Manga Review: Case Closed Volume 17

Case Closed Volume 17 focuses on first grade detective Conan Edogawa, who had previously been a high school detective named Jimmy Kudo. While investigating a case, Jimmy was discovered by a criminal organization and forced to take an experimental poison. Unknown to the criminals, Jimmy survived and shrunk down to his first grade self. He takes on the name Conan Edogawa to hide his identity, goes to live with his friend Rachel and her bumbling private detective father, and receives help and gadgets from his neighbor, Dr. Agasa. Conan’s overall goal is to find a way to return to his regular self again.

Case Closed Volume 17
Written by: Gosho Aoyama
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 15, 2007

Volume 17 continues the murder mystery that began at the end of Volume 16. In that mystery, the wife of an old and famous potter is found dead, and Conan ultimately has to prove that it was a murder and not a suicide. This story is executed in the typical fashion that readers have come to expect from Aoyama’s writing. It’s not to say that Aoyama has formulaic writing, though. There’s just a particular feel to the storytelling that I’ve come to associate with Case Closed. With this particular mystery, I had figured out who the guilty party was, but not how they carried out the murder.

The next three chapters in Case Closed Volume 17 take place at the beach, where Rachel tries once again to create a reconciliation between her parents. Her efforts are unsuccessful, but Conan, Rachel, Richard, and Eva meet a group of scuba divers. Two of the divers are engaged to marry, and one of them becomes the victim of an attempted murder. I appreciated seeing how Aoyama intertwined the interactions between Richard and Eva with the mystery that unfolds, and how there’s a parallel between the two couples and their motivations for their actions. I thought this added a nice touch to this particular mystery.

This is followed by a one chapter story that takes place when Conan and the Detective Boys visit Richard in the hospital after he’s broken his leg. But this visit leads Conan to discovering a mystery that involves a kidnapping and extortion. Conan worked this particular case on his own, since the Detective Boys don’t pick up on what’s going on. It was a refreshing change of pace to not have a murder mystery or an attempted murder mystery.

The next three chapters of Volume 17 see Richard, Ran, and Conan going to visit someone about mysterious happenings at their home after Richard receives a letter. This is actually another non-murder mystery, and it involves needing to figure out codes left behind by the original owner of the house. Not only does this story involve cracking a code, but it turns out there’s more going on than meets the eye. I really liked the twist that there was more to the story than what the reader was originally led to believe. I like it when Aoyama throws in twists to the mysteries, because the cases become harder for the reader to solve on their own before Conan explains everything.

Right at the end of the volume, there’s the beginning of another murder mystery when Richard, Rachel, and Conan meet an actor who wants Richard to mentor him on how to be a detective for an upcoming role. By the end of the volume, it’s clear to both Conan and the reader who the murderer is, but nothing has been revealed about how the murder was carried out. I’m sure that will be answered early on in Volume 18.

Even though I’m already familiar with these mysteries from watching the Case Closed anime series, I still found them to be just as enjoyable when I read them again in the original manga source material.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous volumes of the series, then I think you’ll enjoy reading Case Closed Volume 17.

Additional post about Case Closed:

Manga Review: Attack on Titan Volume Nine

Attack on Titan Volume Nine is set in an alternative middle-ages world that has been attacked by giant humanoid creatures called Titans. The remains of civilization are protected by three concentric walls that are about 50 meters tall. After building these walls, humanity has remained safe for 100 years and has basically become complacent. While there are people who want to go outside of the walls and explore the world, many are discouraged from doing so. Eren Yeager and his friends Mikasa and Armin end up enlisting in the military forces after Unusual Titans attacked their city.

Attack on Titan Volume Nine
Written by: Hajime Isayama
Publisher: Kodansha Ltd.
English Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: November 26, 2013

Volume Nine focuses very heavily on the Titan invasion after the breach of Wall Rose. One of the biggest surprises was the hairy Titan that can speak. We see this particular Titan on a couple of different occasions, but so far, nothing to explain what’s going on with this particular Titan. I’m very intrigued to find out what’s going with this unusual Titan, and hopefully we’ll find out in one of the upcoming volumes.

We also get to see some character development for Connie Springer, when he returns to his village after the Titans breach the wall. Something very unusual is found when he reaches his house, and if I’ve guessed what caused this is, there could be some very major repercussions in connection to this discovery.

There’s also some backstory and development for Sasha Blouse. I enjoyed seeing the flashbacks of when she was younger, because it definitely explains her obsession with food. It turns out that interest is food isn’t just for comic relief. Sasha gets an important story when she returns to her village and finds a Titan attacking it.

Eren doesn’t make an appearance in Attack on Titan Volume Nine until around halfway through, and even then, he doesn’t play a major role. However, the scenes with Eren and the others he’s traveling with have a couple of important revelations included. I was glad to see the idea of something being hidden in the basement of Eren’s house was mentioned here, and it looks like Eren may finally take some action in regards to getting there. Finally! It was starting to feel as if the plot point involving Eren’s basement had been forgotten. I feel rather confident that something rather important will be discovered there, but at this point, I have no idea how much longer it’ll take Eren to finally be able to make it back to that basement to reveal whatever secrets it holds. It’s also revealed that a character who’s basically been in the background up to this point actually has importance to the story and could have some potentially important information regarding the secret of the walls. So now we also have another potentially big revelation being teased to the audience, and it’ll be interesting to find out what it is when Isayama decides to reveal it.

The art in Attack on Titan Volume Nine is still as strong as it was in the first volume, and it maintains the unique feel that the series has. I especially liked some of the drawings of Sasha in her flashback, because I felt that Isayama took some care with them. Not only does she look a little younger, but Isayama made sure that these drawings grabbed the reader’s attention.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous eight volumes of the series, then you definitely won’t want to miss Attack on Titan Volume Nine. It’s a strong continuation to the story, and it also includes some much needed character development for Connie and Sasha.

Additional post about Attack on Titan:

Manga Review: One Piece Volume 18

One Piece Volume 18 focuses on Luffy, a young man who dreams of finding the One Piece and becoming the King of the Pirates someday. As a child, he ate the Gum-Gum fruit, which turned his body into rubber and allows him to stretch himself in crazy ways. Unfortunately, this means that he is no longer able to swim and will drown if he goes into water. But Luffy is determined to achieve his dream, and he is accompanied by his pirate crew, who are known as the Straw Hats.

One Piece Volume 18
Written by: Eiichiro Oda
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 3, 2008

Volume 18 continues Luffy, the Straw Hats, and Vivi’s journey to Alabasta. During this volume, Luffy and his crew encounter two new characters: Bon Clay and Ace. One of these characters has a connection to Baroque Works, while the other has an important connection with Luffy.

But the main focus of this volume is on providing the reader with information about Alabasta and providing development for the country and its people. There’s also an important flashback included that provides backstory for Vivi, as well as for another character who appears will be playing an important role later in the story. There’s also some exposition for Baroque Works as well.

That’s not to say that One Piece Volume 18 is dull, though, because there’s still some action that takes place during the Straw Hats’ journey. It’s not as action-packed as some of the other volumes have been, but this volume is very important for helping the reader understand this new country and some of the newer characters who have been introduced to the series.

When it comes to the art, Volume 18 included several symbols that required an editor’s note to explain them. One of these editor’s notes was very important, because it helped to head off potential controversy. Unfortunately, there’s a tattoo on Ace’s back that could have potentially caused readers to become very angry if they didn’t have the context for the tattoo’s design from the editor’s note.

Overall, I enjoyed One Piece Volume 18. It provided some much needed background information, and it also made me like the character of Vivi even more than I already did. Vivi was a fascinating character before this, but between getting the flashback of her past and the backstory for her country, it made Vivi an even more compelling character than she already was. This volume also provided a bit of a break from the action that’s usually prevalent in One Piece.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous volumes of the series, then I think you’ll want to read One Piece Volume 18.

Additional post about One Piece:

Manga Review: Dragon Ball Full Color Volume Four

Dragon Ball Full Color Volume Four includes the first volume of the Freeza Arc. Unlike the other releases of this manga, this one presents the story with full color in every panel.

Dragon Ball Full Color Volume Four
Written by: Akira Toriyama
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 3, 2016

The fourth volume of Dragon Ball Full Color begins with Bulma, Kuririn, and Gohan heading for Planet Namek to try to find the Namekian Dragon Balls in order to bring their companions back to life. But after an injured Vegeta is healed, he begins his journey to Namek to find the Dragon Balls for himself.

This volume also introduces Freeza, the new villain for this story arc. He and Vegeta both have a goal of finding the Dragon Balls and wishing to live for eternity, and they also share a connection in their past. Over the course of this volume, it’s made very clear that Freeza is extremely evil and will do whatever it takes in order to obtain the Dragon Balls. We also get to meet some of the Namekians, and learn that as a race, they’re not evil like King Piccolo had been.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dragon Ball volume if there weren’t fights of some kind happening. There’s nothing terribly epic here, since Goku isn’t at Namek yet. However, Vegeta manages to get some decent fights, and it was great to see him surprising all of his opponents.

Toriyama told the story in such a way that it keeps the reader interested and makes them want to keep going. I appreciated getting to read the manga version of this story, since it allows me to see how the story was intended to be told. In the anime adaptation, fights tended to be drawn out to ridiculous levels in order for the manga to get far enough ahead for the story to make significant progress. While I understand the necessity for the anime needing to stretch itself out, it can make for frustrating viewing at times. So getting to see the original manga proves that there’s a well-written and tight story that kind of gets lost in the anime adaptation.

When it comes to the art, the colors are vibrant and make the reader take notice. As I read the volume, I noticed that the colors looked rather similar to the shades that were used for the anime adaptation. Sometimes, I found myself thinking that I was looking at stills from the anime that had speech bubbles added to them. Obviously, that’s not the case, but that’s how this full color version felt at times. Not that that’s a bad thing, but as someone who’s seen the anime, I can’t help but think that way.

I would recommend Dragon Ball Full Color Volume Four to fans of the Dragon Ball franchise, especially to those who want to own every version of the various manga volumes. If you’ve already got the original black and white manga versions of these chapters, you might only be interested in this if you’d rather replace them with color versions. If you don’t care whether or not your Dragon Ball manga has color, it may be harder to justify double dipping just to get the same material in color.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional post about Dragon Ball:

Manga Review: My Love Story!! Volume Eight

My Love Story!! Volume Eight focuses Takeo Goda, a large high school boy who believed he would never have a girlfriend. Now he’s going out with Rinko Yamato, and the series primarily focuses on their relationship.

My Love Story!! Volume Eight
Written by: Kazune Kawahara
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: April 5, 2016

Volume Eight begins with Takeo encountering Rinko’s father for the first time when he carries Rinko home after she injures her foot. This leads to Takeo being invited over to Rinko’s house to meet her family. This is a plot point that needed to eventually happen, and this seems to be the right time to introduce it, since at this point in the story, Takeo and Rinko have been going out for a year. As a reader who’s been following this series from the beginning, it was just as nice for us to meet Rinko’s family as it was for Takeo. This storyline was handled well, by including the nervousness that Takeo feels and combining it with the light-hearted humor that this series is known for.

The majority of My Love Story!! Volume Eight actually focuses on Makoto’s older sister, Ai, who’s had a crush on Takeo. At college, she’s being pursued by her classmate Oda, and she keeps turning him down. But in this volume, Ai seems to be starting to accept the idea that nothing can ever happen between her and Takeo, but yet she’s not sure she can give Oda a chance. When Ai comes home for Golden Week, Oda crashes with Takeo in order to be near Ai. After a bit of drama, this particular storyline seems to basically be resolved. And with the way this particular arc ends, it gives the impression that a potential obstacle for Takeo and Rinko’s relationship has been removed. And honestly, I’m glad about that. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought Ai’s interest in Takeo bordered a little on the creepy side. Yes, Oda may not be much better, since he was stalking Ai so much, but at least he’s much closer to Ai’s age.

However, with the resolution of that storyline, a new potential obstacle is introduced. Rinko has always enjoyed making sweets, and when a part-time position opens at a cake shop that she really likes, she applies for and gets the job. But there’s a highly respected male chef who works there, and he misinterprets Rinko’s interests in his sweets for interest in him. This storyline is just getting started when Volume Eight ends, so I think it’s very safe to say that this new arc will continue in Volume Nine.

Fans of the series will not want to miss out on My Love Story!! Volume Eight, because this is their opportunity to finally see Rinko’s family and what type of environment Rinko comes from. Also, readers won’t want to miss out on the resolution of the arc about Ai and her interest in Takeo. This volume is an enjoyable read that helps to progress the overarching story.

Additional post about My Love Story!!:

Manga Review: Shugo Chara! Volume Two

Shugo Chara! Volume Two focuses on Amu Hinamori, a girl who discovers three eggs that hatch into her three Guardian Characters: Ran, Miki, and Su. Each of the Guardian Characters claim to be the person that Amu really wants to be. Amu becomes the fifth member of her school’s student council, and the members are referred to as the school’s Guardians. She is recruited to help find a special egg called the Embryo, as well as to search for and purify X Eggs and X Characters.

Shugo Chara! Volume Two
Written by: Peach-Pit
Publisher: Kodansha Ltd.
English Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Release Date: August 21, 2012

Volume Two opens with Amu undergoing an unexpected Character Transformation (where one of her Guardian Characters merges with her), and it really rattles her to the point where Amu appears to now be afraid of change. Meanwhile, her classmate Yuki will be sent away to go to school in America, and Yuki is afraid of all the changes that will happen because of the move. I really appreciated seeing how these two storylines came together after Yuki is possessed by an X Character, and how seeing what happens to Yuki makes Amu come to a realization.

This volume also introduces a new character, who is a new teacher for Amu’s class. He is Yuu Nikaidou, and from the first time he was introduced, I had a suspicion that there was more to him than what appeared on the surface. Sure enough, a very important detail was revealed about this character that proved that my suspicions were correct. While I hadn’t completely predicted what was making me think there was something off about this character, I had a basic idea of what I thought his secret might be.

My least favorite part of Shugo Chara! Volume Two was the chapter that focused on Amu and the other members of the student council having a story at the beach. The only important thing that happened in it was Peach-Pit establishing that Tadase seems to have some kind of feelings for Amu. Outside of that, this particular story felt like a waste of time. I know that building on a potential relationship for Amu and Tadase needs to happen, but I wish they could have found a better story to establish this with.

But it does seem there could be the potential for a love triangle to develop in Shugo Chara! Amu has some run-ins with Ikuto Tsukiyomi, a high school boy who is contracted by the Easter Company to find the Embryo. We see him rescue Amu at one point in the volume, and there’s also a scene where it’s revealed that Amu’s Humpty Lock is paired with Ikuto’s Humpty Key. The particular scene where this revelation is made strongly hints at a potential love interest angle, although it’s a little on the creepy side since Amu is only a fifth grader while Ikuto is in high school.

Overall, I have to say that Volume Two is a strong continuation for the series. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that I thought it was even better than the first volume. Now that the main concept has been established, this volume could focus more on fleshing out the characters and their relationships. And the way this volume ends with a cliffhanger, it makes the reader want to move on to Volume Three in order to find out what’s going to happen next.

Shugo Chara! Volume Two will have the strongest appeal to younger female readers, because they will be able to relate to Amu and her friends. The story and the art style used for this series will also have a strong appeal to a younger female demographic.

Additional post about Shugo Chara!:

Manga Review: Horimiya Volume One

Horimiya Volume One focuses on a popular girl named Kyouko Hori and a boring guy named Izumi Miyamura, and on how these two completely opposite characters become closer after discovering that the other has a secret.

Horimiya Volume One
Written by: HERO
Publisher: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: October 27, 2015

Volume One introduces both Kyouko and Izumi, and establishes just how different the two of them are. But the reader quickly discovers that when Kyouko is at home, she doesn’t wear makeup and tends to not dress up as much as she does at school. It turns out that Kyouko’s parents work a lot, so it’s up to her to keep the house clean and to take care of her little brother, Souta. One day, when Souta falls and gets hurt, he is brought home by a boy with piercings and wild hair, who just happens to be Izumi. The two of them discover that the other has a different image outside of school that they hide from the other kids at school.

Souta likes Izumi, and keeps wanting him to come over and spend time with him and Kyouko. As the two main characters spend time together outside of school, they start becoming friends. And one of them seems like they could be developing feelings for the other. But it turns out that a boy in their class likes Kyouko, and Kyouko’s best friend unknowingly develops a crush on Izumi when she sees him from behind one day when he’s out and about with Kyouko.

Horimiya Volume One does a great job of establishing the characters and setting up their world and their story. HERO makes these characters very relatable and likable, and as a reader, I found myself wanting to continue reading in order to find out what would happen to them. By the end of the volume, I was also shipping Kyouko and Izumi.

When it comes to the art, the characters have very distinct looks, and the reader can’t easily confuse them. I also thought there was a very noticeable difference with the two different looks that Kyouko and Izumi have at school and at home. With the art, I found it believable that on the rare occasions that someone from school might see them in their out of school looks, that they wouldn’t be easily recognized.

Horimiya Volume One comes across as an “opposites attract” kind of story, yet it has the twist of the two opposites not being who others actually think they are. The characters and story are appealing, and I found myself wanting to read the next volume. I think Horimiya will appeal to manga readers who appreciate stories that focus on high school protagonists and potential love triangles. It’s interesting to note that this is apparently classified as a shonen manga series, which I wouldn’t have picked up on from the storytelling and the art. Yes, the art doesn’t evoke the typical shojo style, but from the story, I would have assumed it was shojo. But even though Horimiya is classified as shonen, it should still hold a lot of appeal to shojo readers.

Manga Review: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume Two

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume Two is a four-panel romantic comedy about a girl named Chiyo Sakura who has a crush on her schoolmate, Umetaro Nozaki. During Volume One, she learns that he is a shojo manga artist who goes by the pen name of Sakiko Yumeno. Chiyo ends up becoming one of Umetaro’s assistants.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume Two
Written by: Izumi Tsubaki
Publisher: Square Enix Co., Ltd.
English Publisher: Yen Press
Release Date: February 23, 2016

Volume Two starts off with Umetaro getting his manuscript done ahead of time, so Chiyo invites him to do something fun since he has a break. Of course, as one would expect from Umetaro, he never truly takes a break from thinking about his manga. Much of the humor in this portion of the manga is derived from Umetaro’s workaholic mentality, and poor Chiyo doesn’t quite have the fun time with Umetaro that she had imagined. But she obviously must really like this guy if she’s still willing to hang out with him even though he’s expressed his cluelessness about love on many occasions between the two volumes of the series.

We also see Umetaro meeting with his editor, Ken. It’s hilarious just how clueless Umetaro is when it comes to how he should progress his manga story, as Ken’s reactions add even more punch to the humor. But when Ken tells him that he needs to try identifying with his female protagonist, Umetaro spends a day at school trying to act like her. It’s humorous enough to the reader knowing why he’s acting the way he is, but the humor increases when Umetaro interacts with characters who don’t know he’s a mangaka and can’t comprehend his unusual behavior.

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume Two also introduces a new character named Wakamatsu, who played basketball with Umetaro back in middle school. Since we’ve only known the Umetaro since high school, it was hard for me to imagine the character that we know actually playing on a sports team. This is wonderful character development, though, and it shows that Umetaro wasn’t always the type of person that we’ve known him to be in the series. But Wakamatsu finds himself in a strange situation, because Chiyo’s friend Seo practices with the boys’ basketball team, and she always seems to be picking on Wakamatsu. But Seo has a secret, and Wakamatsu unwittingly becomes interested in Seo because he doesn’t know about Seo’s secret. The volume also seems to imply that Seo is interested in Wakamatsu, so this makes for another interesting potential couple at some point in the series.

This volume continues the humor and qualities that made the first volume of the series so endearing. I also appreciated seeing how the new characters that have been introduced in the story find ways to come back and continue tying in with the story. The interactions between Umetaro and Chiyo continue to be delightful, and I find myself shipping these two characters pretty hard. Umetaro just needs to start getting more of a clue, though.

If you enjoyed the first volume of the series, then you’ll definitely want to read Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume Two.

Additional post about Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun:

Manga Review: Bleach Volume 15

Bleach Volume 15 focuses on Ichigo Kurosaki, a 15-year-old boy who has the ability to see ghosts. His life changes when he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki and accidentally absorbs all of her spiritual power in order to save his family from a Hollow. Unfortunately, Rukia is taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. She faces execution, and Ichigo and his friends go to Soul Society in an attempt to rescue her.

Bleach Volume 15
Written by: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 3, 2006

Volume 15 continues the battle between Uryu and Mayuri, and it also includes some important backstory for Uryu. I appreciated getting to see this backstory, because it helped me to better understand Uryu and his motivations as a character. The climax of their battle is rather surprising, especially Nemu’s reactions to what transpired.

Another important development in Bleach Volume 15 is the training that Yoruichi has Ichigo undergo. While this takes him out of the main action, the point of it is for Ichigo to become stronger and to be better able to fight with Zangetsu. This section also provides an important piece of information about Kisuke Urahara, as well as an amusing bit of humor between Ichigo and Yoruichi. In a lot of respects, this section featuring on the training provides a nice break from the fighting that’s been taking place in Soul Society.

Some of the Soul Reapers find themselves embroiled in the investigation into the murder of Aizen, and this section of the story includes some unexpected twists and turns. This volume begins to shed some light on some of the various Soul Reapers that seemed to start popping up left and right when Ichigo and the others entered Soul Society. If there’s one issue with Bleach at this point, it’s the fact that during this story arc, a whole bunch of new characters started showing up in rapid-fire succession, with little to no character development given to any of them. Fortunately, Volume 15 begins providing some slow but steady development for some of these characters.

At the end of Bleach Volume 15, there’s a standalone story included that takes place in Soul Society in the past. It focuses on Izuru, Momo, and Renji in the elite class as they’re starting out at the Soul Reaper Academy. We get to see them participating in training in the World of the Living, and how it goes horribly wrong. This standalone story adds even more development for characters like Momo, Izuru, and Renji, especially in how Gin and Aizen played an important role in a couple of these characters’ lives. It also explains a lot about Izuru’s reaction to something he did in an earlier volume of the series. But my favorite part of this standalone story was getting to see Izuru, Momo, and Renji when they were much younger. Izuru was the most interesting one, though, because he looks so drastically different here than he does in the present time in the series.

While it may not feel like it when you’re reading Volume 15, you realize after you’re done that a lot has actually happened and that important pieces of information have been revealed. And with the way this volume ends, it’s becoming clearer that this story arc appears to be rapidly heading toward its climax. And I get the feeling that Ichigo’s training is going to play an important role in the next volume of the series.

Readers who have been reading and following the series from the first volume should be able to appreciate everything that takes place in Bleach Volume 15. And the way this volume ends, it makes the reader want to continue on in order to find out what’s going to happen to several of the characters.

Additional post about Bleach:

Manga Review: Naruto Volume 28

Naruto Volume 28 focuses on Naruto Uzumaki, the number one hyperactive knuckleheaded ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village who has a fox demon sealed inside of him. He’s spent his life being shunned by the village due to fears of the fox demon, but Naruto is determined to become the leader of the village one day and be acknowledged by others.

Naruto Volume 28
Written by: Masashi Kishimoto
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: March 4, 2008

At the beginning of Volume 28, more than two years have passed since the events that took place at the end of Volume 27. Naruto returns to the Hidden Leaf Village after being away on a training mission with Jiraiya during the timeskip, and it’s readily apparent how much time has lapsed when the reader sees Naruto for the first time. He’s definitely taller than before, and his outfit is different. Much of the early portion of Volume 28 shows Naruto running into some of his peers and seeing how much they’ve changed in appearance as well. Seeing the design changes for these characters can be a little shocking for the reader at first, but they will likely adapt to it quickly.

It’s also revealed that Gaara has become the Kazekage of the Hidden Sand Village during the timeskip, which offers another parallel between him and Naruto. Both of them have a tailed beast sealed inside of them and both of them went through the experience of being shunned by their respective villages, but Gaara has already achieved the dream that Naruto has been pursuing. But it’s nice to see that Naruto isn’t upset that Gaara is already leading his village; instead, it seems to drive Naruto to want to become Hokage even more.

The story of Naruto is also kicked up a notch in Volume 28. The Akatsuki finally make their move, and this plot development introduces two new characters: the puppet master Sasori and an explosive clay artist named Deidara. Gaara becomes an important part of the story when it’s revealed that he’s the target that Deidara and Sasori are after. This volume features an epic battle between Gaara and Deidara, which is very riveting to read.

Most of the latter half of Naruto Volume 28 focuses on the Hidden Sand Village, and also includes the introduction of a couple of new characters: a pair of elderly siblings who are revered by the people of the village. When one of the characters’ lives is in grave danger, these elderly siblings are asked to assist in trying to save this character. It’s very clear that one of the siblings harbors ill will toward the Hidden Leaf Village and is not supportive of the alliance between their two villages. I can already tell that this particular character will somehow be an important part of the story and will likely be an interesting character as well.

While Volume 28 is establishing what’s happened during the timeskip, it also doesn’t waste much time getting the action of the next story arc going. By the end of it, there’s already been an epic battle, and a character’s life is in grave danger. The action in this volume is so riveting that I didn’t want to put it down.

Naruto Volume 28 is a wonderful progression for the story, and it’s nice to see how much some of the main characters have grown and changed during the timeskip. Readers who enjoyed the storyline during the first 27 volumes of the series should be able find a lot to appreciate about the direction that the story and characters are going in after the timeskip.

Additional posts about Naruto: