First Impressions: Pokemon Black and White


-Pokémon Black and White, volumes 1+2

-Hidenori Kusaka and Satoshi Yamamoto

-Vizkids by Viz Media

Hey everyone, I havn’t been able to pos much in the last few weeks as I’ve just moved to London and started a new job. Between settling in and work I’ve not had much time to read manga, and when I have been I’ve mostly been catching up with One Piece which I don’t bother blogging about since I’m so far behind in the series. Anyway here’s a short refection on the start of the Pokemon Black and white series to settle us back in.

I’ve picked up a few volumes of the Black and White series in the short editions (well under 100 pages each) and so far read through the first two. The story follows along the same lines of the Black and White games while at the same time taking its own path. For instance at the start of the series Black, Cheren and Bianca receive their pokemon from Professor Juniper, however, Black already has two pokemon. I didn’t really think that this was necessary and it kind of destroys the whole idea in Pokemon that the trainers receive their first pokemon from the professor. But nonetheless the series gets started very well.

Black begins his journey through the Unova region alone but soon meets White, a pokemon talent agent who trains pokemon to act in films. The two start working together in the second volume where they come face to face with Team Plasma for the first time.

These editions are published by vizkids, same as most other pokemon manga. However, I really think that this series is a lot more childish then the Red and Yellow arcs were. It is quite corny in places, but it is still a pokemon manga and I shall continue to power through it regardless. My recommendation for this series so far would be to not go out of your way looking for it, but if you see it do pick it up, they are very reasonably priced in most places I’ve seen them (retail at US$4.99,) I actually got 3 volumes for £8.

I will try my hardest to have some more postings going up in the near future, but I can’t really commit to a regular schedule at this time which I am sure you all will understand.


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Reflection: Btooom! vol. 5

btooom 5

-Btooom! Volume 5

-Junya Inoue

-Yen Press

Volume five of Btooom! starts out with a three chapter background of Himiko. The readers discover the history of her distrust of men, both on and off of the island. It is also revealed why she was sent to the island, by nomination of her ‘friends’ as she mentioned earlier in the series. I didn’t care too much for this part. I think it could have been shorter than the three chapters Inoue dedicated to it and that the graphics in a couple of the scenes at a little too much.

Anyway, the series regular returns after this sort of side story. We rejoin Sakamoto and Himiko in the abandoned medical centre after the fight with Natsume and Miyamoto. They decide it is too late to try and return to their camp where Taira was left waiting for them. The find a safe room to sleep but in the middle of the night Himiko is awakened by what she calls a ‘ghost’. After a long period of time searched the centre the pair finally uncover a hideout occupied by a mysterious woman who cannot be detected by their radar.

Overall, didn’t care much for this volume. I think the extent of the Himiko’s background is a little over the top, but hey that what’s the mangaka wanted, and so be it. Anyway, the series as a whole is still awesome so its not enough at all to make me stop reading it.


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Reflection: Vinland Saga, book 2

Vinland Saga book 2

-Vinland Saga, book 2

-Makoto Yukimura

-Kodansha Comics

Book two of this series starts off just as awesome as the first book did. A Viking Army led by King Sweyn of Denmark has been laying siege to England. Attention has turned to taking down the fortified city of London who’s army is led by the traitor Thorkell. Askeladd’s band is part of the attacking force and sends Thorfinn to down Thorkell. The pair have an intense battle but just as Thorfinn takes the upper hand the Vikings are called back from their attack and Thorkell vows to finish their battle on another day.

With the winter fast approaching most of the Nordics start to make their way north back to the Nordic controlled territories in Northern England. A few hundred remain, under the control Prince Canute, around London to prevent reinforcements from arriving to help the English. Thorkell will not be held for long though and quickly the English army capture the Danish prince and set out on pursuit of the migrating Viking army. Hearing of the capture of the prince Askeladd decides to take matters into his own hands to rescue the prince and be awarded by King Sweyn. With the Prince now with Askeladds band Thorkell grows angry and a hunt begins as the small Viking force attempts to flee through Wales and reach the Nordic territory in the North.

Book two is really tense with several really good battle scenes, but there are also a fair few stand offs which slow the pace of the story own. As with the first book, the action does fade a little throughout, however, it still holds the readers as we slowly learn the intentions all of the sides in the battle and negotiations commence between them.

A note must also be made for the quality of these books as well. I’m reading the hand cover publications which include two volumes of the series in each one. The paper is of the best quality and the books themselves are absolutely beautiful to look at. If you are considering buying this series, these hardcover editions are the way to go.


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Reflection: Vinland Saga, book 1


Vinland Saga book 1


-Vinland Saga, book 1

                -Makoto Yukimura

                                -Kodansha Comics


After the opening chapter of the series (discussed in previous posting) the storyline takes us back in time to Thorfinn’s childhood in Greenland. Thorfinn’s background story is built up throughout the rest of this volume and several family secrets are revealed. Importantly the murder of his father at the hands of Askeladd is presented, giving an insight into Thorfinn’s yarning to murder this father’s killer. The story of the unknown land to the West, Vinland, is also presented to the reader through the stories told by Leif Ericson.


The artwork in Vinland Saga is truly fantastic. I know I say that about a lot of manga series, but I have to rank Makoto Yukimura’s artwork in Vinland Saga right up there with Takashi Obata (hands down my favourite manga illustrator). The settings and the movements of the characters are so well presented that the reader can see the action so clearly. Graphic images reflect the story so well and at no point does Yukimura shy away from drawing exactly what is happening. I was actually surprised to find within the very first pages people being shot in the eyes by arrows and decapitations.


I’m excited to continue reading this series and am so happy that I bought the first four books all at once. I really hope to see the series continue for a long time to come and with fourteen volumes released so far in Japan, it probably will. As the series progresses I really want to see Thorfinn defeat Askeladd and become more established in Viking society. Throughout this volume we hear stories about great warriors known by all Vikings, and I hope that as the story develops Thorfinn will become one of these legends.  


I’m going to read the second volume right away so look out for the reflection on that within a couple days.



Reflection: Food Wars! Volume 1

food wars

Manga: Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma

Mangaka: Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

Publisher: Viz Media / Shonen Jump Advanced



Soma Yukihira dreams of one day becoming a better chef then his father, Joshiro. The Yukihira’s own a small family restaurant in Tokyo. After finishing Junior High School Soma’s father announces that he is shutting down the family restaurant. Joshiro will be spending the next three travelling around the world cooking for high end clients in some of the world’s top restaurants and hotels. While he’s away he challenges his son to spend this time to practice his cooking and attempt to prove that he is the better chef when he returns to Japan. Soma is given the opportunity to take the entrance exam at a prestigious cookery school where less than ten percent of students graduate. If Soma graduates from the school his father agrees that he will accept that he is a great chef in his own right.


The concept for Food Wars is really interesting and I can see myself getting quite into it. The rivalry between  Soma and his father as well as Soma and the other students at the school are really interesting base to set up the story. However, a lot of the story is extremely over exaggerated and distracts away from the main story. For one it really takes the phrase ‘food orgasm’ to a whole new level. I can see this being toned back over the first couple of volumes though and the story developing into something more.


The first volume is actually fairly short so the story isn’t developed too much, but on the other hand the original one shot is included in the tankobon. This is quite interesting to read and see how the concept developed from the early stages of its development. The second volume of Food Wars will be available at the start of October and currently the series has eight volumes published in Japanese so It will be continuing for some time yet.




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Reflection: Maoh: Juvenile Remix vol. 9

maoh 9Manga: Maoh Juvenile Remix

Mangaka: Megumi Osuga

Original Story: Kotaro Isaka

Publisher: Viz Media / Shonen Sunday



At the very start of this series I called it exactly how it was. Maoh Juvenile Remix started out really slow and tame and I said it then that this series has some serious potential to become really badass. Now with just one volume left, it is finally there. Likewise when Ando was killed off earlier in the series and Junya took of the reins as the main character, I knew that some serious shit was going to go down. With the end of the series within sight, all sides of this conflict are beginning to show their hands and reveal just how far they will go to win this battle.


Volume nine kicks off with Junya on the prowl once again, this time intent on avenging Shima. He tracks down the leader of the group who captured and tortured him with intention on finding out if he was still alive and if he will ever return. Everything seems to go sour as the tables are turned and Junya finds himself locked in a room in the abandoned hotel and the other torturers from Fraulein appear on the scene. However, we soon realise that this was Junya’s intention all along as Semi crashes through the doorway and makes short work of the torturers.


Further details of Junya’s power are finally revealed following the run-in with Fraulein. Up until now, all that we knew about his power was that he had some sort of ability to predict the correct result in a game of chance. In a bid to raise the money owed for Semi’s assassinations, Junya heads to the horse races. Starting with just 100 Yen Junya bets on several races and by the end of the day has a 7 digit sum of money. His power is finally fully revealed to be the ability to predict the odds in any situation where there is less than ten possible outcomes. Seemingly this power if more useless in trying to kill someone then his brother power of ventriloquism. The only way I can really think he can use the power to fulfil his requirements is in a game of Russian roulette, which I think is very unlikely as we have already seen this earlier in the series.


Volume ten will bring the final showdown between all the sides in this struggle for power, righteousness and revenge. Inukai and the grasshoppers and shifted their attention away from Nekota and are now making plans for their new ‘Future Party’ to win the general election and take control of the whole of Japan. Anxious to seize power for themselves Fraulein have hired snippers to assassinate Inukai and plan to overthrow the elite members of grasshopper and the future party in order to take control of Japan for themselves. Intent on killing Inukai himself, Junya informs him of Frauleins plans and decrees that Inukai will only die by his hands. Towards the end of this volume Junya disappears and begins to set out his plan. We see him talking with a couple of the assassins from earlier in the series who will have to return for the final showdown. He also meets with Anderson, who I really hope will also make an appearance of his own. The only side missing at this point in the Anderson group, who are still hoping to transform the city of Nekota, however, it is unclear if they will return in a final bid to achieve their objectives, or if they have given up on Nekota for good.


Anyway this final showdown ends up going down, it will at least be a battle o three sides, with only one able to win out. I am really excited to read the final volume of Maoh Juvenile Remix, and the series review will be posted here soon afterwards.




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Reflection: Doubt vol. 1

Doubt volume 1

I never heard of Doubt before I spotted it in a bookstore while on holiday in England last week. The description on the back sounded pretty good so I decided I would pick it up.

The story begins with a group of five teenagers meeting for the first time after meeting playing an online game. For the most part everyone is getting along grand, with exemption of a few small scrapes. The group decides to go to Karaoke where they continue to get to know each other.

However, everything turns when the main character Yuu goes to the bathroom. Whilst in the bathroom he is met by a person wearing rabbit mask who knocks him unconscious. When Yuu comes through he finds himself in a dark room with another of the teens he had met through the game. After a little looking around they discover the body of one of the girls he met hanging from a wall. Once regrouped with all of his friend, they realise they are locked in a building with no escape route a forced to play the game ‘Doubt’ which they had all met through. The game requires the group to interrogate each other to discover who the murderer in the group is. They have to kill their suspect and if they are wrong one of them will be killed again.

The story is a very interesting read. Immediately after I started reading I was trying to solve the mystery myself. It forces the reader into the story to try and figure out who the ‘wolf’ is among them.  The story is complemented very well with absolutely fantastic artwork. The illustrations are very graphic and detailed.

While reading I am reminded a lot of Btooom!, which has a fairly similar idea behind it. Both stories deal with people being forced into playing a real life version of an online video game. Although Doubt takes place on a far smaller scale and is more of a mental game opposed to a strategy game like Btooom!. I don’t think I can say that I like one over the other because although they sound quite similar, they are actually very different.

There’s only two volumes in the series, both being fairly large volumes. If you enjoy series similar to Btooom or Battle Royale I would recommend this to you, and although the volumes are a little more expensive than other series, there is only two so it won’t break the bank to own the series.  


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