FInal Review: Maoh Juvenile Remix

Maoh covers

-Maoh: Juvenile Remix

-Kotaro Isaka and Megumi Osuga

-Viz Media

The whole way through this series I said that it was kind of disappointing but had the capacity to become absolutely awesome. Reading the series you get the sense that something absolutely crazy is about to go down. However, the fact that the madness doesn’t go down until the final volume is bad enough, but then it all falls just short of what, as a reader, I really wanted to see.

From the very beginning of the series the impression that something really good could be getting built up is seen and that is actually what got me wanting to continue reading the series. Throughout the series there are a couple of ‘holy-shit’ moments, but the impression continued that something big is still coming. About halfway through, everything becomes a lot darker as the story shifts between main character and we are introduced to the underworld of Nekota city. However, even the full possibilities of this element of the story aren’t followed up to a great level and soon it too becomes a letdown.

**SPOILERS – Skip to final paragraph for recommendations**

The final volume kicks off with Frauline’s plans to eliminate the threat of both Inukai and Junya. Their snipers take up position to shoot Inukai at his rally and the assassins and cannibals hired by the son of their CO prepair to track down their targets (Junya’s friends).  However, our Junya isn’t just going to sit back and let this happen, and calls in all the assassins he’s met throughout the series. A ‘freak’ earthquake causes the snippers to miss their shot before the pusher end them. Back at Frauline’s bowling alley their hired killers return unable to find their targets, when low and behold there they are bowling with Anderson. Before they are able to get to them Semi appears and has a nice little rampage working his way through each of them, leaving just the COs son alive. In comes he Suicider and on his target list is Semi’s left over. News of his son’s suicide reaches the CO who quickly arrives at the bowling alley, but realizing what is happening tries to leave in a rush, but the pusher arrives for this third kill of the day pushing him in front of his own car. In just a matter of minutes the threat of Frauline is no more.

So all that remains is eliminating Inukai right? Well how about a ten year time skip instead and wait until he becomes the Prime Minister. WHAT? Oh but wait, Junya is now organizing a confrontation with Inukai. Werll Okay maybe some serious shit is going to go down now. But no, not really. All that really happens is that it reveals that the two kids of the Pusher have the power to cause earthquakes (‘shocking’) and Inukai sees Junya standing in the middle of the stadium after the rest of the audience runs away during an earthquake caused by the Pushers kids. And that’s it.

*End of Spoilers*

Overall, I was quite pissed off by the end of the series that it spent ten volumes building up something that never happened. The last volume begins so intense and awesome, and then suddenly we get to the concluding chapter and nothing fucking happens. I really must commend the mangaka on doing a fantastic job of using ten volumes to build up something that wasn’t going to happen. So would I recommend this series? If you can get it o the cheap then buy it, otherwise don’t bother. Don’t bother spending money that could buy better series’. Don’t bother going out of your way looking for this. Don’t bother reading something that ends with such a ‘fuck you’ to the readers. I really enjoyed this series in the four or five volumes before that final chapter, but then, it happened. Or rather, nothing happened. DO not waste your time on Maoh: Juvenile Remix.

Turtle

Check Maoh out for yourself at:

http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9781421540399/?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: Magi volume 1

Magi 1

Most nights before I go to bed I spend some time watching different Vloggers on YouTube, and from some of the Anime and manga channels I get most of my recommendations. Others come from some readers of this blog who have recommended series to me. Magi is one of the series I first heard of from Youtube. I had taken note of the series after seeing several people discuss it online, and when I finally saw volume one in a shop, I had to pick it up.

Synopsis:
The first volume of this series introduces the readers to the main characters and brings the story to a start. Aladdin, with his stuck in a jar djinn Ugo, meet Alibaba while travelling in a cart. Alibaba tells Aladdin of the stories of the dungeons which have appeared all around the world. It is said that they all contain great riches which can be collected by whoever can conquer the dungeon. Filled with mysterious beasts and tests, very few have ever returned from a dungeon once they have entered. The new acquaintances agree to team-up in hopes of finding their very own treasure.

My Opinion:
I really enjoyed reading the start of this series. Magi is a classic story of an unlikely duo working together to find riches beyond either of their imaginations. The story really sucked me in from the start, and made me laugh quite a lot while reading. And I mean laugh out loud in the literal sense. It’s the simply things really. One chapter follows Alibaba showing Aladdin around the market as they buy all the equipment they need for their expedition to the dungeon, only for it to be revealed to be across the street from Alibaba’s home. The characters have been introduced very well, giving the readers a reasonable description of the types of people they are. The illustrations as well are simply sublime. Not the best manga illustration, but very well suited to the series in my opinion.

Rating:
I just ordered volumes two and three today and can’t wait to read them. I think that most manga readers would enjoy this series, and recommend it to anyone who reads this. I will have more posts on this series posted in due course and really look forward to reading more.

As I mentioned above, I get a lot of my recommendations from you guys, so if you have any recommendations, let me know what they are and what you like about it. You can get a reasonable idea of what I’m reading now from my post on my manga collection. I’ll be away for a couple days from now, but I will be back and promise some more manga posts when I return.

Talk to you all soon

Turtle

Reflection: Maoh Juvenile Remix, Volume 3

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I picked up volumes 3, 4 and 5 of this series a couple weeks and only getting around to reading it now.

 

Synopsis:

A lot happens in volume three. It begins with the hostage situation at the petrol station where volume 2 left off. Ando and Inukai come face to face and they struggle to each have the situation end they way that they intend. Following the hostage situation Inukai and Ando have a meeting and Inukai tells Ando that he believes that it is his destiny to change the world, and that Ando’s destined to try and stop him. A few new characters are also introduced in this volume. Anderson, the son of Mr. Anderson of the Anderson group (I’ll say Anderson one more time for good measure here) joins Ando’s class while his father works in Japan. Anderson has no interest in his father’s corporation and is much more interested in becoming friends with Ando and plans to open an English tutoring school after finishing school. Another new character introduced towards the end of the volume is the Hornet girl. To say she’s weird is a bit of an understatement. Her sole purpose is to hunt down and kill the grasshoppers, as well as anyone else who gets in her way.

 

My Opinion:

I’m starting to get a little bored of the series. More and more characters are being introduced and the story is all over the place. There has been so much build up in the first few volumes and nothing really has happened. So many characters keep returning, but none have really been developed. We know Junya is Ando’s brother, but nothing else really. Characters come and go and nothing really happens. There’s so many characters that enter the story then disappear and just leaves you trying to figure out what’s happening.

 

Rating:

I’m through three volumes of a total of ten. The story might improve and something actually happening. I have up to volume 5 here so I’ll keep reading but I can’t see myself buying anymore of the series as long as it keeps going the way it is. Give it a shot if you want. The concept is very good, but the execution has really held it back in my own opinion.

 

Turtle

Reflection: All You Need is Kill, Ch. 6-10

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It seems like it has been ages since I last discussed All You Need is Kill. One of the worst things about following a series as its being published, it takes forever to get through it. Still loving All You Need is Kill though. Warning, there are a few spoilers in the ‘Synopsis’ and ‘My opinion’ sections.

 

Synopsis:

Chapter 6 continues the story on from where we finished chapter 5. Keiji is still trying to figure out how to defeat the Mimics and get out of the time loop he is trapped in. In the last pot I made I said I had a suspicion about Rita, well it only took until chapter 7 for this to be confirmed. Rita has experience of the time loop as well. Chapters 8 through 10 tell her story of the first time loop she was caught in and we find out some details of how it occurs. In chapter 10 Rita discovers that the reason for her entrapment is that she keeps killing the Mimics server resulting in them using their backup to reset the battle. She discovers that there is a particular order to killing the mimics that has to be followed in order to get out of the loop.

 

My Opinion:

I was happy that the revealing of Rita living in a time loop as well was not dragged out too long. It was fairly obvious from chapter 1 so it’s good that the author didn’t try to hide it for too long. As well as that, the cause of the time loop being the caused by mimics resetting the server. That’s great. An enemy that returns to the start of the battle until they are victorious is really good. It’s like when I was younger and would loss a battle in Pokemon.  Simply turn the game off and on again and start the battle over. Can you imagine being on the other end of that, losing a war because your enemy has the power to reload the battle until they win? I really like that idea and really want to see if the humans can win the war against an enemy who has that capability.

 

Rating:

Check out this series. It is really interesting to read, and the artwork is fantastic. After just ten chapters I actually want to go and get the novel and read it as well. There’s a film adaptation coming out at the end of next month as well that I’m excited for. Hopefully it isn’t too Americanized but either way I really want to see it now. Go read this series now, it’s currently being serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, which you can get on your phone every week for a very reasonable price.

 

Turtle

Top 10: Bakuman Characters

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This was intended to be a short little list, but I ended up getting carried away. This entry ended up three times longer than most of my posts, but what can I say. I really like Bakuman.

 

Number 10: Heishi:

The deputy editor-in-chief, made Editor-in-chief of Shonen Jump. He appears quite regularly and usually gets involved with the debates and arguments that are so common in the office. Why did I pick him as my number ten? Simply put, his reaction to being made editor-in-chief is just fantastic, and for that alone he got bumped up the list enough to make the top ten.

 

Number 9: Nanamine:

One of Muto Ashirogi’s biggest fans turned manga artist. Once serialized in Jump Nanamine becomes enemy number one for virtually every mangaka in the magazine. His tactics go against everything the magazine stands for and can really only be described as somewhat Fordist. The battle for rankings to try and get rid of Nanamine is very interesting and although I made it very clear I didn’t like the final arc he appeared in, he remains a staple rival for the Ashirogi pair.

 

Number 8: Miho Azuki:

The story of Miho and Mashiro’s relationship is really the key story line for the entire series. Although I really enjoy the story and the history of this relationship, Miho doesn’t appear that often in the series and when she does it’s usually accompanied by long awkward silences between the two. As an important part of the story and for her efforts to achieve a dream and promise she made, Miho has been made my number 8.

 

Number 7: Akito Takagi:

One of the main characters and the writer for the Muto Ashirogi partnership, there would be no series without Akito. However, I often found that his character was a little under developed compared to other major characters and this held his ranking down on my list. I didn’t really grow as fond of Akito and several times during the series I started to really dislike him. He has a tendency of going off to work on his own and shutting out everyone close to him in doing so. Overall, he just wasn’t as likable as other characters.

 

Number 6: Kaya:

In the early part of the series Kaya is simply a legend. She really doesn’t take any shit from anyone. I don’t know how many times she gives Mashiro and Akito a good smack at the start of the series. Later on she becomes a major character in the studio always around tidying and helping the guys with their problems. I quite enjoyed reading the relationship between herself and Akito as well as the friendship she builds with Mashiro as the series goes on. Her presence always made a scene more entertaining throughout the whole series.

 

Number 5: Akira Hattori:

Muto Ashirogi’s editor as Shonen Jump for most of the series. He’s kind of a funny looking guy, I have no ideas why the artist decided to make his lips the way he did. I quite like how loyal Hattori is to his artists and how much he was willing to go and fight to defend them the many times they caused trouble for the editorial department. Even when he worked with different artists you could see the passion he had for their work and commitment he puts into ensuring they succeed. A true professional in his workplace and the odd time when you see him outside of work, usually having a drink with Yojiro Hattori, his brother, you get another glimpse of just how much he believes in the artist’s he represents.

 

Number 4: Eiji Nizuma:

Nizuma is so weird, and you can’t help but to be fascinated by him as a result. Another young manga prodigy, Jump wastes no time in giving Nizuma his own series, and before long he has two. Ashirogi identify him early in the series as their main rival and this rivalry continues right until the series ends. His technique for creating manga can only be described as genius and you have to admire the passion he has for his own work. Towards the end of the series when it is revealed just how much manga he was created it is astonishing. A truly fantastic rival for the main characters, I don’t know how many times I stopped reading just to look up and say “Nizuma is so weird”.

 

Number 3: Shinta Fukuda:

After working with Mashiro as an assistant for Nizuma, Fukuda establishes the so-called ‘Team Fukuda’ made up of all the Jump manga artists who associate with each other. Even if it is only as rivals for most of the time, the existence of the group is great as all the artists encourage each other to succeed. I quite like Fukuda because of how he likes to present himself as such a hardy man’s man but is always the first to jump up to help out his friends. The amount of times he mobilizes Team Fukuda to help each other out is great. Fukuda is a great character and his speech at the end of volume 19 is really good to read and really shows of the kind of person he is.

 

Number 2: Moritaka Mashiro:

The main character for the series and the narrator, Mashiro is the focus of the story. The change he makes from the shy and timid boy he is at the start of the series to the slightly more outgoing shy and timid man he is at the end is great. Alright, that doesn’t sound like much, but it is. The passion he puts into his work and pure determination to do his best is inspiring. Although he may be the artist for the duo, he quite regularly makes his opinion known about Takagi’s story. He may be the main character for the series, but that doesn’t make him my favourite character by a long shot.

 

Before I go on to my number one choice, I just want to mention five characters who were up there with the rest, but didn’t quite make my final list;

Aiko Iwase: the middle school rival of Takagi who makes a return to prove that she was better than him then, and is still better than him now.

Sasaki: The editor-in-chief of Shonen Jump who is always there to ensure that Ashirogi aren’t going to get an easy ride through the manga world. He rarely spoke up, but when he does, you know shit’s going down.

Yoshida: One of Jump’s editor’s. I just always found him quite funny in how manipulative he tried to be. I never really understood why such an emphasis was made to cover his face for much of the series though.

Orihara: A long serving assistant for Ashirogi. He was always so easily excited and constantly had something to say. Orihara really made a lot of the studio scenes stand out.

 

Finally:

Number 1: Kazuya Hiramaru:

If you have read my previous blog entries, you would have already known that hiramaru is my favourite character in Bakuman. Identified as a manga genius after submitting one of the best one shot story boards to Jump having never read manga before in his life Hiramaru is quickly given a contract to work for Jump. Once finally getting a series Hiramaru uses every excuse he can possibly think off to stop working. The laziness and pure lack of enjoyment of what he is doing is amazing. Hiramaru and Yoshida are truly the perfect team. An artist who will try anything to not work, and an editor who will try every trick in the book to ensure he keeps working. What really made Hiramaru one of my favourite characters is his relationship with Ko Aoki later in the series. The two are almost an older version on Mashiro and Azuki and it is fantastic to read just how awkward he can be. His proposal near the end of the series is hilarious. He plans to propose at the top of the Ferris wheel but then panics and chickens out. After the ride ends he insists they go on again so he can propose. This time he realizes he’s lost the ring and once again panics and, well, pulls a Hiramaru. At this point miss Aoki realizes what happening and encourages his to just ask on a third time around the wheel. I laughed so much during this sequence that I had to keep going back and reading over it.

 

Let me know what you think of this list and who your favourite character is in Bakuman in the comment space below.

 

Turtle

Reflection: Bakuman Vol.19

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It’s almost over. The series has been so good I just don’t want it to end now. Volume 19 finished, only one to go.

 

Synopsis:

With the battle between Ashirogi’s Reversi and Nizuma’s Zombie*Gun now in full swing the attention turns to who will get an anime. With one slot open for a new anime series to start and both mangaka wanting to fill it the struggle to fill the opening kicks off. The first part of the volume focuses on this as Ashirogi seek to have their first Anime and for Mashiro and Azuki’s dream to finally come true and Nizuma back stepping his decision to not have an anime simply to best Ashirogi. The stress and agony that they go through as they wait to hear who the editor-in-chief will choose is just painful to read.

However, in the mean time our old friend Ishizawa decides he won’t just sit back and let everything run smoothly. Ishizawa decides it is in his best interest to spread the rumour over the internet that Azuki and Mashiro are in a relationship. The rumour quickly spreads around the internet and into newspapers destroying Azuki’s reputation as a voice actress. The vast amount of hateful messages online and abusive phone calls to Jump quickly spiral out of control. After deciding that he’s seen and heard enough about it Fukuda finally reaches breaking point and announces over the radio that all the rumours are true and the hateful messages must stop. As with everything Fukuda does though, it doesn’t quite go to plan and the result is a major increase in the messages with many people saying that they will boycott Azuki and Ashirogi’s works. The volume finishes with Azuki making her own announcement about the relationship on her radio show.

 

My Opinion:

Does this really happen? Are voice actresses really idolised to this extent in Japan? I honestly have no idea, when the story about this started I thought it was a complete exaggeration, but now I’m not quite so sure. It just seems abit odd that the fact that a voice actress has a boyfriend could bring so much resentment. Of course, I don’t really know much about the voice actresses in Japan so I don’t know for sure. Maybe someone could let me know in the comment space below.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this volume. It’s so Bakuman, just as everything is starting to go according to plan, something like this would happen. It’s really good to see an old character that we hated at the start of the series return just to be locked away in his room at his mothers house because he failed to reach his dreams. Take that Ishizawa.

 

Rating:

Do I really have to say it again? Go read this series. It doesn’t matter what experience you have with manga or what genres you like, you will enjoy this series.

 

Turtle