Nikki's Corner (sennetari) wrote,
Nikki's Corner

Killer note, silver balls, all in all, not amount to much.

Once upon a time, there was a sweet-toothed samurai with silver hair.
One day, he helped a teenager and the kid followed him around.
Another day, he helped another teenager and the kid followed him around.
Together, the three took up doing odd jobs that pay their bills (and the samurai's sweets).
Occasionally, they became heroes.
But more often than not, they were lazing around (and maybe dodging their landlord).

The three met (and sometimes helped) all sort of strange, colorful individuals.
Like the samurai's old friends: the terrorist, the destroyer, the merchant.
Or the warped Shinsengumi: the gorilla commander, the mayo vice-commander, the sadist captain, the badminton spy guy.
Or the out of job government agent.
Or the idol singer (and her family).
Or the homeless man.
Or their landlord's family: the old crone, the cat thief, the maid robot.
Or the alien next door.
Or the huge alien dog.
etc. etc. etc.

Smile, smile, smile.
No use for tears.
Smile, smile, smile.
If smiling is not a choice, make it one.

Not really a review, but just some of my impressions of the volumes of manga I picked up this week. Assume spoilers on all these, though sometimes I'm scarce on the details.

Death Note V 12 (Final Volume):
Mah, I kind of knew how the main event would go down, but the details were disappointing. (Or perhaps I just find all the 'I know you know what I know but you don't know I know what you don't know' exchanges which take up almost half the volume annoying (and confusing, but maybe that's just me).) And N remained unlikable up until the end (hopefully I'm not the only one who is such a non-fan).

So I don't care that the finale is predictable (in fact, I need several key points I guess to come true, otherwise I would feel like throwing the book at the wall). I care that the execution (literally in this case) leaves a lot to be desired. So I don't know if I can really finish the anime at this point (I stopped at the part I felt starting to go down hill) since I'll be dreading the finale in the anime, assuming that the anime has the same finale as the manga (and already knowing the finale colors how I view the characters now). I think I might want to go with the live-action movies, but I keep hearing complaints about the ending there, so.

Gintama V 36
Honestly, this has to be my least favorite Gintama volume to date. But since this is Gintama, I powered through anyway. (I'll take a so-so volume of Gintama over many other series.) So take it as a warning that most of the comments are not positive.

The first two chapters serve as sort of wrap-up to the four Deva arc and you know (or maybe you don't) that I am not a fan of either Takasugi or Kamui. Only thing I like is the Amanto commander getting what he deserves. The next chapter...well...hmm...has a reference I'm not familiar with (about a cell phone company and its presenter, I think). And then there is something in this chapter that sounds suspiciously like "final" special attack...(I could be wrong, but why does it feel like this Gintama chapter was published before the first mention of FGT "that" final special attack... On another thought, I don't have the Japanese version, so maybe it's something completely different and I only think it's a reference because this whole chapter already has a few references to the detergent** series). Though not by much, I prefer the previous poorman Zangetsu Lake Toya (Gin-san's wooden sword, in case anyone is like 'Lake Toya who'?) chapter, even with all the soap opera drama in his family. The next one...I'm never a fan of Kondo stalking Otae, nor he being a butt of everything, from friends and strangers alike. (It's the repetitiveness of those actions that I don't care for, not that I don't think Kondo doesn't deserve some of them.) The next two pick on Gin-san, you remain my enemy, no manner monkey with too long name. As for the next two chapters, I really don't know what to say about them. I did feel better about this mini-arc after a second read through, but I just couldn't believe my eyes the first time around. Oh well, thank you, Sunrise, for your sensitivity in not airing the anime episode at this time. The last from this volume is the first chapter (of several) about Sa-chan breaking into Gin-san's house (nothing new there) and breaking her glasses (first time it happens), (not?) dealing with unnamed assassins and (not) dealing with her unrequited feelings for the glasses Gin-san bought for her (I am not making this part up).

Oh well. I'm not too happy that my enjoyment of this volume is mostly derived from reading author's notes. Although it's nice to be able to hold the actual physical book in my hand.

Manga lessons from this volume and their anime equivalences:

I'm going from memory, so if, in some instance, my information is incorrect and you know it, feel free to point it out.

Lessons 310, 311 = Episode 215
Lesson 312 = No anime yet (I want to see it animated, if only just to hear the cell phone ringtone and Katsura-san trying to sing that (supposedly) cute ringtone).
Lesson 313 = Second half of episode 205 (first is Anpanzaki)
Lessons 314, 315 = Episodes 221, 222 (with added fillers)
Lessons 316, 317 = Episode made but apparently Sunrise delays airing it or might omit it completely. ETA: Episode 231 (air date: 24 October 2011). More ETA on 24/10: It's not painful to watch, at least.
Lesson 318 = About two-third of episode 207.

Natsume Yuujincho V 7
Well, after the two series above, I'm glad at least Natsume (the character) is being good old Natsume. But I have to admit I've read better volumes of this series. Sorry, Matoba is not doing anything for me. I'm not even sure what purpose he serves. If it is to show that there are people who are willing to abuse their youkai, that was already accomplished sometime back (when we first saw this Nanase person), and better, imho. Putting name and face to random one-eyed long haired guy wouldn't make me interested. Really, even with the last scene, I don't get a feeling that Matoba will ever want anything with Natsume if Natsume doesn't conveniently deliver himself to Matoba on a platter (the way he did in this arc). With that said, this is most likely not the last I'll see of Matoba, because otherwise the hype around his character makes no sense to me. But maybe he'll redeem himself to me if he did appear again... Natori's presence is a welcomed non-surprise here, however. (And me like his voice in anime, so there.) Nyanko-sensei is also pretty cool in this arc (I don't think he wants to eat Natsume anymore).

The special story is cute. It's a lonely childhood for Natsume due to his ability to see youkai, but I didn't know the extent he was alienated. He never even played the game he suggested when the youkai asked him which games human children play. I'm glad he was able to have fun here, even if just with youkai. Story-wise he has some human friends now, so it's not like the time he was young.

The last story is a short story not related to Natsume. Though it also deals with a kid with a special ability which leads to him being shunned. He doesn't seem to resent his ability as much as Natsume used to resent his, however. It's an enjoyable enough read, though the ending seems too open-ended. I'm cutting the manga-ka some slacks, however, since she openly admits that it is one of her earlier works.

Oh, I love 'find something wrong with the drawing of Nyanko-sensei' segment. As the name says, there is a Nyanko-sensei drawn with a few different details from the real Nyanko-sensei. I caught two out of four spots the drawing differs from the real one. Oh well. I've never been a great observer to begin with...

Bakuman V 1
In a nutshell, this is a manga about two teenagers writing manga to sell to Shueisha (JUMP, specifically) since they were aiming to get their manga animated. I'm actually not sure if this series is supposed to be a true (but somewhat dramatized) representation of the inner working of manga world (or at least JUMP, since it's the magazine Bakuman runs in), or is more of a light-hearted piece poking fun, since it has no shame referencing fellow JUMP series (Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach, along with Gintama. While on one hand I'm happy that Gintama is famous enough to be mentioned, I'm not sure if it should be taken as a compliment that the series is grouped together with the big three--I feel like Gintama is in a class of its own).

But do I like it? Well, can't exactly say that I'm not familiar with the creators' style since I've already read their previous collaboration (points up to Death Note), but this series is different. In fact, if I hadn't previously known about it, I wouldn't have guessed the same people were behind this series at the first glance (probably not until one of the main chara mentions a death note). The first book hooked me, but not as much as Death Note's first volume did (though that didn't mean much--just look at how well that turned out).

Yeah, I know I haven't really answered my own question, but only because I think my feelings are kind of shaky. It's an enjoyable enough series based on this first volume (the two leads complement each other well, imho), but I don't know if it will keep its freshness (well, fresh as in no one has done a stab at manga industry before that I'm aware of). And the information-dumping is rather painful to go through (though it's less painful than Death Note's 'I'm better than you' wall of text mind game). Perhaps I'll check out the anime adaptation since it might help lessen the pain of info-dumping, though it doesn't really seem to have any voice actor I know in it (wait, on a second glance, there is Kamui's as one of the main chara)... (Despite this, VA is not my first consideration when deciding to watch anime. I still am going to watch what I plan to. If I'm lucky enough to find someone I recognize, it's a bonus.)

Hmm...disjointed entry is disjointed. (And poor Natsume Yuujincho, being the only Shoujo series in the sea of Shounen JUMP series.) I wasn't sure if I should tag the series that only get referenced by other series. In the end, I decide to tag anyway, since they are mentioned by names (and if not, close enough that they couldn't be mistaken for any other series). And who knows, maybe fans of those referenced series might decide to check out Gintama or Bakuman if they haven't already.

(I'm still fond of Gintama, even if the volume I happen to write about doesn't reflect my feeling well. Well, as far along into the series as I am, I'll forgive an occasional volume that might not be up to my lofty standard. And since I prefer to understand references, I kind of owe it to Gintama for making me a bit more well-read (if only on manga and not on real life practical knowledge). Bakuman, ah, I don't know enough to recommend it, and so far it just references other series directly by names (and not building a whole chapter parodying a certain detergent** series like Gintama did). Someone else might be bored by the time they reach half of volume one for all I know (and unlike Gintama, Bakuman's (and actually Death Note's) female characters are not exactly strong point of the series) but at least you are aware of its existence now if you hadn't before.)

**That's what I saw in one Gintama fanfic so I just went with it. (Still, 'bleach' seems more like a process to lighten the color, I think.)
Tags: anime, manga, series: bakuman, series: bleach, series: death note, series: gintama, series: naruto, series: natsume yuujincho, series: one piece
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