Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 128 (July 21, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for World Trigger, One Piece, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, Toriko, Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, and One-Punch Man.

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.

World Trigger CH:068

In this chapter, Osamu and his group work at fighting against the Neighbors that are attacking them. They are joined by Izumi, who helps them out. Chika suddenly stops and reacts to the arrival of the humanoid Neighbor we’d seen earlier. He launches an attack with birds; if the birds touch the humans, they will be turned into cubes. As they try t use their weapons on them, their weapons turn into cubes. Unfortunately, the tables have turned, and Osamu is ordered to take Chika and run. As they escape, Osamu tries to attack the humanoid Neighbor. At the end of the chapter, the Neighbor launches an attack that seems to affect Chika…

After how much jumping around the most recent chapters had done, I’m glad to see that this chapter focused exclusively on one area of the battlefield. Specifically, it focused on Osamu and his group. This chapter also saw a little more emphasis being placed on Chika and how much she’s able to assist Osamu with her trion. With this chapter, it finally feels like the story may be starting to progress. Hopefully this progression will continue in the next chapter.

One Piece CH:753

In this chapter, Doflamingo is meeting with Bellamy. At the same time, we see the gladiators fighting against the Don Quixote family. Then, the action moves to Sevio in South Dressrosa, where some of the people decide to take King Riku and Usopp hostage. Then, we move to the inside of Smile Factory, where the workers are being forced to work by Doflamingo’s men. Then we go to Luffy and his group trying to make it to the flower field on the fourth step…

Wow, this chapter jumps around quite a bit! With some of the scenes, it feels like I’m just starting to get my bearings and then it changes to a completely different scene. There’s a lot of action going on, but because of how often the story is changing locations, it’s starting to get harder for me to truly follow what’s going on with anyone anymore. Reading One Piece right now is starting to get quite dizzying!

Nisekoi: False Love CH:131

The focus of this chapter is on the school festival. It appears that Onodera’s younger sister’s class is putting on a haunted house. Some of the girls have been plotting to get Onodera and Raku inside and scare them in the dark in order to bring them together. When Haru goes to invite the two of them, she runs into Chitoge, who is wearing an Alice in Wonderland costume. Raku’s class is doing a cosplay cafe. After seeing the various costumes, Haru invites Onodera and Raku to their haunted house. They go through the haunted house together, and Haru makes sure to throw out everything she knows her sister is afraid of. Onodera gets so scared that she starts clinging to Raku. By the end of the chapter, Haru realizes that she still harbors feelings for Raku. Haru then learns her friend signed her up for the beauty contest without her permission. She sees who the judges are: Raku and Chitoge.

Well, it looks like this chapter was basically written to accomplish three things. First, an attempt at trying to get Onodera and Raku to be closer. Second, to show that Haru hasn’t given up on her feelings for Raku. And third, it’s a chapter to set up the beauty contest story; with the way this chapter ended, it’s obvious the beauty contest will have to be the next one. I’m predicting that at least some members of Raku’s harem will find themselves in the beauty contest, which will make it hard for him since he’s one of the judges.

Bleach CH:589

In this chapter, we see Ichigo, Chad, and Orihime with Urahara. It turns out Urahara built Kukaku’s cannon below Squad 12’s barracks. Ichigo is embarrassed when Chad asks him what he thinks of Orihime’s outfit; he says he thinks she’s revealing too much. Yoruichi shows up and smacks Ichigo and lectures him; she’s only wearing it because a perv tricked her into it. It turns out Yoruichi was investigating the distortion the Quincies were causing at the boundary between the world of the living and the Soul Society. With what Yoruichi has brought with her, preparations are made to launch the cannon. The chapter then returns to the battle between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies. Just as it looks like there could be trouble, someone unexpected shows up on the battlefield…

This chapter places most of its emphasis on Ichigo, Chad, Orihime, and Urahara. And quite a bit of that section had a focus on the “fanservice” being provided by Orihime’s outfit. This scene helps us to learn a little bit of what’s going on, but ultimately doesn’t really move the story forward. And what little bit of the battle we see between the Soul Reapers and the Quincies doesn’t seem to truly progress the story, either. Right now, it’s kind of feeling like Kubo is trying to do everything in his power to stretch the story out. Hopefully we’ll start seeing some meaningful progression sooner rather than later.

Naruto CH:685

In this chapter, Obito instructs Sakura and one of Naruto’s shadow clones to keep a hand on him so they can teleport elsewhere at any moment. They successfully teleport, but Kaguya and Zetsu are on to them. Obito tells Sakura and the Naruto clone to hide while he draws their attention. It turns out Kaguya destroyed one of Naruto’s clones. Sakura provides her chakra to Obito in order to help him search the time-spaces for Sasuke. They succeed in finding him, although it looks uncertain as to whether or not he’ll make it to where Sakura and Obito are…

There’s not a lot of focus on Naruto and Kaguya in this chapter. Instead, the focus is more on Sakura and Obito as they search the time-spaces for Sasuke. Obito’s done a lot of work in this chapter, so I can only imagine what his Sharingan and chakra must be like at this point. How much longer will he be able to help out in the battle? And hopefully the next chapter will return to focusing more on Naruto and what he’s up to.

Hunter x Hunter CH:347

In this chapter, Ging and Pariston are attacked by the three guys who declared at the end of the previous chapter that their real boss is Beyond. The two of them have to flee and work together to try to get out of this predicament. Ging is able to imitate a punching ability that he’s been hit with in the past to help take down the three guys that are chasing them. Later, Ging tells Muherr that their act about this could’ve been much better, and gives his evaluation of the troops. Ging is also shown one of their weapons. When the discussion turns to how the mercenaries don’t like talk of money, Ging says he’ll make a deposit in the Norwell Fund, which is a relief fund for the family of fallen soldiers.

This chapter focuses exclusively on Ging, and has some focus on Pariston as well. We finally get an explanation as to why Ging has acted the way he has, and as for why he was offering the mercenaries money. I thought the idea of the Norwell Fund was kind of interesting, although the three-generational tier to it definitely has its disadvantages. I’m wondering if later in this story arc, Ging will come to regret his decision to create a “grandchild account,” since this now makes him a mercenary and he has to follow orders from very specific people. Now that I’ve been learning more about what this story arc entails, I’m starting to become a little more interested in the Hunter x Hunter series.

Toriko CH:285

This chapter focuses on various battles. The first battlefront is at Stardust Hill, where Team Zebra and Brunch are. Brunch uses his full-body charge magnet which allows him to magnetize his whole body; by doing this, he is able to attract a torrential downpour of meteors to him. Zebra uses voice eruption to blow the meteors away. Next it’s Team Sunny and Nosh at the Plains of the Bees’ Nest. Nosh creates an impenetrable shield by pushing the muscle fibers of his entire body to the plate on his head. The action then moves to Team Coco and Dinner at Poison Rain Prairie. Then we see Komatusu and Mappy west of Nightmare Hill. Then it’s off to the heart of Nightmare Hill where Toriko is facing off with Heracles of the Eight Kings, and this is where the chapter ends…

This chapter ended up jumping all over the place. Just as I was getting use to one battlefront, it would suddenly switch to a different one. Over the course of this chapter, we see five different locations, and it was almost dizzying just how often the scenes would change. The chapter was a relatively fast read, but I’m not truly sure just how much of it I actually absorbed as I read it. Oh well. Hopefully the next chapter will slow down its pacing a little bit.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:44

In this chapter, Yuma, Astral, and the others from the duel find themselves near a black hole from another world, which is pulling the their world and the Astral World together so that they’ll crash; they also discover that they’re being pulled toward the black hole. Astral wants to prevent this from happening, and he materializes a huge boulder out of thin air. Only a duel can open the barrier, and Astral tries to get into a duel with Yagumo. Yuma stops him, and Shark and Kaito say they want to take on Yagumo. Yuma says he’ll team up with them in order to bring Yagumo down. Yagumo declares that he is the chosen one by the Dark God. Since he has three contenders, Yagumo declares that he gets triple life points. And a duel begins. Yagumo goes first and does a lot to power up his monsters on his first turn. As the duel is getting underway, allies of Yuma, Kaito, and Shark are in a bubble that’s above them and can see what’s going on. Ryoga is the first to battle Yagumo…

This was definitely a long chapter, and once it finally hits a duel, the manga is back to the typical explanations that make the story start sounding like a player’s manual for playing the game. To me, that’s always been a weakness of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise. It can be bad enough hearing them saying all this stuff in the anime, but to have to sit and read through these explanations in the manga can be even worse. And with how much both Yagumo and Ryoga do in order to level up their various monsters, it gets even worse than usual in that regard. But with how the story is progressing, it’s clear that this particular story arc is getting closer to an end.

One-Punch Man CH:035.3 V2

This is a re-worked version of the chapter that appeared in the July 7, 2014 issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. The first 23 pages are mostly the same, except that two brand new pages were added. From page 198 to the end, it’s all brand-new content that includes the climax to the fight.

Since I started reading Weekly Shonen Jump, this is the second time that a re-worked version of a previously published chapter of One-Punch Man has appeared in the publication. The first time was bad enough, but to see this happen again… *shake my head*. But we see that during the battle, the power sphere is now broken and is crashing. It appears that Saitama is the actual victor of this fight. Well, at least that fight is FINALLY over. So now where is the story of One-Punch Man going to head in next?

Shikigami Twilight Days One-Shot to Run in Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump

The July 21, 2014 issue of Viz Media’s English digital publication Weekly Shonen Jump is announcing that its next issue will carry Shikigami Twilight Days.

This is a supernatural one-shot manga by Toshiaki Iwashiro, the author of the Psyren manga series.

Viz Offers English-Subtitled Episodes of Sailor Moon for Digital Purchase

Viz Media has announced that the first 23 episodes of the English-subtitled version of Sailor Moon are available for digital purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, PLAYSTATION Network and the Xbox Marketplace. The episodes are available for download individually or bundled in high-definition and standard-definition.

The full set of episodes in HD costs US$34.99 and US$16.99 for SD. Individual episodes retail for US$0.99 each in SD and US$1.99 in HD.

Viz Media Announces Plans for Comic-Con International

Viz Media is delivering anime and manga content at the 2014 Comic-Con International. Attendees are invited to join a fun weekend in San Diego with special events, in-booth giveaways, informative panel discussions, and other fun activities and convention exclusives.

Viz Media is hosting an array of panel discussions detailing a host of forthcoming releases, new acquisitions and other surprises from the company’s animation and publishing teams. Fans will not want to miss a very special appearance by Junko Takeuchi, the Japanese voice actress who provides the original voice for Naruto in the popular anime series. She will join the staff of Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump for a special panel discussion on Naruto on Thursday, July 24th. Fans are also invited to attend the official Sailor Moon panel, which will offer new information on the return of the legendary animated series to North America.

Viz Media’s Booth 2813 on the Main Show Floor will be a continual hub of activity with special in-booth photo opportunities with an Uglydoll on Thursday, July 24th and everyone’s favorite cat-type robot from the future, Doraemon, on Saturday July 25th. Fans can also catch freebies and promo item giveaways throughout the convention including posters, temporary tattoos, posters, postcards, buttons and more for popular series such as Blood Lad, Deadman Wonderland, Sailor Moon and One-Punch Man. And don’t miss the return of the Viz Media convention tote bag, which is free with any purchase, available in four amazing designs while supplies last.

Collectors also can browse an array of limited edition items and special convention exclusives that will be offered for sale in the Viz Media booth throughout Comic-Con while supplies last. Notable items include One Piece Exclusive Replica Manga Art ($15.00); Limited Edition Bravest Warriors: The Search for Catbug ($35.00), with foil-accented slipcover and gilded page edges only 250 made – don’t miss the chance to have it signed by the artists at the exclusive in-booth signing; Bravest Warriors: Catbug’s Treasure Book ($15.00); Hello Kitty, Hello 40 Commemorative Art Book (50.00) only 250 printed with foil-accented slipcover and gilded page edges – don’t miss the chance to have it signed by Hello Kitty artists at the exclusive in-booth signing; exclusive Gecco Naruto Shippuden figure ($150.00); and Cryptozoic’s Naruto Shippuden Trading Card Game Presale ($50.00).

Also catch special advance pre-sales of several forthcoming new Viz Media titles including Food Wars Volume 1 ($10.00), Black Rose Alice ($10.00) and The Art of Princess Mononoke ($35.00) ahead of their street date releases later this summer. Don’t miss the latest Weekly Shonen Jump Jump Pack ($20.00) that contains more than 100 pages of the world’s most popular featured series and a limited edition Yu-Gi-Oh! card “Black Luster Soldier – Envoy of the Evening Twilight,” as well as a special bonus exclusive game mat free with purchase while supplies last.

Viz Media’s Comic-Con Panels and Special Events

Thursday, July 24, 2014

10:00AM and 4:00PM UGLYDOLL PHOTO OPPORTUNITY at VIZ Media Booth #2813
Drop by the VIZ Media booth for a photo with an UGLYDOLL pal!

10:00AM – 11:30AM SHONEN JUMP PRESENTS: NARUTO in Room 8
NARUTO is one of the world’s most popular manga series, with over 60 best-selling volumes published. Get all the latest news and more at this super-sized panel, featuring guests from VIZ Media, Bandai Namco Games (Daisuke Koumoto, producer of the upcoming NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: ULTIMATE NINJA STORM REVOLUTION) and a special guest Junko Takeuchi, Japanese voice of Naruto!

4:00PM – 5:00PM VIZ MEDIA PANEL in Room 7AB
Get the latest updates & exciting news from VIZ Media staff on your favorite manga and anime! There will be free manga for attendees while supplies last.

Friday, July 25, 2014

10:00AM – 1:00PM CATBUG VOICE ACTOR SAM LAVAGNINO In-Booth Signing & Personal Appearance at VIZ Media Booth #2813
Meet the voice of Catbug, the breakout star of YouTube hit Bravest Warriors, and get a signed art card!

10:00AM – 11:00AM VIZ MEDIA ANIMATION PANEL Feat. NEON ALLEY in Room 25ABC
Find out all that’s new and awesome with the VIZ Media animation team and the free streaming site Neon Alley! Bring all your anime questions because they will be there to answer them!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

12:30PM – 1:30PM OFFICAL SAILOR MOON PANEL in Room 5AB
VIZ Media is releasing the complete classic SAILOR MOON series for the first time on Blu-ray and with an all-new English dub! Join members of the VIZ Media animation team and learn all about this legendary anime series!

12:30PM DORAEMON PHOTO OPPORTUNITY at VIZ Media Booth #2813
Get a hug and take a picture with everyone’s favorite cat-type robot from the future, DORAEMON!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2:00PM – 3:00PM PERFECT SQUARE PRESENTS – MAKING KIDS COMICS AWESOME in Room 32AB
Bring your kids along, or just your inner child, and join an eclectic group of creators and editors for a lively roundtable that will get you laughing, learning and looking at the craft of all-ages comics in a whole new way!

Other Notable VIZ Media In-Booth Events:

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Deck Building Game Demo
Check the daily booth schedule for a chance to try out the new card game debuting from Cryptozoic at SDCC!

In-Booth Signing and Photo-Op: HELLO KITTY
Join Hello Kitty herself and graphic novel artists for a special signing and photo opportunity!
Saturday, July 26th at 10AM: features Jenni Holm, Matt Holm, Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani, Lark Pien
Sunday, July 27th at 10AM: features Brianne Drouhard, Stephanie Gonzaga, Martin Hsu, Chynna Clugston Flores, Susie Ghahremani. Jacob Chabot will also be available Sunday July 27th at 1PM!

In-Booth Signing: BRAVEST WARRIORS
Meet the talented contributors for the brand new books based off of the YouTube smash-hit series and get your VIZ Media BRAVEST WARRIOR book or comic sampler signed!
Friday, July 25th at 4:00PM: features Stu Livingston, Tom Warburton, Jon Chad, Ian McGinty
Sunday, July 27th at 1:00PM: features Corin Howell and Inori Fukuda Trant

In-Booth Signing: NARUTO Figure Sculptor Shin Tanabe
Thursday, July 24th & Friday July 25th at 2:30PM
Meet Gecco figure Sculptor Shin Tanabe, creator of the Comic-Con exclusive NARUTO SHIPPUDEN figure and get your limited edition figure signed!

RANMA 1/2 Plinko
Available Throughout Comic-Con
Try your luck at our RANMA 1/2 Plinko board for a chance to win a limited edition Comic-Con only RANMA 1/2 water bottle! Check the daily booth schedule for times to play!

Comic-Con International is taking place July 23-27, 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center, in San Diego, California.

Viz Media Posts Another Clip of the New English Dub of Sailor Moon

Viz Media has uploaded another clip of the new English dub of the Sailor Moon television anime series. This clip is when Luna talks to Usagi for the first time.

I am embedding the clip below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view the video due to region blocking.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 127 (July 14, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for World Trigger, Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, Toriko, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, and Stealth Symphony. This volume also includes the first part of a Rurouni Kenshin side story and an Anime Expo con report.

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.

Rurouni Kenshin Special Limited Series Part 1

This side story focuses on Shishio Makoto. Shishio escorts escorts a courtesan named Hanahomura to a location in the red-light district, and a ruckus is started when Shishio is told he can’t wear his sword. As they spend time together, Shishio learns more about her; however, Shishio doesn’t seem to be terribly impressed. The Wadatsumi Koheidan Shark troops arrive, with a plan to conquer all the brothels to celebrate their victory in the Satsuma Rebellion. Ichigase Sameo, the head of the troops, goes to see Hanahomura and asks for her to be with him tonight. When he offers to purchase her contract, Shishio jumps in and declares that he is her patron. Ichigase pulls out his sword and points it at Shishio; this arrogant guy not only insults Shishio, he declares that he’ll be back next week to make Hanahomura his. Then the story moves ahead a week, and Honahomura declares that she won’t accept Ichigase’s offer. We also get some background on the Maria Luz incident. Right at the end, Ichigase does something that will upset Hanahomura if she finds out…

Unfortunately, I haven’t read anything of Rurouni Kenshin prior to reading this, so I don’t have much of a frame of reference for it. But looking at it as a stand alone story, it does seem to have potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how the second part of this story will resolve everything. But after reading this, I need to find some time to read the Rurouni Kenshin manga.

World Trigger CH:067

In this chapter, Osamu and his group are still trying to make it to be the base, but they are attacked. Suddenly, Midorikawa and Yoneya arrive to help out. The new arrivals try to draw attention away from the group so they can get away, but some Neighbors still trying to get them…

This chapter primarily focuses on Osamu and the group he’s with. In a lot of respects, not a whole lot happens in this chapter; because of that, the story still doesn’t progress. Hopefully this story will start actually going somewhere eventually. World Trigger seems to have an interesting story, but at this point, it feels like it’s being stretched out to make it last longer.

Naruto CH:684

In this chapter, Kaguya tries to go after Naruto again. With the help of the tailed beasts, Naruto builds up a large amount of chakra for creating a bunch of shadow doppelgangers. They all converge on Kaguya to do the Naruto Ultimate Barrage. As Kaguya starts moving to a different time-space, Naruto sends his real body to follow her. They make it to the root time-space, which connects to five other time-spaces. After a moment of hesitation, Kaguya begins attacking Naruto. Kaguya thinks she’s gotten him, but something doesn’t seem to be quite right…

This chapter continues to keep this particular story arc going. In this chapter, we see Naruto finally succeeding in following Kaguya into a different time-space. He’s hoping to find Sasuke, but he’s not in the root time-space. This chapter definitely ends on a cliffhanger, though, and I can’t wait to read the next chapter to find out what actually took place near the end of this chapter.

Hunter x Hunter CH:346

This chapter opens with some “info dumping” about the V5 countries’ efforts to explore the Dark Continent and how they all failed. The Hunters that are meeting also discuss how to handle Beyond. From here, the meeting becomes a question and answer session. Later, a couple of the guys talk about the possibility of a spy being among the Zodiacs. Back at the meeting, we are introduced the attendees and what they’ll be doing for this mission: Cheadle, Mizaistom, Botobai, Pyon, Cluck, Saccho, Saiyu, Ginta, Kanzai, Gel, Leorio, and Kurapika. The chapter then jumps ahead to a month later, as we see Ging training some people. It’s also revealed that the Hunter Exam has ended, and that Beyond’s assassina all failed. Right at the end of the chapter, Ging and Pariston are approached by three guys who say their real boss is Beyond…

The vast majority of this chapter exists simply to impart information on several of the characters. It wasn’t too bad for me, since I’m still such a newcomer to Hunter x Hunter; all of this “info dumping” helped me to better understand some of the characters, as well as what’s been going on in the story. But I imagine that for long-time readers of this series, most of the chapter may not appeal much to them. But at this point, the story seems to be ever closer to getting to the voyage to the Dark Continent.

Toriko CH:284

In this chapter, Komatsu says he can hear the voice of food. At first, Mappy think it’s the air tree; however, they determine the voice is coming from where the king of foods is. Mappy says it can’t be, because they haven’t given it an offering yet. Toriko says that if it won’t let them pass, they’ll just have to force their way through. Toriko tells Mappy to go with Komatsu; he tells them to come back with air that’s ready to eat. After they leave, Toriko takes on the opponent, Nightmare Heracles…

This chapter starts to move the story forward a little. Now Komatsu and Mappy have gone off to get the air, while Toriko stays behind to take on Nightmare Heracles and potentially be sacrificing himself. However, with this being a typical shonen manga title, Toriko will somehow be able to triumph over Nightmare Heracles. The main question is just how many chapters it’s going to end up taking for Toriko to succeed.

Bleach CH:588

In this chapter, we see the leader of the Quincys, Uryu, and some of the others at Reiokyu. They are intercepted by Zero Company and their First Officer, Tenjiro Kirinji. The Quincys are told that they don’t allow first timers in there. This leads to a battle between Zero Company and the king of the Quincys. We then return to the battle between the Soul Reapers and some of the other Quincys. A discussion is just starting when the chapter comes to an end…

So, there’s no Ichigo in this chapter. Oh well. After having a bit of the chapter that focuses on the king of the Quincys, we finally return to the Soul Reapers. We basically hadn’t seen them for a couple of chapters, so it was good to see them again. Unfortunately, their part of the story doesn’t progress at all. The part with the king of the Quincys went by really quick, because it was primarily action and not much in the way of dialogue. Hopefully the next chapter will progress the story with the Soul Reapers.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:130

This chapter opens with the newspaper club meeting and talking about doing a special focus article related to the school festival. They’re planning on doing the article about the couple who played the leads in Romeo and Juliet the previous year. A girl named Mimiko is given the assignment of interviewing them. The couple in question is Raku and Chitoge. Mimiko says that while she was sent to interview them for the roles in Romeo and Juliet and to learn more about the school’s most famous couple, she also says she has her own agenda: she doesn’t believe that they are a real couple. She asks them to tell her the truth. The two of them begin putting on an act to try to convince her that she’s wrong. It turns out she’s already done a thorough investigation on the two of them. Mimiko shows them interviews she did with various members of the cast. Raku is suddenly called away to the teacher’s room. After he’s away, Chitoge is asked if she loves Raku. After some initial stammering, Chitoge declares that she does.

At first, this chapter feels like it’s there just to kill time. However, near the end, it’s clear it’s meant to progress Chitoge’s feelings when she admits to Mimiko that she is indeed in love with Raku. Fortunately, this confession gets Mimiko to back off of her assertion that the two of them aren’t a real couple. However, I’m wondering if Mimiko may reappear again at some point for some reason. With how much focus was placed on Mimiko in this chapter, I suspect she’s a character who may return every once in a while, trying to get a scoop for the paper.

Stealth Symphony CH:020

At the beginning of this chapter, it’s confirmed that it was Jig’s head that was cut off when he was in dragon form, and that it was done by a member of the Assassins Guild because he has a job. The orphanage director freaks out when she sees that Black Dragon is dead, and is surprised a mere human could kill him. This member of the Assassins Guild knew her five years ago, but he had a different appearance then. It turns out he’s a zombie, because he had died previously. It turns out this guy also has the Black Dragon’s power. The director demands that Slice hand the Macguffin back, but he mocks her. Slice also declares that he’s given up on getting his revenge on Alice. Troma manages to disrupt the director’s plan. We then learn that the one who ordered the job of killing Jig was Jig himself. After this, ten years pass, and Alice and Troma find themselves in Japan. It turns out there was a portal in some ruins.

Before reading this chapter, I had read a report on ANN saying that this manga had been cancelled, and that this would be the last chapter. As I read this chapter, it was obvious that the mangaka was trying to throw as much information out as possible before wrapping up the manga. Probably the worst part of this was how quickly Slice changed his mind about killing Alice; it just felt forced. The chapter also felt a bit rushed. I can’t complain too much about this, knowing the situation the mangaka found himself in. I’m sure that if the series hadn’t been cancelled, what was seen in this chapter would have been developed more as the series progressed.

AX Con Report

This section has text describing what Viz did at their various panels, and this was followed by pictures of cosplayers. I did enjoy looking at the pictures of the various cosplayers, although my favorite was the picture of the people cosplaying as Jugo and Kimimaro from the Naruto franchise. However, the baby in the Saiyan suit was my second favorite.

Viz Media Streaming Clip of the New Sailor Moon English Dub

Viz Media is now streaming a clip from the new English dub of the Sailor Moon television anime series.

I am embedding the clip below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view the clip due to region blocking.

Manga Review: “Monster: The Perfect Edition” Volume One

Monster: The Perfect Edition Volume One is a new release of the Monster manga, which features a new translation, re-mastered pages, and some full-color content. This volume was published by Viz Media’s Viz Signature imprint in 2014. The series is rated “T+” for older teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

The main character of the series is Doctor Kenzo Tenma; he’s a Japanese neurosurgeon working at the Eisler Memorial Hospital in Dusseldorf, Germany. At the beginning of the series, he is the Head of Neurosurgery and is engaged to the daughter of the department’s director.

At the beginning of the series, Dr. Tenma is called away from performing surgery on a Turkish worker injured in an accident to operate on a famous opera singer. At a press conference, the department director takes credit for the surgery on the singer. Later, the wife of the Turkish worker approaches Dr. Tenma and questions why he operated on the singer instead of on her husband, who died in surgery. This event causes Dr. Tenma to start questioning what’s been going on and the decisions being made by the director. During a conversation Dr. Tenma has with the director, he learns the director’s true motivations for how he decides to do things at the hospital; this doesn’t sit well with Dr. Tenma.

Later, the Liebert family becomes the victims of a crime. The parents are killed, one of the children is shot in the head and is in critical condition, and the daughter is in a state of shock. As Dr. Tenma is about to go into an operation to perform surgery on the boy, the director tries to pull him out, saying the mayor had collapsed in his home and he needed Tenma to work on the surgery. After a crisis of conscience, Tenma disobeys the director and returns to the operating room to save the young boy. The boy survives, but the mayor dies in surgery. The director is so angry about Tenma disobeying him that Tenma is demoted; also, the director’s daughter breaks off her engagement with him.

Soon after, the director, as well as two doctors, is murdered after being poisoned by candy. At the same time, the two Liebert siblings disappear from the hospital. After a new director is named for the hospital, Tenma finds himself being promoted to chief of surgery. Tenma also meets Inspector Lunge of the BKA, and Tenma’s sudden promotion seems suspicious to Lunge.

The story jumps ahead nine years. At this point, four middle-aged childless couples are murdered, and it’s a case that’s baffled authorities. Tenma becomes involved when one of the suspects has to receive surgery after being hit by a car. While interacting with this patient, Tenma learns about the murders and the identity of the one who hired him.

Tenma finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong times several times, so Inspector Lunge starts suspecting that Tenma is involved even more than he had before. This volume also reveals what happened to the Liebert siblings who head disappeared nine years earlier.

From reading this volume, I thought that Monster had a very compelling story. As a reader, I really came to like Dr. Tenma; I also feel bad for him for everything he’s had to endure up to this point. He’s become rather disillusioned as a doctor, and has now found himself embroiled in a major set of murder cases. He also carries a heavy burden, since he feels it’s his fault that the murderer has been able to commit their crimes due to having saved this person’s life years earlier.

When it comes to this release, I thought the art looked very crisp and clear. I suspect this is due to the remastering that Viz did to the manga. I also liked the color pages that appear in the volume; the two sections with color pages are the beginning of the first chapter and the beginning of the 15th chapter. When it comes to the art, I felt there were some very powerful panels that appeared in this volume; to me, one of the most powerful ones is when Johan Liebert is reaching out for his sister while he’s in his hospital bed, and he’s crying. And Urasawa’s art style really captures emotions well, and this helps to enhance the drama of the story.

I was riveted as I read this volume, and was so impressed by what I read that I definitely want to read more of the Monster manga series at some point in the future. If you like crime drama stories that include conspiracy, political intrigue and murder, then you’ll probably enjoy Monster. Unfortunately, I haven’t read the original pressings to be able to compare those pressings with Monster: The Perfect Edition, so I really can’t comment on how different the two versions are.

I wrote this review after reading a review copy of Monster: The Perfect Edition Volume One that was provided to me by Viz Media.

Viz Media Announces Special Theatrical Screening of Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent

Viz Media has announced that the Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent anime film will be screened at the 2014 Japan Film Festival of San Francisco. The film will screen on July 23, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. with an encore presentation on July 27, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. The film will be presented with the original Japanese dialogue and English subtitles. Tickets for Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent are $13.00 each.

Berserk: The Golden Age Arc III – The Advent depicts the horrifying conclusion to the epic Golden Age trilogy and 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!

Manga Review: “Kamisama Kiss” Volume 15

Kamisama Kiss Volume 15 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.

Volume 15 opens with Nanami still in the past, where an injured Tomoe (who has disguised himself as a child) stays at Yukiji’s home while Nanami. Nanami claims that Tomoe is a child from her village and that his name is Himetaro. While all this is going on, Nanami has to try not to get too involved and inadvertently change what happens to Tomoe in the past. Once Tomoe appears to be getting better, Nanami leaves. Unfortunately, just as Nanami is about to talk to the kami that placed the curse on Tomoe, she is pulled back into the present because her time ran out.

After Nanami is able to get some rest and gets encouragement from her friends, she returns to the past. When she returns, she encounters Akura-Oh. He is out in search of Tomoe, because he had heard a rumor that Tomoe had fallen in love with a human girl. Akura-Oh makes Nanami take him to the capital so he can try to find out why Tomoe would be interested in a woman from there. The time Nanami has to spend with Akura-Oh is actually rather amusing to read for the most part.

I have to give Nanami credit for the actions she takes in the past. While she wants to do what she can to save Tomoe, she’s still rational enough to realize that she can’t do anything to tamper with the past, because it would change her world in the future. But could her encounter with Akura-Oh have unintended consequences that cause changes in the futue? Hopefully Volume 16 will answer that. But by doing this storyline, it allows Suzuki to show the audience more of what happened to Tomoe in the past than what we’d seen in the flashbacks provided in previous volumes, and it allows the audience to see a lot of what happened through Nanami’s eyes. There are still some scenes that take place without Nanami around, but for the most part, she was there in some way, shape or form.

This volume also includes two “special episodes.” The first one has to do with Nanami trying to figure out what’s in a package that is given to Tomoe by Tanuko. The second has to do with Nanami’s friends convincing her to buy lingerie, and her attempts to hide it from Tomoe. Both of these stories don’t really have much of anything to do with the main storyline, but they were light-hearted and amusing to read.

At the end of Volume 15, I’m wondering how much longer Nanami will remain in the past and if she’ll succeed in talking with the fallen kami and find out how to break the curse.

After reading this volume, I have to say that if you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 14 volumes of Kamisama Kiss, then you should also enjoy reading Volume 15.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Kamisama Kiss Volume 15 that I checked out through the King County Library System.