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Shonen Jump Recap – 3/24/19

Denji and co. find themselves stuck in space and time in Chainsaw Man.

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 Promised Neverland Chapter 128
Kaiu Shirai & Posuka Demizu
Tranlation by Satsuki Yamashita, lettering by Mark McMurray

Viz Media

I don’t know how I feel about the way the main trio’s conversation played out here. Emma is being classic Emma, sticking to her guns and resolving to do whatever it takes to accomplish her nearly impossible goals. Norman, meanwhile, is still pushing forward with his plan: total eradication of the demons. The way they agree to adjust course based on whether or not Emma can make a new promise with the demon king just feels…dispassionate. Perhaps Emma is only putting on an agreeable face in her friends’ presence, but I’m not fully buying that she didn’t push harder against Norman’s plan. With that said, Emma’s questioning of what makes one correct or incorrect is great. This series has never been about the protagonists settling on easy paths, and seeing Emma choose the hard road time and time again is inspiring.

My Hero Academia: Vigilantes Chapter 50
Hideyuki Furuhashi & Betten Court
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by John Hunt

Meh. I end up with the same notes for almost every chapter of this series. Court’s artwork looks clean as always, but outside of some funny faces from Koichi it doesn’t stand out much. The action this week feels rather generic, largely because of how unremarkable all the characters involved are. The bomb villains’ designs don’t have any unique flair, and Captain Celebrity is still just Captain Celebrity. The attempt at humor with him and his wife arguing over the phone feels very predictable and stale. As per usual this chapter isn’t terrible, it’s just not exciting either.

The Last Saiyuki Chapter 4
Daijiro Nonoue
Translation and lettering by Pinkie-chan

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This series continues to be so charming. The main characters are all so sweet, and the stories about Ryunosuke’s friendship with Shige are adorable. Shige being the only one to treat Ryunosuke normally after his mother died was especially heartwarming. The supernatural elements that pop up this week are also great. The metaphor of humans’ beliefs in the impossible as being contained within boxes returns, and Shige’s belief box is overflowing and cracking. We’re sure to see some more action next week, and I hope Nonoue takes that opportunity to deliver some more original monster designs. Their generic nature has more or less been my only complaint with the manga to date.

Ne0;lation Chapter 14
Tomohide Hirao & Mizuki Yoda
Translation by Christine Dashiell, lettering by Brandon Bovia

This is probably the best chapter in the series to date. Finally, Ne0 seems like an actual person with feelings! It may only be a flashback chapter, but I’ll take character depth wherever I can get it. Seeing the origin of Ne0’s love for computers is cool, and the events depicted help give him more motivation than his usual generic desire to just fight evil. Here’s hoping that the character analysis continues beyond this week.

We Never Learn Chapter 104
Taishi Tsutsui
Translation by Camelia Nieh, lettering by Snir Aharon

Viz Media

This is a sweet chapter. Nice and simple, without any backstory diving or super unlikely mishaps. It’s just Nariyuki, Furuhashi, and a believable misunderstanding leading to some actual confrontation of the characters’ feelings. The art throughout is cute, especially the Meowpoleon panel. I wasn’t blown away or anything, but this was a nice change of pace from the other action-packed series.

My Hero Academia Chapter 221
Kohei Horikoshi
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by John Hunt

This was a decent chapter. Now that the series is consistently 15 pages a week instead of 20-ish, Horikoshi’s art has been notably more polished. The action shots in particular continue to be highlights. The focus on the League of Villains continues this week, with them meeting a doctor/mad scientist who used to help All For One. Now he’s challenged Shigaraki to prove himself, which is sure to have entertaining results. Given how many villains more or less start out at max competency (i.e. Overhaul) it’s cool to see one progress alongside the protagonists. And what’s the deal with those high-grade Nomu?

Hell Warden Higuma Chapter 13
Natsuki Hokami
Translation by Nathan A. Collins, lettering by Mark McMurray

Viz Media

This is a decent installment, though it doesn’t reach the same peak as last week’s. Most of this chapter consists of Higuma fighting the same evil spirit that killed his parents. Things get bloody, with Higuma outright losing limbs, but somehow it still feels too sanitary for me. The line-work’s polish actually holds it back a bit, as the visuals fail to to convey the contents’ sense of chaos. I still like the characters enough to have fun, but I hope next week’s installment digs a bit deeper with the upcoming flashback.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Chapter 304
Yuto Tsukuda & Shun Saeki with Yuki Morisaki (recipe contributor)
Translation by Adrienne Beck, lettering by Mara Coman

This week’s chapter serves largely as build-up to Soma’s rematch with Asahi. Erina’s future happiness and the limits of the Divine Tongue are both at stake, and Soma’s dad even makes a rare on-panel appearance. All signs point to this being a pivotal duel. Unfortunately, no actual suspense is built up for the match. This is due partially to how bland the characters and events feel, as well as to the series contradicting itself. The Divine Tongue is referred to as something that only pops up once in every dozen generations of the Nakiri family, and yet both Erina and her mother have it. How much of obtaining the Divine Tongue comes from hard work versus just plain genetics? This also seems unclear more due to inconsistency than purposeful mystery. Being underwhelmed implies that expectations haven’t been met, but mine were low to begin with. I’m just whelmed at this point.

Dr. STONE Chapter 99
Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi with Kurare (science consultant)
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by Steve Dutro

Viz Media

This chapter managed something very difficult: it conveyed a one-year time-skip in nineteen pages without feeling rushed and clumsy. Given the colossal nature of the protagonists’ shipbuilding task, it was necessary for a large amount of time to pass. With that said, nothing new transpires with Why-Man during the construction year, so it’s totally fine that we speed through it. With Senku’s ship all set to sail, the plot and conflict can now advance effectively. The use of photography to immortalize the villagers’ everyday lives adds a nice human touch to the chapter’s events as well. I’m so excited for the heroes to set sail and uncover the truth about Why-Man.

ACT-AGE Chapter 58
Tatsuya Matsuki & Shiro Usazaki
Translation by Camellia Nieh, lettering by Eve Grandt

This is a nice character-driven chapter. Even as the importance of Yonagi’s Death Island debut looms over the horizon, the focus remains on her fraught relationships with her classmates. She definitely doesn’t have the sort of temperament that would allow her to handle all the newfound attention with ease, but she’s trying her best and owning up to her faults. Yoshioka’s suggestion that they change up the script for their film also has me interested to see what comes next.

Chainsaw Man Chapter 15
Tatsuki Fujimoto
Translation by Amanda Haley, lettering by Sabrina Heep

Viz Media

Another solid chapter this week. The protagonists make quick work of the devil we saw at the end of last week’s chapter, but find themselves in much greater danger afterwards. They’re trapped in the exact same time on the exact same floor of a building. No matter how long they remain there the clocks don’t move, and ascending or descending stairs just takes them back to the same place. This results in some great shots of the characters staring dumbfounded at their circumstances as the impossible becomes the inevitable. I dig this sort of dilemma in fiction, so this chapter works for me. There’s also a nice gag at the end where Denji, rather than panicking, points out that they have something people always wish for: an unlimited amount of time to sleep. He used to irritate me nonstop, but I’m growing to appreciate his goofy grins and outbursts.

Yui Kamio Lets Loose Chapter 3
Hiroshi Shiibashi
Translation by Daniel Komen, lettering by Michelle Armstrong

I honestly don’t care for this chapter very much. The repeated plot point of someone chasing after Yui because of what her violent persona did isn’t inherently tiresome, but nothing new gets done with it here. Kiito continues to get dragged along through various antics, but a lot of the humor doesn’t land and there’s nothing remarkable about the new character that gets introduced this week. I continue to love Kiito’s super detailed fashions, but the rest of the art can get quite forgettable. It’s not bad but it’s not great, and it lacks unique flair.

Best chapter of the week: The Last Saiyuki Chapter 4

Viz Media

Two weeks in a row! Cool as this series’ supernatural elements are, it’s Nonoue’s focus on character interactions and growth that keeps me invested week after week.

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