Top 20 Selling Manga for February 2021

NPD BookScan has published the top 20 selling manga in the United States for February 2021:

  1. My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  2. The Promised Neverland Volume 1 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
  3. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 20 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  4. My Hero Academia Volume 26 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  5. Chainsaw Man Volume 3 by Tatsuki Fujimoto
  6. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 8 by Gege Akutami
  7. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
  8. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 1 by Gege Akutami
  9. My Hero Academia Volume 2 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  10. Haikyu!! Volume 1 by Haruichi Furudate
  11. The Promised Neverland Volume 2 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
  12. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4 by Gege Akutami
  13. My Hero Academia Volume 3 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  14. Given Volume 5 by Natsuki Kizu
  15. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  16. Uzumaki by Junji Ito
  17. Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 by Sui Ishida
  18. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun Volume 1 by Aidairo
  19. Attack on Titan Season 1 Part 1 Manga Box Set by Hajime Isayama (#20)
  20. Spy x Family Volume 1 by Tatsuya Endo

Source: The Fandom Post

My Hero Academia Is #2 on the NPD BookScan Adult Graphic Novels List for February 2021

19 manga volumes appeared on NPD BookScan’s Top 20 adult graphic novels list for February 2021:

  • My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kōhei Horikoshi (#2)
  • The Promised Neverland Volume 1 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu (#3)
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 20 by Koyoharu Gotouge (#4)
  • My Hero Academia Volume 26 by Kōhei Horikoshi (#5)
  • Chainsaw Man Volume 3 by Tatsuki Fujimoto (#6)
  • Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 8 by Gege Akutami (#7)
  • Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama (#8)
  • Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 1 by Gege Akutami (#9)
  • My Hero Academia Volume 2 by Kōhei Horikoshi (#10)
  • Haikyu!! Volume 1 by Haruichi Furudate (#11)
  • The Promised Neverland Volume 2 by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu (#12)
  • Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 4 by Gege Akutami (#13)
  • My Hero Academia Volume 3 by Kōhei Horikoshi (#14)
  • Given Volume 5 by Natsuki Kizu (#15)
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge (#16)
  • Uzumaki by Junji Ito (#17)
  • Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 by Sui Ishida (#18)
  • Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun Volume 1 by Aidairo (#19)
  • Attack on Titan Season 1 Part 1 Manga Box Set by Hajime Isayama (#20)

The BookScan rankings collect data sales from more than 16,000 locations including Barnes & Noble and other book chains, independent bookshops, and online purchases — but not sales at comic book stores, Walmart.com, and some other venues.

Source: The Fandom Post

Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 24 – “Monsters’ Ball”

I knew it was going to be an intense episode when it went right into the opening credits instead of showing a piece of episode before moving to the opening credits. But, whew! I never imagined how intense it was going to get!

After the opening credits, we actually backtrack to show Hinata saving the ball with his foot and helping Karasuno score a crucial point. But once we make it into new material for the episode, the intensity level starts to build rather quickly.

I’m not sure how much more I can say without providing spoilers, you know? I guess what I can say is that the scales keep tipping back and forth, and the set keeps riding a fine line where it could be anyone’s game, really. Emotions ran high for me as a viewer, because one minute there would be a sense of euphoria as it looked like Karasuno would break through and win, but then a huge sense of disappointment as Inarizaki would block the momentum.

But that final play… OMG, it was a nail-biter! The way the anime depicted the action and tension of that final play, it was incredible! I know I commented in a previous season that it was the most intense play I’d ever seen. I can easily say at this point that the tension of this final play beats out the final play of that previous season.

I’m glad to see that the season still has one more episode to go, because we’re going to need that breather next week after how high the tension and emotions ran in this episode. I loved this episode, but I’m also looking forward to a calming episode next week.

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Top 20 Selling Manga in the United States for November 2020

Here are the Top 20 selling manga in the United States for November 2020 according to NPD BookScan:

  1. My Hero Academia Volume 1 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  2. My Hero Academia Volume 2 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  3. My Hero Academia Volume 25 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  4. Haikyu!! Volume 1 by Haruichi Furudate
  5. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 18 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  6. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 1 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  7. My Hero Academia Volume 3 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  8. My Hero Academia Volume 24 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  9. Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun Volume 1 by Aidairo
  10. My Hero Academia Volume 4 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  11. Tokyo Ghoul Volume 1 by Sui Ishida
  12. Uzumaki (Hardcover) by Junji Ito
  13. My Hero Academia Volume 5 by Kōhei Horikoshi
  14. Haikyu!! Volume 2 by Haruichi Furudate
  15. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 2 by Koyoharu Gotouge
  16. Berserk Deluxe Volume 6 by Kentaro Miura
  17. Death Note Black Edition Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba
  18. Chainsaw Man Volume 1 by Tatsuki Fujimoto
  19. The Promised Neverland Volume 17 by Kaiu Shirai
  20. Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 2 by Gege Akutami

Source: The Fandom Post

Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 22 – “Pitons”

This episode begins with Karasuno in the lead by two points. Early in the episode, we get to see some focus on Heisuke from Inarizaki. Earlier in this season, he was shown as simply being an average player, and we see here that he wants to do more than something average. He gets the chance to serve the ball, and he makes an impressive serve that excites not only his team, but the commentators as well. He gets one more good serve in before Karasuno cuts him off. But we get to see his excitement at doing something more than “just average.” I should mention that before Heisuke goes out on the court, we see Inarizaki’s coach give him some good words of advice. We really hadn’t seen that up to now with this coach, because he tended to come off with a more cold exterior, so it was nice to see this brief scene help “humanize” him somewhat.

I thought it was interesting to note that during a time out, Daichi comes to the realization that Inarizaki’s cheer squad acts a lot like the guy with sideburns who came to some of Karasuno’s earlier matches. He was the guy who would cheer when the team made great plays, and boo the team when plays didn’t go well. I hadn’t thought about the guy with sideburns when seeing Inarizaki’s reactions throughout this match, but when Daichi said this and I saw a flashback of the guy with sideburns, I thought, “Daichi’s right.”

As the episode continues, though, Inarizaki starts turning things around by making impressive plays. Karasuno seems like they’re starting to feel a little deflated, but then Hinata makes it onto the court. At a crucial moment, Hinata does something unexpected… he perfectly receives a ball that seemed like it was going to give Inarizaki a point. Not only that, but Hinata’s receive was perfect. I loved all the shocked reactions on the faces of his teammates, and it was even sweeter to see how this one unexpected receive helped to lift Karasuno’s spirits.

Unfortunately, this euphoria was short-lived. The next play becomes a major rally, with neither side wanting to give ground. I loved how intense this got, though. As a viewer, I could feel the tension and I was riveted and getting into what I was watching. I was audibly reacting to Karasuno’s plays. Everything about this final play of the episode was perfect: the writing, the action, even the animation. Let’s just say that even though the final result was disappointing, Hinata ended up being the cure that Karasuno needed.

It looks like this final set is going to end up being a nail biter. Karsuno started out in the lead, and now Inarizaki has turned it around. Can Karasuno turn things back around and win this final set? This is the third and final set, so everything hinges on the result of this. I expect the tension will be high in these final episodes of the season, and I’m looking forward to how this set continues to be played.

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Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 20 – “Leader”

The episode begins with Inarizaki High swapping in their team captain, Shinsuke Kita. It turns out the guy is actually quite talented, but he usually isn’t on the court. Because of this, Karasuno never saw him in any of the videos they watched… which makes him an unknown quantity. However, we see that Kita’s mere presence on the court whips his team into shape.

We quickly get a couple of flashbacks that show the audience the type of person he is. He has a blunt way of speaking, and analyzes situations with a cold logic. Even with this, though, it’s shown that he does care about his teammates. The scene of him scolding Atsumu for trying to practice while being sick with a cold is a great example of his care. In the flashbacks, it’s made clear that his teammates see him as being like a robot, but are quite surprised when he sheds tears of joy when he’s chosen as the team captain.

But seeing these flashbacks and how they introduced and flesh out Kita’s character, it makes it clear to the audience that he’s going to be an important character. The series isn’t going to waste time focusing almost half of an episode on flashbacks to develop a random or minor character.

After the flashbacks, we see that the team had their reasons for bringing Kita out onto the court. Thanks to him, Inarizaki manages to break through and win the second set. There’s concern over how Karasuno is going to handle this, since they lost by eight or nine points… especially since the set didn’t end on a more positive note for Karasuno. Fortunately, we see that while the team members have some regrets over how the set went, they don’t feel like they’re down for the count.

The third set is just getting going at the end of the episode, and it’s pointed out that Karasuno has made an important change to their rotation lineup in order to better handle the Miya twins’ weird quick. The audience is just starting to see the effects of this change when the episode ends.

I’m happy to say that after the terrible animation that permeated last week’s episode, this week only had maybe two or three shots where a character looked off-model. Which I’m very happy about, especially since this episode spent a lot of time on Kita’s backstory. It almost makes me wonder if the animators were cutting corners last episode so they could get it done a little faster, so they could focus more of their time on this one. But it’s a shame that last week’s episode was so off-model, because it seemed like it would have been an exciting one to watch if the bad animation hadn’t distracted from the action.

Kita definitely added a new dimension to the second set, and it’s going to be interesting to watch how Karasuno’s teamwork and plays evolve because of the introduction of this unknown variable into the other team.

At this point, it appears we’re down to the final five episodes of this season. Will all the remaining episodes be focused on this final set? Or perhaps four of them will be on this match, with the final episode focusing on the aftermath? Just as long as the set remains exciting and doesn’t feel like it’s being stretched out, I think it’ll be OK.

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Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 19 – “The Ultimate Challengers”

This episode returns to the set between Karasuno and Inarizaki High, where the score is sitting at 14-7 (with Inarizaki in the lead).

Before I go into what actually happens in the episode, I’m going to spend a little bit of time talking about the animation quality. I’ve seen it noted by other anibloggers that they had noticed the quality of Haikyu!!‘s animation declining. While I had noticed this phenomenon in the occasional shot this season, it was a very different story for this episode. Before reaching the halfway point, there were basically entire scenes where the characters looked completely off-model. Unfortunately, this bad animation was really distracting me from the actual story. And it didn’t help when we saw flashbacks of scenes from previous seasons, because it only helped to accentuate just how bad and off-model the animation in this episode was.

So, there’s a set going on. I remember that Nishinoya was being targeted by Inarizaki, in the hopes of wearing down Karasuno’s morale. Basically, the idea being that if the libero, who serves as the defender, can’t return the ball, that it’ll shake the confidence of the other members of Karasuno’s team. I thought it was kind of interesting to see this concept being used again, especially right after the episode where Kenma was being targeted by his team’s opponents. Fortunately, Nishinoya overcomes the pressure of being targeted, and thus allows Karasuno to continue.

At one point, Sugawara is brought in as a substitute, and he gives this rousing little speech… but right afterward, he looks a little downcast before heading to his spot. Unfortunately, the impact of this scene is blunted by the fact that Sugawara looks very off-model. The off-model animation definitely hindered the impact that some of the scenes in this episode should have had.

We then see Karasuno targeting Aran from Inarizaki High. I also remember another member of this team being substituted in, but he didn’t perform to expectations and was actually booed by his own team’s cheering section. I got to say, I think the members of their cheering section are a bunch of jerks (between this and some actions they’ve taken previously to try to distract Karasuno)… but, their band does play a catchy song. Sadly, that piece of music and the off-model animation are probably the most memorable aspects of this episode. Which I find to be quite sad, because at this point in the series, these episodes should be making a stronger impact on the audience than this.

This set between Karasuno and Inarizaki High is still ongoing at the end of this episode, and I believe Inarizaki is still ahead, even though Karasuno has started to narrow the gap. But like I said earlier, the off-model animation was so glaringly obvious through so much of this episode that it served to distract me and it degraded the overall quality of the episode.

And from the brief clips we get in the next episode preview, it appears that the animation quality is going to continue to look off-model. I know that the second half of the Haikyu!!: To the Top anime was delayed for three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re getting this kind of animation quality after that three-month delay? I can only hope and pray that maybe this episode has the worst of the off-model animation, because I don’t want to believe that it could get even worse with subsequent episodes. That’s probably wishful thinking on my part, though.

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Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 18 – “Trap”

This episode continues the set between Nekoma and Sarukawa Tech. This episode sees Sarukawa Tech still trying to wear down Kenma and break his spirit. Even though he’s looking visibly tired and worn out, Kenma still forces himself to keep going. At one point, the poor guy’s so tired that he trips on his own feet. I felt so bad for Kenma, and seeing how visibly tired he was kind of made me feel tired, too.

But… it turns out that not everything is as it seems. Sarukawa Tech thinks they’re calling the shots on the court, but it turns out that Nekoma has a plan (suggested by Kenma, surprisingly), that makes it where Nekoma is actually calling the shots. I loved seeing the shock and surprise among Sarukawa Tech’s players when they realized that the situation wasn’t what it seemed.

When this realization is made, though, the set becomes even more intense. At this point, a lot of the set sees the teams at deuce, with neither team making enough ground to break the deuce. But in the end, Kenma pulls something off that turns the tide in Nekoma’s favor.

There’s a great scene near the end of the episode after the set, and we get to see Kenma actually releasing the frustration and anger that had built up during the set. If I was being targeted by the other team and getting worn out, I feel like I probably might have lashed out the same way. The reactions of Kenma’s teammates were wonderful to see. And Kenma’s musings right at the end using his video game analogy of “leveling up” was nice, too.

I also liked how the end of this episode served as a transition. Right at the end, after Nekoma has had a chance to recover from their own match, they go to watch Karasuno, who is still in the middle of their own set.

It was great to see Nekoma in action again, and to see that they will be continuing in the competition. But I’m also ready to return to Karasuno’s set and find out what’s going to happen to our protagonists.

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Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 17 – “Cats vs. Monkeys”

With this episode, the focus shifts from Karasuno’s set to a set that’s being played by Nekoma. Where we come in, Nekoma is ahead by two points. Sarukawa Tech is their competitor. It’s interesting to note that the coach for Sarukawa Tech is a former student of Nekoma’s coach, so the other team has an advantage of having a coach who intimately knows the coaching style of the other team. In the end, it’s going to come down to which coach will win: the teacher or the student.

A lot of this episode actually focuses on backstory for Kenma, especially after he joins Nekoma. It was just so strange to see him with completely black hair, especially since we get a lot of backstory of him in this episode. A big focus of the backstory is on how Kenma doesn’t like running around and working up a sweat, but still has a fierce determination to win. This creates tension between himself and his new teammate, Yamamoto (aka Tora). This builds into them finally becoming teammates that work together. I don’t think you can call them friends, but they at least know how to work together.

One of my favorite parts of the flashback was the first time we see Kenma running laps with the team. We see he’s not as fast as the others and tires easily, but he uses his imagination to pretend that he’s in a videogame world in order to help keep him going. I thought this was creative on Kenma’s part, and it was an amusing scene to watch. Another favorite scene is when Yamamoto and Kenma get into a verbal altercation, and one of their teammates throws water on them from a water bucket and references the character of Mr. Freeze. It’s even more amusing when nobody else on the team seems to understand the reference.

The big reason we get a focus on Kenma, though, is because the coach of Sarukawa Tech sees that Kenma isn’t someone his team can wear down mentally. However, the coach can tell that he can be worn down physically. We already see that Sarukawa Tech is making plays that force Kenma to run around a lot, and he’s already running out of breath. At the end of the episode, we see the players of Sarukawa Tech are psyched up to deal a final blow to Kenma. Since this is how the episode ends, and from what’s seen in the preview, the next episode will continue this set between Nekoma and Sarukawa Tech. I have a hunch that Kenma is going to find a way to surprise their opponents and help Nekoma win the set. I have no idea how he’ll do it, but I just have the feeling that Kenma isn’t going to react as they expect… especially since acting unexpectedly is one of Kenma’s character traits.

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Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 16 – “Broken Heart”

This episode, we get to focus on Tanaka. We intercut flashbacks of Tanaka with what’s going on in the current set against Inarizaki High. And Tanaka plays an important role during this last portion of the set. Unfortunately, for most of the episode, Tanaka isn’t making any impressive moves to stand out, and in fact, is making mistakes. Over the course of the episode, we see how these misses are adding up and stressing him out. And because of how he’s been performing up to this point, he’s getting marked as the one to target by their competitor. But I appreciated seeing Tanaka actually thinking about what’s happening to him and how average he is. We normally don’t get into Tanaka’s psyche like this, so I thought this made for a great character episode.

During the set, the first flashback we get of Tanaka is when he first joins Karasuno. It was weird seeing him as a blond and acting all rough and gloomy like a delinquent. But then, Shimizu appears… and it’s love at first sight on his part. He actually asks her to marry him. LOL! Shimizu just kind of stops for a moment, then simply says, “No.” I loved how nonplussed she was by this happening.

We get other flashbacks where Tanaka still has the delinquent vibe going on, but we get to see how getting to know Daichi, Asahi, and Sugawara causes him to change. The last flashback lets the audience see Sugawara’s reaction the first time he sees Tanaka after he’s shaved his head. That was the interactions and banter that we know from the series.

We also get to see Tanaka’s female childhood friend watching him play and her reactions, especially after the end of the set. She comments on how straightforward Tanaka is, and then adds something to the effect of, “I really did get my heart broken.” But, considering how this episode shows how Tanaka keeps trying to go after what’s unattainable or what’s not easy to attain, it makes sense that she would come to that conclusion. But I think it’s too bad for Tanaka that he wouldn’t consider this girl, because from what I’ve seen, I think she’d be good for him because she understands him. Oh well. His loss.

The first set finally comes to an end at the end of this episode. However, from the preview for the next episode, it looks like we’ll be shifting our focus away from Karasuno for at least one episode. Instead, it looks like we’ll be seeing a set between Nekoma and their challenger. This should be interesting.

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