I’m a loyal reader of Shonen Jump, and every once in a while I like to give my opinion of the current titles running. I don’t really care for the articles in the magazine. They are all aimed at teen boys, of which I am certainly not one. The Bleach anime, Naruto video and card games, the Yu-gi-oh card game, not my thing. But I still enjoy many of the SJ titles. So I’m going to do this for Shonen Jump like every 3 months or so, or if anything major happens, such as a title getting switched out, or an exciting preview.
Bleach: untold stories – Death on the Ice Field – This is a bonus story about the Captain of the 10th Company, Toshiro. We see him , before he’s become a Soul Reaper, living with Momo and an old woman that looks after him they call Grandma. Toshiro is still a boy, only 10 or 11. This chapter is more of a teaser than a story. It tells how he starts on his journey to become a Soul Reader. We see Momo, and Rangiku in this story, well before they were Soul Reapers too. Toshiro is only just starting his journey as the chapter ends, barely even getting into the heart of story! Hopefully there will be more of this in the next issue. Toshiro is an interesting character with his deadpan demeanor and cool dragon zanpakutou (no pun intended.) Would Trade For.
Naruto – Naruto defeats the final pain and races off to find the Pain Master. He confronts Nagato and they talk, Naruto holding off until he hears Nagato’s story. I’m glad the long, dragged out fight with the Pains is over, and it seems we’ll be getting a breather with this new flashback about Nagato and the origin of the Akatsuki. I’m looking forward to seeing this, since their way of thinking seems so out of this world. Must Buy.
One Piece – The Alabasta arc winds up with the Straw Hat pirates healing up, and having a final party with Vivi at the palace. But now, the Straw Hats have a new problem. They must get past the Navy who is closing in on them. But they have an unlikely new ally in Mr. 2. It’s a breather chapter as the crew heals up and tries to eat more than the palace cook can serve. It’s another fun read. Must Buy.
Ultimo - This chapter is starts out in the Warring States period. With Ultimo fighting with them, Yamato’s fight against the corrupt nobles has been going well. They prepare march on the Capital, but are stopped by another Karakuri, Envy. This turns out to be a dream of Yamato’s in the present, and of course Envy and his Master are the next to show up after Ultimo. I was ambivalent about this title when it first started, but it’s turning out to be not so bad. Though it’s the story set in the Warring States period that’s more interesting. The present storyline, not so much. Good Way To Waste an Hour.
Yu Yu Hakusho – The battle for control of the Demon Realm finally beginning. Because there are so many, most of the fights of round one are short, or we only get to see a few panels before moving on to the next. It then jumps to round three where Yusuke and Yomi are set to fight. Where Yusuke should be outmatched, Yomi seems to decide to go with a physical fight with Uremeshi, instead of using his demon powers. This title is coming down to the end. I don’t expect it to last past January or Febuary 2010 at the lastest. It will be the second title to complete it’s run in Shonen Jump without being taken out in part or all. I’m glad it’s ending though. The eternal fighting has gotten boring, and I’m glad this last tournament is going by fast instead of going through every single major character’s fight. Would Trade For.
Tegami Bachi – Lag and Niche finally make it to Yuusari, where the Letter Bee headquarters, the Bee Hive is located. Lag meets the the director Lloyd Largo and two other applicants. They are to take a test and are given a map to where it will take place. Not much goes on in this chapter. Lag formally accepts Niche as his dingo, and the applicants get whiddled down by one thanks to Niche. I still don’t care much for this title. Lag is still annoying with his crying. Niche and Steak are much more interesting. Hopefully this will actually go somewhere. Good Way To Waste an Hour.
Bleach – Uryu is fighting the arrancar Cirucci and gets some pseudo help from Pesche, one of the arrancars Ichigo’s group met in the desert. He followed Uryu’s path. He actually proves useful at some points, but has an amazingly short term memory, even for his own name. Cirucci releases her zanpakuto, forcing Uryu to release his new power. While I usually like the battles in Bleach, these fights with the arrancars aren’t so interesting. They are more like comedy relief than actual foes. I’ll be glad when we get through this wave and back to some real story. Would Trade For.
Yu-Gi-Oh! GX – Jaden and Chazz’s one-on-one battle finally comes down to the end. It’s been a constant push and pull, and both resort to pulling out their spirit cards before a winner is declared. This fight was like a M. Night Shyamalan movie marathon. It’s one twist after another. And you can only guess the victor is you know sports manga at all. Good Way to Waste an Hour.
So far, there are only two titles I’m really excited to read and two that I really enjoy. But two, Tegami Bachi and Ultimo especially have potential. They can still go either up or further down. I’ll keep reading to see which way. This should start to get interesting in the next couple of months as well. One Piece is supposed to start running up-to-date chapters as it’s torrential downpour starts in January. And with Yu Yu Hakusho ending soon, one of the newly announced titles will hopefully be debuting.