Talking Black Clover with the Manga Mavericks

Did you know Black Clover, the magical fantasy adventure from Yuki Tabata, is my favourite ongoing comic? Not just in Weekly Shonen Jump, but just plain outright? I *love* Black Clover. It represents that perfect mastery of the Weekly Shonen Jump ethos of (yes) friendship, effort, and victory (or triumph if you’re a video game publisher out to ruin my careful choice of branding) that doesn’t necessarily mean success, but does make for a read unlike any other. You’ll see this elsewhere in comics like Buso Renkin (my previous banner example of the perfect WSJ comic book) or… Actually, naming another example is difficult. These two are pretty much at the peak of what I’m going for here, titles that fold in the magazine’s motto wholesale, and incorporate a wide variety of genre into what are honestly just action comics at their core. They’re craft on a visible level, that I can never get enough of, and Black Clover feels like the new king.

It has everything I want: a main character who never gives up, mostly through the sheer inertia of his space cadet-ness, a supporting cast consisting of bombastic designs and abilities informed by their core personality traits (I could go on for days about decisions as simple as making the hot-headed Magna a fire user, or the impulsive, deranged Luck a lightning user, to say nothing of my favourite character, Grey, being a shapeshifter who is incredibly blunt when in disguise, but cripplingly shy and embarrassed the second that her illusion breaks), character evolution based in their trying to support or being supported by the others around them, and a relentless pace that constantly feeds readers new ideas, non-stop.

It’s… It’s my favourite, yeah?

So imagine my joy when pals Colton and Sid had me on Manga Mavericks *again*, this time specifically to discuss Black Clover, along with Annaliese Christman, the letter of the english editions.

Suffice it to say, it’s a good episode. Give it a listen (online, itunes) and then join me after the jump for some short discussion of the episode itself.

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Hungry Marie: Letting Jokes Breathe

Recently Weekly Shonen Jump has debuted six new series, an unprecedented occasion that includes a couple of important milestones in the magazine’s history. I’m going to be writing a post on each individual debuting series, be it a simple review, a tangentially-related topic or something deeper. We continue with Ryuhei Tamura’s Hungry Marie. SPOILERS FOLLOW. I CANNOT EMPHASISE THIS ENOUGH THIS TIME. I AM GOING TO SPOIL A MAJOR SEQUENCE FROM THE FIRST CHAPTER TO EXPLAIN MY POINT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Comedy in comics is both easier and harder than you’d think. The structure of sequential comics is totally suited to controlling the pace of the reader, allowing a solid delivery of comedy on roughly the timescale an author may want, but it still has to rely on that reader to play ball with the format to get the author’s intended delivery. This is to say nothing of the humour that can turn up in comics aimed at teens; for every carefully constructed laff-fest there’s an obtuse, reference-reliant affair, or a comic that talks down to the audience, assuming they just want randomness, yelling, and monkeys (not that comics like these can’t be good. There’s at least one article about Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo or Taizo Mote King Saga in the future). Doing funny comics, like *properly* funny comics, requires a special touch.

Weekly Shonen Jump isn’t really lacking for these gifted talents. Akira Toriyama, Hisashi Eguchi and Masaya Tokuhiro are class A examples from decades past, and the likes of Ryo Nakama and Hideaki Sorachi are successfully making readers laugh without fail, but this time around I’ve been given the opportunity to talk about the author who I personally think is the funniest Jump has *ever* had, and the one particular way he’ll use page after page to properly allow a single joke to hit. This author is Ryuhei Tamura, author of Beelzebub, and launching his second series recently with Hungry Marie, which has actually made me laugh so much that I’ve cried.


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Things I’ve Done 2014-2017 Finale: Youtube

I almost skipped talking about this last thing I got up to during the FEV hiatus, because if we’re being honest for five minutes here, just about everyone and their auntie has tried doing their own hot video game content for the internet’s foremost hole for hot video game content, and a lot of mine is pretty lousy, as much as one could say I did ‘a lot’.

Regardless, last year I did a small handful of videos of me playing a whole bunch of different games I own on steam, from well-known hit Super Meat Boy, to lesser known indie gem Curse of the Crescent Isle DX, and even a little dabbling in King of Fighters XIII, a gaming series I love, but on reviewing the footage I am clearly complete trash at it. Or was, at least. I’ve put a lot more time into King of Fighters XIV, I swear.

There’s not a lot to talk about with these videos, but they were an important part of getting that itch to make something creative again. Just talking into the microphone as I piddled about in a game was enough to make me miss doing the same while thinking about manga. I was never really at ease with the format though, and have to throw my hands up and admire the people who do do it.

That said, I will probably return to this one day, if only to play video games based on the manga I’m featuring here, both in articles and the upcoming return of the podcast. In the wait for that though, why not check out my playthrough of Curse of the Crescent Isle DX, embedded below:

Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries: Demons just keep coming to earth in Jump

Recently Weekly Shonen Jump has debuted six new series, an unprecedented occasion that includes a couple of important milestones in the magazine’s history. I’m going to be writing a post on the debuting series that week, be it a simple review or something deeper. We continue with Hitsuji Gondaira’s Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries. SPOILERS FOLLOW.

Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries is a hard series to review. We’ve now had all three of the ‘Jump Start’ chapters come out, and it’s a perfectly charming and visually pleasing comic book, even if it seems a little confused about what it wants to be at times (something I’m fairly sure will be its downfall). But its qualities aren’t particularly interesting to write about, in stark contrast to the thing that *is* interesting about it, in Shonen Jump terms at least: That this is yet another series about a demon coming to earth!

It’s a weird recurrence in Jump, as far as plot points go. We’ve had Takuan & Batsu’s Daily Demon Diary (which I’ve only just realised has a startlingly similar title), Devily Man, Love’s Cupid Yakenohara Jin, Beelzebub, Taizo Mote King Saga, Demon Detective Nogami Neuro, even Death Note after a fashion, and that’s just a handful of series from the 21st century! I didn’t even have to look any of those up! What is it about demons coming to earth that appeals so much to Jump’s creators?

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