Zombiepowder. by Kubo Tite

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Thanks to this guy (Zombiepowder.s “C.T. Smith”), I dreamed last night that I was Kubo-sensei’s other character, Aizen from Bleach.

The dream, btw, was AWESOME.  I closed a Garganta with a snap of my fingers… plus, in my dreams, I was the affable Aizen from his early captaincy, so the theme of the dream was “power in disguise,” which is a fantastic feeling. It was one of those dreams where you feel sort of sad because, suddenly, you wake up and you’re back to being a regular, non-superpowered person. (Such a bummer.)

The dream was probably the best thing I got out of this four volume series, however.

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Grimmjow?  No, Gamma Akutabi.

The only reason to read Zombiepowder. is if you’re a hardcore Bleach fan and you want to say you did… and/or you’re the sort of person who that likes to make memes like this one:

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Which is, quite honestly, a fine use of your time.  You saved me the trouble, after all.

The schtick of Zombiepowder. is that there are thirteen rings of the undead and our hero–who is actually NOT Gamma Akutabi, but a kid named Elwood– gets caught up in the race to collect them all “Avenger: Infinity War” style, complete with bad guys who want the rings for nefarious and megalomaniacal reasons.

Kubo-sensei himself writes in his author note at the beginning, “Hello, Kubo here. This is my first graphic novel. Mainly, it’s all battles. It’s completely OK to just read through it without thinking about anything.”

And, he’s not wrong, because if you think about it too much you spend a lot of time thinking “WOW, that was VIOLENT AF, and now you’re making a joke???!!  WTF, Kubo!” As you know, gentle reader, I have trouble with humor to begin with, so I spent a lot of this manga going, “Is that funny? I guess….  Maybe I’m missing a hilarious Japanese language pun or something.”

But, there’s a lot of tonal shift between horror and humor.  A LOT.  I mean in the first chapter Elwood’s very likable, ill sister is killed in front of his eyes for no reason other than to, I presume, motivate him to want to make Zombie Powder in ORDER TO RESURRECT HER FROM THE DEAD BECAUSE THAT ALWAYS WORKS OUT LIKE YOU HOPE, HOLY SH*T, WHAT A BAD IDEA. (It’s probably good this got cancelled because is it a happy ending if you resurrect your sister who has been dead and buried for months?)

So, yeah, you kind of have to suspend your disbelief and enjoy watching Kubo learning how to perfect his fighting art style:

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Very cool. I mean, I will forever and always be a fan of this guy’s art, what can I say?

There’s a lot to mine for those hoping for psychological clues about what Kubo likes in stories and in general.  I have to say, I’m continually surprised by his racial diversity. Some of the people of color are clearly exaggerated for “humor” (see my problem with humor here? There’s nothing especially funny about that to me, and maybe it’s not racist but some kind of Eastern trope, I dunno, that’s not actually my point), because then there’s this random stoic brave doctor who is likable and complete and heroic.

I think it’s kind of rare to see PoCs who seem both authentic (not just a tone slapped over an otherwise innocuous character) and genuine.

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe I just liked this guy. He was like someone’s kick-a$$ grandpa (with a medical degree).

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Then, there’s Kubo’s relationship to queer sexuality, which is another sort of “??” because he also loves to play alternate sexuality (or in the case of Giselle in Bleach, trans folks,) for laughs. Yet… there’s representation? I mean, in 1999 how often did you see this AT ALL?

 

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I’m also pretty convinced that Kubo-sensei’s editor had to remind him to include women at all, because the female character doesn’t make an appearance until volume 2, and then she’s kind of drawn like Kiego with giant melons strapped to his chest.

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Are ANYONE’S boobs this firm?

So, as usual, I don’t now how to feel about the problematic parts of Kubo’s work.  I mean, when our heroine shows up, she’s a fighter who takes hits like the men in the story, fight/flirts with the main adult, and has a complicated backstory. Yet her boobs look like strap-on beach balls.

I don’t even know.

So, should you read it? I’m going to say NO. There’s a reason this was cancelled. I have given you the highlights–oh, except to mention that there are three unrelated short stories at the end of volumes 2, 3, and 4. The first is “Ultra Unholy Hearted Machine,” which I loved, which was about a mercenary and his robot sidekick uncovering a government plot to try to make super soldiers that goes wrong on a whole bunch of twisty levels. That ones is in volume 2.

The second (in volume 3) I liked a lot less, though it does show that Kubo does know how to end things, called “Rune Master Urara.”  This involved tattoos (clearly another favorite motif of Kubo’s) and fairy creatures that pop out to fight for the ‘rune master.’

The last one is “Bad Shield United,” which is another sort of government organization that gets twisty because it has the hunted doing the hunting.  Admittedly, I was pretty done by the time I got to this one, so I skimmed it.

In my opinion, the short stories are probably generally more worth it than Zombiepowder.  But, if you’re going so far as to hunt down the shorts, you might as well admit that you’re a Kubo fan and read the whole thing.  Then, you can say you did.

With any luck, you can have cool dreams about this guy:

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Mahou Tsukai no Yome / Ancient Magus’ Bride by Yamazaki Kore

I fail at being ‘the cool kid.’

Mahou Tsukai no Yome / Ancient Magus’ Bride is the anime to watch this season.  I started it, got two or three episodes in, and stopped. Initially, I couldn’t shake the creeping heebie-jeebies about the set-up.

For those who don’t know, here’s the set-up:

With her mother dead and father long gone, Chise Hatori has spent her childhood being passed unwanted from relative to relative, until she finally makes her unfortunate way to a strange and improbable auction block. Offered as a “sleigh beggy” to the highest bidder, Chise is purchased by the (literally) boneheaded Elias Ainsworth, who promises to take her on as his apprentice. Elias is a mage, and his world is one of dragons and faeries – but before Chise can begin to get accustomed to all that nonsense, Elias drops another bombshell. Apparently Chise isn’t just intended to be his apprentice – she will also be his bride.

Yeah, a slave auction.

I found a review of the first episode on Anime Feminist  that told me to trust in the story, and checking-in with other people I got the same advice. Just wait. It gets better.

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Read carefully. Angelica calls Elias “a Loli-pedo”

And… they’re not wrong. In the end, I loved more than I hated.  But, it both gets better and doesn’t.  In a nutshell, I’d say that the mangaka is aware of the creepiness of her set-up and thus doesn’t shy away from revisiting issues. That’s both good–because it’s a thoughtful exploration, but also… still creepy, right?

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I decided, however, to read Mahou Tsukai no Yome / Ancient Magus’ Bride instead of watching it. I’m a SLOOOOW consumer of anime (I’m STILL on Natsume Yuujinchou /  Natsume’s Book of Friends and I have at least three more seasons to go.)

I finished all the chapters currently available (at the time of this review, 44,) and I still have very mixed feelings about this manga.

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Well, okay, so long as your money was good.

To give Yamazaki-sensei credit where it is due, she could have brushed this… shall we say, ‘problematic’ beginning under a rug.

After all, her supporters are spot on. Yamazaki-sensei develops both Elias (the titular Ancient Magus) and Chise (the Bride) to the point where even this hard-to-sell reader found them AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP worthy of sympathy and support.

But, she doesn’t forget where things started, and so you can’t either.

In fact, just when I’m starting to root for Elias and Chise to live together forever, the mangaka takes us back to the auction house.  A dragon whelp has been stolen and put up for sale and so Chise contrives a way into the audience with the plan to save the dragon by buying it herself (much as she was bought.)

It’s an uncomfortable scene.

Chise, being this strange sensitive known as a ‘sleigh beggy,’ can hear the dragon’s cries. The dragon is scared. She wants to go home. She watched her companion be slaughtered for parts and is afraid the same thing will happen to her. This isn’t an adult dragon. It’s a child. We were given a scene in the early chapters, where Chise is in the land of the dragons, where she plays with dragons of a similar age to this one. They are portrayed as childlike and adorable.

The thought that anyone would treat a child like this is deplorable.

Yet the auctioneer is written as sympathetic, even as he’s saying things like, “We can’t let the dragon break free, the others will use the opportunity to escape.”

Let me underscore that for you:  Escape.

The whole scene makes it 100% clear that there are, in fact, creatures there, for sale, who are NOT there of their own freewill.

And that Chise, herself, when she was sold, was not yet sixteen…

Worse, this particular chapter doesn’t end well for the dragon.  She freaks out and goes on a rampage and we’re supposed to be worried about Chise and Elias (and Chise’s familiar, Ruth,) but I never stopped worrying about that dragon baby.  The dragon baby, who, so far, hasn’t made it home, and ends up, it appears, permanently insane (and later, it seems, recaptured by Joseph/Cartaphilus, aka: the Wandering Jew.)

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The Wandering Jew… the Big Bad

I hardly know what to make of this character.  He is legitimately the most odious, most sociopathic character(s) in the series.  (In many ways it’s worse that Joseph is separate from Cartaphius, since Cartaphius is clearly the Wandering Jew, who seems ghastly and irredeemable, and Joseph is portrayed as weird, but kindly.)

Ever since Full Metal Alchemist, I hate anyone who makes chimeras… and Joseph/Cartaphius does it clearly makes them for fun, but he also harvests body parts to try to stave off the constant pain of his rotting body…?

Regardless, he’s icky.  He’s also the guy responsible for poaching the dragons and dissecting the little one’s companion.  He’s driven other people to madness.

And, he’s not just called the Wandering Jew by the wizarding society, but we actually get the “story” of his curse, which is rooted in the anti-Semitic concept the the Jews are responsible for the death of Christ.

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Now, I’m not trying to say that Yamazaki-sensei is being intentionally anti-Semitic with this character.  She does go there with this image of Jesus on the way to the crucifixion, but it’s not clear to me that she has any idea how loaded this story is for a Western reader.

It’s troublesome to me that Joseph/Cartaphilius is clearly the Big Bad. But, I’m waiting to see how his story ends before I pass any kind of judgment.

Thing is, even if I’m deeply uncomfortable with the Wandering Jew and the origin (and sexualized) nature of Elias/Chise’s relationship…

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Feel free to argue with me about whether or not this constitutes sexualized…

…there is no doubt in my mind that there are lots of wonderful parts of this story.  I love the dragons.  I love the mini-arc that involves a leanan sidhe and the mortal man she falls in love with.  I adore how unabashedly creepy the fairy are in general, and how monstrous (and inhumanly human) Elias remains throughout. I like a lot of the side-characters, including Renfred and Alice.

So, I’m going to pose a radical thought for your consideration, gentle reader.

It’s okay to love flawed work.

A piece of fiction can have deeply problematic moments and still be beautiful and transformative.  You don’t have to hate something unequivocally just because it’s not absolutely perfect.

I kinda think Chise would agree with me on this one..

 

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Important to keep bringing it back to the money you spent on her, Elias.

In many ways, that’s what fandom does.

Because we take this stuff seriously, we think about it hard… and because we love it, we’re its strongest critics.

So, yeah, like all my friends before me, I recommend this. I have a lot of caveats and I think it’s far from perfect, but it’s a good story none-the-less.

Don’t forget that I’ve recommended a manga by Yamazaki-sensei before. She also wrote Futari no Renai Shoka / Our Romance Bookshelf, which I also found kind of troubling for the massive age gap (though I still recommended it!)

Judge (Vol. 1) by Tonogai Yoshiki

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Apparently, Judge is a poor substitute for the original, Doubt, which may explain why the library was weeding this particular manga from it’s shelves.  I haven’t read Doubt, so I had nothing to compare it to.

 

Here’s the back cover copy of the volume I have:

Envy, Lust, Sloth, Wrath, Gluttony, Pride, Greed.  A group of sinners who bear the guilt of the deadly sins has been gathered in an old courthouse to face judgement. To leave this place alive, thy must offer up a sacrifice–one of their number. As the trial begins, who will the gavel fall on first?”

Interestingly, Baka-Updates has something completely different:

“A young man, driven by jealousy over love, tells a lie that accidentally results in the death of his older brother. Some time later, Hiro is kidnapped and confined to a room with eight other people, each wearing a grotesque animal mask. Their kidnapper informs them that their time has come to be judged for their “sins”–and that they will have to judge one another. Every twelve hours, the captives must choose who among them will die…and only four will remain alive when all is through…”

Between the two of these, you have a pretty good idea of the plot.

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I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of this kind of set-up–the sort of Hunger Games, you’re all trapped somewhere and are forced to fight to the death, thing.  Maybe it’s the whole teenagers killing each other thing that bugs me, or, perhaps, I just don’t care for how bleak the situation is.

I’m not a huge horror fan, in general.  I do prefer psychological horror to slashers, which, I guess, from having read a summary of the whole series, this is both.

I do like the clever addition of the relationship to each of the deadly sins (though it drove both Mason and I absolutely spare that there are seven sins, but NINE people on the cover. If you look closely, you’ll see there are seven distinct masks.)  There is some fun trying to guess who is guilty of which sin based on their behavior and their masks, but… I dunno. I guess the best I can say is that this didn’t quite grab me, alas.

Apparently, it was well-received enough in Japan, that there’s a live-action film:

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Here’s some nightmare fuel for ya. (Interestingly, the animals representing the sins have changed.)

 

There’s nothing wrong with it, per se.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace for it, but I think, if I were you and you wanted to try out this mangaka’s work, I might check out Doubt, instead… which my library did keep.

This one is going out in the little free library. Someone will like it, I’m sure.

Totsukuni no Shoujo / Girl From the Other Side by Nagabe

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My library, which may in fact be magical, had the first two volumes of this gorgeously creepy manga: The Girl From the Other Side / Totsukuni no Shoujo by Nagabe (Mangakalot has everything else scanlated to date…).

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The story follows a young soul, Shiva (who I think is quite intentionally named) and her erstwhile companion, known only as ‘sensei.’ The English-language versions are all translating his name to “teacher,” but I wonder at that, since there are hints that he might be (have been?) a medical doctor, as well as a professor.

Sensei looks like a creature out of Hell, and very well _may be_.  But, as the story progresses, we find out that humans have become victims of a plague of sorts, transmitted by touch, that can turn them into these black-boned, hellish creatures, who are referred to as “Outsiders,” since the remaining human population (ala Attack on Titan) have locked themselves inside walls.

Sensei and Shiva have been living a quiet, unassuming life.

Shiva is fond of tea parties and so she and Sensei have many of them.  Sensei no longer needs to eat (actually, he doesn’t have a mouth any more??!?) but he very conscientiously feeds and cares for Shiva.

 

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Here they are, just living a nice life…

Problems arise for this odd family unit when other, more terrifyingly inhuman Outsiders come for “the pure soul” that is Shiva.  They say that “the Mother” wants her for some reason.  Sensei isn’t having it, but he is drawn into this curious word of the Outsiders… mystical lakes with deep, dark wells that sing “Mother’s song.” It’s here where we learn that maybe sensei isn’t one of them, after all.  He doesn’t know things he should–and we know he has problems with his memory in general (a side effect of the plague ridden humans)–and the other Outsiders suggest he is a foreigner, which is how they refer to humans.

The humans meanwhile, following the orders of their “White Father” god, are also after Shiva.  Shiva was abandoned to the Outside by her aunty/grandmother and so the humans use grandma to lure Shiva back into the human fold. Their god, too, has some prophecy involving a pure soul.

It’s interesting to me how naturally I distrust the White Father god figure.  The king is portrayed as ruthless, and willing to sacrifice his own people.  Yet, the Dark Mother is SUPER creepy, too. For instance, we find out that the Outsiders are immortal, and so, at one point when Sensei chops the head off of the leader who came for Shiva, he merely starts carrying it around in his arms.

The whole thing is just wonderfully slice-of-life with a DOUBLE PLUS creepy/sad fairy tale vibe.

I mean, there are homey scenes of making pies and then… grandma turns into a tree. I mean, it’s weird.  But, in a completely mesmerizing way.

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I highly recommend this one.

The mystery is solidly mysterious.  There’s a bit of an Eren’s basement issue, in that it seems strongly hinted at that Sensei might have been the architect of this disaster, but since memory loss is a symptom of the transformation, it’s much easier to buy.

Karin / Chibi Vampire (Volume 1) by Kagesaki Yuna

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My library has a “bookstore” where you can buy the books that have been donated to the library and/or which the library is weeding out of its collection for various reasons.  I sometimes find manga there, but only rarely.  Last time I went, they had an entire book cart FULL of manga for sale. Did I mention the price?  25 cents a piece (5 for a dollar)!!

How could I resist?  Of course, I ended up walking out with an armload. I mean, at those prices even the dudiliest duds are worthwhile.

Thus, I picked up every copy of Bleach they had (for reasons), and any title that had a first volume.  Among those random titles was this one, Karin / Chibi Vampire. 

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Karin, as she says in the panel above, is an abnormal vampire.  Once a month, she gets an excess of blood that she ends up expelling… violently–usually in the form of an explosive nosebleed.  (The Japanese mangaka and their nosebleeds, eh? I swear to all the gods, that if I ever go to Japan and high schoolers aren’t having spontaneous nosebleeds 24/7, I am going to be SORELY DISAPPOINTED.)

The plot of the first volume centers around that other perennial favorite, The Transfer Student (Kenta Usui).  For some reason, whenever Karin is close to Kenta, her body goes into blood production overtime.  This is a problem for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is that she’s trying to keep her identity as a vampire a secret from her classmates.

Except Kenta sees her in the park, after school, where she bites a sad sack salaryman, and he mistakenly thinks she’s prostituting herself. Hilarity ensues.

It’s unclear at this point in the story why it is that Karin, unlike the rest of her family, can go out during the day, but she can and so she’s been not only attending high school, but also keeping a part-time job at the local market… where Kenta also ends up employed.

Karin’s initial solution to the Kenta problem is to avoid him, so she basically quits going to school or work.  This distresses her family for some reason (they are VERY KEEN that she go to school, even though none of the rest of them can.)  Her older brother is deployed to teach her the proper ways of survival.

I kind of like the slutty older brother, Ren. He prefers spending his days in women’s beds, drinking their blood. But we find out something interesting in the outing with onii-chan:  vampires prefer certain types of blood.  Their mother loves the blood of liars.  Ren wants the blood of the stressed-out–and, it turns out, the more of their blood he drinks, the more relaxed they become.

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By extension, this means that if Karin’s mom drinks the blood of liars, they become more honest.

This is kind of a neat idea, IMHO.

If I come across others of these, I may read them, if only because I’m curious to know how much this idea gets explored.

The only caveat I have in recommending this series is the fan service. There isn’t a HUGE amount of it, but we get some panty shots and whatnot.  Ah, shounen.

The art is also… old? It was originally published in 2003.

Cat Paradise / Gakuen Sousei Nekoten! (Vol. 1) by Iwahara Yuji

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Long time reader and commenter here on MangaKast, AuntyA, has suggested that she thinks my library must be magical.

I have to agree that it is pretty amazing the number and variety of manga I have checked-out from Ramsey County Library.  In fact, just last week, I picked up this–one I’d never see there before:  Gakuen Sōsei Nekoten! / Cat Paradise.  (I was also able to snag a half-dozen random first volumes of manga they were weeding out of the collection in their Friends of the Library sale, so you’re going to see some odd titles come through here in the next several weeks.)

The back cover copy of Cat Paradise reads:

At Matabi Academy, students are allowed to bring their pet cats to the dorms. For Yumi Hayakawa, whose favorite hobby is making clothes for her kitty Kansuke, Matabi seems like a sure bet. After all, nothing can possibly go wrong with her best friend at her side! But on the first day of school, the two find themselves face-to-face with a murderous demonic minion on campus! Will Yumi and Kansuke be able to defend themselves and their school against an ancient cat demon’s thirst for vengeance?

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Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

There were several things I liked about this story, though.  At the beginning of the manga, Yumi talks to her cat, Kansuke, and he talks back, but it becomes clear very quickly that Yumi doesn’t understand him.  It’s cute, because it goes against expectation (even though they are able to understand each other later, thanks to a magical encounter with a pair of guardian spirits.)

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There’s, of course, a whole cadre of special students, who have gained the ability to not only talk to their cats, but to have some kind of companion powers with them.  (Kansuke develops the ability to jump into Yumi’s ugly knitted sweaters and become human temporarily.) All the special students have been chosen by the guardian spirit because, buried deep under campus, is a bound evil cat spirit that they are one day expecting to have to fight.

Surprise, surprise, the time is now.

The evil cat spirit’s minion shows up and causes trouble (later possessing the body of the vice-principal).  I found the design of the minion to be creepy-cool:

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He loves his hair, which is, we discover, the hair of severed human heads he wears.

 

I actually found a couple other volumes of this at the Friends’ sale, so I may continue to read this.  I’m not super sold on this (I mean, it’s got action, but nothing about this set-up stands out to me particularly), but it’s complete at five volumes, which has a certain appeal.  Plus, I’m enough of a straight-up shounen fan that I find an easy sort of pleasure in finding out what the superpower cat & human combos are of the various members of the student council (our secret cabal of guardians.)

And, you know, I like cats.

I mean, my heartstrings were pulled when I found out the reason that Kansuke fights so hard to protect Yumi:

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She saved the kitty from getting run over… *sniff* What? You’re crying, I’m not crying.

Ao no Exorcist / Blue Exorcist (Chapters 94-95) by Katou Kazue

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Some of my longtime readers may remember my complete freak out over Weekly Shounen Jump‘s handling of the ending of Bleach.

To say that I was furious was probably an understatement. White hot burning suns may have been involved. I kind of lost my mind and went to Twitter in July of 2016 and took WSJ to task. I tagged them in tweet after tweet after tweet where I asked them what was the point of my subscription when pirate sites were two weeks AHEAD of their official English-language digital-only production and they wouldn’t even translate all the material, like a runner explaining the Bleach was ending in a matter of weeks.  I blasted them over and over and over and…

You get the point.

My best moment might have been:

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And then I promptly cancelled my subscription.

Well….despite the distinct lack of likes, comments, or re-tweets, WSJ might actually have been listening to me.

On a whim today, I decided to renew my subscription.

Listen, the thing is, I like officially supporting my mangaka, and I’m mostly over my saltiness over how WSJ handled the ending of Bleach (notice that I did NOT say I was over my feelings about the ENDING of Bleach.)  Frankly, they publish good stuff. Some of my current shounen favorites are WSJ products: My Hero Academia, Haikyu!, and, of course, Blue Exorcist.

Thus resolved, I paid my money and downloaded the most recent issue.  In it, I see Blue Exorcist: Chapter 97 “Beyond the Snow: Part 6.”  And, I’m, like, wait. The last chapter I reviewed here was Chapter 93!  I went to my usual sources for scans because, in the past, the other problem with WSJ was that it was always AT LEAST a week behind the pirates, and I thought, “Sh*t, they must have scanned up to 98 by now!”

Except they haven’t.  I can only find up to chapter 95: “Beyond the Snow: Part 4”

There’s an actual value to my subscription again, because I’ve now read up to chapter 97…. which leads me to a new conundrum.

What do I review here?  Obviously, the current WSJ is out. I own it. In my capacity as a reviewer, I can talk about all of it.  In fact, it actualy behooves WSJ for me to post pictures and teasers and tell you all about the upcoming chapters, because it could (and, if I do my job right, it SHOULD) prompt you to run out and buy a subscription for yourself.

HOWEVER.  I kind of feel like the average fan of Blue Exorcist / Ao no Exorcist is doing one of two things: reading chapters as they hit the pirate sites OR buying the official tankōbon as they come off the presses.

Also, depending where you are, Weekly Shounen Jump (English) might not be available for you. So, encouraging people to buy a subscription is fine, but there are a lot of English readers of these manga who don’t actually have a valid way to pay to play, as it were.

More to the point, I don’t imagine that this is the site that people go to for information they can’t get elsewhere. I suspect (and again, HOPE,) that what you’re tuning into is my take on what you’re also reading.  A shared community of fannishness, if you will. That’s why most of my reviews on chapters like this start: “[manga title] chapter [#] is out. Go read it. I’ll wait.”

I’m waiting to share with you.

But now I have potentially valuable information, too.

Thus, the conundrum.

So, what do you, my readers, think I should do?

While I wait for the answer, I’ll at least let you know what I think of the two widely available chapters 94 &95:

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We open the chapter with the arrested Lewin Light, being his usual weirdo self. He’s super happy at being treated like a criminal by Redarm and the rest of the Exorcists.

Light’s excitement over his predicament is hampered by the fact that demons are spawning everywhere and Redarm is leaving him in order to take command of the exorcist troops… Light seems especially distressed to discover that the Paladin has gone to guard the “artificial Gehenna Gate” which is apparently being attacked by a… yeti?

Um? Yeti are yokai now? …. Okay.

ANY-way, back to the story. Light brings up the Mephisto‘s barrier of the Hellmouth Gate is set to expire soon, which seems kind of unrelated, except, Light gets very cryptic about all this and COULD NOT LOOK MORE SUSPICIOUS when he says, “I hope nothing unexpected happens.”

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[In Godfather voice] “Sure would be a shame if something was to happen to ya boy.”

Because, sure enough, something totally unexpected happens to Mephisto.

After talking the prime minister into revealing the existence of demons, Mephisto goes on TV to field questions at a press conference.  Only, Yukio has followed him with the intention of confronting him about what he learned about his past from the files Bon sent him. This does not… go well.

In fact, instead of answering Yukio’s burning question (see what I did there? Do you? ‘Cuz of his eye!  Get it? Get it?), Mephisto has one of the best lines ever: “Sorry! I simply don’t have the time to accompany children on journeys of self-discovery!”

I mean, I get why someone would want to shoot Mephisto in the head after that remark.

But, it wasn’t Yukio that did it, despite the fact that he clearly had his gun trained on him. Boob Lady is right. The angle is all wrong.

ao-no-exorcist-10009915.jpgBut, that doesn’t stop the authorities from grabbing the wrong guy. Yukio is forced to the floor and dragged from the scene.

Rin, meanwhile, has been racing to try to find his younger brother, having overhead from Bon that Yukio has gone off the rails.  He arrives too late, but Boob Lady gives him some important information:

ao-no-exorcist-10010095.jpg

Can I just say? I love how this is drawn. The silent exchange, the desolation of the Rin outside of the van with the snow falling… the two panels of the extreme close-ups on their eyes: one shocked the other… pitying?

LOVELY.

Meanwhile, just as Light suggested, something unexpected happened. Mephisto’s body has grown too weak to keep himself alive AND hold the gate, so, being a demon and selfish (no shade!), he choses to focus on his own survival and literally lets loose Hell.

Rin, who was told explicitly by Boob Lady to go home and lay low, bursts back into the True Cross Academy and exclaims that he’s going to mount a rescue.

When the curtain falls on these two chapters, that’s exactly what he’s done. He blows up Yukio’s cell with a “I’m here to rescue you!”

The question is, will Yukio appreciate his onii-chan efforts or not?

Of course, I now know the answer, but for now, I won’t say.

What about you? If you’re reading this, what did you think? Also, don’t forget to let me know if you want information from the Jump chapters or not.

Min’na, Arigatō !