Toriko on the cover of Weekly Shonen Jump. One Piece's anticipated chapter may disappoint some and excite others, Naruto gives an explanation about Izanami, Bleach picks up the pace a little in the long run but hits the brakes in the short run, Beelzebub revisits the romance element of the story and Sensei no Bulge decides it's okay to go along at a much slower pace than the others. Nisekoi is behind in scanlations, so it might be a little while before I can add chapter 26 to the Issue #25 review and possibly the same for chapter 27.
Let's kick things off like usual.
One Piece - 668
After Law's proposal to form an alliance with Luffy, I'm pretty sure that everyone was expecting or should I say hoping that the Yonko whom they will be targeting would be revealed this chapter, unfortunately that piece of information was withheld from us and all we got was Luffy's flat out acceptance to Law's proposition. Something like this is definitely out of character for Luffy but I had a hunch that he might actually join up forces with Law because he probably sees him as a friend more than an ally of convenience; with that in mind, after seeing the reactions of Nami (in Franky's body) and Luffy after Law answered his question, I reconsidered which one of the Yonko it could be and ended up deciding that it was too hard to predict who it would be out of the 3 candidates (Black Beard aside and I think Shanks is back on the table). Not only that, given Luffy's character I wouldn't be have surprised if he turned down Law if Law was targeting Big Mam. The downside of this, is that now we can only expect to find out which Yonko the crew will be targeting at the end of this arc.
The chapter was filled with the usual comedy - less body switching and more of the comedy we usually see in One Piece - and with the addition of Law it didn't slow down but instead incorporated him (I couldn't stop laughing when Ussop was tying Chopper onto Law's head). Even with the comedy more important facts were revealed such about Ceaser and his choice to experiment with creating giants and the most important piece of information in this chapter: Zoro and Sanji can now use Haki. The latter was something I was always wondering about since both of them are the strongest in this crew after Luffy and we've seen characters much weaker than them use Haki, so if they hadn't learnt how to use it we couldn't really expect them to last long in the New World. Also, I've felt that Zoro was being made to resemble Silvers Rayleigh after the timeskip appearance wise much like Luffy with Gold Roger, so I was half expecting him an Sanji to learn Haki at one point or another.
The chapter ended with Ceaser's new pet being introduced; it goes by the name of Slime and resembles the pokemon Muk. I't very probable that this creature was created using the powers of Ceaser's Devil Fruit but it doesn't look like an opponent that should take the crew too long to beat.
Great chapter from One Piece, even with the frustration of not knowing who the Yonko target is.
Sensei no Bulge - 2
Last week saw the start of this series and if I may say so, the chapter ended in a very obscure place which left me clueless as to what would happen next. Only holding onto high hopes for this series, I waited for the next chapter; a chapter which left me with feelings of happiness and yet again more anticipation for the next chapter.
Sensei no Bulge's pace is vastly different from any of the other fantasy/fantasy battle manga currently in Jump, both a blessing and curse for readers depending on preference, and in my case I find it to be a blessing because I still get the feeling that the story is set in a universe (literally) that is far larger than any of the other series running in Jump.
The chapter progressed in the calm fashion, with continued with a stream of comedy arising from Astro and Tiamat accomplishing almost nothing of note until the last few pages where Astro tells the King that Bulge is in fact dead. I'm glad that this point of the plot wasn't going to be long-lasting (that would be boring and clich ) and was resolved in this chapter and later on, the way that Astro became prince was also taken care of in a swift and clean-cut manner. The battle scenes in the chapter weren't by any means phenomenal and felt a little forced for the sake of keeping readers interested but seeing as they're not the focus of the anime, they didn't take away any enjoyment from the chapter.
So now that Bulge is acknowledged by the King himself as the next prince and there are no secrets, the story will now move onto become more like an RPG with currently little-to-no direction that foreseeable. When the King was describing what the "Age of the Battle Star" was we were shown various cool/dangerous looking aliens, drawn with the Horikoshi-sensei's style which rivals that of the best of mangaka, but at the same time the King mentioned that Tiamat should teach Bulge all that he can which makes it unclear as to whether the battles will start from next chapter onwards.
I liked this chapter a lot, and whilst many might not be convince yet, I have a feeling that this series has a lot of potential to become great much like many manga which started off slow but got better and better at exponential rates.
Bleach - 493
I think Kubo-sensei is taking the saying "Slow and steady wins the race" a little too seriously by not concluding the fight between Opie and Ichigo & Co. So this chapter was another one that focused on the fight, with Opie displaying more and more power by absorbing Ayon and transforming into what looks like a half-Quincy, half-beast and only at the end does Ichigo come back to stop any deaths with his bankai released.
I don't know why Opie has been made into such a big character in this arc, but I don't care for it. It's almost like he's been made too powerful; Ichigo is meant to be close to the apex of strength in the shinigami world yet even he needs to release his bankai in order to even stand a chance against Opie, who's not even the most powerful out of the Quincy. I fear that Kubo-sensei might have been following in Naruto's footsteps by extending this fight for far too long, though there was a silver lining to the chapter.
Finally the Quincy King has made his move into Soul Society, so from next chapter onwards we should be seeing some more interesting developments. This did feel like a bit of content re-cycling from the time Ichigo was lured into Hueco Mundo but had to return to Karakura to take down Aizen, which wasn't done badly back then but it makes this chapter feel a little bit lazier than the rest.
This chapter was like your typical average Bleach chapter; felt too short, didn't accomplish much and makes you wonder why the next chapter isn't already out.
Naruto - 587
Did you think or even hope that this chapter would be the end of this fight arc I gave up like 5 chapters back but this chapter wasn't all bad.
Izanami's explanation is a little headache inducing and out of character for Naruto, since most techniques can be explained in just a few lines but Izanami's took a whole 6 pages to explain - it's an infinite loop genjutsu that was created for the sake of punishing the users of Izanagi who thought that changing their destiny was a piece of cake. When Itachi revealed this, through the 6 pages he was given to do so, somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered if this had brought up a plot hole; why is it that so little is known about Uchiha techniques if so many people possessed them in the past It's not like what happened with the First Hokage's wood techniques which couldn't even be used by even his own brother the Second.
After the explanation Itachi decides to give some wise words to Sasuke, trying to save him once again. I find this to be a little bit irrelevant and I really do hope that Sasuke continues in the way he has because I've been waiting for a Sasuke vs Naruto final battle for a long time now and if I don't get that but instead something clich d and boring like the 2 of them joining forces to take down the masked Madara I'll be pissed.
Much like Bleach, this chapter didn't cover a whole lot for me but it did feel like the wind down of the arc which has lasted almost too long. Whether Itachi manages to to stop Edo Tensei is not 100% clear to me, though if you consider how many Edo Tensei ninja have been stopped already, it would make sense for Itachi to succeed. Overall the chapter wasn't bad and finally gave an explanation for Izanami - a little too wordy and theoretical - whilst giving me the feeling that Kabuto has been defeated.
This time I do hope that the next chapter is the conclusion!
Beelzebub - 157
Not quite the chapter I was expecting.
The topic of this chapter was definitely romance, and from just that point of view carried on from the previous arc which had quite the bit of focus on romance. I had almost forgotten about Tojo's "possible" romance with Shizuka, the only woman in the Six Knights, until this chapter and I wasn't really phased by it's appearance mainly because it happened so long ago but also because I only find the romance aspect of Beelzebub enjoyable if it's sandwiched between a mass of comedy.
I can't say much about this chapter, except for that it was amusing yet very average - not much happened except for the focus on romance. I don't think that this will be more than a 2 chapter mini-arc that should be resolved by next week.
Nisekoi - 27
It goes without saying that this was one of the best chapters of the week, if not the best chapter that Nisekoi has had to offer ever since the first chapter. After a little breather chapter focusing on Tsugumi, I was glad to see this chapter returning to the original plot and even better, making serious progress - Tsugumi did make a little cameo appearance for some comedy value as well, which is being carried on from the last chapter. It also looks like Raku's harem has finally been established, with Chitoge deepening her feelings for him by insisting they call each other by their first name, Onodera's secret crush and of course Tsugumi's feelngs which were denied up until this point.
Even though the chapter started off in a very romcom clich manner, like always it was done well and provided me with lots of opportunities to chuckle but much like always it did give the impression that this was just a repeat of a chapter that has already been done by Nisekoi or even any other romcom manga with the same feel. It wasn't until Onodera too Raku to her secret spot that I started enjoying the chapter, because at this point we finally get to see some Onodera character development; even though she gets pushed into a few "situations" by Ruri, she can still be proactive and give it her best shot to try and snag Raku.
Amongst the panels of Onodera, making me like her character more and more (I thought that wouldn't happen since she's already my favourite) imagine my shock when Raku asked her (granted unintentionally) if they had made a promise and imagine my bigger shock when she responded point blank to his question without getting nervous like she usually does. I thought it was clich but still well done how Raku asked her and I hope that next week the plot will be developed even further with the focus being on Onodera for once (I've had enough Chitoge) but I will say that there are quite a few who are afraid of a Komi-sensei troll. I don't think this was a point that would be raised only to be shaken off by the next chapter and I'm sure that the aim of this development was to aid in the progression of the story, so I'm excited to see how the plot further unravels.
It was just the right time for Nisekoi to introduce this development, since there was only so much you could enjoy from the current plot and in contrast to Pajama na Kanojo, Nisekoi's wait had more of an impact on me than Pajama did simply because Pajama shocked me with how sudden the plot development occured, whilst this chapter made me happy and excited to wait for the next chapter.
Pajama na Kanojo - 13
And just when I thought this series could compete with Nisekoi, it goes ahead and does that!
I'm a little disappointed with Pajama after this episode, mainly because the past 4 chapters have been very enjoyable to read but this chapter wasn't. I didn't care for the repeat of the "trip and fall" incident between Yuki and Keisuke - an event that occurred in the previous chapter if I may add - since it felt boring and more importantly it took away any novelty of the act of them touching each other through an unforseen event.
Besides a poorly executed repeat performance, the story developed from mimicking a fairy tale to be being a fairy tale romance in just a few pages of this chapter. This part of the chapter wasn't something I was mad about at all because I had been expecting it, and it's also what has finally made the certain plot objectives clear which was to be expected with any romance. The ending is what I didn't enjoy most, just because it didn't end and hence dragging out this mini arc into something more than it should have been.
The chapter was still enjoyable but a bit of a disappointment after the previous 4. I just hope this won't be the sign of a relapse into the style of the first few chapters of Pajama.
magico - 60
After chapter 59, I found this chapter to be quite a nice conclusion chapter to the arc. Unlike most of the story in this arc, the romance elements in the story really shone through here from a variety of standpoints such as Raven noticing the true reason why he fell in love with Emma, Emma realising the true reasons why she is in love with Shion and of course Lu and Shion's display of platonic bordering on parental love.
With the ending of the arc I also really liked Ain's quick appearance and humour contribution to the chapter, proving that she's a little bit of a underrated character but one that adds quite a bit to the story both directly and indirectly (indirectly referring to her being Faust's wife). Raven also made for a decent character in the end since he'd been a rival who lost but has always been a good character at heart.
The end is a little bit of a peculiar choice but as I mentioned in the review of chapter 59 that Iwamoto-sensei is probably rushing to try and save magico from getting axed, it's no surprise that he would throw us into the next arc straight away. I'm wasn't shocked by the sudden appearance of the cats, based on previous experience from anime and manga dictating that no creatures are truly unique in each world setting and I was half-expecting the story to now move onto Anise, which we got a glimpse of back in chapter 57. I do hope that the story doesn't turn stereotypical from this point onwards and retains some original plot developments but based on the cat referring to Anise as "Anise-sama" something hints towards her being some type of princess.
Not a bad chapter, at least much better than the previous one.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #27
Cover - Bleach
Colour Page - Kurogane
Colour Page - Nurarihyon no Mago