Good releases this week. All three of the weekly releases I read, plus Fullmetal Alchemist.
Negima 241- The fight starts! Negi starts charging a spell, and Rakan tells shadow-boy to go in and stop him. Kotaro swiftly disabuses him of this notion by stopping an attack that, before his powerup, Negi couldn't really take like it was nothing. Glad to see that he's grown, too. Kotaro's one of my favorite characters, and with all the powerups Negi was going through, he was in danger of getting left in the dust. So Rakan fires off a spear? Halberd? Whatever it was, it was roughly equivalent to the detonation of a small nuclear device. Everyone is shocked, largely because he almost killed the entire audience, but Negi comes out completely unscated. Why? Because his artifact lets him copy the artifacts of his partners- meaning in combat, he's got Asuna's sword and Setsuna's daggers. And apparently Asuna's sword (which looks fucking awesome) has her magic-cancelling powers. So, this artifact effectively nulls Rakan's swords (it cuts through them like butter), and they get ready to beat the crap out of each other with their fists.
Ah, Shonen fighting. Fun. Not too much more to say, except that I didn't think Asuna's sword could do that- I thought it was Asuna herself.
Bleach 345- Crazy executioner Arrancar brags to Rukia about his power. He notices that Ulquiorra's going do do his release. We see the release- he's got wings and freaky eyebrows, apparently, and then proceeds to get a hit in on Ichigo. There's a bit of bragging.
Yeah. That's it. Do you see the difference between what I just described and what happened in Negima this week? I suppose to make things even, I should give a brief, 2-sentance character analysis. OK. Renji shouldn't have much of a problem cutting through that executioner. I mean, he's got infinite weak minions spawning. Renji has a huge-ass fucking bone snake to cut through them with. There. Doesn't make too much of a difference, does it? I don't know if Bleach always moved this slowly. I can't help but think that it moved faster, but maybe the fact that I read the whole thing in one huge chunk changed that. Back when this whole arc started with the fight in Karakura town, it was awesome. There were characters we hadn't seen fighting before, and all of them were quick- one or two chapters tightly packed with awesome fights. Problem is, the main fights haven't even started yet in Karakura, and...I don't know, the fight with Ulquiorra has dragged on like nobody's business. Tite Kubo, if you were releasing this in a graphic novel and we got a lot more with each update, I could forgive it, but as of right now, it's not doing it for me.
Naruto- First things first- Naruto uses the fact that he's immobilized to take the chance to gather sage chakra...which turns the Pain sucking up his chakra into a toad- and Grampa toad isn't there to knock him out of it. Unfortunately, Gravity!Pain (I don't like saying God realm) proceeds to beat up Naruto and then pull Gramps toad onto his sword. He doesn't poof, so I figure he's dead. Pain pins Naruto's hands to the floor and then starts talking- he's got a chronic case of Bond Villain Stupidity going on. Meanwhile, Ino, Shikamaru, their dads, and that Shihio chick are conversing about Pain, and Ino's dad thinks he's got the location of Nagato's body or something.
So, hopefully Grandma toad will summon Naruto's last clone and he'll proceed to wail on Pain like money was owed. I've mentioned it in other places, but I really think that Naruto spamming Kage Bunshin would work here. Pain throws a few of them away, but there's always more. Shame I doubt this'll happen, but it'd be fun.
Fullmetal Alchemist 92. The Fullmetal Alchemist manga is storytelling perfection. I mean that. This chapter is composed of Al proceeding to wail on Kimblee and Pride, two of the most bastardish of the enemies the group has to face, and showing just how damn good he really is. Of course, having a Philosopher's Stone helps. It's also the Armstrong Siblings facing off against Sloth, which is pretty awesome, especially when Alex blocked. Every time I see Armstrong doing something cool, I hear his dub announcement- "Alex Louis Armstrong, the Strongarm Alchemist!" The man is such a Large Ham he's awesome, particularly as he's probably one of the most caring individuals in the show, while his sister is literally carved out of ice. That ice is frozen awesome, but it's ice all the same. And it all ends with Al pulling off a plan that results in what you see below. The next image is Khimbly getting his throat crushed. Next month we're looking at more confrontations. Hopefully Hohenheim vs. Father will be here, as that'll be epic.
It's a shame the manga's ending so soon- I had heard 100 chapters, which means there's only 8 left. This manga is amazing. It's less the awesome action and great characters (I'm particularly a fan of the Chimera dudes who defected. They're just semi-normal guys going along with things, and they prove to be hardcore badass dangerous, if I can cop a phrase from Megatokyo. For instance, below?) than it is the plot. The homunculi and father have an intricate, well-crafted plot that's looking closer and closer to fruition, but all the protagonists, particularly Major General Armstrong and Colnel Mustang, react so intelligently that they're able to have a damn good shot at bringing the plan down around their ears. It's far too in-depth for me to explain at 4 AM right now, but suffice to say that everything makes perfect sense and plans are intricately thought out. I love it.