katmic (Level 10)

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The thing about Boku No Hero Academia is that, if it maintains its current pacing and story progression, it stands the chance of becoming something truly noteworthy within the next four or five chapters.

But that is only if it doesn’t drop the ball in its rushed attempt to get to whatever point the mangaka is aiming for.

THE CHAPTERS:
The invasion swings into full gear; with the kids now separated and faced with multiple enemies, the fight becomes one of survival.

MY THOUGHTS:

There is a certain charm to Boku No Hero that managed to shine through in these three chapters. You have to appreciate the fast pace. Once the cogs begin moving, the chapters simply do not slow down.

As I have said before 20 pages are often too few to allow a manga series to express itself comprehensively on a weekly basis; there is a reason a series like Bleach is best read in bulk, after a waiting period of four or five weeks. It is the only way the chapters won’t come off as abrupt.

Yet there are manga like Boku no Hero Academia that provide enough content within each individual chapter to actually satisfy.

The mangaka does in these three chapters what only few shonen series seem to understand; which is the fact that, if you have chosen to populate your manga with a massive cast, then it is never wise to concentrate all your characters within a single location.

That is the reason Naruto’s final arc faltered during the last 1/3 of its run; so many characters had congregated onto the same battlefield that no individual character could stand out or play any noteworthy role in the war. No wonder it became all about Naruto, Sasuke and Sakura.

Black Mist’s decision to split the budding heroes across USJ backfires; cornered, outnumbered and nearly out gunned, each team works to use it’s opponent’s overwhelming strength against them, with the villains quickly learning that experience is no substitute for ingenuity.

With each battle situated within a uniquely designed section of the training facility, boasting diverse weather conditions and terrain, there is something to be said about the balance between brain and brawn clearly visible in the different fights.

Todoroki’s quirk, combining both fire and ice, proves to be so overwhelmingly powerful that even the large numbers of his foes prove irrelevant in his presence, as opposed to Mineta, Tsuyu and Midoriya, whose team comes off as so underwhelming that even Midoriya’s strength advantage isn’t enough for the water friendly villains to take the kids seriously.

All in all, for its first major arc, Boku no Hero Academia is keeping its story fast paced and tightly written, maintaining a level of suspense.

And that is an attribute you cannot help but praise; sure, the manga has yet to kill any of its characters off, yet you cannot help but fear for these children and their chances of surviving the onslaught of evil.

The fact that so many of the heroes-in-training are starting to stand out is also worth commending; IIda is clearly the conflicted and inexperienced leader, uncertain about abandoning his friends in order to secure their futures while so driven to protect them from present threats.

Todoroki’s abilities make his arrogance surprisingly endearing and justified. Bakugou continues to become more likeable since his loss against his former friend, still belligerent but now enjoying the company of someone that can actually appreciate his hostility.

Tsuyu is calm under pressure, unmoved by her relatively unimpressive frog like abilities and ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice to protect her teammates; this as opposed to the cowardly and largely useless Mineta, who one cannot help but simply like.

Then there is that lightning guy (kimowara? Kiminira?), funny and so powerful that he runs the risk of hurting his friends as well as himself. And have I mentioned how intimidating Black Mist is, though he pales in comparison to that one seemingly anti-All Might villain.

The fact that the teachers are going down so hard and fast is worrying.

RATING: 8/10, you cannot help but get nervous about that last panel. With All Might’s sudden appearance, you have to wonder if it is finally time for Midoriya to officially inherit the torch. Because that black monster has to be the most vicious villain we have seen in the manga so far.
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Ra In Soo wrote the Manhwa “King of Hell’ with Kim Jae-hawn, and with 294 chapters the manhwa is still ongoing. Which automatically makes Legend of Tyr, with its 60 chapters, a side project.

But maybe side project isn’t quite accurate; after all Ra In Soo, as an author, is free to work on as many projects as he might wish, this as opposed to the restrictions placed on the artist to focus their attention upon a single story.

THE PLOT:
In a world of demons, magic and warriors, Tyr is a young boy that spends his days within the confines of a relatively peaceful village. Tyr is content to make mischief, rebel against his father’s harsh rule and explore his world. Until a decision by his older brother impels the young man to venture out, beyond the mountains to the red continent.
MY THOUGHTS:

The first 20 chapters of Legend of Tyr went by so fast, which is odd considering the fact that each chapter averages at 30 pages; that in itself doesn’t imply quality, though. In other words, I wasn’t reading Legend of Tyr so fast that I didn’t notice the chapters go by.

Rather, long as the chapters of Legend of Tyr are, they are also very brief. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration on my part to say that not much actually happens in the beginning.

Legend of Tyr smells of typical western fantasy novels and RPG games; the world presented is filled with all manner of mythical creatures, the majority of which take on a demonic form and roam the land seeking to destroy and pillage.

Scattered across the land are the humans that stand besides and against them, people with unique ranks categorized according to a strict structure, and with each category boasting a specific set of equally structured skills through which they are best identified.

Thus far the Manhwa has introduced warriors, their sword skills and sword plays, and mages, of which only the battle mages have made an appearance.

+The Good
Legend of Tyr is pretty basic as far as fantasy shonen series go; there is a boy. He’s young, energetic and clearly talented. Tragic events thrust him into an unknown realm of demons and phantoms, and he must basically level up to survive the many threats.

And that is the fun of the series; Legend of Tyr knows exactly what it is, simple action oriented shonen. Tyr is interesting enough of a hero that you want to watch him grow and progress.

The series is called legend of Tyr after all; and as readers we know this story is going to focus upon building Tyr’s legend and fame.

Being honest though, the primary attraction of the Manhwa thus far is Loki, Tyr’s brother; having fallen at some point in time during his younger brother’s earlier years, the story primary focuses upon Tyr’s attempts at disproving the claims of his brother’s death and possibly saving him from whatever fate befell him.

In doing this he must retrace Loki’s steps through the mythical mountains and forests to get to the Red Continent, depending upon the tales told within Loki’s diary and hence providing a contrast between the experiences of the two brothers and how they deal with the same hardships.

The most surprising elements of the manhwa are the battles; as expected they are explosive and fantastical, with mystical techniques and mysterious specialized skills. Yet standing out even above these well illustrated elements is the gravitas injected into a select few fights, the manner in which the manhwa almost brought you to a point where you could actually care about some of Tyr’s comrades; men and women we had encountered a mere chapter before but whose deaths make for a surprisingly tragic end.

It’s mostly the belief that Tyr might have finally found his nakama, those people with whom his legend will be written that drives the tragedy of their deaths. And in finally creating the long awaited ‘Tyr’s mercenaries’ Ra In Soo’s choice of companions for our young hero is both dubious and unexpected.

In most other manga this coming together of unlikely comrades would have come off as cheesy and forced; yet the first ten chapters make a pretty decent case for these former enemies suddenly coming together.

+The Bad
-Legend of Tyr is basic supernatural shonen; it doesn’t shy away from that fact, and this works for and against it. A number of moments within the first 20 chapters do little to camouflage the route that the story is likely to follow, especially after Tyr departs from his village and the series introduces what might be the primary antagonists.

Tyr is simply too typical a shonen hero; brash, stubborn and obviously naturally talented.

Whether Legend of Tyr morphs into a truly impressive series will depend on how entertaining and unpredictable they make his journey to the top.

-I don’t know why I place so much emphasis on the dialogue, but only Vinland saga seems to deliver the sort of sophisticated writing I would hope to encounter in a period series such as this.

-Ra In Soo’s approach to telling this story is very clunky and all over the place; precluding Tyr’s first real fight (which was handled pretty well, I was actually at the edge of my seat), the pacing of Legend of Tyr is somewhat unsatisfying.

-It glosses over certain events just to get to the payoff, which are the fights. And if all that matters to you are the flashy battles, then that shouldn’t be a problem. If you want a satisfying reason to explain the origins of fights, then these chapters might leave you a little dissatisfied.

VERDICT:
A decent start to the series; personally I can’t see anything particularly special about the manhwa but it still has a couple of chapters to go. Thus far, as a shonen manhwa it keeps things interesting.

I suspect events will heat up as the eventual meeting between Tyr and his brother approaches (whom am pretty sure has joined the dark side or something similar).

RATING: 6/10
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Excluding those very few moments in the manga’s run during which it has slowed down to a crawl, Magi is almost always consistent, at least with regards to the story.

What isn’t consistent is the art, however; this chapter falls into that category of chapters whose material somewhat lost its impact because of the wonky drawings.

THE CHAPTER:
Hakuryuu’s battle with his mother approaches a desperate end.

MY THOUGHTS:
One of Magi’s biggest draws over the last two or three weeks has been the manner in which Shinobu Ohtaka has portrayed the madness of the situation, specifically Grokuen’s descent into insanity.

I don’t know if she was attempting to achieve a similar feat this week but it didn’t translate well; some of the panels were so messy that I couldn’t make heads or tails of what was even happening.

The Good:

There is no such thing as a battle that is too long in shonen; it isn’t the length of a fight that makes it drag but the manner in which it plays out. 

  Magi has managed to maintain the dynamic nature of Hakuryuu’s fight with Gyokuen over four battle oriented chapters; which is no easy feat. Rather than changing the terrain and scaling up the fight in terms of destruction, Ohtaka has instead worked to keep the themes of each fight oriented chapter fresh.

Chapter 249 was a brutal dog fight, in which both sides threw their bodies against one another, deploying every skill and weapon in their arsenal, swords, teeth and all in what felt like a final dash towards the finish line.

It was the perfect use of 20 pages, within which Hakuryuu’s desperation came to life, coupled with Gyokuen’s ever increasing power and madness, the resolve of two aging generals who only sought to protect their kingdom after years of blind servitude, and the objectivity of Judar in determining that he could bring nothing positive to the fight and instead chose to retreat, lest he lose his life in vain.

Watching Hakuryuu take a bite out of Gyokuen’s neck would have been so much more impactful had Ohtaka strived to inject some sharpness into her art.

None the less the desperation of the situation  was palpable as both sides wrestled, special skills and magics forgotten, to force a victory through the difficult circumstances present.

The Bad:
There was a really scary moment during this chapter where Ohtaka almost ruined the momentum of her story; I am talking about those two pages were Hakuryuu goes on the offensive and seemingly begins to overwhelm Gyokuen with what seemed to be little more than resolve.

I am not a big fan of shonen manga that attempt to transform emotions into physical ability; that is how nakama power comes into being.

And while those events actually worked to further portray just how desperate team Hakuryuu was, the mangaka could have taken a more believable route in achieving this goal.

For 200+ chapters, Magi has done an amazing job of allowing its characters to depend solely upon their physical and magical abilities to attain victory. I don’t want that to change.

RATING: 7/10, the art somewhat ruined things in this chapter, which none the less continued to portray the Gyokuen/Hakuryuu battle in a dark, gritty and desperate light.
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Woooo! These are the sorts of Noblesse battles I have been waiting to see for a long while; fast paced and explosive; considering the fact that these were 20 pages of battle oriented material, it isn’t surprising that chapter 348 none the less managed to thrill, especially considering the number of quiet chapters that came before.

THE CHAPTER:
Rael finds a safe spot to engage his enemies, and quickly finds that neither Grui nor Gaitan are anything to scoff at.

MY THOUGHTS:

Sufficing to say, this was a very enjoyable chapter, a very fast read but none the less entertaining.

The chapter wasted no time in throwing readers headlong into Rael’s long awaited battle against what I can only assume are werewolf hybrids.

And the result wasn’t too different from Rael’s own battle with RK4, with Grui thoroughly and effectively schooling him. ON my first read it was a bit odd to see how easy it was to put Rael down.

I mean, considering his heritage, this guy should be faster than almost anyone we have met so far, and yet he was losing rather handily to some side villain that hasn’t been in play for more than a few chapters.

Giving the chapter a second read however revealed that Grui’s victory was anything but direct, and Rael indeed made effective use of his speed, his failure emanating from the fact that he didn’t have the power to actually harm Grui.

An interesting note upon Noblesse's art, which was superb, as always; I can't decide if I simply glossed over the panels that actually showed Rael striking Grui, or if the art was simply that wonky in those sections.

None the less, gripping stuff; Noblesse does speed so effectively that the manhwa actually leaves you at the edge of your seat, wondering whether an opponent will take a hit or if they will seem to vanish like smoke before launching a devastating counter attack, which might or might not make contact.

If there is one reason to read Noblesse, it is for kinetic battles such as these; from panel to panel, the events of the chapter transitioned so smoothly that, well, it might have as well been animated.

RATING: 8/10, Regis’ arrival doesn’t bode well for Rael; Regis has never been the most powerful noble, which, I suppose, makes him perfect for the rather weak RK4. I see the pair taking quite the beating in the next week or two before the rest of RK4 finally makes their appearance.

Which isn’t even that comforting; because I don’t think RK4 and Rael combined could beat Grui, at least not with what we have seen so far. And Gaitan is still just standing there, ready to kill someone when the need arises.
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I’ll be honest; the only reason I decided to give the manga MY HERO ACADEMIA an honest chance was because the mangaka, Horikoshi Kouhei and I share something in common: Naruto.

Where it not for the fact that Horikoshi respected Masashi Kishimoto immensely and believed Naruto to be the greatest manga he has ever read, I don’t know if I would have given this, Horikoshi’s recent work after a series of failures, a chance.

THE PLOT:
People are not born equal; a realization that 4-year-old Midoriya Izuku faced when he was bullied by classmates who had unique special powers.

Izuku is one of a rare set of individuals born with absolutely no unique abilities. This did not stop Izuku from pursuing his dream, a dream of becoming a hero like the legendary All-Might.

To transform into the great hero he hopelessly wants to become, he will join the ranks of one of the highest rated "Hero Academies" in the country: Yueiko. With the help of his idol All-Might, will he be able to claim the stars and become a true hero?
 
MY REVIEW:

Considering the fact that Sensei no Bulge, Horikoshi’s last-and possibly most promising- manga was met with cancellation mere months after it first begun serialization, it is easy to approach Boku no Hero Academia as another potentially impressive series waiting to meet its end at the whims of Shonen Jump.


Sufficing to say, Horikoshi seems to have finally found that one gem he has been struggling to create after a string of failures.

+THE GOOD
Is Boku no Hero Academia the next best thing in manga, and possibly, anime? Well, I made that same assumption about a certain manga, only to watch it crash and burn after only 24 chapters.

Then again Hungry Joker never enjoyed ratings anywhere within the realm of Boku No Hero Academia.

The Manga presents a number of fairly interesting elements that are bound to work in its favor, at least as far as attracting the adoration of Japanese readers is concerned:

-Heroes- My Hero Academia is heavily influenced by American comics, not only in its character designs but the story arcs and even villains.

And the American theme actually works in allowing the manga to take on the vibe of a bad yet entertaining American comic book series, with its bright costumes and flashy battles.

With One Piece, Japanese audiences proved their fascination for all things foreign oriented, pirates being chief amongst them; and few things are as western themed as costumed heroes with secret identities fighting to save the world from the grand plans of dark villains.

Sufficing to say, it makes sense why Boku No Hero is appealing so strongly to Japanese markets.

It isn’t quite the perfect fusion of East and West, Manga and comics, but the spirit is present.

-Quirk- Boku no Hero Academia has an abundance of quirk and oddness to it; from boisterously heroic characters like All Might to humorously titled attacks like Detroit supelex and the Tennessee Kick, Horikoshi's manga enjoys bathing in the quirkiness of its universe, this despite the fact that it manages to take itself seriously enough to generate tension and thrills.

Sufficing to say, the humor isn’t to everyone’s tastes, this despite the fact that Boku no Hero Academia, like One Piece, usually manages to balance its quirkiness with a serious tone.

-Cast- Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia thrusts its hero into the confines of a special academy designed to transform young and gifted minds into honorable heroes ready to stand in the gap between evil and it’s innocent victims.

Naturally the manga’s cast is quite large, presenting a wide variety of boys and girls, men and women with unique personalities and abilities, each of which the series has actually worked to incorporate into the story in a noteworthy manner.

Then again that is something most shonen manga can accomplish effectively today and which isn’t really worth commending the manga for.

The question is whether Boku no Hero Academia can keep up the practice where other manga would normally throw their weight behind two or three primary heroes.

-Midoriya- The primary protagonist is pretty likeable, if a little too wimpy; the eventual rise of an underdog to the position of super star never gets old, and for the moment, Horikoshi is doing a pretty decent job of retelling this story.

+THE BAD
Horikoshi Kouhei is a MASSIVE KISHIMOTO FAN; and, for the love of all that is manga, he needs to tone his admiration down a notch, because it shows. 

15 chapters in and Boku no Hero continues to struggle under the shadow of Naruto, with so many elements correlating so closely to Kishimoto’s series that the similarities, not in concept, but story structure can become difficult to ignore.

One doesn’t need to be a massive Naruto fan to realize that Midoriya was clearly inspired by Naruto; and Bakugou and Uraraka are obviously Sasuke and Sakura facsimiles.

With a similar rivalry already emerging between the pair of potential heroes, the cool but mysterious Aizawa-sensei-who’s clearly channeling Kakashi- the villainous plot perfectly timed to coincide with a major event in the life of Midiroya’s class-clearly reminiscent of the chunin exams- Horikoshi walks the fine line between paying homage to Naruto and manifesting the major influence upon his career as a mangaka, and potential plagiarism-well, maybe plagiarism is an over exaggeration. 

However, in the same way One Piece and Naruto begun with a Dragon Ball influenced mindset before eventually going their own way, Horikoshi doesn’t seem content with simply repeating the same formulas that work, instead already working to stamp his own signature upon the shonen genre less than 20 chapters into his manga.

+VERDICT:
America’s Got Powers is an American series published by Image comics; it tells of a universe in which the entire human race acquires special powers and abilities, but for one single human, the hero of the comic.

Boku no Hero Academia mirrors America’s got powers, with a somewhat miserable hero in a world where everyone is special except for him.

His burden is the desire he carries to play the role of hero no matter his circumstances and the resistance he faces from the powerful figures around him who deem him undeserving of the title hero because of his normalness.

In displaying a wide array of heroes working to save the world using a number of unique methods even while fighting for the adoration of the public and the financial benefits that come with them, Boku no Hero Academia also manifests hints of Tiger and Bunny, with a world that has more or less commercialized the hero status.

Reminiscent of Toriko, with the quirkiness of its villains and the oddity of the super powers in play, the shadow of Naruto isn’t likely to chain Boku no Hero Academia down, which is extremely fast paced, almost like it wishes to outrun the shackles the mangaka restricted its progress with.

15 chapters in, and the manga seems ready to finally blossom into its own thing, and could potentially develop into the weird, action packed yet story driven series Horikoshi clearly wants it to be.

While still finding its footing, My Hero Academia shows potential and can prove entertaining for curious readers.

RATING: 7/10. The first chapters of the manga are not exactly inspiring. Yet as My Hero Academia continues to progress, elements of the story begin to stand out.

Only time will tell whether this embryo of a series will mature into something noteworthy.
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