Two new Shonen Jump Advanced titles are featured in this new Mini Musings, neither of which really float my boat. Keep reading to find out why.
Rosario + Vampire Season II volume 4
By Akihisa Ikeda ♦ Viz Media ♦ Older Teen ♦ Fantasy/Harem ♦ $9.99
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
This volume of Rosario+Vampire Season II finishes up the story from the previous volume with Tsukune and wanna-be girlfriends trying to rescue fellow wanna-be girlfriend Ice Fairy Mizore. They must first face Moka’s second oldest sister, Kalua who is also the Shuzen family’s top assassin. As a result of the battle, Tsukune decides he needs to get stronger, and turns to Moka/Inner Moka to train him.
I’ve read Viz’s chapter previews of this title, but was never really interested. This is the first time I’ve read a full volume as well as reading a harem manga. What this experience has taught is that I don’t care for harem manga, something I suspected before, but have now definitively confirmed.
The volume started out with some promise. The secret organization of Fairy Tail and it’s agenda was intriguing, as is Miyabi, it’s representative, who seemingly saves Moka and the other from her sister’s wrath. But once these chapters wrap up, it turns into “which girl will get to be alone with Tsukune this time?” I quickly lost interest in the volume as the girls all plotted and fought over who would get to be with Tsukune, usually in the guise of training. Another thing that really turned me off was all the fan service and fetishes. All of the Bondage, SM, and role playing just really drew the line for me. All of the characters came off as bland, and the girls were hard to tell apart, with only hair or clothes to really set them apart. Fans of harem manga will probably enjoy this, but I’m not one of them.
Claymore volume 18
By Norihiro Yagi ♦ Viz Media ♦ Older Teen ♦ Action/Fantasy ♦ $9.99
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
There are several battles going on in this volume. Clare, Helen and Deneve are fighting off the combined form of Rafaela and Luciela which is destroying the country of Lautrec. Uma and Cynthia become involved in a battle with the awakened form of Beth, while Alicia continues the battle with Riful. The appearance of Pricilla changes everything, especially for Clare.
Claymore is another title I read previews of in Shonen Jump and didn’t care for it. There’s nothing wrong with the story, it was the art that didn’t really appeal to me. It felt flat and emtionless. That’s not so much a problem now, but I’m still not hooked in.
With all the fighting going on in this volume, I’m not feeling any energy from the battles. It’s not from the character designs. The awakened forms of the Claymores are varied, going from almost beautiful, like Rafaela and Luciela’s awakened form, to transformations that are down right disturbing such as Beth’s change to her awakened form. The battles have a “going through the motions” feel that doesn’t make them seem exciting or filled with tension. There is an attempt to get some emotional response from the characters such as with Uma synchonising with Cynthia to save her, and Clare’s attempts to fully awaken to take down Pricilla. Like the art, it almost gets there, but not quite. I did want to see Clare be more sucessful in her battle with Pricilla, but I don’t feel any burning need to get the next volume.