Warning: Significant plot spoilers ahead!
Welcome to AiPT!’s weekly Shonen Jump recap column! This is where I share my reactions to the latest chapters of all the various Jump comics I’m following. From established 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 be careful reading further if you have yet to catch up on this week’s new releases.
Hell Warden Higuma Chapter 8
Translation by Nathan A. Collins, lettering by Mark McMurray
Out of the three newest series, this one has the best installment this week. It’s nothing especially memorable, but we do at least see more of what Higuma’s time not spent fighting demons look like. The school lives of high school characters are important backdrops even when the main action takes place elsewhere, so I don’t mind this chapter’s focus on relatively mundane events. The progression of the fox demon’s story line is also decent and I hope this villain sticks around for a while. The art continues to be pretty polished and the facial expressions are especially good. All in all, a decent chapter.
Dr. STONE Chapter 94
Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi with Kurare (science consultant)
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by Steve Dutro
This chapter consists of dual searches for two different types of black gold: oil and truffles. Our protagonists find the latter after locating wild boars, which Boichi makes look absolutely adorable. It’s clear that the oil field is almost in reach as well, which should speed up the pace of Senku’s discoveries exponentially. Though this chapter is certainly significant plot-wise, it’s not as amusing or as thrilling as usual. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t stick out much asides from Boichi’s great art. Those boars really are cute though.
Ne0;lation Chapter 8
Tomohide Hirao & Mizuki Yoda
Translation by Christine Dashiell, lettering by Brandon Bovia
Ugg. The more this series goes up and down from week to week, the more I feel like the creators don’t know what they actually want it to be. Basing a shonen manga around hacking certainly poses challenges if one’s going to depict action in the real world as opposed to online (ala .hack or Digimon). That seems to be one of the main things holding this series back. There’s very little unique mixture of the real and the digital; instead, we end up with the characters…caught up in street racing drama? A racer-turned-priest/stalker (I’d explain further but…I have no clue either) drives the plot forward this week, and his character just seems uninspired. The chapter’s end, which features Ne0 assuring his friends that he’ll be able to cheat in a race by using his computer, leaves me dreading the next installment instead of looking forward to it.
My Hero Academia Chapter 217
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by John Hunt
Much of this chapter centers around Midoriya, Bakugo, and All Might as they hold a private training session and meeting. The topic at hand: Midoriya’s mysterious new Quirk. It’s great to see Midoriya and All Might share what little they know with Bakugo, as he continues to help protect the secrets of One For All. His working alongside the other two continues to push his character in directions beyond just being an angry rival. With that said, we do get some delightful moments of him shouting at Midoriya because he’s convinced that the other boy is holding back in their brawl. There are also some cute moments with Todoroki in the latter half that call back to his early bonding with Midoriya way back in the sports festival arc.
The most memorable visual detail is in a scene with Class 1-A and Class 1-B all hanging out together, with Mineta off to the side by himself. He’s strapped up A Clockwork Orange style, wires and all, across from a TV. What’s he being punished for specifically? It’s never stated outright, although it’s safe to assume he was sexually harassing his classmates again. I’m just glad we don’t have to actually see it happening this time.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Chapter 299
Yuto Tsukuda & Shun Saeki with Yuki Morisaki (recipe contributor)
Translation by Adrienne Beck, lettering by Mara Coman
While this chapter depicts the climax of Takumi and Soma’s team battle against the horde of transphobic stereotypes, the main points of interest are all in flashbacks. We get to see how Takumi finally earned his mezzaluna back from Soma in a shokugeki, followed by the pair repeatedly challenging one another to preserve their pride. It’s nice to see hints of Soma’s relationships with his friends again, but this would all have been much more enjoyable to watch transpire in the present as opposed to via side note. This arc continues to have a rushed quality that saps the events of any emotional poignancy. The concept of the yin-yang verinne is cool, but it’s still far from the exciting foods of the series’ past.
The Promised Neverland Chapter 123
Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu
Tranlation by Satsuki Yamashita, lettering by Mark McMurray
Most of this chapter consists solely of Ray and Emma talking with one another, and it’s a breath of fresh air. These two siblings have faced life and death together, but we rarely get to see them just hash out their feelings without the immediate threat of capture by demons. The pros and cons of Norman’s plan are addressed, as are inconsistencies between what the kids’ know of demonkind and what they’ve actually observed in Sonju and Mujika. The chapter ends with Emma and Ray being coerced into having tea with Norman’s subordinates, which is sure to lead to some interesting conversations in the next chapter. I’m looking forward to learning more about how the various cattle children’s experiences differ depending on what farm they were raised in.
Chainsaw Man Chapter 10
Translation by Amanda Haley, lettering by Sabrina Heep
Expectation: Yet another chapter with great art hindered by a dull protagonist who, despite enduring plenty of trauma, derives his only motivations from his desire to touch women’s breasts.
Reality: Yet another chapter in which Denji is insufferably dull, this time with him proudly boasting about how his fighting through life just to touch boobs is every bit as important as other characters’ dreams to protect their families or just generally have actually character arcs. Even the art is less pleasing to look at than usual; instead of the usual cool demon designs, we get a monster with numerous saggy udders because the series just really needed to hammer home the importance of boobs even more.
I initially followed this series with some degree of interest thanks to the high quality of the line-art and the cool monster designs. At this point though, I’ll just say it: I hate this comic.
ACT-AGE Chapter 53
Tatsuya Matsuki & Shiro Usazaki
Translation by Camellia Nieh, lettering by Eve Grandt
This manga is so gorgeous. Usazaki’s inking is probably my favorite of any currently ongoing comic. The balance of light, dark, and medium values in this series is perfect, and there are moments when specific textures are rendered with startling accuracy. Arisa Hoshi makes a big splash this week as she warns Yonagi about the dangers of losing oneself within one’s art. A new character, Shinichi Amachi, also makes a memorable impression that leaves me wondering how he’ll compare to the various other industry veterans Yonagi’s encountered thus far. All in all, this is a very well-paced chapter that effectively draws the current arc to a close while planting seeds for what will come next.
We Never Learn Chapter 99
Translation by Camelia Nieh, lettering by Snir Aharon
I don’t really have much to say about this chapter. It focuses on Yuiga and Kominami, who’s never interested me nearly as much as the likes of Furuhashi, Ogata, or Takemoto. Most of the gags this week are very predictable (the pair falling and landing on top of each other, conveniently sexual posing, etc.) and neither protagonist really grows in any way. I like how Kominami’s dad continues to subvert a lot of tropes specific to fathers of female love interests, but that’s about it.
Best chapter of the week: ACT-AGE Chapter 53
I’ve really loved seeing Yonagi grow throughout the “Night on the Galactic Railroad” arc, so I’m sad to see it draw to a close. This is a fitting ending though, with gorgeous art and effective build-up for what’s next to come.