The Grim Reaper and an Argent Cavalier Manga Progress Update

My first impressions of this manga can be found here.

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Thoughts – Some Spoilers:

I’ve made it to chapter 21 (so mid-way through volume 5) and the story continues to be pretty interesting. Cyan continues to be my favourite character, though the others are definitely growing on me the more we learn. There’s conspiracy a plenty in this story and I’m kind of keen to see how it all kind of resolves.

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But back to Cyan, who after being caught in a magic spell almost ate a human soul and while he hasn’t lost his humanity he is most definitely losing his memories and breaking down. It didn’t help that right before that incident he was told fairly bluntly that the girl he’s been trying to protect is in fact going to die fairly soon because her soul was weakened way back at the start of the story. Still, when Cyan was asked about his parents and he’d pretty much forgotten everything about them that was pretty devastating.

I don’t know when I’m going to have time to go back and finish reading this but I definitely intend to. The story has been really fun so far (though not really anything too unexpected showing up) and there’s certainly enough going on to make for an interesting conclusion if they manage to bring it all together.


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The Grim Reaper and an Argent Cavalier Manga First Impressions

Impressions:

Okay, we’re between anime seasons and instead of actually working thorugh my to be watched list I decided to try a couple of manga. This one I came across on Crunchyroll and was kind of interested so decided to give it a go. I then read the first three volumes in a single sitting so I guess I kind of liked it.

The story follows Cyan who originally doesn’t want to become a cavalier because he saw his mother die protecting him and it kind of freaked him out. Then his dad dies the same way but somehow this actually inspires him to want to protect people and he ends up joining the cavaliers. Yeah, the set up is kind of rubbish and this character’s motives take awhile to settle, however once the story actually gets going (there’s a lot of prologue) it gets kind of good.

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The supposedly protected city is attacked and during that attck Cyan is killed. He makes a deal with someone he thinks is Lemuria (pretty much the one they all worship because she protects them from the Grim Reaper and Larvae) and he is brought back to life. After awhile though he realises something isn’t right and it turns out he actually made a deal with the Grim Reaper and he is now a Larvae craving human souls. Fortunately, or not, he runs into Jade who is also a Larvae but one who has managed to not lose his humanity and ends up being convinced to teach Cyan the secret of how he did that. Cyan joins Jade and a small group of others who are trying to track down the Grim Reaper.

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So zombies, magic, and swords… I guess I was kind of sold on this before starting. More importantly though, the characters actually become quite interesting. I very much want to see what happens to them as they continue on this journey to track down the Grim Reaper.

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A few minor issues though, other than the hopelessly generic my parents died protecting me character motive and the Princess like girl trying to get out and fight. My biggest one would be that their eyes are meant ot change colour when they are giving in to the whole larvae instinct to eat a human soul but you know, it is black and white, and the distinction is sometimes totally lost until another character actually points out that there was something going on with their eyes. Also, at times it is difficult to follow what is going on in a sequence because we change perspectives during a fight or whatever and I lose track of who is doing what. Part of this is my own lack of experience with manga, and part of it is that sometimes it is just messy to follow. Some of the colour images are really pretty though.

Still, I am pretty hooked and will hopefully finish reading this soon.


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Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun Episode 6: It’s Dangerous Trying to Please Everyone

Review:

This week the episode focusses on Ozaki, who is apparently writing a manga. He introduces a character based on Aoyama but becomes upset by that character’s popularity when he’d tried to make him the villain. As he attempts to sabotage the character, the manga loses popularity and he is forced to try to turn things around even as his overall dislike of Aoyama continues.

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I actually really enjoyed this episode. I found Ozaki’s frustration at the audience reaction to his story quite amusing and the way he interpreted the world around him and translated it into his stories was also kind of entertaining. Though, the most amusing thing is that by the end of the episode, despite watching Aoyama for a large part of this episode, Ozaki still doesn’t understand Aoyama. Admittedly, most of the school doesn’t as they all kind of project their own ideas onto him and Aoyama is too detached to either notice or care, but in Ozaki’s case he has seriously caused a problem for himself by trying to write a character based on a person he just doesn’t get.

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So not so much cleaning or soccer this week (though both make a brief appearance just so we are reassured the writers did not forget their own gimmicks). I remain pleasantly surprised by how watchable this is but it still isn’t all that great.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 19

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

Well, that is apparently the end of the first volume or season or whatever they want to call it and it ended about as well as could be expected. Two truly horrible people, made so by their upbringing and the society they lived in, found each other and now the second one has definitely had a taste for killing.

The surprising choice of this chapter was that most of it was spent on a flash back of Yoon Bum in highschool and a girl who once befriended him. Turns out Yoon Bum was pretty weird even back then due to his uncle and he mistook overtures of friendship for something more to be rudely pushed aside before being fully discarded once the girl’s personal situation improved. Apparently Sangwoo was not the first person Yoon Bum had become obsessed with.

Essentially the point of the flash back, other than once again giving us plenty of reason to understand why Yoon Bum is Yoon Bum, is to draw an absolute parallel between the girl chained in the basement and the girl who cruelly used and then ditched Yoon Bum way back when. The flash back is even triggered after the girl delivers this insult:

“You dirty, perverted parasite.”

And then she tells Yoon Bum to just die. Her words echo the words of the girl from high school.

After we see the flash back it is obvious Yoon Bum has snapped. Not that he had much of a grip on his sanity prior to this, but it has definitely left the building as Yoon Bum sees the current girl as the girl from high school and he screams at her that she’s the one that should just die. And… Yoon Bum has a knife in his hand. It isn’t pretty what happens next but the one positive is at least for the girl it is over pretty quick. Unlike Sangwoo, Yoon Bum isn’t up for playing with his victim, he just wants to make the voices in his head go away.

The chapter ends with Sangwoo congratulating Yoon Bum on the kill and asking him how he feels. Not surprised at all that Yoon Bum says he can’t feel anything.

This has been an experience. At the moment this is the end so I’ll start thinking about whether I’m picking up something else to read and review or whether I’ll just stick to anime for a while. I’m still not sure if I will continue reading this once more is released, honestly, I’m kind of happy with this as an end point for the pair. It is kind of sweet in the way that they’ve drawn together against the world, even if I suddenly feel very alarmed for everyone Sangwoo knows.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 18

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

Okay, so we’ve gone from really messed up to so messed up there are no words to describe it. First of all, pretty much Sangwoo and the girl are either naked or in just underwear for the entire chapter though I somehow doubt you made it this far through the story if nudity was going to offend you given the early chapters.

Secondly, Sangwoo beings interrogating the girl about why she was treating Yoon Bum poorly earlier in the evening. At first she’s a bit puzzled and then she actually starts getting both angry and concerned.

“Sangwoo, why are we talking about this right now?”

Then of course, Sangwoo reveals who is in the closet and the girl runs screaming, only that door is a real pain with its electronic lock and Sangwoo drags her down into the basement. After a minor scuffle, that ends about as well for the girl as you would expect, she’s chained to the pole and Sangwoo helps Yoon Bum down the stairs.

There’s a bit of back and forth at this stage, but it is clear Sangwoo is just messing with the girl. He does not intend for her to get out of the basement alive. So going into chapter 19 we have a couple of options. Option 1 is that Yoon Bum is actually about to kill the girl at Sangwoo’s insistence. Option 2 is that Yoon Bum may wimp out and Sangwoo will still kill the girl and find some other way to torture Yoon Bum. Option 3, though I doubt it, is that Yoon Bum may actually turn on Sangwoo for all the good that will do him.

Honestly, not sure what to expect in chapter 19 but I am very curious to know.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 17

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

The after party continues and as much as Sangwoo has proven himself to be a very disturbed and quite sadistic human being, you have to wonder what excuses his friends may have?

They are horrible people. From the guy who won’t move to let Yoon Bum out (he’s using a crutch to walk, get out of his way), to the girls giggling over whether or not he has a girlfriend. They are petty and cruel and when Sangwoo kind of suggests they are all just future fodder (or maybe he really just changes friendship circles, his phrasing was ambiguous), you kind of don’t feel sorry for any of them.

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This seems to be a reoccurring theme in this story. As horrible as both our protagonists are, everything they’ve faced outside of their twisted relationship has also been pretty horrible. It isn’t a subtle message, but it is clear that these monsters were made by the society they live in and now society is going to have to deal with them.

Still, Sangwoo is as cruel as ever. After taking Yoon Bum home and shoving him in a closet, telling Bum not to leave until he let’s him out, he then goes and retrieves the girl he earlier ditched. But, and this is where my concern for her immediate safety kicked in, he called her away from the others with a text before meeting up with her.

Jieun, without anyone else knowing, come down. I’ll wait for you.

I guess for her, she thought she’d struck gold. Her earlier jealousy over the fact that Sangwoo was leaving with Yoon Bum erased, she was all smiles.

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I do not know what Sangwoo’s next plan is but at the end of this chapter it is clear he is in true sadistic form this evening, given he was having sex with the girl right outside the cupboard he threw Yoon Bum into.

There are no decent human beings in this story.

That said, this chapter is a big improvement on the last couple. Since chapter 13, this story has been kind of declining and this is the first real sign that we’re bouncing back.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 16

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

So this chapter wasn’t great either but as its only up to chapter 19 (at least where I’m reading it) I’ll finish up to there and see if that is actually some sort of end or not.

The girl apparently has a big crush on Sangwoo (why does everyone like this psycho) and she gets so nervous that she messes up her part to be saved by the oh-so-amazing Sangwoo. Afterwards, the girl is waiting for Sangwoo as she and some friends are going out but Sangwoo has tracked down Yoon Bum who is hiding in a toilet.

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Just in case we forgot that this story contained explicit sex scenes, here’s a totally unnecessary one thrown at us. Previously, while this has been graphic at times, those scenes have seemed necessary to either show the changing relationship, the psychological state of the characters, or have been mixed with violence to add to the overall psychological tone of the series. This one just felt gratuitous and didn’t seem to add much of anything. Even Sangwoo got bored midway.

Sangwoo then takes Bum to meet his friends (wait, isn’t Bum still technically a kidnapping victim – never mind) and Sangwoo’s friends react totally appropriately by staring at Bum like he is some kind of three-headed alien.

So still feeling that around chapter 14 this story and I went our seperate ways but as I said at the start I’ll finish up what’s currently available.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 15

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

So after the nothingness that was chapter 14 this chapter does at least have some bite to it but what is wrong with the people in this story? And I don’t mean the lead characters who have both clearly established themselves as unstable.

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The answer to this should be ‘no’.

Anyway, they have actually gone out of the house and while Sangwoo is behind stage or whatever waiting for his turn to sing with some random girl that we’ve been given no reason to care about, Bum actually tells not one but two people in the audience that he’s been kidnapped. He desperately asks one girl for help and to call the emergency line.

And guess what her response is? She knocks him to the ground (remembering he’s recently had his legs broken though they’ve clearly healed a fair way at this point) and then calls him a pervert. Excuse me? Someone just told you they’d been kidnapped and asked you to call for help. Even if you don’t believe them and think they are crazy, calling for help still seems like a good plan.

Then Yoon Bum apparently just gives up on getting help and listens to Sangwoo sing getting all teary as he tries to convince himself he doesn’t love Sangwoo.

To be honest, chapters 14 and 15 haven’t been particularly good, or interesting. If chapter 16 doesn’t pick up I’m probably going to call it there.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 14

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

Depsite this being a long chapter, very little actually happens. Sangwoo goes to Yoon Bum’s former address and grabs some of the stuff, pays off the land lord and returns bringing Yoon Bum (who is back to being chained up but no longer in the basement) crutches. Then Sangwoo says something strange about them going out. So… Is Yoon Bum still imprisoned, as the chain suggests, or not?

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And really, that’s all I got out of this chapter. No thrills, no games, no emotional up and downs. Nothing. I get that not every chapter is going to be a gem but I’m just not sure what exactly we were supposed to get out of this. If they wanted to show us Yoon Bum’s pathetic life before Sangwoo, we already had a firm picture. Maybe there’s something significant in some of the objects Sangwoo collected but there’s nothing in this chapter to let us know that.

Part of me had been wondering how long before this story lost steam. I mean, how long can you keep someone imprisoned and find ways to make that entertaining to the audience without just going too far? Maybe it was jut me but this chapter felt like it was just stretching content.

Oh well, I’ll see what the next chapter brings.


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Killing Stalking Chapter 13 Review

Before I get into reviewing this I want to make it clear that none of the content being reviewed in this post is suitable for children and even for adults is probably going to be confronting. Anyone who has been following the copious posts about Killing Stalking on Twitter probably already know that, but just giving everyone else fair warning.

Review:

This chapter is kind of amazing.

It is substantially longer than the previous one but all that build up comes to a head here and yet we get to the end of the chapter without anybody dying but it isn’t a let down.

If you aren’t interested in plot spoilers please stop reading now. There’s a few big ones in this review.

The police officer uses the lame excuse of a noise complaint to Sangwoo to get inside the house. We know Sangwoo doesn’t buy this. Firstly because we know that he’s stood outside and shouted for help with Bum with no concern whatsoever for anyone hearing or complaining. And in case that wasn’t enough to make the officer’s story totally suspect and for the readers to figure out that Sangwoo knew this, we get this line from Sangwoo:

“Which is why I’m so surprised you received a complaint…”

The whole scene as Sangwoo allows the officer to check the house just smacks of Sangwoo’s usual games. It’s satisfying enough but nothing spectacular and then the officer notices the missing knife.

Killing13.JPGAt this point the reader inevitably draws the conclusion that his time is short. It’s going to be brutal and its going to happen soon. We keep cutting between Sangwoo and the officer to Yoon Bum who is cowering, hands over his mouth (which is interesting in and of itself given this is potential rescue material but clearly Yoon Bum isn’t interested – unless he’s also smart enough to have figured out there’s no chance of one guy overpowering Sangwoo and is waiting a better chance).

Then the officer does the second idiotic thing in this chapter. To delay leaving he pretends to receive a phone call. Of course he actually gets a real phone call. It all seems like death is looming.

And finally, Sangwoo leads him to the wardrobe. He’s going to open the door and then he’s going to stab the officer with the knife. But that isn’t what happens. I love being surprised by a story in an intelligent manner and not something totally random. So the officer opens the wardrobe and there is no Yoon Bum. The officer is confused. He was certain someone was in the house. He was sure the wardrobe was where they had to be. But there’s nothing. And so he leaves.

Then, and this is why I started this review with ‘this chapter is kind of amazing’, we get this expression from Sangwoo:

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That was so incredibly satisfying. For 13 chapters we’ve not seen Sangwoo even vaguely rattled. Crazy certainly, furious occasionally, smug and self-assured almost constantly, but that look… I would almost say it is worth reading the 13 chapters to this point, even if this isn’t your style of story, just for the satisfaction that this look will bring you.

Following this Sangwoo literally tears around the house, almost mirroring the path of the police officer, frantically searching. Then he runs outside and has kind of a break down and we get a weird mix of sexual desire and murderous intent. There’s also some foul language but all of this can be neatly summed up by Sangwoo’s statement:

“He actually ran away.”

Sangwoo is being hit by mixtures of betrayal, heart-break, loss of control, rage, abandonment issues, and there’s definitely some sexual tension thrown into the mix. And it shakes him hard.

Meanwhile, as a reader I’m frantically trying to put the pieces together. I know Yoon Bum hasn’t run away because the whole time the search was on we saw Yoon Bum in the closet…

Wait, no we didn’t.

We saw Yoon Bum in a small space, cowering. I assumed, as the police officer did, that he was in the wardrobe because that’s where we saw the foot through the mail slot in the door. And suddenly I get it.

It’s a very weird reunion at the end of the chapter and what, from anyone else, would sound like a marriage proposal but all and all it just means that this creepy and highly dysfunctional relationship is going to continue and now I’m really not sure what the end game is unless eventually the plan is for Sangwoo to just snap. More importantly, the officer still knows something is off. Will he come back?


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