Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan – Hokkaido-hen (spoilers)

KenshinOne question: HOW in the world didn’t I know there’s an actual sequel to Rurouni Kenshin? Not a side story, not a one-chapter-special, but an actual sequel? 18 years after Kenshin was wrapped up, there’s a sequel?

Rurouni Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan was the very first manga I was seriously obsessed about. I don’t remember my first manga, it was something I borrowed from my older bother. The first manga I ever owned was Ghost in the Shell. If that’s not a great starting point I don’t know what. The first manga I ever seriously started fangirling about was Kenshin and let’s be honest: it’s a damn great shounen manga with some very strong and memorable character developments and amazing fights, it still stands as one of my favorite shounen.

Yes, I know, my favorite shounen is Fullmetal Alchemist, because that manga is nothing but outstanding, but Kenshin still holds his own. Some of my other favorite shounen are Slam Dunk, Rough, Gunnm and Trigun. Yeah… I’m loving the classics and among all of Kenshin2them Kenshin will always have a special place in my heart.

Now, how do I feel about the sequel? A part of me is super excited and another part of me not happy at all. Of course more Kenshin is good, but on the other ahnd the manga was finished and I mean completely finished. It had an ultimate ending point, it wrapped everything up and left the reader with an actual ending. FMA did the same, it’s just finished. Open endings or vague endings or soemthing else, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary to open up a book again and force some more pages into it, when it was already closed.

On the other hand, I can’t deny I’m incredibly excited about the sequel. That was until I read Nobuhiro Watsuki was arrested, because he violated the laws regarding child pornography. Oh dear. No denying, that’s bad. I mean, really REALLY bad. This is so bad I’m surprised Kenshin Hokkaido will actually continue to be published after the hiatus. Does this change my view on Kenshin as a whole? Definately not, because the manga by itself is still as good as it was before.

After having read the first 3 chapters of the Hokkaido sequel, I think they’re pretty well done, but there’s continuity problems, like Kenshin’s hair back to being super long and how he gets his blade back kind of destroys the moment in the prequel when he gives it away. I mean, he basically gave it away only to get it back 6 monthes later, because Yashiro decides it’s not for him and it will take him too long to master. I know they needed a reason to give Kenshin back his sword, because Kenshin and his sword belong together, but it just makes giving it away in the first place so pointless.

Another thing I really disliked was the implied soon death of Kenshin. I know this is nothing new as it has been implied numerous times in the prequel that Kenshin has a shortened life span due to his swordsmanship and stuff. And we also know the manga MangaKenshinBrokencan be very very tragic to it’s characters so I wouldn’t even be surprised if the intended ending of the Hokkaido sequel involves Kenshin’s death. Just because I know all of that doesn’t mean I’m emotionally capable of accepting Kenshin’s death. I just really don’t want him to die. He’s a character who’s seen so much and who’s been through so much, he just deserves his happy ending and he deserves it to be as long as possible. Taking Kenshins Happy Ending from him by killing him is just too cruel. I’m okay with him living in peace together with Kaoru and their child and everything being roses and cute flying angels around him. I’m not okay with him dying.

I’m still traumatized my the ending of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann (seriously, how can you be so cruel to a character?), I can’t take a cruel ending for Kenshin, he doesn’t deserve it. Even though he himself probably doesn’t see his death that way.

Also, yeah, I see why Yahiko is not joining them on their journey and it seems like he’s building his own life and this is great, but I just can’t imagine a Kenshin manga without Yahiko. He was part of the key cast. And talking about the key cast: HELL YES Sano is Kenshin Sanoback, man! I was so waiting for him to appear. Can’t wait to see him.

Last but not least, when Kenshin and Yahiko were wondering how Kaoru knew Kenshin’s stamnia was going down, even though she never crossed blades with him, that was pure comedic gold. I mean, think about it. Think about how his wife could know about his stamnia without fighting him.

To wrap it up: will I follow the Hokkaido sequel? Probably. Will I enjoy it as much as the original? Most definately not. Was it necessary to produce a sequel 18 years after the original ended? I honestly don’t think so, but it’s Kenshin, so I take what I can get.

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Skip Beat 248

I don’t even know if I ever mentioned Skip Beat, but I’ve been reading it ever since my brother’s first girlfriend introduced me and that was ages ago. It’s quite amazing how little this manga developed story wise in this period of time.

skip_beat_44_8You see, when I stated reading Skip Beat, it must’ve been around 2005, so it’s been a long time. In these 12 years, I’ve read and finished so many manga while this is is one of the few that I’m actually still reading from this period of time. Skip Beat has easily always been the manga I’ve complained about the most about it’s speed of development story- and character-wise. The fun part is, I’ve also always been reading Detective Conan and there’s nothing happaning at all, very few instances when we had a bit of actual story, but it’s not much.

The difference is, Conan is designed very periodic, so we usually have a couple of chapters revolving around a case. The case is finished and we move onto the next one, so every few chapters we have some kind of resolve and we accomplish something. It’s a weekly manga, so it’s usually between a months or two before we finish one mini-arc.

Skip Beat drags on a lot more. First and foremost, it’s monthly and it’s not just monthly, it also has a very small page count for a monthly manga. You know, I’m used to the Fullmetal Alchemist type of monthly manga around 40 pages per chapter, sometimes even close to 50. Skip Beat has about 25-30 ish pages per chapter and as you can see: huge difference. Okay, this can be thanks to different art style, working conditions, health issues with the manga-ka, whatever, you know, there are many reasons why we skip_beat_78_25have less pages per chapter and if 25-30 works good for Nakamura, then that’s fine.

Unfortunately, Skip Beat has not exactly been the most regulary released manga on the planet, skipping a month here and there. Actually, it used to be released bi-weekly, which might be the reason why the page count is that low for a monthly release, and was moved to a monthly release a few years ago if I remember correctly. Which is fine, again. I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about and I don’t have a problem with that.

Now take all what I’ve said so far about page count and not-as-regular-releases-as-we-would-like and add a painstakingly slow narrative to it – THIS is where it starts getting annoying. I swear to god, Akagami no Shirayukihime managed at least twice as much substance in 85 chapters than Skip Beat managed in 248 chapters. I constantly feel like we’re walking on the same spot without getting anywhere, as if we’re stiped to a conveyer belt or something.

We did make some progress over the time, no question. Kyoko went from hating love after being mistreated by Sho, to admitting to herself that she’s in love with Ren. She also developed into a capable actess, even though she’s still officlally an idol and head chef of the Love Me section, but I actually think she was surprisingly good right from the start. I skip_beat_241_4mean, she was never “bad” at acting, she had the talent all the time and impressed people all over the place even with her early works.

Thanks to the amazingly slow narrative, the mini-arcs in Skip Beat take years to finish, which can drag on a lot. For example: Kyoko was talking with Moko-san about the role of Momiji, that she’s currently auditioning for, 14 chapters ago – that’s 14 months, if a chapter was released every month during that time. I think the whole thing actually started even further back, but that’s already over a year and she still didn’t get the part just yet. It looks like she will get it very soon and Ren has come back from Guam earlier only to see a picture of Sho and Kyoko kissing, which is not that good, I guess…? I mean,  Ren is 21 years old currently and Kyoko is 17, which officially makes then illegal. Sho and Kyoko are of the same age, so at least Sho is not breaking the law.

Akagami no Shirayukihime has been dragging on a lot lately as well, because Shirayuki and Zen have been separated for a while now and I’m dying to see them together again. At least they’re an official pair, that’s much more than Skip Beat can claim to have. I’m also dying to know what Ren will give Kyoko as a White Day’s gift. He sent everyone a gift, except Kyoko and Yashiro mentioned months ago that he knows what Ren got for her, so I think it’s certain to say he got her something special and wants to give it to her skip_beat_219_8in person. That was, before he saw that picture of Kyoko and Sho kissing, which might delay thing a tiny bit… and by that I mean probably another half a year.

Yeah, that’s one way to keep your manga running, but apparently there’s still enough people interested, or Skip Beat would’ve suffered the same fate Bleach had and would’ve been axed. At least we still have a chance to see a proper end to this.

The End of Bleach

It feels awesome being able to write that title.

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I know I’m super late with my reaction to the final chapter of Bleach and I honestly didn’t even intend to write one, but since I’ve been ranting about Bleach much more than I ranted about any other manga I ever read, I guess here I am writing about Bleach 686.

First of all, the main reason I refused to write anything about it, is because after a short period of unimaginable rage I felt like the end to this manga doesn’t deserve this much time and energy. It’s bad enough Kubo had to end the manga within 6 chapters all of a sudden, but the last one was literally the worst.I jonwdon’t quite understand why Bleach was suddenly axed at all, it only had a few more months of life in it anyway and sales have been going downhill for ages, so why axe it after 15 years of serialization only a handfull of chapters away from the finish line? Personally, I think that’s a very strange decision.

I understand why it got axed, but I don’t get the time they chose to do it, because they either should’ve done it much earlier, or just let Kubo finish the final strech of his manga the way he intended to do it. Either way, it got axed and we’re left with an even shittier ending than I was already expecting.

Everyone who knows me and my shipping obsession knows I’m a die-hard IchiRuki-fan. I’m not even kidding, I read Bleach for the last years only caring about Ichigo and Rukia, because the rest was crap anyway. Okay, I admit the relationship between Nanao and Shunsui turned out to be pretty cool and after the first shock, after learning Shunsui is actually Nanaos uncle, I managed to like this idea. And yes, I’m still strictly against incest, but Nanao and Shunsui just absolutely belong to each other no matter what happens and I’m not going to let that piece of information ruin my ship for me.

So, yeah, the entire IchiHime-is-canon thing alone already ruined the last chapter for me. tumblr_nc3osue5t51qjnfano1_500I get why Kubo did it, so he could reinact the first chapter with the Ichigos and Rukias kids, so he has at least a somewhat rounded end, but that didn’t really work out. First of all: IchiHime has absolutely no chemistry. Yes, Orihime has been in love with Ichigo since forever, but Ichigo never showed any signs of romantic interest whatsoever. He never showed interest in Rukia either, but their meeting has be described as “fate”, Rukia is stopping Ichigos “rain”. Even though it’s not romantic, Ichigo and Rukia share a relationship on a much deeper level than Ichigo does with any of his friends.

Personally, I wouldn’t even have needed a canon pairing at the end. A shounen manga that doesn’t focus on romantic relationships at all simply doesn’t need to establish a clear canon pairing. I know Fullmetal Alchemist did it, but Fullmetal Alchemist is Fullmetal Alchemist and unlike Bleach, FMA is a fantastic manga. Since Bleach had to rush it’s last chapters, I would’ve liked it much better if Kubo actually tried spending the precious pages he still had left in solving at least the biggest issues and problems of the story. How about we start with… how did the fights end? What happend to the Soul King? How did they zydnynoqwxrestore Soul Society? etc pp

There were so many questions left unanswered, I don’t think answering the question of IchiHime or IchiRuki should’ve been top priority. Or reinacting the fatefull meeting of the first chapter, which could’ve been a nice way to end the manga, if we didn’t have this much other important stuff left hanging in the open, that desperately would’ve needed to be solved. The last chapter felt like its pages were completely wasted.

Yes, of course I’m damn pissed about IchiHime and I still think they don’t match at all and even though an IchiRuki outcome would’ve been more satisfying for me personally, the end would’ve still sucked, because of all the unanswered stuff. I’m honestly happy it’s over, but I’m a bit sad at the same time, because that’s not an end any manga deserves.

I have to accept this final chapter as canon, of course. As shitty as it is, but it’s honestly no use to rage over it. After my rage-preiod, I don’t feel that strongly about it anymore. Maybe it’s because Bleach had become so bad as further it went and I didn’t expect a good ending anyway, but I don’t expect it to become an eternal problem for me like Digimon 02 got to be. IchiHime will be a sore thumb in my shipping heart, but I don’t think it’ll be as bad as Sorato. I don’t think I will ever be as continuesly mad about any end as I was about Digimon 02 and the fact Taiora didn’t happen. I’m still shipping Taiora, even after 17 years, and I will continue to ship IchiRuki no matter what.

I guess Bleach is over now and I feel like it doesn’t deserve to be raged over for months and years to come.

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Bleach Chapter 666

…Tite Kubo, you won’t let Urahara die. You. Won’t. Let. Urahara. Die. End of discussion.

On the other hand, I was shocked he killed off Byakuya, Grimjow and Hitsugaya. What do they have in common? They’re all alive. However, Ukitake is probably dead for good, but he was severely ill to begin with.

I think it’s really cool seeing some of the Arrancar back in action. Kubpo wasted so much time giving us backstory about them, it’s good to see them having some screentime after all. I mean, who’s not in foir some Grimmjow action? That guy’s just cool, but judging from his background, it was pretty obvious he would fight on the good side eventually. Either way it’s pretty nice and Urahara is just bein his awesome self as well. That’s why you can’t kill him off, Bleach would immediately loose half it’s fun. I mean, the one half that is still left.

Talking about fun… am I the only one who thinks Hitsugaya was massively out of character in this chapter? Maybe being a zombie grilled more of his brain cells than I expected, but that joke-szene with Byakuya was just painful to read.

Romance in Ballroom e Youkoso

It’s finally done: the latest chapters have been translated and now the big wait begins. Apparently the manga-ka is ill and therefore the manga has been on hiatus ever since. Let’s hope he makes a full recovery.

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The lastest two chapter 41 and 42 heavily focussed on the background of Akira and Chinatsu and apparently Akira is in love with Chii-chan. Ever since grade school she wanted to be her only partner and refused to learn the male steps, so she can funktion as Chii-chan’s only female partner when the other girls became interested in other things. Chii-chan on the other hand wanted to dance the girl part as well, but Akira wouldn’t let her.

tumblr_o0g7259mkw1tk1u0yo1_1280Even thought the current relationship between Akira and Chii-chan seems to be very bad, Akira is still in love with her former partner and boils with jealously over her relationship with Tatara. What brings me to my personal highlight: since I’m shipping TataraxChi, of course I fully support Akiras jealously, after all, if there is nothing going on and everything’s safe, there’s no need to become jealous. After only 4 months Chii-chan and Tatara have already developed a better and much more dynamic relationship than Akira and her partner and arguably even a closer relationshion than Akira ever had with Chii-chan.

Back in their grade school days, Chii-chan hated boys and she said it was disgusting to dance with them or hold hands. Now she’s finally dancing the female part she always wanted and even though she still has trouble not being the leader and accepting Tataras dance, those two have come a pretty long way already and in some rare occasions of unity their dance is simply astonishing. There’s so much insane potential in this pair, I would cry in frustration if they broke up – and they promised to break up, if they don’t win this competition. They can’t do that!

Tatara has already evolved so much, he’s not the same person he used to be when he danced with Mako. While they used to be a good couple, I don’t think they would fit that well anymore. And yes, Mako has a crush on him, but it’s guaranteed that’s not going anywhere. Tataras crush on Shizuku is a more serious matter, but even though I shipped them before Chii-chan came into play, I would rather have her and Hyoudou funktion as rivals for Tatara and Chii-chan rather than breaking the couples up and re-arranging tumblr_nzd9akXjch1soj3yeo1_1280them.

To sum it up, so far we have these confirmed romantic interests:

  • Mako -> Tatara
  • Tatara -> Shizuku
  • Akira -> Chinatsu

Throw Gaju into the mix, who’s protective over his sister, Makos jealously over Chii-chan, Akiras jealously over Tatara and Chinatsus own very unindentified feelings, we have a nice bag  full of teenage love problems. I think it’s interesting to see where Shizuku and Hyoudou are going. I’m rooting for them, they’ve known each other for a very long time and their inner timer clicks the same. As for Tatara, I personally think his crush on Shizuku is a result from his admiration for her as a great dancer.

Bleach Chapter 500 – Something special? Nnope.

So, Bleach has finally reached 500 chapters. 500 chapters that feel way more than it actually is, because half of it is streached out to the maximum. Interesting thought by the way, I mean, would Bleach have turned out better, if the same story would have been told in 250 chapters? I’m convinced it could have been done and it would have been better.

Chapter 500 is nothing special whatsoever, I guess they really are just ending it now and Bleach doesn’t even get the special treatment anymore it used to get. Naturally, as an IchixRuki shipper, I like the colorpage of chapter 499. Ichigo and Rukia in the foreground messing around and the rest barely visible somewhere in the background? Me gusta, but chapter 500 didn’t even get one. xD I Guess the manga finally get’s it rolling with everyone going crazy and all, but I really dislike the fact that some of the most popular Captains got their Bankai stolen. Oh yeah and of course the little Ice Prince is among them, who has been said to have an incomplete Bankai. *cough* I smell room for character deve… oh wait, this is Bleach, it doesn’t matter.

And of course Ichigo is the super special one whose Bankai cannot be stolen. *snore*  Oh, I’m sorry, did I miss anything? No? Ah, just the usual. All right, I’ll be going back to… oh wait, a mysterious character is pointing his sword at Urahara.m Oh no, who could that be? Actually, a lot of people think it might be Isshin, but he would never point his sword at Urahara. Or would he? They’re all going crazy over there in Sould Society, he could be affected by that as well. Then there the theory about Grommjow and as much as I freaking love this idea, I think it’s save to say that Grimmjow is dead and won’t return. Adult Nel would be pretty cool as well, she can kick some serious ass, but not as cool as Grimmjow though.

So, that was chapter 500. Surprisingly (or not?) underwhelming for such a number.

Ao no Exorcst 33

Rin, you’re so freaking amazing, I can’t say how much I love you. I mean, come on, who didn’t smile at this picture:

Also, my fangirl-heart skipped a beat when it was Shiemi (again) who tied rin to the human world, because RinxShinemi is just too much of an awesome pairing. I love you guys, I really do.

That said, the most important part of the chapter was Rin accepting his demon power. That szene when Yukio got pissed and punched Rin was pretty amazing, because it showed us Rin has made his resolve and Yukio, although being the more responsible brother, won’t have to look after Rin  for all eternity, because Rin has began to find his own truth and he doesn’t need his brother anymore to tell him what’s right and wrong. He just took a step walking on his own path and that’s pretty much what the last page told us, so we won’t miss it, because it’s very important for Rin as a character.