Manga Review: “Ultraman” Volume One

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Ultraman Volume 1 is inspired by the Japanese superhero TV show from Japan that began airing in the 1960s. This manga adaptation appears to be a “new generation” story to continue from the original television series.

Ultraman Volume 1

Written by: Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi
Publisher: HERO’S INC.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 18, 2015

Volume 1 starts out by establishing the basic premise from the original Ultraman television series, but quickly moves ahead to a time when Ultraman has left Earth and has become a memory.

Shin Hayata, a former member of the Science Special Search Party that worked with Ultraman years earlier to fight alien creatures called kaiju, takes his young son Shinjiro to a museum dedicated to Ultraman. But during this visit, it’s established that there’s something strange about Shinjiro: he falls a great distance but is unhurt.

This bothers Shin, but things become even more complicated after he talks with his former teammate, Ide. Shin admits to having no memory of the time when Ultraman was around but can remember everything clearly from before and after then. Ide drops several bombshells, including the fact that Shin was Ultraman after the two of them had merged. Personally, I felt that the first chapter of Ultraman Volume 1 did a great job of establishing the concept of Ultraman for readers who don’t have familiarity with it, and it also effectively set the stage for what happens later in the story.

The story jumps ahead 12 years to Shinjiro as a teenager, and it’s revealed that he has other abilities besides not getting hurt if he falls from any height. It’s reinforced that Shinjiro has these unusual abilities, but has no idea why he does. But when a new alien threat comes to Earth both Shin and Shinjiro find themselves facing off with it. Near the end of the volume, Shinjiro is given a way to amplify his power in order to help fight the kaiju. Volume 1 establishes that Shinjiro is becoming the new Ultraman, whether he really wants to or not.

Much of Ultraman Volume 1 spends its time trying to establish the characters, their situations, and the world that they inhabit. It can make the early portion of the story feel like it’s dragging a little but once it’s hinted there’s something unusual about Shinjiro and Shin learns the truth about Ultraman, the story starts picking up. And the reader is rewarded by impressive fight sequences during the last third of the volume.

The art in this volume looks impressive, especially the fight sequences. There’s also a drawing that caught my interest in a two-page spread on pages 120-121 which depicts Shin revealing to Shinjiro that he’s Ultraman. The contrasts of the shades make it stand out, and the details included for the drawing of Shin also catch the eye. The overall art style, when combined with the storytelling, makes this volume of Ultraman an engaging read.

Ultraman Volume 1 seems to be off to a good start. From what I see here, I believe it’s a series that can appeal to readers whether or not they have any familiarity with the Ultraman television series. Readers who enjoy the Tiger & Bunny anime or manga series will likely find something to like about Ultraman.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Deadman Wonderland” Volume 10

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Deadman Wonderland Volume 10 focuses on Ganta Igarashi, a boy who was wrongfully imprisoned in a special prison known as Deadman Wonderland. He has learned that his friend Shiro isn’t what he thought she was.

Deadman Wonderland Volume 10

Written by: Jinsei Kataoka
Publisher: Kadokawa Shoten
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 11, 2015

Volume 10 shows what has happened to the various inmates after they are taken out of Deadman Wonderland due to the truth about what it is being made public.  However, for the ones we see, it looks like life outside of Deadman Wonderland hasn’t been what they hoped it would be. Ganta seems to be going through the worst issues, though, as he dwells on the fact that Shiro was actually the “Red Man” who murdered his classmates in middle school and caused him to be sent to Deadman Wonderland in the first place. Ganta’s confusion and anguish are a driving force in this volume.

Meanwhile, Makina has developed a plan to try to take down the Mother Goose system that’s still active at Deadman Wonderland. This plan involves gathering those who were affected by Deadman Wonderland, regardless of whether or not they were Deadmen. At first, Ganta’s confusion almost keeps him from participating. But when he does join the operation, his confusion is put to the test when Shiro suddenly appears. While I’d been feeling bad for Ganta leading up this reunion with Shiro, my sympathy magnified when he came face to face with Shiro. As we see throughout Volume 10, Ganta goes through a major emotional rollercoaster, and the end for it doesn’t seem to be in sight.

Toto, the strongest and most psychotic of the Deadmen, is determined to unlock the Mother Goose system in order to unleash Shiro’s full potential as the Wretched Egg. The reader can see just how driven he is to achieve his goal, and how it seems he’ll do just about anything to achieve it. He’s especially obsessed with Ganta, which is something that Ganta doesn’t need to deal with in his already confused state of mind. As we see Toto’s obsession progress, it becomes clear that Ganta is going to be a very important component of the story going forward.

We also learn that Makina is keeping certain facts about the Mother Good system a secret to try to protect Ganta. However, this plan backfires on her when he hears the truth blurted out by Toto near the end of the volume. I’m not sure if what Toto says registers with Ganta at the time, because he’s so concerned about saving Senji’s life. I suspect that the truth that Makina has been trying so hard to keep from Ganta will be coming to light in an upcoming volume, and it’ll be interesting to see how Ganta reacts to it.

Deadman Wonderland Volume 10 works at setting the next part of the story in motion, and it’s becoming very clear that the series is getting closer to its conclusion. It feels like the story is ultimately leading to a final confrontation between Ganta and Shiro, but that there’s still a little more that needs to happen before that battle can take place. Hopefully, the journey to reach the climax will be just as interesting as what I read in this volume.

When it comes to the art, I thought this volume included some drawings of Makina that really stood out compared to many of the other panels. There were also some close-up panels where it almost felt like the characters were about to leap off the page. And the drawings during Ganta and Shiro’s confrontation emphasized both the action and the emotional aspects of the scene very effectively.

Fans of the series will not want to miss out on reading Deadman Wonderland Volume 10, because the story is moving in a very different and exciting direction.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Food Wars!” Volume Seven

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Food Wars! Volume 7 focuses on Soma Yukihira, who is a student at the elite Totsuki Culinary Academy. As a student, Soma is an underdog, but he never gives up on his dream. At this point in the series, he has qualified to participate in the school’s Fall Classic.

Food Wars! Volume 7

Written by: Yuto Tsukuda
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 11, 2015

Volume 11 spends all of its time on the first round of the Fall Classic, and tries to balance out the focus between the competitions in the A block and the B block. The first couple of chapters show the characters as they prepare their curry dishes, and then the remainder of the volume shows the judges trying most of the contestants’ entries.

Unfortunately, once the volume shifts to the judges trying to dishes, the story starts to bog down considerably. With each dish, the reader receives explanations for what each one is, as well as what kind of an effect the various ingredients have. There are some flashback sequences that are included every now and then to provide some character development, but it’s just not enough to help break up all of the exposition that appears in Food Wars! Volume 11. This kind of exposition works well when you’re reading one chapter a week in the Weekly Shonen Jump publication, but having to wade through several chapters in a row that are all done in this style becomes tedious rather quickly.

Although I have to say that there was one particular dish that was sampled that didn’t receive as dry of exposition, and that was the one made by Nao. The reactions to her dish actually provided some comic relief and at least helped to make that judging portion of Volume 11 a little more interesting to read. Unfortunately, Nao’s dish was presented rather early on in the judging, so it ended up highlighting just how tedious most of the tasting ended up being.

With some of the taste tasting, though, artist Shun Saeki tried utilizing the fanservice this series uses when people are so blown away by something that they eat. This usually consists of most of a person’s clothing exploding off of them as they savor the amazing taste. While it’s slightly amusing when it shows up once or twice, I felt it was overused in Food Wars! Volume 11 in order to try to hide how dull this portion of the story really is.

Overall, I think that Food Wars! Volume 11 will be best appreciated by readers who are fans of the series and have followed it since the beginning. As a whole, I think that Food Wars! can be best appreciated by foodies who should have a greater appreciation for all of the explanations about the foods and ingredients that appear in the series. Just as long as said foodies don’t have a problem with some of the fanservice that sometimes appears in the art.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Magi” Volume 13

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Magi Volume 13 focuses on a young man named Aladdin, who has discovered that he’s a Magi and has the ability to gather the Magoi of Rukh to power his magic.

Magi Volume 13

Written by: Shinobu Ohtaka
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 11, 2015

Volume 13 sees Morgiana becoming closer with Hakuryu after learning that they learn about each other’s childhood. It appears that Hakuryu may be developing feelings for Morgiana.

We also get to see Sinbad and Kougyoku performing a full-body djinn equip, which leads to them having an impressive sparring match. While they both drastically change their appearances, Kougyoku has a much more noticeable change in her demeanor in this state. Alibaba, who has been struggling with only being able to weapon equip, is impressed by what he sees. But he also feels discouraged at the same time. But Sinbad gives him some information and advice that ultimately leads Alibaba to make an important decision.

Not too long after this, Sinbad and his friends decide to leave Sindria. While they’ll travel together at first, their ultimate goal will be to go their separate ways to accomplish what they need to do. At first, it seems that Alibaba isn’t going with them. However, it’s revealed that Alibaba has stowed away on their ship, and this leads to a scene of comic relief leading up to the revelation to the others that he’s actually on board. This comic relief scene was needed after the seriousness of the character interactions and the intensity of the action that takes place before then.

This comic relief moment ultimately leads to a storyline of the group being attacked by pirates. But they’re not attacked by ordinary pirates. They’re children under the control of a woman who has the ability to make them think that she’s their mother in order to make them do what she wants. This leads to an interesting predicament for Morgiana and Alibaba right at the end of the volume.

There were some great character development moments sprinkled throughout Magi Volume 13. Morgiana and Hakuryu had their scene, Alibaba had a scene with Kougyoku, and the storyline with the child pirates also struck a nerve. And if this wasn’t enough, the ending of the volume has a strong cliffhanger that makes readers want to continue with the story in order to find out what will happen to the characters.

To me, the art in Magi Volume 13 was at its strongest during the sparring sequence between Sinbad and Kougyoku. It drew the reader into the action, and it seemed to have some of the best use of detail. Ohtaka also seemed to put a lot of effort into the design for Madaura, the “mother” of the child pirates.

Magi Volume 13 should be a satisfying read for fans of the series with the mixture of character development, action, and humor that it provides.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood” Volume 3

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3 is set in the 1800s and continues the story of Jonathan Joestar (who goes by JoJo) and his conflicts with Dio Brando. Dio gets a hold of a stone mask that’s an ancient artifact of the Aztecs and is now attempting to take over the world.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3

Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Volume 3 picks up in the middle of a fight between JoJo’s group and the two knights that Dio has sent to destroy them. Much of the first half of this volume focuses on the fight sequences, so there are plenty of panels that focus on the action and not as much on dialogue. However, there are moments during these fight sequences where text is included to provide some exposition so the reader can understand what’s going on.

At one point during the fighting, this volume provides a flashback with some backstory for Will A. Zeppeli. This flashback provides important information that explains something that Zeppeli does during the battle, and it also introduces a character who appears later on in this volume.

After JoJo’s group makes it past the battle with the knights the story moves on to the final confrontation between JoJo and Dio.  As one would expect from an action manga like this, the final battle is epic and escalates until the protagonist finds a way to get the upper hand. Of course, with the escalation comes several instances where it looks like JoJo has won, but then Dio does something to try to turn things around.

Near the end of this volume, it looks like JoJo will finally see a happy ending after everything he’s gone through with Dio since Volume 1. Unfortunately, there’s a last instance of chaos that rocks the story and the ending isn’t as happy as the reader had hoped for. However, with this ending, the stage is set for Part 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

In addition to fighting and action, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure also incorporates musical references in the characters’ names. In this arc, there are references to REO Speedwagon, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Poco, Dire Straits, Wang Chung, Doobie Brothers, Bryan Adams, Yes, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I picked up on some of these references right away, while others I found out about after doing some research. But for readers who have a fondness for music, they’ll either appreciate the homages or groan at them.

When it comes to the art in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3, Araki utilizes a lot of detail. This also includes the many action and fight scenes that take place in this volume. And VIZ Media’s presentation helps the art look crisp and clear, and in some cases, the art almost looks as if it might jump right off the page. Araki’s art style is very engaging and pulls the reader in.

So JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3 brings the “Phantom Blood” arc to an end.  While it may not have contained a happy ending, I think readers who have followed the story through the previous two volumes will still appreciate all the action and plot developments that take place here. I believe that fans of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will not be disappointed in what they see.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Manga Review: “Black Rose Alice” Volume Five

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Black Rose Alice Volume 5 focuses on Dimitri, a celebrated tenor from early 1900s Vienna who becomes a vampire after he’s killed in an accident. He is forced to flee after causing countless deaths, which includes killing his adopted brother. His brother’s fiancée, Agnieszka, tries to take her own life, but her body is kept alive even though her soul has already fled. Dimitri takes Agnieszka’s body with him. The story jumps ahead in time 100 years and the setting moves to Japan, where 16-year-old Koya and his teacher, Azusa, are in a relationship. The two end up in an accident, and Azusa gives up her soul to Dimitri in order to save Koya’s life. Azusa’s soul revives Agnieszka, who now goes by the name of Alice. She must now consider which vampire in Dimitri’s nest she wants to propagate with.

Black Rose Alice Volume 5

Written by: Setona Mizushiro
Publisher: Akita Publishing Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Volume 5 opens with Alice encountering Koya at the café run by two of the vampires in the nest, and she recognizes him from Azusa’s memories. It’s been two years, and Koya has changed considerably in that time. Alice finds herself wanting to see Koya again, but when she does, it becomes awkward when it seems Koya has guessed that she has some kind of connection to Azusa.

Much of Black Rose Alice Volume 5 focuses on the tension that develops for Alice. For much of the volume, this tension is connected to Koya as she’s confused about Azusa’s feelings for Koya and her own feelings for the vampires that she lives with. But even after this particular part of the storyline is resolved, the tension doesn’t ease at all. In fact, it increases as the vampires learn what happened between Alice and Koya. This tension escalates to one of the vampires leaving, and the set of twins not entirely trusting one another.

Near the end of the volume, one of the twins seems to be starting to regain his memory about his and his brother’s life from before they became vampires. This revelation only adds to the tension and jealousy this particular twin has already been feeling toward his brother’s closeness with Alice.

Black Rose Alice Volume 5 is a very intense read. However, I was so interested in what was happening with the story and the characters that the tension that built throughout it didn’t make me want to put the volume down. The developments in this volume create significant changes for the characters and the story, but I think long time readers of the series will read this part of the story and have a lot of anticipation as the tension builds.

When it comes to the art, much of it doesn’t look quite as detailed as the drawings in the first volume where the scenes took place in the 1900s. However, I have to give Mizushiro credit for the drawings of Dimitri, because his distinct look has stayed consistent since Volume 1. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about most of the other characters that appear in Black Rose Alice Volume 5. But even with some of the character design weaknesses that appear in this series, Mizushiro does a great job at capturing intense emotions in the characters’ facial expressions. It’s especially impressive when you realize just how many intense emotions had to be drawn in this volume due to all of the tension in the story.

Long time readers of the series should find a lot to interest them in Black Rose Alice Volume 5. The intensity of the story, as well as the major changes that result from all of the tension in this volume, help to take the series to a new level.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Weekly Shonen Jump (August 24, 2015)

This issue includes chapters for Food Wars!, One Piece, Toriko, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, My Hero Academia, Black Clover, One-Punch Man, and Yu-Gi-Oh1 Arc-V. This issue also includes the third chapter of D.Gray-man (which is the current title to be featured for the “Jump Back” initiative).

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

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

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

Food Wars! CH:131

Kuga doesn’t take losing to Soma well, and matters are made worse when Rindo Kobayashi, the second seat on the council of ten, gives him a hard time about it. But Soma points out that there’s still one day left of the festival, and if he can’t beat Kuga in overall profit for the whole event, he hasn’t won. The story then skips ahead to the last day of the festival, and it appears that Soma has resigned himself to the fact that Kuga will outsell him. During the chapter, we also see a flashback of when Kuga was a first-year student. And right at the end of the chapter, Erina’s father makes a surprise visit to her booth.

The majority of this chapter focuses on Soma and Kuga’s battle. But during this, I appreciated getting to see the flashback that showed that Kuga was just as cocky of a first-year student as Soma currently is. It appears they’re more alike than Kuga would want to admit. It doesn’t surprise me that it looks like Kuga will win their battle, but I suspect that Soma managed to pull it off so he wasn’t in the red at the end. And with how this chapter ends, it looks like the next chapter may have a focus on Erina and her father. This could provide some great character development for Erina.

One Piece CH:797

We see a battle at the eastern port with the naval forces. Then we see Luffy at Flower Field looking for Rebecca. He talks to her about her father, which leads to Luffy taking Rebecca with him. But the people at the palace believe that Luffy has kidnapped her. But Luffy takes her as far as he can so she can see Kyros while he heads off to the eastern port. Rebecca finds Kyros and confronts him. Before leaving, Rebecca had told Viola her plans, and Viola shares them with Riku.

This chapter sees the fighting between the pirates and the navy getting underway, but more importantly, Rebecca’s storyline is wrapped up here as well. From what I’ve seen of Rebecca since I started reading One Piece in Weekly Shonen Jump, I’m not surprised that she would choose to confront Kyros about what he wrote to her in the letter and insist that she wants to stay with him. It looks like the main thing left in Dressrosa is to get through this battle with the navy and seeing Luffy and the members of the crew still at Dressrosa getting away and heading to their next destination.

Toriko CH:335

At the beginning of this chapter, it’s revealed that the strongest of the Eight Kings in Area 6 is on the move, and that the first people to resonate with it were the ones in Area 5. Then we see the reactions of the people in Area 4. Then there are reactions in Area 3. And then we see what happens in Area 2. Toriko and Starjun are in Area 2, and they encounter a Royal Land Shark. They decide to work together to try to fight it. They also realize that the Wolf King is behind the Royal Land Shark. The scene then changes to Neo’s hideout, where Nakaume is approached by someone who offers to help him.

Instead of continuing the cookoff in Blue Grill, this chapter decides to show what else has been happening. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on characters in one or two areas, there’s a lot of skipping around. In total, we saw six different locations for brief scenes. It reminds me a lot of what I was seeing during the Dressrosa Arc in One Piece, where so much jumping around was going on that the story didn’t advance at all. Whenever this happens, I find I have a harder time following what’s going on and feel like I’m trying to read at a dizzying pace. Hopefully this will only be for this chapter and that the next chapter will settle down somewhere and allow the story to progress.

Bleach CH:639

The fight between Pernida and Mayuri continues. Mayuri activates his bankai, which turns out to be an altered bankai. With this alteration, he’s able to have a version of it that Pernida can’t control it with its nerves.

All this chapter seems to do is to establish the next stage of the battle, because the only thing that really happens is that Mayuri activates his modified bankai and explains what it is. We actually got to see a brief flashback of when Mayuri was much younger, and he looked so different. It was almost hard to believe it was the same person. But hopefully the next chapter of Bleach will actually start doing something to progress the story.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:182

We see that Raku has called Marika’s friend, Mikage. They learn that Marika changed schools because she and her mother had made a very strict deal. It turns out Marika’s mother is the grand matriarch for her side of the family, but that the girls were usually sickly. Normally the girls don’t get to pick their own husbands, but when Marika started getting better when she met Raku, Marika made a deal with her mother. When she was of marriageable age, she wanted to go to Raku’s high school, and it was only allowed under two conditions. If Marika got too sick to go to school, she was to come home immediately. And if Marika had been able to convince Raku to marry her before her health got bad, her mother would give her blessing; but if Marika didn’t win his love, upon her return home she would marry the suitor of her mother’s choosing. Raku now wonders if he has any right to try to stop the wedding, since he was planning to reject her. But Chitoge smacks Raku and says she knows that he wants to help. This causes Raku to decide that she should do this, and all of their friends decide that they want to accompany Raku. Yui overheard everything and has arranged a flight for them.

So it looks like Marika hasn’t been completely written out of the story, unless Raku and the others fail to persuade Marika’s mother to stop the forthcoming wedding. But even if they do succeed at stopping the wedding, I expect that Raku will still end up rejecting Marika, and where will that leave her? And from how Marika’s mother was described in this chapter, how would they succeed at stopping the wedding? Hopefully Komi doesn’t pull something lame in order to resolve this story.

My Hero Academia CH:055

Now we see what’s going on with Gran Torino, and we see he’s fighting alongside Todoroki’s mentor. His mentor has a flashback of when Todoroki left to go help Ida and Midoriya. We then return to where Todoroki and the others are still fighting against the Hero Killer. With the three of them working together, they’re able to capture the Hero Killer. Gran Torino finds them and scolds Midoriya for leaving the train. Ida apologizes to Midoriya and Todoroki since they were injured because of him. A villain suddenly appears and captures Midoriya while the Hero Killer escapes from his bonds.

I should have figured that the Hero Killer wouldn’t stay captured. But I hadn’t expected Midoriya to be taken by a villain. It looks Gran Torino is trying to go after him, but the flying villain is going too fast for his Quirk. What will happen to Midoriya? And what’s the Hero Killer going to end up doing? Hopefully we’ll start getting answers to these questions in the next chapter.

Black Clover CH:026

Asta appears on the battlefield, and the enemy leader taunts him because he’s the anti magic guy. Meanwhile, the Silver Eagles make an appearance. We then see groups of Magic Knights in various locations discovering that the enemies get right back up after they’re cut down. They all end up deciding that they’ll just keep crushing them until they can’t get back up. We basically then get several pages of characters launching attacks. Then the story returns to Asta, and his new rival marvels at how well he’s doing against the enemy fighters. Asta then tries taking the leader head-on, but things don’t go as planned.

For the most part, this ended up being a quick chapter to read, thanks to several pages in a row that just showed characters launching attacks. For the most part, not much really happened to advance to the story. But right at the very end, we see that the leader of the enemy forces seems to have a power that Asta needs to figure out how to defeat.

One-Punch Man CH:049

Garo approaches Golden Ball and challenges him to a fight. But it turns out Golden Ball surprises Garo by getting a hit in on him. But after a while, Garo is able to easily dodge a barrage of Golden Ball’s bullets. But just as it looks like Garo will have the upper hand, someone jumps into the middle of the battle. It’s a hero named Spring Mustachio. But after a short battle, Garo is able to defeat Spring Mustachio.

This chapter focused exclusively on Garo’s fight. We see him take on two heroes, but only defeating one. But I expect Garo may take down Golden Ball in the next chapter. Also, there was no sign of Saitama anywhere in this chapter. After it was hinted that Saitama would be participating in a martial arts tournament in the previous chapter, there’s nothing at all about him here. Hopefully we’ll see the martial arts tournament soon.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V CH:001

This Yu-Gi-Oh! series is set in the near future, where solid vision with mass has been developed, and the era of action duels is now underway. We then see the Syu Zo Duel School in Maiami City. But it turns out there are currently no students enrolled, so the principal’s daughter is determined to find students. Meanwhile, another character is upset that they overslept and missed the Leo Corporation Duel Tournament. A person in a cloak, who seems to be an Entertainment Duelist known as The Phantom, approaches them and summons one of his dragons. The Leo Corporation is determined to capture The Phantom, who apparently has hacked into their solid vision system. The principal and his daughter see the Leo Corporation helicopters going by, and his daughter is determined to find this Entertainment Duelist in order to have him teach at their school and attract students. We learn that the Phantom’s real identity is Yuya Sakaki, and that he holds the future in his hands. At the end of the chapter, it’s revealed that this Phantom is now Yuya Sakaki, but he’s willing to be an opponent for a duel against someone from the Leo Corporation anyway.

As expected of the first chapter of a manga, it’s setting up the story, the world, and the characters. This is one of those rare chapters in a Yu-Gi-Oh! series where there’s no dueling going on. But I’m sure the next chapter will have a duel and have the usual explanations of what each card does as its played. That’s the part of this I’m looking forward to the least: yet another Yu-Gi-Oh! series that comes across as a tutorial for the game. But I find it interesting that this Yu-Gi-Oh! series is another one that has a dueling school included; the main difference between this and GX is the fact that the school in GX was very successful while this one doesn’t have a single student yet.

D.Gray-man CH:003

Allen tries to exorcise the akuma posing as John’s friend, Leo. But John blocks the attack. But Leo quickly proves that he is indeed an akuma. Millennium Earl is surprised when Allen says he can see Leo’s mother’s soul. Millennium Earl then realizes that he’s met Allen before after Allen reveals the curse he has. We then see a flashback of when Allen asked Millennium Earl to resurrect Mana Walker. It’s revealed that Allen was born with an anti-akuma weapon within him.

Not a whole lot actually happens in this chapter when it comes to action. It’s actually primarily a chapter of exposition. But it’s much needed exposition to explain a little more detail about the akuma and why and how Allen fights to exorcise the akuma. The flashback was extremely helpful for this. But hopefully the next chapter, which is supposed to be the last chapter for this “Jump Back” initiative, will progress the story and show how this particular plot point will be resolved.