Good chapters from Nisekoi and Sensei no Bulge this week, yet another let down from Naruto, Bleach was lacking whilst Beelzebub didn't have much going on and Kuroko had a lot going on. Also this Issue marks the end of Nurarihyon no Mago's run in Weekly Shonen Jump, however the last chapter will be published in jump NEXT which will be out in August and there's talk about a big project which might be a return of Nura in Jump SQ. Also Binbougami ga! had a special chapter in this issue to promote the anime.
Here's what's up with this issues chapters:
Naruto - 590
I feel foolish for feeling happy by thinking that the Uchiha brothers fight versus Kabuto was resolved in the previous chapter and even more foolish for believing that the break last week was just to set up for the remainder of the ninja war saga.
Not only did Kishimoto-sensei decide that progressing in the story wasn't an option with this chapter but he decided that we needed to be reminded about Danzo's involvement with Uchiha massarce for nth time in just a few months; wasn't Danzo in Kabuto's flashback recently Too much favouritism. Besides too much focus on Danzo, I thought the flashback wasn't all bad seeing as how we got to see a little bit of Shisui and Itachi's goodbye and what happened with the Uchiha massacre from Itachi's point of view - nice to see what emotions he was experiencing during all of this - possibly the saving grace of the entire flashback, which was otherwise just a rehash of old material presented from a different point of view.
It wasn't until the last 2 pages of this shorter-than-usual chapter that I became annoyed, and the main reason for my annoyance was the double page spread of the Uchicha brothers embracing themselves. I know that someone(s) somewhere are rejoicing in this little bit of yaoi imagery, presumably since the Uchiha brothers make for some interesting fan art compilations (not that I actively search of Uchiha yaoi images) but seriously I thought the sad farewells had already been taken care of but more importantly; what's Sasuke going to do now
The fact that Itachi went so far ahead as to reveal everything about himself to his younger brother, who has been plotting his revenge solely for the sake of his brother, just makes no sense and honestly makes for a poor plot development this late in the series. Now instead of having a villain I want to see taken down, I feel like I don't want to see Sasuke and Naruto fight any more and that's what annoys me most for the sole reason that I have been waiting for this fight to happen for a while.
I would write something like "Hopefully next chapter the focus will shift back to Naruto" but I might jinx it and Kishimoto-sensei will end doing another chapter only about the Sasuke. Thoroughly disappointing.
Bleach - 497
Call me silly, but I thought that the whole point of having captains in the Gotei 13 was to ensure that there would be some semblance of calm during times of calamity such a this.
That said, seeing the captains fretting over how to handle the Stern Ritter in this chapter was something you don't get to see a lot, especially from such a calm and almost too cool character like Byakuya who was also stumped as to how to handle the enemy in front of him. With all of this, the Stern Ritter have been pumped up to be quite the opponents and if that wasn't enough, having a captain such as Kyourako who stands at the higher end of the strength ladded in the Gotei 13 struggle greatly, adds even more to the Stern Ritter's supposed strength.
What didn't make sense, like at all, was that the captains decided to release their Bankai's regardless of their knowledge of some type of thievery that can occur. As demonstrated by Hitsugaya who almost genuinely shocked regarding his loss of Hyorinmaru, countered by Kurotsuchi's anger - calling everyone idiots - at the captains' inability to wait for him to deduce a solution from all of the data he gathered or will gather in the future.
The chapter ends with Akon, 3rd seat of the 12th Squad, ordering for a direct line to connect him to Ichigo so that Ichigo can be called back. Now based on everything that's happened, I don't think it's wise to have Ichigo enter the main battle for a couple of reasons; first of all because he's having so much difficulty with Opie in Hueco Mundo, it would be stupid to assume that he could be of any help in his current situation and second of all we have yet to see the captains who aren't in jam do something. Of course the main candidates to do something would be any captains (some pictured above) who have yet to clash with the Stern Ritter but my money would be on Kenpachi, Mayuri and Yamamoto. For obvious reasons these 3 seem like the clear favourites to get something done, whether it's because of Kenpachi's lack of bankai, Mayuri's insane manipulation of his bankai or Yamamoto's lack of need for a his katana at all and on top of that Kenpachi and Mayuri haven't had serious fights in a long time (something I'm itching to see quite badly).
A lot of possibilities for Bleach at this point and hopefully Kubo-sensei will choose the right plot direction for the upcoming chapters. This chapter however was a little bit of everywhere and not the best one Bleach has had these past few weeks.
Nisekoi - 31
Did you honestly think that it would be that easy
I don't know why but I've been enjoying Raku's ascent into playboyism and this chapter only went to confirm that Komi-sensei think's it is time to introduce some type of a harem into Nisekoi. Proof of the escalation into a harem was probably best displayed in the study session at the fast food restaurant where Tsugumi has now made her move by helping Raku with the homework, also giving opportunity for Shuu to poke more fun at the all the girls who are currently in love with Raku; that facial expression of his after Tsugumi was blushing was priceless.
The fast food restaurant also provided some great comedy with the story the group had to translate but it also showed a sadder side of Onodera who seems to be giving up with each passing moment in the story, a sad thing to see because I've really liked her as a love interest and possible girlfriend thus far and hope she can at least confess to Raku instead of being a character that just fades away and let's Chitoge take the number one place in his heart.
The ending, much like a lot of the Nisekoi ending was a nice semi-cliffhanger/plot changer. The revelation that neither Chitoge nor Onodera were the girl (possibly) was a little unexpected but when faced with Raku finding the box where all will be revealed, it did seem like an appropriate choice - not the best in my opinion - and further lanced the harem element of the story.
Now with this chapter come a few questions: did Raku really make a promise with 3 different girls or is it that there are more guys involved Or is it possible that what he promised with each girl was different to the one promise he made with one girl to get married Either way with so much going on, it looks like Nisekoi's story is progressing quite nicely and at the same time allowing for the focus on the current main characters to be good.
Beelzebub - 161
Back to the rich kids school, it's no wonder that there's an underground fight club.
To be honest this chapter hasn't really felt like Beelzebub but more like straight up delinquent/mafia story (or something along those lines) which isn't really a bad thing because the comedy is what usually makes me forget that Beelzebub is in fact a delinquent manga.
The demeanour of the rich kids towards Furuichi was definitely one of the more serious plot point in this issue's chapter as was the Himekawa's remarks on how the students at this school are more powerful than mere delinquents, later coupled with the revelation of the fight club but for me it's the possibility of finding out more about Himekawa that excites me most about this arc. It's obvious that Himekawa knows a lot of the students at this school and even the big boss who's introduced at the end alongside his 2 bodyguards (pictured above) and I'm hopeful that this particular part of the story will be explored, seeing as how we have yet to see an arc that focuses on Himekawa's life outside of school.
Nothing else was revealed about the item which the Demon King wants and which is apparently stored at this rich kid school, making me all the more curious and being left wanting more from Beelzebub.
Sensei no Bulge (BARRAGE) - 6
The conclusion of the first arc in Barrage was surprisingly better than I thought it would be, after reading the previous chapter.
Even with Tiamat coming off as the much stronger and superior character, Astro still gets some attention as being an able main character which took care of my fear of him being too weak to be the main character, especially when compared to Tiamat.
The resolution of the fight was to my liking because it didn't focus on Astro somehow miraculously beating the enemy but rather on the issue of Astro's inability to put himself first before anything else, which until now has only been discussed as a negative (mainly by Tiamat) in the chapters leading up to this one. This chapter ended up providing a sort of "grey" scenario for Astro and showed that what made the Org react to him might have been his inability to choose himself over others - a true trait of a King in a multitude of literature.
It may have been a little clich - his feelings and actions reaching those of others - but it was by no means a bad clich to use in this story, although I do hope that this doesn't discourage the author from putting Astro in difficult situations where he would eventually have to pick himself, thus leading to more varied character development.
Overall, not a bad conclusion to the 3 chapter arc and as I mentioned a better conclusion than I was expecting after reading chapters 4 and 5.
Kuroko no Basket - 170
Last week we were introduced to yet another new character and at a point where one could easily think that no more characters are necessary but as I wrote in the previous Issue Review, that re-matches in shonen sports manga don't tend to happen for more than 1 opponents and unless Tadatoshi-sensei was planning on boring the readers this was the smart move to make.
The new guy Haizaki Shougo comes off as somewhat of a Kongo Agon (Eyeshield 21) like character with the dreads, love of women and violence to match. Up until there hasn't really been a character that's come off as despicable or made me hate them in an instant but Shougo is definitely one that ticks the box and I'm glad for his appearance in the manga; even with the existence of sportsmanship, the harsh reality of scumbag athlete is necessary to balance it out and of course add more variety to a genre of manga which would otherwise be blander than a serving of Area no Kishi (anime) on a weekly basis.
Quite a bit is actually revealed about Shougo, the most interesting being that Kise didn't actually replace but rather he was kicked off the Teikou team by the captain Akashi and Kise just ended up filling the slot. This already hints to the probability of Kise's team not winning in the next round and of course means that there is another opponent that will probably end up being Kagami's natural opponent on the court (unlike Murasakibara) but at the same time when Tadatoshi-sensei described Shougo as someone who doesn't care for basketball, he has restricted Shougo's powers by automatically disqualifying him from "The Zone." By making Shougo out to be a character who doesn't like basketball it seemed like he was already made an inferior opponent against Kagami but Kuroko's worries alongside Aomine's disdain, make it look like he might not need to enter "The Zone" to be a problem for Kuroko and Co.
A nice character introduction chapter for Kuroko, even if it does feel like Tadatoshi-sensei drew inspiration from Eyeshield 21 to come up with his new character, I'm welcoming this plot development with arms wide open.
magico - 64
With the penultimate chapter of magico (in Weekly Shonen Jump at least), the series picks up the quality to prove that had it not been forced to pick up the pace by 200% for it's cancellation, it would have ended in a much more memorable way or gone on to improve.
I suppose the best part of the chapter, aside from more fantastic art that makes Air Gear's extravagant illustrations look like dirty sketches, it was the return to the original plot point that drives the entire story: Emma's ability to save Shion whenever he's about to fall completely into darkness. This is probably a part of the story that didn't get that much attention since it was brought up in the "Best Couple Tournament" arc for a few pages but it still a fundamental aspect of Shion's character and it gives opportunity for the normally weak and helpless Emma to save the one who's always saving her.
As an attempt to tie up loose ends before the series ends, Iwamoto-sensei also included a little about Emma's past which he was presumably saving for later before magico hit trouble. Its execution was far from great but it at least added something new to the story and lets it end in a scenario other than "Shion just beat up the strongest character in the magico universe after struggling for a bit."
Overall, it was one of the best chapters that magico has had in a while and hopefully the last chapter will prove to be and adequate end for a somewhat underrated series.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #31
Cover - Assassination Classroom (Weekly Shonen Jump debut)
Colour Page - Nisekoi
Colour Page - PSI Kusuo Saiki
Colour Page - Kuroko no Basket