Manga – The Other White Meat

After a one week hiatus we return to the land of manga with some pretty crazy happenings in both Bleach and Naruto. If you read the manga, and you haven’t read up to the current chapter, you should really turn away now because you’ll want to see these. I’ll save the spoilers for after the break to give you a fighting chance. I’m sure all one of my readers will appreciate the gesture (is that joke getting old yet?).

Before we get to those I’d like to mention one series that I was just getting into until recent events made it a little harder to read online. I’ll have to check in stores since I know that it has been around. The manga that I’m referring to is Claymore. Since I only read through about 4 or 5 chapters I’ll try to sum it up as best I can.

In the world that Claymore takes place in, humans coexist with monsters that feed on them. In order to fight these creatures an organization of half-human, half-monster slayers has been formed. The people are terrified of these bounty hunters and they have come to be known as Claymores because of the swords they carry. These Claymores can eventually succumb to their monster side and then have to be put down by fellow members of their order. This story follows the tale of one such warrior named Clare as she adventures through the lands.

I really enjoyed what I read of this series, and next time I’m in bookstores I’ll try to pick up a copy of the series. It has been around since 2001 so there are quite a few chapters out already.

Enough said, lets move on to the main attraction.


Chapter 414 and 415 consist of a confrontation between two of the oldest allies in the whole series, Gin and Aizen. Gin returns from his confrontation with Matsumoto unscathed and him and Aizen are drawn into a discussion. Just as Aizen makes his move to kill Ichigo’s friends, however, a most unexpected thing happens. Gin attacks Aizen. Gin pierces Aizen through the chest and we find out that his bankai actually has another ability. The blade doesn’t actually expand and contract in the blink of an eye in solid form. In fact, it dissolves and reforms at greater length. In the process all the blades have a poison on them, a truly sneaky attack that seems appropriate since Gin self-describes himself as a snake. The resulting explosion blows Aizen apart.

The start of chapter 415 is ominous for Gin however, because we are greeted with flashback scenes to Gin as a young man. Flashback scenes in Bleach typically mean you are about to die. Sure enough, Aizen pieces himself back together and attacks despite the fact that Gin is holding the source of Aizen’s power, the Hougyoku, in his hands. The chapter ends with Gin taking a brutal cut from Aizen.

I usually complain a lot in Bleach about a lack of action, surprises, or generally anything that would make me want to get excited about it. These two chapters taken together were pretty exciting and Gin’s betrayal of Aizen was not something I saw coming. Good stuff.


In Naruto the full story of the night of Naruto’s birth, and his parents’ subsequent death, is finally finished. Chapter 504 sees Minato, the Fourth Hokage, seal part of the nine-tailed demon fox's chakra inside himself using the Dead Demon Seal. The Third Hokage is watching from beyond the barrier set up by Kushina, but is unable to intervene. After this the brave couple thwarts one final thrust to kill Naruto from the fox, and uses the Eight Trigrams Seal to seal the remaining half of the fox inside of Naruto.

Naruto thanks his mother for telling the story and, after a touching tale from her and as tears stream from his face, she vanishes forever. Chapter 505 begins with Naruto promising to himself to follow the words of his mother and reaffirms his desire to be a Hokage to surprise his father in strength and his mother in her way of the ninja. With that Naruto finally awakens from his battle with the fox and greets Bee and Yamato. They are excited to see him, even though Yamato doesn’t really understand and has some humorous moments being the only non-jinchuuriki of the bunch. It is when Naruto shows them what happens when he uses the power that it becomes awesome. He appears to be enshrouded in what used to be the demon fox’s cloak, but instead of being destructive chakra the life causes everything around to react to it. Even Bee seems impressed.

One other side effect seems to be that Naruto can sense evil, and finally someone detects that within Samehada, the sword Bee has been carrying around, there is another presence. Finally, Kisame is discovered. Even Kisame can’t fight two jinchuurikis and a wood element user and attempts to escape. Before he can get away, Naruto flashes to him and delivers a punishing blow that neither Yamato nor Bee can follow. It appears Naruto may have gain something very similar to his father's Thunder God teleportation ability.

Kisame does get away as Naruto manages to sink his leg into a stone wall on his attack, but as he escapes through the waterfall entrance to the cave, he runs into none other than Might Guy, another elite ninja from Konoha that has had some humorous encounters with Kisame in the past. The two face off and the chapter ends.

I love how in Naruto it is more than just a power up when people increase their strength through training, there really seems to be new skills and powers that appear and it keeps me interested in the series as a whole. Two great weeks of manga in a row, and I really hope they continue.