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Ever encountered a panel in a Manhwa that was a so gobsmackingly awesome that it made you skip with excitement? Because that last panel of chapter 350 got me more excited than I have been for the next Noblesse chapter in a long time.

THE CHAPTERS:
Regis and Rael find themselves on the losing end of a deadly fight; and just as Grui and Gaitan prepare to bring the duo to a violent end, a ray of hope emerges.

MY THOUGHTS:

Let’s not waste too much time with chapter 349; 349 wasn’t that important; it wasn’t bad, but the best parts came at the end, when Regis finally became a badass.

Let’s be honest. The last time Regis looked even remotely impressive was back when he was still a mystery and we hadn’t met any other nobles.

Since the Lukedonia arc, Regis has taken so many beatings that he has been reduced to an irrelevant side kick.

That is until the end of chapter 349. I have said this before. Noblesse works because it knows exactly what it is: a shonen manhwa.

It can be funny when it wants to be, even tragic, but at the end of the day Noblesse is all about the action; and that final transformation of chapter 349, when Regis finally activated Regasus, well, it was like being transported back to the earlier days of Bleach, when Ichigo first went Bankai.

Chapter 350 was perfectly complimentary to the final moments of 349; Noblesse seems to have finally found its groove in an arc that has been a little shaky.

349 might have felt a little clunky with the fights, but 350 was crazy, the panels finally reacquiring that fluidity we have come to expect from Noblesse; though it was the choreography that really did it, the awkward yet entertaining manner in which Regis’ strength and Rael’s speed came together to overcome Grui.

But again, all this doesn’t matter, because that last panel…RK4 is finally here, and despite all my reservations about how misused they are, the way they always need saving, that last panel somehow managed to convince me to expect more this time.

Maybe it was the Bleach like poses they struck, the confidence with which they approached the battlefield, the fact that we are getting to see them fight so soon after their training…I have every reason to expect them to fail, yet I am still expecting ballistic stuff from next week’s chapter, if there is a chapter next week.

RATING: 8/10. 349 was a little tame for my tastes. However chapter 350, well, that is what I have come to expect from Noblesse after 300 chapters: none stop, off the rails action.
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There has been a lot of news coming out of the Naruto world ever since its finale was announced two or three months ago; a marketing ploy that has worked if only to keep the word ‘Naruto’ in the limelight.

With the manga finale behind us, there has been a lot of talk about the future of Naruto, a ton of rumors about what we might expect and a surprising amount of criticism about the series' continued run next year, most of which seems somewhat uninformed.

But before that:

+The Naruto Finale
There are a lot of things that could be said about the Naruto manga Finale, but satisfying isn’t one of them. Even considering the positive elements of chapters 600 and 700, the final moments of the series were ridiculously rushed, with so many plots brushed under the rug and numerous characters and villains either forgotten or relegated to one or two panels near the end.

Which makes you wonder, why the rush? What about Shonen Jump’s plans had them determined to end the manga series at a perfect 700 chapters?

Complain as one might about the length of the final arc, Naruto as a series would have been better served had the final moments of its run, even the final villain been assigned to a short, separate 15-20 chapter arc, bringing the series to a close in a slow steady manner.

Are we really supposed to believe that Kishimoto was so tired of drawing his manga that he made the irrational decision to end the long awaited Sasuke/Naruto clash in five chapters? No, it doesn’t make sense, or maybe I am giving the mangaka too much credit.

Whatever the case, it happened, nothing can change that. And while the rush cannot be forgiven, we can show appreciation for a kickass final battle, specifically the hand to hand elements.

Giant and flashy attacks are fine and all, but there is something so much more visceral about two shinobi beating the holly hell out of one another with their fists.

There is every chance that, no matter how these events played out in the manga, the anime is going to make these final chapters the best we have seen in Shippuden.

RATING: 5/10, a massive Naruto fan I might be, but I wanted so much more out of this finale than Kishimoto actually gave us. That being said, there is a rationale to the way that final fight played out.

Considering the fact that the Fourth Great Ninja war Played out over a period of four days, and taking into account the enemies they have encountered in that time, could we really have expected the fight between these two young shinobi to last any longer?

More importantly one has to appreciate the poignant dialogue presented in the exchange between Naruto and Sasuke, Kishimoto using very few words to say so much.

+The Future
It’s happening, we are getting more Naruto. And you are either going to rejoice at the idea or curse.

Either reaction makes sense. If you loved the original series, then the Bolt Story cannot come fast enough.

If Naruto irritated you to the core, then you cannot understand how anyone could waste so much time, money and effort on another 100 or so chapters or even episodes of the series. Otaku are divisive beings with diverse opinions. And to an extent it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.

Rather than wondering what the fandom (and haters) think, time would be better spent trying to understand the logic behind carving out a few more years of Naruto. A better question would be this:

-Does Naruto Need/Deserve a Third Series?
The number of people all too ready to jump down Kishimoto’s throat at the mere idea of a third Naruto series is staggering, many of them choosing to hate on the manga before they even have the chance to read it.

Who cares if Kishimoto has spent the last 15 years writing Naruto and has shown, on numerous occasions, that he has what it takes to produce some great material? What does it matter that Naruto has managed to hold onto its position in the top 10 best selling manga of each year for 15 years where many of its rivals have risen and then fallen away?

Kishimoto is just a greedy bastard that cannot see further than his paycheck, after all, right?

Why all the hate for a story Kishimoto has even yet to write? The answer is pretty simple. Dragon Ball GT

-Dragon Ball GT VS Naruto
Akira Toriyama was the first so called greedy bastard that so many comments on YouTube speak of, a talented mangaka that supposedly sold the soul of his greatest creation in an attempt to extend the already over-extended Dragon Ball franchise beyond its breaking point.

The obsession with Dragon Ball GT is baffling; it was bad, yes, but the idea that its existence somehow proves the folly of anime and manga continuing longer than they must is erroneous.

Why are so many people expecting the third and final Naruto series to suck? Because Dragon Ball GT sucked.

But let’s be clear here. The comparison between Naruto and Dragon Ball is ridiculous; they might share a few similarities but these two series are completely different from one another.

Yes, Dragon Ball GT sucked, but who didn’t see that coming? The fact that Dragon Ball Z managed to succeed is nothing short of a miracle. Akira’s entire concept has always been flawed, at least in the context of long running series.

When you base a story on fighting, when its core is heavily dependent on the creation of epic battles, there are only so many places you can go before running out of room. Every arc finale in Dragon Ball Z ended with Goku achieving a power-up of such weight that you knew the key to the success of Akira’s next arc lay, not in his ability to tell even more engrossing stories, but whether he could create an even more powerful villain, which would necessitate an even more powerful Goku to emerge.

Guren Lagan understood that once you began down this ‘Who is the most powerful?’ road, there would be no stopping; which is why it went all the way, creating galaxy and universe sized mechs within its 24 episode run.

Dragon Ball kept riding this train for more than 300 hundred episodes; and the result was GT.

Because when you think Dragon Ball, the only question you can ask about any upcoming movie/series/story is: who are they going to fight next?

And like Bleach, whether or not GT succeeded came down to how well Akira could answer this question; once you have fought mercenaries, you have to move on to aliens, androids, super saiyans, and now gods. And once he defeats the gods and becomes the greatest of them all, then what?

The flaw in dragon ball is clear; there is an obstacle that Akira cannot hope to keep overcoming.

NARUTO ISN’T DRAGON BALL. It has never been about Naruto Uzumaki becoming the strongest there is. Nor have any of the arcs ever focused upon creating the most powerful villains the series has ever seen.

Naruto has what DB GT never had, a story and great characters. And every jutsu created, kunai thrown and action scene drawn was only ever purposed to tell Naruto Uzumaki’s story, not his rise to power per say, but his attempts at finding peace in the ninja world, and saving his friend.

Kishimoto has every advantage going for him that Akira Toriyama never had with Dragon Ball GT.

And there is one important factor that so many people seem to forget:

-Bolt
It would be difficult to accuse Kishimoto of pushing the Naruto series past its expiration date when the Naruto Manga we are expect to see next spring won’t even be Naruto.

We all need to understand this: Naruto ended this year, 2014, on chapter 699 (with chapter 700 playing out as more of an epilogue). Excited as some of us might be about the return of Naruto in a few Months time, the next time Kishimoto’s work hits the internet, it won’t be Naruto.

Instead the focus will shift upon Bolt (Boruto), Naruto’s son, and a whole new generation of shinobi. Even with Naruto and group making an appearance every once in a while, the Naruto story is over. 2015 is bringing us a whole new story, one that Kishimoto can be trusted to succeed with if you consider the skill with which he authored Naruto Part 1. And with a whole new cast and an ENTIRE WORLD to explore, the comparisons with Dragon Ball GT more or less lose weight.

-So Does Naruto deserve another series?
Well, let us consider what the future of Naruto has in store for fans. Kishimito intends to tell a minimum of four stories revolving around characters like Kakashi, Shikamaru and Gaara; there is every reason to expect these side stories to entertain, especially with regards to further expanding the Naruto universe and plugging a few holes and gaps in the series.

The anime is expected to continue past chapter 700, under the direction of the same writer and director that developed Naruto: Blood Prison. Which allows for a sense of optimism. Blood Prison was a decent animated movie, very grounded in the Naruto universe.

Beyond merely adapting the novels to screen, we can probably expect to catch up on Naruto’s life between chapters 699 and 700, at least for a few months, allowing Kishimoto enough time to finish the third installment of Naruto, which, according to interviews, is expected to be a mini series and will not run for more than 24-30 chapters.

There has been no indication of a closing date for the Naruto anime, which means it could continue even past the Bolt mini series.

Whether or not this is a good thing is difficult to tell; at the rate at which the anime is progressing (taking into consideration the upcoming filler), Shippuden should reach chapter 700 by the time the first chapter of Bolt’s story hits the internet, which makes one cringe at the thought of the amount of bad filler we might have to endure.

Yet, there is only one thing you can take away from this; Naruto isn’t a one trick pony. There is clearly more to the story than Madara and giant chakra beasts. The victory against Kaguya was just that: a bad guy was beaten.

Does that mean the shinobi world stopped moving? Is their peace the world over? Clearly not. You wouldn’t suggest that the defeat of Hitler somehow brought the hard times to an end, and that the world has been enjoying peace ever since.

Of course not. There is still turmoil and drama and chaos.

IN a similar manner, Kaguya was one person. Life continues. Naruto has spent the majority of its run within the confines of the hidden villages. What do we even know about the real world in the Naruto Universe?

Nothing, that’s what. There is still so much story left to tell; it just won’t be a story about Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura.

+EXPECTATIONS
The anime has a lot of potential, specifically when it comes to closing all the holes in the Naruto story and providing us a glimpse of events yet to be explained, starting with the filler in January which, if the internet is to be believed, will chronicle how the Konoha 11 became Chunin and Jonin, basically covering the gap between Naruto part 1 and 2.

A recent interview with Kishimoto also further unraveled the mysteries of the upcoming third series. And if the translations are to be believed, Orochimaru and Kabuto are going to be the final villains of the mini series, essentially capping off the remnants of old Naruto stories and putting the previous two series to a final rest.

If Kishimoto can provide fans all the answers he promised and failed to deliver in the final arc, then the new era of Naruto seems set for greatness.

It is worth keeping in mind that, for us anime only fans, Naruto hasn’t yet ended. We are still marching forward with the final War arc; so maybe this question of Naruto’s future is fairly irrelevant to us until we actually wrap up with the Naruto story
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The only thing wrong with this chapter is the fact that this dynamic duo of Hakuryuu and Judar is going to be defeated by Aladdin and Alibaba.

It is expected; they are, after all, the heroes of the series. Yet, It becomes difficult to stand behind Aladdin’s idealistic dreams and Alibaba’s indecisiveness, not when faced with the realistic and somewhat incisive approach that Hakuryuu and Judar bring to the table.

THE CHAPTER:
The battle against Gyokuen comes to a close. Kou has a new emperor. Hakuruyuu and Judar set their eyes upon the rest of the world.

MY THOUGHTS:

That was unequivocally brutal. Say one thing about Magi, say that it never really holds back on the gore and despair when it needs to cement a point.

This is it; the point when Hakuryuu and Judar finally became the central villains of the story.

Sure, there are a lot of negative things you could say about Kouen and his ilk; yes, few other characters in the series are quite as conniving and untrustworthy as Sinbad. Yet none of these characters have truly given themselves over to depravity, not when compared to Hakuryuu.

One might say that the Magi story just turned onto a new path this week; Hakuryuu finally got his revenge, and in a most brutal fashion, especially when you read this chapter together with the last panels of chapter 249, where Hakuryuu tears the flesh out of his mother’s neck with his teeth, with Gyokuen then lumbering towards the salvation waiting beyond the boundary of the barrier, only to fall to Judar who hands her life to Hakuryuu.

That Hakuryuu could kill her without a second thought, unmoved by the sorts of silly tricks so many heroes tend to fall for in the very last moment, shows his resolve.

That he understands the depths of his intentions, the blood he will have to spill in his conquest means that he is unlikely to fall to the sweet words of Aladdin and Alibaba about right and wrong, the evil of his path and any salvation they might offer.

Simply put, Hakuryuu is the perfect hero turned villain; there are no forces pulling his strings without his consent, which means we are unlikely to run into another Obito situation.

He is fully aware of his own madness and accepts what he must do to accomplish goals that, to an extent, even he realizes are wrong; which means his clash with Aladdin will more or less come down to a last man standing type situation, where Hakuryuu and Judar must be put down lest they bring the world to its knees.

Magi has created a situation so perfect, with the rising conflict between Aladdin, Hakuryuu, Kouen, Sinbad and Al-Tharmen, especially with so many of the lines so blurred, that it would be difficult for Shinobu Ohtaka to ruin this arc.

She doesn’t even have to deliver deaths on any scale to create a satisfying conclusion to what might be Magi’s last, or at least one of its final sagas.

+RATING: 9/10, Judar never seizes to surprise, specifically how far his character has come, with each chapter continuing to compound upon just how reliant the Magi is on his friend’s madness.

Hakuryuu is the soul mate Judar searched for and failed to find in Sinbad, which probably has something to do with the fact that Sinbad is so much more mature than Hakuryuu and thus less likely to succumb to Judar’s darkness.

Gyokuen will be missed; she showed the sort of madness and resilience few villains have manifested in anime and manga.
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  Boku no Hero Academia has some pretty erratic releases; I begun expecting these chapter on Saturday, however that schedule seemed to shift to Sunday.

Now we have chapters coming out as early as Thursday; and not just one chapter but three, with the results not being very pleasant. I had to read these three chapters several times over.

In some cases the translations were that bad; other websites had the pages completely out of order, so much so that I would get to the last page only to realize that it was actually page one, and I had most likely encountered the end somewhere in the middle. 

It took sometime to track and finally read chapter 20. For some unknown reason, several websites kept uploading and then removing this chapter. So much effort to read manga these days.

THE CHAPTERS: All Might’s arrival throws a wrench into Tokamura’s plan, with the so called artificial human still unaware of All Might’s weakness, that he strands at the edge of his strength, running on fumes and nearly out of time.

MY THOUGHTS:

This wasn’t much of an arc; more like a mini arc.

It was barely 8 chapters long, which isn’t a bad thing per say. Because you really couldn’t say that they rushed things. 

Yet, for its first major arc, the manga could have done more to extend the length of these events, possibly making something more out of them in terms of story and character development.

+The Good
Despite the brevity of the arc, there was no shortage of tension, with each chapter continuing to build upon the threat that the alliance posed against our young heroes.

This was further augmented by the fact that we all understood perfectly the limitations of All Might, that he stood mere minutes and possibly even seconds way from running out of juice and getting the Holly Hell kicked out of his ass.

In that regard, these three chapters were more of a bluffing game, with the secret to All Might’s victory lying in his ability to defeat Noumu, the biggest threat of them all, at which point he could use his seemingly immovable figure to intimidate artificial human and group.

All in all, a well choreographed battle, the fights short but strategic in bringing across the risk in each situation and the heroism of each character.

Todoroki and Bakugou were pleasant surprises, and the fact that they actually played a role in the salvation of their hero allowed the entire situation to play out in a much more satisfying manner.

Of course none of this would matter if Noumu was not such a terrifying beast, seemingly indestructible with his absorbent/regenerative abilities. Knowing that he was indeed more than a match for the weakened All Might really made the stakes so much greater.

+The Bad
This arc could have continued for another six or seven chapters, and I don’t think anyone would have accused the mangaka of dragging these events out.

There is so much more that could have been accomplished; yes, the mini arc indeed managed to get a select few things done, specifically highlighting the abilities and personalities of the young heroes.

Yet it was almost abrupt in the way it brought events to a close. And then there is the fact that Tokamura, the villain at the center of the alliance, did nothing whatsoever to justify the fear he seemed to generate upon his first appearance.

Not a wasted appearance since he survived the skirmish, but it would be difficult for him to be regarded with any sense of fear now.

RATING: 7/10, it was a decent enough end to the invasion for a shonen manga, but it could have been better.
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Chapter 107 was a little anti climatic; I was expecting more of a show down between the Sins and the Six Stars of the Azure Sky.

But they pretty much just accepted their imminent defeat and ran away.

Shame. Then again maybe we should be commending Seven Deadly Sins for its insistence on breaking some basic shonen formulas.

THE CHAPTERS: The Six Stars of the Azure Sky challenge the power of the sins. The King portends a great disaster approaching the new kingdom of the South.

MY THOUGHTS:
‘A Beast With the Likeness of A Mountain Shall Awaken.’ ‘Three Heroes Shall Stand Up against it.’ ‘And Darkness Shall Bore A Great Hole Through the Land’.

It is interesting to note that the king’s premonition isn’t one single statement but three separate sentences, which might refer to three different premonitions that might or might not be connected.

I thought we would spend a little more time with the fairies but I can’t complain, because things in Liones seem to be so much more interesting.

The arrival of the Six Stars of the Azure kind of reminded of Fairy Tail, specifically after the end of the Phantom Lord arc, when we thought we had seen the best that Fairy Tail had to offer, only for Laxus and his group of considerably strong and powerful mages to arrive on the scene, rather conveniently after all the fighting had died down.

I remember being rather excited about the addition of new characters to the fairy tail roster and story; I don’t know how anyone of note could have missed the chaos that was happening in Liones, especially a Holy Knight as powerful as Denzel, but the addition is welcome.

Truth be told I expected Meliodas to tear his way through the obviously weaker Dogget and Wayeo, only for Death Pierce, seemingly just as weak, to pull off a miraculous win.

Which makes you wonder why the trio was even at the ceremony in the first place. What are the chances that Dreyfus and Hendricksen weren’t as evil as they were portrayed to be.

What are the chances that Denzel, the deputy Great holy Knight could be the man behind the curtain, the true villain; it is worth keeping in mind the words that the trio used, about Hendricksen and Dreyfus falling into depravity, a term often used in Magi, speaking of a descent into darkness as a result of some external force.

Hauser, Griamor and even Gilthunder seemed unwilling to believe that Hendricksen would fall so far, which makes you wonder. Do we even know what is going on in the world of the Seven Deadly Sins, what the real stakes are and what the ultimate goal is?

Because, if you think about, Hendricksen’s reasoning for summoning the demon clan, that the times of peace were stretching on for far too long and he needed to give the Holy knights a new reason to fight, is kind of dumb.

There are any number of ways he could have given his subordinates a new purpose in life without putting the world at risk; hell, they could have quit and traveled the world. Clearly the entire globe cannot be at peace.

Whatever the case, Deadly Sins has my attention for the foreseeable future.

I was somewhat amused by Hawk’s Balor’s Eye ability; it was like Seven Deadly Sins was finally starting to bathe in the scent of the shonen formula, the core of which is not only excessive power-ups but a quantification of ability into a numerical format.

Some people hate them; I like them. When they are adhered to strictly, they make comparisons between characters that much easier and can add to the stakes of battle, especially when the difference in power level is clearly demonstrated.

If we are to consider the information provided in chapter 107, then Merlin is the most powerful of the sins, followed by Meliodas, Diana, Gowther and finally Hawk- though the chapter didn’t consider King and Ban.

Taking the details of their stats into account, Diana is obviously the most physically powerful, while Merlin stands unmatched in Power. Meliodas not only excels in physical ability, only second to Diana, but he also boasts the greatest spirit. While Gowther kind of stands in the middle.

Then again Gowther did dismiss the importance of power levels in determining true strength.

RATING: 7/10, we are finally heading to Camelot, which means more Arthur. The world of the Sins is continuing to expand, and it seems like this new arc might exclude King and Ban, unless their activities with the fairies somehow tie into the coming threat.

Considering the premonition about the three warriors, we can assume that Meliodas and Merlin are heading to Camelot where they, along with Arthur, will fight to save the kingdom.h
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