The Monthly Manga Review - July 2012
Another month, and some more monthly manga pay us a visit. I was going to wait for the latest chapter of D.Gray-man before posting this review but seeing as how it's been delayed considerably and all of its fellow Jump SQ manga have been scanlated, I decided to add it to the review later on.
The format will be like the last post and so will the order of the reviews, unlike the WSJ Issue Reviews which I tend to do on a whim.
Ao no Exorcist - 37
With this chapter we finally see the end of the filler arc Ao no Exorcist entered a few chapters back and what do you know Kato-sensei didn't draw all of the pages in time for the deadline!
Putting aside the many pages which were just sketches, the filler arc itself was never going to be more than a filler arc and a slight attempt to further explore the relationship of the Okumura brothers which ended up feeling like a repetition of dialogue and scenarios, henceforth being the main reason why I'm happy to see the arc end and hopefully see the next chapter start a new arc that goes back to the original story.
The arc cooled down the progression of the story quite considerably and even made me forget for a little bit that the previous arc had a lot of excellent fighting and build-up. I hope to see more of the same fighting and appropriate build-up in the upcoming arc(s) but at the same time I want the story to reveal more about Mephisto Philes and about the organisation itself which is still very much a mystery.
Nothing new in this chapter at all to be fair. Yukio's uncertainty has yet to be discussed in full detail but otherwise this chapter didn't leave any major loose ends to be tied with the ending of this arc, which was nothing special either.
Claymore - 128
Quite a nice chapter that was dedicated to building up the arc, after a dialogue heavy and uneventful previous one.
With quite a lot going on, it's nice to see the plot revisit the whole point about the male claymores which has only been spoken of until now. With the male claymores not making any moves and just observing for the time being adds to the build up of the potential fight taking place in the next few chapters and possibly signals a fight against one of the strongest, if not the strongest, enemies in this series.
Aside from the introduction of the former male claymores and a few other female ones who are lying in wait for the appearance of an Abyssal one, the meeting of the town's guard led by Sid and Gack which ended in no one yielding to Miria and the group's wishes for evacuation added to the build up before the fight, especially since immediately afterwards we are informed that the abyssal one are on the verge of appearing. Couple this with the a panels of the abyssal one's emergence from it's "cocoon" and you have a build-up that is very thorough.
All in all, the build-up was executed well whilst nicely inserting in some new characters from old information already known to us but hardly discussed. Whether Claymore is entering its last stretch is unknown and it very well might be with all that has happened in this chapter but because there has yet to be any talk of Clare and her reappearance, there is still a lot to be handed.
Next chapter I'm hoping for some more build-up or some action to follow this impressive chapter.
D.Gray-man - 215
Um..... what happened with the artwork
Somehow D.Gray-man decided to take up one chapter to appease it's female fans by making the artwork a little too shoujo especially when it came to the many panel shots of Allen Walker and his eyes. This was definitely a shock to me, because no matter how much the artwork had changed as the chapters went by it never changed so drastically to cause worry. I wonder why Hoshino-sensei suddenly made the artwork so shoujo that it took me a while to realise that the scanlaters actually did a decent job and that the author actually completed all the inking.
Other than the scare from the art changing so much, the chapter progressed at it's slow pace like it has for the past 3-4 chapters and accomplished almost nothing by doing so. I have expressed my concerns in recent times about the pacing of this current arc not feeling like a monthly manga's but this is just getting out of hand and it's made me forget about how good D.Gray-man used to be. It looks like both Allen and Kanda are experiencing pain from their innocence and Allen has finally been convinced to let people help him instead of trying to take on the world on his own, further delaying the awakening of the 14th which has been hinted at for quite some time now.
I honestly don't know how the series will progress from now on and it's pace has made it very forgettable for quite some time.
Kaichou wa Maid-sama! - 72
You know your stuck in a cycle when every single chapter of Maid-sama! (for the last 5 chapters at least) has felt uneventful and like it has been recycling old material.
In an a poor attempt to 'mix things up,' Misaki ends up being the one to visiti Unsui at his school. This ends up as predictable an event as one can expect from such a setting with a lot familiar Maid-sama! humour we are used to but leaves me utterly bored and wondering how long the prolonged farewell between the two is going to be dragged out for. Not to mention Misaki is still her old tsundere self.
The part where Unsui asked Misaki to guess where he sat in class was definitely the highlight and served as a nice reminder that regardless of how different these two are, they are in fact in love and it's going to be tough for them to end this love almost too abruptly with Unsui departure to England. This scene alone was sufficient as a romantic fix from the series, which I don't tend to look for in this particular series but it's always a nice addition to each chapter.
Kimi ni Todoke - 70
With Chizuru and Ryuu's romance finally on the road to being resolved in the previous chapter, I was a little anxious that it would take many more chapters for a confession from Kent to Ayane but now I wonder if the speedy confession this chapter was too fast.
Kent and Mogi's talk about Ayane was a good opportunity to show Kent worked up over a girl for once as opposed to his usual cool demeanour which some can say comes as a result of hanging around so many girls. If actions speak louder than words, then he definitely proved that he loves Ayane and is even willing to punch out an ex-boyfriend who was just ignorant and meant less harm than he actually caused.
By punching out Mogi, Kent also distinguished himself as one of the select few characters who knows about Ayane's more sensitive side and how she is not as strong as she leads on. This might have made Kent a truly worthy love interest for her and made the timing of his confession that much more well-timed. The confession itself was handled faster than the frustrating romantic 'back and forth' game which we saw with Ryuu and Chizuru and made me feel like it was kind of rushed until I went back and read it more carefully, realising that it may have been the previous romance's excruciating length which led me to believe this one was way too short.
It also needs to be mentioned that whilst the confession did seem to come out rather quickly, the build up to it did last several chapters but may have been forgotten since the focus was shifted from their interactions, but came back to this happy conclusion. It's good to see Kent and Ayane together at last and with yet another romantic relationship resolved, the focus should shift back to Sawako.
Shingeki no Kyojin - 35
As of late, Shingeki no Kyojin has been the best series out of not only the monthly manga series but also the weekly series and this episode is yet another addition to its improvement.
By not letting the tension ease, this chapter carries on and builds upon the numerous developments that we have seen in the chapters following the titan v titan fight in the centre. With more being revealed about the titans and those who are able to transform into them, I like how the series is slowly but surely revealing information in a precise manner akin to scientific research; just the right amount of information being given to us each chapter and never too much to make us disappointed with the new information in the following chapters.
With the addition of a titan who can actually communicate, the series has stepped up in terms of "power up" levels and may have our main protagonists do the same in order to combat these new titans. The titans seem to be evolving, much like humanity does, a comparison I quite liked since most of the time the evolution of other species is never explored and the direction of the story is hinting at more interactions with these titans which I'm getting excited about.
By doing relatively little, Shingeki no Kyojin did a lot this chapter and continues to do so without rushing the story.