katmic (Level 10)

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Okay, i will admit it, this was a good chapter, sort of, depending what your thoughts about Fairy tail are and what you can guess will happen next week. I will admit, my opinion of fairy tail is still quite low, considering its train wreck run in 2013.

But maybe, just maybe, we might see a resurgence in quality in the series, maybe Hiro is actually taking steps to remedy the situation he has placed the manga in; because i really want to get back to the days of getting actually excited about the series.

THE CHAPTERS- Natsu is undressed and tossed in the cell with Lisanna; the pair fail to struggle free. Kyouka continues to torture Erza over Jellal’s position. Elfman returns to Fairy tail to execute his dark deed.

Jellal’s battle with Oracion Seis comes to an unfortunate end.

MY THOUGHTS-

So the word is Hiro has began working on a new manga series, or rather he’s began taking steps to develop the new series. Apparently he spent a few months a while back intricately developing a new idea for a manga, only to come across an anime that mirrored his exact plot.

So he scrapped it and went back to the drawing board, and soon intends to launch an entirely new series, running alongside fairy tail. In other words, despite recent assumptions that Fairy Tail might be ending, rumours logically launched by Hiro declaring his intentions to start a new series, it seems that this new manga will be running concurrently, alongside Fairy tail.

I guess that says something about Hiro, that he has the ability to draw two manga at the same time each and every week (we still don’t know about the timeline of its release). The mangaka already proved himself skill wise in 2013, releasing nearly 120 pages within a period of two weeks, each of which was drawn spectacularly..

I might also point out that Oda (one piece) needs to put in 21 hours of work each day of each week to produce an average of 21 pages every seven days. I guess Hiro somehow makes things look easy.

Looking at this news, one has to wonder if Hiro might be bored with Fairy tail- which is an acceptable attitude, drawing the same manga and writing the same story for all those years- and is simply searching for something different to excite him as a mangaka.

Then again if that was the case all he would have to do is end Fairy tail, which isn’t happening soon- i think it was early 2013 or late 2012 when he declared that Fairy Tail was actually only halfway its run, so yes, we have a ton of Fairy tail left to read.

-Anyway, if it seems like am getting distracted, am not, its just that there isn’t much to say about these two chapters. Now am almost certain that Silver is future Gray, with the way he treated Lisanna and the comment he made about Natsu.

This would be the second time a considerably powerful being that had no connections with Natsu was acting with a sense of familiarity with him, the first being Zeref. Which begs the question if Silver and zeref aren’t connected somehow.

The mystery doesn’t really intrigue me all that much, unless the revelation turns out to be something completely out of this world. And Erza’s torture session is running on a little too long, maybe necessary to allow us a glimpse into how twisted the demons are, but not worth all those pages.

And as would be expected i have no intention of getting excited about how chapter 368 ended, not with Fairy Tail’s track record. If the finale of the Daimatou enbu negatively affected the quality of the arc, the events of Gray’s demise shot it through the sky, then almost immediately sunk it to the depths of the ocean.

Am i supposed to believe that Hiro has the guts to suddenly kill a character off? There is no way for Jellal to survive his current injury, not when his team is one time manipulator short. Not that its beyond Hiro to suddenly reveal Urtear as the old lady that had been trailing them from the shadows and will now burst onto the scene to to rewind time by a minute one last time, before being obliterated by her own spell.

I will admit to being pretty entertained by Jellal’s story after the time skip and i was curious to figure out what he had in mind for Oracion seis; i presume when he spoke of saving them he was actually referring to destroying the dark spirit over their lives, stripping away there intent to return to a life of crime, probably pull them into his little crime fighting guild.

Whatever the case, it is difficult to believe that he could have survived, because everything the chairman said made it seem like the third seal had been broken and that Face was coming online.

Am a little ambivalent about the situation in the manga? Should i really jump in excitement over the direction the series is taking? Sure i was caught off guard by Zero’s revival, yet haven’t we seen enough of Fairy tail to know where this is going?

And really, do we believe elfman will actually go through with his plans? Sure, everything Sayla said in the last scene we got seemed to suggest that this wasn’t a matter of blackmail, that elfman was probably being controlled, maybe even possessed- all that talk of souls and deals.

But really? Fairy tail has biased me quite a bit towards the way its plots progress and usually end. There’s never anything close to a payoff from placing faith in this manga. So i think i will reserve judgment till next week. That will tell me how epic or how lame these two chapters were.

RATING: 3/5, i won’t deny it that 368 was pretty excitement. I always make the mistake of reading fairy tail almost immediately after reading Beelzebub. And Beelzebub is almost always so awesome that fairy tail comes off as pretty bland.

Yet 368 managed to hold its own this time. Now we can sit back and see how far Hiro will take this story.

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Finding good manga on the internet isn’t really that difficult, not if you take the time to really look. What is difficult is finding good manga that’s weekly and still on going-because as i have mentioned before, i find the waiting Monthly series put me through tiresome.

That makes Nanatsu no Tazai a very rare find indeed, not only weekly, but quality shonen, both in art and story telling, indeed a contender for the top spot once Bleach and Naruto finally wrap up.

THE PLOT:>

The "Seven Deadly Sins," a group of evil knights who conspired to overthrow the kingdom of Britannia, were said to have been eradicated by the Holy Knights, although some claim that they still live. Ten years later, the Holy Knights have staged a Coup d'état and assassinated the king, becoming the new, tyrannical rulers of the kingdom. Elizabeth, the king's only daughter, sets out on a journey to find the "Seven Deadly Sins," and to enlist their help in taking back the kingdom.

MY REVIEW:>

Nanatsu no Taizai is set to take the otaku world by storm because it hits all those points that make shonen action series so awesome, and is accomplishing so much in such a short period of time.

1. The Art- Nakaba Suzuki brings a pretty interesting and unique art style to his story, not quite fluid, not quite crystal clear, yet cohesive, flowing logically from panel to panel, the action scenes so masterfully presented, somehow always creating this complete picture of mayhem and destruction.

And let’s not forget the backgrounds, not quite rich, yet alive none the less and present. I always appreciate that, an author that could do black and white walls of background but chooses to take the time to draw a tree here, a hill there, a boulder way over there.

Nanatsu doesn’t hold back artistically, and the characters are quite lively even in black and white.

2. The adventure- The first time i read Fairy Tail, part of what drew me to it was the potential for adventure, following the cast as they trekked to new lands, engaged with new characters and enjoyed an action packed quest or two.

Sadly that is far from what Fairy Tail actually is today; The Seven Deadly sins on the other is nothing but one great adventure after another, each of the arcs short, precise and allowing the story to progress to new territories, such that 62 chapters later we have gone further in the story, seen more of the Sin universe than most weekly on going series dare to reveal.

Even One piece moves at a fairly snail pace compared to The Seven Deadly sins, which is showing no signs of slowing down even with what we have seen so far. And that’s largely due to the mysteries it presents.

3. The mystery- The Seven Deadly Sins is one large awesome mystery. 62 chapters in and all we know is the known narrative of what happened years back, when the Sins were betrayed and fell prey to the evils of the kingdom.

And because we don’t really know anything, not even who the seven primary characters are, each new chapter and each new story arc is chock of revelations to questions we were asking or didn’t even think to ask. That allows the series to progress dynamically, always feeling new and refreshed, never stagnating like most weekly on going series tend to do.

The thing with such a large mystery like The Seven Deadly sins is that even a tame largely dialogue heavy chapter is bound to reveal something intriguing that builds upon the story.

4. The cast- Really, where would this manga be without such an awesome cast. First of all the series began with a single main character, who’s still as shrouded in mystery 62 chapters later as he was when we first saw him.

What that means is with each new arc we are treated to the excitement of getting to meet a new sin. Secondly each sin is so mysterious a character that each new story arc allows us an opportunity to unwrap them further, their powers, now and in the past, the nature of their treasures, their origins and relationship with Meliodas, their captain.

Each character brings a new dimension to the manga, that allows the series to shine with regards to the interactions between the sins, enabling even the dullest characters to entertain immensely. In a way this reminds me of One piece, which can survive on the interactions and shenanigans of the straw hats.

Ever character in this cast is blessed with a deep story that as readers we can only anticipate to unravel.

5. The action- This is a battle shonen manga, so really it would lose a portion of its soul if it didn’t deliver on the action front, which is does brilliantly. Any series that boasts a large cast, each with its own unique abilities is bound to impress with a diverse showing of explosive abilities.

Nanatsu no Taizai more than succeeds in this arena, probably more so than Bleach or any other series of the type because the battles are so unpredictable. There is no one primary character that gets to take on the big bosses each and every time (which irks me immensely about one piece).

In fact its disturbing how many fights in the series see Meliodas on his ass, largely on the losing side, only to have one of his subordinates sins ride in, not only save the day but completely decimate the opponent.

That aspect allows the battles to keep you engaged, because there is no one character that is too strong to be defeated. Even the Immortal Ban can barely hold his own sometimes.

I guess the credit in that case goes to the villains, the holly knights, each of whose powers is always so unique that each fight doesn’t come down to which hero is stronger than which villain, but which villain has an ability that is largely skewed against the attributes of another character that no matter how strong they are, they stand no chance.

It’s a brilliant system of battle, perfectly complimented by the style of the art, which shows the abilities off perfectly. Diana is the one sin that has most impressed me so far, though Meliodas and King never seize to amaze me.

VERDICT: Great series, without a doubt worth investing your time into. The battle lines aren’t always so clear and the plots are always complimented by the demons each character is always struggling with.

The conflict in the order of holy knights, specifically Hendricksen and Dreyfus’ factions, allows the story to shine even further, taking a different perspective of the coming holy war.

If you’re finding your mind occupied with thoughts of what you will do once Naruto, One piece or Bleach end, need something to reel you in, give The Seven Deadly Sins a read.

If i had one criticism, it would have to be Elizabeth, whose character is quite cliché, boring and largely unnecessary to the entire plot. Strangely enough the revelation about Meliodas didn’t bother me. I often roll my eyes whenever i am reading a manga or watching an anime in which the primary protagonist undergoes some sort of demonic transformation, which is overdone as far as i am concerned.

Something about this series makes Meliodas’ revelation work.

RATING: 4/5, pretty impressive so far.

HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR: Ban Vs. Meliodas (really that entire tournament), Helliobram, Mother Catastrophe.

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Freezing is like nothing i have watched before, in that no other anime has yet to try my patience as much as Freezing and Freezing Vibration.

I watched the first Freezing anime in one night, well, really, less than a night; more like a few hours of my night. Am not even sure what kept me glued to the screen, except the fact that it was two in the morning before i finally closed the chapter on an anime i hadn’t plan on pursuing further.

The question here becomes why i would bother watching an anime that kept my hand stuck to the first forward button. Some episodes i watched more of, while others were a mere blur; whatever the case if i am going to give this anime one compliment, it will be that i was that determined to finish its first season, to know what happened at the end, and that didn’t change for Freezing Vibrations-which i blew through in under two hours.

THE PLOT:>

Ever since the 10th NOVA clash, the Chevalier concluded that the NOVA were appearing at an accelerated rate; Pandora were dying faster than could be created. Their solution, E-Pandora, a project which involved normal humans without a predilection for stigmata being given the power to become Pandora. Pandora from all around the world are invited to the Alaskan base to witness the unveiling of this new project, these including Satellizer, Kazuya and Rana.

However as the trials commence, suspicions begin to rise about the true nature and efficacy of the E-Pandora project.

MY REVIEW:>

Freezing is pointless, as an anime, and i presume as a manga. It’s one thing to describe an anime as good, mind blowing even. Its another thing describing an anime as bad, terrible at that. Both descriptions say something about the anime, that it actually had elements that had an impact in some way.

Great anime leave you cheering, bad anime encourage you to rage. Pointless anime are a third category for me; if i was involved in the creation of an anime series or movie, i would rather it was bad than pointless.

Because at least a bad anime mattered, enough for me to curse its crapiness. A pointless anime doesn’t matter. It’s existence is negligible, in other words had this anime never been made, the consequences would have hardly differed, as opposed to anime that’s so bad it serves as an example of how terrible an idea can get.

-I cannot recommend Freezing for watching, i don’t think its good anime, yet i can’t say i hated it. And that’s because the series as a whole felt…unworthy of contemplation once i finished it. Three primary elements stuck out to me that sunk the show, at least in my eyes:

--Claymore- yes, Claymore, as in Freezing me reminds me a heck of a lot of Claymore. I watched a video recently on YouTube where a reviewer was expressing disinterest in watching Hunter X Hunter not because it was bad but because it reminded him too much of Naruto.

Now he admitted that the two shows likely had nothing to do with each other, no plagiarism had occurred in creating either stories and at their core both stories were different. Yet he simply couldn't get over those elements of the story that so repeatedly regurgitated memories of Naruto (which the reviewer is a big fan of).

Now am pretty sure this particular reviewer managed to overcome this confusion as the last video i watched from his channel was raving about the Phantom Troupe arc.

Good for him, bad for me, because Freezing isn’t anywhere near as good an anime as Hunter X Hunter and the similarities seem so much more egregious that i couldn’t help mentally pausing scenes to point out action A or character B who was nothing if not a direct facsimile of some of my favourite characters and moments in Claymore.

Now i cannot say whether or not Freezing actually took any cues from Claymore; people like to use terms like inspired. But really, how can anyone who’s read claymore enjoy this show. I spent the last hour of Freezing season one wondering why the invasion reminded me so much of the war in the north, why the act of several super powered girls going crazy from a deluge of energy suddenly seemed so familiar, specifically that one scene at the end where Satelli has to transform (sort of) to defeat a superior enemy, only to come under threat of losing her self to transformation, moments before her limiter came to her rescue, pulling her back from the brink of destruction with a few sweet words. (Let’s see, Clare, Raki, awakening, Lion king…no, i won’t say rip off).

I want to say that i have come across such situations before, where anime seemed to bleed into each other. But even as comparisons with Naruto threatened to ruin my enjoyment of Brave 10, the series managed to stand above those similarities.

If i could have flash backs, then that’s what so many scenes, characters, fights, plots in Freezing Vibration triggered in me.

--Petty- Seriously i cannot be the only one astounded by the pettiness of Freezing. The first time i watched Muv Luv i was fascinated by how nationalistic beliefs could push people to act in ways that threatened humanity’s survival, if only to benefit the purposes of their races.

Freezing leaves me astounded at how so many of its characters will expend energy, life, fighting ability to engage in petty fights in the light of an actual threat beyond the borders of the academy.

Now granted this was a much more egregious occurrence in the first season, which left me fascinated at the idea of a school spending considerable resources to train what are supposedly rare Pandora's only to permit them to murder each other within school grounds for silly reasons.

Am sure there are Otaku out there enjoy that, but the irrationality of it all simply irritates me. As a result most of Freezing as a series feels largely petty; it seems like any Pandora/Alien battles are restricted to the end of each season, which leaves me questioning the idea of a plot summary that promises super powered girls Vs. alien battles, instead delivering multiple and extremely petty Pandora Vs. Pandora fights.

If you must have an anime that has to have its girls fight each other repeatedly, do not set it during an Alien invasion; because for all intent and purpose, if Satelli and company are what pass for their last line of defence, the earth is all but doomed.

--Fan service- I am apathetic to fan service, in most cases it neither positively nor negatively impacts my anime viewing experience. Fan service is a problem in anime that choose to over emphasize its presence at the expense of story.

I have probably complained about this somewhere with regards to fairy tail, which has ruined its last two or three arcs because of badly placed fan service completely ruining scenes that should have been much darker.

Demon king no Daimyo had some potential, could have been a great anime, at least in my eyes; but it was ruined by pointless ecchi and fan service. Freezing had 12 episodes in which to put its best foot forward and tell a great story. It instead chose to pour most of its energies into fan service, which took up nearly half of all viewing time. And they are surprised that the fickle story they had in mind played out even more half assed than planned?

-I will admit to sticking with the original Freezing anime for action’s sake, but even that did little to interest me in Vibration; the characters felt…flimsy and fickle, the plot contrived, and have i mentioned before just how DUMB the name Satelizer is, only matched by the dumb primary protagonist it was assigned to.

VERDICT:>

As far as i am concerned Freezing has nothing praiseworthy to offer, which leaves me confused as to why i watched it all the way to the end. Season 2 pretty much reworks and reproduces the events of season 1, with one or two nuances, primarily the characters, new and old.

I might afford a compliment for Satelizer and the pseudo character development she achieved, but even the revelations of her past were more odd than intriguing, with a disturbed villain of a half brother that somehow managed to receive forgiveness and redemption at the end of the short arc.

With Freezing Vibration, i would say, Why bother? Watching the series isn’t likely to affect you negatively, but you will not miss much if you never pick this up.

RATING: 2/10, that was one lame finale. What the hell was Kazuya’s role in this season? And here i thought he was the main character. I still don’t understand the title Freezing; which is something that irks me, anime whose titles have absolutely nothing to do with the story, more like randomly chosen, awesome sounding names.

Freezing Vibration is the second season of the Freezing anime, aired from October 4 to December 20 of 2013. The 12 episode anime was produced by Funimation entertainment, Media Factory and A.C.G.T and is categorized as Action, comedy, drama, ecchi, martial arts, romance, Sci-Fi, Harem, Military, Seinen.

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It’s great to read manga series like Beelzebub, the kind that, after a few weeks’ break, can return with such a bang, only portending great things for this year.

Everything we read last year seemed to suggest that the manga had began winding down, and this chapter further cements this possibility, that battle lines are finally being drawn on all sides, humanity is finally waking up to the presence of demons, and demon kind has finally come to a precipice of change.

I am excited to see where this arc and future stories lead; Manga like Fairy tail could really learn a thing or two about how to write an arc that so explosively details the forces of good and evil clashing in violent battle.

The stakes have never been higher.

THE CHAPTER: With Kunieda and Furuichi cornered by the shadows, the pillars of behemoth descend, choosing Furuichi as their contractee, to carry out their will in battle.

Takamiya and Nasu make attempts to prevent Fuju’s advancement in the face of a secret plan to bring his tyrannical intentions to an end.

Oga’s retreat is cut short by Satan’s power.

MY THOUGHTS:

Beelzebub had a few less than stellar moments in 2013, debilitating the momentum of one of its stronger arcs with some luck lustre material; the finale of the America arc however did more than simply make up for these failures, the manga taking leaps and bounds in its attempts to bring the Oga/Solomon company conflict to a head, the mysterious establishment’s insidious intentions beginning to rise to the surface.

As far as basic battle shonen series go Beelzebub is proving to be one of the stronger series of the year, at least within these first few days of the year, this chapter allowing us a glimpse of just how dire Solomon company’s mistake was in pushing for a result they held no power to control.

I guess what has allowed the last three chapters of Beelzebub to shine, basically the pinnacle of the manga so far, is how far they have gone in showing us Fuji’s power, the lengths to which he’s willing to go to completely dominate Ishiyama.

I will admit to being somewhat surprised, learning that the mysterious fellow controlling the shadows wasn’t Fuji’s disciple but Lord Satan himself, Fuji’s demon. You cannot fully appreciate the impact of this revelation unless you understand the context within which it was made, that the one person Oga and team could have collided with during their retreat was a demon of such reputation as to make Lucifer quake.

-I am beyond ecstatic to find out how this conflict plays out. The stakes really have never been higher. Having watched Takamiya bring Ishiyama’s power to its knees with a few cracked knuckles, there is something about watching him fall to Fuji’s most casual assaults that brings the threat level home, that Nasu, who struck fear in the hearts of those that once threatened Oga’s pseudo rule, would appear so powerless to contend with this force…the last chapter said it accurately, FUJI IS JUST A MONSTER.

-Is this the best arc yet? Even superior to the New Saint Ishiyama arc which had me on tenterhooks? By far. Maybe its just me but i like following shonen series that know how to properly tip the scales against their heroes, creating an enemy that can truly test the protagonists’ mettle, shatter it and start scratching at the scraps at the bottom.

RATING: 5/5, with Oga out of action, probably the best part of the chapter was watching what might be Furuichi’s moment. ‘The one was meant to rule…’ that’s what the pillars said.

Have i mentioned just how epic this arc is turning out to be?

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Maybe the title didn’t really make it all that clear but NOBLESSE IS AWESOME. And i know, nothing really life changing happened, not in these two chapters, not in any dramatic fashion, not in terms of any deep philosophical character scarring manner.

No, this is a battle manga and as far as battle manga go, Noblesse stands up their with the best of them, more or less unrivalled at the moment; and i know, some Breaker fans just got irked. But i haven’t read Breaker in a while so i cannot comment.

And since i don’t read Naruto or One piece or SNK (the only rivals i can think of at the moment that, as battle manga, might challenge Noblesse) Noblesse is undoubtedly the best battle manga out there at the moment.

It is only those that haven’t been following this series from the beginning that will fail to get a kick out of this arc (then again maybe i am too quick to pronounce judgement, since i am yet to read this week’s Magi, or even Beelzebub which has been nothing short of amazing these past few weeks).

THE CHAPTERS- quickly wrapped things up with Roctis, whose daughter fled but not before unleashing Muzaka, the ancient werewolf lord, from his tank.

Muzaka unleashed his power against Rai who, assigning Frankenstein the task of protecting the children, continued to defend against the overwhelming strength. The two squared off, Rai revealing to Muzaka that his memories were frozen centuries ago, at the moment of their last battle, Muzaka paying these remarks little heed and continuing his assault against his oldest friend, that is until Rai’s ring broke.

MY THOUGHTS-

My excitement over Noblesse is such that i am taking extra care to think about what i am going to write in this review, otherwise i might end up ranting on and on for several pages on end.

Looking at both chapters critically, it wouldn’t be wrong in saying that nothing really happened, most events having little impact on the story. Ignes proved herself the greedy little brat she has always been, interested in little more than the soul weapon she had inherited from her father, or so she thinks (boy, will she lose it if Roctis managed to take it to the grave). The kids remained unconscious as usual (the series really needs to find these guys something to do beyond their usual damsel in distress role). Frankenstein was discarded by his master, well, not discarded but simply prevented from doing what he wanted to do most, fight in Rai’s place, who continued to wantonly burn life force.

The werewolves learnt of their master’s presence, revealing to us that they thought him long dead, which was sort of interesting. Then they retreated, leaving Muzaka to battle Rai, the best part of both chapters.

That last panel in chapter 311 had me squirming in excitement to find out what would happen next. The last panel of this chapter 322 had me scratching my hair out in frustration; that is how irritatingly impatient i am to see this battle through to the end.

We now know that Muzaka is Rai’s oldest friend, also a werewolf lord. We still don’t know where the werewolves used to hang out.

It’s possible Muzaka is as old as Rai, possibly a noblesse himself for the werewolf race, which would mean that this battle’s about to take a mind boggling turn. The pair spoke of an unknown object as old, if not older, than them, that they seemingly fought over.

The last memory Muzaka has is his battle with Rai, which makes me ten times more curious about what really happened 820 years ago. We know Rai isn’t walking away from his unharmed, if Frankenstein is to be believed and its Muzaka that put his master into a state that forced to undergo his centuries old sleep.

Yet i cannot wait to see what Rai becomes when fully unleashed. NEXT WEEK’S CHAPTER IS GOING TO BE CRAZY.

RATING: 5/5

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