Smokin’ Parade takes everything from Deadman Wonderland and cranks it up to 11. A main character that is thrust into a world full of super powered monsters, only this time instead of being framed for murder, he is almost murdered himself. Over the top gore in nearly every chapter, as well as bad guys that couldn’t act more evil unless they were going around murdering kittens and puppies. Unfortunately, everything I hated about the Deadman Wonderland has been amplified, and it is missing some of my favorite parts from the author’s previous work. They focused way to much on improving areas that were already fine in Deadman Wonderland, and left their weaker areas to be deteriorate even further.
What happens when you put a bunch of rich kids with too much access to their parents money in a school together? Hyakkaou Private Academy is just that, a school for the rich and elite and it is more of a casino than a school. Instead of regular after school clubs like track and field or gardening club, almost all after school activities that the students take part in here involve gambling. Whether its a classic game like blackjack or poker, or some random made up game, the students and Hyakkaou Private Academy spend their afternoons playing against each other gambling away whatever money they can get from their parents. Kakegurui: Compulsive Gambler is a manga that’s all about high stakes gambles, with kids winning it big or going massively in debt by losing it all.
Shonen Jump has been having a rough time keeping new series in their magazine over the past few years, especially series that could replace long-running classics like Naruto and Bleach. Every so often a series like School Judgement will stick, only to be cancelled after a few volumes. The only series to really stick around for the long haul in the last couple of years have been Food Wars, My Hero Academia and Black Clover (with the later two being the more recent additions to Shonen Jump’s catalog of long running series). The Promised Neverland is showing signs of promise as it consistently does well in the weekly rankings (despite some poor pacing) and could be another series we will be seeing a lot of over the next few years.
Despite the relatively low success rate of series becoming big hits the authors keep going to Jump in order to try and hit it big. With the latest batch of new series to be featured in the magazine, one series in particular has been keeping me coming back for more each week, that series being Dr. Stone, a story written by the author of Eyeshield 21 with some crisp and expressive art to accompany it. I think the series has the potential to join the ranks of all the other series I had talked about and become one of Jumps new long running hits.
March Comes In Like a Lion was my favorite show from 2016 for a variety of reasons, but one of the main reasons I enjoyed the series so much was because of its characters. They were full of life and emotion, constantly changing moods and outlooks as the story progressed. The show did a great job of creating real emotion in its characters, no matter if they were happy or depressed. It made the characters relateable and made me sympathetic to their hardships as well as happy when they were having a good time.
Of all the characters, Rei was by far the most relateable to me. Some of his struggles and experiences are things that I had gone through at some point in my life. As an athlete in middle and high school I too came across many tough opponents who were better trained and more skilled, but by far the most challenging opponent I had ever come across was myself.
To belong is to feel complete. Either belonging to someone or some place, to have something where you know you belong is to feel joy, true joy. As people, we are always looking to belong somewhere whether it be with friends to laugh with, a home to return to or a family to love. Turns out, dragons do too.