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?

Manga Review: “Tiger & Bunny” Volume Two

Tiger & Bunny Volume Two is a manga by Mizuki Sakakibara that is based on the anime series produced by Sunrise. This volume was published in North America by Viz Media in 2013. The series is rated “T” for teens; from seeing the television anime series I would agree with this rating.

45 years prior to the start of the series, superpowered individuals known as “NEXT” started appearing through a mysterious mutation. Some of them have become superheroes who protect Stern Bild, and each of the city’s famous superheroes work for a sponsor company. Their heroic activities are broadcast on the popular television show Hero TV, where they accumulate points for each heroic feat they accomplish. The best ranked hero of the season is crowned “King of Heroes.”

The series focuses on Kotetsu Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks, Jr., who have become the first hero duo after Apollon Media buys out Kotetsu’s sponsor. Kotetsu (aka Wild Tiger) and Baranby may have the same superhero power, but they seem to be a mismatched hero duo.

Volume Two starts to give the reader a glimpse of Barnaby’s backstory, which starts to give the reader an understanding of why Barnaby acts the way he does. We learn that he’s out for justice to avenge the murder of his parents that happened when he was younger.

Most of the volume, however, focuses on Kotetsu and Barnaby’s issues with becoming a team. Things are only made wprse when Hero TV insists on doing a documentary on Barnaby and makes Kotetsu participate. Just as the tension between them reaches a boiling point, there’s a bomb threat at the restaurant they’re at. Kotetsu and Barnaby must work together in order to deactivate the bomb. It’s a tense situation, but they manage to work together to save the day.

Later, Kotetsu finds out that Barnaby’s birthday is coming up, and he decides he wants to do something. Kotetsu sets up a “crime” with the other heroes and forces Barnaby to come with him. Unfortunately, they find themselves in the middle of a real robbery in progress, and it’s up to the heroes to save the day. This story culminates with Kotetsu and Barnaby truly working together as a team for the first time.

Since reading the first volume of the Tiger & Bunny manga, I have gone on to watch all of the episodes of the anime series, as well as the first Tiger & Bunny anime film. While I already know what to expect and what’s coming up in the story from seeing the anime series, I’m still enjoying getting to see the story again in a different medium.

Volume Two also allows the readers to see a little more of the other heroes than the first volume did, especially during a scene where most of the heroes are in the gym. It’s revealed that Fire Emblem owns the company that sponsors him, and that Blue Rose wants to be a singer more than a superhero and is only allowed to pursue her singing career as her superhero alter ego.

Some wonderful characters were created for the anime series, and the manga does a great job of representing these characters. Their character designs also translated well for the manga format, and there are times where I almost think I’m looking at a black and white version of the anime.

I’ve really been enjoying the manga telling of the Tiger & Bunny series, and I’m looking forward to reading future volumes in order to see how the anime continues to be adapted for the manga medium.

If you’ve seen the Tiger & Bunny anime series and enjoyed it, then I would highly recommend checking out the manga adaptation of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Tiger & Bunny Volume Two that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Manga Review: “A Devil and Her Love Song” Volume 13

A Devil and Her Love Song Volume 13 is a manga by Miysohi Tomori, and it was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T” for teens; after reading the series, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of the series is Maria Kawaii, a girl who transferred to Totsuka High School after being expelled from St. Katria for beating up a teacher. At the beginning of the series, she was misunderstood and bullied by many of her classmates; however, she was still able to make friends with Yusuke Kanda, Shin Meguro, and Tomoyo Kousaka. Later, Maria gets to know Shintaro Kurosu, a young man who has a major crush on her. Ayu, one of Maria’s former bullies, also becomes friends with her.

In Volume 12, Shin leaves to go to America to get surgery for his injured tendon and go through rehab in the hopes of being able to play the piano again. Shin also says they should go their separate ways because he doesn’t want her to see the person he’s going to turn into.

At the end of Volume 12, Maria begins making music videos with her friends and posting them on the Internet, in the hope that Shin will see them and understand the feelings she’s trying to convey.

Yusuke is the one filming the videos, but he still has feelings for Maria. Ayu has feelings for Yusuke, and this becomes a point of contention at the beginning of Volume 13. Ayu becomes frustrated that Maria seems to be oblivious to Yusuke’s feelings. This escalates with a confrontation between the two in the girls’ bathroom at school. Fortunately, they’re ultimately able to work out their differences with some intervention from Tomoyo.

Maria is also feeling confused about her future, and Yusuke convinces her that she should look into a career in singing. Maria begins trying to get a demo out there. She is recognized from her videos, and is asked to sing. The critique she’s given is that it sounds like she’s singing to only one person instead of many. She’s told that when she can sound like she’s singing to everyone she can come back and try again. Maria feels defeated, but she receives a surprise when Shin returns from America on a surprise visit. When Shin asks Maria to return to America with him to go to music school, she has to make a choice…

While Volume 13 did bring A Devil and Her Love Song to an end, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a satisfying ending. While Maria makes a choice, there’s really no closure. A side story was included at the end which shows something that happened early on in Yusuke’s and Shin’s friendship; personally, I would’ve rather seen those pages used as some kind of “afterword” to basically narrate what happens in the future and to bring a more definitive ending to the series.

The first four chapters in Volume 13 are told from different characters’ perspectives. The first chapter is from Yusuke’s point of view, the second chapter is from Ayu’s perspective, the third is told from Tomoyo’s point of view, and the fourth is from Shintaro’s perspective. On the one hand, it’s an interesting way to tell some of the story. On the other, though, it’s a bit jarring since only part of the volume is done in this manner, and this kind of storytelling really hadn’t been used in the earlier volumes of the series.

Overall, I really did enjoy the A Devil and Her Love Song manga series. It was very effective at drawing me in with the first volume with its subject matter and intensity, and it made me want to keep on reading. I looked forward to when I could read each volume in order to find out what would happen to Maria. I was very excited to read Volume 13, but in the end, I didn’t quite get the payoff that I was hoping for.

If you decide to read A Devil and Her Love Song, just know that there’s a chance that you’ll fall in love with the series but that you probably won’t get a truly satisfying conclusion at the end of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of A Devil and Her Love Song Volume 13 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Viz Media Announces Brand New Digital Manga for April 2014

Viz Media has announced that the company is launching Bisco Hatori’s shojo series, Millennium Snow, digitally in April 2014.

Other digital updates include the following titles that are available now:

  • Bleach Volume 60
  • Dragon Ball Full Color Volume 2
  • Deadman Wonderland Volume 2
  • Sweet Rein Volume 2
  • Naruto Volume 65
  • Happy Marriage Volume 5 (only available on VIZmanga.com and select partner platforms)

The latest digital-exclusive edition of One-Punch Man Volume 2 will be available on April 15, 2014.

There will also be special multi-volume updates for:

  • Boys Over Flowers (8 new volumes)
  • Firefighter! (2 new volumes)
  • Knights of the Zodiac (7 new volumes)
  • Phoenix (3 new volumes)
  • Whistle! (5 new volumes)

Two additional weekly updates will follow on April 22 and April 29, 2014.

These new manga titles are featured on VIZManga.com and the VIZ MANGA app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, Android-powered smart phones and 7” tablets, as well as on the NOOK, Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and GooglePlay stores.

MILLENNIUM SNOW, Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens ·
MSRP: $6.99 (U.S. / CAN) · Available Now!

MILLENNIUM SNOW is a celebrated shojo manga series created by Bisco Hatori. Seventeen-year-old Chiyuki Matsuoka was born with heart problems, and her doctors say she won’t live to see the next snow. Toya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional partnership with a human, whose life-giving blood would keep them both alive for a thousand years. Chiyuki makes the most of the time she has left, even though things aren’t that exciting–until she comes across the reluctant vampire late one chilly night. Can Chiyuki teach Toya to feel passion for life, even as her own is ending?

Manga Review: “Fullmetal Alchemist” Volume 18

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2009. Fullmetal Alchemist is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from seeing both of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric know how to perform alchemy, and tried performing a forbidden alchemy technique to bring their mother back to life. In the process, Alphonse lost his body and Ed lost one of his legs. In order to attach Al’s soul to a suit of armor, Ed ends up losing one of his arms. Ed now has “auto-mail” prosthetics, which are designed by his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell.

Ed has become the youngest State Alchemist in history, and has been given the name “Fullmetal Alchemist.” The series follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary artifact that they believe will help them to recover their bodies.

Volume 18 opens with Kimblee escorting Wintry to Briggs so she can fit Ed with cold climate automail; unknown to her, she is being used as a way to convince Ed to go along with the Fuhrer’s orders. He has three orders: aid in the search for Scar, find Dr. Marcoh, and carve a crest of blood at Briggs. Kimblee uses Winry in order to get Ed to agree.

Meanwhile, Major General Armstrong is dealing with things on two fronts: she’s trying to find her men who went missing under Briggs and getting information to Mustang about what’s going on.

Riza Hawkeye meets the Homunculus named Pride, and his identity is rather surprising. This encounter leaves an impression on Hawkeye.

We see Ed and Al heading out on the search to find Scar, and Winry insists on going along. While they’re out, Ed and Al make a break from Kimblee’s men and they run into May and Dr. Marcoh. The men Ed and Al fled from find Scar and reveal that they’re chimera. A fight erupts, and Ed, Al, Winrey, May, and Dr. Marcoh find where it’s taking place. Ed and Al subdue Kimblee’s men, but find themselves fighting Scar. Miles and some men from Briggs arrive and offer assistance. A really good scene between Winry and Scar takes place here. The end of the volume sees Ed and the others trying to get away from Kimblee with assistance from Scar.

The storyline at Briggs really gets going in this volume, and we get to see Ed and Al’s paths cross with Scar again. I really liked seeing what Winry does when she gets the opportunity to confront Scar over her parents’ deaths. I also liked the unlikely alliance between Ed and Scar.

Another Homunculus is revealed in Volume 18, and it’s not someone the reader would have predicted. They may be one of the smallest in stature, but they have the power of moving around in the shadows. It’s no wonder Hawkeye gets so freaked out after encountering Pride!

Even though I already know what’s going to happen in the manga from watching the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I still enjoy reading these events in the manga. Arakawa has such a compelling sense of storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist that it keeps me interested, no matter how many times I may see the same events in different mediums.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 17 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 18 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 114 (April 7, 2014)

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

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

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

Naruto CH:671

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

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

Stealth Symphony CH:007

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

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

One Piece CH:743

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

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

World Trigger CH:055

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

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

Bleach CH:575

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

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

One-Punch Man CH:034.3

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

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

Nisekoi CH:117

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

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

All You Need Is Kill CH:011

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

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

Toriko CH:272

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

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

Blue Exorcist CH:056

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

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

Special Bonus Story: Dragon Ball

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

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

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