Another week, another roundup. Let’s get to it!
Black Clover Ch. 299 – C-
Gaja makes an apparently big sacrifice in order to save Lolopechka. Chapters like these don’t really do anything for me, especially with how formulaic Black Clover is. Someone will make a big sacrifice to try and defeat the great evil and will fail only for the evil to reveal it’s even stronger than the heroes initially thought. Sure, these rising action chapters are what lead to the big climax that I’m sure I’ll enjoy. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that this chapter, on its own, is boring to read and carries very little narrative weight. With this being an 11-page chapter, there really wasn’t any worthwhile content this week. At least the art was good.
Blue Box Ch. 13 – A
Blue Box gets the colored-page treatment this week as Taiki wins a date with Chinatsu. This chapter all but confirms Hina’s crush on Taiki that I’m sure most of us had long suspected. With the childhood friend romance cliche added to the story, I wonder if Hina will become an obstacle for Taiki later on. Blue Box continues to be one of my favorite series with its art and storytelling. While the story follows the expected beats of a high school romance, the way the story is told feels much more genuine than what I’d expect from a typical shounen romantic series. Compared to a series like Nisekoi (which is admittedly a romantic comedy), Blue Box presents its characters realistically and with more depth. This series is just another shining example of why more female mangaka deserve serialization.
Candy Flurry Ch. 12 – C
The bad guys are launching an assault on the Five Stella Entremets, meaning they’re attacking the high school Irie attends. Misaki’s ruse (created by Tsumugi) is revealed and Tsumugi is late to school. Hopeful that the next few chapters will show off some interesting sweets powers and battles. While the comedy in Candy Flurry is entertaining, these chapters have a tendency to run on without much substance. This series has such a neat premise but it feels like the mangaka neglects to take advantage of it sometimes.
Dr. Stone Ch. 204 – B-
Ryusui has an older brother! I have to say, I missed when the gang had the black marks post-petrification. Glad that our latest addition to the team Sai has the marks (and hand marks just like his brother, at that). We don’t know much about Sai yet except that he seemingly wants nothing to do with his brother, but it’s always more fun when the team adds a new member to their ranks. This chapter was slightly more interesting than the last because of the new character but I’m still waiting for a new adversary to appear.
The Elusive Samurai Ch. 29 – C+
So apparently, there is some genuine mysticism and spiritualism present in Elusive Samurai‘s universe. I was hoping that Yorishige wasn’t just a huge goofball charlatan but the reveal of the spirit animals actually surprised me. Also seeing the retainer’s opinion of Tokiyuki plummet due to Yorishige’s strange errands was pretty funny. I’m still just okay with this series, but it’s an inoffensive read every week so I’ll keep it on my list if only because I hope it gets better later on.
High School Family: Kokosei Kazoku Ch. 46 – C+
Ichiro is a PC gamer! Another fine chapter in the Ietani saga. I do find myself missing the school aspect of the story when the family is doing other things, but the premise of having your middle-aged friend over to play video games was entertaining nonetheless. Kotaro and Ichiro’s relationship is one that I enjoy seeing, as they are my two favorite characters of the series, but the video game setting didn’t leave room for a lot of gags beyond the surprise of Ichiro being good with a keyboard With the series currently in summer break, we probably won’t be back to school for a few more chapters, so I hope the summer break chapters add more gags and awkward situations.
The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Ch. 3 – B
Chapter 3 of Red Hood explores werewolf physiology more as well as the Hunter mentality. There are a lot of interesting ideas floating around in this series, and I’m still waiting for the story to truly hit the ground running. While I like Velou and I do appreciate an optimistic protagonist, I’m hoping that the Hunters will instill a calm and cold analytical side in him. It would be interesting to have a shounen protagonist that isn’t another Asta, Naruto, or Goku. Being righteous is one thing, but as Grimm said in this chapter, “Hunters aren’t concerned about justice.”
Kaiju No. 8 Ch. 39 – A-
Kikoru Shinomiya joins the famous first division, known as the most impressive division on the front lines of the war against Kaiju. Chapter 39 has both the sharp wit and the thrilling action I’ve come to expect from Kaiju No. 8. While this chapter isn’t packed with action, it delivers on impressive panels and shows off more powerful Defense Force members. I’m looking forward to seeing how Shinomiya fits into this division, but with her skills, I’m sure she’ll be right at home amongst these professionals.
Magu-chan: God of Destruction Ch. 51 – A
Naputaaku finally got his moment! The God of Madness goes up against the God of Fate, and it turns out Naputaaku is Muscar’s natural counter. This was a great chapter of Magu-chan; not only does Naputaaku get to have a moment in the spotlight, but Magu shows both a caring side for Ruru as well as his respect for Naputaaku. Magu-chan firmly cemented itself as one of my favorite series this week, and I can’t wait to see the conclusion of this current arc.
Mashle: Magic and Muscles Ch. 70 – C+
Chapter 70 presents the typical cliché of the old master sacrificing themselves in order to save others only for their plan to fail, except the sacrifice ends up failing also when Mash enters the fray. While this chapter wasn’t particularly interesting, the gag of Mash appearing and attacking someone brutally on the final page still elicits some enjoyment from me. I want to see how Mash intends to face off against a man who manipulates time and was completely unaffected by magic that erases space, but I hope the fight is more than just comedy and actually makes Mash have to be serious for once.
Me & Roboco Ch. 49 – B+
A cute flashback chapter about the origin of the three main boys’ friendship. Me & Roboco‘s greatest strength is its cast of characters, and this chapter leans on this strength to great effect. It’s sort of ironic how one of the best chapters of this series didn’t even feature Roboco at all. Either way, I enjoy this gag series quite a bit; it’s one of the most consistent sources of laughs in manga for me every week.
Neru: Way of the Martial Artist Ch. 2 – C+
Neru joins the martial arts school by participating in a “Real Steel” skirmish with another student. This was a decent second chapter; Neru’s ability to perform any technique he sees by drawing it (even if he “draws” the image in the air with his finger) is interesting enough. It’s not the most original, but it’s a good enough spin on a cliché to still feel inspired. There still hasn’t been a truly gripping moment in Way of the Martial Artist yet but it’s still early so I won’t be too hard on the series.
One Punch-Man Ch. 146 – A-
It’s Monster Garou versus Hero Bang, Atomic Samurai gets a new legendary sword, and Black Sperm gets a shiny new upgrade against the Vomited Fuhrer Ugly. One Punch-Man consistently delivers spectacular art courtesy of Yusuke Murata and a captivating story by ONE. Even if every chapter isn’t a hit plot-wise, Murata never fails to dazzle with his artwork. This chapter, however, has been a long time coming. Garou has ascended to new heights in his new monsterized form, and his battle with his old master Bang was destined to occur.
Sakamoto Days Ch. 31 – B
The Lab arc finally comes to a close, but not before a dangerous foe is revealed. I’m glad to see the gang back together again, and I really like that Heisuke seems to be part of Team Sakamoto now. I’m also looking forward to seeing Slur in action later down the line. Someone whose mere bloodlust made Shin experience his death might be the perfect match for Sakamoto. Another solid chapter that has me excited for the future of the series.
Spy x Family Ch. 49 – B
Yor is having doubts about her dual life as an assassin and cover-wife to Lloyd (Twilight). At this point, all three of the Forgers see their family as more than just a cover even if they may not admit it to themselves. Yor is now being forced to choose which is most important to her, her “fake” family or her job. This is a chapter that was inevitable but still exciting to read. Will the Forgers become a true family as we all want or will they fracture in the end? Personally, I don’t think Yor will be the problematic one out of the three, but you never know.
Undead Unluck Ch. 71 – C-
Fuuko strives to evolve her Unluck in order to defeat Spring. Overall an inoffensive if not uninteresting chapter, but I still really can’t get over the fact that Fuuko and Andy are supposed to be a couple. Andy is a centuries-old immortal weirdo and Fuuko is an 18-year-old former shut-in who falls for the first man who gropes her. I guess they at least had the decency to make Fuuko 18, but it still doesn’t make their relationship any less strange to me, especially because I genuinely don’t fully understand when or why Fuuko actually fell in love with Andy. The whole relationship feels to me like a shut-in who read romance manga all her life just fell for the first person who showed her any attention (and didn’t immediately die when around her). I guess that’s just going to be a central part of the plot forever, but when the story focuses on that element I really don’t like it.
Witch Watch Ch. 22 – B
Nico is apparently a legendary witch, and Kanshi seems to have figured out the dog and raindrops prophecy. This chapter introduced some interesting lore about witches and warlocks as well as revealed why Nico is being targeted by evil. We also saw a better look at one of the bad guys, and while we didn’t see him in action he was able to defeat Kanshi in battle. I’m wondering if this “Wolf” character is a warlock or is just the warlock’s familiar. Either way, with magical doping candy being circulated in schools and Nico still being targeted, things in Witch Watch won’t be slowing down anytime soon.