Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 145 (November 24, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for E-ROBOT, One Piece, World Trigger, Food Wars!, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Toriko, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, Hi-Fi Cluster, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. In addition, this issue also includes the fourth chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative.

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

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

E-ROBOT CH:001

This is the second series for Weekly Shonen Jump‘s second batch of titles for their “Jump Start” initiative.

Yuuki Rindo wants to declare his love to Hikari Shirahama, but he ends up not going through with it. Since Yuuki’s father works with robots, his friend suggests that Yuuki should havw his dad create a robot so he can practice his confession. As Yuuki is walking down the street, he sees a cat in danger in the road and tries to rescue it. Just as it looks like Yuuki is going to be hit, he is saved by a mysterious girl who stops the truck by using her breasts. Oh, and her butt ends up in Yuuki’s face during this. Later, he learns the girl is actually a robot known as Ai Roborovskil. Oh, and Ai was able to heal Yuuki’s injuries by producing a strong ointment in her mouth and licks it over him.

Yuuki gets a phone call from his father, and learns that Ai is a weapon that his father developed; she’s the “ultimate erotic weapon, E-ROBOT. Yuuki’s father says he needs to demonstrate with Ai can do to the stubborn academic community, and asks Yuuki to help him do that. Yuuki tries to run away, but Ai catches up to him. Yuuki tells Ai about his situation with Hikari, and Ai decides to try to help him with his love confession. On television, they see a news report that a bank has been taken over by robbers and that Hikari is a hostage inside the bank. At the scene, Ai does an erotic dance and Yuuki gives a commentary in order to get the robbers’ attention. When one of the robbers opens the shutter, Ai and Yuuki make it inside. Ai does another fanservice thing in order to distract the robbers so Yuuki can try to save Hikari. Ai then adjusts her breasts to the perfect angle for every bullet’s trajectory and deflecting them. But it turns out the robbers have a bomb rigged to explode in three minutes, and Ai asks Yuuki to grope her chest. After some hesitation, Yuuki does it and activates a firing switch. The switch causes her breasts to become projectiles.

Yuuki goes to confess his feelings to Hikari at the end of the chapter, but Ai appears at just the wrong moment. It didn’t help that the police told her everything that happened while she was unconscious, so now Hikari has the wrong idea. And right at the end, we see Ai is a new transfer student in Yuuki’s class.

OK, this is even worse than Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha. With this chapter, it feels more like it wants to focus on the fanservice than on an actual plot. I’d go so far as to say this manga is coming across as rather stupid. If I’m going to read a manga about a cute robot girl, I’d much rather read Chobits over E-ROBOT! I’m forced to read this one for two more weeks, but I hope that after its “Jump Start” run is through that we’ll never see it appear in Weekly Shonen Jump again.

One Piece CH:768

Well, it turns out I was wrong in my writeup last week. I thought for sure there would be one more week of Law’s flashback, but we return to current time in this chapter. By returning to current time, we return to the fight between Law and Doflamingo that was taking place before Law jumped into his flashback. But we don’t stay there very long, and we start getting brief glimpses of the other battlefronts that are spread across Dressrosa. Then, we return to see the next slight bit of Law’s battle right at the end of the chapter.

Phew! After reading through Law’s flashbacks for the past several weeks, I’d forgotten just how dizzying the manga has been in regards to the various battlefronts taking place in Dressrosa. I understand needing to re-establish what had been going on in the other battlefronts, but the way it was done felt rather dizzying to me as a reader. And I’m really hoping that this story arc comes to an end soon, because this has been the only story arc running for the roughly nine months that I’ve been reading Weekly Shonen Jump.

World Trigger CH:084

Karasawa tells Osamu’s mother that he needs to borrow Osamu for a little bit. She protests at first, but Karasawa tells her that he’s received permission from Osamu’s doctors. Osamu and Yuma are taken to a press conference. They watch from backstage as the higher-ups at Border tackle questions about the fact that were victims inside Border’s facilities. It’s pointed out that while this attack was about eight times that of the Neighbor attack four years ago, they only suffered 1/40th the casualties. The higher-ups continue to be grilled by the media over their handling of the attack. Osamu’s use of Trigger as a trainee earlier in the series is brought up during this press conference, which is asked by a reporter who was a plant by Mr. Netsuki in order to divert the press’ wrath from all of Border to just one agent. This is why Osamu was brought to the press conference. Right at the end of the chapter, Osamu emerges from backstage and begins talking to the reporters.

After reading this chapter, I’m glad that I’ve seen the first five episodes of the World Trigger anime, since this chapter makes references to events that took place during the episodes that I’ve seen up to this point. With that knowledge from seeing the anime, it made this chapter a much stronger and easier to understand read. I’m glad to see those early events brought back up again, because they tie in quite nicely with what’s being talked about at the press conference. And it’s awesome to see Osamu having the guts to go out there and try to defend himself in front of the reporters. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Osamu in the next chapter.

Food Wars! CH:096

Soma goes to see Nikumi to ask her to teach him about aging meat. It’s now nine days to the finals, and Soma tries the three varieties of aging that he’s been taught; this also includes some technical explanations of how to do them. While he waits for the fish to age, Soma decides he’ll go to the dockside market every day to improve his eye for picking fish. We then move ahead in time three days, and the first batch of the aged fish is tried. When Megumi and Soma try them, they declare that the fresh pike Kurokiba had prepared from them the other day tasted better than these. However, Soma does admit that their umami did improve significantly. But through a conversation with Miss Fumio, Soma gets an idea.

It’s now the day of the finals, and the other competitors notice that Soma isn’t at the dockside market. Right at the end of the chapter, the three contestants reveal their fish, and everyone is surprised by Soma’s fish.

This chapter sees Soma finally figuring out what he needs to do and setting the stage to get the actual finals going. For the most part, it wasn’t a terribly exciting chapter, but one that needed to be there so the events of the finals can take place. I think it’s safe to say that the finals will begin in the next chapter of Food Wars!, but at this point, who knows how this story arc will ultimately conclude. My guess is that Soma will win, but I’m not sure just how he’ll do it.

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:002

Ririka is told by her grandfather that he decided to arrange a marriage because she refuses to play table tennis and won’t take over the center after he retires and he wanted to make sure she was married off to someone with a passion for the game. Ririke says she’s so beautiful that every man wants her and she doesn’t want to be stuck with a boring guy like Ageha. But to herself, she thinks Ageha’s pretty amazing when he’s holding a racket. Ageha says this is the first time he’s heard of this, and he declares that he doesn’t have any intention of getting married until he stands atop the world of table tennis. Ririka’s grandfather says he won’t teach his techniques to Ageha unless he marries Ririka. They both insist that they’re not getting married.

Later, Ririka asks Ageha why he’s so devoted to table tennis. He says it’s because of his love for the game. A couple of guys are there who are table tennis hustlers who look to play people with money on the line. This is against the rules of the center, and Ageha tries to tell them to leave. These guys are also hitting on Ririka. When they refuse, Ageha asks to let him play against them; if they win, they can do whatever they want with Ririka, and if they lose, they must promise to never bet on table tennis again. He says they will be playing doubles, with him and Ririka as a novice. As they play, Ageha tells Ririka what she needs to do to hit the ball. As they play, Ririka finds that she can return the ball. At the end, Ririka gets so excited when she smashes a ball back that Ageha tells her that she enjoys table tennis. It turns out Ririka’s grandfather was behind the two guys coming in.

Ririka’s grandfather tells Ageha that first, he needs to reach the top of the high school table tennis world. It turns out all 13 Golden Successors will be at the tournament. and they are students of each of the 13 champions who shone in Japan’s golden age of table tennis.

Sigh. It looks like this series is still trying to rely so heavily on various shonen tropes, whether they’re regular shonen tropes or tropes used in sports manga. I’m predicting that as the series goes on, Ririka will be forced to play table tennis for one reason or another and somehow discover that she actually likes the game. While this chapter wasn’t as bad as the first chapter, the series is still feeling very derivative. However, I have to say that this series is actually better than E-ROBOT. Hopefully the third series for the “Jump Start” initiative will be stronger than either of the first two that were introduced in this wave.

Toriko CH:302

Toriko and the others arrive at the Birthcry Tree; it turns out it’s also known as the Stardust Tree. The stars they see in the sky are Acacia’s Soup, Food Treasure Pair. It’s also revealed that Pair is the symbol of Bambina’s reproductive organs. Toriko has mixed feelings about substituting Pair for Komatsu’s heart. It turns out that Pair is the hardest food to capture in Acacia’s full-course meal. They then move on to head toward the Zero Mountain Range. As they head along, they see wild Sundorikos. If they are even slightly disturbed, all aboard the Choo-Choo Chomper are in grave danger.

We are then presented with narration and a montage of their journey through the Zero Mountain Range, and there are only four days remaining before Komatsu’s time is up. Then, they arrive at 100 G Mountain, and discover that it’s a pretty dangerous place with its intense gravitational pull. Right at the end of the chapter, Toriko is approached by Bambina…

The vast majority of this chapter focuses on providing more exposition and establishing the locations that Toriko and the others go to. While the information being provided is needed, the exposition did drag the chapter down and bit and made it seem to be a bit borting. But I think it’s safe to say that with the way the chapter ended that there should be more in the way of action in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:606

This chapter continues with the battle between Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube briefly, and then the story shifts its focus to Kisuke and the Visored. The Visored are unhappy that Urahara sent Ichigo and the others ahead of them. We also get to meet Yoruichi’s sister, Yushiro Shihoin.

Then, we return to Yhwach and Ichibe’s battle. It appears that Ichibe’s getting the upper hand again, but the final panel seems to suggest otherwise…

Recently, I’ve been having a hard time having much commentary on the Bleach chapters. I think my favorite part of this chapter was learning that Yoruichi has a sister and getting to meet her. Outside of that, the other scenes are just so short that just as you’re starting to get into what’s going on, the scene changes. I wish I was more excited about reading these chapters of Bleach than I am, because I really enjoyed the series with its early chapters.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:148

In this chapter, Yui continues to go at the same pace she had been before she collapsed, and Raku is concerned about her. She insists that she’s fine and now she feels like she can do anything. We see that Yui’s bodyguard is watching her closely, and comments that Yui seems really different; she’s working harder than ever but doesn’t seem tired. When they get home that night, Yui and Raku find that the wall dividing their rooms is gone. Yui’s bodyguard says she did it in order to force them to get married. The bodyguard says she’s doing this in order to address the crisis of succession for the Char Siu syndicate, since Yui currently doesn’t have any family. They are informed that a marriage between them is not optional. The bodyguard finds ways to force Raku and Yui into various situations that include Raku being able to see Yui with little to no clothing on. Yui later finds her futon gone and a note telling her to sleep with Raku…

OK, I know this manga tries to present outrageous situations, but this chapter just felt over the top. It seemed like Komi was trying to find as many ways as possible to get Raku into awkward situations. From what I’ve read of the series, I’ve seen Raku end up in the occasional embarrassing and awkward situation, but this chapter piled them on one on top of the other. There were times I felt as if I was being “hit over the head” with it and found it be on the excessive side. And for the most part, I didn’t find the situations they were in to be humorous.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:011

It’s now been a week since the incident in Harajuku. Peta gives some narration as to what’s happened to everyone since then. Peta runs into Nano and they talk, and he tells her what he can about what he’s been doing. As they walk, he sees three guys from their school ganging up on someone. He tells Nano to head home without him, and Peta goes to help the guy being ganged up on. Unfortunately, Peta finds himself getting beat up by the three guys. We are introduced to Yokuto Asukawa, the guy that Peta tries to save. Peta’s phone rings, and it’s Kandera telling him about Hi-Fi’s being brokered. Peta has to leave, and we see Yokuto look sinisters and comment that it must be fate. It’s then revealed that Yokuto is actually Landscape Mole.

When I first saw Yokuto, I had a suspicion that he was really Landscape Mole; this was reinforced when Peta seemed to believe he’d seen him somewhere before for some unknown reason. So I wasn’t caught off guard when Yokuto’s true identity was revealed right at the end of the chapter. I have to admit that when the chapter first started, it almost felt like the author was setting the stage to wrap up the story; fortunately, with the introduction of “Yokuto,” it appears that the story will be continuing for a little while. While Landscape Mole had declared that he was starting a revolution, he hasn’t started it right away. Since the revolution is being built up, it looks like the series can potentially last for a while.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:48

Yuma appears to see his father, and learns his father’s soul is now in the Astral World. Yuma’s father begins going into an explanation as to why he’s in the Astral World. He tells Yuma that unless E’rah is defeated, they have no future. He also relays there is a way to seal her, and begins explaining the four powers that are in the Astral World: land, sea, air, and light. Four priests with these powers were sent to the human world, and those souls transcend the human life span and awaken in the hearts of those who fulfill a mission. And it just so happens that three of them are Kaito, Ryoga, and Yuma. It’s also revealed that it was Yuma’s father who sent Astral to Yuma. The four souls must be awakened and defeat E’rah in a duel. It also turns out that Yagumo has the fourth soul. Yagumo then suddenly decides he wants to go back to when he was innocent, and he sends his Numbers cards over to the others to use in order to save him. The battle against E’rah begins in earnest; unfortunately, it appears that E’rah has the upper hand. Right at the end of the chapter, it appears that Yuma and Astral are going to be destroyed…

The beginning of the chapter was very heavy on exposition, and then relied on coincidences in order to progress the story. I still say that E’rah is very overpowered. Right now, it looks like Yuma and the others are finished, but I’m predicting that somehow they’ll find a way to turn this around. This seems to happen a lot in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, which makes it feel a little predictable. However, what I’m unable to predict at this point is exactly how the situation will be reversed and will allow Yuma and the others have the upper hand.

Naruto CH:004

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

This chapter official introduces the reader to Kakashi Hatake, the leader of Team 7. Their first formal training is survival exercises; they must try to get two bells away from Kakashi before a timer sounds. Anyone who fails doesn’t get any lunch. The exercise is just getting going when the chapter ends.

This chapter not only introduces Kakashi to the mix, but it also gives the reader a little more insight into Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke. Admittedly, there’s not a lot of action in this chapter, but some of the dialogue is so amusing here that it’s easier to overlook the overall lack of action.

And according to the end of this chapter, Chapter Five is supposed to be appearing in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. OK, so how long is Weekly Shonen Jump planning to publish older chapters of Naruto? When Death Note was featured for the “Jump Back” initiative, only four chapters were published, so I had assumed it was going to be the same for Naruto. Apparently not, though. I’m wondering if the idea is to get up to the end of the survival exercise
story.

New Anime Releases: November 18, 2014

Here are the new anime releases for November 18, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

A Certain Magical Index Season 1 Complete [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]
Death Note Complete Series [DVD]
I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job [DVD]
I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job [Blu-ray]
Kiki’s Delivery Service [Blu-ray]
Night of the Tentacles [DVD] (18+)
One Piece Season Six, Voyage Two [DVD]
Princess Mononoke [Blu-ray]
Tari Tari Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
The Wind Rises [DVD]
The Wind Rises [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 144 (November 17, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Food Wars!, One Piece, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, Hi-Fi Cluster, Toriko, and World Trigger. In addition, this issue also includes the third chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative, as well as an interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Kosuke Yahagi.

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

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:001

This is the first series that’s part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s next batch of titles for their “Jump Start” initiative.

We briefly meet a ping pong player named Ageha Hanazono, who decides to return to Japan to learn from his former master in order to advance. We then meet Ririka Otsuka, a second-year high school student who lives at a table tennis center that’s owned by her grandfather. Ririka’s grandfather wants her to take over the table tennis center, but she has no interest. Ririka is a vain girl, and we see that she’s constantly being asked out by guys at school; however, she doesn’t think any of them are good enough for a gorgeous girl like her.

Ririka has a run-in with Ageha, and he’s not impressed with her, especially after hearing her call table tennis “lame.” It turns out that he’s a new student at Ririka’s school, and she decides to try to make her interested in her, even though she’s not interested in him. It doesn’t work, and she seems to make it her mission to make him fall for her over table tennis. When the former captain of the now disbanded table tennis team comes into the room, Ageha is told that no guy will let him play table tennis at school unless Ririka’s cool with him. Ageha challenges the guy, with Ririka adding the condition that if Ageha loses, he’ll never play tennis table at that school again.

It ends up being a best of three games match. Ageha wins the first match. Ririka’s grandfather shows up, and even the guy challenging Ageha recognizes him. Her grandfather reveals that Ageha is his student. Ageha wins the second match, and is delcared the winner at that point. Right at the end of the chapter, Ririka learns that not only is Ageha living at the table tennis center, he’s also her fiance.

Ok, where do I start with this? As I read this volume, a lot of what happened ended up being rather predictable. It was also full of tropes that have been overused in shonen manga. I nearly facepalmed at the end when I saw that Ririka and Ageha are engaged; my first thought was, “Oh, so we’re combining a typical shonen sports anime with Nisekoi: False Love.” With this first chapter, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha brings nothing new to the table. I found Ririka to be an annoying character, and I was also became more and more bored with this manga as I read through this chapter. The only reason I’ll read more at this point will be due to two more chapters of this series appearing in Weekly Shonen Jump.

In the end, I have to say that this series feels more derivative than Nisekoi: False Love; for me, that’s really saying something!

Food Wars! CH:095

This chapter sees Soma and Megumi in the empty dockside market, trying to come up with a strategy for in-season mackerel pike. We get to see a flashback of Soma and his father at this fish market, and Soma learning how to find a good sardine. After the flashback, Soma and Megumi realize they’ve already come to a dead end.

Meanwhile, Hayama is giving an interview, which includes him giving an explanation to the reporters as to how he’s able to detect the best pike by its scent. We also see Kurokiba being interviewed by reporters. Then it’s back to Soma, who’s brooding over how he can possibly compete with Hayama and Kurokiba. Right at the end of the chapter, he comes up with an answer and asks his friends for help…

So we go from a boring chapter of a table tennis anime to a chapter of a competitive cooking anime. Maybe it’s just my mood spilling over from the previous series chapter I just read, but I also found this one to be on the boring side. Soma’s part of the story is the most important, because it allows the reader to see that Soma isn’t as confident as he tries to portray himself to be. My favorite part of this chapter was Soma’s flashback.

One Piece CH:767

This chapter continues the flashback that we’ve been following for several chapters now. The Don Quixote Family arrives and goes to the hideout of the Barrels Pirates. Meanwhile, Law tries to talk with Corazon, but he can’t get anywhere before Doflamingo arrives. Corazon tries to hide Law from Doflamingo, while Doflamingo declares that he’ll have to raise Law so he knows to die for his sake. We then see Doflamingo kill Corazon…

With the way this chapter ends, it looks like there’s going to be at least one more chapter of flashback before we return to the main storyline. But, as I predicted last week, this chapter saw the end for Corazon. Now the main thing we have left to see is whether or not Law returns to Doflamingo or if he manages to actually get away. Even though this flashback’s been going for a while, I’ve really appreciated getting Law’s backstory. I do feel I understand him a bit better now.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:147

In this chapter, Yui’s bodyguard arrives in the classroom and sees Raku next to the collapsed Yui. The bodyguard asks Raku to help her get Yui home. After getting home, the bodyguard tells Raku that Yui usually collapses from being overworked about every three months. It’s revealed that Yui overworks herself because she doesn’t want to be alone again; when she was growing up, she was always alone because her parents were busy and they were also sickly. Raku is told that he’s the only person that Yui trusts. Yui awakens when the phone rings, and she starts panicking about all the things she needs to get done. Raku tells Yui that she needs to rest. Raku tells Yui he thinks of her as a sister and says he wants to help her when she’s got a heavy load to carry. The chapter ends with the Char Su group rushing to check on Yui.

OK, after reading this chapter I have to say that I’m starting to like Yui a little bit better than I had prior to reading this chapter. I can now understand why she insists on trying to help everyone. I still think she’s going to be manipulative when it comes to Raku, but at least I know why she acts that way. I honestly appreciated getting some more backstory for Yui in this chapter.

Bleach CH:605

This chapter opens with a brief discussion between Ukitake and Kyoraku. We then return to Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube as they prepare to battle. It appears that Ichibe is getting the upper hand (literally) with his Thousand Ri Heavenly Hand. But Yhwach does something surprising that takes away Ichibe’s advantage.

For the most part, this chapter is basically another one that focuses on a short piece of a battle before quickly halting to a stop. My favorite part was getting to see Ukitake and Kyoraku; too bad we couldn’t have seen more of them! Outside of that, I really don’t have much to say about this chapter.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:009-010

Chapter Nine sees Kandera and Ichiro Noto facing off against each other. Peta, meanwhile, tries to get an injured Miri out of the area. As Peta talks to Miri about the case, he learns that Ichiro is the killer responsible for the 6/11 massacre and that he was on the police force at the time; specifically, he had been Kandera’s right hand man. It’s also revealed that it’s this incident that caused Kandera to start Special Unit Six. Back at Kandera’s battle, it looks like Ichiro will win; but we see Ekusa and Heckt appear to provide backup. Miri also tells Peta to back to Kandera so he can be their eyes for them. When Peta returns, they discover a kid on a statue appears to be in charge of Ichiro; the kid calls himself Landscape Mole, the name of the person who created the ability labels.

In Chapter 10, Ekusa and Heckt try to take on Landscape Mole, but he’s able to easily deflect their attacks because he has several Hi-Fi labels attached to him. Landscape Mole reveals that he has been involved with the killing four years earlier, and that it was just a demonstration to show what labels can do. He also explains why he created the labels. But it turns out he’s disappointed in how his invention ended up being integrated into society and that if someone doesn’t have the will to use a label, it’s useless. He also declares that he wants to start a revolution to redo the ability society with Hi-Fi loaders at its helm. But after this, both Landscape Mole and Noto disappear.

So we appear to have met the creator of the ability labels, and these chapters also seem to be setting the stage for something major to happen sooner rather than later. While I liked getting the backstory for the labels, there was just something about how these chapters were done that almost make me wonder if this manga may be wrapping up sooner rather than later. This plot point feels more like something that should be showing up closer to the end of the series, not this early on in it. I mean, we finally got the world and characters established when we get a storyline like this thrown out here. The ante is being upped a lot in a rather short amount of time. I hope I’m wrong about Hi-Fi Cluster potentially wrapping up and that I’m reading too much into what was presented in these two chapters.

Toriko CH:301

A lot of this chapter focuses on the Monkey King, and he’s playing around. We also get an explanation for what he’s doing, which is called Skipping Mountains. We finally get to see Toriko and the others, where they receive an explanation for the events and mutations that took place to create the Sundoriko Flower. Right at the end of the chapter, they find the Birthcry Tree.

Ultimately, not much takes place during this chapter. I know we needed some establishment for the Monkey King, but I thought there was a little much here. Outside of that, it was basically characters talking to each other. Hopefully a little more will take place in the next chapter.

World Trigger CH:083

In this chapter, Osamu wakes up and has a discussion with his mother. His mother says that Chika didn’t cry for him, so they need to become closer as siblings. Osamu is surprised to learn that people have visited him in the hospital. We also learn that Osamu had been unconscious for more than a week. When Chika wakes up from her nap, Osamu asks if Yuma has visited. She says he hasn’t in a bit. Later, Osamu is visited by Usami, and she shares with him the distinguished service awards that were recently handed out. He learns that Yuma received the Special Distinguished Services Award, and that he has received the Outstanding Distinguished Services award. After this, Yuma arrives, and Yuma tells Osamu that Replica still has to be alive somewhere. Right at the end of the chapter, Osamu receives a visit from Karasawa, the Business Director for Border.

Most of this chapter focuses on wrapping up the storyline we’ve been following for the past several months, and this also included several pages of Usami’s report on the various awards that had been handed out. While it was nice to know this information, it just felt like it took a little longer than it needed to, and that this bogged the chapter down somewhat. From what we see at the end, I expect that the visit from Karasawa is probably going to be laying the foundation for whatever the next story arc will end up being.

Naruto: The Beginning

This is a six-page feature that is an interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Kosuke Yahagi, the founding editor of Naruto and the current editor in chief of Jump SQ. The interview comes from the December 2014 issue of Jump SQ. Topics in the interview include how Kishimoto and Yahagi met, Kishimoto’s initial one-shot for Naruto and what worked for that one-shot and didn’t work for the Karakuri one-shot, the next couple of works Kishimoto worked on, how Naruto
almost didn’t make it into Shonen Jump, that Chapter 2 of Naruto was originally going to be Chapter 4, and other memories they have of those early chapters of Naruto.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad for what it was. While some of the information I already knew, I also learned a little more from reading this interview.

Naruto CH:003

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

This chapter introduces Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, two of Naruto’s classmates who become his teammates in Team 7. Before they meet their squad leader, Kakashi, Naruto disguises himself as Sasuke to try to learn what Sakura thinks of him. After learning her feelings, he decides to use the disguise to try to make Sasuke look bad.

So this chapter starts expanding Naruto’s world, and we now get to see him interact with a couple of his peers. This starts the love triangle between Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke that ends up playing an important role in the series. And of course, this chapter includes the infamous kiss…

And according to the end of this chapter, Chapter Four is supposed to be appearing in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

VIZ Media Spotlights Exciting Manga Titles for Wish Lists This Holiday Season

VIZ Media has announced a compelling array of manga, special box sets, novels and other titles that will make ideal gifts to suit a wide range of budgets and interests to delight readers and fans of all ages this holiday season.

Notable selections, which will be available in plenty of time for the start of the 2014 holiday shopping season, include lavish new box set editions for manga series Black Bird, One Piece, and Vampire Knight as well as the hardcover storybook – Princess Mononoke: The First Story – an oversized, full-color edition of the original Princess Mononoke story, created by Hayao Miyazaki in 1980 while he was first conceptualizing the landmark animated film.

New and exemplary shojo manga series from VIZ Media’s Shojo Beat imprint that also will make thoughtful gifts include Kiss of the Rose Princess and YukarisnYurara And Rasetsu that launches December 2, 2014. Fans and readers of the gothic drama Vampire Knight will not want to miss a special limited edition of the series’ final volume, along with the release of Vampire Knight: Fleeting Dreams, a special collection of short stories based on Matsuri Hino’s critically acclaimed series.

Action fans can dive into the debut of the new Resident Evil series from the VIZ Signature imprint, as well as two exciting new Shonen Jump series, teen-friendly World Trigger and Takeshi Obata’s All You Need Is Kill, the stunning manga realization of the popular Japanese sci-fi novel written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka that also inspired the blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow film that starred Tom Cruise.

Sci-fi readers also are invited to take note of Asura Girl and Phantasm Japan, a pair of riveting new literary releases from the company’s Haikasoru imprint.

Holiday Manga Box Sets

ONE PIECE MANGA Box Set Vol. 2 · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $185.99 U.S. / CAN · Available Now

The latest One Piece manga box set features Volumes 24-46, which comprise the series’ third and fourth story arcs – Skypiea and Water Seven. The Box Set also features a full-color poster and special ONE PIECE mini-comic. As a child, ONE PIECE main character Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. The only drawback? He’ll never be able to swim again – a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the “One Piece,” said to be the greatest treasure in the world…

BLACK BIRD MANGA Box Set · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $149.99 U.S. / CAN · Available Now

The Black Bird Complete Box Set features the entire series run of 18 volumes. In the acclaimed series crated by Kanoko Sakurakouji, there is a world of myth and magic that intersects ours, and only a special few can see it. Misao Harada is one such person, and she wants nothing to do with magical realms. She just wants to have a normal high school life and maybe get a boyfriend. But she is the bride of demon prophecy, and her blood grants incredible powers, her flesh immortality. Now the demon realm is fighting over the right to her hand…or her life!

VAMPIRE KNIGHT Manga Box Set 2 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · MSRP: $89.99 U.S. / $99.99 CAN · Available November 4, 2014

This comprehensive manga box set features the second-half of the VAMPIRE KNIGHT manga series, Volumes 11-19, along with the hardcover 42-page art book. Set is contained in a gorgeously illustrated slipcase.

Notable Holiday Shojo Manga

YUKARISM · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN · Available December 2, 2014

In this new manga series by the creator of Yurara And Rasetsu, Yukari Kobayakawa, an accomplished author at the age of 17, writes with amazingly accurate details about historical Japan. As it turns out, he has the ability to slip into his past life in the Edo period – as a beautiful, renowned courtesan named Yumurasaki!

KISS OF THE ROSE PRINCESS · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN · Available Now

Anise Yamamoto has been told that if she ever removes the rose choker given to her by her father, a terrible punishment will befall her. Unfortunately she loses that choker when a bat-like being falls from the sky and hits her. Anise is granted four cards representing four knights whom she can summon with a kiss. But now that she has these gorgeous men at her beck and call, what exactly is her quest?!

VAMPIRE KNIGHT Vol. 19 (Series finale) Limited edition · Rated “T+” for Teens · MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN · Available Now

Savor the tense finale to Matsuri Hino’s acclaimed paranormal series in a limited edition featuring an exclusive alternate cover and a hardcover 42-page art book.

VAMPIRE KNIGHT: FLEETING DREAMS · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens · MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN / $10.99 Digital · Available December 2, 2014

Fans will not want to miss this special collection of short stories by Ayuna Fujisaki based on VAMPIRE KNIGHT, with illustrations by Matsuri Hino! Stories include “Deranged Love,” in which a dying Rido reflects on his obsessive love for Juri. Kaname seeks to reward Yuki for doing well on her studies with tutor Aido in “Gifts for Yuki.” The story of Sara’s first love is revealed in “Hidden Love.” In “Queen of the Abyss,” after Zero parts ways with Yuki and returns to being a vampire hunter, he encounters a vampire named Shien.

Notable Shonen Action Manga

ALL YOU NEED IS KILL · Rated “T+” for Older Teens · MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN · Available Now

Takeshi Obata’s All You Need Is Kill originally premiered in VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump digital manga anthology earlier this year and is the stunning manga realization of the popular Japanese sci-fi novel, written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. In this rousing action story, when the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armor called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally – the female soldier known as the Full Metal Bitch. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?

World Trigger · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN · Available Now

“Destroy thy Neighbor” in Daisuke Ashihara’s thrilling sci-fi action manga series, World Trigger! Earth is under constant threat from Neighbors, invincible monsters from another dimension that destroy humanity’s way of life. At least there are the elite agents of Border, warriors who co-opt alien technology to fight back. Our hero Osamu Mikumo may not be the best agent, but along with his Neighbor friend Yuma, he’ll do whatever it takes to defend life on Earth as we know it.

Notable Viz Signature Manga

RESIDENT EVIL · Rated “M” for Mature Readers · MSRP: $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN · Available Now

Discover the sinister beginnings of the Resident Evil story in the first-ever manga series based on the smash hit game property. The highly virulent C-virus became a global disaster, but where did the outbreak start? In the series’ opening volume, at the prestigious and elite Marhawa Academy in Singapore, a female student suffers a horrifying transformation. Called in to investigate, Professor Doug Wright and his nephew Ricky find themselves caught up in a deadly and growing tragedy. As things get rapidly out of hand, Chris Redfield and his team from the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance arrive on the scene, while behind it all a mysterious figure looms.

For Studio Ghibli Fans

PRINCESS MONONOKE: THE FIRST STORY · MSRP: $34.99 U.S. / $39.99 CAN · Available Now

This is the original Princess Mononoke story, created by Hayao Miyazaki in 1980 while he was first conceptualizing the landmark animated film that would be released to universal acclaim seventeen years later. As an initial version of the tale, it offers a new and significantly different perspective from the final version presented in the film. After a long, exhausting war, a samurai lost in a forest encounters a giant wildcat – a mononoke. The beast saves his life, but at the price of his daughter’s hand in marriage…

Haikasoru Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Thrillers

ASURA GIRL · MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN · Available Now

This tense urban drama about the violent and sexually charged life of a Japanese teenage girl in Tokyo is offered in English for the very first time. Seventeen-year-old Aiko lives a life of casual sex and casual violence, though at heart she remains a schoolgirl with an unrequited crush on her old classmate Yoji Kaneda. Life is about to get harder for Aiko, as a recent fling, Sano, has been kidnapped, and the serial killer Round-and-Round Devil has begun slaughtering children. The youth are rioting in the streets, egged on by the underground Internet bulletin board known as the Voice from Heaven. Expecting that Yoji will come and save her from the madness, Aiko posts a demand for her own murder on Voice of Heaven but will she be left waiting…or worse?

PHANTASM JAPAN · MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $16.99 CAN · Available Now

The secret history of the most famous secret agent in the world. A bunny costume that reveals the truth in our souls. The unsettling notion that Japan itself may be a dream. The tastiest meal you’ll never have, a fedora-wearing neckbeard’s deadly date with a yokai, and the worst work shift anyone—human or not—has ever lived through. Welcome to Phantasm Japan, Haikasoru’s latest anthology of fantasy stories from around the world, including new tales by New York Times best-seller Zachary Mason, horror master Gary A. Braunbeck, popular Japanese author Miyuki Miyabe, and much more.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 143 (November 10, 2014)

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

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

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

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

Naruto CH:699

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

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

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:027

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

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

One Piece CH:766

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

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

Toriko CH:300

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

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

Food Wars! CH:094

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

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

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:008

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

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

Blue Exorcist CH:062

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

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

World Trigger CH:082

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

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

Nisekoi: False Love CH:146

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

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

Bleach CH:604

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

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

Naruto CH:002

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

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

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

Naruto CH:700

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

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

New Manga Releases: November 4, 2014

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

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

Anime DVD Review: One Piece Season Three Fifth Voyage

One Piece Season Three Fifth Voyage is a two-disc set that contains episodes 196-205 of the One Piece anime series. The first disc has five episodes and a commentary on Episode 196, while the second disc includes five episodes and the set’s bonus features. You can watch the episodes with either the English dub or the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. It should also be noted that in addition to watching episodes or using the “Play All” option, there is also a marathon feature, which allows you to watch all the episodes on a disc back-to-back without interruption. In the marathon feature, the opening credits only plays once, there are no next episode previews, and the ending credits are not included.

Right at the end of the previous set, Luffy and the Straw Hats fell right into the middle of the Marines’ stronghold of Navarone. When they realize where they’ve landed, Luffy and the others scatter themselves throughout the stronghold in an attempt to avoid being discovered

The episodes in this set see the various members of the crew end up in various situations, many of which include needing to have a disguise. Sanji and Luffy disguise themselves as chefs, Nami disguises as a nurse, Chopper disguises as a doctor, and Robin and Usopp disguise themselves as the same visiting inspector. Usopp is jailed, and finds himself in the same cell as Zoro, who didn’t bother to even try to put on a disguise. Luffy inadvertently reveals himself to the leader of Navarone, and the Marines hunt him and Sanji down as they try to make it to the brig to rescue Usopp and Zoro.

During this section, one of my favorite parts had to be when Chopper and Nami end up helping out a doctor who’s nervous about treating the Marines’ injuries since she’s a pediatrician and doesn’t like surgery or the sight of blood. With Chopper having medical training, he was an incredible help to this doctor. Later, after the doctor discovers they’re actually pirates, she’s still grateful to them for their help and decides to help them reunite with their friends at the Going Merry.

But after they manage to escape from Navarone, Nami discovers that the Marines took the gold they got in Skypiea. As you’d expect, Nami freaks out about it being gone and insists that they return to Navarone to retrieve it. It actually ended up being rather comical how the Going Merry manages to make it back into the stronghold without being detected by the Marines who were pursuing them as they escaped.

Unfortunately, this story arc does not conclude at the end of this set. From what I’ve seen, it appears there’s only one episode remaining in this arc; this is a little frustrating, especially since this was only a 10 episode set. It makes me wonder why they couldn’t have acquired that final episode of the arc and placed it on this set. I seem to recall that there had been a bit of a gap between this DVD set and the next one, so maybe this was as far as the Japanese licensors had licensed to FUNimation at the time this set was released? If that’s the case, then I’m more forgiving about this situation.

But I have to say that this story arc was relatively short, especially when compared to how long the Skypiea arc ran. And after making it through such a long arc, this shorter one is a nice change of pace. The humor in this arc has really helped to lighten the mood, and it’s a nice break before potentially launching into another longer story arc.

As for the DVD set itself, there are two selections for bonus features on the second disc: “Textless Songs” and “Trailers.” The “Textless Songs” feature includes “BON VOYAGE” (the opening song that appears in this set) and “Dreamship” (the ending song that appears on the set). There are also trailers for other properties that FUNimation was promoting at the time this DVD set was released.

If you’re a One Piece fan and are trying to collect the episodes on DVD, you can purchase this set for episodes 196-205. More recent DVD collections are packaging 24-25 episodes per set, and those releases would also be worth considering if you want to add One Piece to your home video library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of One Piece Season Three Fifth Voyage that I checked out through the King County Library System.