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Shonen Jump Recap – 6/30/19

It’s time to make a new promise in The Promised Neverland.

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 140
By Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu
Translation by Satsuki Yamashita, lettering by Mark McMurray

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The series has been leading up to this for so long, and it’s finally here: Emma’s arrived at the Day and Night beyond the Seven Walls, come face to face with the demon king, and is ready to make a new promise. Aaaaand that’s where the chapter ends on a cliffhanger. So close, but we’re not quite there yet. Thankfully, the journey this week is fantastic. We get to see more members of the demon aristocracy, and their designs are just fantastic. Speaking of, that opening splash page? Awesome. The three panel sequence of the king growing smaller while moving closer to Emma? Awesome. Every single panel with that big honking dragon? Awesome. There are so many visual delights here that demonstrate why new chapters of this manga are always worth the wait.

Beast Children Chapter 6
By Kento Terasaka
Translation by Christine Dashiell, lettering by Mark McMurray

I don’t know why I was so surprised that this ended up being my favorite of the new crop of series. I love sports manga, and if there’s one thing I should’ve learned from the genre by now, it’s that great characters and action shine regardless of what sport is actually being played. This week Sakura gets to play in his first ever actual rugby match, and it’s a lot of fun. Terasaka does a great job conveying the sheer intimidating force the opposing team has, as well as Sakura’s spirit. When faced with challengers that literally tower over him he continues to smile, just thankful for the chance to play. I love it.

Double Taisei Chapter 7
By Kentaro Fukuda
Consultant: Saki Satomi
Translation by Junko Goda, lettering by Rina Mapa

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Tension mounts this week as one of Tai’s shogi rivals, Izumi, reveals that he knows Tai and Sei aren’t the same person. Unaware of the particulars of their strange situation, however, he assumes that the pair are twins and that Sei sometimes subs in for Tai at tournaments. It’s a natural move plot-wise to have another character start catching on to the fact that the two leads aren’t actually one and the same, but I’m not sure how to feel about the execution here. Izumi’s relationship to Sei is conveyed entirely through a brief flashback to their first meeting, but the pair’s relationship doesn’t actually come across as significant enough to hold much dramatic weight. Neat though its premise is, Double Taisei seems to just be meandering around unsure of what it actually wants to do.

We Never Learn Chapter 117
By Taishi Tsutsui
Translation by Camellia Nieh, lettering by Snir Aharon

The award for most emotionally affecting chapter this week easily goes to We Never Learn. This chapter concludes the current arc about Ogata and her self-esteem issues, and it’s full of feelings upon feelings. We start out with a flashback to Ogata and Furuhashi’s first meeting, with focus on how both girls have always looked up to each other for possessing traits they lacked within themselves. It’s also a great spotlight on Ogata’s strengths as a character. About halfway in the rest of the main characters arrive and have fun together, but not without yet another wallop of a flashback, this time involving Ogata’s late grandmother. It’s almost too much but it’s not; it all hits home quite well, thanks partially to some really poignantly rendered facial expressions.

Dr. STONE Chapter 111
By Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi
Science consultant: Kurare
Translation by Caleb Cook, lettering by Steve Dutro

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Another week, another solid installment of Dr. STONE. Kohaku and co. successfully infiltrate the harem with some amusing antics, but the true stars of the show, as always, are Senku’s gadgets. The earpiece he creates here is charming in its simplicity, but it’s quickly overshadowed by an announcement at the cliffhanger: the team is going to create a drone. Who knows how the hell that’ll work in the series’s prehistory-esque future, but I’m intrigued to find out.

Yui Kamio Lets Loose Chapter 16
By Hiroshi Shiibashi
Translation by Daniel Komen, lettering by Michelle Armstrong

Yui Kamio has undergone a massive tonal shift these last few chapters. Fortunately that’s largely a good thing since the manga had been leaving me underwhelmed for quite a while. This week’s installment taps into horror tropes as Yui finds herself getting stalked by a creepy doll, resulting in some jump scares and disgusting imagery that’re much more effective than anything else the series has done in months. Whether the manga stays permanently pivoted in this direction, and if so how effectively, remains to be seen. If nothing else the rest of this arc shouldn’t be boring.

ACT-AGE Chapter 71
By Tatsuya Matsuki and Shiro Usazaki
Translation by Camellia Nieh, lettering by Eve Grandt

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This week’s chapter is fantastic. Yonagi takes Yamanoue’s advice to heart and strives to imagine herself controlling the forces of nature in order to prep for her upcoming role as a deity. The results are a joy to watch as Yonagi truly seems to be harnessing magical power in her performance. Usazaki’s art also continues to be some of the best in Jump thanks to the quality of line-work, variety in page compositions, and overall flow of transitions. Prior to climbing the mountain Yonagi seemed to have met her match, but now it’s hard to imagine any other performer outshining her. Here’s looking forward to seeing her continued development.

Chainsaw Man Chapter 28
By Tatsuki Fujimoto
Translation by Amanda Haley, lettering by Sabrina Heep

Meh. What’s good here is really good, but the rest is just…meh. As always, Fujimoto’s draftsmanship is nothing to sneeze at thanks to his fantastic flow of motion, great use of motion lines and sound effects, and some of the most compellingly drawn violence in any currently ongoing comic. Plot-wise, though, I don’t actually care about any of what happens here. This segment of the story seems to have wrapped up though, so hopefully things will pick up a bit soon.

The Last Saiyuki Chapter 17
By Daijiro Nonoue
Translation and lettering by Pinkie-chan

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I really hope this series continues to last for a while. This chapter’s opening fight scene is quite good, as Nonoue has quite good chops for rendering action. The villains’ designs and motifs also continue to be neat. With that said, it’s the character beats that are most affecting here. Sensei’s inner monologue is fantastic and provides insight into a side of him that we hadn’t yet seen before. All in all, this is a good chapter.

Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru Chapter 8
By Masashi Kishimoto and Akira Okubo
Translation by Stephen Paul, lettering by Snir Aharon

Eh. This chapter focuses a lot on Hachimaru and Ann’s personalities and rapport, which is a good sign. You’ve gotta actually flesh out your protagonists. With that said though, they both still lack any unique spark that would make them memorable. It’s one thing for Ann to still be indistinct since she just debuted, but we’re two months in and Hachimaru has never been as interesting as he was in chapter one. The one great character moment in this chapter doesn’t center around either of them, but is actually about Hachimaru’s father. Okubo’s line-art continues to be impressive as usual, but I’m disappointingly uninterested in what I’ve seen of the manga’s world up to this point.

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma ~Le Dessert~ Chapter 1
By Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki
Contributor: Yuki Morisaki
Translation by Adrienne Beck, lettering by Mara Coman

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The main series may be over, but this week we got the first of Food Wars!’s epilogue chapters. I must say…I’m underwhelmed. We find out that Erina won her match against Soma at the Blue without even getting to see her dish. Having the series’s ultimate showdown’s winner announced without ever seeing the actual food just feels pointless given how much of the manga’s fun always stemmed from the cooking itself. Some old favorite characters appear but it feels a bit hollow, and the chapter ends with a promise that we’ll learn more about Soma’s mother in the next installment. Why the series has chosen to attempt to include her character, and to make her out to be extremely significant to Soma’s life, so close to the end with no prior build-up, I don’t know. I seldom like to say that a plot point can’t possibly be resolved effectively, but at this point I’m very doubtful as to how well the remaining two chapters will pull this off.

Tokyo Shinobi Squad Chapter 5
By Yuki Tanaka and Kento Matsuura
Translation by Nathan A. Collins, lettering by Brandon Bovia

I’ve kept up to date with every new Jump series since Chainsaw Man, and this one has been by far the most boring. There’s just nothing of note happening here. Bland ninja action with bland cyberpunk trappings just results in a bland mix of influences that aren’t working well on their own or together. This chapter at least sets up a bonding moment between Taku and En, but neither character has the depth to make it poignant.

The best chapter of the week

It’s difficult not to pick ACT-AGE, but the honor this week goes to We Never Learn chapter 117. It has probably the best Ogata moments in the series to date, and it’s hard to imagine how the arc could have ended on a more satisfying note. All in all, no other series this week elicited as much of an emotional reaction from me.

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