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.

Turtle

Find cheap manga and books at:  http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=turtlemanga

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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.  

Turtle

Check out Doubt for yourself: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780316245302/?a_aid=turtlemanga

Reflection: Bakuman Volume 18

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Back on track to what Bakuman should be like. Much more engaging than the previous volume and I really couldn’t put this one down. Hiramaru has been my favourite character for a while, but he really solidified that in this volume. So here’s volume 18 at long last.

 

Synopsis:

The rivalry between Ashirogi and Nizuma is back to full force in volume 18. Mashiro and Takagi submit a one shot entitled Reversi and after hearing that Ashirogi have submitted a one shot, Nizuma quickly gets to work on his own titled Zombie*Gun. The results for the both one shots are astronomical and it is decided to serialize both as series. Once serialized the pressure mounts on Ashirogi and their assistants to finish  the first chapter of Reversi, complete the PCP chapters for Jump and to start a new arc for PCP which is now to be published monthly in another magazine. It’s the retelling of a classic Bakuman story of the race against time to get the final draft completed.

Once serialized the true battle with Nizuma begins as both compete for the top slot in Jump, leaving all other series in the dust. Neither Ashirogi nor Nizuma are ever willing to submit and continue to amend their series’ to ensure the other cannot top them. With first place in the magazine now solidly being help my one of them (I won’t say which as not to ruin it for anyone) another fight commences as the first tankobans are published on the same day. Now a battle truly on two fronts, in the rankings and in sales, they turn their attention to getting an anime (which will really take off in the next volume).

With all this going on its hard to believe that the volume ends with what is possibly my favourite side story from Bakuman so far. I don’t want to say what happens so not to give too much away in this reflection. I’ll discuss it more in the series’ final review after I’m done volume 20. I will say though that Hiramaru has been one of my favourite characters throughout the series, even though he’s mostly been used as comic relief. I am really happy to see the mangaka devote almost two chapters to him and his dream of achieving true happiness. It’s a really sweet little section, which kept me laughing right through as he tries to overcome his compete awkwardness to do what he really wants.

 

My Opinion:

Oh how everything has improved again since the disappointing volume 17. It’s true that again the writer reused old story points which were done a few times before, such as the race against time. In this volume, however, they have been far better put to use and in my opinion helped the story this time around. The story is great in this volume and the series that Ashirogi creates really has my interest and is something that I wish I could actually read. As I said the end of the volume really solidified this one and it just made me feel happy. I true feel good factor is back to Bakuman.

 

Rating:

Greatly improved from the disappointment in volume 17. Volume 18 really shows what this mangaka team is capable of doing and I really enjoyed this volume. The volume is fantastic and as I always say, the Bakuman series is a must read for anyone. If you have not already read the series get out there and start on it. You will not be disappointed in the slightest.

 

Turtle