katmic (Level 10)

hasn't updated recently.
followed by
15
| |
Chapters like this allow me to appreciate the important role great art can play in accentuating a story. Reading through chapter 94 I couldn’t help but dream of just how much more awesome some of these scenes could have been had I been reading Noblesse.

That isn’t to say that this chapter was terrible or lacking in any way; rather chapter 94, while being highly entertaining, chose to utilize an approach with its panels that would have worked best with a less messy style of art.

THE CHAPTER:

Hendricksen reveals the power of his new form to the kingdom. The Holy knights regiment, new and old, stands to oppose him, accompanied by the Seven Deadly Sins.

MY THOUGHTS:
Who knew Deadly sins could unleash so much carnage in such a short span of time? Because I didn’t. Hendricksen tore the Seven Deadly Sins and the knights a new one this week.

Chapter 94 was mostly battle oriented, a sensible approach considering what promises to be an information infused chapter next week. Following the clean, concise and somewhat strategic exchange of blows in the last two weeks, this week was Hendricksen simply presenting himself as the new threat to the kingdom.

Nothing new when it comes to shonen; before the final steps can be taken to save the world, the big bad villain always needs time to show his stuff and prove himself to be a threat worth fearing. That means tanking every gargantuan attack thrown his way and effortlessly schooling the heroes, which Hendricksen did with casual disinterest.

Entertaining stuff, especially the incorporation of different Holy Knights into the attack pattern; Nanatsu no Taizai almost always succeeds when reveling in its overpowered characters and their unique but overblown abilities.

+Highs
The carnage; I am reminded of the old days of Bleach, specifically during the Karakura town arc, when Aizen first emerged. This here, what Hendricksen is doing, is what I expected Aizen to do upon his arrival, to dispatch of enemies left and right instead of playing games.

Chapter 94 chooses to get right to the point and the bodies keep piling up, many times in the most surprising manner. Carnage best serves its purpose when you do not see it coming, as happened with Ban last week, and the various named Holy knights this week.

The action elements were superb as far as keeping the fight with Hendricksen entertaining is concerned.
+Lows
There is a scene that appears in a number of anime and manga; that moment where a girl sinks to her knees, weeping, crying about how sad she is for the many souls that are dying because of her, and how unwilling she is to allow such sacrifices to continue.

Seeing that scene play out with Elizabeth irritated me somewhat; I don’t want to say it was an unnecessary or repetitive and overused scene in anime and manga. I guess the panel only served to emphasize Elizabeth’s pointlessness to the series, a trait she hasn’t managed to break in 94 chapters.

Something about characters whining about how useless they are in a situation grates on my patience; even Lucy (Fairy Tail) managed to leave the damsel in distress mold behind. But not Elizabeth.

Then again if you consider Veronica’s ominous words, Elizabeth just might gain some importance to the story beyond simply acting as Meliodas’ driving force.
 
The art didn’t help the chapter; not that it was terrible. I would used the term Messy. And the panels were so inventive in creating the atmosphere of dread and despair, approaching many of the scenes from outside the action, allowing us to observe the chaos occur rather that put us in the driving scene.

The sort of stuff Noblesse does. Still, artistically Nanatsu no Taizai manages to rise above Magi.

RATING: 8/10, precluding the art this was a great chapter and I hope Deadly Sins maintains its dynamic approach to its panels.

HIGHLIGHTS: Holy knights Vs. Hendricksen. Hauser’s fate. I absolutely cannot wait for the anime. Maybe it can jog my memory. I cannot remember who Veronica is, the girl that appears in the last panel.
| |

The avatar franchise has come quite a long way, from a little known cartoon on Nickelodeon to a terrible live action adaption and finally the sequel that will most likely bring its life on the screen, big and small to an end.

Season 4 of The Legend of Korra is just around the corner, and I for one cannot help but admit to being excited for what is the first time ever for another season. I don’t know if it is quite a shame that Season 4 will be last Season of Legend of Korra though.

The series hasn’t had the strongest run, at least not with its first two seasons.

+FOUR REASONS LEGEND OF KORRA SEASON 3 WORKED.

Objectively speaking, season 1 of Korra was decent stuff if approached as a typical cartoon/anime series; unfortunately that is exactly what Korra has never been.

As Successor to The Last Air Bender, Korra had large shoes to fill and it failed to do so spectacularly, season 1 lacking in the energy and excitement of the first season of Aang, while season 2 completely dropped the ball, weaving a messy tale with numerous unnecessary episodes, scenes and plots.

With that in mind, I initially doubted my positive opinion of Season 3; after all, once you hit the bottom in entertainment, you can only go up, and Korra wasn’t going to get any worse.

But analyzing it objectively, Korra season 3 was great stuff, even by Last Air Bender standards, and I impute its success to four primary reasons, namely:
+Korra.
Let’s get a couple of things straight about Korra

I didn’t approach this series expecting an Aang clone. I certainly didn’t expect a level headed, highly intelligent or even completely rational avatar from the new series, not from a 15 year old.

That being said, Korra’s age and place as a teenage girl in the avatar world doesn’t excuse the sheer stupidity her character was written to display over the first two seasons.

And this business of Avatar wisdom doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, specifically the common excuse that this is some next level intellectual ability that Aang possessed but which Korra lacked.

I am not asking for ancient wisdom complimented by vastly superhuman thought processes; I expected basic intelligence and common sense from Korra and for the first two seasons she was little more than an idiot with special powers that UNWITTINGLY AIDED her enemies rather than foiling them.

The rationale of a 12 year old boy with less than a year’s training showing greater wisdom that a 15 year old that has been trained as avatar since birth needs to be explained to me. There is no excuse for the first two seasons of Korra. She wasn’t just dumb. She was downright irritating to watch in some places.

And it almost feels like someone finally stepped up to reign her character in with this last season, producing a fairly level headed avatar that didn’t needlessly divert the plot from its primary  course through idiotic decisions and irrelevant side stories.

Not to say that Korra was anything special this season; she wasn’t exactly the star of the show; her display of growth was none the less commendable. A waste, that we didn’t start like this, because Korra would be a far more intriguing character to follow by now. She single handedly ruined season 2, then somehow saved season 3, at least in my eyes.
+The Antagonists.
The world of Avatar: The Last Air Bender thrived because of its rich cast of heroes, anti-heroes and villains. Legend of Korra particularly struggled in the villain arena, and more so in season 2, once more because of Korra.
It is difficult to respect villains whose master plans and schemes depended heavily upon Korra making decisions that weren’t just wrong but downright nonsensical. We’ve seen Aang go off the rails, but for most of Season 2 it felt like Korra wasn’t exactly doing much thinking.

In learning that the Order of the Red Lotus would lead the charge as key antagonists for season 3, I expected a villainous version of the White Lotus seen in Last Air Bender. These guys weren’t nearly as impressive as far as abilities were concerned.

None the less this has to be the series’ most impressive cast of antagonists so far, imposing an actual level of threat worth worrying over throughout the season. Let’s face it, powerful as her opponents might have been in earlier seasons, we have yet to see villains that are as intriguing in Korra as The Red Lotus even while endowed with the strength to actually stand up against Korra in a fair fight.

How i have longed for the old days of Avatar, when the mere appearance of Azula immediately raised the stakes, and the mission became more about escaping her crazy wrath than accomplishing any goals.
Korra simply hasn’t boasted that same level of threat in a very long while, and while the Red Lotus didn’t quite invoke the same sense of danger as say Firelord Ozai or the original combustion man, they turned this season into one hell of a ride.
+The Supporting cast.
Say what you will about the original team avatar, say that all the complaints surrounding team Korra amount to excess nostalgia (which might be true).

You cannot deny the fact that Korra hasn’t produced characters as interesting as Toph, Iroh, Zuko, Sokka and Katara. And these guys weren’t merely sources of great action either.
Last Air Bender made comprehensive use of each of Aang’s friends, injecting them organically into the series and effortlessly utilizing them to further the story.

Exactly what Legend of Korra has never done; for two seasons now, it has been the Korra show (what is her second name, anyway?) and that would have been fine had the series not bothered to insert Mako, Bolin and the rest into the story.

For two seasons these guys haven’t had a thing to do in the series; for all intent and purpose, you could have eliminated any one of them from the show and not only would Legend of Korra not have suffered for it, it would have made Seasons 1 and 2 so much better, allowing for a more compact story to unfold.
This failure to use them effectively has actually hurt the series as a whole so much more than Korra’s weird characterization.

I didn’t enter this series asking for a return of my favorite characters in new bodies; and i certainly didn’t expect the new cast to replace them. That is never going to happen.

I simply wanted interesting, entertaining characters to follow; the common comparison between Bolin and Sokka revolves around their comedic abilities, not taking into account the fact that even without bending abilities, Sokka was an integral part of the original story while Bolin might as well be a lamp for all this importance to the show.
So when season 3 rolls out and begins actively engaging most, if not all, of Korra’s friends into her tale and in a meaningful way, what else can I do but nod my head in approval? Finally, a story that can attempt to expand its talents and utilize all its tools effectively.
+The action.
Anyone remember the first season of Last Air Bender? All those duels between Zuko and Aang, so many intricate movements blurring by so fast that you had to take a moment, rewind and watch the whole thing again.
That is what first got me into Avatar, the sleek strikes, compact moves and destructive elements being unleashed in all sorts of unique forms. I can’t say that we didn’t get clean well animated action in Korra, but most of the first two seasons produced some rather dull fights.

Again, this comes back to the fact that Korra is a sequel; on its own, these would have been pretty impressive fight sequences; in comparison to Last Air Bender, let’s just say that I kept waiting for my jaw to drop but that didn’t happen.

Let me put it this way. I watched episodes of the Last Air Bender whose plots were somewhat uninteresting, but which none the less left me highly excited merely because of the awesome fight scenes.

And I don’t know what the hell changed with Korra this season. Maybe it was the addition of the Red Lotus and the new air benders. But Korra has never been this explosive a series in terms of the action.
I was surprised at how clean and increasingly complex the fights became, alongside the interesting use of bending. This is what I want from my Legend of Korra, not men and women throwing elements at each other aimlessly, but skilled individuals deploying powerful martial arts moves whose consequence happens to be the movement of the elements.
-Conclusion:
The Legend of Korra season 3 is the sequel The Last Air Bender has been waiting for. This is the sequel Aang deserves, and truth be told I am not exactly happy about that. 

We are already here, at the end of the Korra journey, which makes this last season feel almost like a waste. This should have been the first season of Korra. Had that been the case, had the series began with such momentum, can you imagine where The Legend of Korra would be right now?
Avatar fans would be whispering about it with the same level of reverence normally reserved for the third season of Last Air Bender. It might be more accurate to blame Nickelodean here. The 12 episode run probably didn’t allow for much space to maneuver.

With the fourth season just around the corner, the question becomes whether  The Legend of Korra can pull of a series finale on the level of Sozin’s Comet ( a finale that can contend with many of the best anime and manga finales).
Considering the quality of season 3, I actually have some hope in Korra.
| |
JUDAR IS HERE! I didn’t think an event as simple as that would make this Magi chapter so much more exciting, but it did, and it has something to do with finally lifting the Alma Toran Arc atmosphere that has been hanging over Magi for the last two chapters.

THE CHAPTER:

Confronted with the truth, Aladdin attempts to bring Sinbad and Kouen into an alliance within which the focus would be to end Al Tharmen’s hold over the Kou empire. But as the egos of these two powerful men rise to overshadow their common sense, an unlikely element emerges on the scene.

MY THOUGHTS:
It’s been two chapters since we existed the Alma Toran arc, however it wasn’t until this chapter that Magi felt like it had finally left the dreary atmosphere of Alma Toran and Solomon behind.

We are finally back into the typical Magi pace and I cannot remember the last time I was this excited about a Magi chapter; yes, Alma Toran had its moments, but at best I was intrigued. At worst I was bored, but never excited.
This is finally Magi like I remember it, with all the awesome characters we’ve been following since the beginning; something about the interactions worked for me this week, specifically Sinbad and Kouen.

NO action to speak of in this battle manga and yet Magi still manages to entertain; this is the Magi that I remember, the one that could do no wrong. 

-Sinbad and Politics
Chapter 239 was all about the political maneuverings; watching Sinbad basically play the summit like a fiddle, turning the world (more or less) against the Kou empire by playing the Al Tharmen card while at the same time extending a helping hand was priceless.

This is the Sinbad I remember, if not a tiny bit more untrustworthy that before; scheming and conniving, unwilling to work with Kouen, even less willing to lose Aladdin and Alibaba’s trust by looking power hungry, then going for the next best thing: forcing Kouen into a position where he would either have to be the one to refuse the offer for peace (thereby absolving Sinbad of all blame with regards to the failure of Aladdin’s treaty), or forcing the peace treaty through but with Sindria at the top.

Yes, I most definitely enjoyed these sneaky machinations; and Kouen’s own response to these games was surprisingly and amusingly frank, his very visible dislike for Sinbad, willingness to use Al Tharmen to achieve his goals, basically equating his ideals to Solomon’s own dreams.

Good stuff this week; I forgot how good Magi could be after the last four months of Alma Toran. And Aladdin could only watch helplessly. The world is going to burn and not even with his father’s wisdom can he prevent it.

-Alibaba- A primary protagonist no more.
Poor Alibaba; it’s like with each new arc, Alibaba loses more and more of his previous importance, and even his deal with Kouen has fallen at the wayside. With Kouen no longer interested in Aladdin or the former prince we need not bother questioning whether Alibaba would go so far as to betray his friends and Sinbad for Kouen’s deal to hand Balbad over to him.

Thinking about it, quite a lot happened this week, from Sinbad’s scheming, Kouen’s revelations about the state of affairs of his house, the exploration of Alibaba’s unimportance in the grand scheme of things, Aladdin’s helplessness, the conflict between Kou and Sindria’s various houses, and finally Judar.

-Judar
What could Judar have in mind for the summit? Something tells me that Hakuryuu isn’t far behind. And now that they have the dark rukh of the medium, is there anything stopping them from laying everything and everyone to waste.
Are we going to see an all out brawl between the summit members and the dark Magi? Because both Kou and Sindria couldn’t be more helpless. And even with their individual attributes and emergency plans in play, someone is dying.

I know it cannot be Sinbad, but there are a lot of popular characters within his house that just might bite the dust next week.

With Hakuryuu by his side, there is no way Judar is fighting for Gyokuen; where he to act in a hostile manner against Sinbad and Kou, that would complicate an already complicated war against Al Tharmen.

+RATING: 8/10, this was good. My zeal for Magi is returning once more. I was fighting to maintain interest in Magi during the flashback. Not so with chapter 239
| |
Is it finally over? It’s been so long since we last interacted with Magi’s primary cast that it was almost odd returning to Morgiana, Alibaba and the rest of them.

I am not going to lie; this flashback took some patient to bare on my part. Not that it didn’t have its moments, but I have been waiting to return to the present for so long that it was almost jarring when Aladdin’s history lesson ended.
But, right now, finally at the end of Solomon’s tedious journey, there is a lot that one could appreciate about the last few months.

THE CHAPTERS:

With Solomon’s demise, the world stands at the edge of a precipice; no longer able to sustain life, it is up to Ugo to transform Alma Toran’s tragedy into hope for a brighter future on a new world.

MY THOUGHTS:
24 chapters; that is how long this particular arc has been running. And within 24 chapters Shinibu Ohtaka has basically laid bare the entirety of the Magi world, all its mysteries and innards finally exposed.

And with the manga just past the halfway point one does wonder if this was the smartest play the mangaka could make, because as things stand there is little about Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic that we don’t know in relative detail.
From the birth of Alma Toran, the presence of an all powerful creator in Il Illah, the origins of the Djinn and their metal vessels, the role of the dungeons, the eventual emergence of the present world, the rukh…every mystery of Magi has been unearthed.

To an extent one might complain that that erases all sense of mystery from the manga, with little new knowledge left to be revealed in the coming few years of its run.

But then again, one might also say that the manga is finally in a position to move forward, unhindered by endless questions and potential plot holes about who did what, when, how and why?

Whatever the case, the flashback is finally over and the manga is the better off for it; to an extent these revelations put the present conflict in a new perspective, even though the future of the Kou empire, what with Arba standing as its current ruler, is still somewhat uncertain.

Chapter 238 wasted way too much time on Alibaba’s reaction to Aladdin’s story; considering how long I had waited to finally read these events, the reaction of the spectators to Alma Toran’s history, Alibaba’s reminiscence was a huge waste of time.

Maybe some people were touched by his realization of the deep connection he shared with Aladdin, but even that made little sense to me. Aladdin and Alibaba couldn’t be more different from each other.
Alibaba’s assertions that he had suddenly found common ground with Aladdin, with the two having suffering under equal loads, seemed forced, especially taking in to account the fact that Alibaba’s past constituted losing his birth right and all his friends and families to political greed, and spending years in slavery crawling from one vile master to another.

I don’t think the fact that Aladdin spent a few months to years in a lonely library quite places him in the same bracket as Alibaba, and if their friendship needed that cheap boost to cement Alibaba’s faith and loyalty to Aladdin, then maybe the manga should quit placing so much emphasis on it.

The more intriguing elements of chapters 237 and 238 received the least amount of time, that being the reactions of Sindria, Kou and Riem. Something about Sinbad’s reaction to the story was disturbing, not just his expression but the way he spoke of ‘King Solomon’.

There is more than meets the eye here than Sinbad merely being awestruck by Solomon; the theory that Sinbad might be Solomon’s incarnation doesn’t seem quite as crazy at this moment.

The next two weeks of the manga are going to be crucial to determining the future story arcs of Magi; though something tells me that even if peace is the outcome of this conference, even if Kou and Sindria agree to come together to obliterate Kouen’s mother, Sinbad and Kouen are going to clash regardless.
PREDICTIONS:
There is going to be war between Kou and Sindria, and Riem will have to choose sides in this war, most likely Kou considering what was said just before Aladdin began his story.

Then again that would make little sense, what with Riem’s master being none other than a newly minted Magi probably programmed to oppose Al Tharmen at all costs.

But that doesn’t explain all that hostility Riem was showing Sinbad at the start of the conference.
Kouen is determined to spread Kou’s rule over the land as the most effective means of bringing peace. Sinbad will take violent action against Kouen and his empire at the slightest hint of treachery from Kou.
It would be a miracle if Aladdin avoided war, either immediately or in the distant future.

RATING: 7/10, it was decent enough material, despite the panels and pages wasted on Alibaba. And I am glad we are finally returning to the present day.
| |
Had this been any other manga series, I might have been complaining about how it is following typical shonen tropes, with the villain growing ever stronger just when it seemed like he was finished.
That is the curse of watching and reading so much bloody shonen anime and manga; then again Nanatsu no Taizai is doing a heck of a great job of making this fight all sorts of entertaining.

THE CHAPTER:

Hendricksen’s battle with the Deadly Sins is proving to be anything but simple; with the finale rapidly approaching, Hendy takes drastic measures to achieve victory, the deadly sins suddenly faced with a godlike power in the demons, Gray and Red.

MY THOUGHTS:
I am not quite certain what to make of this chapter. Chapter 93 was Ban’s chapter, to an extent, and the results of chapter 94 will determine just how this chapter resonates with me. Because…really…how the hell does someone come back from that?

The battle with Hendricksen continues and, as with the last few chapters, the tide keeps shifting from side to side; where Hendricksen’s demonic form rose to assault the sins, the individual qualities of each former knight kept proving to weighty a challenge even for this demonic abilities.

I honestly do not understand why more shonen manga do not approach their fights like this, where the outcome isn’t so clear cut, where the powers of the heroes isn’t so overwhelming that the villain’s defeat is all but determined.
Granted the abilities of the Sins seem to fluctuate quite drastically, characters like Ban and King sometimes manifesting levels of power so ridiculous as to outshine everyone else; yet that seems easily balanced by Hendy’s craftiness.

This doesn’t look like it is going to keep running for much longer; either Hendriksen or the sins are going to go down in the next chapter or two. And if the events of this chapter are anything to go by, the sins aren’t leaving this battle completely unscathed.
RATING: 8/10, As for those last panels of chapter 93, all I can say is ‘Whoa’. That was brutal, even more than I expected.
HIGHLIGHTS: Ban Vs. Hendricksen.
Mandatory Network

Submissions can take several hours to be approved.

Save ChangesCancel