katmic (Level 10)

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I will watch quite a lot of anime in an average month. Chances are, i will hate at least half of what comes across me in a week, but when recounting or talking about these anime that have failed to pique my interest, it is a rare moment that i will actually say that all of them sucked.

Sure, there are some that i think are purely garbage, but most of the time, even if i hate an anime, that doesn't automatically mean that i think it sucks.

By that, i mean that i understand the idea that the reason an anime might not appeal to me might be due to taste; in other words, i am able to recognize that an anime is good, but that it simply isn't my cup of tea.

An example of this is Berserk. I have tried my hand at berserk in manga, anime series, and even the movies that were released a while back, but i just can't get my self to enjoy it. Frankly i dislike berserk, and i wouldn't recommend it, yet i cannot actually say that it is bad.

I can recognize the quality of the berserk story, the complex characters and their situations, the actions scenes and everything else that berserk has to offer. I see that berserk is quality manga and anime, simply not my cup of tea.

Other anime like sengoku collection fall in a different category, in that they are just bad. I don't think it is matter of my tastes, but that they simply suck.

This book, the magicians falls into this category. For a while i thought it was me, i figured that considering how long it had been since i last read a book, it had to be that i simply needed time to get into what might simply be a complex story. Further reading proved me wrong.

THE PLOT:>

There are smart kids, there are those that stand out even within the smart kids and excel at a different level. Then there are those that are on a whole other level of intelligence, so much so that they must be separated into a completely different class.

Quentin cold water is one such genius, born to destroy academic records and exam scores. He is one of the best, along with his best friends James and Jane.

But Quentin is unhappy, and not just because he loves Jane but she chose James. Life just has no meaning. He wishes he could escape into the world of Fillory, a magical world created in a famous series of books about a couple of orphaned children that escape into a wardrobe to a magical land where they must fight evil.

At the beginning of the book, Quentin is preparing to attend an interview with a very important man that will see him admitted to a very prestigious college. Except that when Quentin arrives at his office, he finds the man dead and two letters, one for him and the other for James.

With interview over, James chooses to ignore his letter while Quentin, after a few hours of thought, decides to see what it was the letter had to say about him.

This one act leads him to the entrance of Brakebills, a magical school sealed away from the world, that teaches young budding minds the arts and sciences of magic, in an effort to groom them into full blown, egregiously powerful magicians.

This is everything that Quentin ever hoped for, to be around boys and girls on his own mental level- they are all geniuses- to enter a world where magic, his fond hobby, is a reality and where he can experience his wildest dreams.

But what Quentin doesn't know is that there is more to magic than meets the eye. More than mind numbing lectures, exhaustingly complicated theories and ridiculous spells, there is a darker side to magic, a side that there teachers have tried hard to keep hidden from them, but which eventually breaks free from their confines and rears its nasty head.

And when Quentin eventually begins his journey down the true path to magic, he will learn that there is more to the silly stories of his child hood, and that fillory isn't nearly as fantastical as his logical scientific mind pretends to be.

MY REVIEW:>

Why do i think this is one of the very worst book i have ever read, besides grapes of wrath? Simple really.

Quentin Coldwater

- Wow, i hate this guy. He is as bad a main character as they come. This is a recurring problem for me in anime. Any anime story strives to have you empathize with the hero, so when they hurt you can feel their pain, and when they struggle you can root for them. SO when i come across anime with great stories but terrible main protagonists, i cringe. Because usually the story is really good, but if you can't cheer on the main character, and he takes up most of the screen time, it is completely impossible to enjoy the story.

Quentin is a horrible, hate worthy character. He is just whiny and miserable. First off, he only gets to brakebills because he is miserable. He hates his life basically and he wants some excitement. So he gets to a world where the magic he has practiced for so long is real, and for a while he is on top of the world. But it doesn't last.

First of all, he can't help but complain every time he has to go back home, which he acts like it is the worst thing that could ever happen; mind you he doesn't have a bad life back home. for all intent and purpose Quentin has what some would call an enviable life, yet he acts like, because it is devoid of magic, it is a worthless existence that he cannot wait to cast off.

Then we get to Quentin some time later, when the excitement has worn off and he suddenly finds himself right back to where he began. He is miserable, and even when he has the most enviable life out there, he can't help but moan on and on about how worthless life is and that he needs more.

It's kind of like that one guy you may or may not know, who has it all, socially and economically, but he is always the one person that will not stop complaining about how bad life is; which makes you wonder what he would make of your own less enviable life.

Quentin is like that times hundred. He never stops whining. Things never get better, even when they are getting better. He is never satisfied, always looking for the next high. How can you not hate a guy like that?

Frankly i was tired of reading about him by halfway the book. The only time things lit up was when he took a beating from his girlfriend. Basically the man is so full of himself he can't see anything else.

THE STORY:>

Wow this story just didn't work. Basically THE MAGICIANS was harry potter fused with the chronicles of Narnia. And when i say 'basically', i mean 'actually'. Quentin is a 'miserable' kid that finds himself at a British type school in a fantastical world that will teach him to do magic.

You have all the different classes and eccentric teachers that break down magic into a science. Quentin comes across an unlikely group of students who, through a series of incidents, morph from antagonistic enemies to great friends.

Fillory has children orphaned by the war, are taken in by there uncle and find a magical world in a wardrobe where they must fight an evil queen. Oh, and the four of them become kings and queens, but they can only stay for so long before being sent back; until some of them grow old (into teens) and can't cross into Fillory anymore.

Seriously, tell me that wasn't Narnia. The idea isn't a bad one, as the author admitted subtly admitted before. Here we have someone trying to bring popular fantasy into the modern age.

The kids-who later become men- in this story are as modern and hip (if that is even still in use) as they come. The story is much more mature, with strong violence, sex, nudity and serious profanity. Basically the author is trying to show us what the story would be if told from what he believes is a realistic point of view and in the modern age, because even harry potter whose story took place in recent years, mostly occurred in old Victorian Britain.

The author does his best to show these characters through the lens of an average kid in an average American college, with all the drinking, partying and sex, mixed in with magic. It has actually been described as harry potter for a mature audience.

And you would think that that would make a compelling story. Even the whole Fillory bit seems interesting, with the darker tone he takes with this even more fantastical world that Quentin discovers to be real.

It should be good, but it isn't, because this guy Grossman sucks as a story teller. I will not say a thing about his writing, but as far as story telling goes, he simply sucks.

First of all, all the excessive drinking and profanity seemed extremely forced and unnecessary. it reminded me of all those anime that would chop head and limbs off and display guts just to shock.

He tried too hard to do 'modern' and failed., specifically in these areas:

1. Narration- I really, really, really hate authors that tell you a story rather than show it to you. Imagine you are reading a book in which person A gets to the starting line and he must then walk down a path to target E. But he doesn't know he will come across obstacles A-D, so as he goes down the path, he encounters these four obstacles, each of harder than the other, but D especially bad, before he finally makes it, miraculously, to target E.

That, what i just wrote, i exactly what Grossman does over and over again. He tells us rather than show us what Quentin and company are doing. Sometimes, he will have Quentin undertake or face a task or obstacle that not only proves to be more challenging than anything the book has shown so far, but will display a new side of the story and impact the overall plot in the future. And Grossman will introduce it, break it down and wrap it up in two paragraphs. It is ridiculous. A good writer/book will show us person A arrive at the starting line, then show us through person A's own eyes or another, how he meets this tasks, perceives them and gets through them to get to target E.

Now he doesn't have to do that again and again, especially if you have multiple obstacles coming the character's way. But once or twice will do,to help build the world and give us a better understanding of it.Grossman doesn't do this. Basically he is a bad story teller. Just consider this. In this book we see Quentin traverse across six years of school; he undergoes training in a variety of classes in magic, each of which varies with each new year and is so well described that you could believe that it was an actual subject. Then you have all those teachers, new and old, each of which might play a role in Quentin's school life. Each year ends with a couple of tests, practical and theoretical, that test all that Quentin has learnt, at the end of which he does their equivalent of a dissertation.

Then there is the magical game that all of magic Dom is into, some sort of giant chess with magic, that Quentin not only participates in but which his school decides to take part of, when it comes to a world wide tournament in which they battle all other schools of magic in the world. After this Quintin joins the real world and…you will have to read it for yourself. Point is, all that takes place in a mere 488 pages of a book. The last book i read was A Storm of swords by George R.R Martin, and he does less, so much less in fact, in nearly 800 pages.

And it is all possible because Grossman will sometimes switch from story telling to narration, where by he simply tells you what happened rather than show you, Basically he is showing you a birds eye view instead of a an up close perception. Grossman had a good idea, maybe even a good story (debatable), he just didn’t know how to tell it. And that leads to the second problem.

2. Characters- Most of these characters are as miserable, self entitled, self pitying, cynical annoyances as, and if not more than Quentin. The way Grossman works is that he will introduce a character and basically tell you as much as he possibly can about who they are and their characters, without including spoilers. That just seems lazy. But you would think that it wouldn’t be necessarily bad, since at least it gets some of these revelations out of the way so that we can focus on the character without wasting time analyzing them to find out who they really are. You would be wrong, because these guys are as dull as paint. Grossman simply doesn’t use them actively, in that they never get to do anything where we might see these descriptions made by Grossman play out; sometimes it is easy to assume that Grossman simply lied about his own characters.

This is how i think a good book should do it. It should introduce new characters, say as little about them, then put them into situations where we the audience can analyze and determine who they actually are by simply seeing how they act and react to situations. Rather than telling me that person A is short tempered on their first appearance, how about you show him being short tempered and let me make the conclusion. It makes the story so much more dynamic. Either way, these characters, Quentin chief among them, sucked.

3. The plot- there was none, the plot that is. This bloody book was completely and utterly aimless. I am not saying i need to see a magical hero that goes on quests and stops evil. I am saying that i need a main protagonist that has an objective, a mission, a purpose in life; funnily enough, that is Quentin's objective in this entire book is to find mission and purpose in life. I should have known the first time he wishes out loud for some evil to defeat or damsel to save now that he has magic. Other than asking the very relevant question of the point of magic in a normal world, he does nothing what so ever.

This is what the book does for nearly 250 pages; it shows us Quentin living a normal life, Quentin finding magic, Quentin learning about what he is going to do in magic school, that is just in the first 30 pages. Then it spends the rest of the 150 pages showing Quentin in school, doing normal school things like meeting new people, new teachers, learning new subjects, practicing magic, doing exams. That is all the first 70% of this book does. When i say that nothing happens, i mean nothing happens. It is seriously infuriating, and only in a way you will understand if you read this book.

ON so many occasions, Grossman tricks you into believing that he is going to break the mold, change things up by hinting at something new and sinister, possibly even a conflict, and each time he casts that opportunity aside and nothing what so ever ever develops. IF that doesn’t seem too bad, let me mention that time a BEAST FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION enters the classroom one fine, completely normal afternoon. We have two pages of tension in which nothing happens-on the students side- and when it all ends…well, that was the end of it. Man, was i pissed off.

This book had no plot from the beginning; this was its biggest and greatest failure. It didn’t know what to do with itself until the very last chapters.

4. THE MAGIC--- seriously, how the hell do you mess up magic. That should be the easiest element of fiction of that kind; at the very least if all else fails, you can draw in the fans with magic. While it is no longer a factor in what books i read, i love reading about magic in a new book, mostly because even when it is the same, it is always somehow different. I loved the magic in Eragon because even thought it was all fiction, there was a logic to it and i was and experimental.

Magic in this book isn’t bad, it is vague; you never really know what it is, or how it works or what is done with it. Grossman spends too much time explaining too many theories and facts about magic to make it interesting. He chose to break it down into a logical science, and instead convoluted its very nature to the point where i couldn't tell who could do what and why. More importantly was how rarely it was used. So you would think that if the book had no plot, then Grossman’s draw would be to show fans some wonderfully fantastical elements for our heroes to explore. But there was so little magic and when it was involved, it was so vaguely described that i couldn’t even begin to understand what they described had just happened. Sometimes i even missed the magic completely.

On hind sight i realize that in normal cases, i wouldn’t have bought this book. Because it takes some money to buy a novel, i like to be careful about what i buy. I have bought books before that have turned out to be trash and i have regretted wasting the money. I will take time to research about a potential book as thoroughly as is possible without getting the book spoilt for me. I will mostly stick to reviews, and here i am not looking to see which book has the best things said about; i always glean some truths from the words of those reviewing the books, truths and factors that help me determine if the book in question has what i need to entertain me.

Why am i explaining all of that? When i put this book down, i considered that maybe it was meant for another type of audience, maybe younger, maybe more mature, maybe more intelligent; so i looked it up like i normally would before buying it, and i was convinced that it wasn’t my tastes that were the problem. There was nothing but scathing reviews for this novel on most sites i went to. People simply didn’t have good things to say about THE MAGICIANS.

The belief is that since this book was a setup for the second novel in a series, that Grossman was simply putting things in place before embarking on a grand journey. Well he can take that Journey alone, because after THE MAGICIANS, i have no intention of reading anything that follows.

I hate seeing wasted potential, where a good story with good ideas are executed so badly. If you read this book and it isn’t to your tastes, you won’t just dislike it, you will hate it. That is the feeling it incites in me.

The last time a book annoyed me was Eragon, and i didn't even dislike Eragon, it was just those several parts in every chapter were Paulini would waste entire pages making excessive and completely unnecessary descriptions regarding details that were so irrelevant. I would make the excuse that he was young, but when he would do this at points where the story was at a fever pitch, when his endless details simply stalled the story to a point where by the time we returned to the point, i had lost all my excitement, even that excuse fails.

RATING: 0/5

THE MAGICIANS is a 2009 novel by Lev Grossman and published by viking press.

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WARNING: THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I have been reading hungry joker ever since it began last November and I have yet to be disappointed. yet it is manga readers that are disappointing, with their lukewarm reception of this manga. Seriously, if shonen jump wants to see better numbers for hungry joker before determining to keep it in serialization, maybe they should consider making shonen jump weekly available in Africa.

Then again it all comes down to votes, which means we can also do our part to ensure this manga stays afloat.

THE PLOT:>

Chitose has been working as assistant for a brilliant scientist and boy genius only known as Haiji. Haiji is a cold straight forward, direct speaking intellectual whose only interest is in the unknown and undiscovered. Haiji has a secret. He doesn’t know who he is or where he came from.

His earliest memory is standing on a field of shining corpses, with a creepy looking man in black watching him from a distance. His name, Haiji, was given to him by those that found him. Haiji seeks to find out who he is and where he came from.

Chitose is his ever faithful intern whom he drags into his crazy experiments. One day, because of his expertise, Haiji is called to a crime scene. Someone died gruesomely and more importantly, by the time the police arrive, they find the corpse shining/burning. This acts as a link for haiji to his past and that one memory that might explain who he is.

Here begins his journey into the world of the Eureka and the Mavro. Eureka are devices of truth, that are said to possess great knowledge about the world and eventually, God, and have been used in the past by great and well known men and women to develop and create life changing mathematical theories and biological, physical and chemical break throughs, the likes of which include Einstein and Newton.

These great persons possessed an inhuman ability to glean the truth behind the object. Special people like Haiji have the ability to glean this truth in a way that unlocks some truth about them, in the form of a great power or ability.

With Haiji, his Eureka is the black apple he was found with back then. A single small bite of it bequeaths to Haiji incredible gravity powers of a very devastating nature. The apple will heal each bite haiji takes so he can never fully consume it. One bite endows this ability to haiji for a specific amount of minutes.

Two bites increases not only the period of time that he can use the ability but also the level of power. But the more power he uses the greater the damage to his body, so he must learn temperance, even when faced with danger. When Haiji access this power, his eyes change. The second time he faces off against a marvro, haiji is able to lift an entire building off the ground and hold it in the air while he and the marvro fight upon it. Even when he would leap off it, he was able to maintain it in the air.

The word marvro translates as the army of the black gods. They are superhuman beings with great powers that see humans as nothing but insects who they will destroy eventually.

White joker is a powerful organization of eureka users that fight the marvro. Haiji joins white joker to stop the marvro, but mostly to learn more about himself.

MY REVIEW:>

I can’t stress enough how awesome this manga is. The problem is how fast it is going. I am not complaining, it isn’t really bad, but you can tell that the mangaka is afraid he is about to be cancelled and it is like he is doing everything in his power to make a difference, or at the very least end things on his terms.

In the last chapter we had discovered who Haiji was, a marvro, and that the man in black in his memories was his brother. This isn’t something we would learn normally for another 40 chapters, but whatever the case, it was an awesome revelation.

I just love watching Haiji. He is so direct in his speech and actions. He is kind of like a Sheldon (big bang theory) of sorts, in that he doesn’t understand normal convention. He will also say things that most people are thinking but won’t say.

Most things that amaze and confound normal people won’t even affect him, and most times, he will treat danger like an experiment, never really showing that he understands the fatality of a situations.

ON other occasions however, the most mundane things, incidents and events and objects that most people wouldn’t give a second thought bring Haiji to excitement and laughter. The best moments are when other more normal characters are reacting to haiji’s directness. It manages to be hilarious.

But my absolute favorite character is Allan Blackman, member of white joker and Haiji’s immediate rival. Allan wields the hammer of Archimedes and he comes off as cool a character as they get. He will challenge monsters and enemies with cool one liners and face danger without batting an eye.

And he will deliver, except that he usually does so with absolute fear. Inside, Allan is a coward and hungry joker will show us his inner thoughts along with his external attitudes and the two are always in conflict. He is a joy to watch.

Hungry joker has a very consistent and progressive story. it is also very well paced, with each new marvro fought revealing another peace of the puzzle. As expected we keep getting new Eureka and users with each passing mini arc, but each new character is a necessary peace in Hungry joker’s puzzle and they bring something new to the table as members of Haiji’s team.

Then there is chitose, who haiji will treat with disregard but whom he admits he greatly needs, even going to so far as to admit that in the six months she has been assisting him, he has made more progress than in the last few years he has been experimenting, especially with the apple; though he doesn’t know why her presence has made so much difference since she is a mere human, and when she quits, he coaxes her back by telling her that he would like to investigate more, to find out why she makes his work so much more successfully, with the promise of using his power to defend her against the very threats she quite because of

MY RATING:> Perfect 5/5

I would recommend this manga for everyone. It is only 17 chapters, so it is easy to catch up; the art is fairy average, but the battles are unique and well illustrated.

I intend to review this manga, so a quick recap is in order. We now know that Haiji’s real name is Barscheit, and that his brother is the one that took away his memories and apparently separated his blood. Nothing that haiji remembers is real.

Haiji likes to experiment on others, but it turns out that his brother was doing an experiment on him. he mentions their mother who was worried about Haiji, but apparently haiji exceeded his brother’s expectations in the power in has gained.

Dodomekis, the creepy dude that poisons beautiful girls, kills them and keeps them as maids survived Haiji and Nils’ combined Eureka attack, but Haiji’s brother is less than pleased with his defeat and annihilate him.

It seems like he can bend space to his will. There is that line he delivers to Dodomekis, who asks him if he would sends him back to their home, and he answers that ‘Sure I will send you back, I will send you back starting with your stomach.’ and then he opens a portal of sorts in his stomach, which spreads out and devours him.

You had to see the expression on his face to realize why that line was not only cool, but it established this guy as the big villain here. Dodomekis came off as more creepy (disturbingly) than evil.

Two events have impressed me so far. One was Nils’ grandmother, who is found dead in a labyrinth of mist surrounding a city, with powerful illusions of creatures to defend the mist and destroy intruders. After the sad event of finding his grandmother dead, I thought It was heartening to know that she was the one who had set up the mist; because she couldn’t beat Dodomekis, she instead chose to seal him in with her dying breath, because she knew just how dangerous he would be.

Then there was Allan and haiji and that combination attack they did with the apple and hammer; the destruction was just sick.

A worthy mention is the first ever battle, where the villain and haiji are fighting atop the building, and the marvro is about to take Haiji down without realizing that all that time, Haiji had been moving the building and it was now over the water. The expression on the marvro’s face the second before Haiji dropped them all into the sea was priceless.

After a few days of reading I have had to admit that assassination classroom is amazing (and hilarious) but Hungry joker is definitely the best new manga of this year.

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Internet related maintenance is making inserting these images the normal way too slow and difficult, so i have gone with copying and pasting, so it might seem a bit disorganized.

Now just to be clear these are the top five anime and manga that I have happened to come across since the year began. This isn’t taking into consideration every anime and manga released since the year began.

More importantly, while the title is best anime and manga of 2013, this isn’t actually limited to anime and manga released in 2013, merely anime and manga that I happened to have only watched since January 2013, whether it was released this year or a decade ago.

Now that that is done, First, the anime:

1. Project K- Six men have acquired the power of the swords of Damocles, becoming kings, individuals with great power, which they can share with their clansmen, members of their clan that have chosen to serve them. While a tense truce has held peace between these six parties for a great period of time, the emergence of the last, the colorless king, leads to chaos and conflict brought about by nothing more than misunderstanding.

By no means is project K the most intriguing anime out there. The story is neither the most sophisticated or the most complex; but what it brings to the table is thrill. It took me one single Sunday to start and finish all 12 episodes of Project K that I had. That is how eager I was to devour each and every episode that came, and that is far from normal. I like to stretch my anime out over several days, especially if it is good. The one thing I will give Project K, better than anything I have seen so far, is the animation, especially in the beginning; the strangely dream like yet crisp look of the show was impressive.

I am sure that when I give it proper thought I will be able to determine all the shortcomings and weaknesses of this show, but as of right now, when all I want is more, I would rate this show with a 5/5

2. Magi of the Labyrinth- Aladdin is a magi who teams up with a former prince and dungeon capturerer Alibaba, and the powerful slave Morgiana as they go on adventures to conquer dungeons, free more genies and seek out answers to the true nature of Aladdin past.

Magi is one great adventure, or at least it looks like it could be. With Magi, I envision another one piece of sorts, a story that will last for years to come, with impressive twists, reveals and breath taking yet surprisingly dark stories. The character are not only fun but refreshing, though I don’t know how long Magi will last, with the unfortunately rapid pacing with which it is shown.

I would rate Magi with a 4/5. It has definitely captured my attention for this year, and I can only expect it to get better. though the animation can detoriates greatly in some episodes; but the fact that it doesn’t debase the quality of viewing is a testament to how good this show is.

3. Psycho pass- Anyone that has watched this show knows how good it is. I was afraid when I first read the synopsis, because it seemed basically like CSI but in the future; which is what Ghost in the shell seemed to me, and I hated that show.

Psycho pass proved to be something better. Basically in the future, a computer system can use measurements to determine the state of mind of human beings. Potential criminals are locked away to prevent them to committing crimes in the future, while some of them will become enforcers, working along side the police to catch criminals, since they are deemed to possess the minds of criminals. It all comes down to ones psycho pass and the color of there hue.

I wasn’t that impressed in the beginning, with the slow pacing, but the story picked up quite quickly. I understand that it is important to set up the characters and the context of the story so I can’t expect great twists and rapidly evolving stories so early in the show; I can only expect psycho pass to come into its own in the future.

At 12 episodes I would rate this show with a 4/5

4. BTOOOM!-I loved this show when I first watched it. Most shows, even the best of them, will take some time to capture my attention. Btooom intrigued me instantly and I wanted more. With this series, a bunch of strangers are thrown on an island and are forced to take part in a game of survival, where players that will manage to kill eight other competitors using a variety of explosive deices and an inbuilt radar system will be saved from the island.

There is a lot of action, drama and intrigue, with many of the characters finding themselves in situations where they have to be tested to determine which they prize more, their morals or their survival.

I can find no fault with this show; though it wasn’t perfect I can’t really see what they could have improved.

I rate it with a 4/5

5. Robotic Notes- some high school kids in the future are trying to build a giant robot for their robotics club. On the way we learn a little more about there pasts and the mysteries surrounding the Gunvarell anime series’ final never aired episode.

I am just embarking on the second part of this series, but I loved the first part, mostly because of the characters. The story itself is quite unique, though I am yet to explore the mysteries and histories of the characters. Like psycho pass, this show is still unfolding in my eyes and it has the possibility of getting much worse, but for now it is worth the watch.

I would rate it with a 3.5/5

That’s it for anime. While I love Naruto and once piece, I haven’t watched either of them this year so I can’t include them. I hope to have at least 15 episodes of each before bothering to watch them.

Manga; this year has been better manga wise than last year, mainly because it took me so much effort to find good manga last year. This year I am somehow managing to find really good manga really easily. No more forcefully reading 30 chapters of a manga just because a forum recommended it, before realizing how crappy it is. Anyway:

1. Claymore- I won’t read claymore until somewhere near August, not unless they make it weekly. But the 12 chapters I read last month were simply breath taking. I had to forego supper to get through all 12 chapters in one sitting, because I simply couldn’t get myself out of bed. I just had to know what happened next. After that, I am more than content to wait a couple of more months for the chapters to pile up. But if you are not reading this manga, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? IT IS AWESOME, REALLY AWESOME, BEYOND AWESOME…

Rating: Like a 10/5 for me, beyond my expectations really.

2. The breaker: New waves- I had dropped this manga, until I realized that it was now weekly; beyond that the story had bored me one or two years ago, around chapter 20. I began it immediately after reading the breaker, and my expectations were high.

I began it two weeks ago, and I could have kicked myself. What was I thinking? This manga is miles better than the first breaker. It took me up to last Friday to read all 109 chapters. The story isn’t just awesome, but even with weekly serialization, the quality of art hasn’t dropped one bit. The action scenes are explosive and the story is really something to read.

Rating: 5/5

3. Hungry Joker- this manga doesn’t get enough love, and I don’t think it will last much longer. But after catching whispers of it a while back, I finally got down to reading it; and it has done more in 17 chapters than most manga do in a hundred. The story is as intriguing as the characters are interesting and complex.

This manga could have a future if shonen jump just gave it a fair chance.

RATING: 4/5

4. Break blade- I just began reading this, and 25 chapters in, I am blown away. It takes a little getting used to. Break blade is mecha, and I haven’t read mecha in manga before; so sometimes I get confused about what is happening. But the art is top notch, and the mech battles are something to behold. The story is of a political nature, with kingdoms and conquest and mineral wealth at the center. At the core is Lygatto, a young man who is an un sorcerer, the only person on the planet that can’t use magic, which is necessary to pilot a mech. But he will fight to protect his best friend, the king.

RATING: 4/5

Okay this is a top 4 rather than top 5; while other manga have impressed me, none of them have been on the level of these.

Notable mentions:

1. Bleach-The thousand year blood war arc isn’t merely gearing up to be the best arc in bleach so far, it is already the best arc in bleach, and It can only get better. it simply has yet it the notes it reached last year, but that is understandable.

2. Assassination class- I have just began reading this. It caught my attention because someone was complaining about how a manga like hungry joker was doing so badly yet assassination class was doing so well. So I began reading it last Friday. it is definitely worth the read, and i will keep on reading it.

Again I don’t read Naruto or one piece; I prefer the anime, so I can’t say much about them, though from what I have heard and read from fans regarding Naruto, it is on a whole new burning level at the moment.

If this is a good year, I expect this ranking to change in at least a month, the anime anyway. What are your favorite of the year so far.

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Ugh, this chapter irritated me, and it wasn’t even that bad, just…irritatingly…irritating.

I had high hopes for this chapter, well maybe not high hopes since I had learnt to expect little from Hiro, but none the less, something about this chapter didn’t work for me, and I am not sure why. So little happened, which isn’t a surprise since the tournament is over and we are now focusing on a smaller amount of stories,but what did happen was quite prominent and important. Yet, something was somewhat off. But before that;

THE PLOT:>

So we now know that Rogue is the other mage from the future. The princess explains that while Lucy returned to warn her friends of eminent danger, rogue returned to warn her. SO they are all on the same side in the end. The princes casts Arcadios’ silly suicide gesture aside, hands him his sword and commands for the Eclipse gate to be opened.

Below Rogue explains that eclipse can perform two purposes, to jump through time, or as a canon to destroy the dragons. As it turns out there is a reason Rogue looks so different. He is from seven years in the future. IN his time, dragons rule and only ten percent of the human population still lives.

Apparently in his time, someone closed the gate, preventing eclipse from being used to stop the dragons and thus dooming the world. Rogue returned to kill that person. The others are quick to point out that killing might be a bit harsh and that a simple warning might do; but Rogue is determined, and as far as he is concerned fate has been decided and words will mean nothing. That someone will close the gate no matter what, and that person must be killed. That person is Lucy.

Rogue attempts to impale Lucy with a shadow sword, but future Lucy takes the hit and dies. Before rogue can launch a second attack, Natsu sends him flying, and prepares for battle…

MY REVIEW:>

First of all I liked the revealations here, that rogue is from 7 years in the future and the whole dragons ruling thing. This has a lot of potential to turn into a good arc, or at least set up a future arc. But of course this is fairy tail. I doubt Hiro will do much with this. AS usual he does amazingly with the set up, but we all know he can’t deliver.

Seriously, there is so much he could do with the tools at his disposal. I shudder in excitement to think of the mind blowing madness that Kishimoto or Oda would do if they had access to fairy tails line up of characters and plots. There is literally no way an average mangaka can fail to produce chart topping stories with this. But this is Hiro; he simply can’t bare to make hard decisions.

First of all I don’t get rogue’s explanation, that seven years is today/now; what in the world does that even mean? Hiro has a way of being vague sometimes. wait, unless he meant seven years ago is today, but I am sure he didn’t say that. Never mind.

My problem with this chapter is future Lucy dying. It all seemed so…forced. It was almost like a cope out, like Hiro couldn’t bear to kill off a main character, and so he chose to do it without actually doing it.

And the reactions of the others irritated me; I get that Future Lucy was her own person, an individual different from current Lucy, or so the manga said. But that is just ridiculous. There is only one Lucy, future or present; she isn’t actually dead, and she said so herself, that if present Lucy had died, she would really be dead. So the reaction, like Lucy had actually died irritated me.

Again I will say that this felt a lot like a cope out. Oh yeah, and what was with Rogue looking surprised that there were two Lucys. She was right there, and I can only assume that before he decided to take out the soldiers, he had taken a couple of minutes to observe the fight. He couldn’t not have seen her. Again, it seemed like a silly excuse to find a way to kill future Lucy off, though she was ultimately useless. Admittedly that was a surprise, and when rogue was speaking of the person that closed the gate and who he must kill, I actually thought he would say natsu

It was strange that Natsu took it so logically; there was no screaming and ranting on about how rogue had killed a special friend of his and all that. He rose up and took Rogue out to protect current Lucy.

Speaking of which, I am going to hate this. I have seen rogue fight at least twice, and each time it has been ridiculously disappointing. Again here he is, from the future, with cool shadow powers and obviously so much more power; so we should expect a real showdown this time, but I know it will turn out he same. Add up the years and Natsu is actually fighting a rogue that is 14 years older than him; yet this fight is just going to suck. I know it. Natsu will trounce him without even trying.

Like I said before, Hiro knows how to set these things up and knock them down so pathetically. All I know is I want to see some dragons, and if everything is resolved without ten thousand dragons coming into the picture I am going to be really disappointed.

I will say again why it is hard to get excited about fairy tail. Hiro Mashima simply can’t take difficult decisions or chances. if he got over that, we could finally start getting somewhere.

HIGHLIGHTS: Lucy dying, of course

MY RATING:> 3/5, this wasn’t a bad chapter, the whole Lucy thing just pissed me off.

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So this is more an entire event or group of events than a single moment, so don’t get confused.

Naruto has a way of testing my patience. If you have had any experience with Naruto, then you will know that I am referring to the never ending filler the series resorts to, to keep from catching up with the manga.

It can be excruciating, dealing with an entire season of god awful filler crap, just to get a few episodes of canon a few months at a time. This of course is a curse all long running anime face, but most like one piece manage to handle the long runs much better, without resorting to endless fillers.

Then again I can’t really use one piece as an example. Sure it has nearly a tenth of the filler that Naruto has. And that’s because one piece makes use of stretching mechanisms, where by it will drag out a 5 minute plot into one and a half episodes. Hell, while most Anime cover two to three chapters of there manga at a time, I would be surprised to see one piece covering just one, and with what I have experienced over the year and half that I have watched one piece, it can be as excruciating to watch as Naruto fillers.

But that aside, I have been tempted on many occasions to jump ship, not from Naruto as a whole of course; after all it is my favorite series; but to make the move from anime to manga.

Most times however, Naruto manages to make up for it, i.e, sure we might get several dozen wasteful filler material, but immediately after will come a story that will make the wait for canon material all worth it.

This is what happened with Naruto Shippuden episodes 245-249; we went from the fairly interesting five Kage summit to a season of filler that somehow managed to be worse that the god awful garbage that was aired after the pain invasion arc.

And just when I was at the end of my ropes (I couldn’t even bear to watch more than a few episodes), the announcement came; filler was over and what came after wasn’t merely worth the wait, but it left me so amazed and satisfied that I could have taken any amount of filler after, and I couldn’t have cared.

SO, before I get to explaining the epicness, first I shall explain the plot for anyone that might have no idea about what I am talking about.

THE PLOT:>

Naruto arrives on the moving island, and attempts to talk Killer bee into helping him achieve mastery over the nine tails fox. Once Killer bee finally agrees, Naruto undergoes pre-training training where, before he can master the evil, hate and power of the nine tails, he must first master and defeat the darkness within his own soul.

After overcoming dark Naruto, the pair jinchuriki head to a sacred temple where Naruto uses the key that jiraiya received from the fourth and in turn gave to him to unleash the nine tails fox. According to Killer bee, he must contend with the kyubi and forcibly take its chakra in order to take full and unfettered control over it.

The battle commences the moment the seal falls, with the nine tails nearly destroying Naruto with a tailed beast ball, only for Killer bee to intervene for the first and last time.

Soon Naruto is going all out in an attempt to over come the kyubi’s over whelming power, with kunais, speed, strength, clones and rasengans all proving futile. Naruto eventually enters sage mode and takes the battle to the next level, though barely making much head way.

The one time he finally manages to force some kyubi chakra into his body, it overwhelms him; even though he defeated dark Naruto, he still has doubts and some darkness that makes it impossible for him to overcome the hate of the kyubi.

As the power overwhelms him, the kyubi nearly takes him out, but just then it’s movements are sealed as a red haired woman who turns out to be Kushina Uzumaki, Naruto’s mom, makes an appearance.

She tells him the story of his past, of the Uzumaki clan with their unique and powerful sealing jutsus and the land of the whirlpools, of their links to Konoha that thickened when the first hokage, Hashirama married Mito uzumaki, with whose help and teachings he was able to master and seal the tailed beasts; of the tragedy that befell the Uzumaki clan during the shinobi, how Kushina was brought to Konoha to become the second Jinchuriki of the nine tails after Mito and the hardships she suffered as a foreigner and Jinchurinki before meeting a Minato who saved her, literally and figuratively.

The tale brings Naruto the courage to over come his hate and defeat the Kyubi in an awe inspiring attack. Naruto takes the chakra and manifests his nine tails mode.

With that task done, Kushina fills Naruto in on the events that happened the day he was born, or how Madara attacked the sealed site of birth, kidnapped Kushina and extracted the nine tails before launching it into Konoha to execute that legendary attack, the battle between Minato and Madara and ensuing consequences.

This group of episodes ends with Naruto now wiser of who and what he is, his destined birth, the hopes that his parents held for him and the resolve he forms to bring peace.

THE EPICNESS:>

I know that these were specifically five individual episodes, but as far as I am concerned, what I watched was a five part movie, because that is how I felt after watching all five episodes in one go, one after another.It was literally like nothing I had ever seen in naruto.

So first I will start off with the less important but none the less amazing factors that make these episodes so epic;

1. Animation: When I say that these episodes felt like one long movie, I am not exaggerating; that is literally how awesome this animation was. Words like brilliant, breath taking and pulchritudinous ( I learnt that word just for this description) don’t even begin to describe the kind of animation that was unleashed by Studio Periot in these five episodes. It was almost like they were using this chance to show off just what they could do if they ever took the gloves off, and I must say that I was impressed. These weren’t merely special animation and graphics that were saved for that one group of special naruto episodes, as is done with nearly every anime out there, where for one time or even twice, usually a first or last episodes (guilty crown’s opening episode was beautifully animated, even though the anime sucked), they will go the extra mile to animate a special story; in these five episodes Studio Periot was literally using movie level animation, as in if you were to look at some of the very best anime movies you have seen, Naruto’s graphics in these episodes, especially 248-249 would be right up with them, as good as or even better.

In fact I have seen movies that aren’t even animated half as good as this. Epic wise, I am thinking of that scene with the fourth and Kushina at the tip of a tree after he had saved her, the way every detail, from Minato’s jacket to her hair was beautifully animated; then there was that awesome tail beast ball at the start of the fight, the way it exploded forward while everything surrounding it was disintegrated; and of course Naruto’s kyubi mode took the cake. I have seen so many shows botch the whole 2D and CGI fusion, with the CGI elements usually looking so out of place. But that first look of the Naruto Kyubi mode, the golden flaming form, was simply…breath taking.

Most anime movies I have watched don’t get this kind of budget.

As far as ratings go, I would give the animation in these episodes an 8/5, and yes, that is beyond the scale. Someone said that if they took out all the filler in Naruto and kept this level of graphics, the Big three might shrink down by two, at least anime wise.

2. Art--- You would think that good animation would automatically mean good art. But that is not true. I have seen anime with acceptable animation, but with lousy art. I am thinking of the Jojo’s bizarre adventure series I saw last year. While the animation was fine, the characters were drawn in such a silly way. Thankfully these episodes avoided that pitfall because again, every thing was done perfectly. And not just the kyubi mode; in this case I am drawn immediately to the nine tails.

The scene, the story of what happened 16 years ago when the nine tails attacked has been such an iconic scene in Naruto and even with all the stories told by characters of what happened that night, fans have always wondered what happened and what it felt like.

We see that in these episodes, and personally I was afraid that they would mess things up, that after seeing so much of kyubi related flash backs and hearing what happened, there would be nothing new to see and all we would get would be some large red monster attacking in the background while they focused in on the events surrounding madara and the fourth.

This scene was more interesting than I anticipated. Firstly we got to see so many of our beloved characters at a much younger time in their lives and it was more nostalgic than informative. We got to see gai and kakashi being themselves. The long dead third hokage and his short yet awesome battle against the kyubi, then itachi and sasuke.

But the highlight of this event was the rather unique way in which they chose to display the attack, like the pages of a story book being opened; it made the entire scene all the more scary as it showed the kyubi as less of a magical creature and more of a monster. it just worked for me perfectly and it kept things new.

The art work here I would rate a perfect 5/5

And now for the more important aspects that made these moments so epic:

1. The action---AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, that was what my brain was doing the whole time I was watching the events of these episodes. The battles in these episodes were, and I will use a phrase that I vehemently dislike, off the chain. I was blown away several times over. First we had the battle with the nine tails and it was every bit the beast we expected it to be. Even with its chakra gone, it was more than ready and capable of annihilating Naruto. Once the battle was done, even if Naruto had triumphed, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he hadn’t beaten the fox. But his efforts were truly a sight to behold, especially the way he finished things; with a tonne of clones each armed with a giant rasengan that, from the fox’s point of view below, looked like they were tiny blue moons descending upon it.

This was the naruto we had been waiting to see every since the series began, a competent Naruto, loud mouthed but with the power to back it up. I would really like to see an all out battle between these two, one in which only one walks away from, because that would make it all the more serious.

But of course it was the fourth that stole the show, the way he saved baby Naruto from the explosion, his short but unbelievable fight against the kyubi and of course the final show down with Madara. This fight was short, yet it was also the best fight in the entire Naruto series by far. We had heard of the great shinobi Minato, but now, with these episodes, we go to see it, the truth of his legend and why he might be the greatest shinobi to ever live, besides Hashirama at least.

Even the combined actions of Konoha to take the fox down were an impressive sight to watch.

I would rate the action in these episodes with a 10/5, again, breaking the scale.

Now while it was the individual and combined efforts of all these factors that made these five episodes so epic, one stood out among them all,

4. The story---Let me just say this, it might be misconstrued that I think these episodes are the best ever in Naruto. That would be a wrong assumption; I think these episodes are some of the best I have ever seen in all of anime, and I am speaking both as a Naruto fan, as well as a regular viewer of anime.

And most of that is as a result of the story told in these episodes, which was both beautiful and heart wrenching. First we got a glimpse into Naruto’s world. We and he realized that he hadn’t always been alone, that there had been others out there, numbering in the thousands, with his blood, his heritage, and his name; basically his own people; and this knowledge came with the fact that they were gone, all of them and that, besides Nagato, he would never meet another Uzumaki.

I liked how the knowledge gave Naruto a sense of belonging, and I actually hope to one day see another uzumaki. The Uzumaki clan has such a nice ring to it.

The bigger revelation was Naruto’s mother. It was hilarious that the first time he saw her, he accused her of being the nine tails in disguise, allowing Kushina to show that brush side of her that Naruto is so well known for. It was a touching scene, as I don’t think he had ever given her much thought; it was always about his father, the legendary fourth hokage, that he idolized so much. Neither us the fans nor Uzumaki ever really gave much thought to Naruto’s parents in the first part of the series, and even when it came to light, Kushina didn’t really receive much attention.

It was a really touching moment, that instance when he realized who she was. It was touching later on when he knew she had to go on now that she had fulfilled her mission; poor Naruto, after only having met her.

Minato is the coolest character in Naruto, but it as a surprise to see that Kushina was every bit as prominent and interesting to watch as he was, with the tortures she faced as a child from a foreign land and the fact that she had a monster inside of her. Personally was impressed and tickled by the very distinct way she dealt with those that bullied her, in contrast to how her son Naruto dealt with the same thing.

With Naruto, it was all about playing pranks, being funny and taking the insults with a stride. Kushina didn’t give a crap, she would beat the hell out of anyone that would dare try to look down upon and bully her.I was especially tickled by the scene in the forest where Kushina wallops an irritating classmate, he ran’s off and calls his bigger genin of a brother and she beats the hell out of him as well.

I laughed at that for ages. But it was also touching to watch that scene with Minato, when she confronted him about how he had always coldly looked down at her, choosing to ignore her every time she looked at him for help during the moments that her classmates would bully her, and he replied that the reason he never made a move to help her was because he knew she was strong and that she didn’t need his help…Minato oozing coolness here.

The story is tragic of course. Minato has to sacrifice his wife to save Naruto. And then after he saves the village, he and Kushina make the ultimate sacrifice to save naruto when the kyubi makes a go for him.

It was truly heartening to watch how far these two great shinobi went to protect their son, and it would be an odd fan that didn’t hate madara/tobi in that instance for what he had done to what was a truly great shinobi family.

Outstanding moments: That scene when Kushina tells Minato that she was pregnant was hilarious (MInato: I am going to be a dad. Kushina: I am going to be a mom, don’t you know, MInato: I am going to be a dad. Kushina: I am going to be a mom, don’t you know…)

-That moment when the kyubi impales both Kushina and Minato, those last words they gave to Naruto before they both finally died…difficult to watch up to this day. From what I have read, Kishimoto chose to write this flash back because he had just become a father and he felt it necessary to tell this story about Naruto’s origins.

I wondered where Jiraiya was and why he made no attempt to help during this crisis. Then I remembered that during his own flash back, he was off writing his novel while all this happened. But how about Orochimaru and Tsunade?

I rate this story with a 15/5, again beyond anything I could have hoped for. This was an origin story to end all origin stories; it was quintessential Naruto.

If you are a naruto fan and haven’t watched these episodes, you need to do so. If you are a Naruto fan that gave up on the anime, you need to watch these episodes. If you are not a Naruto fan, watch these episodes a simply great anime.

If you read the manga, you might wonder why you should bother since you read the story. I have heard from Naruto manga fans that watched these episodes and said that the animated version took the event to a whole new level that the manga didn’t reach. SO, don’t worry about being bored just because you read it, watch these episodes.

WATCH THESE EPISODES….

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