A nice set of chapters in this issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, reminding me why Jump manga are so good to read. This time round Naruto resolves a huge part of this arc, Bleach continues to steadily build up the final arc, One Piece continues with more comedy, Beelzebub wraps up the Rice Boy mini-arc while setting up the new arc and Nisekoi continues in great fashion to progress the story at a faster pace than before.
This issue also marks Nisekoi's first time on the cover of Weekly Shonen Jump since it's first chapter.
Here's the chapter reviews:
Nisekoi - 29
I thought that after 2 chapters of fast paced developments, that came out of nowhere, maybe we would see a chapter that would maybe slow things down a little but I am ecstatic to report that not only did the fast pace developments continue, but the shock value which I got from the last 2 chapters was still present in this chapter.
I'm glad to see that Komi-sensei decided not to prolong the whole naivety aspect of the story and just decided to speed right ahead by having almost everything revealed to all of the characters, in particular this chapter where Raku admitted to knowing about the phrase "Zawsze in love" and where him a Chitoge openly talked about what each of their items meant, although it's worth mentioning that Chitoge herself doesn't remember the promise so it could possibly be something completely different from the promise Onodera made or the one which Raku remembers.
Obviously the issue with the pendant wouldn't be revealed and resolved so early on in the series and it ended up being a decent bit of comedy with both characters blushing at every little thing and Chitoge telling Raku that she would even kiss him if he were to be the boy from her past, and now it would be nice to see the pendant to be a less important part of the story and allow the romance to get more serious - something that was helped by the last 7 pages of the chapter.
The ending of this chapter was nothing short of great; not only did it leave me with the feeling that Chitoge has become more accepting of being in love with Raku but also the development that happened in the plot is possibly the best one that could have happened. After Chitoge's dad talks to Raku a little about the childhood of all participants of the love triangle, the mood of the chapter takes a turn and becomes more serious (done rather well if I do say so) and this also amplifies the conundrum that Raku is facing, seeing as he has made a promise with two different girls. As I've mentioned we have yet to hear about the promise Onodera made to Raku years ago and we can't be sure about what promise Chitoge made but right then was the point where the romance became more serious and more enjoyable as a romance.
I don't tend to give Nisekoi the same amount of praise as I do the other series in Jump but this chapter has made me appreciate the series a lot more and has got me excited about how the story will change from now. I'm glad to see that finally the main characters are aware of each others pasts and possibly feelings, leaving us with expectations of actual romantic developments, which Komi-sensei should do wonders with based on his job well done thus far with Nisekoi.
Bleach - 495
First off, the names of the Stern Ritter:
- NaNaNa Najahkoop - "U"
- As Nodt - "F"
- Bambietta Basterbine - "E"
I've always liked Kubo-sensei's naming sense when it came to characters, almost as much as Oda-sensei's but enough with that let's talk about the chapter.
The arc is heating up with every passing chapter and this time we get introduced to the other members of the Stern Ritter and their respective opponents from the Gotei 13, starting off with Rose the Captain of the 3rd Squad. I found it a little unnerving that Rose's opponent was NaNaNa seeing as this Stern Ritter's hair resembles Love Aikawa's so much and his face is hidden - for those who don't remember, Love was Rose's visored partner and one of the visored that didn't return to Soul Society - but other than that it looks like Rose is out for revenge on behalf of Kira even willing to release his "Flying V" (presumably his bankai release), one that could be very interesting and devastating.
While Rose deals with Stern Ritter "U" we are shown Renji taking on Stern Ritter "F" and Komamura taking on Stern Ritter "E" and various other captains (and vice-captain Hisagi) preparing to take on other unnamed Stern Ritter. I half expected that the characters who will be shown fighting would be the main participants in the arrancar arc with the addition of Renji, possibly Rukia and the 3 ex-visored captains, though my concern lies that we will have to sit through numerous chapters of fighting for each captain. This a minor concern and as long as the fights end in an appropriate amount of chapters, it will be a lot of fun to read them and there's always the possibility of Ukitake and Kyoraku's bankai being revealed.
With all the fights set up, the chapter ends with Byakuya arrival to where Renji is and his words of pseudo-encouragement to not be compassionate with the Quincy, which might not seem like much but considering how Renji handled Jackie back in the Fullbring arc (beating her without drawing his blade), for a second it did feel like his powered up seemed like a useless thing to bring up back then - that is until Byakuya arrived on the scene. Out of everything that happened in this chapters involving the captains, the last 2 pages were my favourite since they are hinting at a Byakuya x Renji team up which we have yet to see.
The chapter was a whole was good, but it does look like the fights in this arc are going to be dragged out. That's not to say that they'll be bad but it would be nice if they could move at a faster pace.
Naruto - 589
The end of the Uchiha brothers versus Kabuto fight is finally here! Tough it did come with 3 double pages, hence lowering the amount of pages in the chapter and giving it an extremely short feel; not bad thing as far as I'm concerned because I'm a little tired with the long and uneventful chapters that had been standard practice for Naruto recently.
Only a few things actually happened in this chapter and one of them was Madara parading around the power of his Ultimate Susanoo, which he described as "as powerful as a bijuu" and went on further to tell the 5 Kage that only Hashirama Senju had the power to stop him. That's quite a power up for the Uchiha clan but it feels a little pointless as we see later on when Itachi manages to stop the Edo Tensei technique, making me wonder if there was actually a point for Madara's few pages of displaying the the ultimate technique because surely he would disappear alongside the other revived ninja.
And after all this the chapter ends with yet another sad farewell between the brothers, signalling the end of the arc and the probable (hopefully) start of the final battles, namely Naruto v Sasuke.
Not a bad chapter but it does seem to have a few useless moments. I'm not complaining because now that the arc has come to an end, I can get back to enjoying Naruto more - like before this arc.
Beelzebub - 159
It's always a little hard to write anything about Beelzebub since the chapters can seem void of any developments in the plot but I have to give credit where it is due and this chapter is definitely deserving.
The fight between Oga and Tojo carried on from the previous chapter with plenty of comedy but it wasn't until the appearance of Radish Sprout boy that things got really interesting. The fight scene itself was nothing extraordinary and even the comedy with Kunieda being put into a bondage outfit felts a little dry but the display of Behemoth's strength did set up a pretty decent main antagonist for the later chapters.
I thought that the mini-arc would not provide anything more than just another full comedy arc but I was happy to see that at the end of it, when Behemoth was revealed to be the other costumed character, that Beelzebub is back on track with the original plot. Now all that's left to see is how Beelzebub gets back to the original plot and how long it will take to complete.
One Piece - 670
With this chapter it feels like the Punk Hazard chapter is wrapping up and not to sound negative at all but I am happy to see this happening. It might be just me, but the continued use of body swap humour has gone stale and even in this chapter where the comedy shifts to Smoker and Tashigi's interactions with Luffy, it just didn't feel as funny as the first few times. I did think that it was appropriate for Luffy to meet Smoker in his current state, due to me viewing their relationship as a type of Gold Roger and Garp rivalry (even more-so now that Smoker is a Vice-Admiral) so having Smoker and Luffy fight it out in Punk Hazard would be somewhat of a waste in the long run.
Slime's small explosion and Ceaser's eagerness of it to gather also gave this arc a time constraint and with nothing else going on in this chapter it was also a highlight. The chapter ended with Luffy capturing Ceaser out of nowhere, leaving it until next chapter for things to get resolved.
I haven't been a fan of the last few chapters of this arc but that tends to be the norm for One Piece which has great chapters at the beginning and ending of arcs and a few average or poor chapters in the middle/approaching end of arc; this one would be categorised as the latter.
Unfortunately I can't really think of much else to say about this chapter, except that it wasn't particularly good.
Sensei no Bulge (BARRAGE) - 4
After 3 chapters of slow but enjoyable build up of the world setting, this chapter starts the first real adventure for Astro and Tiamat to embark upon.
There still is almost too much focus on the whole issue surrounding Astro's love of family, particularly in the earlier pages of the chapter where hes saying his goodbyes to his family and is in tears, but I did think that later on when he tells Tiamat about the reason why he loves family was a very nice moment since it explored a little more about his past, regardless of how clich d or unoriginal it may be.
The conversation with Tiamat was also an opportunity in itself for Tiamat to display his devotion to the King by trying to discourage Astro's way of thinking, regardless of how cruel it may have sounded. Tiamat in this chapter went from being displayed as a strong and loyal character to someone who is also level-headed and able to put others before himself, a characteristic that acts as somewhat of a counterbalance for his logical side.
Finally the chapter introduced the first new antagonist that Astro and Tiamat need to fight, one that's supposedly much stronger than the last foe they took on (according to Tiamat's description of the alien hierarchy) but before this a few conditions for the activation of the Org were also introduced. Conditions for the Org seemed like a sensible plot introduction seeing as Astro is still at the lower end of the strength spectrum, so having him be able to activate the weapon of a king with 0 restrictions felt a bit ridiculous.
As a chapter it felt like a good start of the arc chapter, and since it was right after the 3 "introduction" chapter it felt appropriate. The series keeps reminding me of Magi - Labyrinth of Magic and I do hope that it develops into a story as good as that now that the story has been properly introduced and it can advance at proper speed with plenty of interesting developments (hopefully).
magico - 62
Yeah, so the story is going to end and it feels a lot like the mangaka Iwamoto-sensei has given up, making me consider giving up as well seeing as his work has become a lot shoddier and lower in quality.
Plot advancement is definitely an issue here, not only affected by the speed of the series progression but also the actual content. I really don't get why so many new characters had to appear out of nowhere (maybe Iwamoto-sensei wanted to use them regardless of cancellation), not helped by them being sages and even carrying names such as "the 4 Great Sages." Putting aside the entry of the numerous new characters, there was also the return of the other Sage of the West whom we met way back, and it seems that he has a new power to go along with his juvenile delinquent look, a character re-introduction at the most boring time and manner possible.
I wouldn't have minded all of this until, Oz decided to reveal why he had spent all this time on the moon and made their entry and efforts futile. Certainly controlling gravity has made him the strongest character in the world of magico and Shion probably doesn't have what it takes to finish him off, so I'm at least looking forward to see how the final chapters play out.
Unfortunately the rushed ending has made this series go to shit.
Pajama na Kanojo - 15
And I'm back to officially being bored with Pajama na Kanojo.
If last chapter taught us anything is that a chapter filled with 90% boring pages and then a few decent ones does not excuse the chapter from being poor and takes away from the impact of the chapter as a whole, this chapter teaches us that half-assed reactions and interactions between the characters is just suicide in a romance series.
I realise that an important point in the plot that hasn't been explored yet are Keisuke's own feelings regarding the 2 girls that seem to have fallen in love with him, but to have him think about for a whole chapter and in an almost 100% unnatural manner really spoiled the already declining mood that Pajakanojo had embarked upon after the 13th chapter (give or take).
The last pages of the chapter weren't any better with the almost kiss scenario feeling as unnatural as the entire chapter and the conclusion being somewhat unfunny and a little dry, giving this chapter the appropriate yet disappointing poor ending it deserved.
It wasn't a tough choice for me this time, with Nisekoi being the most enjoyable one from the pick of the litter. Even with the previous 2 chapters being very good, it was this chapter that shone through and put the competition to shame, proving that sometimes a romantic comedy will trump a battle manga.
I hate to say it but it was One Piece again. It didn't really get me excited and in fact, it bored me a little bit. Out of all of the chapters in this issue it didn't really set itself apart as being exceptional.
UPDATE: I'm changing that to Pajama na Kanojo, since it was beyond pathetic and One Piece was nowhere near as bad.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #29
Cover + Lead Colour Page - Beelzebub
Colour Page - Haikyuu!!
Colour Page - Kuroko no Basket
Colour Page - Pajama na Kanojo
Absent - Naruto