Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru, Volume 1: Recap and Review

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru's volume 1 Japaneses cover
Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru’s volume 1 Japaneses cover

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru is the next series after his Naruto series and it’s sequel Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. Kishimoto is responsible for the script, panel layout, word balloon placement, and rough draft of storyboards. He then passes all this to Akira Okubo, who then finalizes the art. Okubo worked on Naruto as an assistant starting with the 16th volume. Samurai 8 focuses on a galaxy that is heading towards its end. The only hope for saving it is to find Pandora’s Box. Within this box is the secret to saving the universe. However, the warrior god, Fudo Myo-o has made it so the box can only be opened with the Seven Keys.

Who is our main protagonists Hachimaru?

A sickly boy, Hachimaru dreams of becoming a samurai and exploring the galaxy. However, he is tethered to a life-supporting device created by his father, Furuta. He spends most of his days playing an online VR game while bickering with his father. Hayataro, Hachimaru’s pet dog with a cat AI, brings him Daruma. A blind robot cat, Daruma is known as the “wandering lone wolf.” A samurai trained in the ways of Kong-Yasha Style, he’s famous around the galaxy. Meanwhile, Furuta attempts to get parts for another machine to help Hachimaru. He tries to work with a ronin. However, the ronin notices that Furuta has the Samurai Soul of a legendary samurai around his neck.

What are samurai’s and how are they made?

In the Samurai 8 series, samurai are cyborg warriors. To become a samurai, one must commit seppuku with a small blade found in a Locker Ball. It’s possible that by doing this one’s body becomes a Key. A spinal shaped memory unit becomes the base of a new cybernetic samurai body. Each samurai’s cybernetic body can regenerate, allowing them to reattach limbs or regrow them altogether. When the ronin arrives at Furuta’s home to retrieve the Samurai Soul, Hachimaru commits seppuku. He becomes the samurai he’s dreamed of and defeats the ronin.

Is Samurai 8 any good?

It’s too early in the series to make any determination regarding this series quality. I like this series so far. The combination of sci-fi and samurai lore is interesting. I loved the designs of the samurai armor and the world by Akira Okubo. It’s only the first volume and if Bleach taught me anything it not just how you start but how you end. The character Nanashi being introduced as a part of Hachimaru’s team, only to be abandoned seems strange. The series pacing in the first 6 chapters is inconstant and I have to know the idea of how the power system functions. We only get a glimpse of the Princess that will join Hachimaru. Regardless, while many aspects of the story aren’t fleshed out yet I’m excited for what this series could bring.

Ajin: Demi-human Manga Volume 1: Recap and Review

Jagaaaaaan Manga Volume 1: Recap and Review

Cover of Jagaaaaaan Volume one
Jagaaaaaan Volume 1 Cover

Jagaaaaaan is a Seinen supernatural manga series written by Kaneshiro Muneyuki and illustrated by Nishida Kensuke. Published by Big Comic Spirits (Gyo: Ugomeku Bukimi, I Am a Hero), Jagaaaaaan is currently in its 9th volume. The first volume consists of chapters 1-7. The series follows Shintarou Jagasaki, a police officer that lives with his girlfriend, Yuriko. He hates his job, his girlfriend, and the trajectory his life is on. Most of the day, he wears a false smile.

Jajasaki often fantasizes about “shooting” the people in his life. The following morning frogs rain down from the sky. At work, Jagasaki encounters a drunk man causing a disturbance. The man decries his life. He feels that nobody in his life gives a damn about him. He tells Jagasaki that “his life is garbage.” Jagasaki sympathizes with his plight but believes that they’re different. With his gun at his side, Jagasaki feels that he can “end it all.” He tells the man that “he’s doing a great job.” 

Mr. Sasaoka the first fractured human

Rejuvenated, the man runs on to the train, and Jagasaki follows. He notices an owl on the train but becomes distracted by a boss berating his employee. Jagasaki tells him he “causing trouble.” Mr. Sasaoka becomes irate. As he yells, his head begins to transform into a grotesque figure. With his monstrous head, that spirals into a cone shape, with rows of teeth, and a tongue sticking out the top. He cuts his employees head in four pieces, decapitating him. He turns on the crowd, boasting about his wealth as he indiscriminately kills them. Jagasaki and his partner draw their weapons. Mr. Sasaoka decapitates his partner and cuts two of Jagasaki’s fingers off. Accepting his death, Jagasaki mimes a gun shooting Mr. Sasaoka. The owl compliments Jagasaki. 

Jagasaki uses his Jagan for the first time
Jagasaki uses his Jagan for the first time

Meet Sanshirou Dokuyamada

After Jagasaki shoots Mr. Sasaoka, the later explodes. From the remains, a frog jumps out. The owl grabs the frog and eviscerates it, then eats it. He explains that the frogs called “mad xenpaths” make humans their “host.” While inside the human they grow. Dokuyamada or Doku calls them “frenzied frogs.” They fuse with humans feeding off of “suppressed desires.” This results in humans transforming into monsters. These hosts are called “fractured humans.” Jagasaki must defeat all the frogs leaving Doku to “collect and eat” them. Suddenly, Jagasaki shoots and kills Doku. At home, Jagasaki contemplates the latest events. A frog appears and fuses with Yuriko. She begins to transform as she talks about her desire to have children.

Yuriko becomes “Lust! The Fractured Girlfriend: Hiscorpion.” She attacks Jagasaki begging him to marry her. He kills her by shooting her in the stomach. She apologizes for “making him put on fake smiles.” When the frenzied frog escapes from he ear, Doku swoops in and eats it. He gives Jagasaki a “duhnngball.’ He explains how fractured transformation occurs. A human’s appearance is a combination of a “person’s desires and imagination.” Unlike the other fractured humans, Jagasaki’s frog is a tadpole. His transformation is slower. Eventually, the tadpole will become a frenzied frog. To prevent this Jagasaki must snort the powder from a duhnngball. His desire to “blow-off” his boring life caused his right arm to become a gun. Doku calls his arm, “Jagan,” and he calls Jagasaki “The Fractured Human Warrior: Jagaaaaaan.” 

Image of Chiharu
Is he new threat or ally, Chiharu

In Jagaaaaaan the reality has become even crueler

Jagasaki’s life continues. He puts Yuriko’s decapitated head in the freezer. While attending the wedding of two friends he feels guilty that he couldn’t give Yuriko the happiness she wanted. The bride becomes a fractured human triggered by her happiness. She turns into “The Fractured Bride: Medetaurus.” Now a centaur with a crossbow for a hand, she kills her husband. The bride slaughters her guest while thanking them. Jagasaki hesitates. Without the knowledge to control his Jagan, he’s helpless. He rescues a little boy and is hit by the bride’s attack. He’s able to use his Jagan to propel himself out of danger. Now outside he notices that his Jagan changed shape. He changes his Jagan into a third form. Now a sniper rifle, Jagasaki can shoot the bride through the head. With his new arm, Jagasaki is happy. He’s now getting the future he wants.

Jagasaki decides that he will “blow away every last fracture human.” As he says that we get a glimpse of another fractured human, Chiharu. Jagaaaaaan is a dark series. Jagaski begins the series as a hating his life and contemplating murder and suicide. Will he evolve or continue down this dark path? The central theme of Jagaaaaaan so far is the possible consequences of suppressing one’s desires. Jagasaki spends most of the first volume hating his life hoping to blow it away. He hides behind an obvious false smile. He’s finally freed when he becomes fractured. The fanservice in this series feels appropriate. The sex scene between Jagasaki and Yuriko felt realistic as they were in a romantic relationship.

 Jagaaaaaan is a Seinen series, so it’s going to be geared towards young men. Hopefully, the nudity will make sense and won’t be too frivolous. Jagaaaaaan is a series the features “body horror.” If your unfamiliar, “body horror” is “any form of Horror or Squickiness involving body parts, parasitism, disfigurement, mutation, or unsettling bodily configuration.” It can be off-putting (I think that’s the point) but it done well in this series. This is particularly due to the art style of Nishida Kensuke. His style is realistic but unique. He puts detail in the faces of the characters. Special attention is paid to the eyes and mouths.  Jagaaaaaan isn’t a series for everyone if you don’t like violent, bloody or sexual content. However, if you liked Parasyte: The MaximJagaaaaaan is the manga series for you.

 Ajin: Demi-human Manga Volume 1: Recap and Review

Edens Zero Volume 2 Recap & Review

Volume 2 of Edens Zero, features more chapters than Volume 1, 14 to 4. The volume focuses on the Norma arc. Xiaomel, a unknown character at this point, is suppose to narrate this arc. She doesn’t. Her purpose seems unnecessary and I must assume that will change. Anyway, Shiki, Rebecca and Happy go in search of Professor Weisz. They encounter, a young man that pulls a gun on them. To their shock, he claims that he’s Weisz Steiner. Donning his new x-ray glasses, Shiki can see that someone is upstairs. He leaps on the ceiling, and attacks the man with “Magimech attack.” The man falls down, as the young professor escapes. The attacker delivers a threat: “that those betray them will die by “Strong-Man” Sibir’s hands.”

Edens Zero 011 (2018) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

At a restaurant, Rebecca tries to piece together what’s happen. However, she concludes that they’re in somehow 50 years in the past. Sibir, piloting a giant robot arrives. He believes that Weisz stole his money, and that Rebecca, Happy and Shiki are involved. They attempt to flee. Sibir’s gang follows them and attacks. However, Shiki uses his Gravity Ether Gear to fly them down the street. As Sibir reaches them, Shiki attacks him with his Gravity Fist technique, destroying Sibir’s robot.

What’s in the briefcase

Shiki, Rebecca and Happy hideout in a local bar. They encounter Weisz here. Rebecca explains everything to him. Weisz is skeptical. Shiki takes his briefcase. However, his gravity powers cut off, causing him to crash to the floor. The briefcase opens, revealing a small robot. Named Pino, she’s a “anti-bot android.” She has an EMP ability. Shiki and the others learn that Sibir is quiet abusive towards Pino, breaking off her legs. Furthermore, he has her memory wiped despite her protest. Rebecca notices that the date on Pino’s last maintenance was in “their time.” Meanwhile, Pino return’s to Sibir, who decides to punish her for “leaving,” by breaking the other leg.

Edens Zero v02 (2019) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

Shiki to the rescue

Shiki being the main protagonists is probably always going to “save everyone,” but I feel that Rebecca and Happy are often render helpless too often. When, Shiki is knocked down to the lower lever, he lands in a scrap heap. Meanwhile, Rebecca “battles” the “Foote brothers.” They demand to see her “legs to the toes.” However, Shiki arrives to save her. Elsewhere, Pino, Weisz and Happy battle Sibir. Shiki quickly arrives to save them as well. He demands Sibir “treat machines right,” because “they have hearts.” He attacks Sibir with his Gravity Cannon. Before Sibir’s robot can explode killing Shiki, Pino uses her EMP. With Sibir and his gang defeated and arrested, Shiki and the others focus on Pino. The police being to chase them. Their ship gets trapped in the atmosphere, however, young Weisz appears having stowed away on their ship. He makes them an offer: “let me have your ship” and he’ll get them into space.

The Chronophage and Professor Weisz

Young Weisz makes himself Captain. Using his Ether Gear, the Machina Maker he recreates the ship. They escape the police and the atmosphere. Once out they are contacted by the old Weisz. He tells them that they didn’t “travel back in time but encountered a space monster called the Chronophage.” This monster “consumes a planet.” This results in the time “being rewound.” This effect cannot be reversed, with the chronophage also creating a new reality. Both the young professor and the old one can co-exists. However, before they can continue their conversation they’re interrupted by the Space Pirate Elsie Crimson.

Edens Zero v02 (2019) (Digital) (danke-Empire)

Shiki vs Skull Pirate Elsie Crimson

Elise Crimson is a pirate that “conquered the seven cosmic seas.” She captures their ship and takes “ownership” over everyone. She plans on selling them into slavery. Shiki decides to “take over her ship instead.” However, he encounters a “mimetic parasite Kawpicatt s4.” The parasite grab everyone with it’s tentacles, but Rebecca and Happy free them. When Shiki reaches Elise’s room, she’s revealed to be a skull person. Shiki and Elise battle as Shiki has flashbacks of his childhood. As they continue to battle, the Cosmic Government’s, Interstellar Union Army arrives to capture Elise. They observe the battle through their sensors. Shiki is identified as the “Demon King.” After Shiki defeats “Elise,” they learn that the real Elise isn’t on board. She gives them the ship, as it belonged to “Ziggy,” or the Demon King. The Union Army attacks. Elise and her fleet hold them off as Shiki and the others escape. Somewhere inside the ship and a woman that has emerged from machine.

As expected, the second volume was more interesting than the first. However, so far there’s nothing “new” about Edens Zero. It’s not a bad things, but mildly disappointing. Shiki is the typical dumb shonen hero that manages to win people over with his personality. With Rebecca being the typical fanservice object, it’s still mild fanservice though. It seems that Hiro Mashima doesn’t know what he wants to do with her. She is smarter than Shiki, but often needs Shiki to rescue her. However, at times she is perfectly able to defend herself. Weisz is the typical anti-hero. Furthermore, the action scenes are often shallow. Every battle doesn’t need to be fourteen chapters but so far they are rather short. Edens Zero may or may not subvert shonen expectations but do still find it enjoyable.

Edens Zero Volume 1 Review

Edens Zero Volume 1 Recap & Review

Hiro Mashima’s new space adventure

A sci-fi Fairy Tail


Cover of Edens Zero Chapter 1 with Many of Edens Zero's characters that resemble Fairy Tail's
Many of Edens Zero’s characters resemble Fairy Tail’s

First I enjoyed this volume, but Edens Zero is really similar to Fairy Tail. Shiki and Rebecca are the title characters of this series, but they’re very similar to Natsu and Lucy from Fairy Tail. This is of course largely due to the art style of Mashima. However, the character of Happy not only is based on the character from Fairy Tail, they share the same name. I’m find if Mashima wants to link his universes by having the same character (Happy) but the familiar look of Rebecca and Shiki feels like he’s not that creative. I was lukewarm on Fairy Tail, a series that has sold over 60 million copies. I afraid that I will probably feel the same about this series. However, that is certainly a premature prediction, so I will have to read more chapters to be certain. I’m not yet willing to dismiss Eden by calling it, Fairy Tail with Sci Fi, instead of magic. The story of Edens Zero follow’s a “young boy named Shiki who is being told by his robot grandfather about making friends and leaving this place one day.” He quickly befriends Happy and Rebecca.

Mission to find Goddess Mother

Happy and Rebecca’s goal is to get 1 million subscribers to their “Aoneko Channel,” a channel on the video sharing site B-Cube. I won’t spoil the twists that occur in chapter 1, but I hope that Mashima will continue to subvert our expectations with this series. After Shiki is registered as an adventurer, Rebecca asks him to become her bodyguard. They arrive on Blue Garden, the planet of adventurers. Here we get some backstory on Happy and Rebecca’s friendship and how they met. We also get a look at the main mode of combat in this series, Ether Gear. Like most of the elements of this series so far it resembles Fairy Tail in some way. However, unlike Fairy Tail’s magic system, Ether Gear, is useless without the users hands. After joining the Shooting Starlight Guild, Shiki, Happy and Rebecca decide to pursue the “Goddess Mother.” To accomplish this they need to get a better ship and a larger crew. So far Edens Zero fails to separate itself from Mashima’s previous series, Fairy Tail.

Hiro Mashima’s art style remains top tier

Is Edens Zero just Fairy Tail in space?

Ether Gear is basically a mechanical form of magic, most of the characters design look just like they’re from Fairy Tail. Or characters from Fairy Tail in different outfits. Volume 1 is just four chapters so there’s not too much story presented yet. Shiki’s desire to make friends is a bit of a trope, but considering his backstory it makes sense. Rebecca desire to be a intergalactic YouTube Star, feels like it’s a shallow reason to go on this adventure. However, I doubt that she will only care about that by the middle of this series, but she and Happy will likely become popular.

Happy’s backstory is really sad and was moving. So far the space setting hasn’t really had much impact. Mainly because Mashima doesn’t focus on anything other that traveling between planets. While, the similarities between Fairy Tail and Edens Zero can feel uninspired, I suspect that this will change. Mashima’s artwork is among the best, the depiction of action and expression are excellent. I like the designs of the technology and locations, even though most of the characters designs are reused. The use of fanservice is mild.