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

Reflection: Bakuman. Vol. 17

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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.

 

Synopsis:

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.

 

Rating:

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.

 

Turtle