First Impressions: Pokemon Black and White

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-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.

Turtle

Check out cheap manga and books with free worldwide delivery at: http://www.bookdepository.com/?a_aid=turtlemanga

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FInal Review: Maoh Juvenile Remix

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-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

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

 

First Impression: Seraph of the End

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This is a series that is currently running in Shonen Jump. I know I’m doing reflections on a lot of Shone Jump series right now, but give it some time and I’ll sort out some subscriptions to other magazines in the near future. In yesterdays post I said that Maoh: Juvenile remix had everything you want from a Shonen Manga. There is one thing missing, Vampires.

 

Synopsis:

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign begins in a future world where a virus has killed off all humans over the age of thirteen. The children who have survived this virus outbreak have been imprisoned by vampires who harvest their blood. The main character, Yu, is a twelve your old orphan who has been living in the Vampire World for four years. Yu is determined that one day he can become strong enough to overthrow the vampires despite his friends telling him it’s impossible. When one of his friends reveals his plans to escape, Yu is talked into joining his escape and lead all the other children from his orphanage out of the vampire’s kingdom.

 

My Opinion:

In my opinion I think that Seraph of the End has some potential as a series and I look forward to reading on in the future to catch up to the publication. Serialization began early thi

s year in Shonen Jump and it appears to be well received. I’ll give a better evaluation of the series in a couple days once I have a few chapters read over. I’m interested to see what direction the series is planning to take and how the main character can defeat the vampires.

 

Rating:

The story is very interesting but I’m not too keen on the artwork. For me though the story is far more important and as such I’m put off at all by the art style. Check this series out, or if you already have leave a comment in the space bellow letting me know what you make of the first chapter.

 

Turtle

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: Maoh: Juvenile Remix, Vol. 1+2

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I recently picked up the first two volumes of this series on a whim in a comic book shop. Never heard of the series at all and don’t really know what drew me to it, but thought I’d give it a go. Quite a decent story and I’ve already got a couple more volumes that I’ll have to read over in the near future.

 

Synopsis:

Maoh Juvenile Remix is an adaptation of a Japanese short novel by Kotaro Isaka. This adaptation was written and illustrated by Megumi Osuga for Shonen Sunday. The complete series has been published by Viz in ten volumes.

The setting for this manga is the city of Nekota which is being threatened by modernisation and widespread crime. The main antagonist is a young man by the name of Inukai who leads a team of vigilantes to put an end to the crime and monopolisation of the city. His group will apparently stop at nothing to achieve their aims, really being nothing short of a terrorist organization.

The main character, Ando, is a high school student who has the ability to make others say whatever he is thinking. Like Inukai and the grasshoppers, Ando opposes the way his hometown is being transformed from the quiet little city it always was. However, he also sees the actions of the grasshoppers as being over the top and refuses to condone to their actions. The series follows his attempts to protect his city from both big business and vigilante group.  

 

My Opinion:

I think this series really has potential and as I’ve mentioned above I wasted no time in buying more copies. The story is quite interesting in how the main villain of the series is acting to achieve the same aims as the main character, and it is the means of achieving these aims that prevents them from cooperating with each other.

The first two volumes for the most part have just been building up the story. A few small incidents occur during them, but you just know that there are bigger things to come. I am really interested to see how Ando can manage to use his ability for the greater good. It’s not really a gift that you would think would be of too much assistance in changing the world such as Lelouch’s geass in Code Geass. The fact that it isn’t exactly the best ability that has appeared in manga  makes it all that more interesting in my opinion.

 

Rating:

Check this series out. It’s got all the good stuff you want from manga; good vs. evil, evil vs. eviler, terrorism and assassins to name a few. The length of the series is also ideal, it’s not so long that you’re going to spend years collecting the volumes, but not so short that you won’t build an attachment to the characters. Honestly, it’s far from the best series I’ve seen recently, but that by no means is to say that’s not worth checking out.

 

Turtle