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Weekly Shonen Jump Recap: January 21, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 3.00.05 PMThis is it! The big week! When what most thought would be impossible became possible—simultaneous releases of Shonen Jump manga. Back when WSJA first started a year ago I thought that while it was a little sad that we couldn’t get simultaneous releases, it was still the best thing we’d gotten. And it was more than enough for me. I figured that simultaneous releases were an inevitability, but never would I have imagined we would get them just a year later.

With the simultaneous releases the Alpha phase is over. And the magazine has been renamed: Weekly Shonen Jump. And since this will cause confusion between the Japanese print magazine and our e-magazine I propose we call it Weekly Shonen Jump Online.

There was a slight hiccup with the release on Monday, in my case at least. This may not have been experienced by other readers, but it took a day for the WSJ section in my viz app to be updated, and during that time I couldn’t get to even my old copies of WSJA. Fortunately this was a minor problem, since the browser-based reader was perfectly functional.

But enough of that, let us take a look at the first chapters we get to read simultaneous with Japan.

Naruto Ch. 616
Naruto managed to leave little impression, which is possibly the best I can say about a manga that I honestly can’t say I’ve enjoyed in a good few years. The concept of sharing chakra felt out of place, mostly because it’s been so long that I can’t remember if that was ever brought up before. If it was, then my dissatisfaction is a matter of my poor memory. If not then the fault lies entirely of improper set up.

I did enjoy the color spread, it seems forever since Naruto has gotten one of those. It harkened back to the days when Team 7 were the main characters, and only served to remind me that Sakura’s development was abandoned by the roadside ages ago.

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One Punch Man Ch. 001
We tend not to get all that much from the superhero scene in Japan over here, to the point that sometimes I tend to forget they do have the genre. It just doesn’t appear that often in manga. Sure there are super-powered characters, but few of them are actual superheroes. And while the superhero genre in Japan is somewhat different from what we are used to in the West, it follows similar tropes as our own. So it is odd that one of the rare examples of superheroes in manga happens to be a parody.

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It only took me one chapter to fall in love with this series. There’s something charming about the idea of a superhero who is so powerful that he beats all his enemies in one punch—no specific powers, no real reason for them—he just punches enemies and they die. One would think that gimmick would run dry fast. But somehow the execution saves it and I look forward to seeing more predictable yet hilarious fights.

One Piece Ch. 695
While this was mostly a chapter to show off Nami and Usopp’s abilities further, I have to say that once again One Piece had one of the strongest chapters in WSJ. There’s an innate charm in the series that just can’t be beat. Even the proud declaration that the two will fight any injured and retreating enemy is less a character flaw and more a funny quirk.

While it may be based in gender stereotypes, I still love the General Franky jokes. All the men, adult and children, love that robot and all the women, adult and child, just don’t get it. Sure there are women who like giant robots, but even a joke playing on stereotypes can be funny if it’s done without malice.

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Nisekoi Ch. 058
It was good to get a chapter focusing on Ruri. While she isn’t one of the main characters, she’s still one of the more entertaining characters. And while she’s normally the serious character, she gets a lot of good laughs, as well as some impressive character development.

I find this an example of my favorite type of manga. An ongoing story is all good and fine, but I like it most when each chapter can stand on its own and do so without seeming too short or forced. In my opinion some of the best manga manages to tell a single story in a chapter and then move on to the next story without sacrificing quality.

Bleach Ch. 523
I really used to love this manga. It was one of the first I read all the way through, before I ever read One Piece or Naruto. For a while I loved Bleach more than even One Piece. And then we get chapters like this one. While the ideas are interesting, they showcase the dangers of weekly serialization. While it’s interesting to finally meet the man who creates zanpakuto, and to learn that zanpakuto start off blank and are then written over by their owner’s spirit essence, it does beg the question: Where did Ichigo get his zanpakuto? Not the aspect of it that is part of his spirit, but the actual, physical sword. He didn’t take Rukia’s, since hers was already written over with her powers. So where did he get a blank to write over with his powers?

The biggest problem here is that while this is a cool idea, Kubo unfortunately has already written parts of the story that contradict what he’s saying here. And while it’s a limitation of the medium, I can’t help but feel that at some point manga writers have to suck it up and decide that certain ideas won’t work because they contradict what has been said elsewhere.

I could go on forever about this chapter, mostly in regards to how this chapter managed to destroy all respect I had for Kyoraku. Why would anyone think that training one soldier by losing the other is a good idea? It reeks of false drama that had to be forced in to make use care about a story element that is pretty weak.

Cross Manage Ch. 017
I do like this manga, but I feel like I may join the crowds predicting its demise. While this was a good chapter, it resolved the match much faster than I would have expected. I don’t get the feeling that we will be getting much development for the other characters—that all the time allotted this series has been spent with our leads because the author doesn’t expect the series to last much longer. It would be a shame to see Cross Manage go, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Toriko Ch. 218
This chapter was a bit of a letdown. It wasn’t bad, it just took the story in a different direction than what I was hoping for. I would have liked to see more of the cooking tournament. Seeking the Gourmet Corps attack so soon in the series certainly caught me off guard, but it seemed like a much more distant threat. I imagine that the outcome of this event will be the kidnapping of Komatsu, which would take the story in an interesting, if predictable, direction.

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Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Ch. 026
There really isn’t much more I could say about this series that I haven’t already said. Without the necessary context I can’t say I’m equipped to properly comment. A card game happened, there is little more I can say than that.


Want more? Go listen to last week’s episode for a more in depth look at WSJA. Episode 031 – January 14, 2013 – Don’t Be a Jerk Just Enjoy Your Manga and Fairy Tail Vol. 4 Check out other past episodes: Manga^3

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About Derek Bown

Derek Bown is a creative writing and editing student at Brigham Young University. He started watching anime back when Pokemon was first popular, moved on to Ranma 1/2 and One Piece, and eventually found his way to manga. He runs his own anime and manga review blog at Burning Lizard Studios, which he started back in 2009. He is a massive fantasy fan, and loves comedy and action manga the most. His knowledge of anything other than shounen manga is woefully inadequate, but he knows his way around pretty much any action fighter series worth reading. He also happens to be a closet romantic, but will deny any knowledge of shipping fandom if asked. His favorite manga are One Piece, One Piece, and One Piece.

Comments

  1. “Back when WSJA first started a year ago I thought that while it was a little lame that we couldn’t get simultaneous releases, it was still the best thing we’d gotten.”

    The use of the word ‘lame’ is problematic, for reasons described here: http://accessibility.net.nz/blog/why-i-do-not-like-the-word-lame/



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  1. […] will include Akira Toriyama’s one-shot Kintoki. Derek Bown takes us through the contents of the January 21 issue at Manga Bookshelf, and Drew McCabe has some thoughts as […]



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