March Manga 2016 – Nice Piece of Assassination

Surprise!  March Manga post from outta nowhere!  Yeah, I didn’t even know I was gonna write this.  I just so happened to buy some manga last month, and I finished ’em up yesterday.  The timing seemed too perfect.  So, I took it as a sign and decided to revive March Manga.  I hope I don’t wind up reading manga only once a year because I used to read manga all the time.  Really.  The vast majority of my money used to go to manga, but somewhere along the line, I just stopped following my favorite Japanese comics.  Someday I’ll get back to all the series I’ve abandoned.  Someday….

But, let’s take a look at all the volumes I read during March–six.  I read six volumes.  Don’t be disappointed because I already have that covered.

Assassination Classroom vol. 1

2016 Assassination Classroom

Hey, you.  Yeah, you!  Guess which ones are the main characters.

This is an odd duck.  Granted, that fits a great deal of manga out there, but Assassination Classroom is weird.  Okay, the set-up is 70% of the Moon has been destroyed by some sort of creature, and he has vowed he will do the same to the Earth in one year’s time unless someone can kill him.  Enter Class 3-E of Kunugigaoka Junior High.  Why them?  Well, Koro Sensei (the creature who effed up the moon) is giving the Earth a year because he wants to be their homeroom teacher.  So, not only does he teach them everyday subjects, but he also educates them in the ways of assassination in the hopes that one of them will be able to kill him.  The Japanese government agrees and offers ten billion yen to the person who can take down Koro Sensei.  Easier said than done since he can move at Mach 20, regenerate, and do all sorts of other strange things.  In case you couldn’t tell, he’s the smiling yellow tentacled thing in the picture.  Like I said, this is a weird series.

But it’s charming.  Yusei Matsui has done a good job of giving this series more heart than I expected.  The book is at its best and funniest when Koro Sensei teaches certain students one-on-one because he genuinely cares about them.  As strange as it sounds, this invulnerable thing that destroyed most of the Moon is really teaching these kids.

The students have been given these special BBs–among other weapons–that only hurt Koro Sensei.  When the pitcher in the class attaches them to a baseball to try to kill Koro Sensei, he actually travels to America to watch a baseball game so that he can help the kid with his pitching form.  One girl who loves chemistry is openly trying to poison him, so Koro Sensei helps her out with her concoctions.  A sociopath returns to the class and constantly tries to kill him, so Koro Sensei keeps giving the guy chances while also humbling him so as to keep him from disrupting class with his assassination attempts.  And the only time he’s actually angry in volume one is when a group of students come up with the plan of using Nagisa Shiota–the quietest kid in class and possibly the main character–as a sort of suicide bomber.  Koro Sensei thought the plan was great, but he was furious that the others didn’t even care about Nagisa.  He was so mad, in fact, that he instantly went to the homes of every student and brought back their nameplates to let them know he could get to their families if he ever wanted.

With all that said, this is definitely a volume one.  It pretty much just establishes the tone of the series and shows that Koro Sensei is willing to go a few extra miles to help out his students.  So, not much in the way of plot progression happens, and I can only assume there will be such a thing in a series that’s given itself a deadline.  It’s an amusing book, and I knocked it out pretty quickly.

One Piece vols. 67-71

2016 One Piece Punk Hazard

Those’re some hazardous punks.

I am positively ashamed it took me a year before I picked up the next five volumes of One Piece.  Seriously, I haven’t touched this series since last year’s March Manga.  I feel like I need to go apologize to Eiichiro Oda or something.

But yeah, these five volumes cover the Straw Hats’ next adventure in the New World–Punk Hazard–along with a bit more.  After leaving Fishman Island, the crew seem to be on their way to the most dangerous island they can find–something which Vice Admiral Smoker is counting on–but they intercept a distress call coming from the hidden island of Punk Hazard.  I assume it is so named because the famous Dr. Vegapunk used to do his experiments there, and I guess they could be hazardous.  Since Luffy is Luffy, he decides to answer the call because it sounds fun.  Of course, shenanigans ensue.

The Punk Hazard arc has a strange feel to it.  Even though it’s the second arc in the New World, it’s really just a prologue for the Dressrossa arc.  So again, the main villain never seemed all that threatening.  Sure, he’s a bastard who can kill most of the characters with poison, but I never imagined the Straw Hats losing.  You look at this guy and know he can’t take Luffy.  So, Caesar Clown is once again a weak main villain in the New World.  But, like I said, this is a prologue.

The true scope of the New World saga starts to show itself here.  Trafalgar Law is one of the Eleven Supernovas (a group of extremely notorious rookie pirates–a group which Luffy also belongs too) and a Warlord of the Sea (a legalized pirate, essentially), and he shows up on Punk Hazard helping out Caesar Clown.  Well, it’s just a cover as he really wants to take down the Clown since he works for Don Quixote Doflamingo (another Warlord), which will eventually lead to him defeating one of the Four Emperors (ridiculously powerful pirates who lead armies in their own right), Kaido.  In order to have any chance of accomplishing this, Law offers Luffy an alliance, and the Straw Hat captain accepts.  So, the main characters are now finally going after one of the big guns.  Maaaaan, I can’t wait.

Volume 71 is actually the first volume of the Dressrossa arc, and I’m already liking where it’s going.  I mean, it has a tournament.  Tournaments are cool.  It also promises to have an actual, legitimate threat with Doflamingo as the main villain.  I am really looking forward to that fight.

I also love that Oda continues to throw in imaginative things that you’d think would have no place in these stories.  Punk Hazard is the battle against Caesar Clown and the giant poisonous gas creature he created, but the Straw Hats also save a bunch of children he was experimenting on, ally with a pirate he turned into a croc-taur, deal with some of their own switching bodies thanks to Law, and help out a samurai they find in a bunch of pieces.  You can’t predict this stuff.  And Dressrossa has already introduced sentient toys and what are essentially Lilliputians!  My hat’s off to Oda.

So yeah, that’s it for March Manga…which I wasn’t even planning on doing anyway, so this is also technically a lot for March Manga.  But, let’s hope that I can now get back to the Book of Sawce (I probably won’t).

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: 2017 Summer of Anime – Assassination Classroom | The Sawce Pot

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