This issue of Weekly Shonen Jump marks Bleach's 500th chapter and Sket Dance's 5th year in Shonen Jump! Yes it has been that long. We also see some good chapters from One Piece, Bleach, Sensei no Bulge and surprisingly Assassination Classroom whilst the others fail to live up to their potential and lack in quality.
Here's how it went down:
Sensei no Bulge (BARRAGE) - 9
After a break from action for a few chapters Sensei no Bulge returns guns blazing but not before revealing a little character background info.
Astro's past with Black form an important part of his character as the protagonist of the series seeing as how it was Black who taught him about survival and right from wrong. Black is also a character who I'm guessing is going to appear again should this manga last long enough for him to do so naturally and not in a manner that feels forced, but whether he'll be Astro's friend will be anyone's guess at this point.
The rest of the chapter resembled the Sabaondy Archipelago arc in One Piece, especially with the dominance of the aliens and their enslaving nature which was directly comparable to that of the Tenryubito in One Piece who also exercised a similar power. Since children were involved in the slavery it wasn't surprising that Astro jumped into the situation with his Org activated and ready to take down anyone who is standing in his way (much to Tiamat's dismay) and then the chapter ended in a generic yet well done way, leaving Tico against the alien she was chasing before and her father falling to the ground as the protects his stubborn child.
With a familiar and stereotypical plot direction you'd expect Sensei no Bulge to start boring me but because it's done quite well I'm actually happily reading the chapter as they come out. This chapter is proof that the series isn't doing anything that's 100% new or original but it's also proof that it doesn't have to be for it to be good and with the ending it presents, I'm eagerly awaiting to see what happens in the next chapter.
Bleach - 500
For a series which prides itself (I'm assuming this) on its ability to make a 20 page chapter feel like 5, this chapter retained that feeling whilst having quite a few developments happen at the same time.
I've already stated my displeasure of Ichigo reappearing so quickly on the scene, even though there are still a number of captains who can fight against the Stern Ritter, but the delay of Ichigo's arrival in this chapter added so much more to the final arc than I thought it would. By being made to suffer, Ichigo is in a different position to when he was travelling from Hueco Mundo to Karakura to take on Aizen; now he's powerful enough to do something about all the chaos but is cannot reach Soul Society unlike when he wasn't powerful enough to take on Aizen but went to Karakura regardless.
Alongside Ichigo's helplessness in regards to his current situation, a lot events occur in Soul Society which only hint more towards the Stern Ritter's power especially when the members of Soul Society are at risk of being controlled by the Quincy into doing things outside of their free will. Ichigo's forced to feel a lot more helpless as he is forced to listen to the cries of all the fallen soldiers while no one else is able to hear him.
The chapter ends on a high not with the murder of Opie commited by an unknown person who is also able to instil the look of fear into Urahara's face. A lot people online have been hoping for Grimmjow and whilst that lies as a possibility it doesn't seem so likely considering how strong the character would have to be to make Urahara, who is no pushover himself, more than just slightly frightened.
A nice cliffhanger to end a nice yet once again short chapter from Bleach.
Kuroko no Basket - 173
An unsatisfactory end to the brief appearance made by Haizaki Shougo.
I may be one of the few that was more than peeved with the outcome of this chapter, which ended too quickly and with the victory going to the wrong team. When I say that the wrong team won the game, I'm only saying so based on the events leading up to the conclusion of the game; Haizaki has been built up over several chapters as the bad guy to beat all bad guys in this series, so to have him suddenly loose without putting up much of a fight is more than annoying, just the same as seeing Kise win suddenly without struggling any more.
Kise's win signifies his triumph over a ghost from his past and establishes him as one of the rightful members of the Generation of Miracles instead of being just the replacement for a guy who forced off the team by an all-powerful captain. In this respect the win makes sense because otherwise the name "Generation of Miracles" would besmirched but more than that having Kagami compete against a player who can't enter "The Zone" would be a pointless stepping stone in the story's progression and would only serve as another trial for him to overcome, something we've seen too much of already.
Kise's win also added to mystery that is Akashi, the former Teikou captain. If anyone is struggling to remember anything about him you may as well give up since the most we ever got was when Kuroko mentioned that he never looses, so when we were shown the flashback to when Akashi advised Haizaki to quit now because soon Kise would have surpassed him we are being shown a man who seems as close to omniscient as one can get in the world of basketball.
The ending of the chapter was maybe a little cheesy since it involves Aomine punching out Haizaki, who was en route to beat up Kise, but it was well within Aomine's nature as someone who's only true (so far) is basketball and he's one of the few people who understand the fun of facing strong opponents. Now that Kise has displayed a new skill it looks like he's ready to face Seirin once more but the match I'm excited to see more is Shutoku v Ranzan AKA Midorima v Akashi and I must admit ending with that page has definitely got me excited about the next few chapters.
A rocky start for this chapter of Kurobas and a less than mediocre conclusion to the match but it did have quite a few redeeming points.
One Piece - 674
Turning the tables this chapter, Caeser Clown is no longer the weak villain of this arc but instead a much deadlier man than meets the eye.
I wasn't that impressed with how the majority of the chapter played and honestly speaking it was a little boring. Usopp and Nami were never going to be a match for Caeser Clown because we already knew that they lacked the ability of Haki but that didn't stop Caeser from proving that he's very dangerous by being able to manipulate oxygen which as he pointed is a gas.
Brownbeard's return wasn't all that exciting either and felt like Oda-sensei was flogging a dead horse by bringing up a character who we assumed to be dead. That said, Brownbeard ended up being a sacrificial lamb to further develop Ceaser as a much stronger villain of the arc than we were originally led to believe and from that point of view his return bore some fruit, however small it may be viewed as.
The trademark awesome ending ended up being my favourite part of the chapter, especially since we get to see another old face, namely Eustass "Captain" Kidd. Kidd's appearance makes a lot of sense, being the third captain who raised hell on Sabaondy 2 years ago alongside Law and Luffy but as usual he's not going to get involved with Caeser's proposal to witness a true WMD but instead his interests lie with his competition: Law and Luffy. Kidd also happens to be pissed of with Luffy ringing the Ox Bell because he took it as a declaration that Luffy himself thinks he's the future of the pirate world which of course doesn't sit well with the savage and destructive Kidd.
Other than Kidd, there were a few more silhouettes but the only one I could make out for sure were Pekoms and Tomago, whom Luffy and Co. met on Fishman Island, nevertheless I'm hoping the remaining silhouettes belong to prominent pirates which will end up making the New World that much harder for the Straw Hats.
Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) - 3
Not much happened that we haven't seen but I guess that is what has made Assassination Classroom enjoyable thus far.
This chapter was basically the same thing we saw in the first chapter except that it showed Korosensei in a much more positive light (from the point of view of a government official) and introduced a new character at the end who is going to try to kill him.
Now I'm not saying the humour is bad but I'm also not supportive of the series continuing on in this manner for much longer, so I'm happy to see it's started to move along and that it is entering its first multi-chapter arc (at least I hope so). This new character will probably end up being the black sheep of the classroom and be won over by Korosensei at some point, a plot that's predictable yet I want to see if it can be done well.
Takamagahara - 2
With rather slow progression in the story and no exciting new developments to speak of Takamagahara's less than stellar start continues.
The chapter doesn't do much in terms of plot progression and what it does in terms of plot progression it does rather poorly but at least there has been improvement with this chapter. The addition of more humour and less focus on the main story can be seen as good or bad but I thought it at least helped since the previous chapter had an unbalance to it caused by the author's inability to choose the appropriate mix of gag-style comedy and action focus of the story; at least he's now drawn a much clearer line between the two and stuck to one genre being the main focus (even if it might only be for this chapter).
The biggest flaw the story has is its composition and that at the end of each chapter I'm not left intrigued or wanting to read on, a reason for dropping quite a lot of manga if I may add. For the past two chapters the endings have been kind of dull and unnatural, leaving the impression that the chapter shouldn't have ended but instead carried on for a few more pages at least and unfortunately this chapter, which ended, in cliffhanger right before the first big fight was just as bad as last chapter which ended in a failed attempt to leave the readers wanting more by revealing information in the last few panels.
With an upcoming fight next chapter I'm really indifferent at this point at the next chapter might be the last one I read for this series.
Naruto - 593
Okay being sick of Naruto recently I'm going to attempt to summarise this in as few words as possible:
- Orochimaru returns and I think when is this cockroach going to die/ be properly killed.
- Orochimaru says he's not interested in the war and I think that's ridiculous.
- Orochimaru teams up with Sasuke proving that he may still have control over the foolish Uchiha boy.
- Orochimaru is feared by Suigetsu and praised by Sasuke so maybe I've been underestimating him.
And that's all folks!
Beelzebub - 164
Well I feel silly for expecting something a little more serious...... I just remembered this is Beelzebub.
Going back to mounds of humour being shoved down our throats - whether we like it or not - Beelzebub reprises all the comedy after being a little bit more serious in the previous chapter.
With much of the chapter being about comedy, there's not much to discuss about it. It's made even more evident that the Demon King is an idiot and the proof of his idiocy lies with the guardian of the painting who was created in "his image," a humorous take on religious creation and probably the wittiest out of all the humour in this chapter. The rest of the comedy was your run-of-the mill, in your face, loud and obvious humour which Beelzebub doesn't shy away from and it shouldn't because it does it rather well but as I've mentioned before this leaves the chapter void of anything else other than the humour.
As one should have expected the painting which is being guarded was drawn by the Demon King and if I had to guess it's probably something stupid and not pertinent to the main story but I might be
wrong 100% on the money. Still not a bad chapter from Beelzebub.
Nisekoi - 34
So the craziness continues with Marika at the centre of it all.
Just as I'd hoped Marika is the manipulative type of girl that the series has been missing and the most direct out of all the girls in Raku's harem. She's also not shying away from being deceptive and even underhanded by trying to force Raku and Chitoge to break up; actually offering to tell Raku all about the past on the condition that he break up with Chitoge seems a little extreme. Other than that, Marika has acted as an accelerator for the story's progression, with the tsundere characters trying to be true to their feelings and the shyer characters trying to be more proactive which is to be expected when you thrown in a character who from the start is trying to snag the male lead in a romantic comedy.
As expected none of the girls were going to sit there while their beloved is out on a date which made for some nice comedy that's archetypal to series such as this one, with particular hilarious comedy stemming from Tsugumi dressing up as a girly girl for another rare occasion and as usual Onodera being dragged by Ruri also added comedy.
As a transition from being all about the comedy to being more about the search for answers from the past (even if it was done primarily through comedy) made for a rather enjoyable chapter and is hopefully the first in a long line of chapters to come.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #34
Cover - Naruto
Colour Page - Beelzebub
Colour Page - Sensei no Bulge
Colour Page - Koisome Momiji