Warning: Significant plot spoilers ahead!
Welcome to AiPT!’s weekly Shonen Jump recap column! I’ll be sharing my reactions to the latest chapters of all the various Jump comics I’m keeping up with from week to week. From current hits to the latest Jump Start series, I have plenty to talk about. With that said, be warned: there are some major spoilers ahead, so don’t read further if you have yet to catch up on this week’s new releases.
My Hero Academia Chapter 214
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by John Hunt
Great, clean, and dynamic art. Nice teamwork between Midoriya and Uraraka. A final face-off between Midoriya and Shinso. An awesome full-color two-page spread featuring the latest popularity poll winners’ in their fantasy AU garbs. There is a lot of great stuff here this week. This chapter’s visuals are some of the series’ most consistently polished in recent memory, and both Midoriya and Shinso show off new moves. Unfortuantely, all that greatness is hampered a bit by the bane of the manga’s quality: Minoru Mineta. Fortunately he’s not in most of this chapter, but his brief, boob-touching time present still lasts far too long. This is definitely one of the best new chapters of the week, but a certain grape-haired menace almost single-handedly holds it back from reaching the top spot.
Chainsaw Man Chapter 7
Translation by Amanda Haley, lettering by Sabrina Heep
This chapter didn’t really accomplish much besides cementing the thoughts I already had about the series. On the plus side, Fujimoto’s art continues to impress. His style is very well-suited to horror subject matter, and the bat demon looks awesome. With that said, My Hero Academia has competition in the “shonen with potential that’s tarnished by misogyny” department. The bat demon swallows a woman Denji has a crush on, at which point Denji shouts “Gimme back my boobs!” If you’re looking for a series that’s likely to ever treat any of its female characters respectfully…well, this ain’t it, chief.
The Promised Neverland Chapter 120
Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu
Tranlation by Satsuki Yamashita, lettering by Mark McMurray
As promised at the end of last week’s chapter, we get a detailed explanation of the demons’ evolutionary origins. The core concept– a species acquiring its prey’s genetic features and abilities upon consumption– is definitely an interesting one, and one which helps explain the wide variety of different demon types in TPN. The descriptions of how demonkind’s evolution naturally led to their feasting on humans make sense, and shed new light on demons’ human-farming after the Promise. Demizu delivers some standout pages in this chapter, particularly of the humans being experimented on in the experimental farm Lambda 7214. There’s a shot of human babies gestating inside of light bulb-like structures that are like an elevated version of the containment pods in the Matrix films.
With that said, the most interesting part of this chapter doesn’t come until it’s end. When Norman lays out his plan for eliminating all demons, Emma looks terrified. And why shouldn’t she? Her friend just admitted to planning a genocide. Plus, after befriending Mujika, she’s learned that not all demons eat humans. With that said, none of these characters’ motivations have been fully developed yet. Will Norman shift into an antagonist? What about Mujika? I don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that’s a very good thing.
Ne0;lation Chapter 6
Tomohide Hirao & Mizuki Yoda
Translation by Christine Dashiell, lettering by Brandon Bovia
This week’s chapter was…boring. The Lemming arc seems to have more or less wrapped up already, and none of its characters’ potentials have been truly utilized. Here’s hoping that the A.I. Motoko pops back up, otherwise their awesome design will feel wasted. The main drama here comes from the idea that Makoto Anzai was being controlled by Motoko, but…it just isn’t made interesting or meaningful. The series needs to work on making hacking and technology more interesting if it wants to be memorable.
Dr. STONE Chapter 91
Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi with Kurare (science consultant)
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by Steve Dutro
This series always excels when it comes to making technological and agricultural advances seem exciting and badass. This week, that energy is channeled into Senku and co.’s creation of bread. The chapter impresses from the opening logo onward, as the letters in “Dr. STONE” are formed out of various loaves and rolls. The art looks ridiculously good as always, and there’s plenty of comedy to boot. The best gag comes near the end, when Senku and all the others who experienced humanity pre-petrification find themselves far less impressed by their bread than those who’ve never tasted the real, expertly prepared thing. All in all, another fun chapter.
We Never Learn Chapter 96
Translation by Camelia Nieh, lettering by Snir Aharon
Another week, another enjoyable chapter. This one consists mostly of Furuhashi and Takemoto following Yuiga around town and getting into various hijinks along the way. There’s some good comedy throughout as the two girls try to avoid Yuiga discovering them, which he does– but he doesn’t realize it’s them since he isn’t wearing the right contacts prescription. Humor aside though, this chapter marks a major plot progression as the girls find out about Yuiga giving up on getting his VIP recommendation. Next week’s sure to be a more emotional trip, but I’m looking forward to it.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Chapter 296
Yuto Tsukuda & Shun Saeki with Yuki Morisaki (recipe contributor)
Translation by Adrienne Beck, lettering by Mara Coman
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Do I mean former Totsuki Institute first seat Eishi Tsukasa, or just Food Wars! in general? The answer is…yes. This arc has been getting a lot of criticism, and this week’s chapter was one of the most disappointing yet. All sense of characters’ skill levels and the meaning to their bouts is continuing to crumble. Seeing Tsukasa, formerly one of Soma’s most worthy opponents, defeated just to prop up a new villain who has yet to receive any interesting character development is…frustrating. Of course, this result was predictable from the moment Tsukasa’s match-up with Asahi was announced. I never expected it to be rushed through in less than a chapter, though. It just adds insult to injury, and we don’t even get a real sense of what the two chefs cooked. How can their duel be meaningful and attempt to propt up Asahi if we barely even see their dishes? Of course, the art is lovely as always, but that’s about it.
Hell Warden Higuma Chapter 5
Translation by Nathan A. Collins, lettering by Mark McMurray
It feels a bit damning to say that this chapter left almost no impression on me. Higuma has some lengthy back-and-forth with this week’s demon antagonist about why their actions are evil, and it’s very par for the course. With that said, the art is nice and clean throughout. The flow throughout the action in the second half is especially good, as Higuma strategically teleports around during his attack. Hopefully there’s time for more interesting character work next week now that the current villain’s been defeated.
Best chapter of the week: Dr. STONE Chapter 91
Two weeks in a row! We Never Learn and My Hero Academia were its closest competitors this week, but I’ve gotta give it to Dr. STONE again. This manga is consistently over-the-top, yet its most thrilling moments come from real human struggles for survival. Nonetheless, it was the series’ more humorous moments that gave it the edge this time around.