Tag Archives: Viz Media

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 74 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 74     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 2, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

This is it. The last volume. The big battle. And so it begins…

Hard to believe the journey is over. Ichigo vs Yhwach. I don’t believe there was ever any doubt as to the outcome. Even so, there are obstacles to be overcome. Like Yhwach knowing the future, and planning for it. Such as the way he breaks Ichigo’s sword. That’s a hard one to overcome. But now the ghosts of the past rematerialize and all things are possible.

This last volume is filled with a lot. Old faces, new losses… and happy endings. We learn the truth about Uryu (which I said was coming), as well as the shocking truth about Yachiru. Will we ever see her again? We have lost close friends, such as Ukitake, while others have changed who they are.

I do have one question, though, if anyone can answer that. What happened to Aizen, after the battle? Where did he go? Is there room for another round of Bleach? Or will it become one of Bleach’s little mysteries?  I don’t know about that, but I do know the ending is very cute and heartwarming, and I am so glad I took this journey, even if I will miss all my companions on this wonderful voyage. Looking forward to seeing the new anime that is coming next month.

Bleach is awesome! Gotta read it all!

Book Review: Alice in Borderland, Vol 2 by Haro Aso

Alice in Borderland, Vol 2   

Author: Haro Aso

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 15, 2022

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Dystopian/344 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ryo, Karube, and Chota have teamed with Saori to defeat the land of Borderland and make their escape by playing their stupid games. It’s Karube who figures out they needed to head to the Beach, wherever that is. But then they find themselves playing a game from which only one operson will emerge alive and everything changes.

Afterward, Ryo stops caring about what will happen, unable to stop thinking about his friends and what has happened to them. He is found by a girl named Usagi, who brings him back to a semblance of himself after telling him her story. He decides that they need to fight on together. They decide to carry on the search for the Beach, asking players they run across. But eventually they realize they are talking to the wrong crowd so they decide on a strategy, waiting for the games to be over and talking to the survivors. Through trial and error, and clever deductions, they eventually reach their goal, although it isn’t quite what they expected.

The Beach isn’t an actual beach, it’s a hotel where a number of the players have gathered. On arrival, they are each ranked according to the cards they possess. The goal is to collectively gather all the cards necessary to leave the island, which appears to be the entire deck. But no one knows if more than one person will be able to escape. And some cards are more difficult to acquire than others, while no one has even seen the face cards yet.

But are the players at the top manipulating the others for their own agenda? Can Ryo and Usagi survive this place, and is there any actual chance of escape?

This is certainly a dangerous place to be for all involved, but somehow there is a question that really hasn’t been addressed. Probably because they’re all too busy trying to survive. But I have to wonder who is behind this, and what purpose does this serve? This manga is certainly a dark version of Alice in Wonderland, full of twists and turns. I will have to wait for the next volume because it is just now coming out, so the library won’t have it right away. Looking forward to it.

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 18   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 3, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro and Tomioka face Akaza, Number 3 Upper Level Demon. He sneers at Tanjiro, certain that the demon slayer has used all of his water moves. But does Tanjiro have something else up his sleeve? Tanjiro has finally come to understand what his father meant by the Transparent World.  Having killed Rengoku, and believing he has killed Tanjiro, Akaza taunts Tomioka, unaware that his fate is right behind him. But when Tanjiro slices off the demon’s head, he doesn’t die! What’s up with that?

Kanao is in a struggle with the demon who killed her sister, Doma. When Inosuke comes to Kanao’s rescue, Doma is mildly amused, but certainly not threatened. In fact, Doma thinks they have met before… a long long time ago. When Inosuke was just a baby in the arms of his mother. Can what he says be true?

Much of this volume is taken up with Akaza’s backstory, which is interesting. It’s nice to get to know the characters, even the so-called bad ones. Everybody has a story to tell. Plus we finally meet Inosuke’s mother and learn more of the circumstances of what made him what he is now. Also, Tanjiro is growing exponentially. He’ll be a Hashira in no time, if not more.

Great volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 72 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 72     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 6, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nanao picks up the sword her captain has kept hidden from her, but she is momentarily unable to move, too frightened. But Shunsui has her back, as always. The defeated Quincy, Lille, falls into the Soul Society, to the amazement of the Soul Reapers, vowing to take revenge on Kyoraku. But Kira is not about to let that happen!

Meanwhile, Byakuya cuts the head off another Quincy, but as they prepare to go, something untoward happens. Turns out this guy is Stern Ritter M – for Miracle – and he is Gerard Valkyrie! The miracle is that not only did he not die, but he has become massive!

Ichigo seems to be down for the count, supposedly poisoned by Nakk le Vaar, but appearances can be deceiving.  And in comes Yoruichi, who is determined to take le Vaar down a peg or two. And her little brother is right behind her. The Quincy tells Yoruichi that she can’t hurt him because he acquires immunity to everything. Hmm, what’s the solution to that?

Uryu returns to the Palace. Yhwach is sleeping, so Haschwalth has his powers. He confronts Uryu, proclaiming him a traitor, but Uryu says he has no evidence, so Haschwalth dares Ishida to prove he is no traitor. He has to kill Ichigo… in front of his friends. Has the moment of truth finally arrived?

So much happening, and only two volumes left! Everything needs to be resolved, but will it end well for our hero and his friends? One can only hope! Things can still go horribly wrong. I was worried about Shunsui but I think he’s okay, and Nanao was awesome! Watching Yoruichi in action was amazing, and the interaction between her and Kiskue was so cute! But most importantly, what I’ve been saying all along is about to be proven to be accurate, so huzzah! Anxious to see how this ends!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 71 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 71     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 7, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

In a surprise move, Nemu has not only acted on her own, not waiting for instructions from her Master Mayuri, but she has openly defended him. But at what price? Captain Kyoraku attacks the Quincy Lille Barro, utilizing his ability to turn a child’s game into reality. He isn’t really surprised that Nano has kept up with him. She says she won’t leave, but he sends her to deliver a message to the others. She vows to return afterward. Hinamori is confused when Shinji doesn’t immediately offer to assist Shunsui, but he says he knows that the help is not wanted or needed, that Shunsui will be fine, and there are other fires to be put out.

Kisuke and the others run into another Quincy, one with a winged helmet. He claims they will never get past him, and he wants to take all of them on, all at once!  Ichigo runs into the Quincy who battled Grimmjow. His name is Naak le Var. Meanwhile a wounded Shunsui is adrift in his past until he is yanked awake by Nanao, who reminds him of the promise he made her mother!

And still the fight continues. Only three volumes left, barreling toward the conclusion, whatever that might be. I have to believe that all will end well, and yet I am biting my nails, fearful for Shunsui. This volume ends on a cliffhanger, of course, ala Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid involving Shunsui and Nano. Let’s hope it has a better outcome! Can’t wait for the next one!

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 6 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 6

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 17, 2009

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Sci-Fi Manga//200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Gesicht is ordered to go back and let others handle the case of Darius XIV’s attempted suicide, but Gesicht says he is too close to quit. Apparently he has a hunch…who even knew robots could have hunches? On the streets of Samarkand, he helps up a poor orphan robot child who was callously knocked over.  Gesicht goes to meet with Professor Abullah, head of the Ministry of Science. Gesicht is momentarily confused by Abullah, who says many feel that way upon meeting him. He says that he lost most of his human body during the war. Gesicht questions him about Darius, a man called Goji, and something called the Tenma chip. Abullah says supposedly the chip belonged to the world’s most advanced robot, but because the AI was so advanced, the robot could never gain consciousness. Allegedly, he’s still sleeping beneath the Persian ruler’s former palace. When Gesicht shows him a photo of a man standing in a field of flowers, Abullah says he doesn’t recognize him.

After Abullah leaves, Gesicht buys a good luck charm from a street vendor who tells him it is a charm of the great sage Goji! And then the little robot child, whose name is Muhammad Ali, tries to sell Gesicht a flower, and he tells the inspector he recognizes the man in the photo! He tells Gesicht he wants to get to be a great man, just like Sahad. Apparently, Sahad left Persia for the Netherlands in order to learn how to make the desert bloom with flowers.

Gesicht follows this new lead to New Amsterdam, where he discovers the boarding house where Sahad once lived. He speaks to one of Sahad’s professors, who has nothing but good things to say about the robot. Plus he has a tulip in a glass case that Sahad left with him with instructions not to plant it until after his return. He also speaks with a woman who owns a flower shop, who knew Sahad well. He spoke to her of his dreams, and of the flowers he cultivated, which he gave individual names. But something changed and he said he had to go home, in order to enlist to fight in the war. One day he went to his field and all the flowers were dead…all except for one…the one he had named Pluto.

Gesicht goes back to see Brau, asking about the sleeping robot, and was that even possible. Brau claims that the AI could wake if someone introduced an extreme emotion. Of course, there is no telling what sort of robot this awakened AI would be. Gesicht asks Brau where he thinks Pluto might have gone after his fight with Hercules, and he says home…his tulips home.  Meanwhile, even as an order goes out to arrest Gesicht, Professor Abullah goes to see Professor Hoffman. Gesicht receives a call that the professor has been kidnapped and he is to return immediately and he says he will but not right now…as he has just found Pluto!

Things are rapidly escalating here, as layers upon layers are being peeled back. But at what price? Has the unthinkable really occurred? Or is this just a red herring? Only three volumes to go. Real nail-biter this is. Afraid to look at what comes next, but can’t look away.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 70 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 70   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 4, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Bazz B has worked hard to get close to Yhwach in order to kill him. But he never expected Jugo to succeed where he himself failed. When Jugo tells Yhwach there must be a mistake, the Quincy tells him that he has seen Jugo’s power, which is the same as his own – the power to share power. And now, years later,  Jugo is trying to prevent Bazz from killing Yhwach, which was the goal all along. What’s up with that?

Grimmjow takes off after one of the Quincies, leaving Ichigo and the others behind, wondering where he went. But Grimmjow ends up poisoned for his troubles. Meanwhile, Kurotsuchi and Kenpachi find themselves face-to-face with an extremely weird Quincy (coming from Kurotsuchi, that’s saying something!). Kurotsuchi attempts to keep Kenpachi from being too impetuous, but that is easier said than done. While the two captains debate how to handle this fellow, Ikkaku, Yumichika, and Nemu discuss just why they can’t interfere with their captains. Namely because they would be severely chewed out for doing so.  They seem uneasy at the idea that Kurotsuchi is about to release his rather poisonous bankai. The Quincy shows itself to be more than they realized… and so does Nemu.

Not a lot of Ichigo et al in this volume, but I suspect his time is coming soon. Only four more volumes to go! This one has more to do with Bazz B and Jugo, but mainly it’s the Kurotsuchi/Kenpachi show, which is well worth the price of admission! Watching the odd Captain of the 12th Squad is fascinating, as he hasn’t been seen as much in these books as some of the others. But he is really brilliant, in his own quirky way, and it’s a pleasure to watch him in action… albeit, from a distance.

The volume ends on a cliffhanger, naturally. Can’t wait to see how that turns out in the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 17 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 17   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: October 6, 2020

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Fantasy Manga/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Shinobu and Tanjiro battle Doma, Upper Demon  #2, still reeling from the death of their kind-hearted master. Meanwhile, Zenitsu faces one who was once his senior, but now is a demon. And the new head of the Ubuyashiki family carries on as best he can, with the assistance of his younger sisters, even though he is only 8 years old!

Kaigaku taunts Zenitsu for his perceived weakness, despite not having seen him in some time. Zenitsu admits he can only do the first form, and that Kaigaku can do everything but that. Surprisingly, Zenitus doesn’t seem upset by anything this demon says or does. Perhaps he has changed in the course of his training? When Zenitsu uses a technique that Kaigaku doesn’t know, the demon is dismayed that he wasn’t taught this move, then shocked to learn it’s one that Zenitsu came up with himself! Urokodaki watches over Nezuko, waiting and hoping that she will be able to become human once again, both for her sake and to foil Muzan’s plans.

Tanjiro and Tomioka encounter Upper 3, Akaza, who is surprised to find Tanjiro still alive after their last encounter on the Mugen train. He and Tomioka are both impressed with Tanjiro’s technique development. But Akaza makes the mistake of denigrating Rengoku to Tanjiro, who remembers something that Inosuke taught him.

Tanjiro has come quite a long way since he first began his journey as a Demon Slayer! Where before he could barely face the lower demons, now he battles with the upper ones, well on his way to confront Muzan himself. Interesting back story in this volume, and I have to admit to being more impressed by Zenitsu than I was before (still like him asleep the best lol). How long before they come face to face with Muzan? Good volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Alice in Borderland, Vol 1 by Haro Aso

Alice in Borderland, Vol 1   

Author: Haro Aso

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 15, 2022

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Dystopian/344 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ryohei Arisu dreams of living a different life and doing it somewhere else. He feels as if he is an NPC in his own life, and his parents always hold him up for comparison to his accomplished brother. Ryo’s friend Chota has much the same attitude, his only concern being his obsession with girls – not that he’s ever had a girlfriend. Chota laughs almost constantly and has no serious goals in life, never taking things seriously.  Their friend Karube manages a bar, and lets Ryo and Chota have free drinks. He has ambitions. Someday he wants to own a ranch in Australia and chase sheep.

One night, Ryo wishes for a huge earthquake to happen or some event where people turn into zombies. Just something. Anything that isn’t what they have now. Feeling restless, he decides they should go somewhere else. Since the trains have stopped running, they’ll have to walk. After a while, too tired to take another step, they decide to rest in a train station. From somewhere nearby they spy fireworks someone is shooting off. At four in the morning? Why? But then there is a blinding flash of light…

When they wake, they find themselves covered in dust! Heading outside, they discover everything is not only deserted, but overgrown, abandoned even, and much of the food they can find is rotten. What is going on here? There is no sign of anyone anywhere. But rather than feeling alarmed, Ryo and Chota are elated! Perhaps this is the paradise they’ve dreamed of? No one to tell them what to do or when to do it. If they look carefully, they can find some edible food. That’s not too bad, right? But suddenly they hear something. Are there other people after all? Drawn to the sound, as they are standing there, looking confused, a girl walks out from the restroom, grumbling.  When she sees them, she sighs and says they are better than nothing, and she doesn’t have a lot of choice. What does that even mean? Pegging them as newcomers, she says something about an arena. Ryo and Chota decides this sounds dangerous and want to leave, but Karube has moved in the other direction. The girl warns him not to cross over the line, but it’s too late. She tells them they’re in the game now.

Apparently the guys have managed to land in a futuristic time when survival depends on playing certain games, which are strictly structured and timed, with varying degrees of difficulty as well as rewards. The first game they find themselves in has to do with drawing fortunes. How hard can that be? They are about to find out.

This is an interesting start to what I assume will be some kind of play on Alice in Wonderland. But here, the stakes are high, as in life or death high. Sometimes you have to cooperate to win, but sometimes it’s every man for himself. Ryo is definitely an anti-hero, not your usual protagonist. I have to believe that he and Chota and Kyube will undergo some life-altering situations that will make or break them. These games are not for fun. Perhaps they will awake at some point, as Alice did, to find it was all a dream. That remains to be seen. Look forward to volume two.

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 69 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 69   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: March 7, 2017

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kurotsuchi explains to some of the horrified Captains why Aizen can’t do what he threatens, namely shoot down Reiokyu.  Unfortunately, some of the Quincies choose that moment to arrive. While Shunsui hopes they have come to help, the truth is quite the opposite. Looks like a fight is going to happen. But that is interrupted by the arrival of Bazz-B and two girls. Seems that the Bazz is willing to help the Soul Reapers, being rather angry at Yhwach for abandoning them. Besides the desire to kill Yhwach, Bazz has a beef with Ichigo as well.

Ichigo et al need to figure out how to get to Reiokyu again, but help arrives from an unexpected source – Grimmjow! Whodathunkit?  And right behind him is the adult Nel! Apparently Uruhara has made something for her that allows her to switch between her child and adult forms whenever she wants.  A box unexpectedly appears, heralding the arrival of Yukio and Riruka. When Ichigo questions Grimmjow on his motives for helping, he claims that if Hueco Mundo were to disappear, he’d have nowhere to kill Ichigo. Sounds legit.

Yhwach has taken down Reio and now he’s ready to reinvent his nation, rebuilding the Royal Palace to resemble his own. The Court Guard Captains are confused, but Shunsui realizes that this is a testament to the strength of their foe. Yhwach tells his followers that the castle will be the foundation for the new world, Wahr Welt (castle of true world). The Captains move to attack, but Kurotsuchi isn’t with them. As always, he marches to the beat of his own drummer. But he is surprised to find Kenpachi has anticipated his move and followed him.

Once Yhwach gives his orders, Haschwalth gives one of his own – that Uryu be followed, to make sure he does nothing that goes against His Majesty’s plans. Apparently there is a lack of trust there. Haschwalth is surprised to see Bazz B, having assumed he was with the ones who didn’t survive. Bazz doesn’t hesitate to tell Jugo just how angry he is, despite their long history together.

Some interesting things going on here, including the backstory of Bazz and Jugo, and how Jugo came to be Yhwach’s second-in-command. We can see a certain dissension in the Quincy ranks. Will this become advantageous to our heroes at some point? Clearly someone doesn’t trust Uryu, but is that suspicion justified? I thought I caught a glimpse of something like dismay with Uryu, and I am still of the opinion that he will do right in the end, regardless of appearances right now.

Everyone is getting into position. What purpose will Aizen serve? He is doing his best to escape. I’d say good luck to that, but we all know from experience that this man is dangerous, even as hamstrung as he currently is. Don’t underestimate him.  I feel the ultimate battle will be between Ichigo and Yhwach, but everyone has a part to play. Good volume, only five more left!