Category Archives: Manga Monday

Manga Monday: One Punch Man Volume 1 Review

One Punch Man is written by One and illustrated by Yusuke Murata. It is published through Shonen Jump and distributed through Viz Media. It originally was a web based manga before the team brought it to paperback in 2012. It is famous for the anime that grew very popular last season(Which I managed to stay spoiler free from so far.

Spoilers: Meh, not really any huge ones.

Plot: Saitama was a man who had lost the will to live three years before the very first panel. In the first chapter he fights a piccolo looking character who is a manifest of earth sent to kill all humans for polluting. Yeah, manga takes a very “Defend Earth” stanceearly and does not really let it go through out the volume. Chapter two gives us back story about Saitama when he was a dead beat who killed a mutated crab(Yet again from pollution like some Fall Out stuff). This is when we learn it’s been three years since he decided to train to carry on the Baldy Balds tradition(I love you if you get this reference). Early on this feels very western world comic style. By that I mean no apparent cohesive plot like tradition mangas. Most of the early chapters just feel like days-in-the-life kinda things where he goes around easily defeating villains. Combine that with almost a deconstruction of Shonen manga’s main characters and you had an entertainingly funny, but boring action comic. The volume does end on a high note as they introduce what I presume to be the bad guy organization.

Characters: Saitama and Genos seem to be our two main characters so i’ll focus on them

Saitama- Saitama could not get a job to save his life. He even commented he failed 3 or 4 interviews that day alone. When a mutated crab tries to kill a little boy, Saitama rushes to the rescue and discovers he wants to be a hero. For fun and all. Saitama is pretty much how you would expect Goku or Luffy to to fight. Saitama is so overpowered it’s crazy. Goku is crazy stronger than anybody in Dragon Ball but still struggles against folks he should not. Saitama, on the other hand, obliterates the opposition. Logically, this how I imagine most fights going. One Punch Man shows how, while very funny, just how dull these world would be. The cool part about him though is that he seeks a rival as strong as him and how he feels empty without the competition. The sad part, I do not think he will find that rival anytime soon.

Genos- Genos is a pretty cool character. He is an cyborg but is fully capable of emotions. He is seeking revenge and hoping Saitama can help train him(Sandy would disappointed to learn this). He once was a young boy in a small town. A cyborg went crazy and killed everyone in the town except him(Like a synth. Man, I have Fallout on the brain). Anyway, a doctor for justice preformed a procedure on him to turn Genos into a cyborg that seeks justice.

The World: One of the first mangas I really get to talk about the world. The world is overrun by monsters and villains. Saitama hopes that by donning his cap(For fun) he would cut down on the monstrous behavior. He’s wrong. Most of the villains seem to be manifestations of science or the earth herself. Pretty cool world, scary to live in though.

Recap:
Action: One punch worth
Romance: None at the moment.
Plot: It’s there.
Characters: We’ve really only done surface level scratching
The World: I feel this is going to be explored a little more. Cool for the time being though
Humor: The series does this right. It’s pretty funny.

Verdict: Seems the chapters are more western style than tradition mangas for now. It’s a funny read but it’s very fast pace.

Score: 6.5 out 10. One Punch Man is hard to buy into after just one volume. It’s a satire and deconstruction of a genre I’m not sure if it translates well in manga form. The best part from the mangas these seem to be inspired by is the rivalry between main characters and villains. One Punch Man does not have that, but it does have potential. A solid start, a good enough middle, and cliff hanger ending makes me at least want to give volume 2 a try(which I will when I can).

 

 

Manga Monday! A Silent Voice

Remember how I said Manga Monday would be Neon Genesis? Yeah, slight change of plans. I read A Silent Voice Vol 1 today and decided that is what we will talk about today.

A Silent Voice was written by Yoshitoki Oima and published by Kodansha. It started as a One-Shot back 2011, and has since been serialized. The series ran from 2013 to 2014 collecting seven volumes.

Spoilers: There will be slight Vol 1 spoilers. I do not know how the rest of the series pans out, so I dont know if this spoilers will “give it all away”, but they shouldnt.

Plot: Shoya Ishida is your typical preteen: dumb, reckless, and just all around clueless. He calls himself a daredevil and does stunts with reckless abandon all in the name of winning his war with Boredom. His best buddies grow up and tire of his behavior (they are now in middle school for crying out loud!) Finding himself slowly but surely losing his war, he must think of new ways to defeat his foe without his friends. Enter new girl. Shoko Nshimiya. A deaf transfer student. Shoya gets the idea that he must make her life miserable, and so he does. The rest of the manga plays out as Shoya tries desperately to convey to a deaf girl she is not liked. I want spoil if he is successful.

Characters: This manga has a lot of characters getting introduced quite early in the beginning chapters, but were focusing on two. Shoya and Shoko.
Shoya: As mentioned, his character is relentlessly mean and absent hearted and metaphorically blind. He can be funny and entertaining at times, but at most he is super stubborn and stuck in his hateful ways despite his teacher and parent’s endless attempts to get him to quit. He is also extremely unaware to the situation and what is truly going on at the school and classroom around him.
Shoko: The infinitely cooler one. She is deaf and uses a notebook to communicate to her classmates. She eagerly tries to make friends in spite of Shoya trying to convince everyone she is borderline the devil. One of the ironic moments of her campaign is an exchange between her and her mom and their hair dresser(Shoya’s mom) where Shoko adamantly denies her mom’s wishes to cut her hair like a boy. Her mom believes that will help her stop getting bullied? Anyway, Shoya’s mom refuses to cut because Shoko doesn’t want it. cut Shoko’s mom says “I do not need your opinion or Shoto’s”. This scene is powerful to me, because it shows, in a way, Shoko s getting bullied by her mom. Her mom makes her voice even more mute than it was. The image is super powerful to me. I really respect Shoko’s character because she is tenacious through and through. I cant help but think that her decision at the end of the manga was really her moms idea.

The World: Not much is made about the world. There is no treasure at the end of the sea, or no dragon balls hiding in the corners of the world. Most of the manga takes place at school or at his house. The rest of the world seems to not exist outside of Shoya and Shoko’s interactions.

Recap:
Action: Barely any.
Romance: I feel like a relationship could be blooming here. It is hard to tell based off the ending of this volume though.
Plot: Shoya is all over the place, but the plot is easy enough to follow.
Characters: Pretty meaty characters for an opening volume. You love and you hate em.
The World: Could be fleshed out more, but I am not entirely sure what that would add to the manga as a whole
Humor: Solid, when used.

Verdict: Good read. It switches scene rapidly, keep that in mind. Altogether, great read if you can sit through poor little Shoto getting bullied for hundreds of pages.

Score: 7 out 10. Mostly because it seems like it has a hard time staying focused. Maybe it’s the authors intent because Shoya is all over the place. Otherwise, it’s a wonderful opening act.

Final Note (There will be spoilers in this part!)
The scene where Shoya arrives at school to learn his classmates had been writing on this desk all a long was a huge scene and maybe one of my favorites in any manga. I teared up a bit, because it makes you reflect on how mean Shoya was, but how Shoto defended him til the very end. A+ to this scene

Check the manga out yourself by purchasing it here

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MANGA MONDAY: Noragami Vol 1!

Noragami was made by Adachitoka and published through Kodansha Comics. It debuted in 2010 and did not come stateside until 2014.

Spoilers: Minor

Plot: Noragami tells the story of Yato, the shrine-less god, on the hunt to gain fame, and Iki’s struggle as a half human, half ayakashi. Something I noticed was that each of the three chapters seemed to have a new main character. Chapter 1 centers around Mutsumi. Chapter 2 centers around Yato. and Chapter 3 centers around Iki. The whole premise of the manga is that Yato is on the bottom of the food chain as far as gods go. He also has no people skills(Which could say a lot about why he has no followers). His Shinki, or divine weapon of the gods, leaves him due to his lack of compassion. The rest of Vol 1 is about his hunt for a new shinki. Iki wants Yato to fix her problem(See characters for more details). They end up fighting an ayakashi, creatures living on the middle shore. The shores are basically this story’s version of the human realm and the afterlife. Naturally, the middle shore is out of sight of humans and the creatures are not quite as strong as gods and such. In chapter 3, we meet Yuki, so I have reason to believe he will be the subject of chapter 4 in the next volume.

Characters: For now, I will only talk about the two main characters. Yato and Iki
Yato-
 People Skills? Nope. Compassion? Nope. Southern Charm? Nope. Shinki? Maybe. He does not have that much going for him. Even as a god he mentions an ayakashi would not even acknowledge him as a superior without his shinki. He is not the most flawed character ever, but he definitely has a ton of room to grow. That does make it interesting to see what he will end up like.

Iki- She does make the manga more interesting. She was hit by a bus. No no, this does not take an awesome Yu Yu Hakusho turn. Instead, she comes back alive without having to save her body. She is now a form of ayakashi. Randomly, she will pass out and go into a spirit form. Her spirit form has a tail. No no, this does not take an even more awesomer Dragon Ball turn. Instead, if her tail is cut, she will no longer be able to return to her human form. Essentially, this makes her a liability in combat.

Cannot wait to see these two grow.

World: Okay. So, if you are into spirits, afterlife, gods and demons, you’ll probably like this world. I am really not sure if other gods will come in or what(I do not look up spoilers or any information. Most of my reads are blind reads of books that catch my eye). But there is definitely one god floating around, Yato. Ayakashis are here too. They do not do too much from what I’ve gathered. In chapter 1, the negative stress of all the students creates a huge ayakashi that encourages the kids to bully Mutsumi. In chapter 3, one challenges Yato and they fight. The themes do incorporate supernatural mythology. I am into it.

Recap: A good story that does not try to confide itself to one genre like action or romance, but blends a lot of genres into a supernatural world.

Action: Used sparingly.
Romance: No romance or love plot lines jumped out to me so far.
Plot: Very solid. Is a good telling of gods, demons, and other supernatural matters.
Characters: Yato does not stick out to me as much as other main characters, but he is still enjoyable to say the least
The World: Standard human world with supernatural elements thrown in.
Humor: Nowhere near the funniest of mangas I’ve ever read. With that said, it still has hilarious parts thrown in. So yeah, it is good for a few laughs, for sure.

Verdict: You can recommend this book to a lot of people. There is action, but it doesnt lean on it, there is comedy and most of it is clean if I remember right. It is a solid read.

Score: 7.5 out 10. Even with all the good things I’ve said. This is volume 1 and you can tell this is just the beginning. It is a positive read with a lot of strong points, and it sets up the world right. It explains to the audience what the demons are like, what the gods are like, so on and so forth. I expect volume 2 to be even better.

Buy it here: Buy Noragami Vol 1

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