As discussed, this last Monnday was the last of the year. Meaning no more Manga Mondays for 2020. I thought it would be fun to recap what all we read.
Read But Not Reviewed: Eden Zero Volume 1-3.
Rebirth Volume #1. Reviewed January 6th. Last Christmas my brother got me the first 22 volumes of Rebirth. We reviewed the first one to start the year off. It scored an 8 out 10. It wasn’t groundbreaking but it was just very solid for what it was. Read the full review here.
Rave Master Volume #1. Reviewed May 11th. This manga was a bit more up my alley as from as the genre. It plays out like most action orientated mangas of the late 90’s. Staring a teenage male who comes into possession of mystical, world saving weapons and items. This was the manga that helped jumpstart Hiro Mashima, writer of Fairy Tail, into the world renowned Mangaka he is today. It scored a 7.5 out of 10. Read my full review here.
Dragon Eye Volume #1. Reviewed June 8th. Take the same description from above. Boy comes into possession of a mystical, world saving weapon and item. Only this manga felt a lot more gritty and serious kind of in the same way Naruto could be really serious compared to One Piece. We gave Dragon Eye a 7 out of 10. Read my full review here.
Jujutsu Kaisen Volume #1. Reviewed October 19th. Maybe my favorite manga I reviewed this year. That’s very tough to call. However, this really felt like you were reading the next big thing. I did thoroughly enjoy this manga. This is backed up by the fact I scored it a 9 out of 10 stating it had all the makings of a classic. Read the full review here.
Zombie Powder Volume #1. Reviewed December 22nd. Again we find ourselves retracing roots. This was the debut manga from famous Mangaka Tite Kubo, author and creator of Bleach. The writing can be weird at times but if you enjoy early Dragon Ball mangas, you are going to love this manga. I scored it a 7 out of 10. Read the full review here
Psyren Volume #1. This manga started off all over the place and almost lost me several times. By the end of it, I was glad I stuck with it and finished it. I actually enjoyed it a lot. This book feels like it might have a lot going for it as the story progresses. Definitely worth the read. I rated it 7 out of 10. Read the full review here.
Average score: 7.583
Honestly, the main reason so many scored 7’s is because I felt like I enjoyed them a lot but the general public might not as much. Honestly, Rave Master might be my favorite I reviewed all year, but I know it got lost in the shuffle of the Narutos, One Pieces, and Bleach of the world. All in all, I liked every book I read. It is amazing how many mangas I bought this year and just how few reviews I did. It is really indictive of how hard momentum could be to keep this year.
Let me know what mangas I should review next year! Thank you for reading and have a great day.
Tite Kubo is a household name as far as mangas go. He created Bleach, very long, previously ongoing series. Bleach ran for 74 volumes over the course of 15 years! He has since gone on to write Burn the Witch! If I sound excited, is it because we recently reviewed the anime- which I loved. Check out my review of Burn the Witch here. But, as the title suggest, this isn’t about Bleach or Burn the Witch. This is about Tite Kubo’s origin story, his debut, Zombie Powder!
Over the summer, I stumbled upon this manga in a 2nd and Charles. I did not recognize the name because I had never experienced Bleach and Burn the Witch had yet to release. Though, reading the back revealed the author’s impressive history and a plot I wanted to dive into. Needless to say, at $3.50, I dove in. This is a book that kept on giving. 7 chapters and nearly 200 pages of sheer manga action. The second half of the book was a thrill ride much like the first half. However, the second half takes place exclusively in a bandit’s compound. Meaning, with tight rooms, black and white art, and insane energy from sword fights, sometimes the plot and even the action was hard to follow. But that really was my only complaint. The writing is borderline juvenile but hey, he was 22 years old when he wrote this and I find the childish nature of these mangas charming. The characters are perfect for this style of book. They all can be very funny, very personal, easily enraged, and eager to fight. Throw all these characters together, the good guys and the bad guys, and you have a real recipe here. Factor in the fact the setting is a Western with over the top guns and kickbutt swords with fighting scenes that do not hold back, and this is a real page turner.
The story centers around two guys on a quest for the 12 Rings of the Dead which can either revive the dead or grant the living eternal life. Gamma Akutabi is the main character. He is motivated by the thought of immortality. Elwood on the other hand is on a mission to revive a dead family member. They are a very genuine duo and I think that’s what I really appreciate about the manga. There’s a lot subtly in the dialogue. Akutabki and Smith are talking about how they would never partner with someone who would get themselves killed so easily. Yes, Akutabki and Smith are addressing each other but they are saying this to Elwood, who is a young, goodhearted kid. This scene really makes it appear Akutabki appreciates and respects Elwood despite the age difference. I just really like how to two play off of each other.
One complaint the manga developed over time was an uninspired plot an unoriginal character designed. Personally, neither of these bothered me at all. I can get gripes if you do not like this genre or maybe even getting burned out of the genre. However, if you really like this area of manga, this going to feel like home. In fact, part of the manga felt like those old school Dragon Ball adventures. The manga only ran for about a year so it should be easy to complete and read.
This manga is perfect for anyone who wants to relive the glory days of the early 90’s into the 2000. Naruto and One Piece were beginning to make their ascension into the goliathes of manga while Kubo was starting to make a name for himself. Filled with likable characters, questionable jokes and more severed heads and disembodied bad guys than you can shake a chainsaw sword at, Zombie Powder proves to be a nonstop joyride from the first page to the end of the chapter.
I’ll give it a very solid 7 out of 10. The criticism was all about how easily forgettable and lost in the shuffle this manga was. Now, while I enjoyed the first volume, no one ever talks about this series (I’m not sure how many even know it exist). Meaning, the critics, I guess, were right. However, I would love to find volume 2 for roughly the same price one day.
Today’s Manga Monday will examine Jujutsu Kaisen. Jujutsu Kaisen was written and drawn by Gege Akutami. It began serialization in 2018. It was brought stateside thanks to Viz Media.
Spoilers: Only regarding the first manga. Nothing series wide.
Plot: The plot centers around a young protagonist named Yuji Itadori. For the sake of not just regurgitating the story, we will paraphrase. Yuji Itadori and fellow classmates recover an ancient talisman, a cursed finger. Well, time has passed and the protection thought to be derived from the talisman is beginning to fade. With it fading, demons and curses are attracted to the negative energy school yards attract. All of this is explained by a jujutsu sorcerer to Itadori. Understanding the dire situation, and while facing very strong curses, Itadori consumes the cursed finger. With this, the super graded demon lord, Sukuna the King of Curses possess Itadori. Now, just like in Tokyo Ghoul and Parasyte, our main hero is also the antagonist.
Yuji Itadori- As a lead character, I don’t think we’ve seen him fully developed of course. However, as a person, we have a lot to go off of. He is extremely selfless. With two of his classmates life on the line, he rushes into combat. He has no powers, yet. Still he aggressively fights high grade curses with no regard for his own life. This attitude continued through the 7 chapter volume. When he comes face to face with another high level curse, he buys his teammates enough time to escape from the curse. I cannot wait to see Itadori keep evolving into a great lead character.
Jujutsu Sorcerers- Most of the other characters we spend time with are jujutsu sorcerers. Think of these people almost as ninja’s infused with chakra in Naruto. These sorcerers can sense curses, use “magic” (I guess?), and ultimately fight the evil curses. These characters are Satoru Gojo, Nobara Kugisaki, and Megumi Fushiguro (pictured below, respectively). Fushiguro is the character with the most panel time, but I don’t remember if he got fleshed out yet. However, when the characters are together, in any capacity really, they are enjoyable. The chemistry is good, the dialogue is enjoyable, and they get to fight a good bit of curses throughout these early chapters.
The World: The world is pretty similar to ours but there is a big difference. Spirits, demons, and curses are all real and materialized. There is a Jujutsu Sorcery school where people are trained to become elite sorcerers. Personally, I hope the school and the rest of the sorcerers get more panel time as the series goes on.
Recap: Jujutsu Kaisen is the next in Shonen Jump’s signature action packed comedy realm that they just exceed at. Akin to other shonens of the past like Naruto, Jujutsu Kaisen is an easy to jump into kind of manga.
Action: Plenty. Definitely a strong suit for the manga.
Romance: None at the moment. At least I did not pick up on any.
Plot: I like it. I’ve read a few super natural mangas and this ranks with the best of them.
Characters: I really like the 4 main characters. The villains seem interesting but I’m mostly projecting here.
The World: While similar to ours, there is enough uniqueness to make the world cool.
Humor: The manga is funny, but not nearly as funny as some of the others we’ve reviewed. You will certainly chuckle at some parts though.
Verdict: It is a great time to jump in as the anime is only about 3 episodes deep as of the posting of this blog. This manga follows in the long line of epic Shonen Jump’s from decades past. A must for fans of the genre.
Score: 9 out of 10. This manga has all the makings of a classic. It has humor, action, and likeable characters. The first chapter was a little slow. The fight scenes and some of the more hectic panels are hard to follow but that can be a weakness in a lot of black and white manga. I think it assorted itself as a clear top tier manga while falling just short of some of the heavier hitters like Tokyo Ghoul. I am excited for the anime and to follow the manga closely.
Thanks for reading! Have a great day!
Continued Reading Below!