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I'm Reading Comeeks

I dedicate this blog to comics in all forms, manga, autobio, superhero, art books, etc.  And of course, since I need a challenge, I've decided that I'll read and write (short) reviews for 365 comics during 2015.

More and More Manga

Tokyo ESP, Band 1 (Tokyo ESP, #1) - Hajime Segawa Naruto, Vol. 72: Uzumaki Naruto!! - Masashi Kishimoto Love at Fourteen, Vol. 4 - Fuka Mizutani

Tokyo ESP Vol. 1


Poor student Rinka Urushiba's life consists of riding long distances on her bike to save on the train fare, working part-time at a cafe, and battling the forces of evil with her new superpower.  Yep, that's right, this is a super hero manga.


One day while riding home Rinka sees a penguin flying through the air and decides to follow it, because if she can catch it perhaps she could sell it to Science and forget her money troubles.  Instead she finds herself swarmed by a school of partially invisible superpower giving fish.  They grant her the power of being able to pass through solid objects (think Kitty Pryde).  This leads to many fun situations where Rinka slides right out of her school uniform (though oddly not out of her bra and panties).  Yay fanservice.


Soon she's meeting up with other superpowered folks and having adventures that include a rivalry with a rich girl with the power of invisibility and a penchant for stealing, the yakuza and a mysterious force who seems to have something to do with the mysterious events taking place across Tokyo.


One of the funniest aspects of this manga are all the slightly random references to American super hero comics and pop culture.  Rinka's dad looks a lot like Wolverine and even at one point sports a weapon held between the fingers of his hands...a lot like claws.  There are further references including the Hulk, Kill Bill, Ghostbusters and the Matrix among others.


It's also a pretty thick volume clocking in at over 380 pages, so gird yourselves for a long read.



It's the End of a Manga Era, that's right Naruto is OVER!!


I have very fond memories of reading and watching the Naruto comics when I was in high school.  Both I and Naruto are now pretty old.  And it is the end.  The characters have fought many valiant battles, defeated the big baddies and the even bigger baddies and honed their skills to become the greatest shinobi in the land.  


Spoiler Alert!  Naruto does indeed become Hokage in the end.  And Sasuke a lone weirdo wandering the world in search of forgiveness, redemption, or just avoiding his nagging wife Sakura, one doesn't know.


I actually stopped liking Naruto a long time ago.  I kept reading because I was invested, but emotionally I've stopped being invested in the series after...well I can't remember it's been so long.


The problem with many battle manga came into play for Naruto, the story got too complicated, too many characters, too many powers, too many destroy the world plots, the thing got boring.  We all know the result will be that Naruto wins out in the end, so the journey had to stay fresh and interesting and after 72 volumes, it's a good thing it's over, because it hadn't been interesting since volume 30 or 40 at the latest.


That said, Naruto will always hold a special place in my heart.  I loved the first volumes, the story of a young boy, outcast by his village, who finally, through determination and hard work, won not only the fight for peace, but also the hearts of all who knew him.  



It's a long haul and truthfully, I'd probably only recommend reading up to the 30th volume or so.  In fact, all my favorite stuff happened in the first four volumes of the series, yet that has carried me all the way to volume 72, so I guess that says something...




Love at Fourteen continues to be sickeningly sweet as our 'mature' couple are forced to spend some time apart during the school sports festival.  They also go through a phase where they each choose inopportune days to wear the wrong seasonal uniform.  The creepy teacher/student thing is still going on...so that's weird.  Also another student is introduced who has just moved to the neighborhood and has started stalking an 30's something Office Lady who rides the bus.  So that's also a little weird.


Love at Fourteen...strange stuff.