Manga - The Other White Meat

Welcome back for another riveting edition of manga recaps. The Naruto flashback is finally coming to a close and we still have zero progression with Bleach; that basically means that both series are running par for the course. In keeping with my new format where I question something or recommend another series for you fine folks, a thought popped into my head the other night that I just have to explore a little deeper here.

Why are the stars of manga/anime so often high school kids? Look at the heroes in most of the comics we review here. They're almost always centered on some kind of adult who has some reason for doing the things they do. Even Peter Parker only really started off as a high school kid. Most of the story is him post-graduation, growing up in the city while he figures out his purpose. There are occasional stories like Runaways that focus on the kids that don’t make it in the rather adult X-Men training facilities. Even the kids on X-Men are always guided by adults like Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, etc.

So I wonder what it it is culturally that has a VERY high percentage of the most popular shows with main characters that are kids in manga and anime. Naruto is like 16 or something, and there was an entire story where he was just entering an academy at 12. Sure there are adults, but the adults aren’t the main characters. In Bleach you have high school kids and death gods that are presumably hundreds and thousands of years old.

Perhaps this is just a reflection of manga creators wanting to target that age range more. Perhaps the industry here aims for more adult artists and attempts to solve complex social issues through the comics and it wouldn’t make sense to have kids sorting those issues out. I just thought it was an interesting aside that I wanted to mention today. Oh, want a recommendation for a manga to read? Death Note. Awesome, creepy and finished (I think). Go get it. Oh, and in Death Note, many of the main characters are high school kids.

Onwards to recaps!


Chapter 413 opens with a scene of Isshin looking totally exhausted from holding them in the limbo world for training. Meanwhile in soul society, the current location of the real Karakura Town, Aizen continues to pursue Ichigo’s friends. I would go into all their names, but it really isn’t that important and I throw enough crazy names out every week in these recaps that it's confusing enough already. All of Ichigo’s friends have reunited and are awake now, but Aizen is still stalking them. There are some comical moments, and every time Aizen appears they are forced to run.

The current Shinigami protecting the town appears, releases his shikai sword form, does an attack and then everyone runs some more. The chapter ends with Gin suddenly reappearing for the first time since he took his childhood friend Rangiku away. The chapter hints that there seems to be tension between the two but I didn’t see it. Gin attacking Aizen now would be the silliest plot twist possible since he has NO HOPE of stopping or even slowing down the monster that Aizen has become.

Ho hum…maybe next week Ichigo’s internal battle will end. I want this arc to end so I can stop recapping Bleach. I feel compelled to follow it through to completion for all one of my readers right now.


Chapter 503 of Naruto was pretty epic in contrast to Bleach. Minato has struck Madara with the highly damaging Rasengan attack. This forces Madara to retreat and recover, but then Minato instantly teleports to the villain again, striking him with a sealing technique. Madara recognizes this as the Thunder God teleportation technique and then figures out that when Minato struck him at the end of the previous chapter, he must have placed a symbol on him that allowed the 4th Hokage to teleport to him instantly to attack. The sealing technique serves to severe Madara’s control of the nine-tailed demon fox to boot, and Madara retreats.

During all of this the ninja have been fighting the fox to prevent it from entering and destroying Konoha. They have succeeded in pushing the fox back when the 4th Hokage suddenly reappears, teleporting both himself and the fox to the location where his wife Kushina is. We get a brief look during all this at the adults in the present Naruto timeline, only back when they were kids. Kushina uses the same chain sealing technique on the fox to hold it down when Minato makes a final suicidal decision. He uses the Dead Demon Sealing technique to take half the foxes power and seal it inside Naruto and the other half inside himself where it will die with him. Oh yeah, the seal kills the person casting it, leading to the already known death of the 4th Hokage.

Great action, a look at the current adults back in childhood form, another quick look at the 3rd Hokage in battle attire and the knowledge that the all powerful fox inside Naruto is only HALF (!!!!) as strong as it used to be. All things considered a great chapter that answered quite a few questions that have been with us for a long time. With Kushina and Minato about to die, this flashback will end next week and we will finally get to see how powerful Naruto has become, I hope.

Happy reading until then!