Naruto News

Naruto is a franchise comprised of 19 movies, 4 anime series, 8 manga series
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When I first saw The Last Airbender, starting out of sequence, from Earth, probably the episode of the Face Stealer, I was immediately taken in. The characters, the cliffhangers, the weird animals and the world building. The movements were all martial-artsy. But most of all, the style of animation was what gets to you. Isn't that what it's known for, after all? An American cartoon drawn in the Japanese style? Naruto was blamed for "the death of Toonami" and hugely unpopular, while Avatar: The Last Airbender is acclaimed as the best animated series in decades. But they have so many similarities and I'm wondering if they have some connection. And this connection if it exists, would be one of lightning, orange jumpsuits and scarred faces.

The 5th element

I think the most notable similarity in the 2 cartoons is the use of elements to delare the different peoples and political systems of their worlds. However, how common would it be to use the law of elements? I might as well compare Avatar to Pokemon by that logic. But the thing here is that they both use elements to desribe politics. Yet, they're not exactly the same. Naruto was FROM the Konoha, a village in the land of Fire, while Aang fought AGAINST the Fire Nation. In Avatar, there were cultural differences between the peoples, (such as Fire Nation gathering under the banner of it's Lord and striving to take everyone over, Earth Kingdom presumably being stable and economically well off, under it's King or emperor, the Water Tribe forming it's familly bonds and Air Nomads wandering, living in temples and dying,) while all the sects in Naruto pretty much had the same political system, except for their use of resources and economy.

Apart from the traditional 4 elements of Water, Wind/Air, Fire and Earth, Naruto recognizes a 5th, that of lightning. Now, the Chinese Zodiacs recognize different metals and wood as elements, but lightning (although used in other places) is not one of the regular elements, and is used by Kakashi and Sasuke for the speial move Chidori. Avatar too recognizes this element, a little later in the show, I think by the last episode of the first season, first used by Azula. As explained by Zuko's uncle Iro, it's "refined fire", and not a separate element, but they're both present together.

Another thing about elements that they both use, is sand. Gaara of the Sand village, and later it's Kazekage, could manipulate sand, and was a huge deal. But his attribute is wind, and would be equivalent to what is an "air bender" in Avatar. Sand is light and easily lifted by the air, and how would you recognize winds, essentially energy, if not for particle matter? You may remember in one of the episodes of Earth, Aang finds a library in the desert, and Abu the Air Buffalo gets kidnapped. The people who kidnap Abu are sand benders and where lothes not too different from Gaara's buddies, but they both also reflect actual clothing used by actual sand people.

Characters

The two main characters both wear orange, Aang a little more so than at least what Naruto wears in Shippuden. They both have insignia on their forehead representing where they come from. In Aang's case, he's the last of the Air Nomads and is therefore unique, and also the only person with an arrow tattoo on his head. Everyone in Naruto has a headband. But both the arrow and the spiral "leaf" serve the same purpose. One character has hair and the other one is bald. Speaking of the arrow tattoo, which lights up when Aang goes into the "Avatar state", Naruto reaches a "Sage Mode" that's close to it, but way later.

Both of them have the orange colour in common with Goku from Dragonball. In fact, Aang's stick makes him more of a Goku than a Naruto, (and Naruto's Super Saiyan hair makes him a Goku) They also share other character stereotypes or "stock characters" with DB. Both Naruto and Aang surround themselves with a group. Now you can't compare Sokka to Sasuke, exept for their names, beause one's a badass and the other is a joke, but Sakura and Katara may have something in common. But all anime have certain recurring characters. A promiscuous monk, like Miroku. The funny old man who turns out to be the strongest of them all, (Roshi, Iro, Jiraiya) a friendly girl sidekick who is the first to discover the main character (Bulma, Sakura, Katara) and is a healer, but that comes from sword and sorery too. There's also the strong rival, (Sasuke, Azula/Zuko) who is not always the same in DB, though Yamcha, Kuririn, Tien and Picollo Jr have all played that type of thing, and Vegeta even more so, for longer. Vegeta may have lent that haircut to Sasuke.

But, the Sasuke/Azula/Zuko comparison is a little stronger than mere rivals. Zuko's eye, what's the deal with that? It's just one damaged eye, with a story behind it, a FAMILY HISTORY, and it's comparable to two people in Naruto. Kakashi, the one eyed ninja also carries Sasuke's family trait, the "Sharin gan" in one eye, his damaged eye. Sasuke has it in both. Kakashi and Sasuke are teacher and student, and Kakashi passes on his Chidori to Sasuke, which is lightning, like what Azula uses. Zuko himself had a mentor for most of the story, his uncle Iro, who helps Zuko with his lightning. Groups in Naruto work in 4s, until Naruto's team loses Sasuke, while Aang starts with 3, until Toph, the blind badass, makes a fourth.

Other than appearance, the core of the title characters have something in common too. Naruto is the self titled "number one, knucklehead, hyperactive" ninja, the one who always barks first, driven by emotion and loyalty, and optimism. Although Aang is over a 100 years old, he too is a kid at heart. When Aang starts out on his journey, he likes to try stunts in the air, play with balls made of air and he sets up his route so he can travel to exotic places.

Line of succession

Both the Avatar and the Kages, be it Hokage, Kazekage or Raikage, are lines of succession. Naruto aims to be a Hokage, his father is a Hokage and he befriends Konohamaru, grandson of the Third Hokage (who he also annoys the heck out of). In his spirit state, Avatar Aang could speak with the old Hoka- pardon me, Avatars. Jiraiya teaches Naruto something about the same, and writes a book of encrypted secrets, which may have been passed on to Naruto.

Volcano scene (non-Naruto related)

In Dragon Ball, there's an episode where the "Z warriors", the B- listers of the team, Yamcha, Kuririn, Tien and Chiaotzu have to save a village from a lava flow. How they did it without any powers, I cannot remember. You can see the same thing in Avatar, except it's all of them, Aang, Katara and Sokka, maybe Toph. 3 benders and a non-bender, but Sokka definitely plays a central role here. Come to think of it, Aang kinda looks like Kuririn. A LOT actually.

But how do we judge this? Dragon Ball and even Thundercats had obvious references to Superman. The cover of Death of (Ultimate) Peter Parker mirrored Death of Superman, in homage. The Fantastic Four are based on the elements, and Superman may look like Jesus. So can any work of fiction then be completely free of influences by other sources? but how far should something be allowed to copy off another?

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So here we are 2014, not just another new year, but the final 12 months of Naruto, or so Kishimoto says; this wouldn’t the first time a manga ran a year or two beyond its expiry date.

The end of Naruto leaves me with a disturbed feeling; all series come to an end, and Naruto can only ran on for so long before entering Dragon Ball Z territory, yet i cannot deny that its exit will leave a massive hole in my Anime and Manga world.

Yes, i have been following Naruto for that long, since the very beginning of my life as an Otaku; this will be nothing less than the end of an era in the otaku realm. Besides merely re-confirming what we already knew, several elements struck me about Kishimoto’s 2014 interview, particularly two in fact, which i thought i would make a comment about.

--First, Kishimoto- he comes off as a rather interesting character, more humble than i presumed; i don’t think i have ever given Kishimoto the person much thought, but i always imagined the life of a mangaka as no different from that of a Hollywood super star.

Part of me expected to see his and those names of more famous mangaka littering architecture of major cities where i to ever visit Japan, thousands whispering his name as he made his regular rounds to the store.

Sections of this interview however present Kishimoto’s life as a relatively simple one, quiet; which makes sense i guess, because as a mangaka, you are likely to spend more time drawing than partying.

But then again Kishimoto did admit to spending 36 hours of his week drawing, little more than 3 days, which allows him four days of downtime; subtract one or two days for idea generation and story structuring, and you still have a few days of down time each week.

Two days that probably find Kishimoto holed away in his house, if he is indeed so isolated as to, as he says, not realise just how popular his manga is; its an interesting admission, because on the one hand it shows that Kishimoto should take a leaf out of Kubo’s book and do a little travelling, engage with his fans in the different manga and comic conventions out there; something he clearly does not do, not often anyway.

But maybe it’s a matter of a humble outlook on life; or, more than that, simple dedication to his craft, drawing his manga not for the fame or money but for the satisfaction of creating something of considerable brilliance; it makes sense he would struggle with the itch to draw even on his off days.

And that probably goes to the advice he gave about dedication and success in the manga business; because unless you’re ready to give 200% to your art, success is likely to remain ever elusive. Here’s to hoping that, for his honey moon, Kishimoto chooses a location close by, because that is one individual i would be interested in meeting.

Because even after all those interviews, i still cannot envision him as a person; despite having seen numerous pictures, as i am reading his voice in his numerous interviews, it is always that character, Ando from heroes, that jumps to my head. Strange. Anyway.

--Secondly Naruto- something in this interview struck me, the comment Kishimoto made about his editors, that got me wondering if we as fans are always a little too quick to jump down the throats of Mangaka for shoddy manga chapters.

Because we know (or so Bakuman tells me) that the editor, especially of a powerful brand like Shonen Jump, will wield some power with regards to the content produced by the mangaka on a weekly or monthly basis.

I mean, would it be too irrational to consider the possibility that editors do contribute to bad chapters and plot lines as well as good ones? One needs to ask just how much power the editor has in commanding his charge to kill off a character, save another, turn a two chapter shinobi battle into a ten chapter brawl between super powered beings.

It’s an interesting consideration in a field as competitive as manga-and as a Fairy tail fan with a lot of complaints to launch at Hiro, i have to wonder how much control Mashima-sensei has over who lives and dies.

I have to wonder what Kishimoto might have been referring to when he made that remark about remembering to reference upon ideas at an earlier stage before expanding upon them in the future. Can’t say i have come across any concepts in the series whose introductions i found to be unsatisfactory in terms of pacing and explanations.

I really can’t say that i care about seeing Kakashi’s face and would prefer it remained a mystery.

-With March approaching fast, the year is still fairly young; which means there are many more months of Naruto still to come, more months for me to locate a worthy replacement for his juggernaut of a series.

As Naruto fans all we can do is cross out fingers and hope that Kishimoto gives us one heck of a finale, worthy of the legacy of Naruto; i was struck by Kishimoto’s words about the end that he would finish the series conclusively; clearly he has no intention of leaving Shonen Jump or anyone else with room to expand the series into Dragon Ball GT style chaos.

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A few weeks ago i might have been able to make a pretty strong argument about the central importance of a story to a manga over any aesthetic elements; in other words the art matters little so long as the story and characters are awesome.

Then i tried to read Attack on Titan, just out of curiosity, and dumped it two chapters in. That is how bad this manga is; not average, not passable, but down right terrible. Truth be told if not for the anime, i don’t think 90% of otaku raving about Shingeki no Kyojin would have ever known of its existence.

And unless they intend on proceeding with the series in the anime, i don’t think i will bother following its progress in the manga. That’s how bad it is. Seriously though, why the hell is SNK monthly in the first place; because by the time i am willing to wait four weeks for a manga chapter, its because i know great effort is being placed into creating some breath taking art works. What’s SNK’s excuse?

What’s that got to do with anything? Well, for one thing i am forced to admit that art is indeed a crucial element of great manga. More importantly that is what this blog post is about, looking at the Manga and Manhwa that i thought were most aesthetically pleasing to read in 2013.

Now i suppose this least will be somewhat restricted as it only takes into account what we have read, which largely consists of shonen/seinen action series; yet i believe those are the best kinds of manga and manhwa through which to judge one’s artistic abilities.

Anyone-maybe not anyone-can produce beautifully drawn manga about high school kids struggling with daily life in a slice of life genre; it’s a totally different ball game trying to depict great gods partaking in epic battles.

Anyway, the top ten best drawn manga of the year as i saw them are as such:

1. VINLAND SAGA (MAKOTO YUKIMURA)-

Vinland saga is a masterpiece in so many ways, not only in its story telling but the art, the series containing the most vivid images i came across in all the manga i read in 2013.

Most manga try to tell stories; not all of them can do so purely through art as Vinland saga will do, the facial expressions of its characters considerably unique, the environment rich and dynamic, each scene infused with the sort of violent life that the Vinland saga story tells.

I like reading manga and being able to recognise characters even without their favorite sword clanking behind them or that special scarf they always wear; and Vinland saga is surprisingly good at creating characters that are distinct not only mentally but physically.

One would think that a series like Feng Shen Ji would automatically top a list like this; and while it is indeed more beautiful than Vinland saga, it fails to achieve the life and mobility of this series.

Vinland saga is without a doubt the most impressively drawn manga of 2013. No competition in fact, at least as far as i am concerned.

2. THE BREAKER: NEW WAVES (PARK JIN-HWAN)-

Noblesse should have taken this spot, if i wasn’t being objective. Yet if i am to consider all matters at hand, it is difficult to deny just what this manga does without the advantage of color that Noblesse has.

If we are looking at this topic purely from the angle of action, Breaker is only challenged by Vinland saga. The fact is the action in Vinland saga is so beautifully drawn its scary.

Yet placing it aside nothing comes close to the madness of breaker, which not only presents to the readers amazingly sharp backgrounds, but makes the bone breaking, flesh tearing moves in the series so vivid they seem to pop off the page.

Truth is Breaker will rise even a step further than Vinland, if only considering how explosive the series’ battles can be, the way each fist seems to tear out of its panel, each explosion so….explosive. Basically what Breaker has mastered is the art of creating IMPACT in its fights, without sacrificing the detail of its characters and their surroundings.

3. NOBLESSE (LEE GWANG-SU)-

I won’t deny it, i am a little crazy about Noblesse, have been for the past three or four months since i began reading it; yet i can’t say i hype it for no reason, as Noblesse has some of the best art i have ever seen, largely because of how eye popping the colors are with regards to the action scenes and the amazing abilities displayed.

Noblesse does what makes Manga and Manhwa so great, allowing one scene to flow into another so organically, each strike, dive, swipe sinuous as to seem real, always easy to follow and to marvel at.

And that doesn’t take into account just how amazing the unique capabilities displayed in the Manhwa look, the richness of the blood and the glowing eyes of the nobles as they so elegantly do their thing. Noblesse is a must read if only to marvel at its artistic successes.

4. THE GOD OF HIGH SCHOOL (PARK YONG-JE)-

This was probably the first Manhwa to blow me away-well, maybe the second after Veritas which i read years earlier. Really looking specifically at the action scenes, specifically the martial arts, GOH is only inches behind Breaker in the masterful way it presents its art.

Looking at both series it is difficult to determine which is the superior work; because as amazing as Breaker is in displaying impact in its fights, it is nowhere near as inventive as GOH is in allowing us a glimpse into the intricacies of Martial arts.

And maybe that could be described as the crux of GOH’s success, its ability to base its story around real martial arts techniques and methods-The breaker taking a more mythical theme- which should prove difficult to adapt, bringing complex martial arts forms to the page.

GOH however benefits from the inventiveness of its author, the means through which he displays each move and strike, or really a sequence of moves so fast as to fuse into one, like nothing i have seen anyway.

Truly GOH is inspired artistically; admittedly in terms of color its rather simplistic, the detail within the images nothing to gasp over, certainly not within Noblesse’s league. Its backgrounds and even martial arts scenes aren’t nearly as vivid as those of Breaker or Vinland saga, but that doesn’t take anything away from this amazing series.

5. NARUTO (MASASHI KISHIMOTO)-

Since i have made it abundantly clear what i think about Naruto-basically my favorite series of all time, without a doubt- this might seem a bit biased; except its difficult to deny the true skill that Kishimoto possesses in displaying some of the most amazing yet most complex structures of battle in manga-and the fact that i didn’t place this at number 1 proves that i am being objective.

2013 has been Kishimoto’s year to really bring forth the grandness and epicness of the naruto universe, the images that much sharper and the message that much easier to translate, making for an absolutely brilliant story.

6. FENG SHEN JI (TANG CHI FAI)-

It seems a little crazy, placing a Manhwa like Feng Shen Ji so low on this list. If you haven’t read Feng Shen Ji, trust me when i say you will be hard pressed to find a manga so beautifully drawn. Even i couldn’t ignore it, despite my reservations over its execution.

Sure the Manhwa is AMAZING aesthetically. However its also a little stiff for my taste; also arranged a lot like a western comic book, with speech bubbles crisscrossing all over the place. And as such the panels simply do not flow as they would normally do in any given manga or Manhwa.

Basically i am not entirely impressed with the structure, and the battle scenes are simply too immobile for my tastes. Yet that doesn’t take away from how alluring the series is to read, how beautiful the colors are blended to make some impressive landscapes, the uniquely designed characters, the attractive attacks and impressive looking techniques, many of them so epic and so grand in scale yet so powerfully presented.

Simply put Feng Shen Ji is the best drawn series i have ever read-well, Vinland saga would probably be superior if its was colored. It simply suffers in several places in the static manner of its execution and story telling.

7. SUN KEN ROCK (MUJIK PARK AKA BOICHI)-

There isn’t much i can say about Sun ken Rock, mostly because it isn’t the most intriguing story i have ever read. As with most Manhwa i have read-precluding two or three titles- its overly simplistic, be it dialogue or narration, in a manner than just turns me away.

Yet i cannot deny how brilliantly drawn this Manhwa is, the shading so masterfully applied as to perfectly translate to page the brutality of the story; i specifically appreciate the presentation of the characters, the uniqueness and ‘heftiness’ of their features.

I don’t know if i would recommend Sun Ken Rock as a story, but its art is certainly something to gawk at.

8. DEADMAN WONDERLAND (KONDOU KAZUMA)-

It really irritated me that just as i began to read this manga-having just given up on the return of the anime adaptation-it suddenly ended. Though maybe it wasn’t that sudden, considering how events were progressing.

Deadman wonderland has always been rather aesthetically pleasing and 2013 was no different, this manga bringing to life the rather violent world of the deadman wonderland theme park with clean, sharp and pleasing images.

It wasn’t just the impressively presented surroundings that did it for me this year, as they were being torn apart, but the expressive nature of each character’s face, the bloody format of each unique power and ability so convincingly presented even without the luxury of color. A tragic story so vividly constructed.

9. ONE PUNCH MAN (MURATA YUUSUKE)-

Any first time reader of one punch man will quickly dismiss it for its rather tame look; and they would be right, because One punch man would be number two on this list if it could only be a little more consistent.

But i don’t think this is a failing on the author’s part, merely his choice with regards to the level of effort he chooses to apply to each chapter. Because when he determines to let loose, to truly show to use what he can do, One punch man becomes amazing.

And most of the time it’s quite good; because if you pay close enough attention, you will realize just how detailed and impressive some very basic and tame looking scenes really are.

But the best parts of One punch man, like that 20 page chapter that was nothing more than 1 second of a battle between two combatants, the initial strikes unleashed by either side; those portions of the manga make you want to scream, at the unnaturally realistic looking yet uncolored images, at the fluidity of the events playing out in each panel, the vividness of each character, explosion, beam of light…

Some sequences in one punch man are so skilfully drawn they are basically only awaiting animation to begin moving.

10. AREA D (YANG KYUNG-IL)-

I don’t know if i have said it before, but i am not a fan of Area D. It’s been a while since i actually read it, since August 2013 or somewhere along those lines; so maybe it might have undergone a few changes.

But last time i read it, the story didn’t impress me, in fact seeming somewhat too rushed for my tastes. That doesn’t change the fact that the author knows what he’s doing when he draws his characters and the impressive presentation of their generic yet uniquely displayed abilities.

Area D is indeed worth reading if only to admire how sharp and attractively the story is displayed, if a little lacking in detail and over all presentation.

WORTHY MENTIONS:

--WITCH HUNTER (CHO JUNG-MAN)-

I have said it before, that Witch Hunter, kind of like GOH actually, sets its self apart not through the clarity and sharpness but uniqueness of its art; each character is designed, expressed, curved, in way i haven’t really seen anywhere else, and this always translates into some amazing action scenes, always sinuous and gorgeously presented.

--TERRA FORMARS (TACHIBANA KENICHI)-

Terra formers is in the same category as Feng Shen Ji, another series so brilliantly drawn it should stand at the very top of this list; yet the way the story is translated by the art is somewhat…lacking. I find myself incapable of being impressed by what i have seen.

Then again i only read five chapters of the series before i dropped. Truth be told this is rather subjective opinion. I will say that that artistically, Terra Formars is what i thought the Attack on Titan manga would look like.

I think its the great art that makes this manga so bloody disturbing in some places, or maybe its the cockroaches-which i am not a big fan of.

--BE BORN AGAIN (LEE CHANG-JUN)-

Relatively recent manga, still showing little more than potential but worth reading considering the efforts the mangaka injects into making this story as visually stunning as possible.

And that’s it from me with regards to what we thought of as the best drawn manga and manhwa series of 2013. What were yours?

N:B-Bleach probably deserves a mention. Kubo is nothing if not unique in his artistic approach to the manga.

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I wanted to babble on about what a year this has been but truth be told i would be lying if i said i remembered most of what happened in these 12 months, with regards to anime and manga that is.

It took me a while to realise that at the beginning of this year the otaku realm was raving about how big of a hit psycho pass would be; now i barely remember its existence in light of the many series that have emerged as the months have progressed.

Anyway, i thought it would be a novel idea to sit down and critically analyze the year 2013 in anime and manga, but not through that most general of lenses that is ‘best anime and/manga’, instead delineating the best of manga and anime this year into some of its finer points; and because no anime or manga would be worth the hype or loath it attracts without that most important of elements that is the villain, I thought I would kick this little 2013 anime and manga ‘best of’ series off by looking at the best villains anime and manga has produced this year.

So here goes:

1. Uchiha god Madara (Naruto)

Madara Uchiha has somehow managed to reign as total bad ass, not only in the Naruto anime but the manga as well, his initial appearance in the anime, his utter decimation of the shinobi alliance only surpassed by the madness he has unleashed in the manga, his conflict with the kages and consistent ability to bring absolute destruction upon the Naruto world

2. Don Quixotte Doflamingo (One Piece)

it is disturbing to see just how far Doflamingo has come in One piece this year, this initially unimportant warlord some how breaking into the upper echelons of the pirate world as a true threat. No doubt one piece's run this year wouldn't have been the ride it has turned out to be if not for the revelations made regarding Doflamingo.

3. Shogo Makishima (Psycho Pass)

Looking back on it Psycho pass was basically the Kogami/Makishima story, and why wouldn’t it be, these two proving to be some of the most brilliant minds in the series. The reason the show reached its great heights was because of how well the Makishima/Kogami dynamic played out; and the reason this relationship played out so well was because of how devious and down right psychopathic Makishima could be, basically a virus in the perfect system of the Psycho pass world.

4. Juha bach (Bleach)

Juha bach is nothing less than the man credited for bringing soul society to its knees and murdering the man that had led it through the last millennium; and this year he cemented his determination to bring this ancient enemy of his people to its knees by launching an all out assault against the remnants of soul society. Truth be told though, i am crediting Juha bach for the actions he executed last year, as he has been largely unimportant to bleach in 2013. Normally he should have featured at the very bottom of the list, but you do not kill yamamoto Genryusai everyday.

5. Rachel (Tower of God)

There is something about the innocent nature of this character that makes her so damn unlikable; playing the desperate damsel in the early portions of the series, Rachel stands above all the villainous entities we have seen emerge on the scene in Tower of God this year, the woman that took Baam’s heart, ripped it out of his chest, crushed it, pushed the bits back in and did it again, inflicting immense amounts of hurt to her greatest proponent.

I don’t know if i can call Rachel devious; i don’t know if that word fully encompasses how manic she has proven herself to be in the manhwa this year. On the plus side though, she gave us the awesome Viole.

6. Orochimaru (Naruto)

Orochimaru is...well, Orochimaru, the original Naruto devil, his reemergence onto the scene at the beginning of this year not only shaking the structure of events in the Naruto world, but portending great things to come. As a source of great turmoil for Naruto Uzumaki one can only ponder at what his next move will be, following his efforts in resolving the Madara incident.

7. 9arts dragon (The Beaker: New Waves)

Maybe i am jumping the gun here, and maybe Nine arts hasn't yet struck villain status; and truth be told i hope this hero of the first Breaker series never turns to the dark side; but things aren't looking too good for him, especially with all the violence that has been been committed in his name. Whatever the case nine arts is the ultimate good guy turned evil character this year, and i expect events to take an explosive turn in 2014 now that he has chosen to finally come to the fro and take Seoul.

8. Hisoka (HunterXHunter)

Hisoka has been a part of the HunterXHunter world from the beginning; yet despite his early appearance, Hisoka has managed to hold his own against more recent villains more powerful villains as a truly despicable member of the HXH world; or maybe despicable isn’t quite the world to describe him. Creepy maybe…yes, creepy, disturbing, sometimes gross, but in a good way, the sort of manner villains are expected to present.

9. Chrollo Lucifer/Phantom troupe (HunterXHunter)

I don’t know if it is really possible to separate the awesomeness of the phantom troupe from Chrollo’s epicness, a villain that in truth is yet to make his mark on the HXH world, at least in my opinion, but whose presence on screen has the ability to shake the foundation of our heroes. One might go so far as to say that the phantom troupe arc was the pinnacle of the HXH anime.

10. Reiner (Attack on Titan)

The ability to infiltrate and yet remain inconspicuous to your enemy is god-sent, and Reiner did just that! Imagine walking, working, trusting the evil you so much wish to eradicate yet you’re just so blind to it.

Reiner is…well, one of SNK’s many tragedies.

Worthy mention:

-Shiro (Deadman Wonderland)- This manga didn't only have one of the more epic finales i have seen this year, it created quite a monster in shiro while also laying her bare, allowing us to explore the inner workings of her twisted mind.

Really, what allowed Shiro to shine as such a great villain this year was how tortured she seemed even as she unleashed hell against Ganta.

-Priscilla (Claymore)- Priscilla from Claymore was epic this year, especially with the revelation regarding her secrets, the nature of her power as the abyssal one with the power to create her own matter, basically making her a new kind of beast, that and the revelation about her one true weakness.

-Zephr (One Piece Film Z)- my thoughts on Film Z are somewhat skewed by how the series chose to end things, specifically the rather cliché battle between Luffy and Z at the end; none the less i liked Z as a somewhat tragic villain, wronged far too many times and taking the law into his own hands to a bring justice to the world; and his end somewhat helped cement the character in my eyes.

-Bils (Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the gods)- i liked Battle of the gods and truth be told that was largely because of Bils, a character that, though irritating initially, began to endear himself to me as the sort of villain the series hasn’t produced since the dragon ball era. More importantly they managed to avoid the clichéd ending that Film Z had with regards to the final battle between hero and villain.

And that’s it from me and this year’s list of best villains; what was your 2013 like in anime and manga? Which villains most rocked your world?

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Toonami has been on a roll lately with some major announcements including the world premiere/dubbed simulcast of Space Dandy coming this January. On the same day as this (which is projected to be January 4) Naruto Shippuden will be taking over the original Naruto’s 12:30 spot starting from the beginning of the series. The original Naruto has aired on the block since last December and will be ending after only 52 episodes on November 30 with a 3 week schedule of movies clearing that spot through most of December. Shippuden dub premiers will continue to air on Viz’s Neon Alley streaming service. Naruto will have 168 episodes unaired from the series so completionist might want to get moving on that.

source: http://toonami.tumblr.com/post/66229144430/another-big-honkin-toonami-announcement-hey

This article was originally posted on my blog at: http://realjpoe.com/

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I have one thing he can solo all ANIME!

the guy literally defeated a god as a human and then was regarded as a true god he is literally the strongest anime character to begin with he is the first of his ninja world and is the only being currently who can defeat the juubi 1v1 name any other character that was human and defeated a god without immorality you cant because Naruto has the most undefeated able character he can warp reality with his imagination this is the "Highest" form of nigh or omnipotent abilities i am a fan-boy with more knowledge then anyone about Naruto and he even created 2 beings from nothing with no side-effect.

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I know Goku would win at his current state (Battle of Gods) and anything from after Goku's gravity training, Namek saga - Buu saga onwards.

So I'm going to restrict Goku ALOT. Goku cannot use Kamehameha or any move that requires Ki. He will only use his physical capabilities. i.e Strength,Speed,Durability,Endurance etc.

This is Goku right after he finishes his fight with Vegeta in the Saiya-jin saga. (when he re-cooperates) so his strength has increased after healing because he is a Saiya-jin and his power increases after healing from near death experiences.

Everyone other than Goku is at full power.

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I initially meant this post to be about manga and anime updates from the week, but i realized that required a considerable amount of research to provide an accurate picture of the anime and manga world this week. Rather i will leave that up to you, the reader. If you happen to be aware of any specific manga and anime updates this week, i would appreciate it if you posted them below, allow the rest of us less inspired persons to none the less stay up to date with the manga and anime world.

Anyway, what i am going to make this post about instead is conveying a basic idea of what anime and manga has been like for me this week. This isn’t merely an attempt to log what exactly it is i am reading and watching. Rather you can look at it as a weekly recommendation page, which is why it would help if you posted what you experienced in the world of anime and manga this week.

You could tell us about the latest chapter of a specific manga you read this week, letting people that might have picked up and dropped that particular series know that things get better, possibly even worse in the future; maybe even encourage otaku that haven’t given the series a try the push they need to give it a chance.

A basic idea of what is happening, especially what got your attention; the manga and anime you encountered this week might help in giving us, who might be ignorant of the title, a better picture of that particular anime or manga. You never know, we might end up giving you some recommendations in return, maybe warn you off a manga that might have been fooling you into liking it, or advising you about which episodes of an anime you should skip, either because they are filler or they are not worth it; maybe even encourage you just as you consider dropping that manga that has began to disappoint you.

Basically, tell us what your week was like in manga and anime, be it good or bad; and that includes anime and manga news.

Anyway, this was me this week:

Anime:

Anime has been quite slow for me this week, with very little anime titles actually enticing me into reaching out to them. I dislike that, not having an amazing anime to be excited about, which is why i am regretting having rushed through Kaiji. Anyway:

Shingeki no Kyojin: It would be easy for me to say that this week was epic with regards to anime, because i hadn’t watched SNK for several weeks now and actually had 12 episodes to catch up on, yes 12 whole episodes, from episode 9. The fact is because this is SNK i watched it all in one bloody day; you can imagine how much work i got done on Monday. Basically nothing.

None the less it was great to enjoy SNK to the fullest, to watch so much of it that i had pretty much had my fill by the end of the day. Of course the fact that i watched it all in one day doesn’t improve my week, as i had little else to watch.

Anyway, waiting until i had enough episodes to binge on SNK was worth it. THAT FEMALE TITAN…my jaw was hanging from my mouth for the several minutes it took for her to completely and utterly destroy and mangle those squads. And the animation…i had pretty much forgotten why i loved this show so much; the animation with the 3D gear was amazing.

More character and plot development occurred than i expected in 12 episodes, making me wonder if this anime isn’t moving a little too fast. With a monthly manga (the best manga are monthly) i suspect SNK isn’t going to continue beyond season 1. Most likely we are going to get an anime only finale when the anime catches up to the manga, which i suspect will be very soon.

Maybe if we are lucky, they will allow it to continue in the style of Full Metal Alchemist, with a story that diverges from the original. Either way, great show, not only because of the titan, but the introduction of one of my new favorite characters, Hanji, and the phenomenal growth we are seeing in Armin.

Rating:> 10/10

Naruto: Another reason i might find to celebrate this week is Naruto. Ever since the fillers ended, the series has been going strong. I do not expect any episodes from now on to match the epicness of episode 322 and the apocalyptic event that is Madara, but i have to say i am enjoying the tailed beast battles so far.

Poignant this week was the glimpse we got into the world of the tailed beast, particularly the nine tailed fox, allowing us

the opportunity to feel a bit of sympathy for the life it has experienced, and take into consideration the possibility that maybe the Biju are only perceived as evil because of how horrendously humanity has treated them.

I cannot wait to follow this line of reasoning onward. I am yet to watch this week’s episodes, but i am on the edge of my seat for the conclusion of the battle with the monkey. Tobi is proving to be underwhelming so far.

Rating:> 8/10, the flash backs got a little bit irritating.

Ergo proxy: I seriously do not know how long i am going to be able to tolerate this show. Truth be told the only reason i have not dropped it is because of the fairly positive reviews i keep coming across about this series. But really, this show feels like its dragging its feet, and i have only just crossed the half way point of part one. Basically i have only seen scant amounts of this show, yet every time i watch an episode, its end doesn’t leave intrigued enough to watch the next one, which is why i am watching it at a snail pace.

In the last episode i watched this week, the dude in red (whose name i forget) stumbled into a war on the way home. The only memorable thing about it was the appearance of the proxy, the destruction that followed as well as the brief battle between both monsters.

For one thing, the episode seemed ridiculously rushed, the appearance and disappearance of these warring armies seeming like it came out of nowhere. I still have no logical understanding of what the hell the proxy is, despite the fact that it was the first thing to appear in the series. The female lead’s continued surprise over the existence of life outside the dome make no sense. Unless i am mistaken, at no point in the first few episodes was it stated that life only existed within the dome.

The interaction with the weird statues needs to stop; they proffer too many obscure clues and references without actually making any concrete statements or providing us with any solid information about this bloody world. Seriously, this show feels like it is simply dragging. And i had such high hopes for it the first time i watched it a month ago.

Rating:> 2/10

Red Data Girl: I actually just began watching this show, only two episodes which i watched back to back; proving its superiority to Ergo proxy, because nothing about any episode i have watched in that show spurs me forward to watch more; whereas RDG has proved its self more than intriguing in just two episodes for me to commit to it. From what i can understand, a girl named Suzuhara is endowed with strange spiritual powers.

Whenever she comes into contact and tries to use electrical devices they die. She is introduced to a classmate her age named Sagara

Sagara has been forced to move to the region and attend the school to aid Suzuhara, basically as her manservant. Neither of them understands the true nature of their situation or why they have been forced into their current positions. Sagara is fiery and stubborn, displaying open hostility to the shy soft spoken Suzukara, blaming her for his current position and choosing to rebel whenever he gets the chance.

While the story RDG has indeed piqued my interest, especially the last episode i watched when they went to Tokyo, it is Sagara’s relationship with his father that I find most interesting, that is if i am not making too many presumptions about what happened in the first episode, when Sagara’s dad brings him back to the house after he ran away, all bruised and battered, with the somewhat hard to believe excuse about him falling from a mountain.

Rating:> 7/10I am intrigued by this show.

MANGA:

Manga proved to be more fruitful this week, and that might partly have something to do with the return of bleach, which i for one enjoyed.

Divine Bells:

I began reading this Manhwa two days ago and as of the moment i am thoroughly impressed. The style is somewhat similar to Tower of god, which make sense since, if what i read is to be believed, someone involved with the TOG project is involved with Divine Bells as well. Either way i love seeing Manga in color. The story is actually about Divine bells as the title suggests, eight of them granted to the six nations of that world.

Each bell chooses its master and when that master dies, a ceremony is carried out to choose the next successor of the bells. The bells only choose kings and the number of bells each nation owns is used to determine how much power they have, and as such the most powerful nation has three bells. These same three bells have always chosen the same line of emperors from the same kingdom for centuries now.

The story revolves around the smallest nation that has never once been chosen by the bells during the selection ceremony and its very young king. There seems to be a conspiracy. The previous king had a son with a concubine and upon his death, it has been the mission of this illegitimate son’s mother to place him on the throne, going so far as to try and assassinate the young king a year before.

It doesn’t help that the illegitimate son has proved himself to be worthy of the title of king as opposed to the wimpy young king. Note that i am using titles rather than names because this is a Manhwa, and as one would expect, the names are bloody complicated.

Eight chapters in, i am impressed. The manhwa actually reads a lot like a Korean historical drama but with supernatural elements. And the pacing is alarmingly fast. Eight chapters in and we are already learning about the truth behind the Divine bell selection ceremony of kings, the truth of what the bells actually are and catching glimpses of what happened centuries ago when the bells were first fashioned.

I am loving the mystery and intrigue, especially the king’s relationship with his step brother. The young man seems to have no interest in claiming the throne, despite the actions of his mother. This is one of the better manga i have read in a while, not to mention that it is in color.

Rating:> 10/10

Togari:

This manga had some promise at the start. But i am feeling less than motivated to continue reading it. Basically a young man died and was condemned to hell during the Edo era, has spent his days being tortured under the cruel hand of two of heavens soldiers; until the day he is offered a way out. He will return to earth for 108 days, in that time he is charged with collecting 108 sins using a special sword that can attack the demonic figures that attach themselves to

evil humans and entice them to do evil.

If he can defeat all 108 demons, he will be freed of hell. However the sword feeds on evil and because he is evil, there is a chance that the sword, which is wooden, might consume him and his sin when he activate its power in battle. He is also prohibited from hurting humans no

matter how evil or violent they get, otherwise the wound that killed him, decapitation, will recur, ending his life and sending him back to hell.

This manga is getting boring. Last time i checked up on it, Togari was fighting another serial killer with a specially empowered demon. The art is starting to look a little too sketchy for my tastes. I doubt i will be reading this manga for much longer.

Rating:> 3/10, this is getting repetitive.

Witch hunter:

The problem with witch hunter is what seems to me like a rather sporadic schedule of release, or at least that is what i became used to, so much so that i stopped looking out for new chapters. I only stumbled upon these additional chapters totally by accident while browsing a manga site. Actually i am not even sure whether witch hunter is weekly or monthly.

Anyway i was lucky enough to find five or six chapters already released. These chapters were actually mostly uneventful, basically continuing Tasha’s training from the last time i read the series. It seems though like this is going to be an entire training arc rather than a few chapters, and despite expecting more out of these chapters, they were not as bad as i thought they would be, mostly because of Tasha actually.

Here is the thing, Tasha is the primary protagonist of the series and witch hunter basically revolves around him, it is his decisions that affect the future of this universe. But here is the thing, we have not seen or heard from Tasha i what seems like AGES.

First we had those 15-20 chapters introducing to us Xing’s past and the business with his brothers and time in the empire (or is it Yue, i seriously confuse these three), which were awesome; the best flash back i have ever encountered, anime or manga. But no Tasha here obviously. Then we had that massive war, with witch hunter moving to strike at the witch forces attacking multiple targets around the world, including the Bai long empire.

This event took place over another 20-25 chapters and while i was excitedly anticipating it, it followed a serious battle that hospitalized Tasha ( i think Arthur, the coolest character in the series so far, took cut hand off), meaning we still had epic battles with Xing, Taras and the rest but no Tasha. It kind reminded of that time in Naruto Shippuden when Kishimoto seemed to forget about Naruto’s existence.

Anyway, it was nice to get some chapters solely focused on Tasha. I would have tired of the training if i had read these chapters once a week or even a month. That would be torturous. This wasn’t so bad. And we did get some information regarding Tasha’s relationship with Halloween and how her undying loyalty to him is all but faked by magic.

I would have liked to get a little bit more information regarding the war. We have not seen or heard a peep from the outside world ever since Tasha forcefully and illegally disserted the witch hunter organization. But all in all these chapters were entertaining, not as good as i hoped they would be but not bad.

Rating:> 6/10, less Tasha Vs.Hwan duels next time

Bleach:

Ever since i began reading bleach on a weekly basis i haven’t been able to get enough of it. While this wasn’t the action packed bonanza some hoped it would be, it was still just as entertaining, learning exactly where the Quincy's mysterious home dimension was located. It seems like next week we will be getting some interesting battles.

I do not see Hitsugaya, or really any shiningami gaining any ground seeing as they are unable to use bankai. Still i am excited to see Utakata fight, and of course there is the monster Zaraki, hiding somewhere in soul society. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that his shikai form ate him and is now rampaging across soul society, that or he will spend the next dozen chapters struggling to control his shikai while soul society burns.

Undeniably i am excited to see Ichigo do battle. If there is one thing Kubo has done right in this arc, its managing to get me excited about ichigo, the main character once more.

Rating:> 10/10

Gangsta: A tried this out, gave up after five chapters. It is seinen about a killer swordsman and a male prostitute, both gangsters and hooligans that take on mercenary jobs for the police, eliminating certain criminal elements for a price. They meet a female prostitute during one of their jobs. The swordsman, who is dumb (i mean he cannot speak), can’t bring himself to kill her. She becomes the secretary of their little company.

I failed to get into it, even with its decent art work.

Rating:> 2/10

Soul Eater Not!:

So i enjoyed the soul eater manga finale so much that rather than backtrack and read the previous chapters, i decided to march ahead and check out the author’s newest project, basically a spin off of soul eater taking place a couple of years before the start of soul eater with NONE OF THE ORIGINAL CA

ST. I emphasize that because it was the first thing to put me off.

Getting used to an entirely new cast of characters and class of weapons and meisters proved difficult to me. The entire series is actually more slice

of life than anything; yes, you heard me right, SOUL EATER THE SLICE OF LIFE VERSION, basically following the high school life of some unknown teen that joins DWMA.

I was bored, and the only highlight of the few chapters i read was the the glimpse we caught of Maka giving the new lead a helping hand on the stairs of the school, and black star pummeling someone in the hallway. Other than that i have absolutely no reason to read this series. I mean, really, what the hell did this guy do to soul eater? I get that it is his own series but really?

Actually i get it, Soul eater Not! AS IN ITS NOT SOUL EATER; how clever of him.

Rating:> –5/10

Anyway, that was me this week in terms of manga and anime. There was no Beelzebub this week, which i could live with. Last week’s chapter wrapped the arc up nicely. And fairy tail was, well, fairy tail; nothing really to talk about. Gray and Doriate fought, The art kind of sucked this week.

Anyway Bleach and Attack on Titan stood miles ahead of everything else i came across this week. Soul eater Not! on the other hand irritated me, the worst thing i encountered this week.

What was your week in anime and manga like? And is their anything new, manga and anime, that you would recommend or advise against?

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