Just letting everyone know that this post is full of spoilers as I’m going to be looking at the most recent chapters of three shounen manga I regularly follow. I’m bundling them together because I don’t think I’ll be able to find enough to talk about each one separately (as weekly chapters tend to be short). Also I know I stated Shounen Jump in the title but the third manga is actually from Monthly Shounen Jump/ Jump Square.

One Piece 652 & 653

First thing’s first. I love how Oda uses the chapter covers to tell us what’s going on with characters no longer featured in the main storyline. Even cooler is that these little snippets sometimes span a few chapters and end up intersecting with the main storyline. It’s super creative and a great way to utilize chapter title pages.

Onto the actual chapters themselves now: 652 & 653 were pretty much end arch chapters, so there wasn’t too much interesting going on in them. I was surprised that Jinbe is the first pirate captain to pledge himself officially to Luffy as his ally. My guess was that Boa would be the first given how smitten she is with Luffy. And although she probably considers herself an ally to the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy hasn’t officially asked her and she’s still a Shichibukai (so officially allied with the Marines). And I was so certain too, especially since I thought Jinbe would be the protector of Fishman island, but it seems like the manga is hinting that Luffy is going to take over that role as he has officially declared his intent to do so and we all know when Luffy says he’s going to do something, he’s going to do something. xD

Another interesting tid bit is the introduction of Big Mom in the last few chapters and Luffy’s intent on fighting her for Fishman Island. Why do I find this interesting? Well, back during the Thriller Bark arc, Luffy and gang saved a group of pirates led by a female pirate who gave Luffy a piece of her mom’s vivre card, which would allow them to find her. What’s interesting is that Lola mentioned her mother was a very powerful pirate in the New World. So I’m curious if her mom is indeed Big Mom. And this wouldn’t be the first time Oda set something up many arcs ago that came up later. Remember Laboon? Oda introduced him and the Rumbar Pirates back in the early parts of the manga and that odd bit of unresolved plot came back in the Thriller Bark arc where the Straw Hats meet Brook, the last (sort of) surviving member of the Rumbar Pirates, who still wants to travel through the whole of Grand Line and fulfill his promise to Laboon. So as I always do, I’m going to hypothesize that Lola’s mom is Big Mom. Let’s see if my prediction comes true this time. :3

Another thing that I’m rather curious about is that Oda made a point to dwell on Madam Shirley’s prophecy again. Damn what a tease. I wonder when this prophecy will be fulfilled and how. I mean, he had Keimi specifically point out, again, that Madam Shirley’s prophecies are never wrong. So I have to interpret this as Oda wanting to let us know that this prophecy is going to come up again. Also Smoker and Tashigi appear back in business with the main plot and 652 seems to be hinting that the Straw Hats are going to have a skirmish with them soon. And I definitely liked that we saw more of Nami’s greedy humour again. Never gets old. xD Finally 653 ends off with the crew heading off to the New World and on a really excited note, so I expect even more great stuff to come. Can’t wait to see the next chapter~ One Piece has only been getting better and better through all these years/chapters.

Bleach 479: Good Bye to Our Xcution

Another transitory chapter that signals the end of an arc. Kind of funny that both One Piece and Bleach had transitory chapters in the same week. Nothing really important happens this chapter. Riruka, the last remnant of the old arc, basically disappears and Ichigo goes to ask Soul Society for Ginjou’s body. The most interesting thing about this chapter is that it shows us that Kensei, Rose, and Shinji are Captains for Soul Society again. So it seems that during that year in which Ichigo was powerless, Soul Society has pardoned both Urahara and the Mask Wearing former Shinigami and the latter took the olive branch and rejoined the Gotei 13. Wonder what the others are doing, since some of them have positions that are already filled (like Lisa’s position as Lieutenant of the 8th division is currently occupied by Nanao). And I sort of wonder if  Shuhei has realized that his current captain was the one who inspired him to be a Shinigami (he even replicated Kensei’s 69 tattoo). He probably has, but I wonder nonetheless. ^__^

Claymore 122

Awakened Hysteria, the main enemy warrior this chapter

Another chapter where not much happens since it’s mostly depicting the on-going fight between the awakened former Number 1, Hysteria, and the Warriors of the North (minus Claire) along with current Claymore warriors. What I really like about Yagi’s fights is that he makes it seem like the enemy is getting overpowered by the heroes, only to reveal that the antagonist has been toying with the heroes and hasn’t really used her true strength and when she does, she starts really overpowering them. I also like how he makes a point of explaining each fighter’s powers. It’s neat and I like how it demystifies the powers and brings them within the logic of the story. Also, give me Claire! I want to know what’s going on with her. It’s killing me. She’s merged with her most hated enemy but the story keeps staying with the other characters. I need to know; it’s unbearable. This is like one of the most intriguing moments of the series. *crosses her fingers that the chapter next month returns to Claire*