Midweek Manga Reviews: From Bleach to Toto!

Bleach vol. 22
Story & Art: Tite Kubo
Translation: Joe Yamazaki
Adaptation: Lance Caselman
Publisher: Viz

So much is going on in Bleach that it’s hard to keep track of. I really do mean that in a good way. Even though it’s a very linear story, the focus jumps from so many characters to others that each chapter keeps me in suspense. Last volume left us with the revelation that Ichigo’s dad Isshin was once a Soul Reaper (and very much still is). He also has some kind of connection with Urahara and has finally avenged his deceased wife. Meanwhile the Vizards have taken an interest in Ichigo and are taking their time approaching him with their intentions. Two new villains appear in town: Ulquiorra and Yammy, the first of the Arrancar. A few bystanders are killed when they arrive, but when Yammy tries to suck Tatsuki’s soul the cavalry arrives. We learn just how powerful these new menaces are and who they are working for. That’s right, Aizen is back! But not to worry, Soul Society has sent reinforcements to Earth to help Ichigo and gang with this new battle. I loved the tribute to the arrival of Vegeta and Nappa on Earth with these two new characters. The art just keeps getting better and better and the story really seems to be hinting that we are in for a new long arc. I have to say that I’m really glad Viz decided to leave the artwork as is for the graphic novel release. After what just two of the Arrancar did to Chado and Orihime the good guys are in for the fight of their lives. One quick note though, this is actually more to do with the translation. Ichigo’s dad says that for the last 20 years he has regretted not avenging his wife, but how can this be when Ichigo is only 15/16? That’s just a small little confusing bit of info, other than that a flawless book. A

Hellgate: London vol. 1
Story: Arvid Nelson
Art: J.M.
Publisher: Tokyopop

This book already had two strikes against it going into it. 1) It was an original English Language Manga and 2) It was the prequel to a video game. From my experience, I have yet to read a good OEL manga and most of the time I end up disappointed on books based on videogames. Damn, I love it when I am wrong. All I knew about the Hellgate world is that it is a computer game made by the same guys that did Diablo. Seriously it really doesn’t take that much previous knowledge to enjoy the book. On Halloween 2020 there is a demon invasion that strikes at several major cities around the world. This particular story begins on October first and focuses on the city of London, more particularly around John and Lindsey Fowler. John is a rugby player haunted by nightmares of things to come and along with his sister attempts to discover the meaning behind all the bizarre occurrences. It seems that both siblings are descendants of a Knight Templar family and John’s grandfather seems to be the black sheep of the family. Unfortunately the siblings can’t stay together by the end of the volume because John is a demon hybrid. J.M. can tell a good story with some great sequential art. Clean when it needs to be and really dark and gory when the Fowler’s family are being killed. The book was such a good prequel that it has me interested in playing the game or reading more about the characters. It’s your typical action/horror story, but come on, how can you go wrong with a chick whacking demons with a cricket paddle? I really would like to know what happens to John and Lindsey, so if anyone has played the game, shoot me an email. B+

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