In the December issue of Shonen Jump, there is a short announcement.  Another manga will be joining the pages of the magazine.  Tegumi Bachi, a title announced at SDCC, will start running in SJ starting in the March 2009 issue (out in February 2009).  It comes from the pages of Jump SQ, and appears to be another soon-to-be big property in Japan.  An anime special has already been created for it for the Jump Super Anime Tour event.  Usually at these events, only popular titles from the Jump magazines are spotlighted.  Dragon Ball/Z, Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece have all had specials created for these tours.

Now, Tegumi Bachi will be coming over here, replacing Slam Dunk in the US Shonen Jump, and I have to wonder if this is really such a good idea.  Slam Dunk is the first real sports manga to make it into the magazine.  The rest of the stories are in the fantasy/action/game genres.  Why take out something that was so obviously put in to build the boy audience, only to take it out after less than a year?  Is this title, which is so wildly popular not just in Japan, but among older manga readers, just not cutting it in the US?  It seems to fit the “boy title that appeals to girls” that shonen manga has been going toward.  I didn’t care for the preview, though I do have to admit it’s starting to grow on me, but some of the chapters are still hit and miss.

Or is it the opposite?  Is the manga so popular, that people are clamoring to get more chapters of it, so it’s going to be put out quicker?  I…can’t say I’d believe this reason too much.  Bleach was doing great coming out bi-monthy and then was suddenly thrust into Shonen Jump.  I contend (without anything to back it up mind you) that Bleach was put into the magazine to increase sales of SJSlam Dunk on the other hand, probably started in SJ to build up an audience for the title, but I don’t think that audience has increased subscription sales.  It makes me wonder if Slam Dunk had a planned obsolesce in the magazine, or if Viz higher ups weren’t happy with the performance of Slam Dunk.

I think what really bothers me is the way this new manga fits in with what’s already in the magazine.  A world gone dark, illuminated only by an artificial sun.  Giant insects attacking people.  A boy with immense spiritual energy determined to change it all by delivering letters.  When you get right down to it, there isn’t much difference between this and all the other manga in SJ with spiritual powers, fighting to change the world, etc.  At least Slam Dunk was a breath of fresh air from all the supernatural powers and fighting in the other titles.

Evolutionary jumps are supposed to bring changes, not keep the status quo.  I’m not say Tegami Bachi isn’t good.  I don’t know, I’ve never read it.  I’m questioning the reasoning of Viz to keep Shonen Jump as the same old, same old.  That’s what I didn’t like about the Japanese side of Yen Plus.  It was all the same type of titles.  There was no variety like the Korean side or Shojo Beat.  This looks more like another jump to the side, not up.

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5 Comments for this entry

  • You have to remember that SJ is their flagship to get people interested in buying the more expensive bi-monthly manga, it’s not really intended as a way to read manga long-term, except for those staple, popular manga that they rarely ever remove for fear of hemorrhaging readers. They really want you to pick up SJ, see a chapter of something, want to read more and go out and buy their $9.99 bi-monthly title. They figure you’re going to keep reading SJ anyhow, lather, rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

  • Heather says:

    I was torn when I read this news bleep too. I am very interested in reading Tegumi Bachi, but have been so happy reading Slam Dunk again. I truely did not like seeing the demise of Raijin and all their entertaining titles. I will accept VIZ’s choice. I also think Slam Dunk did offer a change from the fantasy focus of the other titles. Too bad they could not put in an Adachi title. Yu Yu Hakasho should be ending here in one year, if they continue to release 2 chapters per month. opening up for another new title, hmmm what will it be. Or maybe VIZ will start an Advanced SJ anthology with City Hunter, KOR and Fist of the North Sky.

  • I think an SJA or older, non-shojo anthology would be so cool! And if City Hunter (and Angel Heart) could be in it, that would be AWESOME! What really bothers me about this is how narrow Viz continues to keep it’s focus in SJ. I mean, in Japan it isn’t this narrow, is it? What ever happened to “Variety is the spice of life?” I love the Korean/OEL side of Yen Plus because it IS so varied. I wish Viz would stop being so conservative and take a chance with something new for once. They’re licenses are a great mix, why can’t their magazines?

  • John says:

    I try not to think to much about the decisions they make with their Shonen Jump properties because I believe they’re clearly insane.

    Oh and while I have no clue as to how this will effect the Magazine, Viz is planning what looks like another Naruto Nation to catch up with Japan. Four volumes will be released in Feb. and March next year and three in April. They’ll only be about one or two volumes behind at that rate.

  • Noooo! Not another wave! Especially in Feb when 20th Century Boys and Pluto come out. I think this catch up wtih Japan is kind of silly. I wonder if this is their way of combating scanalations. You know, if they’re caught up, there’s no reason for people to get scans.

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