Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 148 (December 15, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Food Wars!, One Piece, Toriko, Hi-Fi Cluster, Nisekoi: False Love, World Trigger, Bleach, and Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment. In addition, this issue also includes the seventh chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative.

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

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

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

Food Wars! CH:099

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

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

One Piece CH:770

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

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

Toriko CH:305

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

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

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:014

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

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

Nisekoi: False Love CH:151

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

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

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

World Trigger CH:087

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

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

Bleach CH:609

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

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

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:003

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

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

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

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

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

Naruto CH:007

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

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

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

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

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 147 (December 8, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Nisekoi: False Love, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judment, World Trigger, Bleach, Hi-Fi Cluster, E-ROBOT, Toriko, Food Wars!, and Blue Exorcist. In addition, this issue also includes the sixth chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative, as well as “Food Wars! Japanese Editor Picks.”

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.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:150

This chapter opens with the announcement that it’s almost time for Raku and his class to take their class trip; this time, it’s a trip to Kyoto. As expected, Raku already has some members of his harem asking to be in his group. It turns out there’s a famous shrine of love in Kyoto with a miraculous 90% success rate for having your love requited. But then it’s revealed that this year, the groups will be chosen by lottery. After the lottery is finished, we see that all of the main characters are in the same group together, except for Raku. He ends up in a group of guys who tease him mercilessly for his situation. On the day of the trip, Raku is running late and ends up having to help an old lady get to her destination/ He contacts Yui and says he’ll get a same-day ticket and catch up. He’s told to go to the school to be picked up by a taxi, along with another student running late; that student ends up being Onodera.

When I first saw that this story arc would be featuring a class trip, I almost groaned, “Is Komi reusing another story idea?” Fortunately, as I read the chapter, I determined that it would be a different class trip story from the one that appeared earlier in the series. I also liked seeing Raku not end up in the same group as the other main characters, because this was a refreshing change of pace. However, I was a little disappointed to see that Onodera ended up being late as well as Raku. However, this does provide the opportunity for some more character development between these two. At this point, it seems as if Komi’s dropping hints that Raku will somehow end up with Onodera at the end of this.

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:028

This chapter continues Yu’s encounter with Lucal, and we see the rest of his squad come to back him up. Lucal is about to try to finish them off when Narumi’s squad jumps in to help out Shinoa’s squad; but before Narumi can do anything, Shinoa gets in the way. The battle with Lucal gets intense as the chapter continues. But as it looks like they have Lucal trapped with a chain around his arm, Lucal cuts off his arm to free himself. Both squads try to work together after this to take down Lucal. They’re able to use curse power on Lucal so he is unable to heal his wounds, which allows them to take him down.

The scene then changes to Guren and his squad trying to take down another vampire noble. They’re able to take him down, but it’s rather close since Guren didn’t assign as many people to this group. But their victory is short-lived when they’re approached by Kusunoki, who’s badly wounded. It turns out the 30-man attack team sent to Nagoya City Hall has lost 10 soldiers and the remaining 20 have been taken hostage; also, the vampires want the humans to come to them. After Kusunoki passes, a member of Guren’s squad says that this is an obvious trap. Guren adds Crowley Eusford, the thirteenth progenitor, to the hit list.

Overall, this was a rather action oriented chapter for Seraph of the End. It was great to see Shinoa and Narumi squads, who had been fighting constantly before heading out on this mission, being able to work together and take down their target. But when the story changes to Guren’s squad, the danger level is increased, especially after hearing about what happened to the 30-man attack team. As we see right at the end, this was definitely set as a trap. With Crowley now being added to the hit list, I expect to see the focus of the story shift to Guren going after Crowley at Nagoya City Hall.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:002

Abaku tells Tento to bring a witness to the stand: he brings in a fish tank. Ms. Shiratori sees the fish and realizes that it’s Suzuki, the fish that was supposedly killed. It’s revealed that the fish that was killed was an ordinary sea bass that Tento purchased and swapped for Suzuki, and Abaku explains what happened in detail. Tento also displays a note he received the day after the vote that said it was known that he was the boy who voted to save Suzuki, and that if he didn’t want to be exposed, we would have to kill the fish. Tento explains why he had told the boys that he would vote yes, and that he was afraid of being exposed as a traitor because he didn’t want to be lonely again. Pine desperately tries to come up with reasons why Tento is guilty, but Abaku finds ways to shoot them down, too. It’s revealed that the teacher played a big hand in what went down. In the end, the boys forgive Tento.

I liked how this case turned out. Honestly, I wasn’t able to guess what the real story was before Abaku explained it all at the trial. I have a feeling that this is ultimately leading to Abaku and Pine having to face off against each other over various cases, with Abaku somehow always coming out on top. While that could become formulaic, it all depends on how each case is handled in the manga. Of the three “Jump Start” initiative titles this time around, I would have to say that Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment is the strongest of the three.

World Trigger CH:086

At the beginning of the chapter, we see that it’s decided to take the points that were awarded to Osamu and Yuma and transfer them to Chika so she can be promoted to B-Rank. By doing this, Osamu forms a B-Rank squad with Chika and Yuma.

It’s the day of the B-Rank Wars. After an explanation for how they work, they begin. After Yuma does something impressive, Yoshizato Squad bails out, Mamiya Squad won’t move away from the building that they’re by. Chika is also able to contribute, and Mamiya Squad also bails out. With just that one battle, Chika and Yuma jump up to 12th place. The chapter ends with their victory.

So it appears that the next arc for World Trigger will be focusing on the Rank Wars, especially since this chapter ends with it being announced who Chika and Yuma’s next competitors will be. This could end up being an interesting arc, as long as it’s not stretched out like the most recent battle had been. So far, this has been a nice break from following the battle with the Neighbors for so many months.

Bleach CH:608

Ichibe uses “Paint It Black,” and his brush transforms into a blade; however, Yhwach doesn’t sense any spiritual pressure from it. This is a sword with no name, and everything it paints over loses its name. Yhwach uses Saint Altar and tries to steal Ichibe’s power. He succeeds, but the power he stole doesn’t belong to Yhwach. At the end of the chapter, Ichibe declares that all the black in the world becomes his.

Once again, here’s another chapter that has a short bit of battle with a lot of explanation and taunting. Really, very little progress was made in this particular chapter, and I wish this arc would get moving. It really feels like it’s moving at a glacial pace, and it’s harder and harder for me to stay interested in what’s going on because so little happens from chapter to chapter at this point. Please. Kubo, let’s get this story moving already!

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:013

This chapter continues the chase that started at the end of the previous chapter. The getaway driver suddenly goes into reverse and begins using weapons on the vehicle to attack Kandera, Peta, and the others. Kandera and the getaway driver authenticate gestures, and it’s revealed that the getaway driver is using a Hi-Fi ability that is absolute space perception. Heckt and Ekusa also get involved in the chase. Peta also gets involved and tries to rescue the girl that’s inside the car, but she freaks out, starts crying, and authenticates her gesture. It turns out her ability is to blow things up…

This chapter focuses exclusively on Kandera and the others chasing after the getaway driver and the girl he has in the car. We knew from the previous chapter that the girl had a Hi-Fi ability, but this is the first time that we learn what her ability is. And what a doozy of an ability it is! How can Kandera and the others possibly rescue her? It’ll be interesting to see how this story progresses.

E-ROBOT CH:003

Yuuki’s friend Tanaka comes to school and he looks all beaten up. It turns out some third-years took Tanaka’s treasure hoard (aka porno mags). Hikari walks in, and Tanaka tells her what happened without using the word “porno,” and she says she’ll go reason with them. Yuuki tries to stop her and then declares that he will be the one to get them back.

When then see Yuuki and Ai going to the third-years’ hideout. After Yuuki can finally get out why they’re there, the third-years say they’re not going to give Tanaka’s collection back. During the fight, we learn that in the three days between learning about the theft and going to take care of it, Ai trained Yuuki in her special self-defense course, Boob-Fu. During the fight, we also see Yuuki have a flashback to how he and Tanaka met and became friends…

Basically, this chapter is more of the “fanservice” that’s been present in the previous two chapters. Ultimately, this manga feels like it comes up with thin stories and puts it focus on trying to include as much fanservice as possible. While this manga will appeal to a certain demographic of manga readers, it really doesn’t seem like it will much in the way of mainstream appeal with readers in the U.S. I’m glad that this is the last chapter for the “Jump Start” initiative, and hopefully I’ll never have to see this one ever again.

Toriko CH:304

Well, it turns out what Sunny saw were destroyed poison dolls, so he thinks there’s a chance that everyone is still alive. Sunny has to take in Coco’s poison, and he does so successfully. Sunny quickly finds Coco and gives him his poison back. Coco then senses electromagnetic waves from the others and confirms that they’re still alive. Once they’re all together, they ask Kaka what happened. Kaka informs them that what they had wasn’t a battle, it was a game; the monkey king was playing the whole time. And what Sunny ultimately saw was Bambina sneezing from the Sundoriko pollen that Kaka had released. After learning all of this, Toriko and the others decide they’re not ready to face Bambina yet, since they aren’t even cut out to be his playmates. But after Komatsu has an emergency, they decide they need to go through Monkey Martial Arts training.

I knew there was no way that all of these characters would suddenly be killed off! I had no idea how they would have survived, but I knew that they must have. For me, it was interesting to see these usually cocky characters knocked down a couple of pegs after realizing they couldn’t even make good playmates for the monkey king. They were definitely in need of some humility, and it looks like the monkey king gave it to them. But they’re starting to recover from their wounded pride and are getting ready to train. I suspect the next chapter will be focusing on their training.

Food Wars! CH:098

This chapter sees Soma working at cooking his pike. Also, it’s revealed that Ryo will be making Acqua Pazza, which comes complete with an explanation of what the dish is and why Ryo picked it. There’s also a flashback that shows how Alice and Ryo came to know each other and how their rivalry developed.

This chapter ended up focusing very heavily on Ryo. I didn’t mind, though, since I really know nothing about him due to jumping into the series in the middle like this. This chapter also allowed me to see a little more of what Alice was like when she was younger. While we see a little bit of Soma here, he’s definitely not the one being focused on. I wonder if the next chapter will place the focus on the third contestant. But hopefully this competition won’t be stretched out for a ridiculously long time.

Food Wars! Japanese Editor Picks

This feature sees Seijiro Nakaji, the Japanese editor for Food Wars!, providing behind the scenes insight into the manga. He shares his favorite chapters and why they’re his favorites, how work is done for Food Wars!, and his favorite part of Food Wars! Fans of the series may learn something interesting from this feature.

Blue Exorcist CH:063

It appears that everything is winding down, but then Shima appears. After having some parting words, Shima leaves. Rin and the others realize they have to leave fast because the zombies are closing in; however, Kinzo arrives arrives with some others to start taking down the zombies. The surrounding area is now under control.

It’s now another day, and everyone is recovering. Izumo wakes up and we leaen that Professor Gedoin managed to escape. She’s also disappointed that she doesn’t know where Tsukumo is. She is approached by someone telling her that Tsukumo is still alive and gives her a key that will lead her to her sister. Izumo leaves and she finds her sister, who is now living under the name Tsukiko Takara. The President of Takara Computer Entertainment took her in, which makes her the informant’s cousin. Izumo approaches Tsukumo, but it turns out that Tsukumo has no memory of Izumo. Izumo goes to see Kamiki and shares her feelings about learning about Tsukumo and the fact that her sister doesn’t recognize her. Izumo and Kamiki end up sharing a moment.

So it looks like this particular story arc has come to its conclusion. It was a rather bittersweet conclusion for Izumo, but at least she now has closure when it comes to Tsukumo. But it appears that with both Professor Gedoin and Shima escaping that this story isn’t entirely over yet. I assume at this point that they’ll both appear again at some point and cause more trouble.

Naruto CH:006

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

This chapter continues Team 7’s survival exercise. Naruto continues to have problems due to acting rashly and not thinking about the fact that Kakashi could be laying traps. Sasuke finally jumps into action, but Kakashi uses a substitution jutsu to thwart Sasuke’s attack. Kakashi also uses a genjutsu on Sakura to make her think that Sasuke is injured, which causes Sakura to faint.

Chapter Six shows off some jutsu that ninjas can use in battle, and it also allows us to see Sasuke in action. It continues to set the stage for where this exercise is ultimately going to lead the story.

The seventh chapter will appear in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, so I’m thinking I’m right that Naruto will be featured in the “Jump Back” initiative until the story reaches the conclusion of the survival exercise arc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANSATSU KYOSHITSU © 2012 by Yusei Matsui/SHUEISHA Inc.

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

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 146 (December 1, 2014)

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

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

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

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

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Wars! CH:097

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

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

Bleach CH:607

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

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

E-ROBOT CH:002

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

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

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

One Piece CH:769

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toriko CH:303

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

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

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:012

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

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

World Trigger CH:085

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

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

Nisekoi: False Love CH:149

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

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

Naruto CH:005

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

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

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

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

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 144 (November 17, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Food Wars!, One Piece, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, Hi-Fi Cluster, Toriko, and World Trigger. In addition, this issue also includes the third chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative, as well as an interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Kosuke Yahagi.

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.

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:001

This is the first series that’s part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s next batch of titles for their “Jump Start” initiative.

We briefly meet a ping pong player named Ageha Hanazono, who decides to return to Japan to learn from his former master in order to advance. We then meet Ririka Otsuka, a second-year high school student who lives at a table tennis center that’s owned by her grandfather. Ririka’s grandfather wants her to take over the table tennis center, but she has no interest. Ririka is a vain girl, and we see that she’s constantly being asked out by guys at school; however, she doesn’t think any of them are good enough for a gorgeous girl like her.

Ririka has a run-in with Ageha, and he’s not impressed with her, especially after hearing her call table tennis “lame.” It turns out that he’s a new student at Ririka’s school, and she decides to try to make her interested in her, even though she’s not interested in him. It doesn’t work, and she seems to make it her mission to make him fall for her over table tennis. When the former captain of the now disbanded table tennis team comes into the room, Ageha is told that no guy will let him play table tennis at school unless Ririka’s cool with him. Ageha challenges the guy, with Ririka adding the condition that if Ageha loses, he’ll never play tennis table at that school again.

It ends up being a best of three games match. Ageha wins the first match. Ririka’s grandfather shows up, and even the guy challenging Ageha recognizes him. Her grandfather reveals that Ageha is his student. Ageha wins the second match, and is delcared the winner at that point. Right at the end of the chapter, Ririka learns that not only is Ageha living at the table tennis center, he’s also her fiance.

Ok, where do I start with this? As I read this volume, a lot of what happened ended up being rather predictable. It was also full of tropes that have been overused in shonen manga. I nearly facepalmed at the end when I saw that Ririka and Ageha are engaged; my first thought was, “Oh, so we’re combining a typical shonen sports anime with Nisekoi: False Love.” With this first chapter, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha brings nothing new to the table. I found Ririka to be an annoying character, and I was also became more and more bored with this manga as I read through this chapter. The only reason I’ll read more at this point will be due to two more chapters of this series appearing in Weekly Shonen Jump.

In the end, I have to say that this series feels more derivative than Nisekoi: False Love; for me, that’s really saying something!

Food Wars! CH:095

This chapter sees Soma and Megumi in the empty dockside market, trying to come up with a strategy for in-season mackerel pike. We get to see a flashback of Soma and his father at this fish market, and Soma learning how to find a good sardine. After the flashback, Soma and Megumi realize they’ve already come to a dead end.

Meanwhile, Hayama is giving an interview, which includes him giving an explanation to the reporters as to how he’s able to detect the best pike by its scent. We also see Kurokiba being interviewed by reporters. Then it’s back to Soma, who’s brooding over how he can possibly compete with Hayama and Kurokiba. Right at the end of the chapter, he comes up with an answer and asks his friends for help…

So we go from a boring chapter of a table tennis anime to a chapter of a competitive cooking anime. Maybe it’s just my mood spilling over from the previous series chapter I just read, but I also found this one to be on the boring side. Soma’s part of the story is the most important, because it allows the reader to see that Soma isn’t as confident as he tries to portray himself to be. My favorite part of this chapter was Soma’s flashback.

One Piece CH:767

This chapter continues the flashback that we’ve been following for several chapters now. The Don Quixote Family arrives and goes to the hideout of the Barrels Pirates. Meanwhile, Law tries to talk with Corazon, but he can’t get anywhere before Doflamingo arrives. Corazon tries to hide Law from Doflamingo, while Doflamingo declares that he’ll have to raise Law so he knows to die for his sake. We then see Doflamingo kill Corazon…

With the way this chapter ends, it looks like there’s going to be at least one more chapter of flashback before we return to the main storyline. But, as I predicted last week, this chapter saw the end for Corazon. Now the main thing we have left to see is whether or not Law returns to Doflamingo or if he manages to actually get away. Even though this flashback’s been going for a while, I’ve really appreciated getting Law’s backstory. I do feel I understand him a bit better now.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:147

In this chapter, Yui’s bodyguard arrives in the classroom and sees Raku next to the collapsed Yui. The bodyguard asks Raku to help her get Yui home. After getting home, the bodyguard tells Raku that Yui usually collapses from being overworked about every three months. It’s revealed that Yui overworks herself because she doesn’t want to be alone again; when she was growing up, she was always alone because her parents were busy and they were also sickly. Raku is told that he’s the only person that Yui trusts. Yui awakens when the phone rings, and she starts panicking about all the things she needs to get done. Raku tells Yui that she needs to rest. Raku tells Yui he thinks of her as a sister and says he wants to help her when she’s got a heavy load to carry. The chapter ends with the Char Su group rushing to check on Yui.

OK, after reading this chapter I have to say that I’m starting to like Yui a little bit better than I had prior to reading this chapter. I can now understand why she insists on trying to help everyone. I still think she’s going to be manipulative when it comes to Raku, but at least I know why she acts that way. I honestly appreciated getting some more backstory for Yui in this chapter.

Bleach CH:605

This chapter opens with a brief discussion between Ukitake and Kyoraku. We then return to Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube as they prepare to battle. It appears that Ichibe is getting the upper hand (literally) with his Thousand Ri Heavenly Hand. But Yhwach does something surprising that takes away Ichibe’s advantage.

For the most part, this chapter is basically another one that focuses on a short piece of a battle before quickly halting to a stop. My favorite part was getting to see Ukitake and Kyoraku; too bad we couldn’t have seen more of them! Outside of that, I really don’t have much to say about this chapter.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:009-010

Chapter Nine sees Kandera and Ichiro Noto facing off against each other. Peta, meanwhile, tries to get an injured Miri out of the area. As Peta talks to Miri about the case, he learns that Ichiro is the killer responsible for the 6/11 massacre and that he was on the police force at the time; specifically, he had been Kandera’s right hand man. It’s also revealed that it’s this incident that caused Kandera to start Special Unit Six. Back at Kandera’s battle, it looks like Ichiro will win; but we see Ekusa and Heckt appear to provide backup. Miri also tells Peta to back to Kandera so he can be their eyes for them. When Peta returns, they discover a kid on a statue appears to be in charge of Ichiro; the kid calls himself Landscape Mole, the name of the person who created the ability labels.

In Chapter 10, Ekusa and Heckt try to take on Landscape Mole, but he’s able to easily deflect their attacks because he has several Hi-Fi labels attached to him. Landscape Mole reveals that he has been involved with the killing four years earlier, and that it was just a demonstration to show what labels can do. He also explains why he created the labels. But it turns out he’s disappointed in how his invention ended up being integrated into society and that if someone doesn’t have the will to use a label, it’s useless. He also declares that he wants to start a revolution to redo the ability society with Hi-Fi loaders at its helm. But after this, both Landscape Mole and Noto disappear.

So we appear to have met the creator of the ability labels, and these chapters also seem to be setting the stage for something major to happen sooner rather than later. While I liked getting the backstory for the labels, there was just something about how these chapters were done that almost make me wonder if this manga may be wrapping up sooner rather than later. This plot point feels more like something that should be showing up closer to the end of the series, not this early on in it. I mean, we finally got the world and characters established when we get a storyline like this thrown out here. The ante is being upped a lot in a rather short amount of time. I hope I’m wrong about Hi-Fi Cluster potentially wrapping up and that I’m reading too much into what was presented in these two chapters.

Toriko CH:301

A lot of this chapter focuses on the Monkey King, and he’s playing around. We also get an explanation for what he’s doing, which is called Skipping Mountains. We finally get to see Toriko and the others, where they receive an explanation for the events and mutations that took place to create the Sundoriko Flower. Right at the end of the chapter, they find the Birthcry Tree.

Ultimately, not much takes place during this chapter. I know we needed some establishment for the Monkey King, but I thought there was a little much here. Outside of that, it was basically characters talking to each other. Hopefully a little more will take place in the next chapter.

World Trigger CH:083

In this chapter, Osamu wakes up and has a discussion with his mother. His mother says that Chika didn’t cry for him, so they need to become closer as siblings. Osamu is surprised to learn that people have visited him in the hospital. We also learn that Osamu had been unconscious for more than a week. When Chika wakes up from her nap, Osamu asks if Yuma has visited. She says he hasn’t in a bit. Later, Osamu is visited by Usami, and she shares with him the distinguished service awards that were recently handed out. He learns that Yuma received the Special Distinguished Services Award, and that he has received the Outstanding Distinguished Services award. After this, Yuma arrives, and Yuma tells Osamu that Replica still has to be alive somewhere. Right at the end of the chapter, Osamu receives a visit from Karasawa, the Business Director for Border.

Most of this chapter focuses on wrapping up the storyline we’ve been following for the past several months, and this also included several pages of Usami’s report on the various awards that had been handed out. While it was nice to know this information, it just felt like it took a little longer than it needed to, and that this bogged the chapter down somewhat. From what we see at the end, I expect that the visit from Karasawa is probably going to be laying the foundation for whatever the next story arc will end up being.

Naruto: The Beginning

This is a six-page feature that is an interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Kosuke Yahagi, the founding editor of Naruto and the current editor in chief of Jump SQ. The interview comes from the December 2014 issue of Jump SQ. Topics in the interview include how Kishimoto and Yahagi met, Kishimoto’s initial one-shot for Naruto and what worked for that one-shot and didn’t work for the Karakuri one-shot, the next couple of works Kishimoto worked on, how Naruto
almost didn’t make it into Shonen Jump, that Chapter 2 of Naruto was originally going to be Chapter 4, and other memories they have of those early chapters of Naruto.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad for what it was. While some of the information I already knew, I also learned a little more from reading this interview.

Naruto CH:003

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

This chapter introduces Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, two of Naruto’s classmates who become his teammates in Team 7. Before they meet their squad leader, Kakashi, Naruto disguises himself as Sasuke to try to learn what Sakura thinks of him. After learning her feelings, he decides to use the disguise to try to make Sasuke look bad.

So this chapter starts expanding Naruto’s world, and we now get to see him interact with a couple of his peers. This starts the love triangle between Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke that ends up playing an important role in the series. And of course, this chapter includes the infamous kiss…

And according to the end of this chapter, Chapter Four is supposed to be appearing in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 143 (November 10, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Naruto, Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, One Piece, Toriko, Food Wars!, Hi-Fi Cluster, Blue Exorcist, World Trigger, Nisekoi: False Love, and Bleach. In addition, this issue also includes the second chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative.

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

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

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

Naruto CH:699

This chapter sees Sakura and Kakashi finding Sasuke and Naruto laying on the ground at the Valley of the End, and she uses her medical ninjutsu to stop their arm stumps from bleeding. As she does this, Sasuke apologizes for everything he’s done up to this point. We also see everyone being freed from the Infinite Tsukuyomi through Sasuke’s help. We learn that Kakashi is becoming the Sixth Hokage, and that Sasuke is being pardoned. Sasuke decides he needs to go on a journey in order to know what the world looks like to the current version of himself. Sakura asks if she can come with him, he says it’s a journey of atonement and that she has nothing to do with his crimes, and gives her a tap on the forehead just like Itachi used to do to him. At the end of the chapter, we see Naruto handing Sasuke his old Konoha headband.

This chapter did a fantastic job of wrapping up the overarching storyline, which of course was Naruto trying to bring Sasuke back. While there was a lot to be happy about, there were also parts that made this a bittersweet conclusion to this story arc. If this is the way the series had ended, I would have been satisfied with that. However, there’s still one more chapter to go, and it doesn’t appear until the end of this volume. Now I just have to make it through the other series and chapters in order to find out how Kishimoto brought the entire series to a close!

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign CH:027

In this chapter, we see that Shinoa’s squad and Narumi’s squad have been given the task of going after Lucal Wesker, a fifteenth progenitor. Unfortunately, Yu keeps doing and saying things to annoy Narumi’s squad. The extermination mission has a goal of eliminating eight out of the ten vampire nobles in Nagoya within fifteen minutes. But when the squads begin their attack, they somehow mess up and Lucal senses their snipers’ presence. The snipersh havr to change plans and settle for going after regular vampires. As Yu tries to find Yoichi, he has a run-in with Lucal.

It took a little bit for the chapter to get going, but once the mission went underway, the remainder of the chapter went by quickly. Once the mission started, there was a lot more action taking place in the panels, which helped to make the last little bit of this chapter a quick read. With the mission finally underway, I imagine the next chapter will be a quicker read than many of the recent chapters of this manga have been.

One Piece CH:766

This chapter continues Law’s flashback and backstory. Cora brings the Op-Op fruit to Law and forces him to eat it. Cora is injured, and he asks Law to deliver something to a Navy scout ship on the west coast of the island; that something is a little tube that can save a place called Dressrosa. When Law finds someone to give the message to and to help Cora, it turns out to be Vergo, who had a mission from the family to infiltrate the Navy. Vergo starts beating up Corazon for being a traitor. Doflamingo arrives on the island, but Law and Corazon are able to give Vergo the slip. The chapter ends with what looks like will bring about the end for Corazon.

After reading this chapter, I feel even more confident that this section of flashback will be wrapping up sooner rather than later. I definitely have a better idea of the type of character that Law is and why he acts the way he does. Is it just me, or have the recent chapters really turned Corazon into a likable character? Even though I already know that Corazon is going to die, I still can’t help but root for him to find a way to avoid that fate.

Toriko CH:300

At the beginning of this chapter, Zebra increases the sharpness of his voice cutter and gets a hit in on Master Gorilla Taurus. Coco contributes to the fight with Drip Poison and Toriko contributes Flying Fork. By launching this attack, they force the master to show his true form. Toriko and the others are able to cover themselves with armor as the master attacks; he destroys everything except for where they’re standing. After this, quite a bit of the remainder of the chapter focuses on the fight with the master. Toriko and the others defeat the master, which brings about the collapse of the north mountain area’s rules.

This chapter focused very heavily on action sequences. But I’m happy that the fight with Master Gorilla Taurus wasn’t stretched out to a ridiculous amount of time. But it’s also hinted that perhaps defeating this master could throw the natural order of things out of whack. But to be honest, I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this particular chapter.

Food Wars! CH:094

This chapter sees Soma and Megumi heading to the market to try to find some pike for Soma to try and cook before the finals. While they’re there, they run into Kurokiba and Alice. Megumi, as well as the audience, is given a lesson on how to select pike for cooking. When Soma and Kurokiba disagree on which pike is better, Kurokiba challenges Soma to making sashimi to prove which one of them has the better eye for fish. When they finish, Megumi is asked to judge which one is better. She has to say that Soma’s fish has a weaker texture. Megumi and the reader are then given an explanation about the “rigor index” and the “cohesiveness” of a fish’s meat. After hearing that the third competitor also has a good eye, Soma realizes that he’s at a disadvantage.

This chapter ended up being one with a lot of explanation to it, and not much action. While the explanation was important, it just felt like it was bogging down the chapter for me, and I was having to try to force myself to stay awake and focus on the chapter. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m wanting to get to the final chapter of Naruto, which is the very last chapter in this week’s edition of Weekly Shonen Jump. Hopefully next week’s chapter of Food Wars! will be a more interesting read.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:008

In this chapter, Kandera jumps in and starts taking on the guy on the killing spree that has a Hi-Fi label. Peta is able to detect where the culprit will move to next, so Kandera suggests that the two of them work together to finish off the guy. Kandera’s plan works, and the bad guy is taken down. Afterwards, Peta asks Kandera if he had been involved in the Shibuya incident four years earlier; Kandera says, “Yeah, a little.” Peta also guesses that Kandera was the sole survivor of the special ops team back then. It turns out it was that incident that caused Kandera to lose his right hand. Kandera also reveals that he wasn’t the only survivor on his team. Some guy suddenly comes down, attacks Miri, and recognizes Kandera.

When I read the previous chapter, I had guessed that Kandera had somehow been involved in the incident that took place four years earlier, but I hadn’t come up with any specifics. Even if I had, I don’t think I would have guessed any of these revelations! At this point in the series, I have to say that Kandera is the most interesting character. It almost seems like Kandera should be the main character of Hi-Fi Cluster, not Peta.

Blue Exorcist CH:062

Professor Gedoin decides to use the Mask of the Chosen to force a demon to possess him because he believes that he’s the chosen one. After the mask does its thing, Gedoin declares that he’s demonically special. He turns into a necrophager and starts eating up all of the zombies. Izumo declares that she needs to fight, and calls on those who have gone on before her for their strength; Uke and Mike appear when she summons them. Izumo asks everyone to help protect her while she’s chanting a prayer. She finishes chanting to prayer to purify Gedoin as the chapter ends…

Recently, I read Volume 12 of the Blue Exorcist manga, which included Izumo’s backstory as well as the setup for this story arc. Now that I’ve read that, I have a much better understanding and appreciation for what’s been happening in not only this chapter, but the other chapters of this story arc that I’ve read since I started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March. Now that I understand it more, I’ve come to realize just how powerful of a story arc this is. I’m guessing that this arc will probably wrap up within the next couple of chapters, so I’m curious to see where the story of Blue Exorcist is going to go from here.

World Trigger CH:082

In this chapter, we see members of Border freeing people who are trapped in the rubble from the fighting. Meanwhile, Osamu is in the hospital, and Yuma is trying to find Replica. We see Osamu having a dream, which is actually flashbacks about the troubles Osamu had in getting into Border. At the end of the flashback, Osamu awakens and sees Chika and his mother watching him.

So the majority of this chapter ends up being a flashback/dream of Osamu’s. Since I didn’t jump into this story until this story arc was already in progress, I have no idea if anything from the flashback/dream has appeared in the series before or not. But because I jumped into the series so late, getting to see these scenes gives me a little more background on Osamu. So it doesn’t look like this story arc is completely over yet, but at least the battle that had been waging for some many chapters has finally concluded. This chapter makes for a nice break in the action.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:146

In this chapter, we see how popular Yui is becoming with the students at the school. Raku wants to offer her as much support as he can, but lately, he’s feeling like she really doesn’t need support from anyone. Raku talks with her and expresses his concerns. At home, Yui “accidentally” walks in on Raku while he’s taking a bath. After the incident, Yui’s bodyguard tells Raku to be more aware of Yui and to take her seriously. Right at the end of the chapter, Yui collapses.

I think it’s safe to say that Yui collapsed from working too hard, since we saw her doing so much for everybody at the beginning of the chapter. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really not a fan of Yui. She comes across as a manipulator when it comes to Raku, and at times, it comes across as if her being such a good person is really an act of some kind; she comes across as being “too perfect.” While she’s not as annoying as Marika, I still don’t like her that much. I suspect this storyline will continue in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:604

This chapter sees Renji and Rukia coming upon the Quincies who are being targeted for death by the light that’s coming down. Other Soul Reapers are seeing the lights coming up from the Seireitei. The story returns to Etsu, where he learns what’s going on; the lives and powers of unnecessary Quincies and distributing them to those who need it. Right at the end of the chapter, we see Yhwach coming face-to-face with Ichibe Hyosube.

How come it seems like with each chapter of Bleach recently, not much is really happening? For me, each chapter is a quick read, but with the end of each chapter, I feel as if I’m not satisfied. The way Kubo has been stretching this story out more and more is starting to be a little depressing. I love the earlier chapters of Bleach that I know, but the more of these recent chapters I’ve read, the less I’m starting to care. Maybe this is due in part to skipping ahead to much later in the series and missing out on various developments that led to where the story is now, but I don’t know.

Naruto CH:002

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

This chapter introduces Konohamaru, the grandson of the Third Hokage, as well as Ebisu, Konohamaru’s tutor. After having a run-in with Naruto, Konohamaru decides he wants to become Naruto’s disciple. Naruto learns that Konohamaru is upset because people only see him for who he’s related to, and not for who he himself is. Ebisu finds the two of them, and gives Naruto he ugly look that he always gets from the adults in the village who only see him for the fox demon he has inside of him instead of who he himself is. Naruto combines his shadow clones with his sexy jutsu in order to get rid of Ebisu. At the end of the chapter, Konohamaru decides he no longer wants to be Naruto’s disciple; instead, he wants to be Naruto’s rival.

It’s been kind of fun for me to be re-reading these early chapters that are appearing in Weekly Shonen Jump. It’s a nice reminder to remember where the characters and the story started, and then to realize just how much things have changed between that point and the end of the series. I do like how Naruto and Konohamaru have a similar issue of being seen by others for something out of their control instead of the people they are. Ultimately, even though Konohamaru wants to become Naruto’s rival, he ends up becoming a lot like Naruto as the series progresses.

Naruto CH:700

Ahhh… I finally made it to the final chapter! I’d heard little bits about it on social media due to people posting spoilers, but it was nice to finally be able to see it for myself. As I’d heard, it’s a chapter set in the future, where we see many of the main characters are now married and have kids of their own, and the kids are now in the academy. When it comes to the various couples, I’d figured out most of them over the course of the series, but there was at least one that totally caught me off-guard.

This was a nice way to wrap everything up, although I know there’s some shippers upset that their shippings were capsized by the existence of this chapter. Right now, we know the movie is coming up that will help bridge some of the gap between Chapter 699 and 700. I wonder if the manga mini-series that’s supposed to be released in Spring 2015 will continue to bridge the gap.

Weekly Shonen Jump Volume 142 (November 3, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Food Wars! (which has officially joined the Weekly Shonen Jump lineup), Naruto, World Trigger, One-Punch Man, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, Hi-Fi Cluster, and Toriko. In addition, this issue also includes a new title for the “Jump Back” initiative: Naruto. There’s also a thank you section dedicated to Masashi Kishimoto.

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:093

Food Wars! officially joins Weekly Shonen Jump‘s lineup this week, starting with Chapter 93.

Soma Yukihira, the main character of the series, is the son of a man who runs a small family restaurant in a less savory part of town. Soma wants to surpass his father’s culinary prowess, and he spends time honing his skills. One day, Soma’s father decides to enroll him in a classy culinary school called the Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute. He has run-ins with Erina Nakiri, the heiress of the school, who has a strong dislike for Soma because of his low-class ways.

At this point in the story, the Fall Classic is taking place, which is a high-stakes tournament that determines the best first-year students at Totsuki Institute. After two competitors tie in the semifinals after Soma secures a place in the finals, it’s decided to have all three of the contestants battle it out for the title.

The theme for the ingredient of the final round is announced: mackerel pike. This turns out to be an ingredient that plays to each of the contestants’ strengths. It’s then announced that the final round will begin in ten days. Right at the end of the chapter, we see Soma heading out to the market to try to get some pike and cook it.

My first exposure to Food Wars! came from a preview chapter that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump back in March 2014; admittedly, that first chapter didn’t do very much for me. But now reading this chapter that’s a lot further into the series, I found that the series appears to be a little better than I initially gave it credit for. It’s not a great series, but it’s not bad, either. The main thing is that it’s going to take probably another two or three more chapters until I feel like I have any real understanding of the series.

Naruto CH:698

This chapter opens with Naruto talking to Kurama, who tells Naruto that Sasuke is lost to him, with Naruto retorting that he won’t give up and will succeed in saving Sasuke. After managing to counter Sasuke’s attack, Kurama gives Naruto some advice, as well as what remains of Kurama’s chakra. Sasuke uses Kaguzuchi, while Naruto uses his Rasengan, and the two of them collide with their attacks; this causes an explosion.

We then see Naruto and Sasuke awakening after being unconscious, and it’s revealed that if either one of them moves too much, they’ll bleed out and die. The two of them have a conversation, which leads to Sasuke having an inner monologue about his feelings for Naruto. At the end of the chapter, Sasuke acknowledges Naruto, and it’s revealed exactly how injured the two of them are in the very last panel.

If I hadn’t already known that the series was winding down, this chapter would have clued me into that. But now that Sasuke has acknowledged Naruto, how will this story ultimately end? Also, the injuries that they have… I don’t think that even Sakura, with her knowledge of medical ninjutsu, can do much for that! So what’s going to happen with that, I wonder. That last panel ended up being rather powerful; unfortunately, I stumbled onto it as a spoiler last week on Twitter, so it didn’t surprise me as much as it would have if I hadn’t seen it. But when I stumbled upon that spoiler, it surprised me then. I can’t believe next week will be the end…

Thank You Masashi Kishimoto

This is a two-page spread of words from various people who have been involved with the English release of the Naruto manga over the years. This time, everyone included had an editing position of some kind.

World Trigger CH:081

Chikako’s cube is found, but Osamu is losing too much blood. A tourniquet is put on Osamu, and he’s taken to the nearby medical center. Meanwhile, there’s still some Neighbors around, and we see Satori appear to help out with them. Arashi-Yama Squad also arrives to help out. Kako and Kuroe from Kako Squad also appear on the scene. We see the Humanoid Neighbors and learn that they had to leave Hyuse behind. However, it’s declared that their original objectives have been met. Back with the humans, it’s revealed that various trainees are now missing.

This chapter takes care of the final clean up and wrapping up of the battle that we’ve been following for the past few months. Thank goodness this battle finally came to an end! I suspect the next chapter will see the characters going through the aftermath of the battle, trying to figure out what’s happened and how they’re going to proceed from this point.

One-Punch Man CH:039

This chapter sees Genos bringing in parts from the defeated G4, and asks Professor Kuseno to use them to help make him stronger. The professor asks to meet Saitama, and also asks Genos if he’s found any leads on the cyborg that destroyed his home. Meanwhile, we see that Sitch has summoned the denizens of the underworld to Hero Association Headquarters. One of the attendees is Sonic, who asks where Saitama is; he says that if Saitama isn’t there, then he’s leaving. Sonic also reveals the information that Sitch was going to tell the crowd before he hands anything out.

The chapter provided me with some background on Genos, since I knew nothing about him before the storyline with King started due to jumping into One-Punch Man quite a ways down the line from the beginning. At least I truly know who he is now, so that should help as I continue reading this series in the future. This chapter is also establishing the next story arc, and with the arrival of Sonic, this could have an interesting turn.

(NOTE: Due to only having started One-Punch Man with Chapter 33 earlier this year, I had originally included incorrect information in this write-up concerning Sonic. The write-up has since been updated to include the correct information. A special thanks to “Payattention” for pointing out the mistakes.)

Bleach CH:603

This chapter sees Etsu and Yhwach facing off against each other. But the scene quickly changes to seeing at least a couple of the female Quincies are still alive. They are approached by Robert Accutrone, who tells them that Yhwach went above without them and declaring that they were deemed unnecessary for the coming battle. A light suddenly comes down and sucks Accutrone away, and part of one of the girls’ wings is also taken away.

It appears that Yhwach is sucking up energy from the Quincies that we saw in this chapter in order to have more when fighting against Squad Zero. But for the most part, not much really seems to happen here. This chapter feels like it’s just setting up for the battle between Yhwach and Squad Zero; hopefully the next chapter will really get this battle going.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:145

This chapter takes place during the school sports festival. It appears that Chitoge, Raku, and Onodera have ended up on the same team, and Marika and Tsugumi are on the same team. Tsugumi wins the race for their grade. Next, Chitoge and Raku are paired up for the three-legged race. They lead the pack, but then find they have to do a balloon-hug challenge, where they have to squeeze each other and pop a balloon before crossing the finish line. After a bit of a struggle, they manage to pop it. Onodera is then part of the bread-eating contest. Later, Marika tricks Raku into changing into a headband that reads, “I Love Marika” on it. It’s then time for the scavenger hunt; three of Raku’s potential love interests are involved, and they need to find “that special someone.”

Sigh. It’s another chapter where Shu tries to put Raku in strange situations involving some of his potential love interests. Sometimes, these stories help to provide character development for the characters, but mostly they just feel like a way to kill time and stretch out the story so Komi can avoid progressing the overarching story in order to make the manga last longer. I tend to not enjoy these kinds of chapters when I’m reading Nisekoi: False Love.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:006-007

Chapter Six sees Heckt activating quite a few abilities at once; by being able to use labels simultaneously, he can take on the industrial machines. It’s powerful, but he can only use it for three minutes at most. We also get information from Kandera on how Heckt joined Special Unit Six. Suddenly, a larger industrial machine appears, and Heckt manages to take it down on his own.

Chapter Seven sees Peta getting a call from Miri telling him to come to Shibuya. Someone on an Internet message board announced they would be going on a killing spree here, which sounds a lot like a killing spree that happened four years earlier. Peta is asked to scour the premises to see if he can find the culprit. This chapter also starts letting us see some backstory for Kandera as well. The culprit shows up, and Peta uses his ability to confirm that he has a Hi-Fi label. Kandera comes in and is about to take on the culprit when the chapter ends…

These two chapters conclude one story arc and begin a new one. While we got a brief bit of backstory for Heckt, we got a little more for Kandera during Chapter Seven. I’m appreciating getting these backstories because it’s helping me to start to better understand these characters and why they act the way that they do. I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter, because I suspect there’s going to be more backstory revealed for Kandera during it.

Toriko CH:299

At the beginning of this chapter, Kaka finds a flower called a Sundoriko, and that it’s essential to take with them on their journey since it might save their lives. This flower’s pollen is the cause of many mass extinctions that have taken place in Area 7 in the past. They return to the surface and encounter a monkey who’s supposed to kill them; Toriko threatens it with the flower’s pollen. But he uses the antidote and sea cucumber to help the monkey regain his fluids and not die. Right at the end of the chapter, Toriko and the others are taken to one of the masters, and Toriko declares that he’s going to break the rules of the continent in half.

This chapter spends a lot of time establishing the Sundoriko and the effects of its pollen. But as Toriko and the others learn more about Area 7 and how it operates, the more Toriko comes to realize that there’s too many rules for the animals who should be wild and free. I thought it was nice to see Toriko take mercy on the monkey that attacked them after the flower shot pollen at it. And it appears the stage has been set for the next conflict to take place in the next chapter of Toriko.

Naruto CH:001

Weekly Shonen Jump begins a second series for its “Jump Back” initiative, and this time the magazine is highlighting the early chapters of Naruto. It was decided to focus on Naruto since the series is concluding next week.

Naruto, the title character of the series, is an orphan who has decided that he will one day become the Hokage (the leader) of the village where he lives. Unfortunately, Naruto isn’t the best of students at the ninja academy, and he’s constantly pulling pranks to force people to pay attention to him. It turns out that, unknown to Naruto, the fourth Hokage sealed a fox demon that was attacking the village into Naruto when he was a baby. The Hokage died soon after, but he had hoped that the villagers would view Naruto as a hero. Instead, the adults of the village shunned him, hence why Naruto feels such a need to act outrageously in order to get noticed. The third Hokage, who took the position back after the death of the fourth Hokage, decreed that disclosure of Naruto’s secret is strictly forbidden under severe penalty. While Naruto’s peers know nothing of his secret, many have picked up their parents’ animosity toward him and perpetuate it.

After Naruto fails to graduate from the ninja academy, he’s tricked by Mizuki, one of the instructors, to steal a sacred scroll. While Naruto has the scroll, he learns a cloning technique that becomes his signature jutsu during the series. Iruka goes to find Naruto, and when he does, Naruto wants to demonstrate that he’s learned how to produce shadow clones that he had been unable to produce before, and also says that it was Mizuki who told him about it. Before they can go any further, Mizuki attacks. During this, Mizuki reveals to Naruto that he has the fox demon sealed inside of him. As Mizuki throws a large shuriken to kill Naruto, Iruka jumps in to protect him. And when it seems that Mizuki is going to kill Iruka, Naruto is able to display his new talent for shadow clones and save the day. At the end of the chapter, Naruto becomes a full-fledged shinobi.

It doesn’t matter how much I watch or read this part of Naruto, it still affects me every time. The opening of Naruto is just so strong, and it’s easy to see why this series ended up becoming as popular as it did. Readers, especially teenagers, can empathize with the alienation and sadness that Naruto goes through. From here, Kishimoto went on to build an incredible world and a diverse cast of characters that fleshed out this world. According to the end of this chapter, Chapter Two will appear in next week’s edition of Weekly Shonen Jump.