[Manga Monday] Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #3 ★★★☆½

karekano3 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #3
Author: Masami Tsuda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Words: 6.1K

 

Synopsis:

Miyazawa takes her two younger sisters over to Arima’s house and they go nuts planting sunflowers in the big yard. Asaba walks out of the house in just a bathrobe and starts needling Miyazawa. Once he sees what her little sisters are doing though, he starts helping them out. Miyazawa and Arima discuss the recent final exams and feel like their relationship has taken a toll on their grades. The next day at school the results are posted and both have dropped in the rankings. They are called to the main office and several of the teachers tell them to stop dating and concentrate on their schoolwork.

Miyazawa breaks out into her “home mode” attitude and tells the teachers they are wrong. When they begin to remonstrate, Arima steps in and says that they’re grades will improve so there is no need to worry. Miyazawa realizes that her goals have shifted from wanting to be Number One to wanting to be a real genuine person and that Arima wants the same and is supportive of that goal. The chapter ends with Yukino’s parents (Miyazawa) being called to a parent/teacher conference at her school.

Yukino relates how her parents reacted, which was for her dad to go all gung-ho in her defense, as he and Yukino’s mom were married young. Both of her parents promise to bring weapons to the conference and “fight” for their daughter! At the conference both sets of guardians and the 2 students are there. The teacher outlines his worries and asks the guardians to step in and prevent the relationship from interfering with the students’ academic life. Yukino’s dad pretty much tells the teacher to stuff it (very politely) as their policy is to let their children choose their own path. Arima’s Aunt and Uncle also say that Arima acting like a normal teenager is actually a comfort to them and they will not interfere. Yukino and Arima apologize to the teacher for their reactions to his statement and he admits he didn’t handle things in the best way, so peace is achieved and both of the kids realize they do need to concentrate on their studies.

It is Make-Up day at school, so both Yukino and Arima have the day off. Yukino heads over to Arima’s house and gets all flustered and girly when Arima tells her that his guardians won’t be there. So when she arrives she’s prepared for some sort of seduction. Only to find Asaba in the kitched cooking and acting like Arima’s house maid. Asaba failed most of his classes but didn’t realize today was Make-Up day, so they hustle him off to school, like parents of a not-particularly bright child. They end up in Arima’s room….reading. Yukino pesters Arima until he pays attention to her and they share another kiss. Yukino feels very grown up and Arima lets her know how much self-control he exerts when around her.

The girls of Yukino’s class are discussing her and Arima and another girl starts talking about how fake Yukino is and casting doubt into the minds of the other girls about whether Yukino is actually so good. She says that Yukino has captured Arima’s heart through false pretenses and causes the girls to turn against Yukino. Tsukino (the new character) begins a campaign of smear tactics and little by little turns the class against Yukino. Tsukino was head of her class in middle grade and resents that Yukino has eclipsed her. Yukino admits to herself that it bothers her but vows to keep on going and let the chips fall where they may.

 

My Thoughts:

Reading this, I was struck by how much I actually agreed with the teacher about the relationship between Yukino and Arima. Now, I completely disagreed about how he handled things, ie, calling them into the office and forbidding them from seeing each other, but I wonder/suspect if that is more a cultural thing. Tell an American he can’t do something and chances are he’ll just tell you to go to Tartarus as he’s an Independent Entity. With the Japanese being much more Group Oriented, the behavior of the teacher makes more sense. I would have talked to the parents alone and gotten their input first and foremost. But yep, I agreed with him that putting a highschool relationship before your grades is a big no-no.

I had to laugh when Yukino went over to Arima’s and they ended up reading together. Mrs B and I do that all the time and thankfully, we’re both content in that. I think a big part of that though is that we’re mature, married and a lot more confident about the other person then when we had first gotten married. So I totally understood Yukino’s reaction to it.

The introduction of Tsukino as a character and her “snake in the grass” approach is definitely very high school drama’y. Her campaign to turn the girls against Yukino, which works and happens in like 2 days, is sad in how much truth it contains about how easily kid’s minds are manipulated. I don’t remember what happens, so I have no idea whether she’ll end up like Asaba (starting out as an enemy and turning into a friend) or if she stays a nemesis. My goodness though, makes me glad I’m not a girl.

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting but I think my one volume per month rule is helping in that regards. Not sure I could handle more than that and not burn out. My emotions, while not burning so bright, are steady. After the turbulence of my own teen and 20something years, I welcome that steadiness. I guess I am liking this series because it is helping me see how I have changed over the years and that just fascinates me!

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #2 ★★★☆½

karekano2 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #2
Author: Masami Tsuda
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback Copy

 

Synopsis:

Miyazawa and Arima continue their relationship but both are still dealing with putting up a fake persona for the public to see. Arima catches Miyazawa ostensibly reading Bridges of Madison County but that is just a cover for her reading a fashion magazine. Of course, everyone also thinks they are going out as a couple but the truth is they are just friends, even while having feelings for each other.

Miyazaw has decided that she will return Arima’s confession but every time she tries to confess to him, she gets interrupted. She is also wondering if Arima still likes her and just doesn’t have the courage to tell him how she feels. Arima asks her, again, for her answer to his confession and she runs away. She realizes that she is afraid of letting someone in to her life and decides that she will answer Arima. The next day in class she holds his hand and that is her answer.

2 months pass and the school festival begins. Both Miyazaw and Arima, being the top of their class, are on committees for everything and are as busy as can be. Neither know how to deal with being so busy and having a relationship. They realize that they can’t have a “normal” relationship and so must make what they have work. Once they realize that, things start to go much smoother for them.

The next chapter introduces Hideaki Asaba, one of Arima’s friends, who is also good looking, smart and popular. Miyazawa decides to introduce herself and Asaba cuts her off sharply. A war begins between them until Arima tells Miyazaw that Asaba is just someone he talks to. Asaba and Miyazawa meet and Asaba reveals that his interest in Arima is to use him as a magnet to attract more girls, as Asaba’s dream is to have a generic harem of girls around him at all times. Asaba plays on Miyazawa’s doubt about her worthiness to be with Arima and it shows in her behavior. Arima takes Asaba to task for hurting Miyazawa. Asaba and Miyazaw make up and become mutual friends and Asaba grows up a little by giving up his dream of becoming a Harem King.

The final chapter is a review chapter of how Miyazawa and Arima met, from Arima’s perspective.

 

My Thoughts:

This is definitely a manga that I can only take in very small doses. The amount of “emotions” swirling around is akin to a hurricane. And yet, it made me remember my first time of falling in love. I was 19 and from that point on, until I met and married Mrs B, I was a maelstrom on the inside, with chaos occasionally breaking out to reveal that inner turmoil. All I can say is thank goodness we don’t remain teenagers with hormones forever. You can’t sustain that level of emotion forever without burning out.

So I guess I’m bashing on this series and praising it all at the same time?

Arima, the male main character, is definitely not your normal male. He’s one of those feel’ers and this makes him a lot more vulnerable. Being of this bent myself, I really felt bad for him even while yelling at him in my head to man up and stop whining. What he needs is a mentor and I know that never happens in this series. That could be an interesting side of things in a shojo manga.

Now Miyazawa on the other hand is everything I expect from a teen girl. Even a wicked smart, determined one. She looks at Arima and turns into butter, a little pile of sighing, melted butter I might add. I’d have thought it was over the top except Mrs B has made it known that, no, this happens. So I just accept it as one of those mysteries of life 😀

The drama has ratcheted up already, with the introduction of Asaba and the war between him and Miyazawa. Thankfully, the friendship isn’t destroyed and Asaba turns into an ally. Friendship is much more important to young people than romantic interest even if they don’t think so. I like to see friendship and romance being allies and not enemies and so far the manga-ka is doing that dance rather well.

Speaking of the manga-ka, she does a LOT in the side bars of each page. She does little stick’ish figure type drawings of herself and things she’s interested in. It is funny little things and adds to the sweet, saccharine flavor of the manga.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

[Manga Monday] Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #1

karekano1 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #1
Series: Kare Kano: His & Her Circumstances #1
Author: Masami Tsuda
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Yukino Miyazawa is an average girl who works excessively hard to present a perfect social image. Her true identity is discovered by her rival, Soichiro Arima who blackmails her into helping him maintain his status as the perfect student. Their interactions cause Yukino to fall in love with Soichiro who likewise, discovers his true personality under his stoic facade. Soichiro begins to express angst in his new personality, believing he will become like his abusive parents. However, Yukino comforts him and Soichiro confesses his love to her in response.

There is a smaller second story about a young woman who hides because she is afraid and a young man who accidentally gets involved in her life. She begins to learn to not be afraid and he begins to learn to think about other people instead of just brushing them aside.

 

My Thoughts:

Given that this is my third time reading this you’d think I’d remember more beyond knowing it is a highschool drama. But nope, not a bleeding thing. So this was like reading it for the first time.

First off, I appear to have a soft spot for highschool drama, even while castigating it and rolling my eyes. Otherwise I can’t explain why I enjoyed this so much. Two 15 year olds filled with young pride and angst learning to navigate Life and thinking that nobody before them has ever encountered the same horrible problems that are currently destroying their lives. Hahahahahaa.

I am not expecting to be able to make it through the whole series even while I really enjoyed this volume. The second couple’s story I think sets the theme for the whole series. The two main characters and their issues and then side stories about ancillary characters.

Not a bad way to spend an hour or so.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

[Manga Monday] Yotsuba&! #14 ★★★★☆

yotsuba14 (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Yotsuba&! #14
Series: Yotsuba&!
Author: Kiyohiko Azuma
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback Copy

 

Synopsis:

Yotsuba has a ton of adventures. She learns to make bead necklaces and helps her daddy run his business. She also gets a princess dress from one of her neighbors and goes to yoga. Then the big adventure is when she and daddy go to Tokyo. They eat cotton candy and crepes and see aliens in the park! Then they meet daddy’s sister who gives them a car. They go to a fancy restaurant which has big pans of pudding. Yotsuba is happy.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, it’s been 3 years since I read the previous volume. Even longer than the wait between 12 and 13. I think this is done.

If it is done, this was a great way to end things. Yotsuba has tons of little adventures, is as cute and bold as always and ends the book in a car on a highway than can go “anywhere”. Unlimited possibilities, isn’t that what childhood should be?

I read my review for Vol. 13 and many of the same things apply. This wasn’t funny even while it was super cute. I didn’t have a problem with that this time around, probably because it’s been so long since I’ve read any Yotsuba&! that I kind of forgot it started out as humorous and not just cute.

This definitely was cuteness overload, in a good way. The manga-ka definitely nails the whole cute kid thing spot on, probably to the idealization level. Not having any kids of our own, I can’t tell. But I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to take your cues for real life from a manga, so I bet I’m safe.

I just checked and there have been 4 more chapters released between 2018 and now in the monthly magazine Yotsuba&! is in. This volume has 7 chapters, so we’re talking at least another year or 2 before there is enough material for another tankoubon. I’m ok with stopping this now. It ends on a great note and with no over-arching plot, there are no loose ends to tie up.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

[Manga Monday] A Song Someday (Shaman King #32) ★☆☆☆½ [Final]

asongsomeday (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Song Someday
Series: Shaman King #32
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 224
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

All the various groups are on the beach and Anna projects the mana numbers for everyone. The Gang is fighting the next Patch Officiant and Hao is at the last plant, preparing for the sleep that will put the Great Spirit within his grasp.

The Patch Officiant Number 3 kills Faust to prove how serious he is. He warns everyone to just give up, as they’ll run out of mana before even reaching Hao. Faust resurrects himself. And is promptly killed AGAIN by the Patch. Yoh then defeats the Patch through the Power of Love and Faust is a now a ghost.

The two kids who use the golem disappear from Mikihasa’s supervision. They want to attack Hao directly on Mu. They die in breaching the mana walls surrounding Mu but the golem is revealed to be powered by the soul of their mother and so they all keep on trying to kill Hao. Goldva, the Patch Chief, destroys them with the oversoul of the First Patch but the golem regenerates.

The next officiant takes down Horohoro but Yoh integrates with the ghost of Faust and fixes him up.

Team Gandala has gained 3 of the 5 ElementalSpirits and the Gandala leader is about to fight the King of Hell for the 4th.

One of the golem children, now a ghost, delivers the Spirit of Fire to Yoh, as Hao doesn’t need it anymore.

Yoh realizes, or reveals, or whatever, that the only true way to defeat Hao is to let him have what he wants and realize how empty that desire is.

The storyline ends with Anna and Manta saying they’re going to wrap up loose ends while Yoh and the Gang deal with Hao.

The manga-ka then includes an afterwords apologizing for ending things how he did.

We then jump about 10 or 15 years into the future and follow the son of Yoh and Anna. Anna sends Hana (the son, a 6 year old) to an American Prison with Ryu to find Jocono, now known as the Legendary Warrior. Ryu tries to break him out and ends up in jail himself. Hana then attacks some tourists thinking they’re trying to mug him. He ends up with Ryu in jail. Once released they make their way to a mountain seeking an old hermit. We then see the woman Hana knows as his mom, only she reveals herself to be Tamao, not Anna. She reveals that she’s been taking care of Hana and will tell him the truth on his birthday.

The book ends with 5 mysterious characters making their way towards Funbari Hot Springs and 2 of them appear to be Anna and Yoh.

 

My Thoughts:

So the series got cancelled and that is why the manga-ka wrapped things up, or didn’t. The fight scenes I didn’t care about at all and I gave the rating I felt it and the “ending” deserved. It sucked. The power-up’ing trope was out of control and I was bored. This had become like every other fighting shonen manga I’d ever read or watched and the multiplicity of groups just diluted any connection I had from the beginning.

The ending with Hana and Ryu and the revelations about Tamao was fantastic. It captured the spirit of what Shaman King started out with. The 5 Mysterious Strangers was an awesome thing. That part I gave 4 stars to but it just wasn’t enough to overcome the boring slugfest that came before.

 

Series Thoughts:

Shaman King started out fantastic. The friendships and interactions between Yoh, Manta and Ryu and Yoh and Ryu’s ghost allies worked really well. Ren was a good frenemy and could have carried the villain/anti-hero part for the series.

Things started to go downhill when “Avengers, Assemble!” began happening. While characters like Horohoro and Jocono were ok in and of themselves, including them began to dilute what Yoh had with both Manta and Ryu. Both of those characters ended up being sidelined and not taking much part of the story later on. The main characters became those who had power instead of those who were just friends with Yoh.

When Hao was introduced as the Ultimate Bad Guy and he just kept getting bigger and bigger, that is when I felt this series slid off the rails. Instead of telling an intriguing story, like had been going on, the manga-ka devolved to Power Up and Escalation. It was boring and cliched in the bad way. I’m not surprised the manga was cancelled due to lack of interest by this point.

The Epilogue with the son and everything was a complete return to form and if the manga-ka had managed something like this sooner I suspect the series might have lasted longer. Having said that, I looked up on Wikipedia and the sequel to Shaman King, following Hana, only lasted a couple of books then fizzled out. I’m guessing the manga-ka is great with initial ideas and creating fun characters but then runs out of how to keep them going. Maybe if he’d stuck with writing shorter series he’d have done better.

Overall, considering how this ended I’m pretty disappointed in it. The humor was what drew me in initially and that just slowly drained out as characters kept getting more and more powerful.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Patch Song (Shaman King #31) ★★☆☆☆

patchsong (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Patch Song
Series: Shaman King #31
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

The gang must make their way through the 10 Patch officiants to reach Hao. Ryu fights and loses against the first Patch and Ren and Horohoro step up. They defeat the Patch while using the absolute minimum mana.

The scene then shifts to Manta and his dad. And Manta’s dad is tied up and on a leash held by Anna. All of the shamans killed on the beach have been resurrected and everybody is everybody elses friend all of the sudden.

The second Path catches most of the group in a net but Lyserg and Ren are not caught and fight back. Lady Jeanne comes out of her coffin thingy and she and Lyserg take down Patch number two. Patch number three is being taken care of by Ren while Yoh talks to little Opacho about his skills.

Back on the beach everyone is having a cookout. Anna and Mikihisa are keeping track of the group fighting the Patch via an Oracle pager and realize that Jeanne is out of the running with her resurrecting Ren and Ryu and Horohoro.

Then we move on with another installment from Yoh’s parents past. Part way through it switches to a future installment where a young boy is venerating at a shrine for Mikihisa and calls him “Grandpa”. An older Ryu bursts into the room calling him Young Master and the volume ends with the pictures that the young master was venerating. One was the former owner of the hotsprings Inn that Anna runs. The second was Faust. Apparently he died during the final Shaman Fight and refused resurrection. The final picture was of Mikihasa, who died in a car accident while coming home from a pachinko parlor. He was not resurrected due to his wife being mad at him for something.

 

My Thoughts:

At the beginning of the book there is an author’s note where he says “something” is up with Shaman King but he’s going to do the right thing. It sounds like Shaman King got cancelled out from under him and he’s going to have to wrap things up in one volume instead of a bajillion more, ala Bleach.

Yeah, this was feth’ing crap. The manga-ka has lost control of his own story line and even the battles with the 3 Patch wasn’t very good. It was fighting for fighting sake’s and even worse, it was obviously that. I read everything to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important but I just wanted this to end.

The ending with the Young Master venerating at the shrine and the little blurb about each deceased really came across as wrapping things up without having the time or ideas on how to actually wrap it up.

I am very disappointed even while not being surprised by this.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Extraordinary Days (Shaman King #30) ★★☆☆½

extraordinarydays (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Extraordinary Days
Series: Shaman King #30
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Team Ren and Team Yoh are sitting in a hotsprings after recovering. Ren and Yoh start recapping everyone’s power and level. Hao shows up and Lyserg immediately attacks him. Hao shows them a new form of an oversoul in defense and everyone starts talking buddy buddy. Hao reveals that the final round of Shaman Fights will take place on the Lost Continent of Mu and that is why Mr Oyamada has shown up. Horohoro tells Hao that he’s nuts and Hao tells Horohoro to shutup or he’ll tell everyone who he likes.

Hao also reveals that the Patch won’t do anything about the battle fleet Mr Oyamada brought and it is up to the remaining Shamans to deal with them. It is also revealed that a former X-Law is helping Mr Oyamada and has brought some big shaman guns (figuratively speaking).

Everyone, friend and foe, gather on the beach to fight the battle group brought by Mr Oyamada. Hao begins the attack and pretty much singlehandedly takes all threats down. The renegade X-Law in Oyamada’s employ releases Azazel, the most powerful of Angels. Hao breaks Azazel and which destroys the X-Law. A shaman witch tries to stop Hao with voodoo and he returns the favor and kills her.

The Patch create a spirit submarine and all the shamans get on board to go to Mu. All the opposing Shaman Teams renounce their standing, giving Hao the win by default. Now Hao must commune with the great spirit and the Patch will defend him while he’s in this helpless state. The opposing teams say they’ll take the Patch down but only use it as training to eventually fight Hao.

Hao is taken to the ceremony and the others begin the journey to stop him. Silva, the Patch that initiated Yoh into the shaman fight is the first Patch they must fight to move onward. Yoh takes down Silva but 2 other Patch show up and tell the group that the Patch broke Silva to make him compliant and that the next 8 Patch are successively stronger. Ren realizing that they don’t have enough mana to resurrect anyone so this is a do or die situation.

The volume ends with a short story about how Yoh’s parents met.

 

My Thoughts:

The story is just getting messy. The manga-ka seems to pick up and discard ideas like a lint trap in a dryer. A huge fleet shows up in one volume, Hao takes it out in 3 pages. The 5 Warriors and the High Spirits are put forth and then just take a back seat. The whole feth’ing Shaman Fight, just ends because all the main characters decide so? Now the fights are going to be between the Patch and the good guy Shamans?

It feels like Takei is on drugs. Or he’s lost the thread he started on. Whatever the reason, I felt like a pinball while reading this. It was not enjoyable and while some of it may be me reading these one after another, I’m just annoyed. I shouldn’t be annoyed; the excitement should be building, the tension getting tighter. I shouldn’t want this “just to be over with”.

There was nothing particularly “wrong” with this volume, it was just everything coming together, or not as the case may be.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

The Shaman Fight Shakedown (Shaman King #29) ★★★☆½

shamanfightshakedown (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Shaman Fight Shakedown
Series: Shaman King #29
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Some guy on the beach gets a call from Mr Oyamada and he tells him that all of Hao’s minions on the beach, who were going to destroy them, have destroyed themselves. Oyamada makes it clear that he is after the Great Spirit itself, for all the power it contains.

We then flashback to the Oyamada minion taking down all of Hao’s minions with modern weaponry. He, and by extension, Mr Oyamada, don’t believe in souls and so the Shaman’s powers simply don’t work against him. A few of Hao’s minions survive and warn him of his minion’s demise. Hao simply shrugs, says he needs more mana and tells the survivors to sacrifice themselves so he can devour their souls.

Anna begins to fight Hao but Hao reveals his powered up (yet again) Oversoul and begins taunting Anna. If she can’t save herself, how is she supposed to save Hao’s minions, who might not even want to be saved? Yoh shows up and tells Hao that Anna is simply Anna.

Anna brings the minions back to their place and Yoh and Hao have coffee at a Patch coffee shop. Hao seems to revel in the fact that he’s destroying anyone to become stronger while Yoh acts like a stoner.

Mikihisa, Yoh’s dad, comes across the massacre on the beach and starts doing some kind of ceremony. Sati revives Lady Jeanne so that together they can resurrect the rest of their allies.

Yoh and Ren have a little talk and Ren shows that he thinks the only way to stop Hao is to kill him. Yoh doesn’t believe it is that simple and that Hao still has a heart. The next shaman fight is between Team Ren and Yoh’s team and they’re fighting for their belief in how to deal with Hao.

Horohoro and Ren immediately take out Faust and Ryu, so as to isolate Yoh. Yoh reveals his mana neutralizing powers and Ren answers with his own power of nature using lightning. Both sides are going all out but only Yoh is completely certain in his mind. Suddeny Lyserg appears and stops the fight and Sati pulls out all of her teams, thus ensuring that both Team Ren and Yoh advance.

The Asakura’s and the Tao’s get together to figure out how their collective families can taken down Hao and deal with whatever Mr Oyamada is trying to do.

Despite the shenanigans pulled by Sati and her Gandala teams, Team Ren makes it clear they are going to finish their fight against Yoh. Lyserg steps in to cover for Ryu and Faust. The fight WILL continue.

The volume ends with a shot of the ship owned by Mr Oyamada and something going overboard.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a really twisty, turny volume. The idea that non-shamans are getting involved ratchets this up even more but in a way that I fully support. It is different from the shamans just endlessly powering up and pulling new powers out of their butts.

In the last review I was talking about how I missed Manta and in this volume, he plays a very small part but it is extremely pertinent. He’s asking himself why he is even there. I’m really hoping that his friendship with Yoh will be one of the deciding factors in the final battle. Especially given that everyone now knows just how powerful Hao truly is. He is unbeatable and no one has the raw power to defeat him. I doubt even the 5 Warriors with a spirit ally could do it.

The Patch continue to sit on the sidelines and have their own little behind the scenes game and I still hate them. Sati and Gandala manipulating the fight seems a bit amateur to me. If the Shaman Fight has been going on for thousands of years, someone of a tactical mind would have already done something like it and I’m sure the bloody Patch would then institute rules to prevent such manipulation. You know, people were still pretty smart even 500 years ago. Technology doesn’t equal intelligence.

With only 3 volumes to go, I suspect this is going to end extremely fast. And that the Power of Friendship will solve everything. I mean, you can’t have a fighting shonen manga without that trope!

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

[Manga Monday] A Good Woman (Shaman King #28) ★★★☆☆

agoodwoman (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: A Good Woman
Series: Shaman King #28
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

The volume starts out with Lyserg alone in some deserted city and the title of the chapter is “Separated in Hell”. Then Team Ren, now separated, all get the same “You’re in Hell to train to become one of the 5 Warriors Speech”.

Back in the real world some of Hao’s minions are taunting Sati and Ryu about Lyserg being blown up and Ryu loses his cool and attacks them. Sati intervenes and tells Ryu he musn’t kill anyone, no matter the provocation. She is then stabbed by one of the minions.

Tamao and Manta survived the car explosion but Marco, Lady Jeanne and Lyserg are all dead. Tamao vows to safeguard their bodies until Sati can resurrect them. The minion of Hao who initially attacked them was also called on to destroy the bodies. Now Tamao, with help from Manta, must stand against the minion. Marco makes a comeback, thanks to Lady Jeanne blessing him right before they all died. Now that he’s resurrected, he’s stronger than ever and easily defeats the minion. Instead of killing him though, he tries to make a deal. Then Hao and Luchist show up and Marco gives his oversoul to Tamao so she can escape with the bodies of Lady Jeanne and Lyserg.

The island that the Shaman Fight is taking place on has now been revealed to the world since the X-Laws used a super-secret space laser on it. The Patch are trying to figure out what to do but reveal that the second part of the Tournament will take place somewhere where no one can interfere.

Anna shows up with the Golem to help Tamao and Marco and Hao reveals that he’s planning on making her his bride once he becomes Shaman King. A battle ensues between them. Also, another team of Hao Minions show up at the inn where the bodies of Team Ren are. If the bodies are destroyed, they can’t come back from hell.

Yoh faces down all the ogres and makes them take him to the king of hell, Yama. Ryu is fighting, uselessly, against the minions to protect Sati and Yoh’s bodies. Dr Faust resurrects Yoh. Yoh instructs him to resurrect Sati while he holds off the minions.

A warship shows up at the island, helmed by Tycoon Oyamada, Manta’s father.

Back at the Hotsprings Team Ren is resurrected by Jun Tao and Team Ren tests its new powers by taking on the Hao minions. The minions are recalled by Hao for “cleanup duty”, as are Hao’s minions all over the island.

Lyserg continues his training in hell.

The volume ends with Hao’s minions being told to “clean up” the warship. Dissension arises as some of them don’t want to fight non-shamans and infighting commences.

 

My Thoughts:

Phracking aye, this was a busy volume. Too much time is spent shifting around to various characters instead of just sticking with a core group. It also made me realize that I miss Manta. He’s not a shaman so he’s pretty much been sidelined for quite some time. However, his interactions with Yoh in the first few volumes were what were so great. I miss that.

The plot continues to expand, what with the “real world” now getting involved. It is tough enough that Hao has about 50 bazillion shaman minions, but then between the X-Laws and Gandala you had another bazillion people and then the core group of Yoh and his friends. Now adding outsiders? It just feels like the manga-ka is going as “wide” as he can. Focus has been lost and everything feels frenetic. I’m barely hanging by my fingernails to the plot because it’s become so twisty and convoluted.

I suspect the continued escalation of Everything would blow a teenagers mind. I’m not a teenager anymore so my mind is just bored.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Exotica (Shaman King #27) ★★★☆☆

exotica (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Exotica
Series: Shaman King #27
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Ryu is about to go berserk when he realizes Sati has killed Yoh but she reveals that she did it so Yoh would become one of the 5 Warriors, beings able to control the Five High Spirits, which are needed to defeat Hao.

Yoh is confronted by the giant ogre demon that he slew helping Anna several years ago and he senses the presence of Matamune, who is hiding in the shadows. The ogre tells Yoh he now serves Sati and that Yoh must think of Anna to make through all the levels of hell. The ogre leaves and Yoh’s first opponent shows up looking like his dad. Turns out to be his distant ancestor who defeated Hao 500 years ago. Yoken eventually uses his ultimate power, that he used to defeat Hao, against Yoh and Yoh stops it cold. During the fight Yoh realizes Yoken isn’t evil but just guilty about killing Hao, which is why he is still bound in hell.

Back in the real world, the Patch Officant for Gandala overhears Sati talking and confronts her. He states that the 5 High Spirits belong to the Patch and them alone.

Yoh and Yoken are talking and Yoken reveals that there are only 2 options for defeating Hao. One is total dissolution, which means no reincarnation and Yoh states he’ll try the other way. Then a giant hammer kills Yoken and another giant ogre climbs up onto the battlefield. Yoh kills that ogre but the a whole clan shows up.

Team Ren is confronted by the Wisdom Kings, who tell them they know all about the 5 Warriors. However, the Wisdom Kings tell Team Ren that’ll they will never leave the bathhouse alive.

Then 3 of Hao’s minions show up to confront Sati and Ryu while the Patch Officiant makes snide remarks about how neutral he is. Sati knows that the X-Laws have been wiped out.

The story then moves into a shot story from which this volume gets its name. A story about 2 young street racers using “exotic” cars, ie, a lamborgini and a ferrari.

Then the manga-ka spends 15 pages illustrating his time doing the aforementioned one shot.

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, this was going along strong, definitely into the 3.5star territory. We finally get to see Yoh be really serious when the Ogre kills his ancestor. The fights with Yoken were pretty cool but since I am an experienced connoisseur of fighting shonen manga, having watched every single Yu Yu Hakusho episode, it didn’t blow me away. I was impressed though.

The whole 5 Warriors/Spirits thing seems to be the manga-ka’s way of shaking the story out of any potential ruts. I guess I can deal with that.

Then the whole stupid one shot story happened. I’ve read the Initial D manga so the whole japanese street racing thing is old hat. Considering this took place at least 3+ years after Initial D was released, it felt like he was trying to ride the coat tails of its success. And to be honest, I haven’t given 2 figs about cars since I was 16. I drive them and I earn money to pay somebody else to fix them. That is it. And the icing on the cake was the manga-ka then illustrating how he came to do the one shot. He basically ran out of ideas for the one shot and so padded it out with the “how to” of it. Completely took me out of the Shaman King world. I feel like I’m being very generous with only dropping this to a 3. If there is another instance like this in any of the future volumes I’ll drop it to at least a 2, if not lower.

Only five more volumes to go. I feel like I’m in some kind of weird book marathon or something. And I have no one to blame but myself! Well, except maybe you. Yep, I’m definitely going to blame you this time. Bad you, go sit in the corner! Sit!

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)