katmic (Level 10)

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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.
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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.
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It is disturbing just how enjoyable Noblesse can be; I might go so far as to say that no other manga or manhwa elicits quite as much enjoyment from me as Noblesse.
Well, scratch that; I do read manga and Manhwa on a weekly basis that I can enjoy immensely, but only because they are doing what all good manga do, presenting great action, character development and plot progression.

Not quite the same thing with Noblesse which can produce material that is just as interesting without providing any of the above mentioned elements; I mean, just look at chapter 335, 20 or so pages of humorous talk about Kertia and Karius joining RK4.
An inconsequential discussion in any other series, which Noblesse made more than worth the read. Not just for the awesome art, color and battles do I read Noblesse.

I read Noblesse for its pure entertainment value.

+THE CHAPTERS:
Lascrea goes to school and takes a peek into Rai’s world. Takeo makes an effort at building the roster of Raizel’s knights.

+MY THOUGHTS:
 
A strange break in between crucial back story but a necessary one; where most Noblesse chapters unrelated to the story focus primarily upon the humor, chapters 335 and 336 actually endeavored to progress the plot and the characters.

In this case, Lascrea unwound somewhat and tried to understand the world the Noblesse had chosen to engage with and why he as well as her father where so enamored by humanity.

An acceptable effort, I must say, doing little more than showing Lascrea the simple things in life, a tedious day in class and a fun afternoon and evening with Shinwu and group, a glimpse into the bonds and links that drew Rai to rise to the aid of the common man against their stronger foes.

Had this been fairy tail, these chapters would have tested my patience with all the talk about friendship and bonds; Noblesse however had a sense of moderation, infusing character development related humor into the story, making these chapters worth the read.

Really, I just find these characters enjoyable to follow and read about, from Tao to Takeo, Kertia, Regis, Seira, Rai and the rest of them.
All this quiet though feels like the prelude to a storm, with Cromble in the shadows waiting to make his move with Muzaka by his side
 
RATING: 7/10, Noblesse entertains in the quiet moments as well as it does within the chaos.
And yes, the art was awesome. I cannot tire mentioning that.
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So Nanatsu no Taizai is getting an anime? Well, it couldn’t at a better time, because these four chapters were AWESOME.

Purely as a battle oriented manga, these chapters had everything I might want in my shonen series, action packed, humorous, well paced and lots of Deadly Sins doing lots of crazy stuff. 

I honestly cannot wait to see all of this animated in the anime adaption; because these events were exciting and explosive, progressing the arc to some extent even while unveiling the Seven Deadly Sins as a team.

THE CHAPTERS:
Hendricksen wages a war against his former team mates and subordinates; as the dawn his plans approaches, only four foes stand in his path, the strongest foes in the kingdom.

MY THOUGHTS:

I haven’t read The Seven Deadly Sins in four weeks; and these four chapters were more than worth the wait. Events such as these, starting with King’s conflict with Helbram’s corpse and ending with the emergence of Hendricksen’s demon friend are best consumed in one go.

We haven’t seen Meliodas this enraged in quite a few arcs, not since he went into his demon form; this was Meliodas overtaken by cold fury, in control of his abilities and determined to obliterate Hendricksen.

The pace at which these chapters are progressing, one wonders just how much is left of this arc, or even the story; though certainly there is plenty more Nanatsu no Taizai to explore, the mysteries about the world only growing with each new chapter.
The revelation regarding Hendricksen being a druid in service of the Goddess clan went a long way in explaining the situation with Ban a few chapters and the reason Ban was asked to end Meliodas.

The question is just how powerful the Goddess clan is if they can promise to perform resurrection on a dead fairy.
-Despite being largely battle oriented it is surprising just how entertaining and none stagnant these chapters were; one could impute this to the manga’s manner of providing a dynamic conflict within each battle.

King vs. Helbram wasn’t nearly as repetitive as i thought it would be, instead further elucidating upon King’s connection with Helbram and the fairies; Helbram further proved his place as the victim, manipulated by Hendricksen centuries after his death to stand against his best friend.

Ban and King’s determination to fall under Meliodas’ command further cemented their place among The Seven Deadly Sins, their primary connection to the world.
Dreyfus and Griamor vs. Hendricksen was BRUTAL in a way, the eventual unity between long estranged father and son mostly short lived; it is difficult to believe that 90 chapters in Dreyfus would be worthy of the title hero, proving every bit the powerful, immovable, indomitable and righteous Great Holy Knight that we can presume his brother Zaratras was.

The Seven Deadly Sins were, well, Awesome, everyone from Diana and her earth shattering might-finally reunited with Gideon- King and the righteous anger of Chestiefol, Gowther’s ridiculous disinterest and surprising power, Ban’s bored demeanor and casual strength, and Meliodas determined rage.
Even Elizabeth had a somewhat relevant role to play in these events.

If anything we have seen so far in this arc is to be considered, the powers of the Nanatsu No Taizai world are going to collide in the coming weeks, the result behind some great revelation about important historical facts.

-If there are any negative points worth mentioning, it would be the art, which was very chaotic in some chapters, with many panels and pages very difficult to make any sense of.

RATING: 9/10
Watching their plight over the past few chapters I am starting to get attached to some of these holy knights, new generation and old, especially Guila, Jericho, Gustav and Gilthunder.
And have I mentioned just how awesome Meliodas was these past four weeks? Because he was very much awesome.
HIGHLIGHTS: The Seven Deadly Sins. Meliodas schooling Hendricksen, even for a short while, was a joy to watch.
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So this is finally it? The End?

I would really like to know what brought about this decision; Is the mangaka simply tired? Was Claymore simply not selling as many copies as it needed to to maintain publication?

Or as this all there ever was to the claymore story? Not that it matters, not one of those answers would satisfy me. And that is something I can appreciate about the so Called Holy Shonen Trinity.

That Kubo, Oda and Kishimoto aren’t likely to bring their stories to an end without exploring ever plot, subplot, mystery and myth introduced within the series long run.

Naruto seems to have spent the majority of the war arc doing just this, Edo Tensei acting as the tool through which Kishimoto could reveal all there was to his shinobi world.

One does wonder if Kubo actually had any of the intricacies of his plot planned out; or if some of Bleach’s mysteries won’t simply remain mysteries. One piece on the other will need its ten years to properly put to bed all its plots and mysteries.

One could say that One piece now is where Naruto was at the beginning of Shipudden; Naruto Shipudden has largely been the revelation story, in which Kishimoto took every mystery and inference and subplot hinted at in Part 1 and finally explored them all.

One piece seems to have began its exploration arc, in which all the legends and stories of the one piece arc introduced pre-time skip are ripped open.

THE CHAPTER:

Teresa unleashes her awakened form against a seemingly immortal Priscilla; within the throes of their battle, Priscilla comes to life, her wishes, intentions and deepest desires finally revealed.

MY THOUGHTS:

SO, Teresa is kind of awesome in this chapter, even more than usual.

I cannot help but think back to Naruto and Bleach, reading this, the latest chapter of Claymore; the most recent episodes of Naruto basically came right round, returning to the status quo as it was in the first series, with Team 7 united.

Watching Teresa and Priscilla go at it, I was transported back to the earliest episodes of Claymore, in which Teresa and Priscilla faced off, with Teresa more or less dominating until the very end, when a show of mercy proved fatal.

If Claymore must end, then I guess there can be no better end at the moment, finally bringing to a close a fight that began so many chapters back, with the question of which of these two juggernauts stood supreme and superior finally answered.

Not much happened with Chapter 154 but that is hardly a complaint, claymore providing a hard hitting and visceral battle that showcased Priscilla and Teresa at their strongest, even while subtly telling the Priscilla story and the true reason that forced her to hunt down Clare and the essence of Teresa within her, the only hope Priscilla could see in finally ending her miserable life.

The rumor is this is the end, but I am hoping for a second part to this series like most fans, one that moves off the island to the war on the mainland. With the majority of island related plots finally solved-the organization destroyed, the majority of the most dangerous awakened beings eliminated, Priscilla at her end- there is nothing left to tie our heroes to their homes.

I want more claymore, simple as that; but it seems we will not be getting any more. Maybe there is a series out their that could take Claymore’s place once it finally ends, however I am yet to find it.

RATING: 9/10

Everything we see in this chapter seems to suggest that the winged thing is Clare’s awakened form, with Teresa suggesting that her awakened state was something entirely different- which makes you wonder how the hell she would know what she looks like awakened.

This battle has been raging for quite a number of chapters, now that I think about, ever since the destroyer appeared on the scene. And not once did it get dull-if it did, I am failing to recall.

I guess other shonen battle oriented series should take a leaf out of Claymore’s book of long running fights.

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