This week, we got a special one-shot from Tatsuki Fujimoto (Chainsaw Man, Fire Punch)!
Black Clover Ch. 300 – C-
Blue Box Ch. 14 – A
Candy Flurry Ch. 13 – C+
Choujin X Ch. 3 – C+
Chapter 3 takes us back to Tokio and Azuma right after they had dealt with the long-neck Choujin. So far, Tokio gives me very strong Kaneki Ken pre-Ghoul vibes. This could be a bad thing, as it might indicate the mangaka is relying too much on what worked in his previous series. However, I will say Tokio feels slightly more pathetic than even Kaneki did. I am also sort of a fan of the pathetic protagonist, as it’s a departure from the plucky and upbeat protag that’s become the norm of shounen. It’s also clear as of this chapter that there are two intertwining plots in this series, but it’s still too early for me to say if I care about either of them yet. I do like the art, and Tokio’s Choujin form looks interesting with the plague-doctor-mask-face.
Dr. Stone Ch. 205 – B
Sai is a crazy good coder, shown when he writes down the entire code for Dragon Quest from memory! Because of this, Senku switches the stone world’s next science project to… a computer! As always I love Boichi’s art and how he’s able to make something as simple as writing feel dynamic. I’m finding myself once again excited by this series and I want to see what kind of computer they build. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that Why-Man might be the only villain our heroes will face from now on, but I hope we get some sort of interesting conflict soon to shake things up.
Elusive Samurai Ch. 25 – C
Takauji Ashikaga is a monstrous person that I’m not sure how Tokiyuki will defeat. Matsui is good about setting in-universe deadlines for when his series will end (Assassination Classroom had the one-year time limit, Elusive Samurai has 18 months). The commentary on how human development reduces mystery is interesting but I think I’d rather get more character development from the retainers than have these weird futuristic discussions with Suwa. Besides Yorishige I still don’t really have any attachment to any of the characters.
High School Family: Kokosei Kazoku Ch. 47 – C+
The Ietani’s pet cat Gomez must let his pet cat Ben go (yes you read that right). Typically I find Gomez chapters to be the least interesting since he’s just a regular cat for the most part. But this one was more entertaining than usual, particularly because even straight man Kotaro was getting involved in the family’s antics this time around. It’s funny that Gomez is drawn differently than the other cats in the series. Overall another okay chapter.
The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Ch. 4 – B
Velou and Grimm are both pretty cool protagonists. Still digging the art direction and designs. I have to mention, though, that “Wolfonium” is a really stupid name for a type of metal. The end of this chapter looks like it’s going to set up a greater conflict, but we do know Velou will be a hunter very soon. Can’t wait to read more of this series.
Look Back One-shot – A+
The ending of Chainsaw Man last year left a creative gap in the pages of Shonen Jump. So, when Fujimoto’s new one-shot Look Back was announced I was more than a little excited. Look Back tells the story of two young girls who bond over a shared interest. This might seem simple and mundane, but the way the story is told is frankly masterful. Fujimoto creates two characters that are completely different but still feel like true friends in just under 150 pages. Watching them grow up together and cultivate their passions together felt like I was looking at a scrapbook of old memories from two best friends. And even beyond two friends, it is a story of growth and pushing oneself to achieve new heights. In typical Fujimoto fashion the story comes with one hell of an emotional gut-punch, but the pain it evokes is earned because of how much we as readers grew to care about the characters in such a short time. Look Back is a small-but-perfectly-packaged story that fans of Fujimoto must read, and fans of manga should check out.
Magu-chan: God of Destruction Ch. 52 – A
The Lord Muscar arc ends with this chapter. Of course, Ruru and Magu together defeat Muscar in the climax. Still love this series so much, and this arc just gives me more reasons why. I like that all the gods got to have a moment as well. The artistic choice of having the panels crack and fall away as Ruru’s dream world ended was a great touch. Muscar’s new form is very adorable. All in all, another great chapter.
Mashle: Magic and Muscles Ch. 71 – C+
Innocent Zero departs from the school, but not before taking something from Wahlberg. This chapter was fine, but it was more set-up than interesting content. I continue to enjoy Innocent Zero’s facial configuration effect when his skin slides around like blocks. Not a bad chapter at all, but wasn’t anything super noteworthy either.
Me & Roboco Ch. 50 – B
A horror gag chapter! Bondo and Roboco escort Madoka(aaa) to the school to retrieve her violin and discover the spooky things that take place after dark. It’s funny how well Shuhei Miyazaki can draw creepy ghosts and horror-style reaction faces. I’m glad we got a chapter that put Bondo and Madoka together because I like the two of them a lot.
Mieruko-chan Ch. 36 – B+
Miko, Mitsue, and Romm face off against the God of the Mountain. We also learn a little more about romm’s past with Mitsue. I love the art in this manga; the monsters are terrifying and Miko’s expressions always convey the genuine horror she’s subjected to on a daily. Miko’s ultimate power is that she can ignore these creatures better than anyone apparently, which is both hilarious and cool. Looking forward to the conclusion or this arc and the anime that’s releasing this fall!
Neru: Way of the Martial Artist – C+
Neru is getting a little more interesting. I still haven’t warmed up to any of the characters, but I’m enjoying the art and the fighting. The “science” about flat feet sounded pretty hammy but shounen manga likes to put stuff like that within its pages so I wasn’t surprised.
Sakamoto Days Ch. 32 – B-
A nice chapter in-between arcs that has the Sakamoto family going to a bathhouse (and an amateur assassin attempting to earn the bounty on Sakamoto’s head). Not much to say about this one except it’s the kind of fun you’d expect from this series. Poor Shin…
Undead Unluck Ch. 72 – C
Meh. I’m very happy that Fuuko is able to be useful without Andy around all the time, but I really hate the love she and Andy have for each other. I don’t understand why it’s such a deep love. Even after they’ve spent so much time together, it seems like an incredibly forced relationship to me. Ultimately, no matter how much I like the other content in the story, I’m gonna hate this core element and for now it’s getting in the way of my enjoyment. Ironically, a character this chapter mentioned how Fuuko fell in love with the first person she met and that’s exactly how I feel about the whole situation…
Witch Watch Ch. 23 – B+
Kanshi takes a beating from “the Wolf”, and now Morihito is on the offensive. So far this serious arc is a nice change of pace, and I like seeing how each of our main characters act during stressful scenarios. I also really hope that Nemu becomes a regular cast member after this arc because she’s my favorite. Most of all, though, I can’t wait to see Morihito and “the Wolf” go head-to-head.