that we can return to the battle in the next chapter so we can see what happens to Guy and the others.

Toriko CH:271

The previous chapter saw Toriko and some of the chefs going to Biotope 1, where they spent time trying to enter a building that kind of looks like a tree. After they successfully make it inside, they find a bird-like creature named Chichi, the Flavor Hermit, sitting in a rocking chair. In Chapter 271, Chichi begins by sharing his backstory with Toriko and the others. It turns out Chichi is acquainted with Ichi. As they get to know Chichi, he comes across as an annoying pain in the butt. Chichi then says Ichi asked him to serve Toriko and the others a certain food. When he shows them the food, most of the group shows signs of the appetite demon reflex. They are able to get it under control, and Chichi first claims the apple is one of the dishes in Acacia’s full-course meal. Afterward, he says he lied, and that the apple only has the smell of it. The ones who had the reflex could feel that Chichi was telling the truth about the scent.

This chapter basically establishes Chichi and sets the stage for Toriko and the others as they start their journey in the Gourmet World. Like I said in the writeup above, I found Chichi to be rather annoying and obnocious. And it turns out he’s the pervy old man character that usually makes an appearance in shonen series. This was an OK chapter, and hopefully Chapter 272 will be better and really see the action of this story arc get going.

Nisekoi CH:116

In the previous chapter, Ruri comes clean with her great-grandfather about her deception, but is able to make amends by showing him pictures of her the friends she’s made and the times they share. Unfortunately, Ruri’s great-grandfather dies shortly afterward. In this chapter, Raku and the others are having a group study session during the summer. When they break for lunch, Marika shows she’s made a special lunch just for Raku. Raku says the food tastes great, and Chitoge becomes jealous. When Marika makes fun of Chitoge’s cooking, Chitoge declares that she’ll make Raku a delicious lunch; Marika turns it into a contest. Chitoge tries to make ginger pork, but it doesn’t turn out. Chitoge keeps bringing in food she’s made, but even following a recipe, she still can’t make anything edible. Chitoge makes one last attempt to make a lunch for Raku. She makes rice balls, and Raku’s verdict is…

I guess there needed to be a light-hearted story after the story arc with Ruri’s great-grandfather to help lighten the mood. This time, it has to do with food and how the main female protagonist, Chitoge, is a bad cook. Can we say “Akane Tendo” from Ranma 1/2, anyone? And the fact that there’s a cooking competition between Chitoge and one of the other love interests is also something I’ve already seen done in Ranma 1/2. If I hadn’t already seen a similar plot in other manga and anime in the past, I might have found this story to be more humorous. Oh well.

Stealth Symphony CH:006

In the previous chapter, Jig gets a job at an agency for cyborgs. However, at the end of Chapter Five, the readers sees that a complication arises that could make the job rather difficult for Jig. In this chapter, we see the vehicle that Jig is supposed to be rescuing prisoners from; however, inside we see Troma and Alice. It turns out that Alice is uneasy about the job, because it doesn’t seem to be what was presented to them. We see Jig and several others from the cyborg agency heading out to their assignment, and the reader is introduced to Colt Yukimiya. We also get a little bit of backstory for Raika. In the vehicle, Alice sees Troma making a shadow, he suddenly turns into a ninja. With Raika’s viewing devices, she sows Jig that Troma and Alice are in the trailer. Just as the cyborgs are about to attack, something big makes a sudden appearance…

So Jig has learned about Alice and Troma being in the trailer, but we don’t know what he’s going to do just yet. However, with the big thing making its appearance, the cyborgs have to fight with that first before they can go after the trailer. I feel pretty safe in guessing that the battle with the new big thing will be the focus of the next chapter. It was also interesting to see Troma manifest a ninja. It’ll be interesting to see what’ll end up happening in Chapter 7.

Bleach CH:574

In the previous chapter, Kenpachi made an appearance, and Gremmy challenges him to a fight. Gremmy starts using his mind to heal his wounds and create lava. Kenpachi says he doesn’t mind the illogical. When Kenpachi tells Yachiru to get out of there, Gremmy says her bones have turned into cookies with his ability, and that if she tries to move, her bones will shatter and she’ll die. Kenpachi then jumps into the air, and Gremmy turns it into water. Gremmy then creates a crack in the ground and sends Kenpachi and the water down into it. Gremmy expects Kenpachi will die within an hour, but is caught off-guard when Kenpachi comes out of the ground. And by something else that Kenpachi does, he proves that Gremmy’s power isn’t nearly as powerful as he tries to make it out to be…

Gremmy can be quite a formidable foe, can’t he? For most people, there would be no way to determine what Gremmy will imagine and be able to come up with a strategy for it. I’m glad to see that Kenpachi was able to figure out that Gremmy has to continue focusing on someone in order for his ability to work. I’m interested in seeing how this battle between Kenpachi and Gremmy will continue in the next chapter.

New Manga Releases: April 1, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for April 1, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Alice in the Country of Clover: Nightmare GN
Bleach GN 60
Dance in the Vampire Bund Omnibus GN 5
Dictatorial Grimoire: Red Riding Hood GN 3
Dragon Ball: Full Color GN 2
Hana-Kimi Omnibus GN 8
Happy Marriage?! GN 5
Hunter x Hunter GN 32
Library Wars: Love & War GN 11
Naruto GN 65
Nura: Rise of The Yokai Clan GN 20
Pokemon Black and White GN 15
Strike Witches: Maidens in the Sky GN 2
Sweet Rein GN 2
Toriko GN 21
Voice Over! Seiyu Academy GN 4

Anime DVD Review: Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16 is a two-disc set that contains episodes 193 through 205 of Naruto Shippuden. The first disc contains seven episodes, and the second disc includes six episodes and the set’s special features.

The first four episodes in this set are still “filler” material. In the first filler episode, Naruto finds a photo of a man who he met as a spirit early on in his genin years. He flashes back to how he met the spirit of the man named Kisuke, and becomes involved in a situation that includes Kisuke and a spy that has infiltrated the Hidden Leaf Village. The major issue I had with this filler episode is the fact that it contradicts an episode that takes place earlier in Naruto Shippuden, where Naruto is shown being afraid of ghosts. Since this story took place before that particular episode of the series that I’m referencing, shouldn’t Naruto not have a fear of ghosts anymore due to meeting Kisuke?

The next filler is flashback of Team 7 going on a mission to retrieve a stolen treasure. Sakura is captured by the thieves, and Naruto and Sasuke end up stuck together due to one of the thieves’ web-like jutsu, and they have to find a way to defeat the thieves without the ability to perform seals with their hands. Not only was this a rather pathetic story for a filler episode, but the animation was terrible during the “flashback” portion; while the animation isn’t as bad was the Naruto and Pain fight, it still looks rather horrendous, especially because it doesn’t match the quality of the animation that appeared in the beginning that led into the flashback story. The characters looked so off-model in this that I nearly wanted to weep.

The next filler episode sees Shikamaru reminiscing about his team working with Team 7 to save a hostage that had been taken by bandits. Sadly, this was a rather forgettable filler episode, so I really don’t have much to say about it.

The final filler episode where Sasuke once saved a girl named Naho not knowing that she’s related to the Feudal Lord. When the Leaf Village is asked to provide bodyguards for her, Sakura and Naruto are assigned to the job because Sasuke has been sent on another mission with Kakashi. Naho throws a bratty temper tantrum and insists that she wants Sasuke. Naruto tries to disguise himself as Sasuke to appease her, and they end up fighting a group that’s wanting to kidnap Naho. Of the four filler stories, this one was probably the best, even if Naho was acting like a spoiled brat for most of the story.

And then the set finally returns to canon material. With Tsunade still in a coma after Pain’s invasion of the village, Danzo is appointed as acting Hokage. One of the first things he does is to issue an order to have Sasuke eliminated. In addition, he also tells Sai to keep a watch on Naruto; however, as a precaution, Danzo also assigns a couple of other Foundation members to keep watch on Naruto as well, just in case Sai doesn’t follow through.

Omoi, Karui, and their leader arrive at the Hidden Leaf and see the damage that the village has taken. Omoi and Karui overhear Naruto, Sakura, and Sai talking about Sasuke, and they demand answers. Naruto agrees to talk to them privately and share what he knows about the Akatsuki. When they’re alone, they only want to know about Sasuke, and Naruto refuses to sell him out. Instead, he offers to let them beat him up. Karui takes him up on the offer and punches him over and over until Sai intervenes.

The five kage are invited to a summit being hosted by the Land of Iron a neutral nation that’s protected by samurai rather than ninja. Naruto decides that he wants to plead his case to the Raikage to spare Sasuke’s life, and after some hesitation, he is given assistance by both Kakashi and Yamato. Unfortunately, when they encounter the Raikage as he heads to the summit, but he refuses to listen to Naruto.

Sasuke, meanwhile, has decided to assassinate Danzo. When he catches wind of the five kage summit and the fact that Danzo will be attending, Sasuke and his group sneak into the summit, with the help of one of Zetsu’s clones. Unfortunately, Zetsu’s clone sells them out and they come under attack by the samurai.

The actual summit itself is rather contentious, especially with the Raikage constantly thundering on and doing rash things like smashing tables. During the meeting, it’s decided to establish a Shinobi Alliance, and that Danzo should lead it. It’s discovered that Danzo is using a jutsu to try to control Mifune, the mediator. At this point, the other kage distrust Danzo. After the Raikage tries to fight Sasuke, as well as Gaara trying to intervene, Madara makes an appearance at the summit and explains why he wants all nine of the tailed beasts. When the kage refuse to hand over Killer Bee and Naruto to him, Madara declares that the Fourth Great Ninja War.

In addition to all of that, Sai ends up telling Sakura that Naruto is in love with her, at the same time that it’s been announced that Sasuke is a wanted criminal; this causes a lot of emotional stress for Sakura. Also, during an encounter with Madara, Naruto and the audience learn some history about the ninjas.

Once you make it past the four filler episodes, a lot takes place in the canon material to set the stage for next major plot point, which is the start of the Fourth Great Ninja War. I really enjoyed the Five Kage Summit, because it allowed the audience to finally lead all of the leaders of the five great nations. We also learn an interesting secret about Danzo during the summit.

Speaking of Danzo, I have to say that I didn’t like the guy before he became the acting Hokage. However, after seeing these episodes, I like him even less than I had before this point.

And the ninja history that Madara provides seems to be setting the stage where Sasuke and Naruto will be destined to battle with each other before the end of the series.

This DVD set ends at just the perfect place to make a viewer want to continue. The last things the viewer sees is Madara declaring war, and the four kage who are still at the summit declaring that they must form Shinobi Alliance in order to fight in the upcoming war. As a viewer, I’m now anxious to see how the news of the war will impact the various characters in the series.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, I want to first mention that I was glad to see that the menus have music and footage on them again. The silent menus of the past couple of box sets drove me nuts.

When it comes to the bonus features, there are five total. The first is “Storyboards,” which contains three pages from Episode 200 and three pages from Episode 203. The “Art Gallery” contains nine images, one for each for the tailed-beasts in the series.

“Clean Opening/Ending” includes three versions of each: a version without any text, a version with English subtitles, and a version with Romaji subtitles. I thought this was kind of a neat thing, because they hadn’t gone to this much effort on the clean opening and ending previously. The English credits are also available.

“More From Viz Media” is a menu to links of primarily Naruto and Bleach items that Viz was promoting at the time this DVD set was released, as well as a promo for the Neon Alley service. You can choose to either play all of the trailers or select which trailer you want to watch from the menu.

This box set is definitely worth it to Naruto fans that want to see how the actual storyline continues once you make it past the fillers that make up the first four episodes in the set. There’s quite a bit of action in the canon material, as well as important character development moments for characters such as Sakura and Sai. This set should really be in the anime collection of anyone who considers themselves a fan of the Naruto franchise.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Box Set 16 that I checked out through the King County Library System.