The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Review


Red Hood was a really big deal when it first came out. People got really hyped after the first chapter but then the hype slowly started to disappear. By the time it was cancelled at 18 chapters, a lot of people were disappointed but it seemed to have already fallen off the top. Well, I’ve finally checked it out and the manga had some fun ideas but is really held back by the art. Manga’s such a visual medium where if the art is bad I think it will be extremely difficult to succeed. Effectively the manga is starting itself off at a disadvantage. It’s not a bad title by the end but I can certainly see why it was cancelled. It goes without saying that this review will have complete spoilers so if you have not read the chapters yet, you will want to do so before checking this review out.

The manga starts off by explaining that the hunters have exterminated all dragons off the face of the Earth. Now they aim to destroy all of the werewolves next. We then cut to the main character Velou who is a kid that just wants to protect his village. Unfortunately Werewolves are quite powerful, can shapeshift, and even regenerate. There’s no way Velou can win on his own so the village spends all of their money to call in a hunter to help. Her name is Grimm and while she appears to be a small child herself, she has never failed a mission before.

This intro mission lasts for almost half the series with around 7 so it’s a bit longer than you would expect. Usually in something like this you have 1 or 2 chapters for the intro and then you keep it moving. This slower pacing is different but not necessarily bad. We get to see what a big threat the wolves are to the average person and there’s a lot of lore thrown right at you this way. You get to really learn about the world and that’s never a bad thing.

You also get some Promised Neverland vibes here. Velou looks just like Emma from that series even down to the hairstyle and with Wolves lurking around every corner, the series is going for a bit of a horror theme. You can’t trust anyone and despair is right around the corner. It could also just be that the art gives this effect as the drawings never look complete and everything’s so convoluted. Regardless we even meet some of the big villains from the Red List and at the end of the intro Velou decides to become a hunter. The exam lasts the rest of the series with the exception of the final 3 chapters where we hit the climax. So as you can see, the series didn’t have a whole lot of time to do much here.

Lets break this down into sections though as I’m jumping around a lot here. For starters, I’m not a big fan of Velou being such a little kid. To me that rarely ends up working because for a series like this you need the main character to be able to fight. While Grimm could have looked better (More on that later) she can at least fight and has 100 different tools. The other fighters we see can all fight as well, Velou is the only exception. The series is going for a World Trigger vibe where Velou has to get used to being the strategist but I don’t think that works very often. It can be hard to root for a main character who can’t actively fight himself and has to hide behind his friends. Velou does have a gun but tends to miss his shots at point blank.

Velou means well and has a lot of the usual hero dialogue but there’s nothing that really draws you to the character. I don’t see a lot that would end up making him very interesting and so this doesn’t help his case in the long run. As for Grimm, she’s the real character that got a lot of attention at first. Her story is that she is cursed to be trapped in the body of a child and can only go back to her adult form for 3 hours a day. Sort of like an All Might situation there. Thing is, while she gets a ton of hype, she doesn’t look great. She lets her guard down against villains multiple times and is completely helpless against the Red List. Grimm doesn’t even get a true final fight at the end.

In this case, it would have been better for her to have just not fought yet. It would be like Kakashi meeting his match immediately in Naruto. This is more like Rukia losing in episode 1 of Bleach which was still sketchy when it happened. Grimm has a lot of confidence in herself though and loves to fight so you can probably guess that I enjoyed her character quite a bit. I just think she should have looked stronger.

I’ll give the series credit for being aware of this though. This is actually turned into a bit of a sub plot as a character realizes that Grimm isn’t looking so good. It turns out that there is some reality warping in effect so that is a very reasonable in-universe explanation as to what’s going on here. Trust me, I’ll definitely talk about the reality warping coming up since that’s a big factor here.

One character we meet during the exams later on is a guy called “Bonkers”. Bonkers is you classic strong guy with a bad attitude who doesn’t even care about entering the exams. He has a tragic backstory and has just given up. Fortunately Velou is able to talk him out of it so he can learn how to be a team player. This is so successful that Bonkers is the one giving a speech in the next chapter. I could see him being a decent character as time goes on but for now there isn’t a whole lot that is interesting about him.

There are tons of trainees introduced in the long exam arc but most of them won’t leave a big impression on you just yet. There just isn’t time to really learn about them. You have Tylty who doesn’t trust people anymore and wants to win the exam on his terms. You have an older scientist who wants to prove that his inventions will be useful in combat. Then there’s a girl who believes in being very practical so she will betray you or stay on the team depending on which option makes more sense. She’s not going to choose an option just because it’s the right thing to do. It seems like most of these characters were meant to become main characters eventually so it’s a shame that the series ended before they could return.

Then you have Debonair who is one of the more experienced hunters. She’s actually teamed up with Grimm on the field back in the day so she knows her stuff. She was cursed to always have a high body temperature so she uses that in her attacks. It’s a creative way to take control of her curse so I’ll give her credit there. She was definitely one of the more enjoyable characters here. She adds a lot of energy to the series and always just jumps into action. She doesn’t hesitate to attack anyone whether they are friend or foe.

Then we have some villains in here like Cinderella. She is one of the highest ranking villains of the Red List and I’m very interested in how she turned evil in this continuity. Of course as the series goes on we see that her faction may be the good ones. I’ll break down the two sides later on. Cinderella is a lot of fun though and would have been a solid reoccurring villain if this series had kept on going. She has a partner in Lycaon, the king of the beasts. This guy is huge and immensely powerful so even though these two villains appeared almost immediately, I wonder if they were planned to be end game type bosses.

Aside from a few minions, the only other big villain we met was the mysterious mayor. It was a pretty big twist to have this guy end up being with the villains. I’ll talk about his goals in a second but it’s a very interesting direction to place this guy in. He looks good. His last second character 180 I can ignore since it was the last chapter and that’s likely the only reason this happened. Otherwise I doubt that would have happened at all.

Before getting into that I’ll quickly talk about the 3 arcs. So the pre arc where we were introduced to the main characters is the weakest one. It’s hard to get all that engaged in reading about this village filled with expendable characters when the 3 wolves attack. It also lasts pretty long even though Grimm should have just ended all of the werewolves in an instant. Of course she was testing Velou but she also did promise to save everyone. A bunch of people really could have died every minute that she was messing around instead of helping out. The only really solid part of the arc was the ending when Cinderella showed up to style on everyone. It was also an interesting way to get Velou to join the her since he only relented since there was no longer a village to save. It was the fact that Grimm failed the mission which ended up making him join. Not the greatest reason to get in on the action.

For the exam arc, well it’s a cool concept for a test but it is just too soon. So you’ve got a bunch of random characters who have to put aside their difference to win the test. If the main character could fight that would work better but since he can’t, it just doesn’t work as well. The whole exam also makes no sense because there’s no way a bunch of random cadets could hope to beat the top 2 hunters. Even if they are holding back so they don’t murder the kids, I don’t buy for a second that the heroes were able to outsmart them every time. It ended up being a complete loss for the hunters as they couldn’t capture a single cadet. That’s going beyond lucky to just being unreasonable.

Then we enter the final 3 chapters with reality warping and such. It’s hard to get super engaged here either since it’s all happening so fast. We get a super gun that can destroy everything and an onslaught of twists. The plot twists are interesting and put the series on what would have been a very interesting path but we don’t get to explore it. Throw in the cheesy ending and that doesn’t help matters a whole lot. At least we did get some action though.

So, what is going on here? It turns out that the entire world has been destroyed many times. See, humans and werewolves have been locked in war with each other for millions of years. The issue is that the werewolves cannot be destroyed because any human can turn into one randomly, without warning or reason. So the only way to destroy the werewolves is to destroy the human population. Apparently the hunters have tried this before and destroyed all the humans but then everything got reset each time. See, there is a powerful high above being working on this…The Readers. Yes, in this series the reader is a concept.

So the characters are all locked in a twisted fate of never being able to escape. Then you have the Red Hood who is in charge of writing in the master book, events of what is to come. Whatever is written ultimately ends up happening and so he writes good and bad events to occur. Villages getting burned down? The guy wrote all of that. So destiny has complete control over everyone because their results were already written in.

This is where the Red Line comes in. Their group is made up of other powerful fighters who don’t want to be trapped by Destiny. So their goal is to take down the hunter alliance and seize control of the book. That way they can stop anyone from writing in it and people can make their own choices. Based on that intel, I would argue the Red List are the good guys right? Yes, but then you remember the first chapters and how they’re going around burning down villages and eating people. So…they lost all credibility in an instant.

This is clearly a series where both sides are going to be evil. Well, this is where the Mayor steps in as a third faction. He pretends to be a part of the Red List but has his own goals. He wants to destroy the book entirely and end reality. I should mention as part of the Red Hunter’s duties, they write in the book to appeal to the readers. Well, the Mayor believes that writing to appease a bunch of violent gods isn’t a good thing to do. Humans are not puppets and so he plans to end all of reality. To that end he created Velou, who isn’t truly real. Velou is an anti destiny, sentient bomb. Just by existing he causes the characters to break away from their script and regain free will.

If the Mayor can get Velou near the book for a long enough period of time, then the book will blow up and the Mayor will have gotten his wish. In the meantime the Mayor stole two pages of the book so he can fill them with anything to change destiny. It’s a very overpowered ability that’s for sure. The series ends with him turning good as he’s blown up and the heroes are all finally freed from destiny to do their own thing. As the series was cancelled, the readers are gone so nobody can dictate how their series will go. It’s very meta that’s for sure.

Some interesting concepts there but I think it would put the series in a hole rather quickly. Once you get this meta and are breaking the fourth wall all the time, it’s hard to tell more stories. Once the characters know that they are characters and that everything’s a manga, it just seems like it would be hard to actually tell any stories. There were some hinting about proper scripts and characters acting in line early on in the series so I think this was originally meant to play some kind of role and it wasn’t just because the series was cancelled. I’m guessing the twists wouldn’t have happened so quickly otherwise though.

Personally I think the series was cancelled in large part because the art’s just not that good. It’s very cluttered and it can be hard to tell that is happening half the time. There’s one scene where a hero kisses a villain just to annoy her but you don’t even realize that happened for a few panels because the art’s so bad. It seemed more like a hug initially. Forget about the fights, it becomes 10 times harder to follow along once that happens. It doesn’t help that each of the werewolves are huge. Even experienced artists can have a hard time with big opponents, much less a new series artist. Should have stuck to street fights even though those don’t look great here either.

The series could have been saved if the art was better. I also would have pushed back the exam and shortened the intro. Have the characters go straight into another mission first and learn about the world. Maybe the test could happen as part of arc 3 or arc 4. That would also give Velou some time to get better as it’s hard to see him being ready to be a hunter this early on. I’d also say it’s probably best to get rid of the meta aspect of the series since I don’t think it works in a serious context. That said, if it’s the main point of the series then I won’t ask to remove it since that would change the core story. Velou being an anti destiny bomb was interesting at least. If he had been a main character who could fight I also think that would have been an upgrade.

I won’t say the series is bad though. It’s certainly not something I would be very interested in reading again but it does avoid fanservice (Due in part to the art being so bad so even all of the exaggerated designs and costumes don’t register) well and there’s no real wince worthy moments here. In an anime version we’d have to see how the Werewolves are drawn. Having them as opponents would have been very dangerous for the series as a whole unless it was stylized. At 18 chapters the series is just gone in the blink of an eye so I’d say you might as well check it out. It’s a decent adventure but one that was more positive for potential than what it actually did on the screen.

The writing was good and there were some good tactical elements in here. Since the series was definitely going for the strategic kind of main character, I think it would have pulled this off well enough. The plans in the manga were good although I call major hax on the cops and robbers plan. There’s just no way that would work against the hunters so hopefully the future plans would be better. It’s an entertaining read, there are just enough issues where it’s hard to see this ever surpassing a 7 at best. There isn’t a true hook that would have ever kept this going for very long.

Overall, Red Hood could have been the next big thing if it played its cards right. A Shonen Jump action story about fairy tales and folklore could have really been something. We get quite a few references to Little Red Riding Hood of course and with Cinderella as a villain, I’m sure the series had a lot of ideas. Of course the tragic part of being cancelled is that you will never get to see those moments. It’s considerably better than some of the cancelled manga that I’ve read but that does seem a bit like a back handed complement when you think about it. We’ll see which cancelled manga is next but in the meantime I would definitely recommend checking this out. At least you can see what all the hype was about.

Overall 6/10

Build King Review


Build King is a very interesting manga because of how out there it is. You aren’t likely to find a title quite like this one even if you search very hard. The concept is just way too unique and to its credit, the series goes all the way with it. It does have a very…verrrry rocky beginning though so I can see why it was cancelled. By the time things get going, it just feels like it must have been too late in the polls. A shame though since the series was just hitting its groove.

Well, we’re introduced to this world which is a place where people aside to be builders and carpenters. The world is filled with house monsters and the strongest ones of legend are known as the Build Kings. They are so mighty that nothing can stop them and they even pose a threat to the planet. The two main characters are Tonkachi and Renga. They live on a remote island inhabited by monsters and build houses to protect the innocent creatures. Your skills at building houses are directly proportionate to your rank and ability. Renga is a skilled builder and has done well on the island but his big brother Tonkachi seems to have no skill for it.

Every building Tonkachi builds shatters in an instant. But he does have abnormally high levels of strength and has a hammer which zaps his life force in exchange for boosting this power even further. Tonkachi says that if he can’t build houses then he will build peace by stopping the monsters himself. This has worked out well enough for the heroes but they are ready to leave the island and really test their mettle. Fortunately a guy named Nana shows up on a runaway house one day and that’s their ticket out of here. If the two characters can pass the building equivalent of the Hunter’s Exam, they will finally be pros and can do what they want. It will allow them to locate their mysterious master: Shovel, who told them to come find him once they had gotten stronger.

Right away you can tell Shovel is a very old school kind of master. He reminds me of Piccolo with how he just ditched these kids on an island of monsters and told them to figure it out. Considering that he never came back, the guy really did leave them to their own devices. He doesn’t appear again until the very last chapter or two of the series but admittedly it is a very epic way to end things off. Of course since the series was cancelled they had to rush it but otherwise I’m betting he wouldn’t have appeared for a very long time. He has style though that’s for sure.

So of course I mentioned how the series has a bit of a rough beginning right? Well, it all comes down to the fact that it’s trying to be more of a crazy comedic adventure at first. Think early Toriko or classic Dragon Ball. Thing is, I wouldn’t say I was a fan of either of those. Toriko didn’t get really good until the fight scenes occurred. I just think comedy isn’t this author’s strong suit. There is a whole lot of crude humor and crude humor type jokes. It’s not funny and won’t even get a smile out of you.

The artwork is great for fights. This guy has years of experience so that makes sense. The final chapters of this series? They look amazing. It’s like he never left and all the characters have quality designs. The issue is for comedy the author loves his exaggerated faces but it can get old quick. Comedy just wasn’t working for this series and that’s likely why it was canned so soon. I can tell you right now what I would have done differently is build this up as an action series from the jump. Put more emphasis on Tonkachi and his vitality hammer. Explain the different vitalities and building energies.

It seems to me like the author wanted to develop a really unique power level system here and I say go for it. It was well thought out and there’s a lot you can do with that. The building fights are as unique as they get. I feel like it would be a big burden on the author to have to draw this weekly but it would look great. Ironically I would say the human battles are the highlight but the buildings are the selling point so you have to keep them. Just make that one switch to being action oriented and this could have worked.

Lets go back to the story though with Nana and that runaway house. Nana’s one of those characters who is technically tough but I can’t take him seriously. How could you with that as an entrance right? I’ll give him this though, he does have the funniest scene in the series when he gives his introduction twice since the main characters were spacing out. Now that’s a humor style that worked really well. If the author had more gags like that I think it would have worked out really well.

The series is at a bit of a disadvantage with these two main characters too. The issue is that none of them are all that good. Renga is the skilled one who starts out at a higher floor than Tonkachi but quickly hits his limit. He’s supposed to be the good builder but is effectively out of luck early on in the series. Without the ability to fight physically you kind of expected that he wouldn’t be doing so well by the end though. It’s not a surprise but that’s likely of little comfort to him.

As for Tonkachi, well he’s not a very smart character. He reminds me of a Tarzan type character. He can hit things with his hammer but that’s the extent of it. He’s not very smart and will compromise on his ideals for a gag like when he sells out 2 by 4. This character just didn’t click with me and isn’t my kind of lead. Not to take away from his skills of course. His hammer is the real deal and I like how the effects depend based on which side he hits you with. It’s a unique weapon and he has good abilities but as a character I just didn’t care for him.

So the heroes end up landing on a little island that is rife with bandits and vampires. It’s an interesting little island and the heroes finally get a little exposure to the great outdoors. The first adventure lasts through the first 10 chapters so almost half the series is here. The heroes have to fix an upside down house and ultimately Tonkachi can do this by smashing it a bunch of times. It’s certainly not an action arc and we’re still in the adventure phase. You can probably tell that the author is a big fan of the environment because a lot of this adventure is just seeing the impressive greenery and landscapes. The buildings look really solid as well.

I can’t stress enough how good the art is. This is the work of a veteran, but that doesn’t help the story. The main heroine Cork has the worst debut appearance I’ve ever seen for the main girl. Her first appearance is her hanging upside down and forgetting that she wasn’t wearing pants. What kind of intro is that? It’s just artificial fanservice here and Cork never gets to do anything in the series. It’s not a stretch to say that there is no point to her character. She doesn’t do anything after this island either so I shouldn’t even call her the main heroine I suppose.

From there we start the tournament where a bunch of new characters appear. So many in fact that you are unlikely to remember most of them. It’s impressive to be sure and if the series had lasted then this is a great way to expand the case. Since it didn’t though, you just can’t retain all of that info. Taurus is the strong guy but Tonkachi immediately humiliates him in strength so you won’t be taking him seriously after that. If you’re that much weaker than the main character right off the bat then that’s it. (He tries his best punch on Tonkachi and the lead doesn’t even feel anything)

Shizuka gets some hype at least. He’s trying to be the really stoic rival character who doesn’t let anything faze him. He is tough so I’ll give him that and I like how he’s focused on clearing the exam even when characters are messing up the planet all around him. The guy has dedication so I have to give him that. The test proctor Smith is also not too bad. I mean he gets drunk easy and isn’t a good role model but he is memorable.

Then we get a whole bunch of villains that attack the tournament and more heroes jump in so it gets crazy. While you might not remember most of the characters, I do like how largescale this all gets. We enter Toriko type territory right away. Not in terms of feats but just with how much action there is. Again, if the action had come sooner that could have helped a lot. The tournament/exam is easily the best arc here and keeps on going to the end. The various events were fun enough but things really got going once the villains started attacking. That’s when your attention will really be on every page.

The leader of the villains is a guy named Bill. The name might not stand out but as a character he is the real deal. His quantum vigor ability seems really broken with how he’s in multiple realities. It’s hard to see how the heroes would beat him but that’s likely not something that would have occurred for a very long time anyway. As it is, we only get to see him for a chapter or two but he leaves a good impression. He reminds me a bit of Midora.

As for the buildings, I feel like the series does cheat a bit here. The first buildings we see look like normal buildings so it makes for fun and creepy visuals when they start walking around. Later on the more powerful ones just straight up look like robots. It’s cool of course but feels like it’s going against the point of seeing buildings fighting each other. As mentioned we also get a lot of human fights which is basically just Toriko 2.0. When those are the best fights around, it makes you wonder if the series should have just ditched the buildings if they weren’t going to be used a whole lot anyway. Just play itself up as a Shonen action series with exams like Hunter X Hunter and this could have gone far.

Having a slow beginning is just putting yourself at a disadvantage when you need good ratings right off the bat. By the time the setup is completed, it’s just too late. I’ve often thought it might be worth it for an author to release 8-10 chapters online first or more for free on a different site that take place before the official chapter 1. That way you can skip some of the exposition and world building and jump right into the action. It would be risky but then big time fans can always look them up and it might allow you to hit the ground running. It’s possible the magazine wouldn’t allow this but it would be interesting if it worked.

I would say one thing Build King does have going for it is that it’s an easy read. Even with the slow beginning, the art is good enough where you can read through the series quickly. I don’t think it would have been quite as much fun weekly, but at least this way you are blasting through the weaker chapters very quickly to the point where they are gone in an instant. That’s definitely the way to go about things.

My final complement to the series is that despite all of its weaknesses, it’s clear that there was a ton of potential with the whole buildings setup. The world itself was interesting to find out about. How would giant, sentient buildings change the world as we know it? Just answering that question alone could take 10+ volumes as we see the world. You start to get those answers as the series goes on and it’s all very surreal. Imagine living inside of a house that could eat you at any moment? It’s going for a Pokemon vibe with the relationship between humans and their buildings but with the evil ones running around I’m sure there would be tragedies in the future. The mysteries of the Build Kings doesn’t get to be explored and so you leave with as many questions as answers.

Overall, Build King had a very slow start. The first half just doesn’t grab you. There isn’t a lot going on and the character cast is really weak. Fortunately the exam really starts to help the series find its footing. The battles are great and nonstop once they start happening. The extra chapters for the volume release may not remove the cliffhangers but it means more chapters of action and world building which is always good. Plus it covers some more of the crazy battles which was the best part of the series. This second half of hype is enough to give the series an extra star and ultimately I give it a positive rating. It’d be nice to see the series revived at some point now that it has a focus but I suppose it was all just a little too late.

Overall 6/10

Hungry Joker Review


Before Tabata created the all star manga title Black Clover, he had another manga which was quickly cancelled known as Hungry Joker. It was a very ambitious project with more of an “A Certain Magical Index” element to it as all powers are based on relics from different religions, cultures, and special events. There’s a lot that could have been done with this, but alas the series was cancelled really quickly.

The series starts off by introducing us to Haiji who is a genius. He has complete amnesia except he remembers waking up amidst a lot of fire and everyone was dead as well as glowing in an odd color. His only clue is an Apple that had one bite in it. He now works on crazy experiments with the apple along with his sidekick Toriiooji. (That’s a hard name to remember) She’s not crazy about this but a job’s a job so she puts up with it. Unfortunately Haiji can barely even be bothered to remember her name half the time which is rough. One day, a new corpse appears while glowing and just as Haiji starts to investigate this, he is attacked by a mysterious being who may not be of this world. Haiji is barely able to fight him off with his apple.

The villains belong to a group named Mavro and they hint/imply they are gods or possibly aliens from another planet. They don’t think humans deserve to use these supernatural powers and are going around the world to steal the relics. Haiji will have to work with the hero group known as White Joker in order to stop them but he’s not exactly a team player. Will he learn how to work well with this group or will they simply be overwhelmed by the villains?

Now why does this apple have powers? Well, it is explained that this is the apple that Isaac Newton drank the juice from when he learned about the science knowledge that made him famous. In this world, we learn that he only learned this knowledge because he drank from the apple. The apple itself is a divine relic and only the chosen are able to live through such an experience. If a normal person bites into such an object then he/she will die without a doubt. Well, fortunately Haiji is a chosen one and since he ate quite a lot of the apple, he is able to manipulate gravity. This ability is temporary so he has to take a bite out of the apple whenever he wants to use his powers more. It means that he is at a bit of a disadvantage in a long fight though so he has to try and take care of business quickly.

The pre arc was handled well. It was a good introduction to the characters and it even had some horror vibes to it. Hungry Joker’s first chapters all take place at night which helps for the atmosphere and the hospital scene with the nurse turning into a monster is like something straight out of D Gray Man. I don’t think you will be forgetting that anytime soon. Throw in the artwork which can be a bit rough at times and you have all the elements of a horror manga in here. That said, this manga is far from being a horror title but it has the kind of visuals that would give you pause. Once the plot starts to get going though it’s much more of a classic Shonen.

The first main arc has the heroes travel to a museum as one of the legendary artifacts is on display there. It appears to be a trap but Haiji points out that they can’t afford to be cautious on this. This is the arc where we first learn about White Joker and get quite a bit of information on the world at large. You could say it sets up a lot of what would be important for the future if the series had kept on going a bit more. We get some good fights and meet new characters so it’s a fun way to kick things off. The arc has a good mix of humor and action as it introduces Alan and Mira.

Alan’s a fairly unique character as he acts very gruff and tough like any good rival but on the inside he is extremely scared of everything. The guy is timid but can’t show it and I like this character type. Usually characters act like Shaggy Rogers with how afraid they are and everyone can notice this immediately. The fact that Alan hides this so well is incredibly impressive. Not many characters would be able to pull that off. I liked him right away.

As for Mira, she doesn’t get quite as much to do but she’s nice enough. She’s the brains of the group as she plans things through while Alan just acts. She’s always cheerful and adds a lot of energy to every scene. Mira isn’t really a big fighter like the others but she’s good as a support player and gives a lot of the info dumps in the series. She’s also key to getting Haiji to join the group.

In the next arc, the group heads to a village where a witch has seemingly thrown up a smokescreen around the place. Naturally this is a job for White Joker. This time Haiji is accompanied by one of the senior members known as Vivi. You can quickly see her as the inspiration for Noelle Silva as their personalities and abilities are rather similar. Vivi’s a lot of fun and has to be one of the most powerful members. She has super speed, strength, and every kind of ability you could want. She can blow her lid quite easily but considering how Haiji can be rather rude, you can see how this would occur. There isn’t actually a witch in this arc and it ends up having more of an emotional climax but it’s a decent follow up. The first adventure was more fun but this one introduced Vivi so it had more fun scenes.

The dungeon exploring feels like classic Black Clover but the villain is the weakest one in the series. His name is Dodomekis and effectively he wants to build a harem of maids. That’s one of the worst villain motivations you can have so you’ll be rolling your eyes at this guy when he’s on screen and will just be waiting for him to be taken out already.

Nils is the other big character introduced in this arc but I didn’t like him. He’s one of those characters who is always depressed and super nervous. He lets the townsfolk get to him and so he hasn’t really had a fun time. Things just don’t go well for him and his origin story is quite tragic. You feel bad for him but I don’t feel like he would really do anything for the team dynamic. He definitely won’t be having any solid banter or anything like that.

As we approach the end of the series, the heroes head to Austria next. After learning the truth behind Haiji’s origins, the heroes hope to learn more about his blood using the next artifact. This time they travel with another member of White Joker known as Lise. He’s a doctor who uses questionable methods to get his patients to loosen up. I can’t say I found him to be all that solid. He’s another support type rather than primarily being a fighter so the Joker org seems to have quite a few of those. Naturally the adventure is quickly turned into a battle as Mavro sends in their next fighter. This time Toriiooji has to step up to help out.

The villain here is decent. He calls himself god so we don’t get to learn his true name but he does seem quite formidable and leaves more of an impact compared to the previous villains. His laser abilities are useful and the fight goes on for quite a bit. It’s more of a low key arc compared to the others but the artwork is always great for fight scenes and that carries this adventure well enough.

So after this we just jump to the end of the series. The villains suddenly launch attacks on every country in the world, the heroes all get super forms that they obtained off screen, we get a big time skip, etc. You can tell that the series was cancelled by this point so the author was having a bit of fun. The “Hungry Joker” term is even used as the super form that everyone obtains. I can’t complain though, it was a really epic way to end things off. There are of course a lot of open plot lines and such still going on as the series ends, but it ends with a bang. Now lets talk about some of the other characters.

As a main character Haiji is decent. He really isn’t all that interesting though. As a scientist he is usually very absent minded when it comes to talking to the other characters. He’s only focused on discoveries and learning about his past which can make him appear rather selfish at times. Haiji’s not a very hot headed main character nor is he a comedic one or a nervous type. In a way I would say he’s one of the most unique Shonen Jump main characters. The closest personality to him I can think of is Muhyo from Muhyo and Roji. I think Haiji would have improved with more time but he just isn’t very interesting here.

His sidekick Toriiooji is also not great but she doesn’t get powers until we’re at the very end of the series which is an unfortunate coincidence for her. I’m confident she would have had more to do now that she could fight but it was just too little too late. By that point the series was already ending. She’s a loyal ally and will always do what she can but she just didn’t get any real big moments here.

Kild is the first villain to show up and fight Haiji. This was a good way to introduce these evil gods and it was a good fight. The downside of being the first villain is of course that this fighter is having a tough time against a main character who hasn’t fought before. Since Haiji is a genius I suppose you can let that slide a bit but the fight was rather even. Kild would have won I’m sure but the fight was abruptly ended. I liked Kild as a villain, he’s easily the most memorable one at the very least and I liked his confidence.

Rosary is one of the big villains but she doesn’t really get to fight much until the end. I like her confidence though and she certainly had a high position within the villain group. As such you can say that she definitely had ability far beyond most. Meanwhile Ragins is okay as a villain but there isn’t a lot to him. He puts up a good fight against the heroes and talks about destruction and all that but you will forget him really quickly. He’s not the kind of villain that leaves an impact on you and so he fades into obscurity right away.

Nasyasu is the leader of the villains and it turns out that he is Haiji’s brother so of course there is a lot of drama there. I liked him well enough. We don’t know a ton about his goals beyond the guy just being ultra evil but he has a good design and solid teleportation abilities. I could see a lot of good potential with battle scenes for him. I’m sure we’d also meet more villains if the series had kept on going.

It’s definitely a shame that the series was cancelled so quickly. It’s definitely one of the stronger titles that I’ve read among the cancelled lineup. The characters were good, the stories were fun, and the action scenes were epic. You can see so many elements from Black Clover in here so I’m glad the author was able to utilize these concepts again in a different franchise. So what would I have done to keep the series from being cancelled? Well, it’s tough since I didn’t think the series did a bad job leading up to everything.

The series was very episodic from the start so it seems like that may have been the issue given how quickly it ended. I guess what I would do different is after the museum arc, we cut straight to the first big war battle arc against the villains. Have them attack different parts of the world which allows us to meet more members from White Joker. This could help show how useful the group is and also introduce more characters to keep the readers engaged. The leaders of White Joker seem very suspicious but they don’t show up until the series is ending. Have them appear earlier and hopefully you hook readers that way. It’s no guarantee but I think it’s a good start. Those are my ideas.

As mentioned, the art is great here. The fight scenes are epic and they’re also quite long. The series wasn’t afraid to have big battles right out of the gate and that was a good move. The abilities are also fun as there is so much you can do with elemental attacks like gravity or concepts like sound. The heroes would have a lot of room to grow their abilities so the power management of the series was in a good place. It’s also just a fun read, you’ll be dashing through the series from chapter to chapter. There’s a lot of replay value to be had here. If we’re lucky then maybe some of these characters will show up in Black Clover as part of a crossover or something.

Overall, Hungry Joker is a series that I would definitely recommend. At the end of the day it’s a really good action story and a title that you won’t be forgetting any time soon. The art is good and while Haiji isn’t really a main character that I can get behind, the supporting cast is good enough to carry him. The series had a lot of potential so it’s sad to see it go but at least the author ends it in a way where maybe we could get a sequel someday. At the very least there are still a lot of open plots left out there.

Overall 7/10

Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin Review


It’s hard to forget any of the promotional images for this series when it was first starting out. Who wouldn’t have fun with a manga about a tough dolphin right? It didn’t last super long but then again, 40+ chapters is fairly good for a modern Jump title that’s cancelled, feels like they usually don’t last quite so long nowadays. It allows the series to explore its premise fairly well at least.

The series starts off with Samejima taking down a crook but he took big risks in doing so and gets demoted. I have to agree with the demotion to be honest since pointing a gun at someone who has a hostage is going beyond just being a bit reckless. So Samejima is sent to a small island in the middle of nowhere that’s a bit off. One of their leutenants is a buff dolphin, there’s a kid here who was rescued from a cult but kept her super powers, and there are sea animal hybrids going around and causing trouble. Will Samejima’s police training be enough to keep him safe?

It is interesting how to the rest of the world, there are no such things as supernatural creatures and all that. Samejima knew about the cult kidnapping for example but like everyone else he just thought they were crazy. Since the island is so far away from everything (Not even a cell signal in sight) it also makes sense that people wouldn’t learn about these events. I thought the author did a good job of crafting this scenario carefully in such a way where nobody would suspect anything. This was good execution.

Initially you have intro type stories that aren’t really connected but let you get used to the cast. For example we have a one shot story with a few guys riding a car without a license and they basically antagonize the cops until they get shut down by Samejima and Orpheus (The Dolphin). Granted I’m not sure if the main character is right about it not being legal to film a cop on public property. I mean, it’s a made up island so you could say the rules are a bit different but I think it was still a part of Japan. Might be overthinking it though and either way these guys were crooks for speeding, driving without a license and then nearly running someone over.

Another intro case that would end up being important for later was the first confrontation with more of a supernatural fighter. Granted, it has a comedic end but you have a guy who is part octopus that is blowing a lot of buildings up in the town. Every part of him is explosive and so trying to hack him to bits isn’t a great way to try and take him down. Orpheus and Samejima have to reluctantly use some teamwork here.

The villain just wanted pollution to stop but blowing up towns isn’t quite the way to go about it. This was also the introduction to Chako’s (the kid) wish granting abilities which are quite powerful. Whenever a series introduces a power that activates just by thinking about it, well you can bet that this character will be a real powerhouse. She’s just young enough where it isn’t dangerous at this point but all you would need is one time skip for her to either be the world’s greatest hero or most dangerous villain.

The series is mostly good about not having much fanservice but it is definitely present which is unfortunate. There’s a whole chapter about everyone trying to take advantage of the main heroine Umi including even Samejima. What’s even the point of that chapter? It’s certainly a good way to lose momentum and her gimmick of having the shirt rip whenever she salutes will make you cringe. Again, the series isn’t too constant with this or anything but it really limits the overall potential of the title.

The first real arc starts with two powerful hybrid bounty hunters known as Kaji and Hanma showing up. They are here to kidnap Chako on behalf of the cult. As these two both have powers, Samejima will have to step up if he wants to protect her. It was a solid mini arc and had the first true fights of the series. There was some good back and forth here and if this was added sooner in the story I think the series could have launched with a really solid start right off the gate. By the end of the mini arc you have these bounty hunters turning good though which is a bit too quick if you ask me but I can give it a pass since it means they can show up as heroic rivals later on.

Next up was a more serious case where people keep dying near the local dolphin pool. The victims are always missing an arm as well. The cops are naturally called in and this arc taps into the mystery angle a bit as you have some a main suspect in the coach and have to decide if he is the murderer or if it’s someone else. With super powered animal fighters on the loose it’s hard to rule anything out. It’s a bit of a step down from the last arc but it isn’t bad. It introduces some pretty important characters and does further the cult plot by the end. The ending twists get a little too convoluted for its own good though to the point where it’s hard to buy the twists at one point. The coach looks bad no matter how you slice it.

There’s a quick mini arc about the characters moving into a mansion where a rich guy tries to throw them out. It’s a way to go back into the comedy realm a bit with some other short stories before the final arc of the series. So there are 7 legendary artifacts in the world apparently and the cult wants to secure these items at any cost to the point where they have called up all of their big members including the main villain himself. The girl who turned traitor in the last arc is there and so the main characters unite to enter the underwater cave. We also get introduced to a whole new group of fighters known as Squad 7 who are apparently the most skilled police officers around. They’re more like the FBI or CIA. Can the heroes stop this cult once and for all?

This arc felt like the biggest one and while I have a feeling it would have played out a lot differently if it wasn’t cancelled, I thought the author was able to wrap everything up really well. At most the giant dolphin made of water at the end may have felt a little out of the blue but all in all it was a fun way to end the series. While it had a rocky start, I did think the series quickly got better the more it went along. This is an example of a series that is better when it was focusing on action rather than comedy. The series just wasn’t very funny which isn’t a good thing for a comedic based title.

Before going into it further, lets take a look at the cast. As the main character Samejima is decent. He’s a hot head who always just dives into a problem and I like to see that kind of enthusiasm. He may not have any super powers but he can still fight with the best of them. The series is part comedy after all so it’s not all that unlikely to even see him trading blows with the more powerful villains. The fact that he doesn’t follow protocol comes in handy more than a few times. While the other cops are unable to move due to other departments showing up, he doesn’t care and just dives in. He does tend to suffer from some of the jokes like being too distracted by Umi though.

Umi is a nice enough main heroine but the series really just uses her as the token fanservice character most of the time. She really doesn’t have a lot of plot importance beyond that and ends up being the only main character who can’t fight at all. That’s a shame because it also leaves her out of all the big story arcs. I’d have liked for the series to have given her some kind of ability to fight with the others. Well, Umi means well at least, not like she’s a bad character or anything.

Chako is the main kid that all of the villains are after so she gets a big role. That said, she’s a very young kid so it’s not like she can really fight or anything like that. Her wishing abilities are really just a way for the plot to go on. Not much to say about her as a character due to this. I will say that her powers can seem a bit inconsistent at times but since it is used seriously at times and as a gag at others, I guess that is to be expected. By the end of the series we do learn the full story behind her kidnapping though.

Orpheus is a big character and really the selling point for a lot of people. That said, I thought Samejima was a lot more interesting. Orpheus’ main character is that he wants Chako to see him as the main parental figure but she’s taken to Samejima so he is always jealous. That is a large chunk of his scenes in the comedy stories. When it comes to the action parts he does have some good fights though and even a tragic backstory. Much like Korosensei from Assassination Classroom, I much prefer him before his transformation into a dolphin.

Still, he’s okay, just not a standout character to me. He does have super strength and a good fist technique so that’s handy in the battles. Next is Seira, a mermaid girl who appears in a few stories. Initially she seems like someone who’s just a little careless with how she comes close to marrying a normal human who would surely drown underwater. As the series goes on we learn more about her though and she even plays a bit of a critical role by the end. She was solid by that point.

Kaji is one of the early villains who turned good. There isn’t a ton to him beyond potential since he didn’t do a lot but he made for a good villain. At the end of the day he’s a villain with an honor code and it wasn’t hard to turn him. The guy has a distinct character design too. He has a partner in Hanma who is a solid fighter as well but he doesn’t do much in comparison.

Yukari is one of the main characters from the dolphin pool murder case and her character arc goes in a very unexpected direction. She ends up being one of the best villains for sure. She uses the arm artifact well and has one of the best feats in the series when she splits the ocean in two so everyone can walk to the cave. As a villain she has a lot of confidence and doesn’t even get intimidated by Poseidon himself. Now that’s some serious ability on her part.

Jura was her colleague but unfortunately as a hero she doesn’t get any power ups so there isn’t really anything she can do to help out here. It would have been nice if the series could have done something to allow them to have a proper fight. Jura’s a fun character though, she’s up beat and always ready to tackle the next obstacle. She stuck up for Yukari and was a really good friend throughout.

As the leader of the cult, Kamuro gets a big role by the end. I can’t say I’m a fan though. He’s one of those guys who is a comic relief perv as a “good guy” and while he gets serious when he is evil, it’s hard to know if his personality is still on the up and up as a result. Was it all an act? The guy is also a bit out of his depth with these relics as he is surprised at how the first one looks. His backstory is certainly very tragic but I don’t really understand how he went off the deep end.

The idea was that he would infiltrate the villains and then take down the organization from the inside. Instead he effectively just became the leader and kept it moving. His goal at the end is really not good and one of those classic “I’ll destroy almost everything but it’s for good reasons” Ultimately since he became evil because his willpower wasn’t strong enough, I was never going to be a big fan of Kamuro.

Okiura is effectively Kamuro’s right hand woman. She finds out a lot of intel and helps him that way but she isn’t much of a fighter so she doesn’t leave an impact. She’s helpful to the villain cause but there isn’t a whole lot to say about her. I think if the series had kept going we likely would have seen her play a bigger role or at least that’s the vibe I got.

Tome shows up really late in the series but she immediately becomes a fun character. As the leader of Squad 7 she is quite powerful in combat. She has an underwater martial art style that seems to be heavily based off of Attack on Titan. It’s how the whole squad fights too so it’s like the survey corps. They use water pressure to zip all over the place as they strike at their enemies. Tome is the most powerful of the group though and it shows. She gets a few fights in the arc and would have been a fun supporting character for future events.

We meet Chako’s Mom in the flashbacks to the origin of the dolphin cop and how this all happened. Her name’s Yae. Yae was a nice character thrown into a tough situation but I do feel like she kept on making the wrong calls. Getting involved in the cult, having a kid while at the cult only made the situation worse. Eventually it was too much for her and she split. Now there’s a bit more context to that but I’d say she got in over her head and this ended up costing her as well as Chako quite a lot. There was also starting to be a bit of a triangle between her, Kamuro, and the Dolphin which wasn’t really needed.

Finally we have Poseidon who would have almost certainly been the end game boss. He can possess Chako and it seems like each relic would have made him stronger. When he possesses Chako she can actually fight rather well so I can only imagine how strong he would be in his own body. The series has a bit of fun at his expense though like when he gets his powers zapped by the cave though. Not his best look and doesn’t exactly make him someone to be feared as the big villain. Always a tough part when trying to balance the serious action and more comedic elements for a series like this.

So, what would I have done differently to keep this from being cancelled? Well, as I mentioned, the series started off a bit slow and didn’t get really good until the action started to come in. That was over halfway through the series I would say. What I’d have done is have the villains attack a lot sooner. Maybe have them send in normal hitmen at first which would give Samejima a good reason to be able to keep up at first and as he learns more about the island we start to see those tough meta humans. It would be a slow ascent up the power levels.

Now, I guess the author wanted to make a comedy manga initially but the novelty of just having the cop be a dolphin isn’t enough. Throw in Chako and you’ve got a Yotsuba vibe going but it’s hard to keep all of those elements together. The initial stories that were stand alone just weren’t all that funny as I mentioned. If you tone down the fanservice or the characters acting iffy then you would have some potential but even the stories without any of that could be a bit dull. Like Chako breaking a vase and then the characters scramble to find the truth. The humor style seems to be the absurd type where something crazy happens and most characters take it in stride while Samejima panics. Not the most effective way to go about this.

So the short answer for me is to throw in the plot a lot earlier along with the fights. The author was able to easily transition this into a full action series which was a lot of fun. I can only imagine that going in that direction right from the jump would have done a whole lot to improve the series. At the end of the day I would still call this a pretty good title but of course I have the benefit of being able to marathon through it. I’m sure it feels a lot different going through it weekly. I would say to maybe remove Chako but that would change the whole core of the series and for my anti cancellation plans I try to not suggest anything that would make the series completely different.

The art is very solid as you would expect. I would go as far as to say it’s excellent. The action scenes have a lot of detail and the character designs are each distinctive. It just strengthens the case of why the series is at its strongest with the action. It allows you to read the series real easily without a doubt since it’s all so clear. Definitely a strong aspect for the series. While I didn’t find it funny most of the time, the writing for the series parts were good. The idea of having a cult as the villain organization is interesting. You don’t really see that a whole lot.

Overall, The Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin is a good title that will quickly be forgotten amidst a sea of titles that are just better. I would call it a fun series and one I would recommend to anyone but I’m not shocked that it was cancelled. Naturally I wish it could have just kept going and maybe been the next big thing though. As long as a series is good (6 or higher) then I’d like it to crack 50 volumes and continue to surpass its limits. There may not have been any witty banter/solid buddycop dynamics with the Dolphin (It sounds way more natural than using his real name) and Samejima but the action would cover for that no doubt.

Overall 7/10

Bone Collection Review


All right, it’s time for the next cancelled Jump title. I pretty much binged the whole series in one day (Aside from the first chapter) but it’s not very long at 15 chapters so that’s not ultra impressive. It’s a series with an interesting core concept about yokai and exorcists so this could have been the next big thing. Unfortunately it stumbles out of the gate and never really got interesting enough to break out. Additionally a huge chunk of the story makes absolutely no sense and I will get into that later on.

So the basic plot is that the world is filled with Yokai and Exorcists have to take them down. Unlike other stories, all humans know about Yokai and Exorcists are given a pretty good amount of social power. For example, the main character Kazami can skip class if it’s to fight an exorcist. It’s just a normal part of life to the point where kids even watch the fights from the roof sometimes as they laugh at the exorcists. It’s all fun and games which means that the exorcists must be doing well since people aren’t afraid of the Yokai.

As we’re introduced to Kazami, we find out that he’s from one of the most well known Exorcist families. In this world there are two ways to become an Exorcist, to have incredible skills and pass some tests or to be born into a family. Kazami’s the latter case so he’s an exorcist but his skills are terrible. His only good skill is a forbidden one that he can’t use as it involves borrowing the powers of a Yokai that he comes into contact with. If he ever uses this power then in the best case he will be stripped of his title and in the worst case he will be quickly executed.

Kazami’s life was going well enough when one day he bumps into a girl named Paira. She’s rather bossy but the only girl who will give him the time of day aside from his childhood friend Rino who is always belittling him. Paira turns out to be a SSS rank yokai with incredible abilities but she wants to be human. So she intends to have Kazami keep on draining her abilities and then she will be human once her powers have been fully drained. At that point she will marry him but Kazami is scared of the prospect. Can he drain all of her power and become one of the world’s greatest exorcists?

Kazami’s a terrible main character, there’s no other way to put it and that always starts the series off on the wrong foot. For starters part of his whole gimmick is that he’s a perv and is constantly desperate for any girl. He’ll even let a Yokai go or ditch his duties if it means he can be a part of a group date. That kind of trait you would usually see in a side character or something but not the lead. It’s an unspoken agreement that your main character can’t be like that because then how can you root for him?

He never learns his lesson throughout the series and as Paira is effectively the fanservice character of the series, it doesn’t make for a great dynamic. Here’s where the series doesn’t make any sense though. Kazami wants any girl to take notice of him and here comes Paira, a girl that he finds to be extremely attractive and he flirts with her instantly. This should be a win/win for both of them. To extract her abilities he has to make physical contact with her, usually in iffy ways so he’ll have fun doing that and it will even help him become a stronger exorcist.

Meanwhile she wants him to do this because each time he extracts her abilities she becomes more human. Her goal is to become human and marry him. Then for no reason, Kazami suddenly changes his goal to any girl but Paira. It comes off like the guy just doesn’t want commitment, he wants to mess around but not to marry her. After all, he still glances at her quite a lot and gets distracted all the time but when she mentions marriage then he bulks to the point where he tries to avoid her. This entire character dynamic makes absolutely no sense.

If the author wanted to write a dynamic where Paira is the pushy one and Kazami is the timid lead who doesn’t want to be in a relationship then they shouldn’t have established him as being someone who is obsessed with girls. This dissonance destroys the manga early on. Now you can still have a good series with a bad main character but it’s incredibly difficult and doesn’t help your case of trying to avoid cancellation.

Also, Bone Collection has a real fanservice issue. It’s quite unfortunate because the last few titles have been avoiding that fairly well but this one didn’t. Just about any scene with Paira tends to get dicey. The series really leans on this aspect which is a shame and it shows that the writer didn’t have a lot of confidence in the story to hold its own without doing something like this.

The art isn’t quite as high end as most of the other titles either. It’s not all that bad, some of the proportions aren’t quite right for obvious reasons but otherwise the action scenes seem good enough. I can picture this series getting better with the artwork the longer it went on. It just didn’t last long enough to get to that point. So now lets talk about the characters.

I already talked about Kazami and why I don’t like that guy. You just can’t get past his personality and nosebleeds so that’s a thumbs down for him. Then you have the childhood friend who you may have thought would be the main heroine for a chapter or two but she is quickly taken out of the story. Rino’s an interesting character because she’s quite unique for the childhood friend type of character. She is consistently insulting Kazami and while this is in a comedic way where she doesn’t realize what she is doing, it happens enough times where you have to think twice about this.

She is a talented exorcist and wants him to do better but doesn’t know how to show it. She also seems to like him but can’t admit to this either which gets a little trickier once Paira enters the fray. At that point Rino is really out of luck in just about every way. There’s more that could have been done with her but ultimately her character arc ends when she is put on silent and her texts go into oblivion which was really unexpected but I think the author just got tired of the character.

Paira has a really big presence here and she’s okay. One issue I have with making her a SSS rank yokai is that she never looks this powerful. She has trouble with everyone and while it’s hinted that this is in due to her powers being drained and being in the human world, this makes it hard to take her seriously. She was casually beaten by one of the exorcists back in her true form. So if this is the power of an SSS yokai then that’s a bit concerning for them. I suppose it’s a twist if the Exorcists are actually the guys with the upper hand this time but it sure doesn’t feel that way.

Power levels aside, I do like how forward she is about her goals. She talks about marriage and wanting to be human right away without beating around the bush. That part’s commendable and her final ability of being able to activate a reality marble of sorts where she summons a wedding was also very original. In a way her fun personality is wasted on Kazami as a foil but I’ll give her a passing grade.

One of the worst characters here has to be Akina. He’s Kazami’s older brother and an expert exorcist so you’d expect this guy to be a big player right? Wrong! Paira humbles him almost immediately when the guy starts to put on airs. She completely breaks him to the point where he becomes her slave. She rides him around the house like a horse and insults him quite a bit. Paira was able to get this power position because she got some strong blackmail material which didn’t help his case either. Akina is a good example of a character who had some potential but then completely blew up in an instant.

Then you have the twins Sakurai and Runa but their inclusion is problematic as Kazami points out. See, the whole “Using yokai energy” thing is completely forbidden. The characters beat this into Kazami throughout the series yet near the end we find out that among the top ranking Exorcists there is a pair who uses this casually. Really?? Why is this such a big deal then? They’re doing the exact same thing as Kazami and Paira but not getting any heat about it.

There’s not enough world building for any explanation here. I’m sure the series could give us something but it just seems to undermine everything about the process. As characters they aren’t bad but they basically exist just to train Kazami and Paira into being stronger fighters and don’t do much on their own. They seem a bit young to be fighting Yokai but when you have super powers I guess that evens things out.

Then you have Abe, the first Exorcist King to appear. She’s a fun character and has a few twists up her sleeve. See, she uses a puppet body which happens to look like a very buff dude but her real form is just your average teen girl. She gets a lot of hype since even Paira is completely terrified of her. Abe’s abilities are definitely the real deal and this time it makes sense since she is one of the highest ranking fighters in the series.

I would still argue that Paira should win this fight easily but maybe being an SSS demon isn’t all it’s cracked up to be right? I liked Abe, she brings in a lot of energy to the team dynamic which is something the heroes needed. She has the power needed to back up her tough talk and she’s also fairly reasonable for one of these higher ups.

Compare her to the next king we meet in Shishino and there’s no competition. This guy thinks all Yokai are evil and won’t listen to reason. He doesn’t really appear enough to get more development than that. Don’t even mention the final 2 kings as they get wrecked by the demon Kyubi off screen. So much for the Exorcists right?

That leads us to the final boss of the series, Kyubi. I was glad we got at least one real boss at the end of the series instead of all the monsters of the week. Don’t get me wrong, you need those guys for pre arc but if the series is going to be cancelled early then I at least want my memorable final fight. Kyubi does well in that role as he takes down multiple kings and establishes himself as a true threat. He had to be strong too since after Kazami and Paira’s training they were so strong that they took down an arc’s worth of fighters in one page. The arc had been shaping itself up Saint Seiya style with the heroes having to destroy a bunch of towers and each one was guarded by a powerful Yokai. Little did the villains realize that the heroes were in a completely different league by this point and would win in a single shot.

Kyubi has a lot of confidence and it’s deserved since he was utterly dominating everyone for a while. The fights are cool and I like his design. Easily a candidate for best character in the series. Surprisingly the series decides to end on more of a comedic note than with a serious climax though. Remember that whole reality warping into the wedding thing? Well, that happens in this part as it ends the series and it turns out that Paira can turn the whole place into a wedding arena.

It was a creative way to bring every single member of the cast into one room, I’ll give the series that. People just pop out of nowhere and since it’s magic you can’t really complain about it right? It certainly feels rushed as this power comes out of nowhere but I do like that it implies Paira has been holding out on us the entire time. I would like that twist because it restores some of her SSS rank hype. It may be a little too late but it’s better than nothing. The series even squeezes in a time skip epilogue which is rare for these titles.

So at least you have a complete story here. Albeit a rushed one but it’s a start. So what would I have done differently to keep this one from being cancelled? Well, the obvious answer here is change Kazami’s character entirely so he is more of a timid kid who wants to be a great exorcist but has no skills. It’s been done many times in the past but it still works and would also explain why he is reluctant to use his skills with Paira since he would be way too shy around girls for something like that.

Now you’ve got a more traditional setup and a main character that won’t have you rolling your eyes the entire time. As a second step, definitely reduce the fanservice and since the series isn’t being cancelled, you don’t have to turn the serious final boss into a happy wedding. Instead you play the fight straight and that will work quite well. These are my quick changes to try and salvage the series. With that it could have worked because then you’ve got a nice adventure story which may tick off all of the usual boxes of a generic adventure at first but then after that it would have time to slowly become its own thing.

Overall, Bone Collection has a decent premise, it just didn’t live up to its potential. That’s to be expected with these quick cancelled series since they were cancelled for a reason right? Some have still been quite solid though, but this was not one of them. It’s not bad like I Tell C but it’s just not very good either. I wouldn’t be recommending it to anyone and if you wanted a classic exorcist title you’d be better off with D Gray Man or Twin Star Exorcists. There is no shortage of exorcist manga titles though so I would recommend any number of them over this one. Bone Collection will just end up fading away into obscurity.

Overall 5/10

Our Blood Oath Review


Ready for another cancelled title from the ole Jump archives? Well, with a title like this and a plot involving Vampires I can see why it was booted out. Look, I’m not the biggest vampire fan. In fact, I would go on record to say that it’s usually a rather poor genre. There isn’t a whole lot of interesting things you can do with a vampire story but there are a lot of pitfalls you can fall into. Mainly animal violence and sucking blood since they’re both pretty bad. This one is no exception.

Literally the first page begins with a cat dying. So now the manga has my attention but in a very bad way. This doesn’t earn it any points and instead is actually just getting it on my bad side. Immediately fans were probably thinking about cancellation. So anyways the cat dies and we see this monster in the background. The opening chapter works sort of as a one shot to introduce the world as we follow a random kid who will end up being a main character.

In the world of Blood Oath, vampires are actually real and a decent amount of them live on the planet. Most humans do not know that they exist though and the vampires have actually encouraged fictional representation of them like Dracula to make this seem even more unbelievable. It’s honestly a pretty good tactic. Most vampires just want peace but there are certainly those who dislike the humans and want to destroy them all. It’s a vicious cycle where both sides have big grudges. There is also a human group that goes around slaughtering vampires but they only appear for about a chapter so you can forget about them.

If a vampire goes for too long without drinking blood though, it will turn feral and become a monster that’s more like a hollow. These monsters are mindless and also become less physical so they actually possess people. The series can’t seem to decide if they’re spirits or actual monsters at times but it’s a different take on the vampires so that part’s interesting enough.

We’re then introduced to our two main characters. Shin is the primary lead and he has taken a blood oath to protect Ko, a royal vampire kid of immense power. Shin was raised by vampires and believes that there is a chance for peaceful coexistence between both races. That’s his complete goal and he will do whatever it takes in order to make that happen. In the meantime he does his best to take down all of the violent vampires who would do their best to oppose this goal.

As someone who has undergone the blood oath, Shin has abilities beyond that of a normal human like with his super punch. In general he’s also faster and more durable than a normal human which is handy in this world. Shin’s a good lead, there’s not a whole lot to him yet but it’s a solid goal and he does his best to achieve it.

The other main character is Ko and he’s basically a kid. I know with Vampires the ages are hard to confirm for sure but he acts like one so that’s what counts. As pseudo brothers he and Shin always look out for each other but Ko isn’t quite as forgiving as Shin is. Shin desperately wants peace but Ko doesn’t care about all of that. He just wants the two to be together and if someone attacks Shin then he takes it personally. Their dynamic is good but otherwise as a character I wouldn’t say he’s all that high up or anything.

One thing that the series struggles with right off the bat is the power levels. Sometimes Ko seems like he is the stronger main character and other times it’s Shin. Both of them lose in rather embarrassing ways early on but Ko is supposed to be a royal vampire that is way more powerful than the others so what gives? Well, it seems like he can only activate his true form after sucking Shin’s blood which is a huge weakness since that will weaken Shin in the process. Ko seems completely dependent on this.

That’s fine against the monsters but against the actual vampire villains then this gets a little more dangerous. For example we get two main villains by the names of Kaine and Haiga who show up at one point and they definitely have the edge in battle. Assuming that they aren’t the strongest out there then the heroes are going to be in big trouble. It’s not anything new for the genre as the heroes are almost always completely out of their league in vampire titles.

As a short series though, Our Blood Oath has to try and redeem these villains really quickly which is hard to buy. Take Kaine for example. This vampire loves murdering humans and even makes a big show of it. The reason is humans murdered Kaine’s whole family so that built a grudge quickly. So, how can this villain suddenly become a good guy within 10 chapters? it feels very accelerated as a result and I would have just kept Kaine as a villain. If this series had kept on going I’m sure Kaine would end up being a good rival character but it’s not as effective in a short series.

The battle with Kaine and Ko was likely the best one in the series so I have to give that a thumbs up though. The artwork here is really nice and that is certainly the highlight of the series. It’s all very clear with good progression through the attacks and you always know exactly what is going on. None of the characters look too similar so you won’t be mixing them up either. So just an aside but when the series is focusing on the battles then that’s when it is at its peak. There aren’t a whole lot of battles but enough where you know this is a Shonen right away.

Kaine’s partner Haiga seems a lot less villainous from the start but it’s not like he’s against murdering innocent humans. He does whatever Kaine wants and will do so with a smile. The guy’s loyal though and I liked him well enough. Haiga and Kaine had a good dynamic going and were fairly memorable which is important. The guy could also fight on his own very well too as he was easily overpowering Shin.

There’s a vampire elder named Alice who shows up for some lore and info dumping at different points. That seems to be her only role in the story and also to check off the classic trope of having a little girl appear who is actually hundreds of years old. She would need to fight to stand out more and so far that didn’t end up happening.

Finally you have Rangetsu who appears near the very end of the series. He’s a wild card since his motivations seem unclear. The guy has a ton of power though so everyone has to approach him cautiously. The human secret service was afraid of him and same for the vampires. The guy trained Shin at one point and seems to believe in the same kind of peace that the lead wants but he could be trolling. One thing’s for sure, Rangetsu is not nearly as merciful as the main characters and doesn’t mind torturing his opponents.

I wouldn’t trust him for an instant. His interests may align with that of the main characters at times but I can’t imagine that being anything other than temporary. If they ever have to rely on him that will really be the death of them. This is all setting up interesting seeds for the future but he doesn’t appear until the final 3 chapters or so, so you would have to hope for a sequel series for this to even mean anything.

There are a few other characters but that’s about the sum of it. Needless to say this was not a series that I liked. I would put it in the same ballpark as I Tell C but for completely different reasons. First off, throwing in the dead cat in the first chapter was just abysmal. There was no need for it. It’s only there for shock value and that’s not the kind of thing you need in chapter 1 or any other. This isn’t even a really dark series otherwise.

It maintains a classic Jump feel. It’s lighthearted but with its share of dark moments. The dark moments can be a bit much though. I mean, the main character’s family is murdered in front of him and same for one of the villain. At this point that’s old hat though and you almost expect it. Otherwise the darkest moment here is when Kaine locks a vampire child up with a human girl to the point of starvation. This ends up playing out with the human girl draining the vampire and turning into a monster.

It’s a really dark plot and one that felt out of place here. Did we really need to have a child fatality like this so soon? Additionally, this makes Kaine’s change of heart feel even more forced. If Kaine was already casually committing acts like this and bragging about it then how does a villain come back from that? There’s always the chance for redemption but within the span of a few days it’s hard to see that happening naturally.

I also dislike most of the vampire scenes. I’ve never liked the classic draining blood as they bite each other’s necks or chest as this series does. Ko needs to drain blood from Shin to fight and that happens several times. The villains do this to themselves as well, normal humans, etc. Honestly the series would be a lot better if you just stuck to the human kid trying to run away from the vampires. The guy from chapter 1 wasn’t half bad if not for the fact that he has the whole running gag with kids. That destroyed him and may be why the guy vanishes. I mean, he does appear from time to time and part of his suspicious actions were from being blackmailed but the character is at his best when the series isn’t trying to make him funny. When it does, that’s instantly game over. You can tell this series was not built for comedic dialogue.

The opening villain Kyoko did make for a decent threat though. Shape shifting is always handy in any kind of series and her plan was relatively solid. I would argue she probably should have just attacked Ko straight up instead of doing all of the planning but I suppose that’s hindsight. Getting back to the main point though, a vampire series is always limited because of the concepts that come with it. I could say to just not have any blood sucking series but then it’s probably not a vampire series anymore right?

So what would I have done differently to keep this one from being cancelled? Well, I think the lore should be cleaned up a bit. No reason you should have monsters, vampires, and humans running around right off the gate. Have it be plain Vampires vs Humans. The whole hybrid creature angle can be saved until the series is in double digit volumes or something like that. As it is there should be a ton to explore even without all of that.

I’d cut out the scene with the two girls who get locked into a room until one of them goes crazy. If the idea is to redeem Kaine and Haiga then you can’t have them do anything too disturbing or it just doesn’t work. Alternately your best bet is just to prolong the redemption arc for a long time so they have time to regret their actions and change sides.

That’ll also help keep the tone more consistent as you can’t have a super upbeat series where everyone is dying violently like this or stuck in such bad positions. This way the world won’t feel quite as hopeless. After all, the worse it gets, the more Shin’s dream will end up being seen as a weakness instead of a strength. It’s all good to want peace but if you’re watching both sides get slaughtered as this is being said, then it starts to feel empty.

I’ll at least give the series this, the bond between the two main characters as blood brothers is a good one. It’s also a nice twist here as they aren’t related by blood…but in a way they are since their blood is now linked. They do a good job of looking out for each other and that’s a fairly rare main character dynamic. We’ve seen brother and sister like in Demon Slayer but usually in Jump one of the brothers would end up being evil so this is a good twist.

It’s also at least one positive dynamic here since the series really focuses on how bad humans are as per usual. They’re shown to be traitors, sell outs, and are quick to turn murderous in the various flashbacks. It already looks like the vampires made the right move in staying secretly hidden so that’s why Shin has to think really carefully before he brings all of this out into the open. Our Blood Oath doesn’t leave you very optimistic about his odds, especially with a whole mercenary group that exists purely to destroy vampires.

Overall, There are definitely enough vampire manga as it is so it’s easy to see why this one was cancelled. The world building also just wasn’t on point. Within 10 chapters we’re already meeting royals and such when there should probably be more build up to this. How long can the series go on if the big shots are already walking around? I assume the only way is if the series went for a more dramatic/political angle rather than heavy action but that would bring along its own share of risks. Ultimately you have to be careful on striking the right blend but as long as this is a vampire series I don’t see it coming out in the green. Hope the next one fares a bit better.

Overall 4/10

Nine Dragons’ Ball Parade Review


All right, we have another cancelled Jump title so lets jump right into it. You can make the case that there has not been a truly definitive Baseball title yet. Tennis has Prince of Tennis, Football has Eyeshield 21, Soccer has Whistle, Basketball has two separate options in Slam Dunk or Kuroko’s Basketball, (Either will suffice) Volleyball has Haikyu, etc. For Baseball the top one would likely be Cross Game which was good to be sure but you can picture Baseball going even higher up. This one had a lot of potential and unfortunately it just didn’t last long enough. From the cancelled Jump titles I’ve read so far this would have to be one of the best so it’s a shame that it ended.

The series follows a kid named Azu who has always wanted to make it on the Baseball team. Unfortunately though he is rather scrawny and doesn’t really have the physique needed for the game. He trains his whole life and even leads his team to victory during tryouts but the coach explains that his team needs power and skill, not brains. It would appear that all is lost but that’s when Ryudo appears and asks Azu if he wants to be on a team with him. A girl named Karin shows up and says her school is even coming up with a team known as the 9 Dragons and they can use that to be the greatest in the world. Azu is reluctant but this may be the only way to achieve his dream. Can he dare hope for success?

Of course they’re going to need some more players since any Baseball team needs 9 players. Pretty much the whole series is spent on gathering these players. That seems to be part of why it was cancelled since it was moving slowly but it’s a shame since I actually liked the approach. I’ll go into my steps on how this series could have avoided being cancelled but I’m not really going to oppose the structure because I understand why you would want to have a slow burner approach.

There are two ways to doing this, 1 is to have the whole team already assembled and we learn about them as the series goes on and the other is to slowly build each one from the ground up. Ironically all of the big sport titles use option 1 while mostly it’s the action titles like Samurai 8 and One Piece that use the later option. Perhaps people feel like it doesn’t work for sports but the author was really putting a lot of care into each one of these characters until the end where you could see him starting to rush.

As far as Azu goes, I have to say that I was not a fan. My main gripe with him is how he’s reluctant to join the team with Karin and Ryudo. Why? His whole goal in life was to be on a Baseball team so it’s quite annoying to see him suddenly be hesitant and think that it’s not worth it. Who cares if they aren’t the best, at least it is a team right? Azu spends a lot of time grumbling in the opening chapters before actually getting on board. By that time he’s better but I just really didn’t like that as an intro for him.

I’ll give him props for working out and training nonstop to be Baseball ready at least. Even with that he can’t keep up with the others but dedication is certainly important. Then you have Ryudo and it’s no surprise that he’s more up my alley. Ryudo is an ace pitcher who is supremely confident and doesn’t let the odds get to him. When he has a goal he just completes it and always goes with the flow. He was all for starting this team right away and never looked back.

While Azu is the main character, you can also see Ryudo getting all of the screen time if the series had continued. At least it would be more like a Toriko dynamic going on here. Ryudo stays strong for the entire run and continues to grow even stronger. This is not a guy that you want to underestimate at any cost.

Then you have Karin who is effectively the coach of the team. It’s nice to see that she is also very dedicated to getting this team formed and all set up. She has more gusto than Azu and while she doesn’t play Baseball, she does try to learn so she can support the team a little better. Her backstory involving why she wants to form this team is emotional and all in all she’s just an inspiring character. I think she’ll do well as the coach.

The first member we meet is a guy named Tsurugi. He’s going to be the batter of the team but he retired to help his father mind the shop. Fortunately his skills have not deteriorated over time. He has a good rivalry going with Ryudo and is a really important member of the team. After all, you absolutely need to score Home Runs at the end of the day in order to win. The Runs won’t come by themselves.

Aside from Ryudo he’s my favorite member of the team. He balances well with the rest of the team. Then next you have Tsubaki who plays shortstop. This guy is supremely confident in his abilities and the only reason he isn’t already signed on to one of the established team is his attitude. The guy really ends up disagreeing with the refs and coaches to the point where he’s always being taken out of the ball game. The problem is that Tsubaki believes he is absolutely the best player ever and is always telling the others to worship him.

It’s an interesting enough gimmick but ultimately I wouldn’t say he’s as likable as the others. I do like confidence but when it’s overblown like this I feel like it loses a bit of its steam. He’ll certainly be a great asset to the Nine Dragons though since you know that the main characters will be able to handle him. Nobody’s going to stop their climb to the top.

Next up is Kido and he’s the final member to get his own story and full character arc. This guy’s a solid all around player who has never really stood out because he always played alongside a true all star. As a result every team passed him up and even Kido doesn’t think he’s all that good. Fortunately the heroes grab him and convince the guy to give their team a shot. I could see this guy being difficult to give a solid role in the future but all around characters definitely have their perks.

There isn’t a whole lot to Kido beyond just being a nice guy but sometimes that’s really the only trait that you need right? So at this point we’re around halfway through the series or maybe over it so I guess someone told the author to speed things along. Right now we’re at 5 members and we still need 4 more. Well, two guys show up out of nowhere and ask to be on the team. You’ve got Taiga who is the self proclaimed rival of Tsurugi. The guy doesn’t remember Taiga but that’s fine. Taiga seems confident but doesn’t really get a chance to do anything in the series.

Accompanying Taiga is a kid named Horaguchi who is the small & nimble member of the group. He is scared of everyone and everything though. He only trusts Taiga and otherwise he really just keeps to himself. I can see this guy getting annoying pretty fast but he also doesn’t have a chance to do much of anything. The final two spots are filled out by characters off screen who don’t get any real dialogue. Something tells me if the series ever returns with a sequel or something that they’ll be cut. Even their designs don’t feel like real designs and just background characters.

The series is able to introduce two villains before it ended. First up is Shiro who is the son of the principal from the top ranked school. The entire dynamic is ripped straight from Assassination Classroom. It’s a good dynamic though so I’m all for it. Shiro doesn’t get to do a whole lot yet but he has a brief scrimmage against Tsurugi and absolutely dominates the guy. It was a humbling moment for the team since they had seemed to be all but unbeatable prior to that. It just goes to show that there is always someone better. I think Shiro would definitely have ended up being one of the best characters in the series.

Finally you have Hibuse who calls himself the Star of the universe. So he’s another confident character but one who can back it up. Not only is he the star player on every sports team that he has ever been on but he wins the Baseball games almost single handily. If you know anything about Baseball you know that it’s a team sport so it’s hard to win on your own. The game is built in a way where that should pretty much be impossible and yet he pulls it off.

At first it may be easy to write him off as just another villain but what sealed the deal for me was when we learned that he was also the top strategist on the team. The guy acts all cocky to get his opponents to lower their guard and then he slams them. It was a really impressive performance and I actually ended up picking him as my favorite character in the series. He just dominates whenever he is on screen and I’d look forward to seeing him again in a rematch if the series were to continue.

So that’s the character roster for Nine Dragons. It’s a pretty solid cast and one benefit of the slow boil approach is that most of them already had well defined character personalities and a good amount of screen time. We also did get some Baseball action during the recruitment whether it was a 1 on 1 scrimmage or a full game.

The art is pretty solid and so you’re able to get drawn into the actual Baseball games right away. There are a lot of good speed lines and the author did his best to really give this the same intensity as something like Prince of Tennis. It nails down the concept of a Baseball game which is really good. If there weren’t so many breaks I’d be a much bigger fan of the sport myself and of course for a manga that would definitely not be an issue as we see here. The main pitch is even drawn like a Special Beam Cannon.

We do get a rather random time skip for those final two characters I mentioned but as I can see why it happened to move things along. I wouldn’t advise the series do this too often while it’s early on in the series though since you’ll miss a lot of big character moments. If there was pressure to do it though then that’s fine. As it is, it’s not like any of the characters changed in this instance. Perhaps it was purely because there was no tournament for a while and they didn’t want to waste time on a training arc. (That would definitely not have gone over well this early in the series)

The Baseball games are interesting and of course I’ve always enjoyed sport manga titles so I’m not really surprised. The writing is on point and this is really a title that had a lot of potential. Honestly this may be the one that I’m saddest to see get cancelled. It’s close with this and Candy Flurry since of course I love action as well but this would have really had a ton of potential if it could have been a full ongoing. All of the proper fundamentals were there.

So, how would I have kept this one from being cancelled? Well, this one is trickier than the rest. I think I would change the character perspective from Azu to Ryudo. Keep Azu as the main character of the first chapter similar to Manta in Shaman King but then have Ryudo take over when he shows up. He’s a much more dynamic main character and personally I prefer that character type over the analytical ones. Azu does well with his studying but as a lead he just isn’t as charismatic.

I also think there will be less ways to show off the planning and such as the game goes on while with the pitcher there is a whole lot you can do. Especially with the art direction here, making the pitches look more and more intense won’t be too hard. So definitely make him the lead and we’re in business. Again, you could change the slow burner approach to just having all of the characters there from the start and maybe introducing them via flashbacks but I wasn’t opposed to this tactic.

The other option is you could add some more stakes. Not sure you really need this in a sports title but maybe Ryudo’s parents were kidnapped and he has to win Koshien within 3 years or it’s game over for them. It may feel kind of forced but that would add immediate tension into the mix. It may be hard to do that without changing Ryudo’s character though since he probably wouldn’t be nearly as laidback anymore.

Ah well, ultimately the series just didn’t work out which is too bad. It really had quite a bit of potential. They can’t all be winner but at least this is a title that I’ll definitely remember. Who knows, maybe somehow it will return someday. Personally it’s hard to picture any of these coming back when they get cancelled so soon but you never know I suppose. In the meantime we’ll see if another Baseball title comes into play at some point or if that’s it for them for a long while.

Overall, If you like Baseball then you will definitely like this series. It’s a very basic, down to Earth story about a group of teens putting together a team to be the very best. There isn’t a whole lot of time for much else though so if you’re looking for a full season’s journey then this won’t be for you. Due to how quickly it got cancelled, the series also ends on a pretty direct cliffhanger so you will have to use your imagination to decide how it ends. Suffice to say, I have to put Shiro as the world champion for this year because it’s hard to see him being stopped.

Overall 7/10

I Tell C Review


I Tell C is the next in the list of cancelled titles in Jump that I wanted to check out. It’s got a unique premise here to start off with but ultimately it’s just not a good one. I’m sure there are ways you could have spun this into something interesting but it would be difficult right off the bat because this just isn’t a great idea in my opinion. The core gimmick would need to be heavily reworked to really stand a chance at being the next big thing and the series ended long before that could happen.

The series starts off by introducing us to a criminal who just murdered somebody and figures he got away. Unfortunately for him there is someone who knows what he did. Her name is Aioi and she is a detective who abuses this position in order to find out info about criminals and catch them. Thing is, she doesn’t want to arrest them but to help the criminals out. See, Aioi falls in love with anyone who commits a bad deed but is so scary with her possessive stalking that the villain then runs over to the cops and turns himself in. Can the villains out run Aioi and will the cops continue to allow her to act like this?

It’s a rather loose plot summary and the thing is…it only works for the first 3-4 chapters before the plot changes again. Unlike many titles which have an easy general plot summary, I Tell C changes its approach for each arc so it’s hard to pin down. The pilot story is effectively showing us the story from a villain’s point of view, the next arc shows this to us from a hero’s point of view, the third arc is more of a comedic tale that turns into a thriller, the next arc is a Kaito Kid adventure, and then the final arc changes gears once more into a psychological battle.

I Tell C was always changing things up which is interesting if it’s trying to go more the anthology route but those have their own weaknesses as well. One of which is that you can never expect a whole lot of consistency there since some styles will naturally be a lot weaker than others. I would frown on using this style personally because even if it can work, it’s very difficult. The easiest kind of story to adapt here would be the first and have each story be by the villain’s perspective. It may not always work but it could capture the intensity of Aioi the most.

Before I go any further, let me break down why I disliked the series. The whole thing revolves around the fact that Aioi falls in love with criminals. This is incredibly suspect especially considering she works for the police. Now, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad if the villains were doing some more minor things like stealing bread from the deli or jaywalking. The problem is that almost all of Aioi’s opponents are mass murderers. These are people who are taking lives and she is talking about marrying them.

Aioi goes very far with this to the point where she defends them. One person just got done murdering at least 5 people that we know of and she explains that he was just lonely and needed someone to hold hands with. That’s just awful and the only way you could get around that would be if she was portrayed as a villain. When the series is portraying this to just be a fun quirky trait for the main character…well that’s a problem. The series missed another easy fix there which would have been to have Aioi not be a part of the police. Have her be another criminal that the police are trying to catch.

As Sakon notes in the first chapter, she may have caught the villain but she broke no less than 5 laws at the same time. So the police should really be arresting her as well but they choose to turn a blind eye. Effectively she is a villain who’s on the payroll and is tolerated because she is the best detective they’ve got. That’s just messed up and Aioi says on numerous occasions that she won’t arrest the criminals and will even help them get away if anything.

Later on she goes more into detail with her plan which is effectively that she figures if she marries a criminal then she can provide him with enough love where he will never commit a crime again. It’s just an incredibly naive goal because mass murderers aren’t going to change again. That’s yet another reason why I say the series would work better if these were just petty criminals. Then you can actually see why she would be acting like this. Reforming criminals is great and all but Aioi goes too far when she starts making excuses for them.

There’s a big difference between saying that person X deserves a fair second chance and should get a lenient sentence and saying that person X only murdered these people because he was lonely and shouldn’t have to go to prison. One is still going through the system and offering a recovery step afterwards while the other is just pure delusion. So Aioi brings the entire series down right from the jump to which I would say it never truly recovers.

The series ended with 21 chapters so there isn’t time for a lot of arcs. Lets quickly take a look at the various arcs. The series definitely had a rough beginning as the second half destroys the first chunk but I suppose it was too late for the series to properly course correct all the way. I already discussed the opening chapter for the most part but I would say it was one of the most effective ones. Seeing things from the villain’s point of view was interesting like with how demented Aioi appears the whole time. She is definitely not somebody you want to mess with.

We’re also introduced to the main two police officers Sakon and Ukon. Sakon instantly makes the most sense as he disapproves of these tactics but will never look very good. It’s just a solid pilot chapter and if the rest of the series were like this then there would be some more potential. I’ve already talked about Aioi so I’ll leave that character alone for now.

Sakon is a character who had a lot of potential. I liked him in the first chapter but after that he fades quickly. His whole gimmick is that he’s obsessed with strength so he is always lifting weights. He’s like your classic Shonen lead as he always wants to jump into action and do the right thing. These are all great traits but the problem is that he’s never helpful. He loses just about every fight he is in.

There’s on moment in particular that was embarrassing where he knocks a villain down and instead of pressing the advantage he tells everyone to run and gets out of there. If you tie up the villain at this moment then there is no danger to run from. He blew it in that arc but the main issue is that he seems to blow it in every arc which is a problem. He’s the resident strong guy but it never feels like it with how often he loses.

Then you have his brother Ukon who is more by the books. He’s with the rest of the cops in how they dislike Aioi so he doesn’t mind if she gets injured or dies on the case. As a result Ukon takes more of a backseat in these cases. He stops appearing fairly early on in the series and there’s not time for him to have a proper character moment. As a result he ends the series as a bit of an empty character.

After the opening case, we have to deal with an opponent who has been murdering a lot of girls because he’s another twisted guy. Even though he is murdering tons of people, Aioi finds this charming and wants to marry the guy. Problem #2 with this, she has no plan. She allows him to knock her out with the sleeping gas and get tied up. This was part of her plan but she had no exit strategy. This means that if Sakon doesn’t show up at the absolute perfect time then she would be dead right now.

What kind of main character is this? The story also felt unnecessarily dark with how this all played out. The heroes are able to save one victim at least but when you consider how many died that is just brutal. You don’t want to introduce a villain who is this much of a psychotic creep like this. Maybe for the final boss or something but it’s too dark too fast particularly with Aioi here. The first villain was at least rather normal and just murdered somebody.

So I really didn’t like that case and it’s probably the weakest in the series for me. The next case is the longest as the group heads to a mansion for some hot springs. Of course it turns out that the place is filled with murder. The mass murderer who destroys people and then steals their hands is in the area as well. Of course Aioi is thrilled about this but nobody else is.

It also introduces the main villain of the series Hikaru. He won’t appear in any more cases so you’ll have to savor him now. For reasons we don’t know yet, Aioi can’t stand him and he is the one villain that she wants to take down. From the context clues we do get, it seems like he pulled a Darth Vader and basically murdered himself. So the new him is now evil and the old Anakin version is no more.

Still, the old version did kidnap Aioi and cause her to get this whole Stockholm syndrome so he doesn’t seem like a great guy. I’m sure that the series would have gotten to this at some point but there’s no time. The guy’s not very interesting though. He doesn’t seem like a super mastermind with how easily they caught him. He doesn’t feel pain which is handy but it’s still really sloppy that Sakon let him get away. You should never let someone get away when you’ve defeated and disarmed them. The whole thing was embarrassing.

Lets just say that Sakon’s guard is so low he allows Hikaru to reach in his pocket and take out the gun. Ok….that’s sad. Hikaru can’t really fight either so he just takes every blow to the point where Aioi nearly murdered him. He sees the whole world as his personal novel to write so that could be an interesting trait. Him getting beaten severely by the heroes in their first appearance is hard to get back from though.

As for the hands villain, he was pretty awful. Remember once again that this is someone who has murdered a bunch of people. So it turns out that he just did need to hold somebody’s hand, in this case Aioi’s. Then he’s a changed man to the point where he even has a speech and attacks Hikaru. It’s just so disrespectful to the people he murdered that the guy could be changed so easily. He was also seconds away from murdering Aioi so it’s good that she can forgive and forget so easily.

That arc was a bit of a mess without a doubt. Next up is another big saga which introduces the Phantom Thief Mar. So this is a legendary thief that nobody knows the identity of. Mar steals a bunch of paintings of women and always returns them in a deformed state. Well, this time Aioi and the others have been asked to help. Why?

Well, after the events of the last case we got a time skip and the group was removed from the police. They’re now a shadow unit known as the I team who help out on the trickier cases and can break the rules. Of course by the same token they are also unofficial so it would be very easy to frame or shut them down. To introduce this concept there was also a pretty quick case where Aioi has to stop a bank robber and she makes her first arrest. At least now she is finally arresting people since it’s her only chance to get closer to finding Hikaru again.

Mar decides to let the heroes know her true identity though. It turns out that she is a girl who is obsessed with her own beauty. It’s not just a random character trait though as it actually ties into her backstory. Lets just say that she needs to be beautiful in order to complete her main objective. It’s an interesting plan and I’ll give the series credit for this being a unique one as well. Of course Aioi is torn because part of her wants Mar to succeed while part of her needs to catch this villain so it’s a tough call.

Sakon gets wrecked again as always though. It’s a pretty decent case even if Aioi is annoying the whole time though. Any scene of Aioi trying to pull the moves on Mar is a bit much and of course she hasn’t gotten completely past her phase of making excuses for the villain. Keep in mind that Mar is actively defacing popular paintings which are worth a ton of money and by the end this is portrayed as something almost heroic. Her father and grandfather look awful in the flashbacks though. Terrible characters through and through. Especially the father who completely lost sight of what matters. Also going back to the defacing property, lets just say that Aioi isn’t above doing such things as well.

So we got to meet Mar and interestingly it seems like she would not have been a reoccurring character. I liked the fact that she could fight but of course it did come at the expense of Sakon looking really bad again. This guy seriously could not catch a break and there’s no way I could take him seriously as a fighter after this. There was just no way. Mar’s origin story was certainly emotional although it doesn’t justify her wrecking private property like this. She easily beats a lot of the other villains we’ve seen so far though.

Then we have the chief of the I team Akiraka who is Aioi’s self proclaimed father. Technically there is no relation but that’s the role that he sees himself in which is something. There’s not much to him yet so he’s more of a bland character than the others. Finally this takes us to the last case where we meet the suicide bomber Aichi. Basically he wants to throw his life away because he has lost all hope and has stationed himself inside of a building.

There is a clear timer on the bomb so he is giving everyone a chance to leave safely. The password to deactivate the bomb is one letter long but you only get one chance to guess or the bomb will blow up right away. It makes for an interesting word game and some solving skills. It’s a fairly small case but one that works easily enough. The main issue is that afterwards Aichi joins the team which is how the series ends. You’re telling me that a suicide bomber who nearly blew the building up and caused a lot of damage is allowed to join the I team just like that? I don’t know that seems like a bit of a stretch.

Aichi seems to have a crush on Aioi but there isn’t a whole lot more that we know about his personality yet. He has a bit of a sarcastic streak to him but ultimately the series ended before we could learn more. There’s also Aioi’s informant, but we don’t know much about him beyond the fact that he likes everything to be in perfect halves. It’s an interesting quirk but right now that’s all it is so we’ll have to wait a bit to see if he’s a good character or not. Right now I’m not impressed.

Finally you have Homura who has a crush on Sakon but you already know that she is doomed since inevitably Aioi would get picked. Homura is an expert with a gun but that’s not too helpful when Mar is a bullet timer and Homura doesn’t appear for the other cases. She has a lot of potential and is one of the more likable characters. It’s just too bad that she didn’t get to appear much. So that wraps up the characters and the plot of the series. As you can see, I just can’t get past the core concept of the series.

When you start to try and make excuses for the murderers running around town I just have a hard time buying into it. Aioi’s obsession is taken way too far with all of her lines being about love and marriage with the villains. Even casually she won’t talk to characters much unless they have some kind of criminal record. It’s all meant to be very funny of course but the humor really doesn’t click.

In general the writing is okay I suppose. I found it a bit ironic that most of the arcs have no actual mysteries though even though this seems like it’s supposed to be a mystery series. The only case that would qualify are the first 2 so after the first 3 chapters that is dropped entirely. The hotel is a thriller, the phantom thief arc is really just a chase, and the final arc is a negotiation. Maybe the author got bored of doing straight mysteries.

As for the art, it’s not as great as some of the other recent titles I’ve read but it’s good. My main issue is that the character designs aren’t always very distinct. Some panels will have a lot of detail and then suddenly others won’t. It’s not super consistent but it’s still clear enough where I can always tell what is going on so ultimately I would give the series a green checkmark on this.

So, how would I prevent this series from being cancelled? Well I’m sure you know what my first change will be. Definitely completely change Aioi’s character to the core. No more falling in love with every criminal and justifying their actions. Now, if you need that to be present or this would be a different series, then instead just have her be another villain. Make this a Carmen Sandiego kind of series.

Aioi always finds the villain first and tries to marry them only for the main two cops Sakon and Ukon to appear and foil her plans. She always runs off while they catch the villain. I think that would immediately be a much better dynamic and would fix things in a pinch. That would make the series a whole lot more approachable and I just think it would be a much better core concept. As a mild aside, I would also say to make the main villain a little more threatening so he shouldn’t get completely beaten up in his first appearance. That’s not the right way to set up the villain.

Overall, You can just see why I Tell C was cancelled. You really just won’t be able to save this premise very easily and it’s a shame because we can always use a good mystery series. Aioi has to be one of the worst main characters I’ve ever seen in a manga. Hopefully if the series were to ever come back the author would be able to fix some of the issues here. Just go for a big change up and hope for the best.

Overall 4/10

Candy Flurry Review


Candy Flurry is a fairly recent Jump title that never managed to get out from the bottom of the rankings. While its cancellation always appeared imminent, it seemed to have a pretty cool gimmick going. Who doesn’t like sweets? In many ways it was going after the One Piece angle of eating a food that gives you special powers while still being different in its own right. It’s a solid series but I think its attempts at humor were ultimately its undoing.

The series begins by explaining the general lore of the series which is that Tokyo was destroyed by a bunch of giant lollipops that rained down from the sky. 5 years later nobody has actually started rebuilding yet but people are still trying to raise funds to do so. A toy company had come out with 100 snacks which gave people super powers. Each candy is unique so no two people will have the same power. As a result the government put together a special unit known as the Recette to track down these 100 power users.

Each user needs to either register with the government or be arrested. You are not allowed to use your powers against non power users and that is true even for government agents unless you’re taking down a criminal. Nobody knows much more than that about the company that released these snacks and so the world is still going ahead as normal but now there are many people who no longer like snacks.

We’re then introduced to our main character Tsumugi. She has the ability to use Lollipops in combat but is not the one who attacked the system. This is dangerous because as the world knows, no two people can have the same power. So nobody will believe her if she tries to say anything and since she knows this is a lie, is it also a lie that there are only 100 power users out there? She aims to find the true culprit and live a normal life in the meantime but it’s difficult with criminals running everywhere.

Her life is changed forever when she meets a guy named Misaki. He’s a young member of the Recette who is determined to be a great agent but lacks real ability. She saves him from a punk so now he is the only one who knows her identity. Together they must catch the criminals while making sure she isn’t detected but that will be difficult. Can Tsumugi pull this off?

At its core this is a classic Shonen Jump title. It’s a very light hearted adventure that is part school comedy and part action. It reminds me a bit of the opening act for Seraph of the End but without the violent beginning. This doesn’t really seem like the kind of series that will go that far. It’s early on of course but definitely happier than most titles and you can get a feel for that from the art style as well. Perhaps World Trigger would be the best comparison.

One of the strongest positives for the series is the artwork. It’s way clearer than you would expect from a new series. Unlike the Ghostwriter, I don’t believe this is from an already established artist either which only serves to increase how impressive this is. The powers are very clear when they’re in use and the fights are on point. The action scenes are always pretty fast though with Tsumugi typically defeating her opponents in a single shot.

I’d like some longer fights but I’m sure the author was trying to cover as much ground as possible so I can see why the pacing is so fast. The fights are good and I do like the overall atmosphere. The school combat routine lends itself well to these kinds of adventures. Many memorable titles started out like this such as Bleach, Buzo Renkin, Seraph of the End and more. There are so many different ways you could take this and there is a lot of groundwork laid out for a lot of extra lore.

You’ve got different classes of fighters and a whole government structure. The toy group will clearly have a nefarious agenda and with 100 power users, that may not sound like a lot but it’s still enough to last for a few arcs until we get more villains. Presumably the Recette isn’t completely useless so lets say they’ve already apprehended about 30 power users. The government probably employs around 30 agents so when you throw in Tsumugi then there should be at least 30+ on the loose. If they’re all strong then that will work out well.

You’ve also got the steroid pills that anyone can use so you can have human villains as well. I do think it was a mistake to show us some of the most powerful government workers this early though. Irie and Amanai are both members of the top 5 agents in the whole government and they are struggling against the villain group right away. That’s why you usually keep the strongest fighters hidden until later. Jujutsu Kaisen pulled it off by showing Gojo right away…but he wasn’t struggling in his first fights. That would be anti climactic and so Candy Flurry should have made these guys maybe Top 30 or Top 20. Going straight to Top 5 is too fast.

Still, it’s all good so far so where does the series struggle? Personally I think the writing is the biggest problem that Candy Flurry has. It’s not nearly as funny as it seems to think it is. One of Tsumugi’s gimmicks is commenting on how cute she is so the guys will always buy her snacks and be nice to her. That’s a rather…narcissistic trait for a main character. I was rather taken aback when she talked like that. We learn that she has been asked out like 30 times or so which I guess has bolstered her confidence every time she declines.

Then she accuses one of the villains of sexual harassment when he pointed out that his gum might get stuck in her hair when he’s shooting his attacks (He has gum powers) so maybe she should cut it. That’s….a very big stretch on her part. It just makes Tsumugi a little more unlikable than anything else because that’s a very out of place line and destroys any chance at bantering.

I like Tsumugi’s confidence when in battle but as a character I actually didn’t like her all that much. She has her share of comedic moments that are solid and she is serious in battle but her personality just doesn’t mesh well with the character. If anything you just feel bad for Misaki when Tsumugi is using him or framing him to higher expectations than he can ever hope to achieve. He is rather slow on the uptake though so a lot of it is his fault.

Not to pile onto her character too much but she also has some of the worst comebacks to the villains. One of them mentions how he wants to make everyone a power user so he can be the strongest with his lollipops at which point Tsumugi says that sweets are for eating not fighting. Keep in mind that she’s saying this after smashing people in the head with her Lollipop and defeating numerous opponents. Her speech about how anything connected to a stick can be a lollipop also felt incredibly random.

So, Tsumugi has her charms but I think the writing hurts her character. Ideally as the series went on she would get a lot better though. Not every character is amazing out of the gate like Bam, Yoh, or Yugi but if a series goes on long enough usually you will improve. So I don’t doubt that she would get better. One step to doing that would be to stop holding back even when you’re about to die but that’s mostly on the series being abruptly ended so I think she wasn’t meant to be as powerful as she was in the final chapter.

Continuing on the writing angle though, it’s not like this only hurts Tsumugi. Irie is another character in the series and one of the Top 5 fighters that I mentioned. She has some of the same iffy dialogue. She accuses another villain of harassment and what I did like is that he calls her out on it. He asks why she has a double standard between him and another villain who’s traditionally more good looking and she struggles for a response. When she accuses him a second time he flat out denies it and she admits that she made a mistake.

This in no way makes Irie even slightly likable. Now, she was stalling for time in the second instance so you could say this was to that end, but it has to be one of the worst ways to stall for time. Additionally she is very one note. Her personality is that she can be really smart at times and really dumb at other moments. She’ll make a great deduction and then fall for the simplest trick in the book. Or she’ll land a great combat technique and then remember that she left her books at home.

Thing is, this happens in every single one of her appearances. This goes back to Candy Flurry trying to move really fast even to its own detriment. Each character has a gimmick and the author wants you to remember this so it is brought up every time. Irie has her forgetfulness, Misaki always follows the rules, Amanai is a tough coach, Tsumugi’s teammate is super in love with Irie and always crying, etc.

Now I get that there is pressure to move fast or you’ll be cancelled but this does end up hurting Flurry a bit. I think to a large extent the series was trying to also be a commentary on Shonen Jump titles like Medaka Box but doesn’t have nearly the same level of writing ability. You have Tsumugi criticizing the trope of just jumping into battle without a plan, a villain getting insulted for wearing a uniform that just so happens to have an image that looks like him, etc. The dialogue can feel really meta a lot of the time but it’s just not executed very well.

You know how when meta dialogue is very well done you don’t think twice and just grin because of how true the critique is? That’s not the case here as you’ll just pause and think, would the characters actually say that? It’s entertaining though even if not very realistic. To underscore, the series is still a lot of fun. There are plenty of humor moments that do land like the dialogue with the Popcorn user and Tsumugi. The debates about which candy is best can be good as well. What truly counts as a Lollipop and what doesn’t. Things like that are interesting and I also like that the characters don’t have exaggerated reactions to the humor. They take things personally and keep joking around while trying to hurt the other one. The moments like this are really good so I think the series is at its best when the humor is being direct like that. So it has its flaws but I do want to underscore that you should still get some good chuckles out of this.

Lets talk about the rest of the characters now. I already talked about Tsumugi quite a bit and also started on Irie. Not much more to say about her but Irie’s ice cream ability seems like it would be really useful. It’s just a shame that she isn’t immune to her own power and can only fight for 3 minutes after activation which is a huge weakness. I also found it a little funny how she disregards Tsumugi as a suspect for being too weak since Irie was stomping her and nearly murdered the heroine but later on we find out that Tsumugi was holding back and is actually way stronger than Irie….

Misaki is the main guy here and while he may be powerless, he has a heart of justice. It would be nice if he were a bit stronger though as he loses to random minions on the street. Additionally, he gets beaten up by the bullies because he refuses to harm a civilian. Sorry but this is taking things wayyyy too far. If someone’s beating you up then you better defend yourself. There’s nothing heroic about being pounded into the dirt so that hurts him quite a lot.

As for Amanai, he doesn’t appear nearly long enough to get much of a read on him. They’re definitely going for an Eraser feel for him as the guy has a similar costume, is sleepy/bored all the time but gets really serious about the rules. He doesn’t get to have a proper fight though as it is interrupted by the main villain and he’s sidelined real quickly. I could see him being a fun character if the series had kept going though.

Umino is the son of the boss of the Recette so he’s a fairly big shot but his opening appearance is him crying a lot. Now, this is a character I can maybe get behind. If you can get around the fact that he is constantly trying to impress Irie even if it means dying in the process and his lack of confidence, and you’ve got a good character. He has enough power to defeat several fighters at once after all and even gives the Popcorn user a good piece of advice.

I dare say that he is probably my favorite hero in the series. I’d have to think about it some more but off the top I’d say that’s true. I also think there were a lot of things he would probably do in the future. My actual favorite character is the pop corn user. What’s his name? Well, this is a slight nitpick for the series but they rarely use names so that makes it difficult to find them. Even for Umino, they only say his name once in his debut appearance chapters on a little tablet when you’re looking at the tournament bracket. Otherwise you just don’t know who he is. Seriously, in the first three chapters where this guy appears they don’t say his name once so I’m just going to have to call him the Popcorn guy.

But yeah Popcorn guy is pretty great. He’s clearly modeled off of Bakugo’s character design to the point where one panel almost seems ripped straight out of MHA. Same costume from that angle and the same pose. I like that this guy is your classic “Really wants to fight” character while also having some original traits. When Tsumugi calls him a loser he refuses to tell her anything about the villains which is reasonable. A lot of times you see the villain still tell everything but he took that insult rather personally.

In fact, he takes every insult she dishes out (And there are a lot) personally and even tries to change himself as a result. Umino points out that this would actually make him a loser if he changes upon request so you feel bad for the guy because everyone is taking shots at him. Still, as a villain he has a lot of personality and just really sticks out. Which I quickly skimmed through the chapters and it looks like none of the villain members aside from the leader gets a power so they’re just off handily referred to my their snacks. I guess like a hero name? Hmmm…..well I’ll go with that for the review too then.

Another villain member is Gum and he’s another good villain. He’s the one who called out Irie’s double standard and he is fairly creative with his ability. Even once the gum is frozen he is able to quickly figure out how to fight with it. The guy is even crying during the battle because of how hurt he is. Candy Flurry really loves its emotional characters that’s for sure. It works well for this guy.

Then you have Gummy who is one of those villains that acts like a hero the whole time. He doesn’t believe in cheap shots and just wants to have a clean fight. He doesn’t like hostages either. Yet…he does use cheap shots and take hostages so the guy is absolutely all talk. He seems to want to help Misaki keep his secret identity though. It’s hard to get a read on him so ultimately I’d say he’s just insane or heavily misguided. We have a quick flashback where all of the villains actually wanted to be heroes the whole time but it never worked out due to off screen events we’ll never know about.

I think it’s an interesting idea to have a villain who feels like he’s a hero. You can do a lot with that but this guy betrays his ideals within the span of a chapter so I can’t take him seriously. Meanwhile there are about 4-5 other members who show up briefly in the third last chapter but they’re all taken out off screen and only appear in one more panel. I guess they were about to have some big fights before the author was told that the series was about to be abruptly ended. They looked like they had potential but we don’t know a whole lot about them at this point. The third member would be cookie I think but he didn’t even get a line so there’s not much to say about him.

It is uncanny how each member of the villain group looks so similar to other characters. You have Bakugo from MHA, Yuji and Megumi from JJK, Zora from Black Clover, etc. I suppose it’s tough to come up with new character designs after a while but with so many characters it’s hard not to notice.

Finally you have the main villain Amato. This guy took out an entire city so he’s definitely a threat and he does take out most of the heroes really quickly. His goal of turning everyone into power users is a pretty interesting one although we don’t know how he would go about doing this yet. I do like that he’s very loyal to the rest of his group though and even sets out to save them.

Based on the flashback we see that he’s a rather caring guy as well. I definitely expect he would be turning good at some point since the series already laid the seeds for that along with the rest of the group. Ultimately he only gets to fight for 2 chapters at which point the series ends but he was impressive. I liked his personality and abilities so he could have gone far.

The snacks lend itself well to the fight scenes because of how much variety they had. They were very different from your average fights and I imagine the creativity would have only continued to increase if the series was given more time. The giant robot at the end felt extremely random to the point where it became a bit of a meme but I think that only happened because the series was cancelled. Otherwise it makes no sense because no matter how Tsumugi tries to explain it…that robot was not a Lollipop in any shape or form.

I did appreciate the twist that Tsumugi was actually the most powerful sweets user around and was just holding back the whole time. I’m all up for having an overpowered protagonist and it also explains her absolute confidence the whole time. I do suspect that she was not meant to be this powerful and had to be boosted since she needed to beat the main villain in one chapter but maybe not. It was hinted in one chapter that she was super powerful when she “barely” defeated one villain only to suddenly be at full strength when fighting another. Even the villain commented that she had seemed tired just a moment ago.

As you can see by the size of the review, there was a lot to discuss here. I think that speaks volumes about the potential of the manga. It was only 19 chapters and yet there is so much to talk about. It really was a unique experience even if a lot of the overall fundamentals were on the generic side. After all, a lot of battle Shonens will have similarities and it’s that extra element you add to it that determines if you will be an all star or not. If this could have gone on for many more chapters maybe it could have been the next big thing.

As a final note, here’s what I would have done differently to keep the series from being cancelled. The first thing is to make Tsumugi more of a likable character. Just don’t make her the kind of character who is too into herself and take away the accusations from the villains. It seems like the author wanted to make her a very confident character based on most of her portrayal so just focus on that.

Maybe throw in some bragging about her abilities or trash talking during combat. Give her the kind of lines you would see Yusuke, Ichigo, or Ryoma have since it seems like she should be that kind of protagonist. That’s a quick fix and I think it would be a good one since Tsumugi does have a lot of instances where she is very likable. Just a tiny tweak here and there and you would stick the landing.

Work on improving the writing as well. Get rid of the dialogue that feels extremely out of place. If you want to keep the humor up, keep doing it with the meta dialogue and all but try to make it feel more natural. A key thing to remember here is also that the heroes should be likable so don’t make them create false claims to buy time or give the villains any chance to make it seem like they are the sympathetic ones. With the government being as extreme as they are here and the lab doing live human experiments on kids…it makes it very easy to be rooting for the villains more than you should. Especially when they’re the ones using the power of friendship while the heroes are fighting among themselves.

Beyond that, I’d say just take it slow and keep introducing everyone. There’s a lot of potential for this to have been a really long running series. There’s not much more to say as those are really the only two things I would change. Writing and Tsumugi. With those two areas improved I think you’ll have a real winner here.

Overall, Candy Flurry is a fun title. It’s certainly got its flaws but nothing super drastic. I would still call this a pretty good title through and through. At only 19 chapters this makes for a very quick read. It seems like most cancelled titles tend to get a bonus chapter when the volume comes out as an epilogue of sorts so you’ll want to keep an eye out for that to give it a read when this becomes available. We’ll see if the next cancelled title can keep up with Candy Flurry. At the very least it’ll be tough to top the fights and artwork since both were quite solid. Who knows, maybe in 20 years this will get a sequel or something.

Overall 7/10

Time Paradox Ghostwriter Review


It’s time to start looking at some of the Shonen Jump titles that were cancelled early. The Ghostwriter is a good place to start since it ended extremely quick with only 14 chapters. The author does a good job of still closing it out in a normal way though. You could easily read this like a normal one shot and it actually flows together pretty easily. You could definitely make this into a movie so long as the audience can get around the main character’s plagiarism.

The series starts by introducing us to the hapless Sasaki. Sasaki has always wanted to be a great manga author/artist and he actually started out well when he was a kid. He won the rookie award and everything but since then his editor has shot down every idea he has thought of. The problem is that Sasaki wants to make a manga that everyone will enjoy and as a result his manga has no soul. Just when he is about to give up, a bolt of lightning strikes his microwave and it spits out a copy of Shonen Jump from 10 years in the future. Now Sasaki finally knows exactly what he has to do in order to claim victory in the rankings. Still, is it really okay to became an amazing manga writer by stealing someone else’s work?

Now, we do get a half hearted excuse for Sasaki at first since he actually thinks it was all an hallucination since he loses track of where the magazine was. Once he finds it though, then he is still going through with the plan. His rationale is that if he doesn’t draw the manga, then he’s effectively removed it from this universe’s timeline since the true author will never get to write it now. It’s definitely an excuse to be sure but Sasaki is running with it.

Complicating the issue is that a girl named Itsuki appears and she is the one who would have created the title in 10 years. Fortunately for Sasaki it’s impossible for anyone to guess what is going on with the time travel so while she does think it’s a huge coincidence, they do become friends. She aims to create an even better manga than what Sasaki has created as her true goal is also to make a manga that everyone can enjoy but that still seems like an impossible task. How can you possibly make something that everyone will enjoy?

The first half of the manga is really setting all of this up and it’s a fun slice of life title. Right away the art jumps out at you for being really advanced. This is not the kind of art you would expect for a brand new series. There is a lot of detail throughout and it helps the whole adventure flow really well. It’s also fun to have a manga based on the overall writing process since there aren’t a lot like that.

Perhaps the author figured that would be too low key though because the second half ups the stakes. It turns out that this wasn’t a random lightning bolt that hit Sasaki’s house. It was actually created by a time travelling robot who claims he is a being from another universe’s story. (The story hints that he may be Itsuki’s father or something though) He explains that his mission is to prevent her death but in every timeline he travels to, she dies anyway. Fortunately he has not lost his drive to try and save her anyway unlike a certain speedster..

Sasaki is his last hope. The only way to save Itsuki is to defeat her upcoming manga (Anima) with his current blue knight series. This will be difficult though because she is a complete genius who succeeds in drawing the best manga in every timeline. Why would this prevent her death? There are no time for questions and now Sasaki just has to try his absolute best!

Later on we get the reason for her death but that’s definitely more of a spoiler kind of area. Needless to say the series definitely gets a lot more emotional at this point and also gets rather out there. The time travel aspect plays a big role in the climax and it was all pretty interesting. Sasaki had to go through a whole lot of trials here. Now, I assume if the series wasn’t axed then some events would have gone a little differently but I do wonder how different the plot would have been. The whole story arc about saving Itsuki starts out rather early.

My main guess is that if this was a long ongoing Sasaki would have tried to save her in many different timelines before ultimately being defeated and going for the final trick we see in the ending here. Sort of like an Edge of Tomorrow kind of plot. It definitely could have been interesting although at this point we are far removed from the original plot of the manga. The whole process of becoming a big author felt like a big deal for a few chapters and then vanished as we got time skip after time skip.

Maybe the author saw the low ratings and just decided to go for a big genre shift? It’s another interesting aspect of reading a manga that got axed as you try to just piece together what is going on here. From the start the cast seems extremely small as the duo are the only big characters. You have Sasaki’s two editors and his assistants I suppose who could have been big but they’re pretty much non factors here.

So how is Sasaki himself? Well, he’s not one of the more likable leads but he’s okay I guess. He does start out as a really earnest guy with a solid dream. It’s nice that he wants to make the best manga ever and he does have a lot of drive and dedication. That being said, he definitely should have walked away from the microwave instead of starting that series. I do cut him some slack for the one shot since he somehow thought it wasn’t real but starting the ongoing was the point of no return for him.

Sasaki is immediately guilty but he’s constantly bashing himself which isn’t really an endearing trait in a main character. He is also as obvious as he can be that something is wrong about how he is making the manga. People may not be able to guess time travel but this gives them a reason to suspect something is up for no real reason. Sasaki either needed to stop drawing or just keep going with confidence, but his half hearted attempts can be annoying.

Meanwhile Itsuki is a solid heroine even if she isn’t always very reasonable. When we find out the cause of death for her, it’s tragic but you’re also shaking your head quite a bit. Obsession is definitely a dangerous trait to have and that’s unfortunately a word that fits her quite a bit. While I don’t believe the robot tried nearly enough if she couldn’t be saved in any timeline, it also shows that she won’t give up.

I would say she definitely does beat Sasaki as a character but it would have been good if she was a little nicer towards the end. She started out as a very cheerful person who was always nice to everyone so her transformation into someone who is rude to everyone was very sudden. It also doesn’t mesh well with her dream of creating a manga that everyone will love. Wouldn’t that mean she should be nice in real life as well?

As for the editors, well Sasaki’s first editor was definitely rather mean spirited. Telling the main character that he would never be good and that he should go home was definitely out of bounds. No wonder he didn’t last long. The second editor was a lot better. He doesn’t know the context of why Sasaki doesn’t want to draw so it makes sense that he would take such a hard stance on why the series must go on. This guy was earnest so he was a fun enough character. He definitely tried his best to help all the authors under him.

As for Sasaki’s assistants, they seriously didn’t appear enough to get much of a personality. One of them seemed rather hyper while the other was the calm and collected type. I’m sure at some point they could have become rivals like in Bakuman but it was too late. I think part of the issue here is that the series was rushing a lot compared to Bakuman. You can’t skip ahead months to years so quickly without ruining the chances of having some great opening rivalries. Part of the fun in these series is seeing how things go early on since that’s when the main character will be learning the ropes.

Still, we got some fun concepts here. I certainly will never turn down a good time travel element either. The ending is very satisfying and is really a good way of escaping this time loop. When you’re given a chance to change the past then you’ve definitely got to go for it as soon as possible. It’s too bad the series was cancelled since I don’t really see the plagiarism angle as being such a big deal. Yeah the main character made a mistake and continues to double down on it but there are a lot of ways it could have developed around that. Maybe have a new main character enter later who will be the real hero of the story if need be or have Sasaki see the error of his ways. Time travel and defeat himself with a better story.

So, what are some things I’d have changed to hopefully keep the series from being cancelled? Well, I guess the biggest way to address the plagiarism angle would have been to have Sasaki continue thinking that he was hallucinating. Have him see the magazine in his dreams every night as the robot beams the chapters directly into his brain. That way when Itsuki shows up, Sasaki has some doubts but has no reason to believe that he is stealing her work. You can still keep in his self doubt and lack of confidence so it doesn’t dramatically change the story but it would make him less unambiguously antagonistic.

Next, I think you can’t just change Itsuki’s personality completely. There’s no reason why she should go from being the nicest character in the series to the meanest. It just doesn’t make sense and you could still handle her whole character arc including the death without having to go this far. Now if you want the personality shift, then I think the way to do that would be to have her find out that Sasaki is stealing her ideas. Have her find the robot and happen to see when it blasts the magazine into his mind or if we still go with the paper versions, have her see it at his house.

That would at least solve some of the weaker areas in the series. Beyond that, I did think it was quite good so it’s not like I would change a whole lot. Not every series can be the next big thing so more often than not you just have to be ready to part with any of the titles. Who knows, maybe the series will come back someday, you never know when something will get a revival after all.

Overall, Time Paradox Ghostwriter is a good series. It’s one that moves at a very rapid pace but when you have to end this quickly it makes sense why that would be the case. There are a lot of good concepts in here and while it isn’t a battle manga, it was a good addition to Jump. The writing and art were on point and this was a true page turner. I blasted through all of the chapters in a single day after all. I’d definitely recommend this one if you want to read a rather low key title about the dedication you need in order to save a life.

Overall 7/10