Well, here I am back with my second weekly shounen manga roundup, a full 2 weeks late. Blame exams and my general lethargic nature (I swear, it’s the glands!). And blame the media. It’s rotted my mind.
That and the fact that I didn’t actually catch up with any mange until only recently (and when I say ‘recently’, I mean half an hour ago).
Anyways, without further ado, because ados are sooo passe, let’s dive into what this week had to offer in shounen goodness.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Masashi Kishimoto hates children and will go to every length to depict children living through the most God-forsaking shit hole of a childhood. First there’s Naruto, infused with the Nine-Tails and essentially ostracized by the village his entire life. Then there was Sasuke, who had to witness the entire massacre of his clan by his brother.
Now we have Nagato, AKA Pain, having his parents accidentally murdered by Konoha agents, forcing to become a street urchin/thief. Man, can no child go unemotionally scarred in Naruto?
As for the chapter itself, it was okay. I mean, nothing happened, but nothing was boring either. I just hope this requisite flashback arc (which happens for every villain) wraps up sooner or later.
Much like many of Bleach’s recent chapters, it was as unmemorable as can be. I do have to give it some props, though, for not being too retarded (ala Ichigo demanding his limbs be cut off for “fairness”) but that’s all the credit it gets.
The entire issue was essentially three Captains staring down three Espadas. The Captains reveal they actually are using their powers while the Espadas reveal they aren’t even trying yet.
Yep, this is Bleach.
If this continues on like any other Bleach arc has, expect a couple more issues of Espada asskickery before the super, ultra, mega secret techniques are revealed by the Captains that just helps them overpower their rivals at the last moment. Thus, leaving you to wonder why the fuck did they not just use it from the outset and save all the blood they had just lost.
One Piece 540
You know why I think One Piece is absolutely the best shounen manga on the manga racks right now? Because Eiichiro Oda knows what makes shounen manga entertaining – the action, sense of adventure, and the fun – and ramps it up to 11 for the entire fucking series. He constantly strives to show more and more outrageous scenarios, more outstandingly wacky villains, and staging some of the very best fights in any format, manga, comics, TV, movies, anything.
All with a zero angst quotient!
All of that gushing aside, this was just sort of a middle of the line issue, where action was kept minimal and the humour rather contained. What? Did you think I was giving this a positive review just because of the series’ past excellence? What this issue really was, was a framing device to build up what the current team and situation is and prepare readers for the insanity next time ’round.
A necessary evil, but an evil nonetheless.
Now that the previous ar wrapped up, this was a down issue where, like One Piece, elements are being introduced to be expanded later on when the story picks up again. So, instead of bloody action, we get a quieter issue that was pretty amusing to read.
Also interesting was the question being raised – if they begin to create Akuma’s themselves to use, how is the Order any different than the Earl? Of course, this conundrum won’t be solved anytime soon seeing that this is the last issue before the series goes on hiatus for an undisclosed amount of time. This is really saddening because D.Gray-Man, along with One Piece, has really cemented itself as one of the better shounen series’ on the market, and may very well be the best drawn.
Hopefully this ‘weekly’ column stays weekly from now on. No guarantees.