Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 148 (December 15, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Food Wars!, One Piece, Toriko, Hi-Fi Cluster, Nisekoi: False Love, World Trigger, Bleach, and Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment. In addition, this issue also includes the seventh 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.

Food Wars! CH:099

Right at the beginning of this chapter, we see that Kurokiba is the first one to finish cooking his pike. He presents his dish to the judges’ table, and they have to unwrap the heat-resistant film that he had put onto his dish. When the judges unwrap them, they’re impressed by the odor. It turns out his dish is Fall Pike Cartoccio. As the judges try his dish, Kurokiba explains what he did to his dish. We get the judges’ reaction, and then Hayama is ready to present his dish. Hayama’s entry is Carpaccio, and he is about to present it to the judges when the chapter ends.

The competition is now truly underway, with one of the contestants presenting his completed creation to the judges. But I have to say that the judges’ reactions to the entry do come across as a bit “over the top.” Alice’s mother also received a rather prominent role in this chapter in her role as judge; in fact, she has a panel where she goes on and on and on about Kurokiba’s dish. I really wanted her to shut up so I could move on to the next panel. Also, this chapter also has a strong focus on explanations; while it was nice to receive the explanations since I don’t know anything about the dishes being made, it felt like these explanations dragged down the chapter.

One Piece CH:770

Bellamy insists on fighting with Luffy even though Luffy doesn’t want to. The story suddenly shifts to the Pica Statue, where Zoro is battling Pica. But before Zoro can do much, Pica takes over a nearby plateau so only his face shows from it. But Zoro is undeterred. Unfortunately, before Zoro can reach Pica, he has to encounter other enemies first. Right at the end of the chapter, Zoro receives some unexpected help.

You know, with how much focus has been placed on Law and his flashback story recently, I’d almost all but forgotten that there were still other battles taking place in Dressrosa! Fortunately, this chapter only focused on one of the battles instead of all of the jumping around we’d been seeing prior to settling into Law’s backstory. And it looks like Zoro’s battle is starting to see a little more progress. It’ll be interesting to see if the next chapter continues this particular battle or moves on to one of the other battles that are still raging in Dressrosa.

Toriko CH:305

This chapter opens with an explanation of Gourmet Cells and why they need to unify the wills of all their cells before learning Monkey Martial Arts. After this, Kaka begins training Toriko and the others in Monkey Martial Arts, which requires them to juggle a B.B. Pill Bug. But it’s not as easy as it seems, and Kaka explains that they have to learn to accurately copy with the movements of the B.B. Pill Bug. Zebra doesn’t want to participate in the training, but we see the others trying. Kaka expects it will take them two days to get the basics of Monkey Martial Arts down, and they only have three days before Komatsu’s limit is up.

This chapter spent a lot of its time on explanations, and not much time on any real action. I understand that the explanations are necessary, but after already having to read through the explanations in Food Wars! at the beginning of this week’s Weekly Shonen Jump, it felt like the story here was being bogged down. But right near the end, it’s made clear that time is quickly running out to save Komatsu, so the stakes are going up in here. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see an end to having to save Komatsu somewhere within the next few chapters. It definitely feels as if events are leading up to this story wrapping up soon.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:014

This chapter keeps going with the chase that started at the end of Chapter 12. The getaway car screeches to a halt, and Kandera discovers that the brakes in their behicle appear to not be working. Kandera grabs Mirai, and he, Heckt, and Ekusa all jump out of the vehicle. Kandera and his group are face-to-face with the getaway driver and the girl with the Hi-Fi Ability. Landscape Mole appears and takes custody of the girl away from Shanon, the getaway driver. Landscape Mole uses his ability to send Shanon flying, and Kandera goes to save Shanon. But after being rescued, Shanon is arrested. Near the end of the chapter, Kandera and the others see a news report that suggests that Landscape Mole is intending to attack the parliament building. When Kandera and the others realize they need to head there but their car is totaled, Shanon offers to give them a ride. Shanon makes a deal with Kandera, and everyone heads toward the taxi as the chapter ends…

So it turns out I was wrong about who I thought the getaway driver was. I should’ve figured that Landscape Mole would have been too easy of a guess. But the stakes are definitely being upped again quite a bit, so I’m still wondering if perhaps Hi-Fi Cluster could be in danger of an early cancellation. It would definitely explain why we’ve seen the story make some major progress in recent weeks instead of being stretched out. If we’re already headed for Landscape Mole’s “revolution,” what else can be done with the story after this is resolved? While I’ve personally been enjoying Hi-Fi Cluster, I’m seeing the signs that it might not be around for much longer.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:151

This chapter sees Raku and Onodera both running late for the class trip and having to take a separate bullet train to catch up with the rest of the class in Kyoto. As expected, Raku is happy with this turn of events. As they talk, Onodera suggests ditching their groups since they don’t plan to hit the same sights in Kyoto. But when Raku reacts to the suggestion, Onodera says she was joking. When the train reaches Nagoya, an announcement comes over the intercom saying that due to high winds, the bullet train will be delayed until further notice. They decide to switch to the regular train line in order to keep on going. But their ride on the regular train is stopped because of a bear on the tracks ahead. They then decide to take a bus, but the bus ends up having engine trouble. Then they try taking a taxi, but the elderly man driving it ends up in a ditch. They then resort to trying to hitch a ride. But the guy who gives them a ride also has engine trouble. They eventually make it to Kyoto, but it’s obvious they’ve been through the wringer. When Raku goes to meet up with his group, he learns that their room got flooded. Raku ends up being separated from his group and put into a room by himself that’s not in the main building. Right at the end of the chapter, we see that Chitoge has tapped on Raku’s window.

OK, the first time or two that something caused their mode of transportation to be stalled was a little amusing; but after that, it started getting obnoxious. I know that Komi is trying to have Raku and Onodera spend time together to try to build up this relationship, but the sheer amount of obstacles ended up being excessive. Also, after going through all of that, Raku still continues to have bad luck with his room.

But the further I’m getting into Nisekoi: False Love, it really appears to me that Komi is ultimately intending Raku and Onodera to end up together. The main questions are, how is he going to accomplish this, and how long will it take for this relationship to actually happen?

World Trigger CH:087

Jin finds Karasawa watching the Rank Wars, and they have a conversation about Osamu. We then see Osamu, Chika, and Yuma talking with Konami and some other people about the other squads they could be facing during the Rank Wars. When they ask for information, they’re told that data on past Rank Wars can be found in the Strategy Room. We then see both the Suwa Squad and the Arafune Squad going over the data they have on Osamu’s group. This is followed by Osamu and his group sharing their analysis from the data they have on their next opponent.

This chapter is basically providing some setup before starting the next match in the Rank Wars. Unfortunately, this means that this is an exposition chapter rather than having any real action going on. This is at least the third chapter in this edition of Weekly Shonen Jump that’s simply an exposition chapter. At least this one is spread out more from the other two, so that helps a little.

Bleach CH:609

Ichibe says that Yhwach has lost his name, and that he will give Yhwach a new one. The new name he gives him is Kuroari. Ichibe tells “Kuroari” that his power is like that of a black ant, and that Ichibe will crush him like an ant. But “Kuroari” somehow manages to survive. It turns out that Yhwach had the power to see all that is about to take place. and the power he sees cannot be used to kill him.

Oh, come on now. These characters have become so overpowered that it’s become ridiculous. Not only that, it makes it more painfully obvious that Kubo is trying to kill time in order to make this final arc of the story last longer. While there had been some of this done in earlier Bleach storylines and chapters, I think this is some of the worst use of overpowered characters that I’ve personally seen. The only upside is that these more recent chapters of Bleach have been very quick reads.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:003

This chapter begins a storyline about a photo voyeurism incident. As expected, Pine and Abaku are brought in to resolve the case. We see that Tento is helping Abaku with his work, and he asks Abaku why he’s staying at this school instead of moving on, since that’s what he normally does. Abaku says it’s so he can kill a certain student. Pine also declares that she won’t leave this school until she defeats Abaku.

We discover that the person Abaku is defending is Uozumi, one of his classmates. The victim in the photo voyeurism case is also one of their classmates. Abaku decides to do a crime scene inspection, and he finds it impossible for a camera to somehow be hidden in the victim’s shoe locker. We also meet Airi (the victim’s) best friend, Kuniko. There’s an exchange between Kuniko and Uozumi, and Abaku seems to pick up on something during their conversation.

But when Tento goes to Abaku’s “office” to get the keys he left behind, he finds clippings of articles about the Bloody Classroom Massacre, where an entire first grade class was massacred five years earlier; this was the case that was the impetus for the creation of the School Judgment System. Tento recalls what Abaku said earlier about killing a student…

So this chapter sets the scene for the next classroom arbitration session, which is set to start during the next chapter. But this chapter also starts to provide some development for Abaku as well. He seems to have some kind of a connection with the Bloody Classroom Massacre, and this seems to be the driving force for why he’s part of the School Judgment System. It was stated in an earlier chapter that Abaku didn’t become a prosecutor through the usual way, so I expect that this is somehow also tied in with the Bloody Classroom Massacre. Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment continues to be an interesting read, and it was definitely the best of the three titles in this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative.

It was announced at the end of this issue that Gakkyu Hotei: School JudgmentWeekly Shonen Jump.

Naruto CH:007

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

This chapter continues Team 7’s survival exercise. This time, we see Sasuke trying to go against Kakashi; while he’s doing a lot better than Naruto did, but he still isn’t able to best Kakashi. The timer goes off, signaling the end of the exercise. Naruto is tied to a stump, while Sasuke and Sakura sit on the ground next to him. Right at the end of the chapter, Kakashi states that none of them will ever be shinobi.

This chapter truly allows the reader to see Sasuke in action, and it backs up what he’s said about his talent up to this point. Naruto ends up acting like the knuckleheaded ninja that he’s known to be at this point, and Sakura’s more concerned about Sasuke than anything else. It’s a real shocker to not just the characters, but to the reader as well, when Kakashi declares that his students will never become shinobi.

According to the end, it says that Chapter Eight will appear for the “Jump Back” initiative in next week’s issue. I’m thinking that I’ve been right in guessing that Naruto will continue to run in this initiative until we reach the end of this particular story arc. This arc should be ending soon, so it shouldn’t be part of this initiative for too much longer.

Anime DVD Review: One Piece Season Four Voyage One

One Piece Season Four Voyage One is a two-disc set that contains episodes 206-217 of the One Piece anime series. The first disc has six episodes and a commentary on Episode 211, while the second disc includes six episodes, commentary on Episode 215, 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.

There are also a couple of interesting things to note on this release. Starting with Episode 207, the episodes in the set are in a widescreen format, because this was the first episode of the series to be formatted in 16:9 widescreen.

The first episode in this set sees Luffy and the Straw Hats making their escape from the marine fortress after Johnathan believes he has them in “checkmate.” But after they escape, Jonathan gives them praise because their arrival helped to boost the morale of his men.

A new story arc begins with Episode 207, when they reach Long Ring Long Land and find that it’s inhabited by elongated of versions of regular animals. Here, they meet a man named Tonjit and his horse, Shelly. But the fun times they have on the island are short lived due to the arrival of the Foxy Pirates. Foxy, the captain of the pirates, challenges Luffy to a Davy Back Fight; this is a contest of pirates where the stakes are the members of the crew. As you’d expect, Luffy is stupid enough to not only accept the challenge, he also agrees to do the maximum amount of contests.

Over the next six episodes, the Straw Hats and the Foxy Pirates compete in some rather ridiculous contests which Foxy tries to rig with his Devil Fruit powers or by having his men as referees that overlook the Foxy Pirates’ blatant cheating. The Straw Hats manage to overcome the cheating and win two of the contests, and it looks like everything will be fine. But when Foxy challenges Luffy to another three contests, Luffy stupidly accepts. The final three episodes in the set begin the second set of three challenges; the first two are completed in this set, but the third one is just getting started at the end of the set.

The Davy Back Fight arc includes the humor and “over the top” feel that viewers have come to associate with the One Piece franchise. The best moment in this arc during this set is seeing Luffy putting on an afro wig for his boxing match against Foxy. It’s a visual that’s going to stick with me for an incredibly long time because it’s going to be so memorable.

As a viewer, though, I was getting a little frustrated after a while with all the cheating that Foxy and his crew were doing. Obviously they would need to do this in order to create tension and to have a conflict in the storyline, but it was still frustrating nonetheless. But how things look at this point, even if Luffy wins this final contest, he can only win back one of his crew members and would have to choose between Chopper and Robin. There’s got to be a way for Luffy to find some kind of loophole in the Davy Back Fight in order to avoid this, but I have no idea what it would be. And I can’t forget to mention that I, like Nami and the other members of Luffy’s crew, wanted to throttle him for accepting the Davy Back Fight not just once, but twice.

And I felt so bad for Chopper, because he was taken by the Foxy Pirates not once, but twice, during this arc. Whenever I saw him crying because he was taken away from the Straw Hats, I wanted to reach through my television screen and give him a hug.

As for the DVD set itself, there are six bonus features on the second disc in addition to the episode commentary. There are textless versions for both opening songs that appear in this set (“BON VOYAGE” and “Kokoro no Chizu”), as well as textless versions for both ending songs in this set (“Dreamship” and “Eternal Pose”). There’s also a “U.S. Trailer,” which is a trailer that was made to promote One Piece Season Four Voyage One, as well as 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 206-217. 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 Four Voyage One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Crunchyroll Adds One Piece and Toriko Crossover Episodes

Crunchyroll has added two One Piece and Toriko crossover episodes to their site. Both episodes are currently available for premium users, and will become available for free users on December 16, 2014.

As of this writing, the crossover episode featuring One Piece, Toriko, and Dragon Ball Z is still unavailable on Crunchyroll.

Source: ANN

VIZ Media Makes Holiday Shopping for Your Favorite Anime and Manga Fan Easy With New Comprehensive Gift Guide

VIZ Media presents a specially curated selection of anime releases and manga titles to suit a wide array of tastes this holiday season. Fans can review the entire list of suggested titles at: www.viz.com/holiday.

In addition, members of the VIZ Media team created a video spotlighting a few of their top holiday picks at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFXHPWcySwo.

Fans can highlight wish lists with a variety of anime releases, including Limited Edition Box Sets available on DVD and Blu-ray, such as:

SAILOR MOON Season 1 Part 1 Limited Edition DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack Box Set

(PRE-ORDER) SAILOR MOON Season 1 Part 2 DVD & Blu-ray Combo Pack Box Set – Releases in February 2015

RANMA 1/2 Sets 1-4 – Limited Edition Blu-ray and/or DVD and/or Blu-ray Limited Edition Box Sets

BLOOD LAD: THE COMPLETE SERIES – DVD and/or Blu-ray Box Sets

GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET COMPLETE SERIES – DVD and/or Blu-ray Box Sets

NARUTO THE MOVIE: ROAD TO NINJA – DVD and/or Blu-ray Set

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN THE MOVIE: BLOOD PRISON – DVD and/or Blu-ray Set

NARUTO TRIPLE FEATURE DVD Release – Features NINJA CLASH IN THE LAND OF SNOW, LEGEND OF THE STONE OF GELEL, and GUARDIANS OF THE CRESCENT MOON KINGDOM

BLEACH DOUBLE FEATURE DVD Release – Features BLEACH THE MOVIE: MEMORIES OF NOBODY and BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: THE DIAMONDDUST REBELLION

Manga fans have a wide variety of titles and series box sets that add plenty of excitement to the holiday reading season, including:

Pokémon Adventures Ruby & Sapphire MANGA Box Set

Pokémon Adventures Diamond & Pearl/Platinum MANGA Box Set

Pokémon Black & White MANGA Box Set 2

THE LEGEND OF Zelda Box Set

Voltron From Days of Long Ago: A 30th Anniversary Celebration

Hello Kitty, Hello 40

The Art of Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke: The First Story

Bakuman。 MANGA Box Set

Black Bird MANGA Box Set

Death Note MANGA Box Set

Ouran High School Host Club MANGA Box Set

Vampire Knight MANGA Box Set 2

One Piece MANGA Box Set 2

Fullmetal Alchemist MANGA Box Set

Readers that prefer to enjoy their manga digitally are invited to take advantage of special bundles and holiday pricing on entire story arcs of several popular series. VIZ Media’s digital story arc promotion is available on VIZManga.com, until January 1, 2015.

ONE PIECE, East Blue Saga Vols. 1-11
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $44.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

NARUTO, The Test of a Ninja Vols. 1-16
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $64.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

BLEACH, Reaper’s Road Vols. 1-21
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $84.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

SHAMAN KING, Spirit Voyage Vols. 1-15
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $60.00 for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

ZOMBIE POWDER, Vols. 1-4
Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens
Cost: $8.00 for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

THE EARL AND THE FAIRY, The Journey to the Fairy Kingdom Vols. 1-4
Rated ‘T’ for Teens
Cost: $8.00 for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

DEATH NOTE © 2003 by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

VIZ Media Opens December and the Holiday Season With a New Digital Manga Update and Launches Special Sale Promotions

VIZ Media announces extensive digital manga updates along with a trio of new title debuts for the first-half of December. Holiday season announcements include the launch of a special digital manga sale running through the entire month, as well as a digital bundle sale that features special pricing on several popular series. In addition, a new mystery series debuts in Weekly Shonen Jump as part of the Jump Start initiative – Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment – featuring crazy courtroom battles and amazing art by Takeshi Obata!

Readers can highlight their manga reading with the digital launch of Assassination Classroom, a humorous and action-packed story about a class of misfits who are trying to kill their new teacher – an alien octopus with bizarre powers and super strength! The teacher has just destroyed the moon and is threatening to destroy the earth – unless his students can destroy him first. What makes things more complicated is that he’s the best teacher they’ve ever had!

VIZ Media’s Cyber Monday Sale opened on December 1, 2014 and runs through December 30, 2014 on VIZManga.com and the VIZ Manga App. The sale offers introductory pricing of only $1.99 (U.S. / CAN) on Volumes 1-2 of the following series. Subsequent series volumes will be $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each.

FOOD WARS, Volumes 1-2 ($1.99 each); Volumes 3-4 ($4.99 each)

JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE PART 3, Volumes 1-2 ($1.99 each); Volumes 3-15 ($4.99 each)

YUYU HAKUSHO, Volumes 1-2 ($1.99 each); Volumes 3-19 ($4.99 each)

Fans also shouldn’t miss the opportunity to stock up on entire story arcs of several additional popular titles with a special Digital Bundle Sale available on VIZManga.com as well as ComiXology (check the app for specific pricing).

ONE PIECE, East Blue Volumes 1-11; Price: $44.00 (U.S. / CAN) for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

NARUTO, (The Test of a Ninja) Volumes 1-16; Price: $64.00 (U.S. / CAN) for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

BLEACH, (The Reaper’s Road) Volumes 1-21; Price: $64.00 (U.S. / CAN) for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

SHAMAN KING (Spirit Voyage), Vols. 1-15; Price: $60.00 (U.S. / CAN) for the entire bundle at $3.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

ZOMBIE POWDER, Volumes 1-4; Price: $8.00 (U.S. / CAN) for the entire bundle at $1.99 per volume, usually $6.99 each

Additional December updates include new releases of 14 other VIZ titles, including the riveting series finale of Millennium Snow (Volume 4) as well as the latest volumes of other popular series such as Deadman Wonderland (Volume 6), Seraph of the End (Volume 3), Happy Marriage?! (Volume 9), Magi (Volume 9), Naruto (Volume 68), Toriko (Volume 25) and many more!

The Jump StartWeekly Shonen Jump, publishing the chapter in Weekly Shonen Jump on the same day of that issue’s general print release in Japan. Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, written by Nobuaki Enoki with art by Takeshi Obata, asks the question, “Who has time for class when there are cases that needs solving?!”

Readers can enjoy all of these new manga titles that are available on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA App for the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones and 7” tablets. The titles may also be purchased through the NOOK, Kindle, Kobo, ComiXology, iBooks and Google Play stores. These dynamic digital platforms offer fans the opportunity to explore and enjoy a massive catalog of new and classic manga titles that span more than 2,400 volumes across over 210 different series.

ANSATSU KYOSHITSU © 2012 by Yusei Matsui/SHUEISHA Inc.

GAKKYU HOTEI © 2014 by Nobuaki Enoki, Takeshi Obata/SHUEISHA Inc.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 146 (December 1, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Food Wars!, Bleach, E-ROBOT, One Piece, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Toriko, Hi-Fi Cluster, World Trigger, and Nisekoi: False Love. In addition, this issue also includes the fifth 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.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:001

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment is the third title that’s being included as part of the second wave of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative.

Japanese education is going through an Era of Educational Collapse, and the government introduces a new system into grade schools across the country: the School Judgment System. It is of the children, and for the children, and features classroom arbitration.

In Chapter One, we see two new transfer students at Himawari City Tenbin Elementary School: Pine Hanzuki and Abaku Inugami. The teacher lectures Abaku for having a videogame in class, and he starts questioning her about it, much in the way a lawyer questions in a court of law. He uses argument to refute her theories and ultimately defeat her.

Later, we hear students talking about the Suzuki murder and dismemberment case. Abaku approaches a student named Tento Nanhoshi and declares that he’s been appointed to defend Tento at the upcoming class session. We also learn that Pine is a prosecutor and that she has an interest in magical girls. It’s then explained that when an incident occurs in a classroom, two transfer students are immediately dispatched: a prosecutor and a defense attorney. After gathering evidence and testimony, they face off in a Classroom Arbitration Session. Even though it’s a grade school version of a trial, the verdicts do have legal binding force; the only sentence that’s off the table is capital punishment.

Abaku interviews Tento about the case, and it turns out the class had been raising a fish in order to eat it at the end. This caused the class to break into two factions: Eat and Don’t Eat. A vote was held, and the Don’t Eat faction won. But three mornings later, Suzuki was found dead in the aquarium and torn into pieces. Tento is suspected because he was the last to see Suzuki and a fish scale was found on his scissors. We learn that Tento voted with the Eat faction, so he could be seen as having a motive. As the days go on, Abaku seems to start piecing together what’s been going on. He presents Tento with a witness summons form, and Abaku delcares that this witness will be their trump card. We also see that Pine has been investigating Abaku, and she has questions about how he became an attorney.

The day of the Class Arbitration Session arrives, and we see Pine set everything up so it appears that Tento is guilty. However, just as we’re about to see who Abaku has called, we’re told that we’ve run out of time for this week, and are given a couple of clues as to who the witness could be.

Well, I have to say that this has an interesting concept behind it. It’s basically a mystery manga, except we’re seeing the mystery from the judicial angle instead of the investigative angle like what Case Closed does. I also thought the idea of making the “trump card” witness a cliffhanger was a smart idea. If this series is done in this kind of format, it will definitely make me interested in coming back week after week. I’m a Case Closed fan, and I also enjoy mysteries, so Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment shows a lot of promise to me. Of the three titles in this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment is showing the most promise.

Food Wars! CH:097

This chapter introduces the audience to the judges for the competition, and it turns out one of them is Alice’s mother. Alice’s mom makes it clear to Soma that she’s not happy with him beating Alice earlier, and if she thinks his cooking doesn’t taste good, she might get mad. The chapter ends just as the competition is officially started,

This chapter was basically bunch of buildup to the start of the cooking competition in order to lay the foundation for what’s to come. The other point of this chapter is to introduce and establish Alice’s mother in order to add another layer to Soma’s stakes in the competition. I admit to being a little disappointed, because I’d really been given the impression at the end of the previous chapter that the competition would begin. Oh, well. At least it’s guaranteed that the competition will begin in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:607

This chapter continues the battle between Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube. It’s revealed that Ichibe’s plan didn’t work the way he thought it would, because it turns out no one can take anything away from Yhwach. But Ichibe atacks again using Hyappo Rankan, but Yhwach uses a protective barrier to protect himself. Ichibe uses another attack that Yhwach deflects. But Ichibe’s getting pretty mad, and launches another attack when the chapter ends…

OK, this is starting to get as ridiculous as what I was seeing in Naruto near the end of the Fourth Great Ninja War arc. It really feels like that Tite Kubo is trying to keep upping the ante to ridiculous levels to the point that the characters are overpowered simply to stretch the series out a little longer. There’s been so little progress to the story in recent months that it’s kind of sad. The fighting is kind of cool to look at, but when you realize just how long it’s been going on, it starts to get weary after a while. Please, Kubo, let’s progress the story already!

E-ROBOT CH:002

In this chapter, Yuuki learns from his father that Ai is in school with him so he can help her live up to her full potential. Also, Yuuki is warned not to tell anyone that Ai is a robot. While interactions are going on in the classroom that feature Yuuki and Ai, Hikari watches and doesn’t look happy. Unfortunately, Yuuki accidentally triggers the switch for the boobjectiles and has to touch her again to turn it off. Of course, this continues to give Hikari the wrong idea. Ai keeps coming up with bizarre and pervy ideas to try to help Yuuki change Hikari’s mind about him. Unfortunately, Ai released her heart-pounding perfume, which causes nearby girls to start trying to go after Yuuki. At one point, a member of the girls’ judo team pushes Yuuki’s face into her breasts. And then he’s pursued by the swim team and the cheer squad. But then we see boys start chasing after Ai as well. Ai uses more fanservice to try to get herself and Yuuki out of the situation they’re in.

Yuuki manages to make it to the roof where Hikari is, and he tries to explain the situation. Ai intervenes, but it turns out that Hikari seems to have already figured out that Yuuki and Ai were only trying to save her. In the end, Yuuki doesn’t manage to confess his feelings to Hikari, but they do seem to be a little closer.

Yet more of the pervy antics that we saw in Chapter One. There’s supposed to be an overaching story with Yuuki and Hikari, but it seems to be thin at best. The main focus of this series is definitely on the fanservice. It didn’t get any better for me by the end of Chapter Two than it had been at the end of Chapter One. I’m definitely not in the target market for this title.

One Piece CH:769

The battle between Doflamingo and Law continues. During the battle, Doflamingo reminds Law about the message that Corazon had asked Law to send and tells him that Corazon was trying to save Dressrosa. Doflamingo taunts him and says that if he hadn’t screwed up that way, the tragedies in Dressrosa wouldn’t have happened. And then their battle continues. Meanwhile, Bellamy is trying to fight Luffy. It seems that Bellamy is down for the count, but he finds a second wind and declares that his battle with Luffy will be his last.

There’s a little bit of fighting that takes place in this chapter, but the primary focus is on tying this story back to Law’s flashback, as well as some character development for Bellamy. While this story may be taking a while, at least the pacing feels a little more natural than the pacing that’s been going on in Bleach recently. But hopefully these fights will progress sooner rather than later.

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:003

It’s explained that at one time, Japan produced a group of 13 world champions and reigned atop the world of table tennis, but since those years, not a single Japanese player has cracked the upper echelons. Players who have inherited those champions’ techniques are now in high school and are the 13 “golden successors.” Ageha is one of those 13 successors.

This chapter briefly introduces us to Tora, who I’m guessing is also one of the 13 successors. He has a picture of Ageha and says a dumb old geezer wants him to destroy Ageha. We then see Ageha trying to convince Ririka to establish a table tennis team so he can crush the other 12 “golden successors”; he needs her help because the boys at their school won’t join unless she permits them. Unfortunately, it appears the boys have already learned about the deal that unless Ageha stands on top of the world of table tennis, he won’t learn his master’s secret technique and he can’t marry Ageha. The boys are so angry that they say they’ll never join Ageha’s table tennis team. But Miyaji, who Ageha beat in the previous chapter, submits an application form to Ageha to join the team.

Miyaji begins helping them rebuild the table tennis team, and he wants to introduce Ageha to Taketora. It turns out that Taketora is the Tora we were introduced to at the beginning of the chapter. He’s a total perv and we see girls rubbing their breasts against him. When he sees Ririka, he places his head into her breasts, and she’s not happy about it. Ageha and Tora exchange words, and they play a match against each other. Ageha is surprised by how well Tora can play. We learn that Tora is a “golden successor,” and he inherited the techniques of the one who was “the fastest.”

Ugh, here we go with yet more tropes, with perviness added in to boot. While the amount of “fanservice” in this chapter was nowhere near as bad as in E-ROBOT, there was still more than I would normally expect for a sports manga. After reading these three chapters, there wasn’t a whole lot to grab my interest here. It seems to be relying way too heavily on tropes that are all to common in either the shonen or sports manga, and then decided it needed to add in some fanservice to try to make the story a little more interesting. Of the three titles in this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative, I would have to put this one in the middle. But it’s not a series I’d be in a hurry to read again, so I’m hoping I don’t ever have to see it in Weekly Shonen Jump again.

Toriko CH:303

This chapter sees Toriko encountering Bambina, the Monkey King. Zebra gets into an attack stance, and Toriko and Coco fall into support positions. Sunny blinks, and when he opens his eyes, he sees that everyone is gone. As he looks around, he sees dismembered body parts of his comrades. When Sunny realizes what happened, he is in despair…

Uh… what?!? What just happened here? I can’t believe that that almost all of the major characters were just killed off. That has to be a hallucination or something… it just has to. It can’t be what it appears to be… but how can this be explained? This is probably the first time I’m truly looking forward to reading the next chapter of Toriko in order to find out what’s going to happen next.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:012

Kandera, Peta, Miri, Ekusa, and Heckt are trying to follow the Hi-Fi trail to try to find Landscape Mole. We see them following a lead that Kandera got from hearing a rumor. Miri spots an odd-looking taxi, and Peta uses his Hi-Fi ability and discovers there’s a Hi-Fi inside of it. They follow the taxi in a car chase, and they hit a barricade. The taxi jumps over the barricade, and as the barricade guards chase after it they are attacked. Peta also realizes that there are two Hi-Fi Loaders inside the taxi, and that one of the Loaders is a child…

It appears that this chapter is basically setting the stage for the next part of the story, which seems to involve Landscape Mole trying to gather Hi-Fi Loaders for whatever he plans to do. From what we see of the taxi driver, it appears that he could be Landscape Mole with weird-looking eyes. It could be someone else, but the similarities in the face is rather uncanny. It was also interesting to see that there’s a Hi-Fi Loader that’s a child. The writing says the child is supposed to be about five or six, but the way she’s drawn she looks more like she’s somewhere between eight and ten years of age.

World Trigger CH:085

This chapter sees Osamu going up to the podium at the press conference and addressing the assembled reporters. The Border higher-ups try defending him, but Osamu says he’ll speak for himself. Osamu is grilled quite heavily by the reporters. During the grilling, Osamu says that he’ll find a way to bring back the 32 people who have gone missing. Osamu’s actions force Border to admit to top secret missions of unmanned trips to the Neighbor world. Commander Kido also works at putting the reporters in their place. Now the reporters buzz about a rescue mission to bring people back from the Neighbor world. Also, Osamu’s mother starts to understand better why he wants to be in Border.

This chapter basically focuses on the press conference, as well as lays out the groundwork for the upcoming rescue mission. The reader is also given the impression that Osamu and Yuma will also be working at trying to become A-Rank Border agents, so I suspect the next arc will cover their attempt at going up to the next rank in Border. And after that, I suspect we’ll see the rescue mission carried out. I have no idea how long the author will spend on either of these plots, though, so it could ultimately take a couple of months or an entire year. It’ll be interesting to see how the story continues to play out going forward.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:149

Chitoge says she wants to eat oyakodon, but Tsugumi says she doesn’t know how to make it. Chitoge tells Tsugumi to have Raku come over so he can teach her how. While Raku is there, he comes to realize that Tsugumi is not only a good cook, but she can sew, too. Raku realizes that Tsugumi’s situation is a lot like Yui’s, and asks Tsugumi if she’s okay. During their discussion, we get to see some panels with flashbacks of when Tsugumi and Chitoge were children.

This was a great character development chapter for Tsugumi. And getting to see the flashback panels was so sweet, and Tsugumi and Chitoge looked so cute! This is one of the better chapters of Nisekoi: False Love that I’ve read recently, and I wish more of the chapters could be like this. Overall, Nisekoi: False Love is an average manga, but it does have its moments, like this chapter, where the series shines and rises above average.

Naruto CH:005

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

This chapter gets the survival exercise training going. Early on, Kakashi teaches his new pupils battle skills, such as taijutsu. Naruto tries to take down Kakashi, but the teacher can deflect his attacks very minimal effort. During the exercise, Naruto uses his shadow clone jutsu, which surprises everyone. But when he launches his attack, something unexpected happens…

This is the chapter that officially introduces the reader to the now legendary book series, Make-Out Paradise, which is part of the Make-Out series that Kakashi enjoys reading so much. It’s also interesting to re-read these early chapters and realize just how much Kakashi’s character progressed over the course of the series. This particular chapter focused on Naruto’s interactions with Kakashi, but I know that we’ll be seeing more of Sakura and Sasuke during the exercise before too much longer.

Also, it appears that Chapter Six will be appearing in next week’s issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. I’m starting to think they’ll be running Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative until this survival exercise is finished, so that way Team 7 can officially be formed.

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.