[Manga Monday] The Tortured Princess (Shaman King #14) ★★★★☆

torturedprincess (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 Tortured Princess
Series: Shaman King #14
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Joco’s back story continues. His new master, Olona, wants to make the world a better place through laughter and comedy. But Joco’s old gang doesn’t want to let him go and beats up Olona. Since Joco now controls Mic the Jaguar, Olona is defenseless. Olona tells Joco that he has an incurable disease and that he would rather die at the hands of the gang members than see Joco resort to violence and death to save him. The gang kills Olona and the story reverts back to the present.

Joco shows a new move against Tecolote and immobilizes all his bone dolls with terrible jokes. He uses up his mana but gives Ren the opening he needs to move against Tecolote. He and Bason, his spirit ally, blow Tecolote away with one smashing blow and everyone see’s that Ren’s mana has increased exponentially. Hao, who is watching, comments that maybe it will be worthwhile to recruit Ren later on.

We get a cut scene of Lyserg, now one of the X-Laws, along with Marco the nominal leader of the X-Laws, unloading an Iron Maiden encased in chains.

The next Shaman fight starts, between one of the X-Law sub-groups, X-1 and Team Nile, an Egyptian themed group. Lyserg is now part of X-1 and takes on the challenge of fighting Team Nile all by himself. Marco and the Iron Maiden step aside and leave everything to Lyserg. Ryu is crushed that Lyserg has joined the X-Laws but Our Gang is cheering him on anyway. However, Lyserg has fully drunk the X-Law kool-aid and threatens to kill Team Nile. They refuse to surrender and continue the fight. Lyserg can’t bring himself to kill them and so Marco and Jeanne, the Iron Maiden step in. Jeanne unleashes her power and eventually kills each member of Team Nile as punishment for not surrendering to her.

The volume ends with Yoh realizing that an X-Law member as the Shaman King will result in an age of tyranny and blood and he vows that he will become the Shaman King to stop such a thing from happening.

 

My Thoughts:

Yeah! I like fighting and I get it in spades here. Thankfully, the manga-ka leavens the action scenes with humor, so things haven’t descended into dark, gloomy angst. For instance, when Iron Maiden Jeanne comes out of the iron maiden, both Ryu and Yoh exclaim “she’s hot!” and the picture shows Anna putting her hand over Yoh’s eyes. I’d definitely include that scene here but the digital version I’m reading is a pdf and I don’t know how to extract a particular image from a pdf.

Between Marco and Jeanne, we get a pretty good idea of just what the X-Laws intend. A world of Law without mercy and death as the final sentence for any infraction. It is very harsh and unforgiving. Unfortunately, the manga-ka takes the cheap and easy route and portrays them as simply Hao-lite because their Justice ends in death. The thing is, Justice is about death. Only when Justice is paired with Mercy can death be avoided. There is just lots to go into with all of that and just like his handling of the “great spirit” philosophy, Takei neatly sidesteps any deeper thoughts to paint the X-Laws as no better than Hao. Sigh…

Thankfully, while talking about that took up a whole paragraph in this review, it doesn’t play nearly so big a part in this volume and now that Takei’s gotten it out of his system, I’m hoping we won’t see a repeat of this particular shallow philosophy. I do expect to get lots of philosophy-lite as each new group appears though.

This was a good ending place for the month, as a battle is concluded and no other one has started. I’m thinking I’ll try to find a good ending volume each month to conclude on, as long as it doesn’t run over 5 volumes.

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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Return of Faust (Shaman King #13) ★★★★☆ [Manga Monday]

returnoffaust (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: Return of Faust
Series: Shaman King #13
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

This volume starts out with a nearly naked Yoh drifting through a bizarre landscape and eventually entering an ocean. He then wakes up in the Patch village where Silva explains that Yoh had a vision from the Great Spirit. Yoh looks outside and sees a massive column of souls, all of which make up the great spirit. All the contestants who made it through the maze have to face the great spirit and have a vision. If they survive the vision, they move on in the competition. All of Our Gang survives but Lyserg has gone off on his own after seeing “something” that involves Yoh’s father.

Yoh runs into Anna and everyone runs into another shaman named Joco. He reveals that the next step in the competition is a tournament of 3 man teams competing against each other. With Lyserg gone, Our Gang can’t form the requisite 2 teams and Joco wants to join Our Gang.

Joco has done a ton of research and monologues to Our Gang, and us the readers. Hao’s team is being opposed by the X-Laws, but there is another group of Shamans banding together to oppose Hao, a group of Buddhist monks. Each group is being led by a Shaman in the Kami Class. Joco is a terrible punster and has named his spirit ally Mic the Jaguar, ie, Mick Jagger.

Ren takes this time to create his own team of 3 from Our Gang and Horohoro and Joco are the “lucky” ones chosen. Manta goes looking for Yoh and runs into Faust. Faust brings Manta to Yoh and asks to join Team Yoh. Ryu rejects his request out of hand but Anna, as Queen Shaman to be, makes an executive decision and puts Faust in play. Of course, Anna’s choice springs from her desire to open a hot springs in the future and having a shaman doctor indebted to her will be a great attraction for the hot springs.

2 months go by and the 3 man teams are all transported to a deserted island named Tokyo where an Arena style fighting tournament is going to take place. There are 21 teams and they must battle each other in a ladder style order. First up is Team Ren. They are fighting Team Earth, one of Hao’s sub-groups. Team Earth consists of the 2 monk team Boz along with a mysterious masked man. Ren and Horohoro leave Joco to deal with Boz and Joco shows what he’s got.

While Joco easily defeats Boz, that was Tecolote’s plan all along. He uses bones as his medium and begins using the bones of Boz to fight Joco. Joco won’t attack Boz, as another attack will kill them. We then get a flashback into Joco’s past about why he has vowed to never kill. Joco’s parents were killed and he ended up becoming the head of gang. One Christmas he tries to kill someone who turns out to be a shaman and Joco can see his spirit ally. This decides the shaman to take Joco on as his protege, even if Joco doesn’t want it.

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, this volume brought the game back. It did feel like there was a missing volume, since Yoh wakes up in the Patch Village and everyone else is there too but hey, if the manga-ka wants to mess around, that’s his business.

Lyserg’s desertion wasn’t unexpected but he sure was replaced quickly with Joco. I didn’t care for Joco upon his introduction as I hate puns, but once the fighting started, he was solid. I also liked his backstory and introduction to being a shaman.

The further along this series goes, the more and more it adapts the fighting shonen stereotypes. Tournaments inside a ring is such a staple that it is now a cliché. In the anime Yu Yu Hakusho (which I highly recommend if you want fighting shonen out the wazoo) the ring tournament takes up almost half the series and since we’re only on book 13 of 30+ here, I fancy we’ll see about that same ratio. Expect lots of shenanigans and cheating by Team Hao.

The beginning of the book, with the vision of the great spirit being nothing but a collection of the total souls ever in existence or ever to exist, was a cheap knockoff of the philosOphy of nirvana. Not a big fan of that line of thought at all. Obviously the manga-ka is enamoured of the idea though. I expect to see more buddhism-lite ideas to trickle forth over the upcoming volumes.

However, overall, this got me excited again. I’m going to go read the next volume right away!

★★★★☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Wrath of Angels (Shaman King #12) ★★★☆½ [Manga Monday]

wrathofangels (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: Wrath of Angels
Series: Shaman King #12
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 200
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Boris, one of Hao’s minions impersonating a vampire, begins fighting Ryu but starts monologuing about how his ancestor Vlad Tepes was actually a hero and that his reputation was ruined. Boris reveals that his family was being hunted down and it was due to Hao’s intervention that allowed them Shamanic powers. Thus why he’s loyal to Hao. Boris proceeds to kill all the innocent bystanders to pump up his powers with blood and Lyserg, still under his control, puts a sword to Yoh’s throat so he can’t interfere. To prevent the other Shamans in Yoh’s group from ganging up on him, Boris has Lyserg prepare to cut his own throat if they move against Boris.Through the Power of Friendship, Yoh convinces the ghost controlling Lyserg to simply step aside while the 3 other Shamans (Ryu, Ren and Horohoro) begin the battle against Boris.

We get a flashback to Ryu asking Yoh’s grandfather to train him as a shaman. After passing a test of endurance, Ryu is accepted for training.

The battle with Boris continues in the here and now. Ryu expends all his mana and blows Boris into a mountain. When Yoh goes to question Boris about Hao, a mechanical angel appears and stabs Boris to death. It is actually a spirit ally to a shaman who is part of a group called the X-Laws. The X-Laws are a group of Shamans dedicated to defeating Hao, not even bothering with the Shaman Fight. Their methods are brutal and concise. Hao, and anyone assisting him, must die. Each X-Law has an Angel as a spirit ally, a powerful spirit akin to a god of myth.

Two more of Hao’s minions attempt to stop Yoh’s group and the X-Laws as a diversion while a third makes an attack on them. The X-Laws wipe him off the face of the earth. Yoh steps in to prevent any killing. He directly opposes the leader of the X-Laws, who shoots Yoh’s sword and breaks it. The X-Laws walk away and warn Yoh to never go against them again.

Anna, Manta and others land in a helicopter and are immediately confronted by Hao. Hao wants them to succeed though, as that will mean that Yoh will get immeasurably stronger and hence be of greater assistance to Hao in the end.

Yoh and Co head to an underground cave and find out that only one path will lead them to the Patch Village. All other paths will lead to death. They must use their shaman powers to determine the right path.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a very dramatic volume, but I found the X-Laws to be a bit heavy handed and unintentionally hammy in their attitude. A group of adults who command Arch-Angel level spirits are going to be the disciplined kind of people who don’t fly off the handle, but that is exactly what the leader of the X-Laws does here. I mean, it is on purpose by the manga-ka but it jarred me a bit.

The “fight” with Boris was a bit anti-climactic but it helped showcase just how powerful the X-Laws are.

I think I enjoyed the flashback of Ryu beginning his training the most. For whatever reason, I definitely resonate the most with Ryu.

Overall, this was a decent read but there was no breathless thrills like in previous volumes nor was I tempted to rush right into the next volume.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Blood and Pompadours (Shaman King #11) ★★★★☆ (Manga Monday)

bloodandpompadours (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: Blood and Pompadours
Series: Shaman King #11
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Copy

 

 

Synopsis:

Grandpa Asakura is revealing the secrets about Hao Asakura to Anna when they catch Tamao eavesdropping. Turns out the Asakura’s did kill Hao, but he had already developed the power to reincarnate himself. Gramps reveals there is a book of spells that could help Yoh but to release it would also release 2 of Hao’s familiars, ogres of incredible strength. Tamao picks the book up and accidentally breaks the seal. Everyone panics and Gramps is ready to die to defend the girls. Anna simply snatches the book, reads the spells on how to control the demons and controls them. A truly worthy woman to be by the side of the Shaman King. Anna and Tamao take off to deliver the book of spells to Yoh.

Our Gang reaches the base of a mountain and Horohoro wants to go snowboarding. The rest of the gang go on ahead to the next town and wait for him. His spirit ally gets jealous and leaves him and Horohoro has an accident and wakes up in a Park Ranger’s cabin 3 days later with 2 broken legs and Kororo still missing. The park ranger is protecting a wounded bear and Horohoro goes and convinces it to leave and hide in the deep wilderness. Then some redneck hunters kill the bear while it’s standing right next to him. He confronts them but ultimately doesn’t kill them as that would put him on their level. It does reunite him with Kororo though.

Our Gang reunites and head to the former Patch village. There they find a mysterious passage guarded by a group of other Shamans. They also happen to be minions of Hao. Hao has left them strict orders to stay away from Yoh but to kill all his friends so as to prepare him for future use by Hao.

Lyserg is attacked first and attacked by Dracula no less. However, Dracula’s first name is Boris. Dracula kills one of his own comrades when Our Gang starts laughing at him for not looking like Dracule and pointing out the other guy who does. Ol’ Drac then sucks the dead guy to ashes and Lyserg starts feeling the effect of the vampire’s bite.

Ryu steps forward to do battle and his pompadour magically grows back. An epic fight looks to be brewing between Dracula and the baddest street thug in Tokyo. Yeah!

The story then cuts away to the Patch tribe, who are somehow watching everything going on. Goldva, chief of the Patch appears to be operating under orders from Hao and the rest of the younger Patch are getting restless with how Goldva is manipulating things.

The volume wraps up with Lyserg jumping on Yoh to prevent him from helping Ryu, the rest of Hao’s minions revealing that they are guarding the entrance to the Patch Village and Ryu figuring out that Boris isn’t a real vampire, just a human using his oversoul to mimic one. The book ends with Ryu preparing to put the smackdown on Boris.

 

My Thoughts:

Phrack yes!!!!!! This is the awesomeness I want and expect in a Shonen manga. Ryu is awesome and I’m glad he got to show some of his stuff. He doesn’t even use his sword yet, just beats the crap out of Boris with his hands and feet. I suspect the next volume will be all about him using his techniques.

The revelations about Hao put paid to my ideas that the Patch were soft on him. He’s able to reincarnate at will, so what is death to him? Man, the threat he represents just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I don’t know what his end will be but I hope it is full of pain and suffering before being snuffed out of existence. Of course, with Yoh’s attitude, they’ll probably all become best friends and eat icecream together or something.

Glad to see Manta and Anna coming to America. I like when the WHOLE gang is altogether. Even that wretchedly stupid Tamao.

Now that the side characters are getting their own side stories (Horohoro’s was kind of pathetic, but whatever) and growing into their own, I think I’m liking Ryu. His pompadour just fascinates me and his heart of gold hidden beneath that punk surface just makes me want to give him a manly fist bump of support.

Keep this up and my goodness, it might come close to Eyeshield 21 levels of enjoyment!

★★★★☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Song of Doom (Shaman King #10) ★★★☆½ (Manga Monday)

songofdoom (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: Song of Doom
Series: Shaman King #10
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Copy

 

 

Synopsis:

Our Gang is on Route 66 but are in the middle of nowhere. Ryu and Tokagero use the Legendary Hitchhiker Thumb move and the group gets an immediate pickup by Farmer Bill. At the next town they begin their exploration for the Patch tribe, only to find out there is no Patch Tribe. The local librarian reads them a small scrap of poetry from an extinct tribe that seems to show the Patch are evil.

The librarian gives them the address of the last surviving Seminoan, a woman named Lilirara. The scene cuts away to her declaiming how the Patch are subverting the Shaman Fight so they can rule themselves. She vows to stop Our Gang so they won’t further the Patch’s aims. She subjects them to the fight the last Seminoans had and Our Gang all have their limbs chopped off,in their minds.

Lilirara shows Our Gang a vision of what happened and it turns out that the Patch were trying to create a Shaman Empire. To be more specific, someone who looked like an adult Hao with his Fire Spirit was trying to forge a Shaman Empire. Our Gang convinces her that they mean to oppose Hao and she tells them what she knows of the Patch village. Once they leave, Hao shows up and kills her. Hao does reveal that he was the evil Patch shaman from 500 years ago and that it was an Asakura who stopped him. Now he wants Yoh to grow strong so that Hao can make Yoh a great servant and thus gain his revenge.

Our Gang meets up with another shaman from England who drops his pants upon meeting them to prove he’s a guy. Yeah…..

His name is Lyserg and Horohoro and Ren attack him on suspicion that he’s an ally of Hao. Lyserg takes them both down quite easily, which is when Yoh gets involved. He warns Lyserg off and prepares to take his friends to the local hospital. Lyserg reveals his backstory of how Hao killed his parents 8 years ago and that he, Lyserg, must gather strong allies to defeat Hao. Lyserg attacks Yoh and Yoh repels the attack with one blow. Lyserg keeps attacking until Yoh destroys his shaman weapon. Yoh then smacks him around to get him to listen to reason. Lyserg joins the team and everybody is hunky dory.

Back in Japan, Yoh’s grandfather has called Anna to the Asakura shrine and unlocked the Forbidden Temple, the Temple of Hao. Turns out, Hao is 1000 years old and the ancestor of the Asakura’s. Gasp, shock, reeling…

 

My Thoughts:

Dang! Hao is proving to be one wicked badass guy. 1000 years old, the creator of the Asakura clan line AND a Patch? I’m looking forward to hearing about how he was defeated 500 years ago.

Horohoro is such a hot head. Attacking Lyserg with no real reason, he definitely earned his beating. Of course, Lyserg isn’t much better, acting so high and mighty. Good beatings for everyone and then they’re all friends. Yep, just another day in the Shonen Manga Lifestyle!

Lilirara’s death wasn’t shown, so either she was killed by Hao or he somehow subsumed her and she’ll come back in a later volume as a bad guy. She did do her part to provide Our Gang with a clue of where to start finding the Patch.

Obviously a lot of things are going on behind the scenes with the Patch and I for one am looking forward to them getting their asses handed to them for not dealing with Hao all those years ago. Exiling someone for crimes only works if you don’t care about the rest of the world. There is only one way to deal with such evil. Death. They should have chopped his head off 500 years ago. Of course, if they did, we wouldn’t have a story, right? Blasted Manga-ka!

At this point in the game, I’m pretty satisfied with how this manga is going. By this time with the Oh My Goddess manga I was just about ready to throw in the towel. I was kind of afraid I’d repeat that here but thankfully, I’m even more ready to keep going than I was after the first volume. Onward and upwards!

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Voyage of the Shaman (Shaman King #9) ★★★☆½ (Manga Monday)

voyageoftheshaman (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: Voyage of the Shaman
Series: Shaman King #9
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Yoh has broken Ren and Jun out from the dungeon their father has imprisoned them in. Ren insists he’s going to confront Yuan again and Yoh decides to go along. They make it back to the hall where they see both Horohoro and Ryu being defeated by one of Yuan’s super corpses. It is revealed to be Sha-wen, the old Master we met in an early volume. Jun appears with a fixed up Bai-Long and Bai-Long takes out his old master Sha-Wen quite easily.

Yuan comes crashing down on his throne and begins lecturing Ren and Jun and attacking everyone. Ryu and Horohoro cut his arms off but it has no effect on Yuan and he puts them back on and proceeds to demolish everybody. Ren finally has enough and everyone starts fighting with their “serious” faces on. Yuan reveals he’s been pulling a Wizard of Oz for years and then Ren’s mother and Grandfather show up. Everyone sits down for a merry family feast. For real. Ren is confirmed as the Tao heir and Yuan gives him some special family sword heirloom. Then everybody high tails it back to Tokyo for the next Shaman Fight.

All the Shamans assemble at an old Military base in Tokyo. Everyone is all chummy when some chump walks up and punches Horohoro through the porch. He introduces himself as Hao and says with absolute confidence that he is the future Shaman King. Hao reveals all the other shamans he’s already subverted and tells Yoh to survive so he can be a good servant once Hao is Shaman King.

The Patch reveals a jumbo jet will be taking everyone to the Patch Village “In America” (say that in your BEST Bandit Keith voice). Hao and his confederates begin talking amongst themselves and it becomes obvious that they have inside information about what is going to happen. Turns out that the “jumbo jet” is just an oversoul of the Patch officiants and they dematerialize at 40,000 ft and 700 miles from the Patch village. The test is to survive the fall and find the Patch village in 3 months.

Our group combines their oversouls to create a last second cushion that allows them to survive the fall. The volume ends with Our Gang now in American but clueless as to where to go.

 

My Thoughts:

The fight with Yuan and everyone else was pretty good. It quickly resolved into the ridiculous and the denouement was Yuan’s wife and father-in-law showing up with a table full of food for everyone. I was grinning like an idiot, because it fit, it really did. Unfortunately, the grandfather then goes on some philosophical spiel about good and evil being the same thing and all that mystical baloney. Have to admit, I wanted to shoot him for that. Let’s see him talk about good and evil while his guts are coming out of his back!

That Hao. Ugh, what a complete creep! He’s so obviously the bad guy that I hate him already. And the fact that he’s got an entourage and knows what is going to happen means underhanded skullduggery. Finally, we get a real badguy we can root against!

I was pretty happy with this volume. A good solid fight and the reveal of the slimey badguy. Oh, Dr Faust the 8th and his spirit Eliza show up at the end of volume falling through the air. A guy in a wheelchair cackling like mad at Our Gang (which is what I’m now going to use for the group we’ve come to know as the good guys) as they flail around at 40,000 ft. How perfect does THAT ridiculous image fit in this manga? It fits just right 😀

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Road to the Tao Stronghold (Shaman King #8) ★★★☆½

roadtothetaostronghold (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 Road to the Tao Stronghold
Series: Shaman King #8
Author: Hiroyuki Takei
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Manga
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Copy

 

Synopsis:

Yoh and Ren conclude their fight to a draw. The Great Spirit declares they both get to advance and Tao joins the group that has coalesced around Yoh. Now that the prelims are over, the real tournament will begin in a month.

Yoh is confronted by BoZ the Rocking Monks, who are acting as lackeys for someone named Hao. Ryu appears and saves Yoh and cuts their hearse in half. Ryu is also a contestant in the Shaman Fight and now a shaman in his own right.

Ren heads home to confront his father. Jun had already done so during Ren’s fight with Yoh and the father Yuan, put her into his dungeons. Ren cuts through his father’s forces only to be crushed by one blow by Yuan and put into the same place as his sister.

Bason, Ren’s spirit cohort, escapes and begs Yoh and Co to come rescue Ren and Jun. Manta arranges transport and the gang all head to the ancestral home of the Tao’s. Horohoro and Ryu tell the others to go on while they take care of Yuan Tao’s special goon squad, a set of 5 suped up dead bodies, each a fusion of human and something else.

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, I felt cheated. While I figured out that Ren and Yoh would end up as friends, the “Great Spirit” declaring the draw as a win for both of them just felt like the manga-ka was taking the easy way out since he couldn’t figure out a way to reconcile Ren’s animosity with the need to make Ren and Yoh friends. Eh, whatever.

I find all the setup in this book pretty impressive. Yuan Tao is dang impressive, both physically (he “accidentally” crushes a panda bear he is petting) and psychically (not even Ren could have created the special hybrid creatures). Of course, it’s all overshadowed by this “Hao” character, whoever he is.

I like the group dynamic. Horoho with his enthusiasm coupled with Ryu’s humorous machismo works perfectly. I am really looking forward to their battle in the next book. Ren is going to make a great backbone to Yoh’s laidback stoner approach to life.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)