katmic (Level 10)

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Strange, 203 was another fairly comedic chapter, but one that i somehow managed to enjoy. Rather than immediately skipping to Balbad it seems the author has chosen to chronicle Alibaba’s story at a much slower pace, allowing use a glimpse at his steady progress, mentally and physically, with relation to the events around him.

If there is any purpose this chapter served, it was to further the relationship between Morgiana and Alibaba, what with Alibaba initially displaying depression over Olba and Toto’s relationship-specifically the fact that Olba had acquired a girl friend before him- Olba getting him to come to the realization that Mori might have some feelings for him, Aibaba and Mori finally having a ridiculous heart to heart within which Morgiana thought she was getting Alibaba’s promise to stay with her forever, while Alibaba thought Morgiana had just confessed her feelings to him, and that the two where now an item.

I think Alibaba is shaping up to be my favorite character, because this isn’t the sort of chapter i would enjoy, one that more or less does little to progress the story. Yet it was difficult to read it without smiling, especially at many of Alibaba’s absolutely hilarious reactions and facial expressions. There was that one scene that seemed to say quite a lot about Morgiana, that despite all they had been through she still felt insecure in her position, uncertain that, once they became the truly important people they were meant to be, Aladdin and Alibaba would have place for her by their side.

It was a funny and heart warming chapter. I hope the next chapter finally leaps into the action and gets this arc going, but i still enjoyed this chapter, slow paced, allowing for a more realistic take on the events of Magi; after all no one’s life can actually jump from one explosive event to another.

RATING: 4/5

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When i think back to my earliest days of watching anime, It is shows like Black blood brothers that come to mind; taking into consideration the anime that first molded my thoughts on anime, i remember watching the trailer to this series, along with the first Full metal alchemist movie, and basically feeding off of screen shots and Wikipedia pages to satiate my hunger for anime.

I was really looking forward to watching black blood brothers the first opportunity i got to watch anime and, watching it sometime later, i have to say i was disappointed that the anime that was portrayed in the trailers wasn’t the anime that i got.

THE PLOT:>

Ten years after the Holy War in Hong Kong, Mochizuki Jirou, the Silver Blade, the hero who fought and defeated the Kowloon Children, the losing his lover in turn, returns to Japan with his young brother, Mochizuki Kotarou. The two quickly discover that the Kowloon Children who survived the Holy War are seeking to infiltrate the "Special Zone" , a thriving vampire city protected by an invisible barrier that will not allow their entrance unless invited.

The term red Bloods refers to the humans; Black Bloods are the vampires, and the Mochizuki Brothers are Old Blood, the last descendants of an elite clan of vampires. When Kotarou is abducted by one of the Kowloon Children, Jirou has no choice but to fight once more.

MY REVIEW:>

This is why i do not trust trailers. Black blood brothers painted a a pretty false picture of what the series would be about. Or maybe it is my expectations that where too high. I was expected something more than what i got, a dark supernatural story, filled with ancient vampires that, rather than mere immortality, where endowed with a myriad of super powers with which they waged war.

I was expecting dark and gritty stories about ancient noble clans engaging in war against the corrupted Kowloon children, of a powerful hero in

Jirou, extraordinary even among the vampires, and the skills he could unleash with his silver blade. Black blood brothers wasn’t any of those th

ings. Sure we got a love story, about Jirou and his relationship with the ancient vampire than sired him into an ancient and noble clan, their best friend’s betrayal which then led to her death, instigating Jiro’s sorrow and thirst for revenge, even its link to his brother Kotarou; but it feels like something was missing.

Most of those stories were not really fleshed out and i cannot say i felt the impact of Jirou’s past and these old characters from his past that made the rarest of appearances.

Even the cool vampire characters with even cooler powers that i was waiting to see never really materialized. Instead Black blood brothers turned out to not be nearly as dark as i expected, with very little vampire atmosphere; maybe it was the cheery attitude and the bright colors that just didn’t work for me. Truth be told i was expecting something within the realm of Hellsing but better (i didn’t enjoy that anime either) or even something similar to Blood+.

Black blood instead proved to be quite lackluster; the comedy was…alright i guess, yet very unnecessary and most of the time the characters felt like the had absolutely nothing to do besides wondering about and getting into all sorts of trouble. And the vampire action was simply…lacking.

As far as vampire series go, this is one of those that just missed the mark for me; sure there was a decent attempt to weave a decent mythology, yet the series failed to develop the story to its full potential, making for a very mediocre finale, with very little resolved.

Fortunately the animation was top notch and so was the music, very fitting for a vampire story. But other than that, it was just episode after episode of Jiro, Kotaro and their human guide Mimiko running around. I loved some of the political aspects, especially the bit about the special Zone, a special city within a human citymonopolized by vampires, and the lord that is empowered to lift the invisible barrier than guards it against the advent of Kowloon children by opening his constantly closed eyes.

Seriously i can see where this show could have gone, the maintenance of a city wholly occupied by vampires, the struggle against the evil and savage Kowloon-basically rabid vampires infected by a virus; but the series simply didn’t expand on these aspects.

RATING:>

--Animation- 4/5.

--Story-2/5.

--Character development- 2/5.

--Music-4/5

--Overall-6/10- could have been better, should have been better.

Black Blood Brothers is a 12 episode anime adapted from a light novel written by Kouhei Azano, illustrated by Yuuya Kusaka between 2004 and 2006, running for 11 volumes and six short stories. The anime, produced by Group TAC and Studio live, was directed by Kiroaki Yoshikawa and released in 2006.

Highlights- The battle of Hong Kong, introducing Jiro’s character as the Hero of the war with the Kowloon children, was pretty impressive, and so was the first scene in the present day, on the ship transporting Jiro and Kotaro to the city. It was strange that Jiro’s weakness was water.

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Finally Magi makes a return after its two week hiatus, and truth be told i feel a little underwhelmed by its first two chapters. Not that they were bad; but i am just that impatient to get to the summit between Sinbad and Koeun.

But i suppose things are going to be slow going for a while now; i mean we haven’t event gotten back to Balbad yet, and once there who knows what mischief Kouen is going to get up to. It might be up to ten chapters before we get into the thick of the arc.

THE PLOT:>

As the summit draws near Kouen sends a delegation to Sindira, requesting Alibaba and Aladdin to escort him and his house to the meeting point, the rules set and which bar the use of metal vessels within the vicinity of the meeting point restricting the entire party to the sea. Sinbad smells a trap, Kouen possibly attempting to wring the secrets out of Aladdin before the summit. Alibaba volunteers to make the trip, Toto, Olba and Mori volunteering to accompany him.

Along the way Alibaba is dogged by fears and doubts over returning to Balbad. The crew is confronted by pirates armed with weapons from Magnostadht; after expressing loyalty to Alibaba, Toto and Olba are accepted into into his household by Amon, defeating the pirates with their new found powers. Aladdin gets a new wand.

MY REVIEW:>

Two decent chapters, each furthering the story in its own way. Chapter 201 set the pace for the approaching summit, with kouen showing his devious side. We can expect considerable chaos at the summit; because even if Sinbad believed that Kouen craved knowledge too much to try anything with Aladdin even if he had gone to Balbad with Alibaba, he doesn’t believe the empire will approach the summit without its metal vessels as promised.

And with Kouen set to sabotage things with his arrogance, and Sinbad putting counter measures in place, we can expect the confrontation we have been waiting for between Sinbad and Kouen. The question is what does Aladdin have to tell these two that we don’t already know? Sure we know what happened with regards to Alma Toran, but i have a feeling Aladdin is going to reveal more on that day than has been told to us.

The question is how Hakuryuu and his corrupted Magi will fit into the arc; technically hakuryuu isn’t evil, after all he wants to destroy the Ko empire, which would serve the world’s interests. The problem will probably arise with how he chooses to go about it.

It was interesting watching Alibaba doubt himself, regarding how he might have abandoned Balbad; but more so his fears about reaching home and finding that Balbad has prospered without his assistance. It was an honest desire he expressed, the need to play a part in his home’s prosperity and future and how haunted he was by the idea that the opportunity had slipped by as he journeyed with Aladdin.

Now Alibaba has his own household, or at least the first three members of what should be an interesting crew. I look forward to watching this young prince develop and grow, mentally and physically as Aladdin’s chosen king.

RATING: 3/5, decent amount of story, though i am anxiously anticipating the coming summit.

Highlights: Olba and Toto.

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ANIME:
--Beast Saga- This anime is atrocious; or maybe i am being too harsh, though i am starting to think that the person who recommended it to me on theinternet was trying to be funny. Beast saga takes place in a distant galaxy called beast. So basically a world inhabited by talking humanoid creatures, divided into the land, sky and water tribes, each fighting for an elemental power called Godlot.
This anime reminds me of the sorts of shows i used to watch as a kid on Nickelodeon, which probably explains why i found it to be quite silly.

--Danball- This is another fairly childish anime that i initially took too seriously, taking place in a future dominated by LBX’s (little battle experience), tiny robots used to do battle in virtual environment as full sized robots. The story follows two kids that enroll in a prestigious academy on an island specializing in teaching its students mastery over LBXs, while allowing them topartake in a world war in second world, a virtual world built under the school.
With the kids divided into platoons/teams, each class representing a fictional nation and holding its own assets, second world was apparently created by the UN to bring about peace by simulating how another world war would progress with advanced technology.
The series does little to explain how figuring out the progression of another world war would somehow help avoid it. It makes little sense to me, especially the importance of LBX, though it seems elevated to the level of sport, which sort of adds some logic to the anime. None the less it comes off, four episodes in, as badly done mecha, with victory in battle coming down to the power of the machine rather than skill and strategy.
And the main characters are irritating. Despite its childish tone though i will probably continue to watch danboll, whereas i dropped beast saga on episode one. It is strange though that this anime is compared to the football oriented Inazuma 11, which i actually enjoyed.

--Asura Cryin- It has to be more than two years since i last picked up, dropped, picked up again and dropped this series a second time, each time finding myself unable to retain interest in the story it told. Or maybe it wasn’t the story but the characters. I have said it before that i do not mind recycled plots andcharacters so long as they are presented in a new and refreshing way.
Asura Cryin had this ridiculously clichéd hero surrounded by these even more ridiculously clichéd female characters that tended to drive me into a rage. With my third viewing though, i seem to have developed a higher tolerance for these elements, the story following a high school kid that receives a metal box from his older brother, within which is contained a weapon that many consider too fearsome to loose outside their own control, making our protagonist the target of many an attack.
And then their is the mystery regarding the female ghost that has been following him around for a few years now, which might not be a ghost after all. The story is decent, though five episodes in i still find myself fast forwarding over certain moments that either seem too silly or which i have seen played out in the exact same manner over and over and over again in other anime.
Highlights: Beast saga; i am actually thinking of going back on my decision and watching it. There were moments that were so silly they proved almost entertaining.

MANGA:

--Ubel Blatt- Having to decided to give Noblese a break this week, i came across Ubel blatt, which tells the story of a group of 14 warriors commissioned by the emperor to defeat an enemy called Wirtschtech, monstrous and in possession of great magic (more like alchemy as it is said to manipulate science and technology to bring about miraculous events). Three a slain on the way, four betray their cause and switch sides, while seven achieve victory, defeat the evil that threatens the medieval land and eliminate the four lances of betrayal, forever branding themselves as the seven heroic lances that would go on to achieve great power, wealth and near god like status, second only to the emperor.
The story kicks off at a period in time when Wistchtech has returned and, with the people looking to the seven lances for their salvation, a new figure arrives on the scene, one gifted with great skill, mysterious black blades, youth and a secret that threatens the order that the seven heroes have created; as the last of the so called lances of betrayal, this man in a boy’s body seeks to reveal the truth about what really happened years ago and who the true heroes and betrayers of the war were, secrets that put the scarred fellow against honorable foes that seek to perpetrate this lie if only to protect the peace the heroes have brought about.
With the 20 chapters i have read so far, Ubel Blatt shows potential for greatness, with the hero of the series having to traverse a world that worships his enemies while loathing those like him that actually gave their lives for humanity. Being a seinen, the series is filled with lots of gore and nudity. This far in, i think i will give it another 20 chapters before determining if it can take advantage of the potential it has shown so far; because lots of shows display great potential and lots of shows fail to take advantage of that potential.

--Aphorism- This manga is crap, the first i have dropped in quite a while. The premise was so inviting, the story following ayoung boy that enrolls at a prestigious high school, only to realize that those chosen to enter its doors, having chosen the individual name that will define their power, will have to spend each and every day partaking in one monstrous trial after another, only those that survive the year receiving the opportunity to graduate from the institution and escape its horros.
I think there was mention of the apocalypse, a floating island in the sky responsible for unleashing the horrors against the school and how it was the students’ duty to defend mankind by surviving each and every day of there school life. There was potential; or maybe the problem is my expectations, because this wasn’t the high school of the dead i was expecting it to be. The manga simply couldn’t ratchet the fear and anxiety high enough; the art was mediocre and, while it was a good idea for each chapter to follow each new day of monster madness, the story wasn’t captivating.
I expected this to be a survival story on the level of Attack on Titan. It proved way too tame, despite the gore.
--Full contact- another series that came highly recommended, following the story of a kid that is shot down by a girl he confesses to because she only dates strong guys, forcing him to enroll at a dojo and enter a world of karate that leads him down many a battle. I guess i can see the appeal…no i cannot. And six chapters of boredom proved that.
Oh and the art is severely lacking. I cannot see how some of these sites assigned Full contact nine whole stars. I think i am done using these review sites as a means of determining what is good to read.

--Fairy tail- I still cannot get over my disappointment for this chapter. I thought that with the passing of time my thoughts on itsevents would change, but even my excitement over Laxus’ awesomeness cannot change the fact that the chapter did an atrocious job of introducing Tartaros as the big bad villain of the story. I still cannot get over how a demon of zeref could lose in three strikes. I really hope Hiro knows what he is doing with this chapter. God knows we are in need of a great arc after the fairly lackluster ones we have been having.
--Magi: The Labyrinth of magic- Finally Magi is back, with a fairly tame chapter opening up this new arc. Very little happened, yet it was still entertaining, with everyone taking steps to get to the meeting point for the summit between Kouen and Sinbad. IN this chapter Kouen summoned Aladdin and Alibaba to be his guides to the meeting point, clearly a ruse to acquire Aladdin and all he knew before hand. Alibaba chose to go in his place. I suppose we can expect a clash when Alibaba and Kouen meet in his kingdom, what with the arrogance Kouen has been known to display.
Highlights: nothing stuck out for me this week. I should have just read Noblese.
Anyway that was my week in manga and anime. What was yours like?

Mod Edit: Takashichea - 11-3-13

Removed fan scanlation watermarks.

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This came sooner than i expected, a disappointing fairy tail chapter three chapters into an arc that had so much potential. Anyway, i do not know if you are reading this review after having read this fairy tail chapter or prior to it (which wouldn't make sense); but if it is prior and you are in the middle of opening that scanlation site to get to reading the chapter, i suggest you stop and run to Crunchy Roll instead.
If you have spent your Otaku life pretending to cry over your inability to show your appreciation to your favorite mangaka by accessing their their material officially, well you can no longer use the excuse of accessibility, at least not with 30 odd titles, because Crunchy roll now officially offers manga for your legal viewing pleasure, the company having entered into business with Kodanchi, which produces titles such as Fairy tail, Attack on Titan and Mysterious girlfriend X.
In other words you can now view these manga titles legally, giving back to the mangaka that deserves to receive compensation for the work they do, a simple matter of paying a measly $7 monthly subscription that will then grant you access to Fairy tail and more. Even if you wish to make the argument of finances Crunchy roll has on offer accounts free of subscription, limited especially in the sense that you can only view the most recent chapters, yet offering you all these titles legally for free. And again you are giving back to the mangaka, because free accounts come with ads that the company uses to compensate the mangaka.
So the next time you pick up Shingeki no Kyojin, see to it that you are doing so through the right means, otherwise you might lose your claim over the title Otaku. Besides, with crunchy roll you are getting the chapters at the exact same time they are being released in Japan; i would assume that to be a good thing if i knew the exact difference in time of release between Japan and the rest of the world. Anyway, Fairy tail….
THE PLOT:>
Laxus arrives just in time to save his team and Yajima from Tempest. The two do battle. Laxus takes Tempest down in three hits. Tempest, surprised at the level of power conflicting with him, explodes into a black mist that proves detrimental to a mage’s health, seemingly destabilizing one’s magic. Tempest flees. Laxus sucks the black mist in before it can spread to the town.
The gang somehow returns to fairy tail. There lives are saved. Natsu declares war…
MY REVIEW:>

There are two points that i wish to make:
---One- this was an irritating chapter. Seriously Hiro spent the first two pages setting Tartaros up as the sort of enemy Fairy tail has been waiting to face.Earlier chapters even augured the possibility of this new arc taking place on a much grander scale. We saw Kyoukai decimate the entire Succubus eye guild, allowing us a glimpse of her true power.
Jackal massacred the entire magic council; and yet while allowing us a glimpse into the exact nature of Tartaros neither of those tasks were necessarily that impressive. This chapter, Tempest’s fight, was supposed to be Tartaros’ true test, to show to us just how badass they could be by going up against fairy tail. And all this chapter did was convince me that Tartaros falls far below Grimoire heart in rank.
I get it, Laxus is strong; but, three strikes? Really? That is all it took to take a demon of Zeref down? THREE FREAKIN STRIKES? I don’t know what Hiro is playing at with a chapter like this, but all the expectations i held for Tartaros as the true villain Fairy tail was waiting to come up against have gone out the window. But seriously, we are talking about a demon of Zeref, how does something supposed to be so powerful go down so easily. I didn’t need Laxus to lose, but i at least expected a fight of some sort, not what i saw in this chapter.
I was so excited about this new arc; but it seems like we are heading back into Daimatou Enbu territory, lots of build up, lots of potential but no payoff of any kind.
---Two- looking back on it now, 24 hours after reading it, this chapter wasn’t so bad. I was disappointed when i first read it, but a careful look at the chapter allows for some redeeming qualities to emerge. For one thing Laxus was awesome in this, technically being the strongest mage in Fiore outside of the masters and the four gods, having beaten Jura- and the four gods do not seem terribly strong considering how weak Warrod seemed; though we have yet to see him in battle so there might be more to his skills than meets the eye.
Besides, what would be the point of reading a manga that progresses along the exact same path that you would want it to? That would make it awfully predictable; the best manga are the ones that keep throwing you curve balls, that do the unexpected. So maybe it could be a good thing that Laxus prevailed; i hate shonen manga that follow that predictable route where team hero is trounced by an incredibly powerful foe, only to counter attack in the second half of the arc after acquiring some random and convenient power ups.
So maybe what we have isn’t a superior foe but an enemy on fairy tail’s level, allowing them to battle on equal terms, without relying on silly power ups. It depends on what Hiro has in mind, and maybe i will try to trust him with this arc. I just hope there is no aetherion or magical fires or energies for Natsu to consume, because i am tired of all these Fairy tail arcs ending the exact some way.
I came across some comments saying that this chapter indeed raises the stakes, that Fairy tail will eventually come up against Tartaros but with all their heavy hitters like Laxus, Mira Jane and Erza eliminated from the board, leaving the weaker members to contend with overwhelming odds. I hope that isn’t Hiro’s plan because i hate such stories, where a villain is only invincible because the strongest the protagonists have to offer happen to be absent.
It’s the reason i hate Gildartz’s absence. Because no matter how powerful a foe is you cannot help but think that Gildartz would wipe the floor with enemy A or B if he were present. I want an enemy that is powerful all around, a threat whether he is dealing with Lucy or Makarov.
What Tempest said was interesting. Just like a cat it seems he has multiple lives, because he killed himself to perform that attack.
RATING:> i cannot decide if this is a 1/5 or 4/5; so i will leave it unrated and decide on its quality based on future events, whether this leads to greater things. Natsu’s declaration about going to war felt weak. I would have hoped that by the time Fairy tail rose to stop Tartaros it would have been after taking heavy losses.
See my last review on ch. 357.

Mod Edit: Takashichea - 11-1-13

Removed fan scanlation watermarks.

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