Yen Plus October 2010

The third issue of Yen Plus online doesn’t have many changes. Night School is gone (sob), but we do get a Halloween treat from Svetlana Chmakova. There aren’t any tricks though as nothing else has changed in the magazine. While there are only two Japanese titles, they are long ones!

This issue of Yen Plus starts out with the special short story from Svetlana Chmakova. I don’t read Maximum Ride or Gossip Girl. Masks is a Halloween story that warns about taking things from strangers. The story is very creepy, made more so by the silence and expressionless mask worn by the stranger. It also shows girls are much smarter than bratty boys. It really sends chills down your spine at the end. It’s a perfect treat for the October issue.

In Aron’s Absurd Armada, the pirate crew nearly has its first showdown with the Marines until it turns out that Aron is friends with the Lieutenant in charge, Luther Nelson. They were childhood friends, so disaster is averted. And Luther doesn’t seem to be much smarter than Aron, though he can’t be quite as care free with his half-sister Dorothy also on the ship, and who can be rather blood thirsty. We also discover Aron’s social rank, and he’s pretty high up. The crew is right to worry. It’s official. This title has won me over. It’s funny and light, and the chibi’s that pop up between strips are cute.

Daniel X drops down to one chapter, as Daniel escapes Seth’s grasp, and runs off into the ruins of his home world. He meets Kulay and Bem who take him to a secret pool and garden where Daniel encounters things from his past, and where he learns his life is still in danger from Seth. Daniel X is still moving at a decent pace. It was nice to learn more about his past as he did, as he runs into those who both remembered him and his parents. I’m liking Daniel X a lot more than Maximum Ride. I like the sci-fi action more than the teenage angst.

The rest of Baek-On’s past is revealed in this chapter of Time and Again as we see what he does with the truth he has learned about himself and his love Wan. He makes what he thinks is the right decision, but things don’t exactly work out, and he is now on the path of karma that he has no control over. It is here that he decides to walk the same path as his father, but in a different way. I loved this whole telling of Baek-On’s past. It explains so much that is seen in the first three volumes. So many things and scenes make sense now.

Jack Frost picks up the battle from last issue as he gets his butt kicked as a new enemy is determined to take the Devil thread from him. Hansen has his own issues as his brother comes back from the dead, apparently controlled by the enemy (I can’t find a name referenced anywhere). The story then goes into a flashback of Hansen, his brother Kay, and a girl named Agathe who Hansen has a crush on. Avid has just become a vampire and they are trying to stop him. I can’t believe Jack is having any trouble with this guy, and I don’t think much of his getting caught in the guys grasp, just so we can watch him get beat up before Jack turns the tables. It’s really typical shonen action, as is the flashback. Apparently Hansen’s attraction to large breasts and long blonde hair goes back a ways.

Yotsuba has two chapters. The first is her showing off her new teddy bear to Ena and trying to bring a cup of coffee from her father’s new coffee maker. The second is the grown-ups going to have Yakiniku, and Yotsuba going along. This chapter is mostly the grown-ups talking to each other while Yotsuba wanders around in the background, and occasionally interrupting them. If you have had kids or nieces/nephews then you know this situation very well. Both of these chapters have some cute moments, but are otherwise predictable, and not all that interesting.

In K-On, the girls are busy as they go to (one of) Tsumugi’s vacation homes for to practice over the summer, convince Ms. Yamanaka to be the club adviser, participate in the school festival, and prepare a Christmas party. I like the story okay in K-On. So far, it’s just a bunch of cute girls doing girl things and occasionally picking up an instrument to play. While it’s nice to read a low-key series every once in a while, especially with there being so much shonen action and fighting titles out there, I find this series to be too low-key. It really doesn’t interest me, and I have yet to finish reading all the way through the chapter. It was just too long this time. For me, K-On is better in shorter bursts, much like Aron’s Absurd Armada, though I could stand a few more strips of that and a few less of K-On.

Next month doesn’t promise any changes, or short stories, so it will be another month of the same old, same old. I hope Yen Press and Square Enix get things worked out soon. There is just so much of cute girls one person can take, and right now, the Japanese side is overload! It really needs a balance with some action or romance. How about a simultaneous release of Black Butler on Square Enix’s site and for Yen Plus subscribers? If Square is going to use the same translations anyway, why not get more mileage out of them?

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