O-Parts Hunter 19

October 22, 2009

Seishi Kishimoto – Viz – 2009 – 19 volumes

I missed volume 18, but it seems like most of what happened was just fights with all the different groups of characters, who I don’t know anyway.  The beginning of this volume has them all meeting up, and then they buckle down for the final battle.

I haven’t read very much of this, but I do know that the thing I like best about O-Parts Hunter is Jio Freed.  All the other allies stand and fight Amaterasu Miko (which is a strange name for a character in this series, which borrows all its themes and powers and whatnot from the kaballah and Judaism) and… uh, Zenom, but they aren’t any match for him.  He quickly gets everything that he wants and begins dispatching all the characters, but then Jio shows up and just starts beating on him.  Jio’s power seems to be to absorb/negate other power, which is useful in fighting Zenom since it looks like he’s using a lot of power.  The other characters ward off physical attacks while he uses his skills to do what needs to be done.

But then armageddon happens anyway, and the story flew through more biblical allusions than I can count.  I don’t think a lot of what was going on here would have made sense even if I had read from the beginning, but it was okay in its way.

I knew Jio had put the kibosh on Satan, but this being the last volume, I knew we’d get to see him anyway.  I wasn’t disappointed.  It was kind of like Nora and Cerberus in the volume of Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom I read.  I knew it would happen there, too.  It doesn’t take a psychic to figure that out, though.  It’s just shounen manga.  Satan’s appearance was about as cool as I could have hoped, except where he recounted a long, boring story about what he was, the origin of all things, and… lots of other biblical stuff that almost made sense.

We learned what Jio was, too, something that Jio has expressed no interest in learning.  The origin of his name is one of the most hilarious I’ve read in any manga ever.  That alone was worth reading every volume of this series that came my way.

The ending was a bit unexpected and slightly abrupt.  It looked like everything had gone well, but then… prevention happens, and it goes a bit badly.  Hm.  I kind of liked it, since it deviated from the usual shounen manga ending.

I liked the series, ultimately, and I still really like Jio Freed.  I’ll probably wind up picking up random volumes of this series as they cross my path to fill in the gaps of my knowledge.  I didn’t like it enough to rush out and buy 15 volumes of it, and it didn’t exactly break new ground in shounen manga, but it was good all the same, and I don’t regret reading it.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

O-Parts Hunter 17

July 15, 2009

Seishi Kishimoto – Viz – 2009 – 19 volumes total

This is another series that I’m pretty sure I’ve got mostly figured out.  This volume was kind in that regard, and also a good volume in general since several groups of main characters were stuck in a kind of puzzle-y maze that took different strategies and most of the volume to navigate.  A big chunk towards the end was spent on a fight between twin brothers, and I suspect that the next volume will have similar fights as each of the other three groups reach the end of their obstacle course.  Apparently they are inside the enemy base, more or less, so I think they are very close to accomplishing what they set out to do.

Jio does very little in this volume, and his section of the maze consists of logic puzzles that are mostly solved by his teammate.  Another part of the maze are music puzzles with Ball and… an older, powerful person and the adorable Jojomaru, the group with Ruby has to run a gauntlet of Indiana Jones-type traps, and Kirin’s group… uh, makes faces.  Which is a little cooler than it sounds.

Kirin is the one fighting his brother at the end, and this fight takes awhile as it explains the family backstory and the brother’s inferiority complex et cetera.  These parts were okay, even without me knowing much about Kirin.  He doesn’t ever show his eyes, and the reason why is revealed here.

A lot of the Kaballah stuff is glossed over here, and I’m getting to like the series more and more for its quirky sense of humor and because of the whole O.P.T. thing.  I’m thinking about going back for some of the early volumes at this point, but I’ll probably read to the end before that happens.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

O-Parts Hunter 16

May 19, 2009

Seishi Kishimoto – Viz – 2009 – 19 volumes total

Now, this was just confusing.  I was fine with, and actually very entertained by, the scene where Jio is reunited with Ruby.  I was a little confused by the person who was supposed to be “guarding” (?) Ruby, but the entire sequence where she gets her soul back is pretty awesome.  Plus, I did get to see Satan, which is always good in a manga.  Later, I also got to see… Sandalphon, I think?  So there was a little demon action and a little angel action, which is about all it takes to entertain me.

The story kind of breaks down after this point, though.  They find out that Miko (?) is elsewhere, and then the story starts jumping around between different groups of people.  Not having read any of the earlier volumes, I had no idea who any of these people were, and I was confused initially because I was trying to figure out who these new people were supposed to be among Jio’s party members.  There’s also some major exposition, and what seems to be a pretty serious battle gearing up, but all this flew over my head.  There’s some business going on with the Kabbalah, but I couldn’t tell you what it was.  Apparently things are… being made?

At one point, the main group is fishing.  The fishing scene is kind of fun, but it’s capped off when the party is ambushed by a Turtle/Coelcanth/Angler, and is then eaten by a gigantic whale-looking thing.  You couldn’t ask for something cooler in a shounen manga.

This is my second volume of this series (I started with 15), and I still think it’s pretty safe to say that there are better shounen action manga out there.  But hey, one of my personal favorite plot devices is demons, and it does scratch that itch, so I can’t talk too badly about it.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.

O-Parts Hunter 15

March 6, 2009

Seishi Kishimoto – Viz – 2009 – 19 volumes total

The only thing I really knew about this series going in was that its Japanese title was “666 Satan,” which is an awesome name for a manga.  I can see why it was changed, but it’s awesome just the same.

I was actually quite put off initially by the religious symbolism that is abused for the structure of the series.  It’s too easy to just take a bunch of symbols and apply them in a way that has no connection to what they actually stand for or mean while… sort of implying a meaning from the name.  If that makes any sense.  Even X, one of my favorite series, is guilty of this.  The symbolism in this one is vaguely Kabbalist in nature, in that it uses the Sephirot ranking to lay out its characters, though other than showing the characters ranked in the same way, there seems to be no other connection.  Perhaps there is more meaning that I am just not picking up from this volume, but considering that the main character can apparently transform into Satan and his friend can transform into Metatron, I’m guessing things don’t run very deep.

Anyway.  Of course there are fights.  Jio and Cross, two of the main characters, wind up fighting Michael, who uses scales of justice to try and erase Jio (they erase people with an evil heart, and since Cross is actually an angel and Jio is Satan… well, that doesn’t work in his favor).  True forms are eventually unveiled.

The second fight is between Ball and a female character versus a character with a third eye… some sort of relative.  The third fight is between a pair of older characters and a man who wields the spear of Longinus (which, again, means nothing here).

Eventually, there is a fight between the survivors of the aforementioned battles and the Government Leader.  This fight actually seems quite definitive, kind of like something that the entire series has been working towards.  This character mentions moving the “recipes” for the angels into other bodies, though I’m not clear on what this means other than Cross is apparently not one of his subjects (?).  Apparently there are four volumes after this one, so there must still be a bad guy out there somewhere.  Or maybe they still need to find the girl they came to the compound looking for.

The fighting and powers are taken care of through O-Parts, the special weapons all the characters wield that have different unique powers.  I kind of like this system since it provided so much variety in the fights, and it seems like the characters either have a lot of them or get new ones throughout the course of the series since several seemed to be first uses in this volume.

I’d actually be curious to read the first volume, but nothing in this volume compelled me to read further.  It strikes me as the type of story one could easily get drawn into, and it’s not a terribly long series (19 volumes), so I’d probably like it if I started at the beginning.  On the other hand, there are definitely a lot of shounen action comics out there that are equal to or better than this one.  Apparently the author’s brother draws one such series.  One with ninjas in it.

This was a review copy provided by Viz.