Manga Review: “Case Closed” Volume 14

Case Closed Volume 14 is a manga by Gosho Aoyama, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2006. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; personally, I would agree with this rating.

High school student Jimmy Kudo is a teen detective who was shrunk down to his first grade self after being caught by a crime organization and forced to take an experimental poison. Unknown to the criminals, Jimmy survived; in order to hide this fact, Jimmy takes on the identity of Conan Edogawa, and claims to be the relative of family friend Dr. Agasa. As Conan, Jimmy lives with his friend Rachel Moore and her bumbling private investigator father, Richard; however, Rachel doesn’t know Conan’s true identity. As Conan, Jimmy has been able to covertly help Richard solve the cases that come his way.

Volume 14 opens with Eva sending a client to Richard. It turns out the client is Nanae Tsukumo, a famous magician whose husband, the famous magician Motoyasu Tsukumo, died mysteriously. She wants get Richard’s help to discover how her husband died. The suspects end up being Motoyasu’s apprentices: Kazumi Manada, Mako Miyoshi, and Yuji Momochi. In addition to trying to solve the case, Rachel is starting to have suspicions that Conan is really Jimmy.

After the case is solved, Rachel takes Conan to Jimmy’s house and starts sharing her accusations; however, she is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Jimmy’s mother, Vivian. His mother gives a cover story to throw Rachel off the trail. Vivian says she’ll take Conan for two or three days.

Vivian takes Conan to visit her friend Hiromi Yabuuchi. Her father passed away from cancer, and the time has come for the reading of the will. Hiromi and her siblings aren’t convinced that a man who has come is really their uncle, so Hiromi wants Vivian to try to figure out the truth. While Vivian and Conan are there, they see a suspicious-looking person lurking around, mysterious things happen, and Hiromi’s stepmother is found murdered. It’s up to Conan and Vivian to try to figure out what’s going on.

The final mystery sees Rachel, Conan, and Serena on a ski trip. They run into Miss Yonehara, a former teacher from elementary school. She invites Conan and the others to join her and the group of teachers that she’s come with. After they reach the rental cabin, a reporter arrives who has a tip something will happen that night. Miss Yonehara and Serena are attacked. The volume ends with a teacher who has late arriving at the front door, but it turns out that it’s his corpse.

I was familiar with all of these mysteries from watching the Case Closed television anime series. Even though I may have already been familiar with these stories, I found them just as enjoyable reading them in the manga as they were when I saw them in the anime for the first time.

While I enjoyed the first mystery, I ended being a little more interested in the subplot of Rachel starting to figure out that perhaps Conan and Jimmy are somehow the same person. I also liked how the ending of the first mystery segued into the second mystery, as well as how Vivian threw Rachel off the trail of discovering the truth. I found her explanation just as amusing here as I did when I saw it in the anime: “He’s my grandfather’s older brother’s daughter’s cousin’s uncle’s grandson.” It’s such a convoluted mess that Vivian came up with, that it would definitely take some serious thinking to try to untangle it!

I really liked how the second mystery was done, because when I saw it in the anime, it really kept me guessing. In fact, I didn’t figure out the twist that appears at the end before it was revealed.

The third mystery has a good buildup to reach the cliffhanger ending of the volume when the missing teacher arrives at the cabin, but he’s already dead when he gets there. I can’t say too much more, since I already know how this story ends from seeing the anime series and I don’t want to inadvertently provide any spoilers.

I really enjoy Aoyama’s storytelling for the mysteries that he presents in the Case Closed series. For the two completed mysteries in Volume 14, he’s able to keep the reader guessing as to what the real answer is. As a reader, I want to keep on reading the series in order to continue seeing Conan in action.

If you’ve read and enjoyed previous volumes of Case Closed, then I think you’ll enjoy reading Volume 14.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Case Closed Volume 14 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Strobe Edge” Volume Nine

Strobe Edge Volume Nine is a manga by Io Sakisaka, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; from the nine volumes that I’ve read of the series, I would agree with this rating.

Ninako Kinoshita is a high school freshman who is in the middle of a love triangle. She is in love with a guy named Ren, while Ninako’s friend Daiki has confessed that he likes Ninako. Unfortunately for Ninako, it turns out that Ren already has a girlfriend: Daiki’s older sister, Mayuka. Ninako’s friend, Sayuri, has confessed to Daiki that she likes him, and two start going out. Another potential love interest for Ninako was introduced in Volume Two: Ren’s classmate, Ando. Daiki ends up coming out of the love triangle getting into a relationship with Ninako’s friend, Sayuri. At the end of volume five, Daiki’s older sister breaks up with Ren.

Ninako tries to suppress her feelings for Ren because she thinks she’ll be able to make Ren and Ando friends again. Ren, meanwhile, realizes he’s in love with Ninako but is too afraid to say anything. However, he realizes that he needs to say something, so he’s determined to tell her after the school sports festival is over.

During Volume Nine, Ando gets a surprise when Mao admits that she’s still in love with him. Unfortunately, this does nothing to sway Ando away from having feelings for Ninako.

When the festival is over, Ninako has an after-party for the cheer squad to go to. However, Ren says he has something to tell her so he’ll wait for her in the classroom. Unfortunately, Ninako stays until she needs to go to work, so Ren’s already gone from the classroom. Ninako calls Ren and leaves a message on his voicemail, saying she needs to talk to him.

When Ninako’s shift is over, the boss insists that Ando escort Ninako because some rough guys have been hanging around lately. They have an encounter with the rough guys, and Ando gets beaten up in front of Ninako. After helping Ando out, Ninako feels guilty about what happened. So when Ren tells Ninako how he feels, she surprises herself by turning him down…

When I got to the scene where Ren and Ninako finally talk and Ren confesses his feelings, I nearly wanted to scream when Ninako turned him down. Here I was, so excited that it looked like the two of them would finally get together, that I was thinking, “No, Ninako! You’re messing this up!” when she turned him down.

I have to give Ando some credit for the fact that he didn’t simply go back to Mao after she admitted that she was still in love with him. However, I really couldn’t feel sorry for him when he was depressed when he thought there was a chance that Ninako and Ren had become a couple after meeting up face-to-face.

There’s only one volume of Strobe Edge left, so I’m really hoping that Ninako and Ren are able to work things out by the end of the next volume. If they don’t, I’m going to be feeling disappointed and gypped. The two of them make such a good couple, and I’ve been rooting for them for so long, that anything less than Ninako and Ren ending up together is going to be a letdown of an ending. I also hope that the ending of Strobe Edge doesn’t turn out to be like the ending of A Devil and Her Love Song, where it was essentially a non-ending after building up the story for 12-13 volumes. I’m really wanting to reading Volume 10 of Strobe Edge in order to find out how the series will ultimately come to an end.

If you’ve read the previous volumes of Strobe Edge, I think you’ll like this volume… although you may find yourself getting a little frustrated with Ninako for blowing her chance with Ren.

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

Viz Media Releasing World Trigger in October 2014

Viz Media has announced that the company has acquired the license for the World Trigger manga series, and that it will be releasing the first and second volumes of the series on October 7, 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens and will carry an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN each.

Digital versions will also launch for $6.99 (USD/CAN) each on the same day on VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the NOOK, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play stores. New volumes will be released by bi-monthly.

World Trigger begins four years after a mysterious portal to another dimension bursts open and invincible monsters called Neighbors invade Earth. Osamu Mikumo may not be the best among the elite warriors who co-opt other-dimensional technology to fight back, but along with his Neighbor friend Yuma, he’ll do whatever it takes to defend life on Earth as we know it.

In the series’ opening volume, upstanding Osamu always does the right thing, whether it means pitching in to save Earth after school or turning the other cheek to bullies. But when he meets a feisty humanoid Neighbor named Yuma, everything that he thinks is right is turned on its head. Can the two natural enemies ever become friends?

Hope Donovan, Editor, says, “In WORLD TRIGGER, Mikado City will never be the same once the aliens invade and it’s up to a team of unlikely heroes armed with weapons called Triggers to defeat them and save mankind. This hugely entertaining manga series has delighted WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP fans with its fast-paced story, dynamic and relatable characters, and clean, engaging art style. Catch all the opening action as we release the first two manga volumes simultaneously in print and digitally this Fall!”

Manga Review: “Kamisama Kiss” Volume 14

Kamisama Kiss Volume 14 is a manga by Julietta Suzuki, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the series so far, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of Kamisama Kiss is Nanami Momozono. She’s a high school student who ends up becoming a kami at the land god’s shrine after the land god gives her a kiss on the forehead that gives her the power of a kami. Nanami has two familiars serving her: Tomoe the fox demon and a snake incarnation named Mizuki.

At the beginning of Volume 14, Tomoe’s condition has suddenly worsened, which causes the spells that have been maintaining the shrine to dissipate. As Nanami is at a loss as to what to do, the Land God returns and places Tomoe in a mirror.

The Land God explains to Nansmi that Tomoe has a death curse from an old deal, and will likely die in about seven days. She’s also told that Tomoe likes her and that this broke the seal on his memories of Yukiji.

At first, Nanami thinks there’s nothing she can do for Tomoe. However, after being captured by Kirihito and hearing him talk about how he’s not going to give up on his goals, Nanami finds the will to escape and a potential plan to save Tomoe.

Nanami ends up using the incense burner that turns time to go back into the past to try to find the fallen kami that placed the curse on Tomoe to try to find out how to get rid of the curse mark. However, while she’s in the past, something happens that could potentially change the present that Nanami returns to…

Volume 14 ended up being a rather intense volume, due to the severity of Tomoe’s condition and how much Nanami struggles with her emotions and how frantic she is about trying to find a way to save Tomoe. I also liked how it was through an interaction with one of her adversaries that Nanami gets the initial inspiration for the plan she ultimately has to save Tomoe.

When Nanami goes to the past, she meets the kami that will ultimately found the shrine that Mizuki came from. Nanami also finds herself in a village and being accused of being a yokai. She has an unlikely savior in Yukiji. However, there’s a surprising twist at the point where Yukiji is supposed to rescue an injured Tomoe from the river. And it’s this surprising twist that could have a drastic effect on Nanami’s present when she returns.

Thanks to that surprising twist at the end of Volume 14, I really want to Volume 15 in order to find out what happens next. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, Volume 15 isn’t scheduled to come out for about another two months. I really don’t know if I can wait that long to find out!

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 13 volumes of Kamisama Kiss, then I feel very confident that you’ll really enjoy reading Volume 14.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Kamisama Kiss Volume 14 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “Naruto” Volume 19

Naruto Volume 19 is a manga by Masashi Kishimoto, and it was released in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2007. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of the series is Naruto Uzumaki; he’s the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. Naruto’s dream is to become the leader of his village one day and to be acknowledged by others. When Naruto was a baby, a fox demon was sealed inside of him; because of this, the adults in the village have shunned Naruto out of fear of the fox demon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viz Media Releases New Weekly Shonen Jump Print Edition “Jump Pack” Issue 2

VIZ Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump manga magazine returns to its roots in print as it gives North American fans a special treat with the release of the Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack 2014, Issue 2 available now. This print edition contains more than 100 pages of the world’s most popular featured series and is an ideal way to check out what the digital Weekly Shonen Jump magazine offers.

The Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack is available in the U.S. and Canada exclusively through retailers serviced by Diamond Comic Distributors and also from leading online anime/manga retailer Right Stuf. The Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack 2014, Issue 2 is rated ‘T’ for Teens and will carry an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

The latest Jump Pack issue features the current hit series, All You Need Is Kill, by Death Note and Bakuman。 artist Takeshi Obata, as well as chapters from continuing fan favorites such as Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal and much more. The issue also includes a promotional code for a 3-month weekly digital subscription to the magazine along with a limited edition Blue-Eyes White Dragon Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card with exclusive variant art from Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series.

Viz Media Releases Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent

Viz Media has announced that the company has released the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent anime film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

The release is rated “M” for Mature Audiences and carries a DVD MSRP of $19.98 U.S. / $24.98 CAN and a Blu-ray MSRP of $24.98 U.S. / $27.50 CAN. The DVD edition features Japanese and English 5.1 audio with both subbed and subtitled dialogue options. The Blu-ray version features crisp 1080p HD resolution along with Japanese and English DTS-HD audio and subbed and subtitled dialogue options.

DVD bonus features include a production art gallery, theatrical trailers, original Japanese TV spots and the ending theme, “breakthrough.” The Blu-ray edition also includes all DVD features with additional content, including a special highlight reel for the U.S. theatrical premiere of BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC II – THE BATTLE FOR DOLDREY, outtakes from THE ADVENT and THE EGG OF THE KING, and an interview with Eiko Tanaka, President of Studio 4ºC, which produced the entire BERSERK anime trilogy.

In BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC III – THE ADVENT, the horrifying conclusion to the Golden Age unfolds in a magnificently violent nightmare, signifying the birth of a new era. It’s been a year since Griffith’s imprisonment by the Kingdom of Midland. Once praised as the saviors of the Midland, the Band of the Hawk has been on the run and is on the brink of breaking apart. Much to everyone’s surprise, Guts returns to the Hawks, and the search for Griffith begins!

Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing, says, “The drama and on-screen action reaches a feverish climax in the stunning finale to the BERSERK: THE GOLDEN AGE ARC trilogy. Audiences will not want to miss even a second of this stirring adventure, depicted in a lush blend of traditional and CGI animation, as the events set in motion in the previous two movies come to a head! Anime and action fans everywhere are going to delight in the violent but satisfying conclusion to the acclaimed trilogy.

Manga Review: “Bleach” Volume 12

Bleach Volume 12 is a manga by Tite Kubo, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shonen Jump imprint in 2006. The series is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from what I’ve seen of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki is the main character of the series, and he has the ability to see ghosts. After meeting a Soul Reaper named Rukia, his home is attacked by a Hollow. Rukia tries to transfer some of her powers to Ichigo so he can protect his family; however, he unintentionally absorbs all of her power. Ichigo defeats the Hollow and begins serving as a substitute Soul Reaper. In Volume Seven, Rukia was taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. Rukia now faces execution, and Ichigo and his friends try to find a way to get to Soul Society in order to save her.

Volume 12 primarily follows Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatora as they make their way through the Senzaikyu. First, Hanatora heals the wounds Ichigo incurred during his fight with Renji, and then they encounter Kenpachi, the captain of Eleventh Company and his assistant captain, Yachiru.

This volume also sees Chad making his way through Soul Society. After finding out where the Senzaikyu is, he heads on his way there. Unfortunately for Chad, he encounters Shunsui Kyoraku, the captain of Eighth Company. During Chad’s portion of the story, the reader is treated to some backstory for Chad, including how Chad and Ichigo became friends.

Volume 12 also sees that Captain Aizen being killed and his assistant captain, Momo Hinamori trying to get vengeance for his death.

At the back of Volume 12 is a short story that’s a flashback to the characters’ first day of high school. The main focus is on Mizuiro and Keigo and how they meet and become friends with Ichigo and Chad.

Volume 12 includes quite a bit of backstory, which is a nice change of pace from the action that’s been a strong focus in this story arc. Nothing against the action, because it’s very important to progress the story, but the backstory sections allow the reader to catch their breath and take a break from the action. The bonus story at the end of the volume was also a nice touch, because it builds on the backstory that showed how Ichigo and Chad met.

Even though I already know how this story will progress from seeing the anime, I’m still just as riveted and interested in the story as I would be if I was seeing this story for the first time.

Unfortunately, I can’t really comment on too much more, because I’m much further along in the anime series and I don’t want to inadvertently provide spoilers to readers who haven’t made it past this volume of Bleach.

If you’ve read the previous nine volumes of Bleach and enjoyed what you read, then I think you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 12.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Bleach Volume 12 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Viz Media’s Neon Alley Launches Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Viz Media has announced that the company has added the subtitled version of the Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet television anime series to its new Neon Alley free online streaming platform. For $7.99/month, U.S. fans can also access the series on mobile and digital devices through the subscription-based Hulu Plus Video-on-Demand service. The premiere of the dubbed version will follow later in 2014.

In the distant future, Ledo, a young soldier from space wakes up and finds himself marooned on an ocean planet. Growing up in space, and knowing nothing but battle, he is a stranger in a strange land, full of odd customs and a foreign language, but he’s not alone. Starting a new journey on this verdurous planet, Ledo must find a way to survive and reconcile the fact that he may never be able to return home!

Charlene Ingram, Senior Manager, Animation Marketing, says, “GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET is a gorgeous story charting young pilot Ledo’s journey of self discovery as he visits a strange and nature-filled planet ‘Earth’ for the very first time. The evocative adventure delivers a substantial plot, intriguing characters and beautifully rendered animation created by Japan’s most famous anime studios. With the flexibility of the free Neon Alley streaming platform, fans can dive in and marathon the entire series at their leisure!”

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 115 (April 14, 2014)

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

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

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

Nisekoi CH:118

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

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

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

One Piece CH:744

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

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

All You Need Is Kill CH:012

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

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

Naruto CH:672

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

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

Seraph of the End CH:015

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

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

Bleach CH:576

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

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

Stealth Symphony CH:008

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

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

Toriko CH:273

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

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

World Trigger CH:056

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

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