Welcome to the first The Week In Manga! With so many great manga series going on I want to make sure we are spotlighting as many as we can. While there will be the normal entries in this new weekly review round-up of manga release I intend to mix things up with what series are covered. Some mangas may appear one week and not others. For the first The Week In Manga I’ll be reviewing Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Chapter 59, Candy Flurry Chapter 9, Dragon Ball Super Chapter 73, and Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 37.
In cased you missed it a review with full spoiler synopsis for My Hero Academia Chapter 317 is also live on the website.
Writer: Masashi Kishimoto
Artist: Mikio Ikemoto
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: Since Boruto: Naruto Next Generations shifted to focusing on Kawaki as the prominent character in this series things have improved. That is not to say the title character in Boruto hasn’t been interesting. He certainly has grown as a character to be more than the one-note brat he was at the start of the series. But shifting over to Kawaki has given more room for the series to explore a character Masashi Kishimoto is more comfortable in writing. Kawaki has many similarities to Naruto with how he does feel himself to be an outsider and has this power he wish to never have. And we see with Chapter 59 how he is still a vessel for Isshiki and can be given his full Karma powers back terrifies Kawaki. There are even more questions around Kawaki as we get closer to where we found him in the flashfoward fighting Boruto and claiming Naruto as being gone.
Seeing how Amado is becoming a bigger part of the series as we dive deeper into the plot around Kara and the Ōtsutsuki Clan has been fascinating to see play out. Kishimoto writes Amado’s character to appear to be playing his own side even though he is now helping Hokage Naruto and Konohagakure. You get a sense from his conversation with both Kawaki and Sumire that he is still keeping many things about his intentions close to his chest. What that means for how Kawaki’s character gets developed is something to watch.
Chapter 59 also does a good job further establishing Ada as an antagonist for Boruto and the others to face. Her love for Boruto and Kawaki because they are the only ones to not fall for her power in being able to make others infatuated with her gives Ada a wicked vibe that different from the rest of Kara members. Establishing that Ada is going to be using her clairvoyant abilities to be the eyes for the muscle of Cross further enhances her unique presentation within the antagonists of this series.
The Bad: For as much good character work as there is in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Chapter 59 its these type of slow chapters where you see how the problems with the series. The major problem for this series is developing the rest of the cast that is not named Boruto or Kawaki. The series has been so focused on developing these two characters that you don’t have the same connection with the rest of the Next Generation characters for the Naruto Universe. That is visible with how random Shikadai’s appearance is in this chapter. Shikadai interaction with Kawaki would’ve been more impactful if we saw more of development for his character. As of now Shikadai, like the rest of the Next Generation cast, is reliant on your nostalgia for your connection to his parents that the reader built during the Naruto series.
Overall: Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Chapter 59 was a strong character focused chapter for this series. Kawaki was given a bigger spotlight to show how multi-layered he is and that he can be the main driving force for a story, especially with how we don’t actually see Boruto appear in this chapter. The additional character work for Amado, Sumire, and Ada helped to build on the greater narrative of this series as we are getting closer to where we found the Naruto world during the flashforward that began the Boruto series.
Writer: Ippon Takegushi
Artist: Santa Mitarashi
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: Candy Flurry Chapter 9 is just pure fun. Ippon Takegushi and Santa Mitarashi keep things simple by focusing on the unique baseball-like pitcher and batter set-up for the battle between Minase Tsumugi and the Popcorn Power user. What makes this fight so much fun is that Takegushi and Mitarashi don’t treat it just as a comedy bit. As we’ve seen with other Sweet Power users, there are rules to this world. Even when things are getting over the top you buy into this fight because it is a natural part of the world of Candy Flurry.
And the big standout of this chapter is once again how Takegushi’s writing and Mitarashi’s artwork mesh incredibly well. The dialogue and artwork for how Tsumugi and the Popcorn Power user gets over the different personalities they have. Both are presented as being on even ground that you want to find out who wins this fight. Which is credit to the writing and artwork to get you to buy into the Popcorn Power user to be a powerful threat. It makes for how Tsumugi uses her own determination to ultimately win be even more impressive.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Ippon Takegushi and Santa Mitarashi are hitting on all cylinders with Candy Flurry. Chapter 9 of Candy Flurry is yet another example of how much fun this is. The battle between Minase Tsumugi and the guy with a Popcorn superpower is just a joy to see progress. It all goes to build on how compelling of a main character Tsumugi continues to be.
Writer: Akira Toriyama
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: Finally after a lack of credible build around the Granolah the Survivor Saga we get a chapter that actually sells the story. All it took was for Granolah to actually showcase his fighting abilities in a multi-stage fight with Goku. A major factor for how Granolah’s combat abilities are put over is thanks to Toyotarou’s artwork is at the forefront. Akira Toriyama places a lot of trust to make Granolah’s sniper-like fighting style be something that pushes Goku to go beyond just using Super Saiyan Blue and Ultra Instinct.
The twist with Granolah having split his powers in order to find an opening in Goku’s increased abilities with Ultra Instinct ended up working thanks to how Toyotarou drew the action. You bought into this being something Granolah would do because of his fighting style we saw on display against Goku. This made the ending with Vegeta going back to full Evil Saiyan Prince mode with the way he talked down to Granolah make you anticipate how this fight will go down.
The Bad: The greater problems of getting you to buy into the Heeter’s Gang as a viable threat only grows larger with Dragon Ball Super’s Chapter 73. There is still nothing about any of the members of the Heeter’s that make them a credible threat. Even them getting caught manipulating Goku and Vegeta makes them look like greater jokes rather than true antagonist that are helping drive the interest in the story.
Toriyama also still has a lot of work to do to building out the mythology of the Cerealian’s that Granolah is the last member of. Toriyama taking his time in building out the Cerealian is making it hard to fully get into this part of the story. A flashback showing how the Saiyan’s eradicated the Cerealian race would be extremely valuable in building investment in the story.
Overall: Dragon Ball Super Chapter 73 is a major improvement over all the chapters we’ve had in the Granolah the Survivor Saga thus far. The fight between Goku and Granolah was well executed with Toyotarou’s artwork making both fighters appear even. While there are still problems with the Heeter’s part in the story there is at lease excitement going into Vegeta vs Granolah in the next chapter of Dragon Ball Super.
Writer and Artist: Naoya Matsumoto
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
The Good: One of the things that I continue to be impressed by Kaiju No. 8 is Naoya Matsumoto’s ability to have every chapter of this series on each other. There is a sense of purpose to every action that is built on what happened in all previous chapters of Kaiju No. 8. Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 37 exemplifies all of that.
The battle between Kafka Hibino in his Kaiju No. 8 form and Isao Shinomiya continues to escalate the intensity. The more the fight progresses the more you buy into why Isao Shinomiya is the one in charge. Even though Kafka is able to finally corner Isao you never lost the respect for the Director General of the Defense Force power.
At the same time, the fight is able to further the narrative around what Kafka Hibino has become. As we see with the fight Kafka was fully giving into his Kaiju-self. Which made how we see Kafka’s connection with Mina Ashiro, Kikoru Shinomiya, and the rest of his friends be what keeps him human such an impactful resolution. It shows the strength that Kafka has and the importance of the entire cast of Kaiju No. 8.
Matsumoto also does a great job with how he presents Kikoru Shinomiya. Even though it looks like Kafka as Kaiju No. 8 is about to kill her father Kikoru does not lose sight that her friend is in trouble. She still sees him as Kafka Hibino not Kaiju No. 8. Going with this route further drives home how the connections that Matsumoto has built throughout this series is the greatest strength of Kaiju No 8.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 37 is an excellent entry in one of the best manga currently being published. Naoya Matsumoto does a fantastic job having you fully invested in the journey Kafka Hibino goes through as his fight with Isao Shinomiya comes to a close. The way Mina Ashiro, Kikoru Shinomiya, and those close to Kafka factor into the conclusion of Kaiju No. 8 Chapter 37 adds to how rewarding of a reading experience this was.
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