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.
The new crop
It’s been a month full of debuts, and this is the fourth week in a row with a new chapter one. This time around we get Yuki Tanaka and Kento Matsuura’s Tokyo Shinobi Squad. A mix of ninja combat and dystopian sci-fi, the series utilizes shinobi in a much different way than Jump fans like myself may have gotten used to with Naruto. Placing ninjas in a futuristic context is a cool idea, and there are some really nice wide-shots of architecture and technological advances here. Unfortunately, the rest of the chapter is just kind of boring. Granted we’re still early in the story, but none of the characters jump out as especially interesting yet on either the protagonists’ or the antagonists’ side. There’s also a really unneeded depiction of a sex worker getting murdered explicitly on panel, as if the rest of manga wasn’t generically dystopian enough already. There’s definitely potential here, but I’m not eager for more as of yet.
Unfortunately, this was a pretty meh week for the other new titles as well. Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru chapter 4 continues to showcase Akira Okubo’s great artistic talent, but the story’s pace is disappointingly slow. The end of chapter one got me primed and ready for quick progression in Hachimaru’s adventure, but he’s still stuck right where he started at home. Some hints are thrown around about characters having hidden identities and enemies, but nothing substantial is actually developed. Double Taisei chapter 3, meanwhile, isn’t bad but it feels similarly inconsequential. We get some comedy with Sei trying to masquerade as Tai, but the story doesn’t move much.
Surprisingly, Beast Children chapter 2 is the most enjoyable of the newer series this week. Last week’s debut installment got me cautiously optimistic, and this week’s continues the fun with some great character work. We get to see more of Sakura’s determination and how passionately he wants to play with Yukito. The lengths he’ll go to in order to stay true to his values here are also impressive, and he’s shaping up to be quite a likable protagonist. The cliffhanger with Yukito having duped him is also great. I’m always eager for another good sports manga, and this one just might fit the bill.
The character developments
ACT-AGE chapter 67 depicts a read-through for the upcoming Rasetsunyo play, and both Yonagi and Ogami give it their all. The way Tatsuya Matsuki describes the two’s styles of acting is great, and we get our first real taste of how Ogami is as a performer. The description of him projecting as if he’s standing before a landscape, with Shiro Usazaki having drawn picturesque mountains behind him, is fantastic. Ogami’s particular brand of talent majorly throws Yonagi off her game, and it’s going to be fun watching her figure out how to cope with it.
It was just revealed that Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is going to end within the next month, which naturally colors the way I read chapter 313. Even after Soma’s impressive showing in the semi-finals of the Blue, Mana Nakiri declares that she still isn’t satisfied. Soma and Erina begin their final match against each other, which comes with some good internal monologues from Erina. Her nerves are definitely getting the better of her, but the story seems to be building for her to overcome them in time to unveil a fantastic dish. It’s nice to see her getting this much attention at the series’ end instead of it just being the Soma show. Whether or not the manga can wrap up both characters’ final arcs satisfyingly, we’ll just have to wait and see.
The action scenes
Chainsaw Man seldom ceases to be a joy to look at. In chapter 24 Tatsuki Fujimoto shows off his skill for effectively using page compositions and motion lines to render dynamic action, and the devils here look just plain awesome. There’s a cinematic quality to the way Fujimoto paces out the scene, shifting focus from one character to the next as they all react to a devastating attack that we only see the aftermath of, with blood splattering in a great two-page spread conclusion.
Then you have My Hero Academia chapter 230, where Twice continues to wreak havoc with his newfound ability to generate far more duplicates than ever before. He’s become a veritable force of nature, and watching tidal waves of his selves overwhelming enemies is awesome. Kohei Horikoshi’s line-art has been a lot more consistently polished ever since chapters shortened down to being 15 pages. One can only imagine how good it’ll all look by the time the art gets further cleaned up for the tankōbons.
The Last Saiyuki chapter 13 is also a fun time, as Estelle and Ryunosuke utilize their Nyoibo in different but equally badass ways. The doglike Korouri are intimidating foes, and a new Follower of Chaos shows up with wonderful plague doctor garb. It’s a fun time all around.
The plots thickening
The Promised Neverland chapter 136 takes us back to Emma and Ray’s hunt for the Seven Walls, as they traverse a maze the likes of which threatens to drive them mad. In the midst of the confusion we get some clarity, however, as they deduce that the term Seven Walls refers to the seven elements (front, back, top, bottom, left, right, and time) that orient people’s conceptions of space and time. We also get direct callbacks to images and symbols from almost a year ago that, when viewed with this knowledge, display those concepts. Talk about foreshadowing. Difficult though our protagonists’ task is, this chapter’s ending makes it look like they’ve almost completed the puzzle.
Dr. STONE chapter 107 is also an eventful one, as Senku and co. venture toward their ship in hopes of retrieving their mobile lab to aid in developing make-up for Kohaku. They’re unable to retrieve it themselves due to a strong enemy presence, but they do manage to send a message to Ginro who, coward that he is, is hiding out in a barrel. It’s amusing but also sets up the potential for a multipronged attack against the treasure island’s ruling class.
All the rest
We Never Learn chapter 113 impresses with one of its most well-constructed one-and-done stories in quite some time. We start off with Furuhashi seeing her horoscope on TV and it detailing six hyper-specific events she’s sure to experience with her crush. Naturally these predictions all come to pass between her and Nariyuki, but never quite in the way the TV show described. A boy feeding a girl by hand? It only happens because Nariyuki stumbles and accidentally shoves food into Furuhashi’s face. Going for a drive together? That happens too when the pair gets locked inside the back of a truck. The comedic timing is on-point throughout, and the silly premise is handled in an effective, tongue-in-cheek way. All in all, it’s a lot of fun.
Then there’s Yui Kamio Lets Loose chapter 12. I was intrigued by this series’s start and even gave it Best Chapter of the Week once, but it’s been disappointing several weeks in a row now. Another chapter, another bland new antagonist, and another uncomfortable panel of Yui’s breast getting forcefully groped. I never really see anyone talk about this series, and…I can’t blame them.
The best chapter of the week
Many of We Never Learn‘s best chapters have been one-and-done deals built around well-thought-out gags, and this is one such case. I have a fondness for stories about horoscopes coming true with a twist, and that’s exactly what happened this week.