Review: Bleach Vol 1 by Tite Kubo

 

Title: Bleach Vol 1

Author:  Tite Kubo

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Hot-tempered 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, the hero of the popular fantasy-adventure Bleach, has the unsettling ability to see spirits who are unable to rest in peace. His sixth sense leads him to Rukia, a Soul Reaper who destroys Hollows (soul-devouring monsters) and ensures the deceased find repose with the Soul Society. When she’s injured in battle, Rukia transfers her sword and much of her power to Ichigo, whose spiritual energy makes him a formidable substitute Soul Reaper. But the orange-haired teenager isn’t sure he wants the job: too many risks and moral dilemmas.


Review:

Bleach is one of my favorite series, and I realized with a great deal of dismay that I am far, far behind in my reading of this title.  I don’t think I’ve reviewed many of the volumes, so I opted to take advantage of a comp copy through Vizmanga.com to reacquaint myself with Ichigo, Rukia, and the rest of the gang.  This is a very fun series that features a ton of action, surprisingly touching emotions, and fan favorite protagonists in both Ichigo and Ruikia.  If you enjoyed The Ghost and the Goth or The Curse Workers by Holly Black, I think you should give Bleach a try.  Admittedly, the length of the series is daunting, and it’s still being published, but there are enough volumes released in English that you can read it in manageable chunks by utilizing online sales and trips to the library. 

Ichigo Kurosaki is 15 years old and he can see ghosts.  His sisters can too, though all they can see are faint outlines.  Ichigo can see, touch, talk to, and channel these pesky spirits that he thinks are a pain in the butt.  He just wants to be left alone to mind his own business but NOPE!  That’s not happening.  Ichigo also has a high moral obligation to help anyone in trouble, even those troublesome ghosts.  When an evil spirit threatens to hurt his family, he’s forced to borrow Soul Reaper powers from Rukia, a Soul Reaper who was badly injured saving his bacon.  Too hurt to fight, she offers to lend Ichigo half of her dark powers so he can save his family.  She’s dismayed to discover that he’s so spiritually powerful that he steals all of them, and now she can’t get them back!

I love the relationship between Ichigo and Rukia.  Their back and forth banter is humorous and full of snark.  While Ichigo isn’t exactly disrespectful, he doesn’t understand the need to put himself in danger, fighting the Hollows, regardless of the obligation he acquired when he snatched away all of Rukia’s power.  When the chips are down, though, her forceful prodding  makes him realize how important a Soul Reaper’s duties are.  If he doesn’t take care of the restless spirits, they will eventually turn into Hollows, and once they become these evil monsters, they lose their last shred of humanity.  There is no going back, and the Hollows have an insatiable need to feed on souls.   Rukia put her life at risk to save Ichigo and his family, so he acknowledges that he has a duty to help Rukia until she can figure out a way to get her powers back.

Ichigo is one of my favorite characters because he can’t stand to see an injustice and not want to correct it.  He and One Piece’s Luffy have a lot in common. Both of them will give their heart and soul, not to mention their life, to defend those needing help.  They are white knights in attitude.  Ichigo can’t turn his back on bullying, or just stand by when someone is about to get hurt.  He’s not perfect, and there are many times when he should learn to keep his mouth shut, but he can’t do it.  He is fiercely devoted to his friends and family, and he won’t let anyone hurt them.  Now that he’s a Soul Reaper by default, he can’t ignore when a soul is in danger, either.

The first volume of Bleach is fast-paced, brimming with frantic action, yet it doesn’t let the characters and their interactions take a back seat to all of the fighting.  That is what I enjoy most about Bleach.  The character come to life for me, and I so badly want Ichigo to master his new powers so he doesn’t come to harm.  It’s hard watching such a likeable guy getting the crap beat out of him, even though I have few doubts that he’ll always persevere.  That assurance is the main appeal of manga for me.  I know that even as the protagonists are facing certain doom, they will eventually find a solution to all of their problems.  Reading along as they figure that out is what makes reading them so rewarding.

Grade:  A-

Review copy provided by publisher

[PR] Get Your Manga Fix! VIZ Manga Digital Releases for September!

{ED – Basara rocks, so if you haven’t read it yet, check out the free sample at Vizmanga.com}

September 17, 2013

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES DIGITAL MANGA UPDATES FOR SEPTEMBER

Shojo Manga Titles BABY & ME, BASARA, DOUBT!, THE MAGIC TOUCH, MIDNIGHT SECRETARY, SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN, And W. JULIET Make Their North American Digital Debut Along With Updates To More Than 30 Other Existing Series

VIZ Media delivers a substantial digital manga (graphic novel) update for the month of September featuring a host of new titles on VIZManga.com and available for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

A trio of new shojo manga series that are available now include creator Yumi Tamura’s celebrated classic, BASARA (Vols. 1-2 available), as well as the dark romance of MIDNIGHT SECRETARY, and the on-the-ice drama of SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN. The second-half of this month offers the launch of four additional shojo series including BABY & ME, DOUBT!, THE MAGIC TOUCH, and W. JULIET (Vols. 1-2 available).

More than 30 other acclaimed series also feature new monthly updates. Many are available now! Don’t miss notable multi-volume weekly updates for fan favorites such as CASE CLOSED, HANA KIMI, SKIP BEAT and YU-GI-OH! DUELIST.

New September Titles Available Now Include:

BASARA Vols. 1-2 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens!

Born under a prophecy that will liberate and unite Japan, Sarasa has had to take her brother Tatara’s place as the "Boy of Destiny." Fighting for the oppressed, Sarasa journeys across Japan to gain allies and defeat her enemies – all while keeping her identity a secret! BASARA creator Yumi Tamura broke into the manga world with a bang, winning the 1983 Shogakukan Grand Prize for new artists. She has gone on to write many extremely popular shojo manga stories such as the hit series, There Goes Tomoe, That Summer has Ended, and X-DAY. But the title that solidified her reputation as a top shojo manga artist was the breakthrough fantasy/action manga smash hit, BASARA. Always one to experiment in action/adventure formats, CHICAGO (also available from VIZ Media) is Tamura’s latest completed work.

MIDNIGHT SECRETARY Vol. 1 · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers

Kaya Satozuka prides herself on being an excellent secretary and a consummate professional, so she doesn’t even bat an eye when she’s reassigned to the office of her company’s difficult director, Kyohei Touma. He’s as prickly – and hot – as rumors paint him, but Kaya is unfazed… until she discovers that he’s a vampire!! Manga creator Tomu Ohmi debuted in 2000 with the romantic supernatural series, Let’s Make Forbidden Love. Her series, MIDNIGHT SECRETARY, also ran in the popular Japanese shojo magazine, Petit Comic.

SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN Vol. 1 · Rated ‘A’ for All Ages

When ice-skating novice Maya Kurinoki lands a double axel for the first time, coach Eishi Todo sees her potential and vows to make her a figure skating "princess." All Maya has to do is convince famous skater Shun Kano to become her partner. Too bad Shun doesn’t want to have anything to do with her!

New Series Launching September 17th:

Read more

Review: Yuhi: Ceres Celestial Legend Vol 2 by Yu Watase

 

 

Title: Yuhi: Ceres Vol 2

Author: Yu Watase

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Aya and her twin brother Aki thought they were going to a celebration of their sixteenth birthday at their grandfather’s home, but the funeral-like atmosphere tips them off that something’s not right. Their "birthday present" turns out to be a mummified hand–the power of which forces an awakening within Aya, and painful wounds all over Aki’s body! Grandfather Mikage announces that Aki will be heir to the Mikage fortune, and Aya must die! But Aya has allies in the athletic cook and martial artist Yûhi, and the attractive, mysterious Tôya. But can even two handsome and resourceful guys save Aya when it’s her own power that’s out of control?


Review:

I have mixed feelings about the second volume of Ceres.  On one hand, I love the legend of the Celestial Maiden.  Ceres is tormented with rage and longs for revenge against the man who stole her feathered robes, prohibiting her from returning to heaven.  Worse, he violated her, and she bore his children, trapped in an ugly place she couldn’t escape from.  Now, fate has caused both Ceres and Mikage to both be reincarnated as the twins Aya and Aki.  This has never happened before, and she’s obsessed with winning her vengeance.  Every time she sees Aki, Ceres wrestles control away from Aya and attacks him, even though he has no memories of his previous life.  I find this storyline so compelling.  For centuries, Ceres’s thirst for revenge has kept her trapped, reborn over and over into the Mikage family, only to be discovered and killed during the ritual as her host body turned sixteen.  When I think about how angry I would be after being thwarted time and time again, I am surprised that she hasn’t done more damage to the Mikages and their property as yet.  I would have gone absolutely ballistic, leaving the surviving Mikages to deal with harried property insurance adjustors.

Aya, though, is grating on my nerves.  Is it really wise to chase after Toya in not much more than her underwear, leaving her defenseless when her evil cousin Kagami gets his paws on her?  Ugh, ugh, ugh!  I would not feel like I was in a position of power in enemy territory while dressed in my panties and a bra.  Ugh!  That’s like the nightmare where you forgot to put your clothes on before rushing off to school.  And to so ardently declare her love for Toya, a guy she just met, and a guy who works for the people who are trying to kill her?  Aya, while Yuhi isn’t as interesting, he is a lot safer, so maybe you should go for him instead?  He is more than capable of protecting you, and he can cook!  Take him instead!

I was a little bored with this volume.  Whenever Ceres made an appearance or Kagami had page time, I was all interested again.  Ceres is fascinating because she reveals little tidbits of her history every time she manifests, and Kagami – ah, Kagami.  He is just so evil and conniving that you can’t help but like, even admire him, just a little bit.  He sees an opportunity for the Mikage family to gain immense power, and he’s going to seize it.  With both Aki and Aya in his control, there is nothing he can’t do, once he figures out how to tame Ceres and her incredible power. 

The second volume of Ceres was both irritating and compelling.  Aya drives me nuts, but legend of the Celestial Maidens kept me turning the pages.

Grade:  C+

Review copy purchased from Amazon

Review: Aya: Ceres Vol 1 by Yuu Watase

 

Title:  Aya: Ceres Vol 1

Author: Yuu Watase

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Aya and her twin brother Aki thought they were going to a celebration of their sixteenth birthday at their grandfather’s home, but the funeral-like atmosphere tips them off that something’s not right. Their "birthday present" turns out to be a mummified hand–the power of which forces an awakening within Aya, and painful wounds all over Aki’s body! Grandfather Mikage announces that Aki will be heir to the Mikage fortune, and Aya must die! But Aya has allies in the athletic cook and martial artist Yûhi, and the attractive, mysterious Tôya. But can even two handsome and resourceful guys save Aya when it’s her own power that’s out of control?


Review:

Okay, I have a confession to make.  Yuu Watase is like crack for me.  She has a gift when it comes to writing angsty, action-packed series, and I just gobble her stuff up.  It’s a mix of cotton candy, corn dogs, and French fries.  That’s a lot of junk food, but it is so tasty and filling that it’s hard to resist.  And yes, I just compared Yuu Watase’s writing to carnival junk food.  That’s okay, though, because I love carnival junk food!

Aya and her twin brother Aki are turning 16.  Instead of hanging out with their friends as they had planned, their parents demand that they accompany them to their grandfather’s house.  Once there, they discover all of their relatives, somberly awaiting their arrival.  To cap off the really, really weird day, Aya and Aki are given a box to open.  inside the box is a mummified hand, and once they see it, their lives will never be the same again.

Aki collapses in a pool of blood, shredded by some magical force unleashed by the mummified hand. A power awakens within Aya, and she discovers that she’s the descendant of a celestial maiden, and now her family wants her dead!  With her entire family out to kill her, who can she trust?  The Mikage family bodyguard, Toya?  Or the martial artist chef Yuhi?  Who is going to save Aya from her family, and who is going to save her from the destructive power she can’t control?

I love this story!  I have seen the anime, but I haven’t read the graphic novels yet.  I thought it would be fun to read them all, and blog about them as I do.  Hopefully you will be inspired to read them yourself, or watch the anime, which is still one of my favorites.  When it came out, it received some flak, mainly because Aya can be irritating, especially when she gets herself in to trouble, and then has to have one of the guys come and save her.  While I prefer a more self-reliant heroine, I love how Watase brought the legend of the celestial maidens to life in Ceres.  Add in her detailed artwork with her delicate linework, and mixing in a dash of humor to the horror and action elements, and you have an engaging, fast-paced story full of mystery and weird supernatural powers.f

This first volume introduces the major characters, and sets the tone for the rest of the series.  Ceres is the story of a powerful family, and the dark secret they have been hiding for centuries. It is also the story of Aya’s coming of age.  She is a spoiled and overindulged teenager, who thinks life is one big party at the local karaoke place.  She hasn’t had many responsibilities, and she’s never had to really do things for herself.   Now that she’s lost the shelter of her family, she’s forced to deal with her mother’s betrayal, and somehow keep herself alive.  Suzumi and her brother-in-law Yuhi come to her rescue, and now Aya must navigate  treacherous waters as she tries to decide who she can trust.  If she’s wrong, she’s going to end up dead, and nothing’s she learned in high school has prepared her for this nightmare. The cliffhanger at the end made me happy that I have the next volume, and ensured that I would be reaching for it quickly.  This is a fast-paced story with many unanswered questions that beg to be answered.  Only 13 more volumes before we get them!

Grade:  B+

Review copy purchased from Amazon

[PR] Viz Media Announces Happy Marriage?! Manga Debut

{Ed. And here’s their other new series, Happy Marriage?!  I think it will appeal to older romance readers, so if you’re interested in manga and haven’t read any yet, hop over to Viz’s website and read the free sample}

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES HAPPY MARRIAGE?! MANGA DEBUT

Will Two Strangers Living In Matrimony Find Their Way To A Happy Marriage?! A New Romantic Comedy From Manga Creator Maki Enjoji

San Francisco, CA, August 19, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, presents a new take on domestic bliss as releases Maki Enjoji’s shojo manga (graphic novel) series, HAPPY MARRIAGE?! The first volume is available now from the Shojo Beat imprint, is rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers, and carries an MSRP of $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN.

HAPPY MARRIAGE?! is also available digitally for $4.99 (U.S / CAN) from VIZManga.com and for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president, Hokuto Mamiya – a man she doesn’t know – at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise.

“HAPPY MARRIAGE has been eagerly anticipated by many of our readers,” says Nancy Thistlethwaite, Editor. “This series is our next offering in manga for adult women, following Yuki Yoshihara’s BUTTERFLIES, FLOWERS, which was serialized in the same Japanese magazine, Petit Comics. Fans of modern romance will find HAPPY MARRIAGE?! delightful and endearing.

Maki Enjo made her debut with the manga series Fu•Junai (Wicked Pure Love). She is currently published with Petit Comics magazine. HAPPY MARRIAGE?! is her fourth series.

For more information on HAPPY MARRIAGE?!, or other popular shojo manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit http://www.viz.com/manga/print/shojo-beat.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

[PR] VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES END OF SUMMER DIGITAL MANGA SALE

{ED. – Lots of great manga on sale over at Viz.com.  I recommend Red River, Skip*Beat!, Beauty Pop, and Boys Over Flowers}

VIZ MEDIA LAUNCHES END OF SUMMER

DIGITAL MANGA SALE

Sale Offers 20% Off All Manga Available On Barnes & Noble NOOK© Tablets and VIZ Manga Platform

VIZ Media has announced a special “End of Summer” digital manga sale on ALL titles currently featured on VIZManga.com and available for digital download through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, and also for NOOK tablets and devices.

Beginning today and running until Thursday, September 5th, the VIZ Media “End of Summer” sale will offer fans a prime opportunity to catch up on favorite series and dive into new ones with up to 20% off the MSRP on over 1,500 digital manga volumes across more than 100 different series (Reg. MSRP starts at $4.99).

Also don’t miss the North American digital debut of 8 additional new manga series this month including AISHITERUZE BABY, BEET THE VANDAL BUSTER, BOYS OVER FLOWERS, HANA KIMI (Single and 3-in-1 Editions), LA CORDA D’ORO, SKIP BEAT, VIDEO GIRL AI and YUYU HAKUSHO.

New Titles Debuting Today Include:

A DEVIL AND HER LOVE SONG Vol. 10 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

BAKUMAN? Vol. 20 (Final volume!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

HAPPY MARRIAGE Vol. 1 · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers

NARUTO Vol. 62 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

RED RIVER Vol. 19 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

YU-GI-OH! DUELIST Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

YU-GI-OH! Vol. 7 (Final volume!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

New Titles Debuting August 13th Include:

CACTUS’S SECRET Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

KARE FIRST LOVE Vol. 10 (Final volume!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

MAGI Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

RAL ? GRAD Vol. 1 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION 3-in-1 Vol. 4 · Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens

WAQWAQ Vols. 3-4 (Final Volumes!) · Rated ‘T’ for Teens

Additional August Series Debuts:

AISHITERUZE BABY Vol. 1

BEET THE VANDEL BUSTER Vol. 1

YUYU HAKUSHO Vol. 1

HANA KIMI Vol. 1 in regular and 3-in-1 editions

BOYS OVER FLOWERS Vol. 1

SKIP BEAT Vol. 1

LA CORDA D’ORO Vol. 1

VIDEO GIRL AI Vol. 1

The free VIZ Manga App continues to be the top application for reading digital manga and features a massive library of the most popular series in the world. Through the innovative VIZ Manga digital platform, registered users are able to use one account to view their purchased manga across more devices than ever.

The platform features a massive library of the most popular manga series in the world, with over 1,500 volumes across more than 130 different series, and new series and volumes added every Tuesday. All manga volumes are generally available for purchase and download in the U.S. and Canada within the application starting from $4.99 (U.S. / CAN) each, and readers can also explore all titles with free Chapter 1 previews of every series. For more information, please visit VIZManga.com or www.VIZ.com/apps.

Download the free VIZ Manga App for your Android and iOS devices at www.VIZ.com/apps.

To learn more about VIZ Manga, please visit www.vizmanga.com.

Weekly Shonen Jump–January 28th Edition

This issue clocks in at 171 pages.

First up is Toriko Chapter 219- I guess there is nothing as intimidating as group of pissed off chefs.  As the Gourmet Corp launches a fearsome attack during the cooking competition, Toriko and his buddies counter with some powerful, yet ultimately useless attacks.  Oh, my!  Komatsu is in trouble!  I don’t think all the cooking skills in the world are going to help him save himself from the freaks attacking him.  It’s a good thing the other chefs seem more competent at defending themselves.  Plus they will probably get pissed if their carefully prepared dishes are ruined.  This series is still not one of my favorites, but at least there were lots of speed lines and attacks to keep me somewhat entertained.

One Piece – chapter 696 – Lots of eating and celebrating their escape from the island.  The rescued kids are going to go with the Navy, and Luffy has big plans! He’s going to crush all four emperors! Hopefully this wraps up all involvement of Caesar, because I thought he was obnoxious and I’m not going to miss him much.

Naruto – Chapter 617 – Naruto hands out chakra like it’s candy.  The ninjas get ready for an all out attack.  Naruto’s shoulder is dislocated!  But wait! Now it’s not!  Can Naruto’s buddies keep Neji’s death from being a tragic waste?  Maybe we’ll find out next issue!  Nah, probably not, but maybe the fighting will start again?

Nisekoi - Chapter 59 – Christmas chapter! Chitoge’s mom is coming home for the holiday!  She’s a terror, too.  Everyone is terrified of her, despite her less than imposing appearance.  When her secretary collapses, she quickly lassoes Raku in to handle the job until Christmas Eve.  Poor guy!  She wants to see what he’s made of, and I think his work experience with her won’t be pleasant.  I am curious to see just how bad Chitoge’s mom can be!  If he can stick it out, she’ll reward him with a stay for two in a penthouse suite at a deluxe hotel.  Can he make it that long?

One-Punch Man – Chapter 2 – Another short chapter, giving more background on Saitama.  He became One-Punch Man after taking on a crab dude, and then trained like a fiend, losing his hair (as well as his good looks) in the process.  I am a bit disappointed with the length of the chapters so far, and the lack of a story.  Maybe we’ll get a story next issue?

Bleach – Chapter 524 – Oh MY!  The battle between Unohana and Zaraki rocks!  That is all.

Cross Manage – Chapter 18 – Soccer team manager Chiumi drops by to watch the lacrosse teams’ second game, and she has a crush on Sakurai!  She’s studied up on lacrosse, and she’s all ready to wow him with her knowledge of the game and  the team.  She knows Sakurai has some problems communicating with girls, and she’s going to help him with that, and earn some brownie points at the same time.  This chapter was bogged down with lacrosse rules, and it didn’t hold my attention like previous chapters. 

Kintoki One-shot – Cute color splash page!  Though I enjoyed this one-shot, it’s more a throw away chapter than anything else.  Great art but not much substance.  It did get a few chuckles from me, and that’s saying a lot since I am sick as a dog today.

Oh, they will start running a colorized DBZ starting next issue!  And there will be new series announcements next week, too!

Weekly Shonen Jump–January 21st Issue

Last week I was dealing with a house full of sick people (including me!) so I didn’t get a chance to read the January 14 issue of WSJA until today, so I’m just going to skip a recap of it and jump right into the January 21 issue.  This is the first issue of the simulations release with the Japanese magazine, and the magazine has been renamed Weekly Shonen Jump.  Good-bye Alpha and good-bye waiting for an English translation! 

This week’s issue is 185 pages, and introduced One-Punch Man to the line-up.  I have also discovered, much to my chagrin, that my by beloved Kenshin will only appear monthly as it is actually published in Jump Square.  Boo hoo!  But let’s put that disappointment behind us, and dive into this week’s issue of WSJ!

Naruto Chapter 616 – Nice color spread this issue and a congratulatory message from creator Masashi Kishimoto for going simultaneous!  After getting a pep talk about not letting Neji’s death be in vain, Naruto gets a second wind (or probably 4th or 5th with as long as this battle has been going on).  His chakra recharges and he quickly shares his renewed energy with the other ninja.  Yay!  We also get brave, determined declarations that he will never give up trying to save his comrades, and that despite loss and heartbreak, ninja will endure!  Very motivating!  These last two chapters have been my favorite since I have been reading the magazine, and the plot is starting to make more sense.  All of these quick battle chapters can get confusing when you just get dumped into them, and they last for, what, over 2 months now?

One-Punch Man Chapter One – New series!  Uhhhh.  Short chapter.  Saitama is a hero for fun, and he’s looking for an opponent who he can’t beat in one punch.  Uhhh…  Not sure about this one.  I like the art, but I don’t like Saitama’s character design.  He looks like a dork with an egg for a head.  This chapter was so short that I don’t think it was a good intro to the series.  Maybe next week’s chapter will knock my socks off?

One Piece Chapter 695 – Finally!  Luffy and the gang has escaped from the lab!  They are out in the fresh air and they won’t be victims of the poison gas!  Buffalo and Baby 5 scoop up Caesar and try to make a break for it, but no-uh-uh!  Usopp isn’t having any of that!  This is a quick, fun chapter with lots of great art and great poses.  I was getting bored of the lab drama, so I am looking forward to their next adventure!

Nisekoi Chapter 58 – Miyamoto has lost her glasses!  Ichijo and Onodera help her look for them, and Ruri, frustrated that they like each other, but won’t confess their feelings, tries to get them together.  Since Ichijo is so dense, her efforts don’t pay off.  Not a very original chapter, but the expressive art and the clueless Ichijo made it a fun read.

Bleach Chapter 523 -  Very cool color page get things kicked off.  Ichigo and Renji get to play with Oh-Etsu Nimaiya, the creator of Zanpaku-to!  More accurately, he gets to play with them.  He throws them in the middle of a horde of angry Asauchi, which are the ultimate Zanpaku-tos that can become anything.  They are pissed at how Ichigo and Renji have been using their Zanpaku-tos.  Quick shift to  Yachiru and Zaraki, who are facing off in the Soul Society’s underground prison.  These guys are so serious!  Someone is going to get hurt!  And then – the chapter ends!  This is a great setup for next week, and has  me re-engaged in the story.  I love Ichigo, but I am intrigued by Yachiru and want to see her and Zaraki cross swords.  I am sure it will be an epic confrontation!

Cross Manage Chapter 17 – I love this one.  The team is playing their first match, and after a motivating (more accurately, embarrassing) pep talk from Sakurai, the girls have been given the confidence to play all out!  This is a feel good series, and I have enjoyed it every week.  I keep gushing about it, but I love sports manga and wish there were more series available for me to read.  When are we going to get more Crimson Hero? 

Toriko Chapter 218 – Gourmet Corp is invading!  Their giraffe birds and other weird creatures are out for blood!  Starjun tries to make a grab for Komatsu, but Toriko is there to save him!  While this hasn’t been my favorite manga, this week’s was pretty good, probably because I wasn’t inundated with a billion new chef’s and their specialties.  The constant character intros has been driving me nuts!  Wow, I might not cringe next week when I come to the next chapter.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Chapter 26 – I just don’t get this one.  It is boring and I can’t force myself to get interested in the plot.  I like the art and the character designs, but the story itself – yawn.  I don’t get the rules of the game, and so I find myself just skimming this one every week. 

And that’s it for this week!  Next week there’s a one-shot by Akira Toriyama!