This month’s Shonen Jump, January 2010 marks a lot of changes for the manga magazine. Yu Yu Hakusho, one of the few remaining titles from the magazine’s launch (One Piece is the only other one left), finishes it’s 7 year run. It was quite a ride, and I will miss Yusuke and friends, but not all that much. Yu Yu Hakusho has become a typical fighting manga with characters I lost interest in. I was glad to see none of the big demons won in the last tournament, but in the end I was just “meh” about it. The series ends with a whimper instead of a bang. The last few chapters were actually kind of a let down and really pointless (IMHO). It seemed like they were just thrown together to tie up loose ends.
Yu-Gi-Oh GX, the successor to Yu-Gi-Oh!, ran it’s last chapter as well. I’m going to rant for a moment. Why do the good guys always believe the bad guys when they tell them something that is so obviously a lie? This last chapter finishes the battle between Reggie and Hibiki. Reggie keeps Hibiki off balance by continually dangling her brother’s fate in front of her. Fine. She’s evil, she’s supposed to do that. But why, in heaven’s name does Hibiki believe her when Reggie tells her what her face down spell card is?! I mean, come on. She should have know better than to believe her, and by acting on this false information, she looses the battle. Hibiki is a teacher. She’s supposed to be smart! I know it’s just a ploy to get Jaden to play Reggie, but come on… Okay, rant over. Anyway, no loss at this title leaving.
The last big change in this issue is the MAJOR jump that One Piece takes, with the beginning of the “Impel Down Saga”. This isn’t the first time a title’s make a big jump. Naruto has done it twice, and with some success. The jumps were small, only 11 volumes each time, and spread apart, so that summaries of what was happening in the jump volumes could be put in the magazine, and you weren’t so lost when the new chapters started. That’s not gonna happen with One Piece. Last issue gave a short summary of the sagas that would be coming out, with very little actual information. I’m sure this was so as not to spoil the volumes coming out, but really, it’s too late for that, isn’t it? All these chapters have been scanlated years ago. The upshot of this is, when a SJ reader picks up their January issue, they are met a “Where Are Luffy’s Crew?” which includes at least 3 new members that you have little to no idea who they are, so why should you care where they are?
This is what I was afraid was going to happen. With a jump so large, there’s no real way to summarize the volumes coming out like they were able to with Naruto, so as a Shonen Jump reader I get to spent a lot of time going “huh? wha?” to a lot of things. I hate reading things out of order. I do it for reviews because that’s the way I get the volumes. But if it turns out to be a story I read, it’ll go on the back burner until I catch up. Discovering a series and catching up is one thing. Jumping ahead of a series I already read bugs me. Of course, I could go out and read the speed volumes through “other means”, but quite frankly I’ve got too much other stuff to do to deal with it. It would be faster and easier to just get the volumes after they’ve all come out, though that’s a low priority as well. It just really annoys me that one of the titles I get Shonen Jump for is gonna have a huge gap in it and I won’t enjoy it as much, because I’ll have all these questions.
And while I’m ranting , is it just me, or has Bleach really lost it’s magic? I loved the first two arcs of the series, but this whole arc in Hueco Mundo is just plain boring. I really don’t see what’s interesting about watching the good guys fight against the obviously over-powerful bad guys that there’s no way they’re going to be able to defeat, but you just know they will anyway. This is part of the reason I hated Dragon Ball Z. I’m sad to see Bleach going down the same road. I don’t really like the characters all that much anymore either. I wish Rukia would just disappear. I like Orihime more, even though in this arc she’s gone all goth.
Hopefully with the new titles coming in the next couple of months, Shonen Jump will become a magazine I like to read again. I’ve got my subscription through 2011.