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Rosario + Vampire II – Chapter 45


A friend told me you had to be masochistic to play Touhou. I don't think this is what he meant.

There’s something that I’ve seen in a lot of different shonen series, and that’s the part where everyone pairs off one at a time to fight. I think we all know that routine by now, since so many manga rely on it to give the cast something to do. But I never expected to see it happen in Rosario + Vampire. I suppose I’ve been listening too much to the people who only know about the anime, which never grew up the way the manga did. The thing is that even during Part II, the series never felt like a traditional shonen, since the fight scenes were never the primary conflict; they were just the result of it. So we never got too many characters who appeared solely to be fought. If we did have those sorts of events more often, though, I think these chapters would feel very grating and unnecessary. But instead, I’m looking forward to these fights, since we haven’t had many good opportunities to see the cast in action yet. Read the rest of this entry

Claymore – Chapter 118

Even the best of us roll Natural 1s once in a while.

There’s a problem I’ve always had with Claymore. It seems to have this bizarre, Dragonball-esque idea that no two groups can have the same level of power. Almost every fight we get to see has one side completely dominating the other, and those that don’t follow that formula still make victory an uphill battle. Then there’s the Abyss Feeders and the Organization’s Number 10, but they don’t follow normal combat rules in general. This is why the recent chapters, which saw the resurrection of three of the strongest Claymore, has confused me quite a bit, because I’m a little uncertain where these characters fall on the power scale.

Cassandra’s technique was what a great deal of the last chapter focused on unveiling, even though it still made little sense. She vibrates back and forth while dicing her opponents? Cassandra the Walking Buzzsaw would’ve been a better name. More to the point, I still don’t understand exactly how strong this ability is supposed to make her. Yes, she can hunt Awakened Ones on her own and defeat the newer Claymore with ease, but any of the Seven Ghosts are capable of that. And now, as seen above, she’s being played with by the Organization’s Number 10, which isn’t the sort of thing you show when you want to portray someone as powerful.

Next is Hysteria (really, that’s the name you picked?), whose fight with Miria showcases both the domination and uphill battle scenarios. At first, she’s shown to have a more evolved version of the technique Miria specializes in, which means she’s able to counter anything she does. In this chapter, though, Miria has started to discover how to push herself hard enough to keep up, which feels a lot like Clare’s battle with Rigaldo a while back. Even so, I don’t get the same feeling from Hysteria that I did from Rigaldo, as she’s only fighting off one opponent and isn’t dominating as much as you’d expect from a former Number 1. It seems from this chapter that Hysteria is not only nowhere near as powerful as she’s been built up, but may very well die by the end of this arc. Maybe she’ll be the catalyst needed for Miria to awaken, but I don’t see her as anything more than that.

Roxanne, however, is a whole different story. She’s the sort of character who emanates power not from her actions, but from her inaction. The story of Cassandra’s technique was also her story, and she had an air of contempt in her dialogue as she told it, as though she were looking down on her. We get some insight into her technique as well, and she’s shown to be something of a youki leech, stealing other peoples abilities over time. Actually, now that I think about it, she sounds like an evil version of Clare. We have yet to see the full extent of her abilities, but what we’ve heard so far, combined with her general attitude, makes her a character to be afraid of.

Theoretically, any of these characters could end up being more powerful than I’m giving them credit for, but so far Roxanne is the only one whose strength I actually believed in. Just from the last few chapters, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up stealing everyone’s powers, ditching the Organization, and meeting up with Priscilla for tea and crackers.

One Piece – Chapter 636

Luffy, Zoro and Sanji kick ass

*takes out earphones* I'm sorry, what?

Ever since the time skip, I’ve been more than a little curious what the Strawhats are now capable of. We’ve seen their methods of training and have gotten a few short glimpses into their improved fighting styles, but considering how many different techniques each character knew before, it’s clear that there’s so much we haven’t seen yet. That’s why I’ve been looking forward to these upcoming fights more than usual, and why I seriously hope the fishmen can provide a decent challenge.

Just against Hody’s grunts, we’ve gotten a decent display of the new abilities of the crew. My favourites last chapter were Sanji’s Sky Walk (particularly the story of how he learned it) and Franky’s new vehicles. There’s something incredible about watching Chopper driving around in a dinosaur-shaped tank and shooting mooks. Now we somehow managed to top that with Franky COMBINING his two vehicles into a giant mech. I have to admit I was grinning like a maniac during that whole sequence.

The only ones I weren’t crazy about were Nami and Usopp. Nami pulled out a beam of wind, but only managed to take out one enemy. She was doing more than that back at Enies Lobby, so it’s hard to gauge her current level of power from that. Usopp did a lot better in terms of damage, but firing bamboo stalks just seems rather plain compared to what he’s already done.

In terms of the upcoming fights with the New Fishman Officers, I’m hoping they give us more of a chance to see the abilities these last chapters have been setting up. Chopper vs Daruma seems interesting, as they’re both capable of fighting underground, and we have yet to see how Chopper’s other forms fare against him. What confused me a bit was the above page, which seems to imply Zoro fighting Dosun and Sanji fighting Ikaros. Previously, there was another officer who was set up as a skilled swordsman, so you’d think he’d be the one fighting Zoro. And with Dosun’s brute strength and tendency to power down without the steroid, he seemed like someone for Franky to face off with. Sanji vs Ikaros I don’t have as many problems with, although someone with multiple stabbing weapons feels more like someone for Brook to fight. There’s still time for those to happen, of course, but it’s a little odd they chose those characters, specifically.

I’ve been waiting for quite a while now to see how everyone has progressed. Now I think we’re on the verge of seeing it for ourselves. Here’s hoping it lives up to all the hype.