Friday, May 13, 2005


Shonen Jump

Aiee! I haven't updated in forever. Not that I haven't been reading comics (or watching movies and tv shows based on comics). I just haven had spotty internet access. Hopefully I'm back now and will be updating, um, at least once a week.
Not that anyone reads this...

Anyway! The main library here just got a ton (and I mean a ton) of Shonen Jump collections. So I've been getting them out and reading them. I alrady buy Naruto from Shonen Jump (it's so good!) and enjoy One Piece whenever I read it, but I was curious about reading larger chunks of some of the other stories in Shonen Jump and some of the comics that go straight to graphic novels.

Bleach vols 1-2
by Tite Kubo
This was pretty cool. I like the art style and the story is told well. It seems really similar to, uhm, Shaman King. Ichigo Kurosaki is a sort of "tough guy with the heart of gold" that you see in manga a lot. However his family also has the abilty to see ghosts. Because he's pretty nice he ends up helping ghosts when he sees them (usually just preventing people from knocking over their graves and stuff). However his family is under attack from a Hollow (an evil spirit) and there's nothing he can do. Who can do something? Rukia Kuchiki, who fights the hollows on behalf of the soul society. Unfortunately she gets injured and tries to give Ichigo some of her power. He gets it all and must replace her and fight the Hollows until she regains her strength. The idea of fighting bad ghosts and helping good ghosts is similar to both Shaman King and Yuyu Hakusho, but I think it's done so much better here. I have only read the first two volumes, but I've got another three to read, so we'll see if it keeps up the quality. It's still not good enough to buy though...

Hikaru no Go vols 1-3
by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata
I wasn't that impressed by this the first time I read some of it in Shonen Jump, however reading the individual trades I've become addicted to it. I want to read number four! Hikaru Shindo finds an old go board in his grandfather's attic and sees blood stains on it that nobody else can. He then becomes possessed by a ghost who loves to play go. However Hikaru doesn't care about go at all, which makes the ghost incredibly sad and causing Hikaru to vomit. To prevent himself from vomiting Hikaru has to play go to appease the ghost. Starting from the begining is a lot better in this comic, Hikaru has no idea about go and neither do I, so we're both learning the rules as we go along. I can see why this comic made go incredibly popular amongst kids in Japan again. I think this reads a lot better in larger chunks like this too. However, like Bleach, I do want to keep reading it, but don't really want to keep paying for it. Hopefully the library will get more in as it comes out.

One Piece vols 3-4, 6
by Eiichiro Oda
One Piece was probably my second favourite out of all the Shonen Jump manga in the first four issues that I read. Monkey D. Luffy has a goal to become the best pirate ever, but to do that he needs a crew. One Piece is pretty silly and has Luffy running around and being an idiot ("How was I supposed to know which way North was?!") but accomplishing his goals in the end. The comic is really sort of strange though, as the "bad guy" pirates are all shown as evil and blood thirsty and so forth, clearly the villains, but Luffy, who aspires to be the greatest pirate ever, is really nice and good. I guess Luffy just wants to find buried treasure, but it still seems kind of odd. The often ridiculous character designs (characters dressed up as cats for no real reason, a guy who walks backwards all the time) and powers (stretching! splitting into parts!) only add to the appeal of this series. However I didn't think it was good enough to buy the volumes as they came out. These volumes just added to that. It's good (better then all the Shonen Jump stuff I've read other then Naruto), but not good enough. If only it was cheaper.

Saint Seiya / Knights of the Zodiac vol 1
by Masami Kurumada
This was, um, okay. I remember I saw part of the animated version on tv once and was very amused that the themesong was "I ran" (I ran so far away, I ran all night and day, I couldn't get away) as covered by... Bowling for Soup or something. The art is incredibly 80s and the plot doens't really make much sense. Why does this armour exist? What's going on? How on Earth does this comic go on for like twenty something volumes? I'm sort of curious as to where the story is going, but not enough to even bother reading the comics. I just sort of want to read plot synopsises of each volume.

Shaman King vols 1-3
by Hiroyuki Takei
I quite liked this when I first read it, but reading these three volumes in row made me lose interest. The quest to become the best shaman in the world and be able to follow communicate with spirits (like Buddha and Jesus!) is pretty interesting and the art style is awesome. But! The comic seems to degenerate quickly into a "gotta have the all" type thing of catching spirits, which I don't find that interesting. There are some cool characters (a samuraii, a Chinese warlord, a Hong Kong action movie star who mysterious died at 30 and was then reanimated to be a zombe fighter), but the way the story is told doesn't interest me that much. The comic has a gap of six months (I think), where the main character goes off and trains, but doesn't show any of the training. I'd much rather see the training then more random fights and stuff. I won't be reading any more of this.

The Prince of Tennis vol 1
by Takeshi Konomi
Wow, this was bad. It's really popular, and has at least one imitator (The Prince of Bowling), but I just didn't care. While most Shonen Jump comics are about some kid trying to become the best something (pirate, ninja, shaman, fighter, go player, whatever) in the world this one is slightly different. The main character is already the best player around. He's only twelve or something, but everytime he plays he just crushes whoever he's playing. I just don't find it that interesting. Add to this the fact that he barely even seems to be the main character (he doesn't really speak much, we dont' reallly know anything about him and he's usually shown as not that nice ) and the lousy storytelling (there are times when it seems like a page or a panel was skipped, making it hard to follow what's going on) mean I don't care what happens next.

I think that's all the ones I read recently. I avoided Yuyu Hakusho (didn't really care for it based on what I've read so far) and they didn't have vol 1 of Rurouni Kenshin, but I'll check that one out later.

There's still some Shonen Jump comics I want to check out (Mar for instance), but I wish they'd fix they're Canadian prices. They were pretty good for a while ($7.95us -> $10.95can), but now they've gone back up to $11.95. Argh! They should only be like $10! They're fun, but they read so quickly that $12 is too much. Stupid grumble grumble.

Soon! Reviews of the free comic book day comics. Or tune in today (Friday) from 4-5pm nst to hear me talk about them.

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