Tag Archives: Viz Media

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 5 by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 5     

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 15, 2009

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Sometimes life is ironic. Like now, when Inspector Gesicht is taxed with protecting the man who wants to kill him, because he killed that man’s brother. At the same time, Adolf has been instructed to kill Gesicht, and he’s been told where to find the weapon to do it with.  Gesicht reunites Adolf with his family, and Adolf has to tell his wife the whole story of what is going on. She has no real sympathy for the dead brother, and doesn’t blame Gesicht.

Hercules and Epsilon are protecting Professor Hoffman until he is taken to safety, unaware that he knows that they have been fiddling with Gesicht internally. After he is gone, they feel a strange electromagnetic wave approaching. Hercules remembers a robot he fought alongside of in the war, one who couldn’t or wouldn’t stop washing his hands, as if trying to cleanse himself of guilt. Hercules decides to battle whatever is coming and tells Epsilon to observe. Most of the battle is below the water but when the combatants emerge, Epsilon sees a damaged Hercules clinging to what appears to be horns… and he seems to know who his opponent is.

Epison realizes Gesicht is the only one authorized to arrest the guilty party, but he can’t seem to raise him on his comm. Adolf attempts to carry out his instructions, but he soon realizes that the powers that be intend to kill him and his family as well. He begs Gesicht to protect his wife and son.

At Uran’s school, people have noticed a change in Uran. Not surprising since her brother Atom  just died. Even in her sadness, Uran feels someone else’s sorrow and searches for it. First she finds a kitten, and then a little boy who has been bullied. She leaves the kitten with the boy and goes on to help other creatures who are sad. Eventually she arrives at the grave site of Tobio Tenma.

When Dr. Tenma arrives to say his good-byes to Atom, they tell him Atom isn’t really dead but they haven’t been able to bring him back online. They want Tenma to help them. At first he refuses, but then he finds himself trying all the same. Gesicht goes to visit the deposed Persian ruler, and then Epsilon gives him what he recovered from what was left of Hercules. Can this image be Pluto?

Omg, how much more must we endure before we reach the truth? Will Gesicht be the last of the super robots? Another one gone now. Just horrible. We get some back story here, including Dr. Tenma and his son Tobio, as well as war memories. Just watching and waiting to see what happens, and crossing my fingers for Gesicht!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 65 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 65       

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 3, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

The Quincies have managed to lay Zaraki low, intending to finish him off in his weakened state, which would be catastrophic for the Soul Reapers. So of course the others have to help. Shinji and Hinamori quickly arrive to lend their support. Shinji directs Momo to heal Kenpachi. Rukia and Byakuya are also hurrying to aid in the battle when they suddenly feel another spiritual pressure, followed by the long-anticipated appearance of Ichigo! Huzzah, the cavalry has arrived!

Ichigo finds himself face to face with four female Quincies, one of whom is highly indignant that he has covered her in dust! When Ichigo wounds one of the four, she turns to another one to heal her, but admonishes her not to use her blood. Turns out that this particular Quincy, whose name is Gigi, can create zombies with her blood! But she reminds the other girl that doesn’t work on fellow Quincies unless they are dead.

Quincy Bazz-B shows up to take over the fight against Ichigo in order to claim the glory for himself. But he isn’t the only Quincy to have that idea, as he learns to his dismay when four others also arrive, suggesting they all share the glory. Ichigo is surprised to hear the voice of Yhwach thanking him for leading them into the light. What does that even mean? Unfortunately, it means his actions will now allow them entrance into Reiokyu!

Ichigo is dismayed to find Uryu by Yhwach’s side, as are Chad and Orihime. Yhwach asks if Uryu has said his good-byes as they will be eternal. Ichigo demands answers but none are forthcoming. Chad tries to tell Ichigo that they still have a job to do, but Ichigo wants to follow Uryu. “I’ll smack him and bring him back.”  Uruhara arrives, “a step too late”, and asks Ichigo if he wants to book a trip to Reiokyu. Turns out Kurotsuchi has been building a replica of the Shiba family cannon beneath the barracks of Squad 12 because he is that kind of genius, although it isn’t a perfect replica. But they need more energy. Luckily Orihime arrives just then, but what in the world is she wearing?

Kurotsuchi, meanwhile, is having an interesting discussion with Gigi, intrigued by her zombies. But when she produces zombies she created from fallen Soul Reapers, he confesses he cannot fight them so leaves that to others, namely the Arrancars, who have no emotional ties to them. Unfortunately, Gigi has an ace up her sleeve in the form of one particular Soul Reaper she has zombified! Say it isn’t so!

The battle between the Quincies and the Soul Reapers is heating up, but at least Ichigo is back in the fray, which has to mean it must be the beginning of the end. But at what price? And when he succeeds in defeating Yhwach and his nefarious cohorts, what will remain of what once was? So many lost already. And now we face the horror of a former favorite captain who has been turned into a mindless zombie. Can that end any way but badly? Dreading but looking forward to the next volume!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 64 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 64   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: July 7, 2015

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Isane and Yachiru seem to be facing an invisible foe. He turns out to be Stern Ritter V – “Vanishing Point” Gwenael Lee. He tells them he can’t be seen, felt… or remembered. That doesn’t deter Yachiru, who continues to fight, with surprising results. Another Stern Ritter appears unexpectedly, claiming Lee is just a product of his imagination. His name is Gremmy Thoumeaux, and he manipulates what people imagine into reality. Having noticed Yachiru’s spiritual pressure is down, Kenpachi makes an appearance. This is the first time they have been together since he fought with Unohana.  He finds himself facing what appears to be a little kid.

Gremmy seems to be impressed by the idea that Kenpachi is now the Kenpachi from Zaraki, and thinks he needs a grand stage so he erects a large block of stone for that purpose. Gremmy then boasts that he will kill Zaraki without lifting a finger, just by using what’s in his head. Kenpachi tells Yachiru to flee but she doesn’t move. Gremmy says it’s because he’s made her think her bones are made of chocolate chip cookies and will break if she moves.

Some of the other Stern Ritter believe that Gremmy should not have been released, the guy is far too unstable. And he proves them right by unleashing a meteor that is headed right toward them through the use of his imagination. But the meteor is real enough! Can Kenpachi handle this thing or is everyone doomed?

Most of the action in this volume centers around Kenpachi and Yachiru, and I, for one, am happy to see that. Especially Yachiru who is a great character but gets little story time. She and Kenny make a great pair! It’s always great to see the big guy in action.  These Stern Ritter really get on my nerves. I will be so glad to see the last of them.  Fun volume, looking forward to the next one, and biting my nails!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 16 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 16     

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 1, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke begin their training with Gyomei, the Stone Hashira. The regimen consists of three parts – training under the waterfall, carrying three thick logs, and pushing a large boulder one cho (about 110 meters).  The training is grueling but the three demon slayers push through it as best they can. Inosuke is happy, convinced that Gyomei is the strongest member of the Demon Slayer Corps. Tanjiro passes the first two parts, but is having difficulty in pushing the boulder. He feels as though it is pushing back at him. Meanwhile, Muzan is very intent on finding both Nezuko and Kagaya.

When Genya arrives, he and Tanjiro discuss the training, and he opens Tanjiro’s eyes to trying another technique. Following Genya’s advice, Tanjiro is able to push the boulder, finishing his training before either Zenitsu or Inosuke. Genya is impressed by Tanjiro, both for his accomplishments in training as for what he did for the Swordsmith village. Tanjiro modestly claims it was due to Nezuko, not him, thus earning more respect for his honesty. Now Tanjiro is ready to move on to his next training, with Tomioka.

Tanjiro finds Tomioka battling with Sanemi, the Wind Hashira who is also Genya’s brother. When Tanjiro asks if they are really fighting over candy, Sanemi becomes offended and attacks. In the meantime, Muzan has found Kagaya, who is in very bad shape! They have a long discussion during which Muzan attempts to justify what he is doing based on past grievances. This encounter does not end well.

When the Demon Slayers receive the news, they rush to their Master’s side, alas too late, and vow to end the existence of Muzan once and for all.

This was a very hard volume to read. It’s always hard to lose characters you come to love, and this was no exception, but neither was it the first time in this series. The Hashira have been struck a mighty blow, but at the same time the death of the Master has only strengthened their resolve to destroy Muzan. Tanjiro is becoming even stronger than ever, and I’m sure Zenitsu and Inosuke will be close behind. No Nezuko this volume, hope she’s doing well and we will see her again soon. I can only hope they will make Muzan suffer horribly before they kill him. The back stories are interesting and informative, as usual.

Good volume, looking forward to the next one.

Book Review: Pluto, Vol 4 by Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Pluto, Vol 4       

Author: Naoki Urasawa & Osamu Tezuka

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: May 19, 2009

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Dr. Ochanomizu discovers a discarded dog robot and decides to repair it, since it reminds him of a dog he and his wife once had.  He is being pressured to send more robot troops to the Persian kingdom, which he doesn’t wish to do. His grandson Takashi messages him to talk about the strange tornado he and his mother saw. The dog’s owner shows up as they are talking, having tracked the dog through his GPS. All seems well, until he reveals his name and demands that the Professor summon Atom so he can fight someone!

The Professor refuses to give in to Goji’s demands, but Goji tells him he can control tornados… even where they go and who they target! Atom appears unexpectedly and tells the Professor that Uran is responding to a call!  Atom goes to her rescue, but tragedy ensues.

Gesicht continues to have bad dreams, unaware that he has been targeted by a man who thinks he killed his brother. Adolf is unaware that his bosses don’t wish him to succeed in his mission as they have other plans for Gesicht, and he is very necessary to these plans. Gesicht goes to see Dr Hoffman, unaware that the doctor knows someone has been fiddling with Gesicht’s AI. Meanwhile, Adolf makes a detour to his brother’s grave, and narrowly avoids being killed!

Gesicht’s vacation is put on hol, after the untimely death of Atom, and his new assignment is to protect Adolf Haas. How ironic is that? Haas’s son is totally smitten with the detective and is excited to meet him. Gesicht accompanies Haas to work, where they learn of the death of another robot creator, this time the creator of Epsilon. Haas gives Gesicht some info he ran across in a Persian prison his company installed systems for. Gesicht finds some disturbing information. Someone is after Professor Hoffman! After Gesicht saves Adolf’s life, he starts to reveal everything about the anti-robot group he is in.

So much going on, so many bad people with bad agendas. Another good robot gone! It’s heartbreaking. I find it satisfying that Adolf has to put up with Gesicht protecting him. Maybe now he’ll realize that Gesicht didn’t kill his brother… if he doesn’t manage to kill Gesicht first. Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Skip Beat! Vol 11 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat! Vol 11      

Author: Yoshiki Nakamura

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: September 4, 2007

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Shojo Manga//216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Kyoko’s portrayal of Mio has caught everyone by surprise. They are beginning to acknowledge that she has talent. Ren finds himself dreaming of her at night, remembering a time when they were children and he had to tell her he was leaving, which was heartbreaking. When they arrive on the set, Mr. Yashiro enlists Kyoko’s aid in making Ren eat the way he should. Ren surprises Kyoko by telling her he wants to be like her, that he wants his portrayal of Katsuki to exceed that of the original, as Kyoko is doing with Mio. Even the original Mio thinks Kyoko’s performance is better than hers. But just when things seem to be going so well, Kyoko is shocked that a re-take has been called… on Ren! Ren never has re-takes! What is up with that?

Sho doesn’t show, at least on the outside, how much he is affected by learning that Kyoko is going to be in a movie with his biggest enemy, aka Ren Tsuruga. But he has been affected, and can’t stop imagining things, such as Kyoko making lunches for Ren, the two exchanging pet names and intimate touches. He vows to have the best girlfriend once he is on top! Could it be Kyoko? And how disturbing is that thought to him?

Ren has been told by the director to go, and to come back when he can confidently play Katsuki. The President’s worst fears have been realized. What is he to do? Kyoko realizes Ren is in trouble, but she has no idea why. As his junior, she doesn’t dare approach him with an offer of advice. But then she remembers the time she was able to help him, dressed as Bo. Maybe that could work again? How to engineer such a meeting? Fate smiles on her when she discovers him by chance, on her way to play Bo. Ren reveals that he is having problems with the love scenes because he has never fallen in love! Bo/Kyoko is shocked, but still determined to help Ren. Ren reveals there is someone he does care about, but she’s in high school, so Kyoko decides to coach him, little dreaming that he is talking about her. To be fair, Ren has no idea he’s talking to Kyoko. Mr. Yoshiro plays matchmaker and maneuvers Kyoko into making dinner for Ren, but things don’t quite turn out as expected.

This series goes straight to my heart, I love it so much! I look forward to the day when both Kyoko and Ren will realize how they feel. I’m afraid some bad times are going to come in between though, since Kyoko doesn’t even known Ren is Corn, and that is bound to be an upsetting revelation. At least now that he is focusing on her, he can do his love scenes. Maybe even Lory will realize that Ren cares for Kyoko. I love to watch Kyoko’s continued growth as an actress. She may have begun this journey for the revenge, but it has become something so much more.

Can’t wait for the next volume!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 62 by Tite Kubo

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Bleach, Vol 62   

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: November 4, 2014

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

 

Hitsugaya continues to battle the manic Bazz-B, who threatens to take him down using only two fingers. Another Quincy, Cang Du, intervenes, reminding Bazz-B that orders were given to leave the Soul Reapers to those who stole their bankai. He has brought a stunned Matsumoto with him, and decides she and her captain should die together. Just then Uruhara reaches Kurotsuchi and tells him he’s completed his research and knows how the soul reapers can reclaim their bankai. He explains the procedure and how it makes the bankai poisonous to the Quincies, and then begins to implement his plan. His actions are just in time for Hitsugaya to turn the tide in his battle.

Omaeda goes to Sai Fon’s aid against the Quincy she is battling, explaining how she will regain her bankai. Meanwhile, Uryu is with Yhwach, who had predicted this outcome. Quincy Bambietta challenges the Soul Reapers to come out of hiding and fight her, especially the “doggy” she wanted to fight, who seems to be nowhere around. But Komamura is there, and so is Shinji. Shinji shows her what his bankai can do, which disorients the Quincy, but not long enough.

Uruhara receives a call from Ichigo, who reveals that he is ready to come back. Unfortunately, the journey back will be longer than the one he took to get there. Kiskue urges him to come as soon as possible.  Bambietta seems to have taken down Shinji. Komamura steps in, using his clan’s secret jutsu, and suddenly he is no longer a wolf but a man! But at what cost?

This volume of Bleach has so much going on! Edge of your seat stuff, too! Like, what’s going on with Shinji? He has to be okay, right? But I can’t help thinking about Kira and I know at this point anything is possible. The whole thing with Ichigo must surely be a delaying tactic in order to build up drama and suspense and bring everything to the brink of destruction, so he can swoop in and play the hero and make everything right again… right? We still don’t know what part Uryu will play in all of this. I have to believe his own innate sense of justice will not allow him to destroy the Soul Society, even though he’s been appointed crazy Yhwach’s successor. Only time will tell there. The part about Komamura is both amazing and heartbreaking.  And of course, seeing Shunsui is the icing on the cake, at least for me.

I especially loved the cover for the chapter Don’t Sleep Til You Sleep, with Renji and Ichigo and a bunch of white coffins with crosses . Kind of a vampiric vibe lol  Also, there’s a part with Ikkaku, Yumichika and Hisagi who are attacked by a guy who reminded me of a luchadore. More of him next time. 

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 61 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 61     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 5, 2014

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Ichigo is confronted by a truth he isn’t sure how to handle – namely, that Zangetsu isn’t who he thought he was. He’s actually Yhwach, but he’s not Yhwach. That’s clear as mud. He’s neither friend nor foe, but he is the Quincy side of Ichigo. The two have a very heartfelt conversation, after which Ichigo receives his new blades.

Uryu arrives among the Quincies, who wonder who he is. Well, everyone but Yhwach, who announces, to everyone’s dismay, that Uryu is his successor. This is bound to upset the apple cart, at the same time painting a target on Uryu’s back by the jealous Quincies. Meanwhile, Chad, Orihime, Rukia, and Renji all continue with their training, while life goes on back in Karakura Town for Ichigo’s family, albeit without him, at least for now.

Ichigo’s friends unexpectedly encounter Shunsui, whom they recognize from the battle. He has come to tell them farewell from Ichigo. Not that something has happened, but he is looking ahead and anticipates that Ichigo might end up with such power that Shunsui cannot allow him to go back. But just in case that happens, he gives them passes so they can visit him in the Soul Society any time they want.

Back at the Seireitei, things are happening, some good, some not so much. Such as the Seireitei disappearing. And the discovery that the Quincies did not invade, they were there all along. On the plus side, some of the captains have learned to get beyond losing their bankai, but will their efforts be enough?

The plot certainly thickens with the arrival of Uryu (didn’t I say he’d have to come into this at some point? That point is here). I think there is more going on than simply naming him as Ywhach’s successor, both on his part and theirs. I have to hope they have misjudged Uryu and that Uryu will not go along with their agenda when push comes to shove. Only time will tell.

Although the captains have learned to fight harder without their bankai, that seems to have been accounted for, so what next? Ultimately, it all comes down to Ichigo, as always. Something possibly horrendous happens at the end of the volume. I have to wait until the next one to see how bad it really is.

On pins and needles until the next volume!

Book Review: Bleach, Vol 60 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 60    

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 1, 2014

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Isshin encounters an unusual foe in the form of a black Hollow, unaware he is being observed by the Gruesome Trio, aka Aizen, Gin, and Tosen. Masaki senses the Hollow’s spiritual pressure and is determined to do something about it, but Ryu tells her not to interfere. He says that is the job of mixed breeds such as Katagiri, not a pure bred Quincy such as Masaki. Turns out this Hollow was created, with the use of a Soul Reaper’s soul! Masaki steps in and saves Isshin. She is concerned he might find out she’s a Quincy, considering what he is, but to her surprise, it doesn’t matter to him.

Isshin makes his report to the Soul Society, but conveniently doesn’t mention the Quincy he met. He slips away to the World of the Living, leaving a note for Rangiku, because he hopes to run into the girl again. Why didn’t he think to get her name? When Masaki returns to the Ishida household, Ryu castigates her, but suddenly she collapses. Turns out she was wounded in the recent battle after all. Thinking quickly, Ryu snatches her up and runs out to find help. He runs into Isshin, who is battling another Hollow. Isshin is appalled at what he sees, but doesn’t know how to help! Luckily, Fate intervenes in the forms of Kiskue Uruhara! (funny how that works sometimes)

Kiskue tells Isshin and Ryu what must be done to save Masaki, and only one of them can do it. Ryu knows what must be done, as Isshin agrees to bind himself to her for life, setting the two of them on their own path which will eventually lead to the birth of Ichigo and his sisters. And now his dad has told him everything… except for the night of his mother’s death. Why she was killed when she should have easily been able to defeat that Hollow. Now he can return to the palace to get his sword. But he has another truth he needs to learn.

Hitsugaya has lost his bankai, but he won’t just accept being powerless. He requests to be retrained, starting with the basics. And Captain Komamura decides to face his own past.

Wow, oh wow, this volume of Bleach is filled with all sorts of revelations, truths, and heartbreak. So much to absorb! And undoubtedly there is more to come. We finally get a picture of Ichigo’s mother, and right on the heels of that she is lost to us. And what I predicted before came to pass, but no more mention of that for now until the next volume. This explains so much about Ichigo. I can see both his parents in him. He has Isshin’s eyes and Masaki’s stubbornness, plus their combined commitment to justice and defending the weak.  If this is true for Ichigo, what about Yuzu and Karin? Will they go through the same thing? Now we know more about Uryu’s daddy too. And I got a brief glimpse of Shunsui lol

Great volume, looking forward to the next one!

Book Review: Demon Slayer, Vol 15 by Koyoharu Gotouge

Demon Slayer, Vol 15   

Author: Koyoharu Gotouge

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 4, 2020

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

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

As dawn approaches, Tanjiro is concerned that Kanroji’s strength won’t last and the demons will get away once more. The demon tries to evoke Tanjiro’s pity and accuses him of preying on the weak. Realizing he needs to devour human flesh, the demon homes in on nearby humans. Oh no! Tanjiro attacks but his sword becomes stuck in the demon’s neck! What can he do now? Luckily, aid comes in the form of another blade, thrown to him for his use. He attacks the demons with renewed vigor. But now the sun has risen, and poor Nezuko wasn’t able to enter the shade! Oh no, she is lost forever now!

Or is she?

A miracle has occurred! Not only has the demon been defeated and Kanroji saved, but Nezuko is somehow able to walk in the sunlight safely! She hasn’t become human again, though. So is she in the process of reverting to human, or is she evolving as a demon? Whatever the reason, she now has a target painted on her back, and Muzan is determined to devour her so he too can walk in the sunlight.

Tanjiro is healing after the battle. The swordsmith village has been relocated. Luckily, they have spare villages for just such occasions. When Zenitsu returns, he is overjoyed to be able to see Nezuko in the sun and immediately expresses his desire to marry her. He is less than overjoyed, though, when she addresses him as Inosuke, as the boar-headed boy has drilled his name into her by repetition!

The Hashira meet to discuss what has occurred, but unfortunately the Master is too ill to join them just now.  They discuss the meaning behind the marks that have begun to appear, beginning with Tanjiro. Haganezuka visits Tanjiro as he recovers and brings his new weapon, which has been mounted on Rengoku’s hilt. Tanjiro admires the beauty of this blade, but Haganezuka is still salty that it was used before he was done with it.

And now begins the Hashira training!

A lot going on in this volume, but the most amazing and spectacular thing is about Nezuko being able to withstand the sun! How exciting is that? Hopefully she is on the road to becoming human again. But of course this means Muzan will be more determined than ever to catch her and consume her, so I’m sure we’ll see more of him from now on. I feel as if Tanjiro is coming more and more into his own, as he continues to rise in strength and ability. I bet before too long they’ll make him a Hashira. Is there anything stronger, I wonder? If so, he’ll be that too! I worry about the Master, hope he gets well soon!

Another great volume, looking forward to the next one!