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Anime Masterpiece Theatre
Greetings and welcome, humble viewer, to Anime Masterpiece Theatre. I am your host, Death to Zippermouth.

And I’m Dio Bravo, the guarantee that this won’t have one bit of class.

dtzav.bmp Quite. On today’s show, we are going to be looking into the history of a genre and making recommendations away from the mainstream of that genre.

What he means is, first we’ll talk your ear off about stuff you don’t care about, and then ram our opinions down the earhole.

dtzav.bmp So join us, humble viewer, as we take an in depth look into the genre… of Shounen Manga.

Ah, Shonen manga. The least guilty of the guilty pleasure type of anime/manga. More filling than parody, less brain numbing than harem…

dtzav.bmp In the past, I have written about the genre from the perspective of its faults. Today, our goal is slightly different, though one important facet of my previous essay will again be brought up.

I.E., popular series, and why trashing them is so much fun.

dtzav.bmp But first, we wish to talk about the origins and history of this strange, combat-filled nonsense genre.

It begins, thousands of years ago. About the same time when card games were invented-

dtzav.bmp No, no, you have it all wrong. It begins with Fist of the North Star, doesn’t it?

Perhaps the modern shounen style, but it goes back further than that.

dtzav.bmp Is that so…? Then what led up to modern shounen?

If you want to be literal, even at the very beginning, manga was of a distinctly shonen feel.

dtzav.bmp I’m guessing most specifically you’re referring to the first manga of considerable renown, Tezuka Osamu’s Astro Boy?

Can someone tell me where i can find it to read!?

dtzav.bmp You might get lucky if you go to a book store. In any case, Astro Boy influenced not only Manga, but Japanese Tokusatsu (Special effects shows) as well. And at the same time, other roots of modern shounen can actually be seen in the hot blooded sports series, like another I would like to find and read, Ring ni Kakero.

Boxing is a natural style of sport for hot blooded action, isn’t it? I mean, I haven’t seen a curling anime yet, or a golf one…

dtzav.bmp So long as it was absurdly hot blooded, I would watch a golf shounen show, just for the laugh value.


dtzav.bmp But anyways, all these influences led to a series that we think could be considered the bridge to the modern action shounen series from the older shounen. That series was Kinnikuman, a wrestling manga, originally a parody of the famous tokusatsu series Ultraman.

Another series I’m curious about. Wrestling with a touch of themed superhero is my understanding, after all. But these, you can call them the precursors. The saiyans to the Super Saiyans. The shikai to the bankai. The-

dtzav.bmp Okay, you are done now. This leads us to the earliest manga Dio and I recognize as modern shounen, the aforementioned Fist of the North Star. But while it was the first, it was not the series that thrust action shounen to the front of everyone’s eyes.

But it IS the progenitor of the two major series that followed, which DID bring action shounen into the limelight. These series are Dragonball and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Both of which I have enjoyed in my day.

dtzav.bmp Most every major work of modern shounen can be traced to one of these two series, we feel.

DISCLAIMER: This origin story is a theory held by two lunatics making an anime blog and trying to set up a point, so in the end only two things are true: we probably made some mistakes in the timeline, and we don’t care too much to really find out the information to fix those mistakes right now.

Anyways, these series premiered very close to each other, and show a clear grapic and visual divide that continues to characterize shonen to this day. We have Akira Toriyama, fan of toilet humor and slapstick, making his wacky shonen series about a monkey boy. And Jojo, created by Hirohiko Araki, whose entire line of work has a tendency to straddle horror conventions, not to mention overmuscled men.

dtzav.bmp Several years down the road, two more mangaka who would not achieve their biggest hits until later appeared, but their influence cannot be understated. One is artist Takeshi Obata, and the other is Yoshihiro Togashi. Togashi is more important at this time, as he created the archetype for the “monster hunting” subtype of action shounen, Yu Yu Hakusho.

Please note. This form of monster hunting does not involve cute creatures doing faux cock-fighting. Anyway, Obata is a trickier creature to pin down, though. As he is an artist only, his work varies heavily on whoever he collaborates with. He later finds work on the more unusual types of shonen, but at this time, it is more interesting to note that he did much work mentoring new mangaka of the time, such as one Nobuhiro Watsuki.


dtzav.bmp Nobuhiro Watsuki is, of course, the mastermind behind probably the greatest shounen manga ever, Rurouni Kenshin, which appeared shortly after Togashi wandered off from writing Yu Yu Hakusho. Watsuki is also strange to pin down, as while he was mentored by Obata and did have some influence from his predecessors, he often cites non-manga sources like Marvel Comics and Tokusatsu like Ultraman as his influences. But his appearance also marked the end of Dragonball, which leads us to needing to backtrack a little.

Backtrack with the proof that we aren’t limited. After all, for the most part weve only been talking the best known (in america) magazine, Shounen Jump. When there’s others to bring up, like the amusingly english named Shounen Magazine.

dtzav.bmp As two popular, long running Shounen publications, Shounen Jump and Shounen Magazine have had a sort of perceived rivalry through the years. Until the late seventies, Magazine held top place for sales among shounen publications. Then, with the introduction of Jump’s seemingly neverending KochiKame, and the sudden appearances of the ultra-popular Toriyama and Araki, Jump took the lead in sales, until…

Toriyama finally got fed up with Jump’s editors making him write more DB. He ended the series. SALES CRASH!

dtzav.bmp Also, Magazine had at that point found a sap willing and able to write his own long-running series and keep it going as long as possible. That man was Jyoji Morikawa, and that manga is the insanely popular and still running Hajime no Ippo.

Again, fighting sports are the best for exciting shonen. Though I’m willing to bet that competitive fishing would be a hysterical anime. “CAST OF JUSTICE!”

dtzav.bmp So, with Magazine in the lead, a new boom of artists comes to both compilations. These artists, driven by their love of the works of Toriyama and Araki, created a run of popular and outstanding series. The two magazines ran close to each other on these series from around 1996 on.

Here’s where things get interesting. We can start with something completely pointless, and then discard it. Yu-gi-oh.

dtzav.bmp That’s not entirely fair, Dio. At least trace it to your beloved Jojo before you toss it in the trash can. Also branching off from it, Obata finally came forward with a hit, Hikaru no Go.

In open mockery of the concept that shonen equals action, here we have a series of……sitting quietly and playing a board game. That’s it. There’s a ghost, but all he does is talk a bout the game. No magic powers, the world isn’t at stake, and its really only as Serious Business as you would expect of any competitive field. And yet, its quite fun. Silly, no?

dtzav.bmp At around the same time, two of Nobuhiro Watsuki’s apprentices broke off to start their own series. One, Hiroyuki Takei, carried a strong love for Araki, and concepts of Jojo carried strongly into his semi-hit Shaman King. Fortunately, the art did not carry over. Meanwhile, the other apprentice-

Don’t skip on Shaman King. Consider. His plot came from Jojo… and YU-GI-OH!

dtzav.bmpAnd all the drugs as well. But I don’t want to linger too long on it, since Takei hasn’t influenced anything major and hasn’t done much since he got high and wandered off. So the other apprentice…

Just a second. *Turns on “Watsuki Fanboy Alert”*

dtzav.bmp You mean I CAN rant my head off about Oda? GLEE! I was saving some of the bile for later, but I’ll let some out now. So the other apprentice, Eiichiro Oda, took his undeniable love of Dragonball and his more or less generic but cartoony art style and made the first series Jump had since Jojo to compete with Hajime no Ippo for being excessively, retardedly long. And unlike Toriyama, who was continually reluctant to fully cave in to his editors, Oda was such a hack with no appreciation for the lessons he learned from the genius Watsuki that he’s more than happy to be a continual money whore with his One Piece and its unwarranted popularity.

Your ranting is fine, but you’re comparing a long trudge to a series that has multiple storylines, not arcs, full stories, and one you know nothing about, are you sure its a fair comparison?

dtzav.bmp A fair point. At least in comparison to Jojo, Araki updates the story now and then. It’s taken ten years for One Piece to reach the halfway point of its main story. Oda CHEERFULLY parades the fact that the story is nowhere near completion, and continues to stall and tease in increasingly uninteresting ways.

Save it. Why not go on to something else thats a perfectly good gripe? Like Togashi?

dtzav.bmp Oh, right. So around this time, Yoshihiro Togashi comes out with his first true hit, Hunter X Hunter, and for a time it is good. Taking the idea of adventure from Dragonball and doing it one better, Hunter X Hunter proves to be something that most action adventure shounen should shoot for. It eventually falls to Togashi failing to look out for his health and forgetting to hire some assistants, and suffers in both art and storytelling for it.

And it gave us a new name for a pitfall in a series. We call it Chimera Ant Syndrome. A + B = C, wherein that A = buttload of undeveloped villains with B= An excess of powers and long fights, and C = COMPLETE CRAP!

dtzav.bmp And then shortly thereafter, another shameless hack of a mangaka shows up at Jump with art inspired not only by Akira Toriyama, but the movie Akira as well. Decidedly slightly above average in storytelling, his popularity abroad has helped Masashi Kishimoto fall into the “Make a series go on forever” trap, and much like One Piece and Hunter X Hunter, his long running series Naruto loses track of itself quickly aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’ve gotten into our rant section, Dio, we really should slow down on this and save it for later.

Or maybe I’ll just hit you on the head every time you start griping. About where are we in the timeline now?

dtzav.bmp Just… don’t egg me on, you know I’m twitchy about this. We’re at Naruto’s appearance, in 1999.

And cosplaying standards take a sharp dip.


Awww, come on. I wanna try out that neat mask I bought last week…

dtzav.bmp STOP IT. *ahem* So anyway, I believe the next and last major series from this manga boom on the Jump side is Kubo Tite’s Bleach, which takes the basic idea of Yu Yu Hakusho and runs far away with it after melding it further with Dragonball Z than it already was.

And if you ever wanted to see a series take a good premise and run it into the ground, read this one after its first major arc.

dtzav.bmp *Twitch*

But anyways, Bleach borrows heavily from both those series, so I guess we can draw the links there. Wasn’t one of us supposed to be drawing a graph?

dtzav.bmp Go ahead if you want to. I’d like to get on to the other magazines, really. And on that note, Shounen Magazine, from 1997 to the end of its reign in 2002!

Hard one to explain, there. Some very non standard shonen series. Love Hina, a reinforcement of harem goals. Great Teacher Onizuka, somewhere between dark comedy and dramatic school series…..

dtzav.bmp But also in that timeframe, a seemingly more traditional shounen action series from newcomer Hiro Mashima appeared, called Groove Adventure Rave, or Rave Master in America. Mashima took cues from Dragonball, and eventually his art style merged with contemporary Eiichiro Oda. I haven’t had a chance to read Rave, but I’ve been looking for it.

I blame the internet gnomes. They like to hide things on people.

dtzav.bmp Others appeared as well in this timeframe, but those three are the big ones. However, Magazine’s slight dominance would come to an end in 2002. And the reason for that, well…

Two of the series I mentioned ended that year or the year before, and the Jump Power Trio were in full swing.

dtzav.bmp So we’ll leave those two rival magazines alone for right now, and bring the last two major shounen publications into the picture. Shounen Sunday and Shounen Gangan.

Shonen Sunday is an odd one. The first of all the magazines, but perenially failing to the other two long term shonen magazines. Despite being a magazine that holds the works of Tezuka in its past, and regularly running that of Rumiko Takahashi as well. Love her or hate her, the woman writes POPULAR stories.

dtzav.bmp Meanwhile, Shounen Gangan is the newcomer to this menagerie of magazines. Originally started by Enix and now run by Square Enix, Gangan is monthly rather than weekly, and also the thickest of the publications due to its much longer chapters. Gangan has played host to a slew of newcomers who seem to have their acts together, though its first smash hit in terms of action series came at the turn of the century, with B-movie lover Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist.

And now that we bored you with incessant chattering about the past, should we get into the point of the article?

dtzav.bmp FINALLY! I’ve been wanting to let that bile loose for so long! Let’s get on with it: a return to looking at the lurching monstrosities that are Shounen Jump’s Big Four, and recommending alternates to their awfulness.

Sound the alarm! He’s going critical! So, what’s first?

dtzav.bmp I’m going to save the one I’m most angry at for last, so let’s get the one that hasn’t moved much since my shounen pitfalls post out of the way: Hunter X Hunter.

Well, I already started a bit on that one. It ran great, for 4 major story arcs, and then it collapsed under the weight of its most recent.

dtzav.bmp So yeah, we all know the gig. Togashi is stuck in a gutter with this series, and every time he tries to pull himself out he falls in again after 10 chapters. The guy is overworked and understaffed. Unfortunately, I wonder if anyone still cares.

Shonen Jump seems to prefer to enable his behavior. They, by reputation, have special provisions in their contracts precisely for Togashi to be a complete slackbitch on his work.

dtzav.bmp But while Togashi is being a slacker, there is a new series in just this past year that we feel is a good alternate to those fed up with waiting for him to get over his “funk.” That series is Psyren, from newcomer Iwashiro Toshiaki.

Psyren was found by us on the theory of “a new jump series not already canceled”. And what we found was a level of disturbing, yet fascinating, post apocalyptic semi horror, in shonen form.

dtzav.bmp At its base, Psyren is a very simple time travel story with psychic powers, with all the Time Travelling going on at San Dimas Time. A strange entity known as Nemesis Q has been taking people, giving them little phone interviews, then dragging them into the future, where the very air unlocks psychic powers. But that’s where the simplicity ends.

Everything is set up like its some sort of game. Rules, a minimap, even a number of tasks a player must undergo. But there’s more to it. There are patterns, where the game leads them, the background of the enemies the players fight, and the mystery of just WHEN they are being sent to.

dtzav.bmp The pacing is absolutely impeccable for this kind of story. The mysteries unravel at just the right pace, and new ones come at a reasonable speed without overwhelming the reader. If it was just the world that was neat, though, it wouldn’t be worth recommendation. Fortunately, the cast and action are both well done as well.

We have our main character, who is a relatively standard shonen aggressive idiot hero, Yoshina Ageha, in the style of Ichigo from Bleach. But hes got a fun dopey quality to him that doesn’t always get subsumed by actiony goodness that most heroes fall to.

dtzav.bmp The Big Guy rival to Ageha is Asaga Hiryuu. In terms of shounen character archetypes, I think of Ageha as a Yuusuke, and Hiryuu is very much the Kuwabara to Ageha’s Yuusuke. The personalities are evolved, and Hiryuu manages to be entertaining as a sort of nerdy kid who actually worked hard to become the big strong guy that he is, which just feels neat.

Which leads to a truely awesome one liner. Since Ageha used to mock Asaga as a small kid. So now, the much larger Asaga returns it perfectly to him.

dtzav.bmp If there is an award for truly awesome oneliners, Asaga definitely deserves it. Anyway, the role of The Chick for our five man band is actually taken by a guy, though given the fact that he’s a very flamboyant bishounen, the lines are a little skewed.

I think you’d get along with him nicely.

dtzav.bmp Hey, a friend like him wouldn’t be THAT bad.

Mochizuki Oboro is a celebrity, and more than a bit silly. He seems to have a crush on poor Ageha, too. Or at least likes to hug him.

dtzav.bmp So when he proves to be a natural genius with psychic powers, he doesn’t end up seeming outlandishly annoying. In fact, he may be the least annoying genius-type character in all of shounen.

An interesting character is the trickster one, the “Smart Guy” of the band, Kirisaki Kabuto. A rather amusing liar and crook, he spends most of his time fast talking to get himself out of serious trouble. So far, he hasn’t shown much power, but he is a rather fun little bastard.

dtzav.bmp I call him monkeydude. And much like Ageha and Hiryuu resembling the two delinquents from Yu Yu Hakusho, Oboro and Kabuto visually resemble the other two major players in YYH. So when the Kurama lookalike is a flamboyant fruitcake to go with his natural genius and the Hiei lookalike is a wussy but fun moron, it just makes me happy inside. But as fun as these four characters are…

They pale next to the wonderful, possibly insane, possibly yandere, character that is Amamiya Sakurako. A girl that appeared to originally be an ice queen has turned into an unpredictable, willfully violent character that is still sometimes cute.

dtzav.bmp To say that Amamiya is delightful is an understatement. She brings to the table so many things, all wrapped up in a delightfully charismatic female lead who bucks most moe trends in exchange for fun. She shows a more diverse emotional range than the entire cast of most shounen series, and it’s all believable to boot. And best of all, she has a closet full of weaponry.

The series is still pretty new, and the plot may have only just arrived, but we are going to keep watching this one. Since it’s a Jump series, the anime is probably inevitable, too.

dtzav.bmp And since we can’t fit a shout out to Bakuman, the new really awesome series from the Obata/Ohba duo that created Death Note and already looks to be the Busou Renkin to their Kenshin, in to this post, that will be the LAST series we recommend from Jump today. *wink wink* So anyway, next for us to rip in to is… ooooh, just thinking about it sent a happy chill down my spine…

I still am more disappointed with One Piece, as opposed to enraged, as you seem to be. It’s more a sign of laziness and lack of risk taking than active poor writing.

dtzav.bmp I haven’t paid much attention over the past year, but it’s quite clear that Oda doesn’t want his smash hit to end. As if he’s afraid doing anything else other than his goofy pirate series will result in utter failure. He’s already said he wants it to go on for 1000 chapters, so we’re only halfway there. I’m starting to wonder if Oda has ANY other ideas at all.

So instead, we choose to simply go with something that uses the art style of Oda, to a nearly frightening degree, but not at all the same.

dtzav.bmp Because even with nearly identical art style, Hiro Mashima’s Fairy Tail is a completely different adventure from One Piece. It has much of the same themes of friendship and companionship, but its magical world has a both lighter ruleset that it still pays attention to and an astounding cast of characters to go with it.

It’s set in a world where mages are commonplace, but apparently highly specialized in what they can do. So mages form guilds, forming organized groups that take on jobs and generally support each other.

dtzav.bmp The story focuses on the titular magic guild Fairy Tail, most specifically revolving around four mages in particular: Natsu, Lucy, Gray and Erza.

Also known as Psycho, normal girl, nudist, and Awesome.

dtzav.bmp From the start, the focus is most heavily on Natsu and Lucy. Since Lucy’s the first character we really see, let’s start with her. Lucy is pretty much the newest member of Fairy Tail. Before she joined, she seemed to idolize the guild for their reputation… even if that was a reputation of flat out insanity.

Well deserved insanity, might I add. In pursuit of goals, the guild seems to have this tendency to either destroy everything around them, or just disturb people. (Sometimes with nakedness!)

dtzav.bmp Lucy herself is this world’s version of a summoner, using various keys to call forth spirits from another realm. So she’s essentially many characters in one, with her being the only mostly normal one. Especially when you see the insanity that is the Taurus or Aquarius summons.

Natsu, who looks like Luffy’s redheaded twin, is a fiery sort. Literally.

dtzav.bmp Natsu uses a variety of fire magic that literally transforms his body into having the same nature as a dragon, and he leans heavily towards fisticuffs when he isn’t throwing fire all over the place. He also has one of the silliest weaknesses of any hero, so you’d be surprised to find that it’s actually used fairly well, even if it’s mostly humor.

Here’s a hint. Never ask him to go on a beer run with you. On the other side, his rival is Gray Fullbuster, who has the power to create shapes out of ice. Of course they get along like… hot and cold. Also, Gray seems to prefer walking around in boxers and nothing else. Hes a moderately serious sort, so he doesn’t badly set off Natsu. But man, NOTHING seems able to make those two get along.

dtzav.bmp Nothing, except, of course, Erza, who is easily the most awesome character in the series, and probably should be on many people’s lists for most awesome female characters.

When your power is the ability to manipulate and summon all forms of magic weapons and armor, you just naturally rock, but thats not all. Shes an amusingly harsh, impulsive girl, and the others fear her deeply.

dtzav.bmp And unlike most awesome females, she actively fights back Chickification at every turn. She’s pretty much the ur-example of Action Girl, a Lina for a new era. And best of all, these characters go beyond their outward appearances to have interesting, compelling stories, oftentimes at the center of MAJOR arcs rather than the introductory arcs you usually see in shounen.

It’s very typical style, clear shonen, but since when is that ever a problem?

dtzav.bmp The best thing it has going for it in comparison to One Piece is its set size cast of characters going on missions, as opposed to a constantly growing group of characters on an adventure. In that respect, it has fulfilled the promise of Naruto far better than Naruto could ever have hoped to. But no, I’m saving my Naruto rant. The important point is, a smaller cast keeps the story arcs of reasonable length, and the stories manage to have their own unique feels without each step along a journey feeling like a planet of hats.

That still doesn’t explain the giant rat in the dress, though.

dtzav.bmp I blame that and the other insanity coming from Mashima’s mind on the drugs that are in the water in Japan. You know they’re there.

So, do you know what happens when a writer falls in love with their own character?

dtzav.bmp You get what has happened to Naruto. What was even last year filled with the last vestiges of hope for long shounen has now fallen to pure despair.

The problem is, it is obvious what Naruto should be named now. Sasuke. The writing is fully obsessed with him, even as he becomes a bigger twit with each issue.

dtzav.bmp It is quite clear that Masashi Kishimoto has no love for the title character of this series now, as while Naruto is trying to keep himself from turning into a frog Sasuke has joined the villains and will soon be even more special thanks to the benefits he gets with becoming a villain. It’s enough to make one sick to their stomach.

Naruto has been doing nothing but a string of Trainings from Hell for the last 4 years, in his subjective time. About 2 years, in comic time.

dtzav.bmp So that’s it. I’m done. I’m through with Naruto. The series has failed to go anywhere beyond above average, and thanks to its popularity Kishimoto doesn’t want to let it end. The biggest shame is that he could probably get good advice on how to write stories from his own brother.

Poor Seishi. Unfairly accused as a plagiarist by people too stupid to check the LAST NAME.

dtzav.bmp The younger twin brother of Masashi, Seishi Kishimoto has a very similar art style, and for good reason. The two brothers worked on the art style together, and shared the same influences. However, in looking at Seishi’s first major series, 666 Satan, it is clear that as an artist and a writer that Seishi has something that Masashi does not.

The willingness to be unexpected and unpredictable?

dtzav.bmp The willingness to give all interesting characters equal spotlight time?

Or perhaps a surprisingly large lack of more than a single training from hell? And even that one of the most brilliantly hysterical types, despite each piece of it reminding me of Kaiou-sama.

dtzav.bmp How about his putting of that art style to a more varied and expansive use, creating vast landscapes with giant, detailed fantastic creatures? And his evolving of that art style as he progresses?

Or maybe that it’s a complete story, with a solid plot, and no endless extension of plot and nonsense. Although a couple of the villains are a bit confusing since they don’t have much backstory or development. But still, its a huge improvement. Of course, one thing we should mention, is the rather amusing name this manga has, and why it had no chance in hell (snicker) of not having a name change.

dtzav.bmp Indeed, just about everything in 666 Satan shines as a little more polished than Naruto, and it always feels to be a damned shame that most people ignore it. Both brothers appreciate Akira Toriyama, but I think only Seishi truly understands what made the old Dragonball so great.

The best part about the series is that the characters actually grow in a sensible pattern, as opposed to forced into roles, such as Sasuke suddenly choosing to reverse all of his character development in the end part of the first Naruto section.

dtzav.bmp Jio Freed, the lead character, is truly magnificent. Molded from the same clay that crafted Naruto, Jio manages to keep the story about his quest to… well… try to take over the world?


Disclaimer: Everything even remotely funny on the internet, we will eventually use here.

dtzav.bmp But it’s not so simple; despite his absurd ambition, Jio actually has good reason for it, and it in fact is less a series goal but rather an important character trait that helps us understand him. We never see why Naruto really wants to be Hokage other than it sounds cool. Jio has REASONS. Reasons and a totally bitchin’ boomerang.

And two tone hair. In such a perfect divide hes close to one of the weirder levels of anime hair.

dtzav.bmp And even then there’s reasons for the two tone hair and boatlight eyes. Even if that reason happens to be “possessed by Satan.”

How oddly Christian for an eastern series.

dtzav.bmp Well, it’s more based on Kabbalah, so that puts it right along the same line of crackpot “because it’s cooler that way” research as Xenogears. Not that I mind, it’s still handled well.

And with weird round dog things, too!

dtzav.bmp *ahem* Anyway, moving on with characters… the female lead, Ruby, is mostly a mysterious waif with a pendant type, but she still manages to be interesting and fun in her own right. And Kirin, the mentor-type, is probably one of the coolest of his variety in any shounen anywhere, like Urahara, but with more stage time.

And far more sadism, too! Think about that for a second.

dtzav.bmp But my FAVORITE character has to be Ball.

There’s something a bit interesting about a character who gets slapped by women because he cant stop talking about round things.

dtzav.bmp Ball fills the role of Krillin in this series. That is to say, the friendly rival who shows up at around the time the main character starts getting mentored and who grows up along with the main. But unlike Krillin, Ball doesn’t fall to the trap of becoming a cheerleader as the truly superpowerful start going at it later in the series. He’s always an underdog, but he always gets to fight his own fights, and that alone makes him neat.

Near the end of the series, it starts feeling a bit compressed, but never too rushed.

dtzav.bmp So with that recommendation, we would also like to point out that Seishi’s newest series, Blazer Drive, is off to a good start, even if it’s still hard to tell if it will be as good as 666 Satan. But now it’s time to complain about the most headache inducing of them all… Bleach.

Right, we are increasing the alert to rant level 6, people!

dtzav.bmp Only six? You’re the one who has been paying more attention to it! You know what whiplash it has been so much better than I!

It’s a five level scale.


Right, he’ll be on that for a while. My main problem, and I know at least part of DTZ’s, is that Bleach appears to be a completely uncreative series, with only one or two concepts. Its current arc has, for over a year, simply repeated the Soul Society arc with a slightly changed cast.

dtzav.bmp And succumbing very strongly to Chimera Ant Syndrome. And Aizen’s no longer so much fun as a villain now that he continues to win at everything forever. And most of the characters now are simply fanbase shoutouts rather than actual important characters. And it’s retarded. And…

And apparently now Kubo is, essentially, trying to rip Busou Renkin off! Irony since people accuse the opposite far too many times.

dtzav.bmp Eh? I must have missed that. What do you mean?

This. Warning, not safe for humanity.

dtzav.bmp OH DEAR GOD. Just about ANYTHING would be better for this. Even though it’s fairly mainstream at this point, the first that comes to mind would be Soul Eater.

Yes, Soul Eater is awesome. Weapons that are not only special powered, but actually characters. And it has a self parodying aspect that is simply wonderful.

dtzav.bmp And then there’s the utterly fantastic artwork that is reminiscent of Tim Burton.

Since its getting better known, I think we got enough said already about Soul Eater. Now, on the other hand, we could go back to that perennial favorite (of ours), Watsuki.

dtzav.bmp While I love to rant about how wonderful Busou Renkin is, I think we’ve sent enough praise to him.

Point. I think that if we are to keep pointing it out, we should get royalties, or at least an advertising fee.

dtzav.bmp Hell, I would say ramming ones head into a wall is preferable to Bleach at this point, but based on that image, it’s more of a side effect.

No, the side effect, and its impact on the brain, simply RESEMBLES slamming your head against a wall for a day.

dtzav.bmp It’s enough to make one… *audible snap* go… mad… *smile*

Oh crap. That’s not a good look in your eye.


I feel pretty…

Ok, that does it. *mask shift*


dtzav.bmp GAAAAAAAAAH! *is crushed into ground* But I don’t wanna go to school today, mommy…

Right, I think we’ve done enough damage today. So, any closing thoughts, buddy?

dtzav.bmp I NEED SCISSORS! 61!!!

Right. Ok, well, thanks for reading everyone, we’ll be back after I beat some more sense into DTZ.