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: 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.  


Check out Doubt for yourself:

Reflection: Bakuman. Vol. 17


Finally starting to get close to the end of this series. Really excited to see how it’s all going to end over the next three volumes. Before I get to that, let’s talk a little about volume 17 though.



The main story line in this volume follows Muto Ashirogi’s rivalry with Tohru Nanamine. As we saw towards the end of volume 16 Nanamine was back and working behind the scenes with some veteran mangaka. In this volume we see what exactly he is up to. Nanamine has set up his own business, which develops manga storyboards for veteran mangaka to get them to return to Shonen Jump. That may seem alright, but basically he’s up to his old tricks again. Only this time he is pumping in more money in to it and on a far larger scale. *Sidenote: for anyone not already in the know, Nanamine previous had a series in Jump which he wrote with the assistance of 50 people over the internet. This time it really seems to be working with several manga being approved by Jump before they find out that Nanmine is behind it and what exactly is going on.

Nanamine reveals to Mashiro and Akito his new business structure and vows that this time he will defeat them. After hearing all about what he is up to the rest of Team Fukuda become determined to ensure that Nanamine will not be published and they will be rid of him for good. They put all their efforts into developing the best stories possible (all except Hiramaru of course) to defeat him in Jumps ranking once again.


My opinion of this volume:

As much as I love this series, I think the story in this volume has been by far the worst I have read. I lost interest in reading a few times and as a result it took me longer than usual to get through it. The story is just very repetitive from Ashirogi’s last encounter with Nanamine and all of their, for lack of a better word, battles with Nizuma. The whole story just seemed to be dragged out, the same as before and really there were no surprises. In my opinion this would have been better as a short or even a side story while Muto Ashirogi strive to claim first in the rankings after Nizuma ended his series. There was no mention of this besides Takahama saying in the last volume that he will be number one. The writer’s never referred back to this and it seems that no one is even trying to challenge Takahama despite the fact that all of Team Fukuda was working to claim first just weeks before to best Nizuma. I guess for the first time in the series everyone is content to finish as a runner-up. I hope volume 18 is a great improvement and the returns to the main storyline of the series and another head to head challenge with Nizuma looks promising.



This volume really has been a shortcoming in an otherwise fantastic series. Don’t let that deter you though. Pick up the series and give it a read, it really is a series everyone will enjoy.