In this issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, Naruto's finally done with the Uchiha v Kabuto fight, Bleach picks up the pace drastically, Beelzebub continues with the Rice Boy show, Zoro & Co. reappear in One Piece after being left out for a few chapters and Sensei no Bulge still carries on in a mild-mannered pace. This issue we have Bleach on the cover and colour pages for Nurarihyon no Mago and Kurogane; it's been a while for Bleach (since Issue #11 of this year) but it's always nice to see it on the cover since it looks great.
As a side not, the gag manga Inumaru Dashi ended it's run in this issue and a mini-series by the name of Koganeiro starts (it will end in issue #29).
Here are this issue's chapter reviews:
Bleach - 494
At the end of the last chapter I was quite excited about the next chapter and hoping that it would carry on the momentum that Bleach has created, and luckily I wasn't disappointed. Carrying on in true Bleach fashion, this chapter accomplished a lot without actually having a lot of content, a technique that has been perfected by Kubo-sensei much to my and everyone elses frustration.
The Quincy have finally started the invasion and hence the focus of this chapter was back on Soul Society and the shinigami, after various chapters of fighting between Ichigo & Co. in Hueco Mundo. It was strange to see the main focus of this chapter being Kira, because we haven't seen him since his battle against an arrancar way back and unfortunately for him his appearance was a short-lived one (a few pages) before he ends up loosing his arm as pictured above by an attack carried out by one of the Stern Ritter i.e. the Quincy equivalent of the Espada. I was a little shocked by the fact that Kira was put out of commission so early one - he's a vice-captain - but I appreciated this development for its shock value and more simple reason that if Kubo-sensei didn't do this, the entire arc would end up feeling like the arrancar arc, where the vice-captain's managed to hold their own against some of the arrancar. Not only did Kira's easy loss make the Stern Ritter appear stronger than ever, this also opened up more possibility for the main vice-captain characters as well as the captain's of the Gotei 13 to have harder fought battles, which if they came on the verge of losing, could be an opportunity to introduce to Royal Gurad AKA Squad 0. I would also assume that the reason the shinigami who were with Kira were lower ranking members in his squad because Kubo is planning to use the other vice-captains, who are stronger, later on and so he chose to introduce Kira's subordinates in order to not wipe out more important supporting characters such as the other vice-captains straight away.
Kira's loss also fit in really nicely with Ichigo's struggles, further confirming that the Stern Ritter are very strong which up until now was only an educated guess based on their occupation of Hueco Mundo and Ichigo's inability to beat Opie. The chapter's end also reveals that 1000 shinigami have been killed in action and we are also shown the 3rd seat of the 12th Squad worrying about this, even going so far as to say that there is no possibility for them to win, which ended up being the cherry on top for introducing the Stern Ritter as the strongest antagonists of this series.
The chapter obviously had the main objective of introducing the Stern Ritter properly and setting up the story to enter its final battle, a chapter which was done very well. It managed to introduce the main antagonists by showing them as the strongest enemies yet, befitting for a final arc, whilst at the same time differentiating the scenario from the arrancar arc. With the loss of a vice-captain, Kubo-sensei might be hinting that we'll see more from the captains of the Gotei 13 or possibly the other vice-captains who didn't fight/fight seriously in the arrancar arc. I'm glad to see Bleach back to its former glory and would happily say that this was the best chapter of the week out of all the series.
Sensei no Bulge (BARRAGE) - 3
The previous chapter Astro was accepted by the King as the new Prince and this chapter it was time for Tiamat to accept Astro. Chapter 3 of Sensei no Bulge didn't pick up the pace, carrying on the slow and steady pace it has been using to build up the story properly which most new series tend to ignore and it's a pace I haven't really seen since Naruto first few chapters.
In this chapter we see that Astro is not an overwhelmingly strong character, something we could have guessed since all the battle scenes in the chapters have been extremely short and haven't given opportunity for Astro to draw out any amazing power and what I liked best about the chapter was that Tiamat acknowledged Astro's willpower above all else, noting that he was still too inexperienced to go rushing into battle.
The theme of caring for one's family carried on in this chapter, and was what inevitably gave Astro a power up in terms of willpower and what would eventually make Tiamat acknowledge him. At the same time, Tiamat was shown to be on a completely different level when it came to strength which ended up creating a kind of Kakashi and Naruto relationship with him and Astro and is probably what will lead to more training for Astro.
I can't really say much about this chapter except for that it was a great 3rd chapter, since not only does it set up the story for the adventure portion of the manga but it also doesn't make the main character into an over-the-top already close to being the strongest type of character that we tend to see a lot in the new series that start and inevitable fail in Jump. It's also because there is no abundance of information or developments in the chapters thus far, making me want to read Sensei no Bulge almost as soon as it's released.
One Piece - 669
One Piece rarely has boring chapters, but this one is definitely one. Most of the chapter's focus on what happened to Zoro, Sanji (in Nami's body) and Brook wasn't very exciting or interesting at all but instead made it feel like a grand effort to read the pages where it was just about them.
Not much else happens in this chapter; a very reasonable explanation is given as to how Slime was formed and the ending where Luffy arrived on the scene, shouting for Ceaser to come out was expected. Much like how Bleach has reused some elements of the arrancar arc in the current arc, it felt like Luffy's sudden entry, shouting for Ceaser to show himself so that Luffy can kidnap him bore similarities to his entry into the main fight in the most recent Fishman Island arc.
Not the best chapter by any means, and possibly the worst one of this week's Jump manga.
Naruto - 588
Uchiha brothers v Kabuto finally ends this chapter! Well.... not before we see Sasuke trying to stop Itachi from going making Kabuto release Edo Tensei and telling Itachi that he cannot forgive Konoha, to which Itachi responds with a possibly cryptic message (for Sasuke at least) that he is no longer the one who can save him from the path of darkness.
Then we're back to the 5 Kage v Madara, a fight that has been almost forgotten by myself, to the point that I had to go back and reread the chapters when Madara released a bunch of Susanoo beasts and then I realised that there hasn't been any explanation as to how the Susanoo clones were created. Putting that aside, the 5 kage's struggle was expected and for most of the chapter I was expecting this to eventually lead them to join forces (properly) to take down Madara, and whilst I knew that they couldn't possibly take him down so quickly with a combination attack - no matter how insane it looked - what was more annoyingly unexpected was that Madara revealed "Ultimate Susanoo."
From what I saw in the last panel, Ultimate Susanoo looks like it can form seals and probably use ninjutsu and all comments on MAL and Live Journal point out that this is ridiculous! I completely agree with all of those comments because yet another power up for Madara, who has already shown to possess Rinnengan, Wood Element Techniques and a Susanoo which already put Sasuke and Itachi's to shame, has just made him into the ultimate antagonist that even the 5 Kage can't beat. I sincerely hope that Kishimoto-sensei is still planning on having Sasuke and Naruto fight, as the grand finale of the manga because if it turns into a "let's stop Madara" plot direction, I'm going to be pissed!
I don't know whether the talk between the Uchiha brothers will have any bearing on the final battle I desire but as far as the fight between Madara and the Kage, goes it would be nice to see it resolved in a few chapters because this was a fight set up about 20 odd chapters back. All in all, I didn't hate this chapter of Naruto since it finally ended the whole Kabuto arc and went back to the Kage's fight and I was enjoying right until the point when Madara revealed Ultimate Susanoo.
Beelzebub - 158
What can I say about this chapter other than it was fun to read, with almost no real developments that occurred. As expected, the Rice Boy show ended up being a delinquent battleground for Kanzaki, Toujo and Oga and was done rather well as far as comedy goes and is what you would expect to read in Beelzebub.
I hadn't noticed before this chapter, but Futaba has steadily become a favourite character; not as a major one obviously but as a side character she has added more enjoyment to the comedy in Beelzebub by being around Kanzaki and idolising him. Not only that but because she is a girl toddler, she adds some romcom elements for Beel and in this chapter for Kota which, granter, may not be the best comedy but does warrant a laugh or two.
The highlight of the chapter was the clash between Oga and Toujo, a lingering and unresolved plot point seeing as the two haven't properly fought ever since Oga became the head of Ishiyama High after defeating Toujo. This fight is nicely timed as well, mainly for the reason that we know Toujo has been training but we have yet to see the extent of his training and the results that they produced.
Not much that happened in Beelzebub in this issue's chapter but it did set up the fight between the two of the strongest characters in this series rather nicely and had plenty of decent comedy that went will with the setting introduced in the last chapter.
Nisekoi - 28
Wow has Nisekoi really picked up the pace! Not one but 2 chapters filled with plenty of juicy development and luckily no regression in the plot.
Picking up where the last chapter left off, after Raku asked Onodera point-blank if she was the girl with whom he made a promise 10 years ago and what ensued was quite the dramatic moment we don't tend to see in Nisekoi brought on by Onodera essentially confessing her feelings for Raku but in a way that leaves the situation unresolved because of the lack of information. Here Komi-sensei proved just how good he is at drawing facial expressions and in particular made Onodera's sad face add even more of a dramatic feel to this otherwise light-hearted romantic comedy.
After the emotional exchange between Raku and Onodera, the remainder of the chapter decides to focus on the comedy which is always funny. There were actually a wide range of this that made me laugh in this chapter like ow Chitoge is being treated like a princess at home and of course that means Claude was bound to make an appearance and brings his share to the table. Even with the comedy in Nisekoi always being good I was happy to see it relapse into and oldie but goodie i.e. the jokes about Chitoge being called a gorilla by Raku, a running joke that not only came up plain and in your face but the made me laugh for a while when I saw Raku's present (as pictured above).
Some things have hinted to Chitoge having feelings for Raku ever since the camping incident and this chapter built up on that with her reaction to the doll being a happy one and her justification of keeping the doll being very tsundere. All of this ended up being the lead up to the bomb Chitoge dropped by asking Raku if he knew about "Zaxia in Love." Now the question is, who is the girl from Raku's childhood and how will he find out Using the keys to try and open the pendant is the least likely of all outcomes and would just devalue the piece but at the same time, now that Raku knows about this, the story revolving around the pendant and keys can't possibly last for a long time. Now that it's been confirmed that both of the girls have a connection to some kind of pendant, all that's left to wait for is the arrival of another male lead unless Raku is a closet player and managed to accidentally promise 2 girls something (one is marriage, the other is TBC).
Great chapter from Nisekoi and one that didn't loose to the previous one even with the previous chapter's huge impact.
Pajama na Kanojo - 14
Uneventful is the best word to describe this chapter of Pajama, since quite literally nothing (new) happened in this chapter until the last few pages.
At this point I've started to loose interest with the series much again and can definitely attest to the fact that there are pacing issues and the content in the past 2 or 3 chapters have not been able to override the problem. I got bored with all the jokes going centred around the "accidents" that end up putting Keisuke in awkward positions with both Yuki and Makura and also Makura's demeanour hasn't really helped the story much either but I will say that Yuki has definitely become a more likeable character for me since she's become humble and definitely fits in well with her lunar pajamas, contrasted next to Makura's starry pajamas.
The big cliffhanger and plot development in the end suffered as a result of the poor contents of the chapter leading up to it and as a plot development didn't exactly wow me. It's not a bad idea for a plot development but I think that the author needs to work on his pacing in both chapters and the overall manga since these seem to be what's holding back Pajakanojo.
magico - 61
And with this chapter the series gets even more ridiculous, a feat that's pretty hard to achieve when your writing a manga about magi. Since I've mentioned pacing issues a number of times and have given up on analysing that specific issue, I'll just have to explore the other elements of the chapter and you can just assume that there were pacing issues everywhere - probably because the manga is ending.
There were a few bits of information revealed during this chapter like all the black cats in the world being golems and Anise being their leader, both plot points that stayed on the more sensible side and made some type of sense. The chapter did take a stereotypical approach with the message Anise had recorded and also with the flashback and Shion's reaction, but it still remained high quality and felt exactly like magico usually does; a manga about relationships and feelings rather than a pure fantasy battle/adventure series.
The ridiculous part struck when we were told that Typhoeus Oz, the creator of the black cats, is residing on the moon and the moon itself is actually Echidna's head. Besides the fantastic artwork, this just didn't work with the story at all, more-so than anything since this is meant to feel like a great and triumphant last trial and instead you are told that Shion and co. must now go to the moon to save anise.
This manga's end is going to be a strange one, that's all I can say.
It's been a while since I've done the best/worst chapter of the issue and I have refrained from doing so because a few of the series in Jump which I read tend to get scanlated a little later than the Big 3, Beelzebub and Sensei no Bulge (for the time being) but since I started adding chapter review later on to their respective Issue Reviews, I'm going to start doing this again.
This issue's best chapter was Bleach - great developments in the plot, shock value and as usual leaving you wanting more because the chapter felt like it lasted 10 seconds.
I would give this dishonour to Naruto but seeing as this was the best chapter in a while from it, I'm going to go ahead and say One Piece was the worst chapter of this issue because it was the most boring one and frankly not the One Piece I know and love.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #28
Cover + Colour Page - Nisekoi
Lead Colour Page - Kuroko no Basket
Colour Page - Haikyuu
Colour Page - Bleach
Absent - Gintama
Until next issue!