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QBD Reviews: Assassination Classroom by Yusei Matsui

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Welcome to Class E. A classroom for delinquents, rebels, underachievers and failures, laughed at and mocked by the rest of the school. Oh, and did we mention their teacher is a tentacled monster that can move at Mach 20, create clones of himself and will blow up the Earth in a year? And that these students have been tasked to assassinate this monster? Talk about a killer curriculum. Follow the students of Class E as they fight their teacher, assassinate exams and try out a whole lot of different kill methods. A fun read for all ages that teaches you can achieve wonderful things no matter what your position is in life.

Assassination Classroom has been a manga series I have followed as it has been released. Finishing at 180 Chapters (20 Volumes) this has been a tale that has caused me to laugh loud and I believe has crafted beautiful, fun and deep characters that interact in believable and refreshing ways, given the complete absurdity of the premise. Something else to consider with manga is the artwork. I also believe that this series art used compliments the absurd and quite ridiculous story. I have had a lot of fun reading and following this series, watching the characters evolve and the plot unravel. Together with the wonderful, bittersweet ending, this is definitely a manga series I hope continues to shine.

QBD Reviews: Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

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NINJAS! Naruto follows the character, Uzumaki Naruto (whom the series is named after) as he journeys from an outcast, orphan boy to one of the most powerful and awe-inspiring ninjas to have ever  come from the Hidden Villages. Yes, ninjas live in Hidden Villages. Unfold the tale of the mysterious Tailed Demon Beasts and the power that they represent. And, when one of their own go astray, watch and read as Naruto and his friends do everything in their power to bring them back.

Along with One Piece and Bleach, Naruto was one of the pillars of the Japanese magazine, Shonen Jump. After reading this series, it is easy to see why this was the case. The action is intense, the story simple and yet compelling and the themes that run throughout, typical in these sorts of manga, is present and the basis for a lot of characters motivation. A simple story but with great art, brilliant characters and the ability to throw good humour amongst all the seriousness, Naruto will surely be a comic enjoyed by many.

 

QBD Reviews: One Piece by Eiichiro Oda

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A manga series (probably better to call it an epic now) created by pirate loving author and illustrator Eiichirō Oda. This series follows the character Monkey D. Luffy and his quest to find the coveted 'One Piece' and become the Pirate King of the New Age. Along the way, he picks up a crew consisting of a whole cast of characters: Zoro the swordsman aiming to be the greatest, user of the Three Sword style (this requires the use of a katana between his teeth). There is also the all important cook, Sanji who considers himself to be quite the womanizer, intent on searching for the great ocean, All Blue, said to contain every fish. Laugh, cry and enjoy a wildly fun journey masterfully told and drawn.

One Piece is certainly an interesting manga series. Spanning over 800 chapters and currently over 60 volumes translated into English, it is certainly quite the phenomenon. The one question that I cannot seem to answer about this series is this, what makes it so enjoyable? The art style certainly is unique, though I know that has turned some people off it. The story is slightly clichè, though still told well with plenty of emotional highs, lows and twists. Or maybe it uses the magic of adventure, the wanderlust of things unknown. Whatever the case may be, this is one manga series that certainly deserves its place among the greats.

QBD Reviews: Dragon Ball & Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama

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Dragon Ball tells of the story of Son Goku (for any of you who know of the Chinese tale 'Journey to the West', you probably recognise this name as well as the plot) and his quest to find the mystic Dragon Balls. These, when gathered together, summon the great Shenlong who will grant any wish asked. Along the way, meet the Turtle Hermit, who teaches Goku the basics of martial arts, Bulma, Krillin, Chi Chi, Yumcha and a whole host of other colourful, wonderful and exciting characters.

Dragon Ball Z continues from where Dragon Ball finishes. The Earth is at peace, Goku is considered the strongest martial artist in the world and has now had a child with his wife, Chi Chi. This story introduces the famous Super Saiyan, exposes Goku's past along with other characters, and goes just a little silly (The Earth is destroyed nearly twice over). Read along as Goku battles against his own limits, befriends enemies and continues to save humanity time and time again.

Jacket (2)These two stories are vastly different from each other. Dragon Ball is silly, a little immature (perfect for boys aged 12) and a nice introduction into the world of manga. Dragon Ball Z sets the stage for a lot of manga to follow on afterwards. It introduces power levels, transformation to achieve stronger states and big, epic battles showing martial art prowess. These three things are typical in your standard action-packed manga usually for those aged 13 to 17. Both of these have been series I have thoroughly enjoyed and introduced me to so many different series and continued my enjoyment of manga. A good, fun read for everyone who enjoys all things action.

QBD Reviews: Deadman Wonderland

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A massive anomaly ravaged Japan and sunk three-quarters of Tokyo into the sea. Deadman Wonderland starts its story ten years later, with the introduction of the main character. It starts in a high school, like any other day. It quickly goes south as the main character's class is massacred and he is arrested and falsely found guilty of the crime. On and on the story goes, a dark, twisted wonderland story with gladiator fights between those who can manipulate their own blood, a resistance to escape the death prison and a horrifying twist. A dark psychological thriller with elements of supernatural, Deadman Wonderland is a prime example of what makes Japanese comics, Manga, such 'wonderful' entertainment.

Deadman Wonderland is a horrifying tale. A dark descent down into a mad and twisted wonderland. And it executes things brilliantly. The artwork done here by Kazuma Kondou is superb, backing up the dark story with equally realistic illustrations. The use of blood, as well as the at times over-the-top gore, help keep the story equal parts intriguing and horrifying. And all this coupled with the well thought out psychological aspects of the story, Deadman Wonderland is certainly a manga series I highly recommend, both for those who are just starting to enter the world of Japanese comics, and for those who have read a number.