On the cover: Naruto strikes a pose for the third month in a row. Remember when I used to complain when Yu-Gi-Oh! was on the cover every other month? I wouldn’t mind so much if they used a secondary character from the series such as Sasuke or even Sakura (*gasp* a girl!). On the back cover, SJ finally gave in and placed an ad for Ball Park Hot Dogs. The previous 56 issues always used the same cover on the back as the front but with altered text in places.
Naruto: 5 chapters! After denying the title of 5th Hokage, Jiraiya sets out to find the 3rd “great ninja of Konoha legend” (Tsunade if you’re keeping up with the anime on Cartoon Network). Jiraiya asks if Naruto could accompany him on his travels. Meanwhile in town, the infamous Uchiha Itachi returns. Kakashi and fellow ninja academy instructors hold Itachi and his companion at bay but Kakashi is badly wounded from Itachi’s nightmare realm technique. Kakashi realizes that Itachi has not come back for his brother Sasuke but the 9 tailed fox in Naruto. Having seen the anime episodes for this a couple months ago, nothing here surprised me. I was disappointed in the nightmare realm technique which only lasted for a full two pages. In the anime the technique took up at least five minutes where Kakashi was brutally stabbed by numerous Itachi clones while nailed on a cross in a black and white world. 3/5
Bobobo-bo bo-bobo: Every time I turn the page to see the latest chapter of Bobobo “wiggin out every month” I want to stab my eyes out. I couldn’t even tell you what this series is about, it makes no sense whatsoever. However, I will now try to explain this month’s adventure. Bobobo and company are hanging over a vat of lava, or something, tied to ropes battling other people tied to ropes. The author tries to imput a “joke” into just about every panel but none of it works at all. Most embarrassing is Bobobo’s latest ally, Emoboy, a boy with a paperbag for a head who threatens to cut the rope holding him from certain death literally every other page. The only thing keeping him from killing himself is the word “cookies” to which Emoboy enthusiastically runs to Bobobo. 0/5
Yu Yu Hakusho: Yusuke and company have just been informed by Genkai about the latest gateway between the human world and the demon plane. In time, the gateway will expand large enough so that S Class demons can invade which will lead the Earth to certain doom. Employing the help of a physic (who has received his special power from the gateway along with many other humans), Yusuke and company finally find the man behind this mess, one who is even more powerful than Toguro. They have three more weeks until the demon gateway reaches full capacity, Genkai advises them to take that time to train themselves for this greater evil. 4/5
Hikaru no Go: Always a favorite of mine, Hikaru is battling in the last couple of matches for the Pro test. Competing against a close friend and fellow insei, Waya, Hikaru gives his all under pressure. This is the 3rd time Waya is competing in the Pro test and is determined to make it his last. With Hikaru’s stones surrounded, Waya believes that his time has finally come. At times HnG is difficult to understand through the Go terminology but ultimately is the most fast paced and readable series in the magazine. 4/5
One Piece: Drum Island! Nami is cured by the old-bat doctor but these three chapters focus mainly on the doc’s helper, Tony Tony Chopper. Chopper is a blue nosed reindeer who has eaten of the devil fruit and can now walk and talk like a normal human being. However, Chopper was never accepted in society by his reindeer peers or the humans. There was only one man who he trusted but even he had to leave Chopper. These events left a hole in his heart which even the witch doctor can’t cure. However, once Luffy finds out about the Chopper’s medical skills he immediately asks him to join his pirate crew. Can Chopper put his trust in another human? 3/5
Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium World: I’m surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed this part of the series so far. Yugi and company travel into the pharaoh’s memories of Egypt to discover his “other self’s” true name. Only when he knows this name can he pass safely to the afterlife. Having found it a couple of issues ago, Yugi can now let him rest in peace but first he needs to battle his other self in a duel! Most importantly Yugi must beat his other self, Atem, it’s his last mission as the person who has put the millennium puzzle together. 4/5
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Worthless series added last winter to fill in the gap for the other Yu-Gi-Oh! series which will wrap up in the November issue. For all I know, the GX series is an exact adaptation of the anime on TV. In this issue the headmaster of Obelisk Blue makes Jaden battle close friend Syrus. If Jaden loses, he loses his beloved deck of cards. If Syrus loses, he is expelled from the academy. In this chapter we receive pictures of at least two dozen cards from the game. This is not a manga, this is an advertisement with no heart. 0/5
Closing thoughts: Being the 3rd month of SJ Evolution, I’ve never been so disappointed in this magazine. A year ago I would’ve never thought that there would be not just 1 but 2 manga in the magazine that I absolutely hate. The full chapter previews that were present in the magazine for years for their straight to graphic novel line-up have all disappeared. They love to advertise them and even place pictures of them on the cover but the most we ever get are a one page write up of Kurohime in the back of the magazine which I could’ve easily found on wikipedia. At this point, I’m only reading to keep up with Hikaru no Go, Yu Yu Hakusho and the end of Millennium World. Hopefully with the inclusion of Bleach later this year, the magazine will be re energized, let not the death of Shaman King be in vein!