I was never really interested in court room dramas until my daughter got me interested in Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney. Gakkyu Hotei can be best be described as a younger reader version of Phoenix Wright, with the cases all occurring in school, and Inugami being the defense attorney who never loses. I read a few chapters in Weekly Shonen Jump and liked it so much I pre-ordered the first volume. Obata’s art and Enoki’s school appropriate cases make for an entertaining combination.
Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump makes the news with something for US readers to read while WSJ in Japan teases fans with something they will want to read.
Viz Media makes another move to spread its manga to other platforms as Weekly Shonen Jump finally jumps from the Vizmanga app to get on comiXology and Amazon’s Kindle. The jump to just these two platforms and not Nook, Kobo, iOS, or Googleplay is probably due to Amazon’s ownership of comiXology. Hopefully Viz will be able to announce expanding to those other platforms soon as well.
It seems an edition of the US Weekly Shonen Jump magazine isn’t complete with a Yu-Gi-Oh manga being serialized in it. The first Yu-Gi-Oh manga was among the debut titles, and every new title was added to the magazine for most of their runs up to Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, which just ended in June. So it’s time to load up the next one.
Superheroes have been all the rage lately on TV and movie screens, so it should come as no surprise that they’re popping up in manga too. My Hero Academia has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since late last year, but this simultaneous release of both the print and digital edition of the first volume finally makes the series available to non-WSJ readers. I wasn’t wowed by the chapters that were made available in January of this year, but sales are putting me into the minority. Check it out yourself to see where you stand.
With titles leaving Weekly Shonen Jump, it’s time for a new round of Jump Start! titles to run and see if they can make the cut here and as well as in Japan. Viz is starting out with just two titles so far. Welcome to Shika High Competitive Dance Club will start on May 11, while the second series, Devily Man will start two Mondays after, May 25. These titles are being simulpubed with the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump, so there is precious little information about them.
Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club is obviously about competitive dancing. This seems like a surprising subject to put into a shonen magazine. It seems more like a shojo title like Kodansha’s Let’s Dance a Waltz. But knowing what I do know about the serialization meetings at WSJ (thanks to Bakuman), this series must have something interesting about it to make it into the magazine. I’m curious to hear what it’s about. Devily Man has an old school/retro feel to it, based only on the glimpse of the art from Weekly Shonen Jump. Like a Toriyama and/or comedic feel to it. I can’t even begin to guess that this title is about, but the alien/demon looking guy looks rather happy, hence the comedic vibe.
I’ve got my hopes up that Welcome to Shika High’s Competitive Dance Club with be something good and clever. Dance manga can certainly use a boost. I’ll have to wait and see on Devily Man. The field of possibilities are just too wide for it. The issues will be available for $.99 if you don’t have a subscription but still want to read them.
Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump has been seeing plenty of changes, just as the Japanese magazine does with titles coming and going. Lately, Viz’s WSJ has added two new regular titles to their line-up; Black Clover and the Naruto spin-off Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring.
Black Clover is about a boy named Astra. He and another boy named Yuna were abandoned at the same time at the same place as babies and have since become best friends both with the same goal; to become the next Wizard King. The only problem with their plan is while Yuna his highly skilled at using magic, Astra can’t. Astra isn’t discouraged, even at a coming-of-age ceremony, where Yuna receives a magic book with the legendary four leaf clover while Astra receives nothing. Sometime later, when Yuna is nearly defeated in battle, Astra’s true power is revealed as he is able to call on a book with a black five-leaved clover and wield powerful anti-magic. Astra never sees the book, but the pair head out into the world together to continue to compete for their goal.
Black Clover started as a three chapter preview for Viz’s Jump Start program back in February and became a regular at the end of March. It’s not too surprising with the superficial similarities to Naruto. A boy who can’t use the power everyone else can who wants to be the strongest, and a best friend who is better than him who is also his rival. Yeah, doesn’t sound like the setup for Naruto at all. /sarcasm. I haven’t read any of Black Clover yet, but it does sound like it has the makings of a hit for Viz.
Naruto recently ended its serialization after 15 years, but it seems you can’t keep an orange ninja down. The new spin-off, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring picks up where the original manga left off. Naruto is now Hokage, with his image on the mountain side like he always dreamed. But in a karmic twist, he has a son, Boruto, who is just as bratty and stubborn as he was. The series features not just Naruto’s son, but all the other children of the heroes of Konoha.
Naruto was one of Viz’s biggest hits, so it’s no surprise that it would continue the franchise along with the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump. Long time Naruto fans can stave off withdrawal for a little while longer, at least until summer, according to an interview with Kishimoto back in November.
But with these additions, at least one title will be leaving. Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgement, the court drama set in an elementary school, is ending serialization in the issue out May 11. The series started as a Jump Start! series last summer and was added to the magazine in December. It was about Abaku Inugami, a student defense lawyer at his elementary school where students can take their fellow students court in the government sanctioned School Judgement System. The series is drawn by Takeshi Obata, and written by Nobuaki Enoki. I really enjoyed the chapters I was able read in the free issues Shonen Jump made available in January for their anniversary. I’m definitely going to be picking up the collected volumes no matter what format they are released in.
If you liked the Jump Start! of Cyborg Roggy, don’t hold your breath for it to join the magazine. It is ending in the same issue as Gakkyu Hotei. The Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump is debuting three new titles with these endings, so we will have to see if there will be another round of Jump Start! for them.
Back in September it was announced that Hiroshi Shiibashi’s latest original manga, Illegal Rare was ending, and the final two volumes were to be released in October and November. Shiibashi is the creator of Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, a series about Yakuza yokai and ran for 25 volumes.
Illegal Rare is another ensemble series about the supernatural. Humans and supernatural creatures live together in the same world, but these “Rares” are being hunted to extinction. To protect them, the Illegal Rare Counter-Protection Unit was formed. It is championed by Fukumen, a police officer that wears a mask. He goes to Axl, a member of the very rare and highly hunted Black Vampyr clan, to help him. In the first chapter, he rescues a mermaid, Mirror and she joins the unit as well.
Illegal Rare is similar to Nura. It has a big cast, and features supernatural monsters. The monsters have branched out beyond the traditional Japanese monsters, yokai, and now include western monsters such as vampires, mermaids, and werewolves. The lead is a good-looking monster, and the main female is timid by loyal to the lead. Maybe it was too similar to Nura, and that’s why it didn’t succeed. I liked Nura, especially as it got into the later volumes. It’s too bad this series didn’t get the same chance. With Nura‘s final volume coming out in February, maybe Viz will pick up this series as well. I hope so. I’d really like to read it, even only digitally.
My Hero Academia was already announced to have joined the Weeky Shonen Jump line up, but this new announcement makes the series available to more readers beyond the WSJ base. But with the simultaneous chapter releases, fans will have to wait until August to actually read what happens in between the first chapter and chapter 24, when it starts. Recaps are okay, but just not as good as the actual chapters.
Weekly Shonen Jump, both the US digital and the Japanese print magazines have announced titles to begin and end in their respective magazines in the coming weeks. Starting in the US, Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump will debut My Hero Academy by Kohei Horikoshi, the creator of the short-lived series Barrage. My Hero Academy follows Izuku Midoriya, a boy with no powers in a modern-day world where people with super powers have become common place. The series started in July of 2014, and Viz will run the first chapter in the February 2 issue, and begin simultaneous release in the next issue out February 9. Both of these issues will be free to read as part of Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump Third Anniversary.
Over in Japan, the sports medical manga Sporting Salt ends in the first issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump out in February. It will end at three volumes. The story follows Hiroyuki Shioya, a high school student who decided to become the best sports doctor in Japan, and starts out by helping athletes in trouble with their issues and improving their performance. Sporting Salt was the first series run in the Viz’s “Jump Start” initiative, but didn’t make the cut as a regular series.
While one series ends, another four begins. Starting in the issue out February 9, four new titles will debut over the next four weeks. Kagamigami, Mirror God, is by Toshiaki Iwashiro, the creator of Psyren. His detective story will debut that week. Black Clover by Yuki Tabata will debut February 16. Kaizo Ningen Rogy, Cyborg Rogy by Yuu Miki will start in the issue out February 23, and Ultra Battle Satellite by Yusuke Utsumi will debut last on March 3. There’s been no announcement, but hopefully some of these titles will be previewed in Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump as part of their “Jump Start” initiative. Kagamigami is the title I’m most interested it. We can’t have enough detective manga.
With their new series, Moritaka and Akito start beating Eiji Nizuma in the Shonen Jump rankings for the first time. But in the actual book sales Eiji is somehow still on top. The duo is as determined as ever to achieve their dreams, but a new scandal threatens to destroy everything!
Bakuman Volume 19
Written by Tsugumi Ohba; Art by Takeshi Obata
Publisher: Viz Media
Age Rating: Teen
This is it; the second to last volume of this series. When I read the first volume back in 2010, I didn’t think I would enjoy it or it would be able to hold my attention. But against all odds, it not only got past the problems I had with the first volume, it surpassed all my expectations. Ten years have passed since Moritaka, Akito and Azuki started chasing their dreams, and now those dreams appear to be in reach.
The volume starts on the manga side of the story, showing further the rivalry between Ashirogi and Nizuma. I really like the rivalry between these. It’s very friendly. Both sides can not only appreciate the other’s work, but they can come out and say it, while in the same breath vow not to give up. These kinds of rivalries are rarely shown. Usually the two sides are shown as adversaries, with one having to win. The wonderful thing about Ashirogi’s and Nizuma’s rivalry is that it never has to end. Both sides can continue to push the other to grow. It’s a positive competition that would be nice if more people embraced.
The real conflict in the volume comes from the voice actor side. Azuki is a rising star, but voice actors are like idols, and to fans, to have a boyfriend is sacrilegious. For ten years Moritaka and Azuki have been able to keep their relationship a secret, not just for Azuki’s career, but for the promise they made. A slip up by one of Azuki’s fellow voice actors and a jealous middle school classmate blows their cover and the rumors start to fly over the internet, and into the press.
The good part of this potentially crippling event is the support Moritaka and Azuki get from the people around them. There are the regulars like their editor, and Azuki has her mother’s support, but the best reaction comes from Fukuda, a fellow manga artist that started at the same time as Ashirogi. He is very impassioned, melting down into tears when he hears about Moritaka’s and Azuki’s relationship, to indignation at the way they are being treated by fans. He doesn’t back down even he asked to by his editor.
It’s really kind of sad, but both Azuki and Moritaka have to keep reiterating that they have done nothing wrong. They have done nothing to hide their relationship because there has been nothing to hide. They have kept it as pure as humanly possible, but there seems to be this constant assumption that they have done something wrong. Ishizawa, the trio’s middle school classmate who failed at becoming a manga artist, is truly a terrible person as he deliberately tries to derail Azuki’s career with his rumors posted anonymously online. What’s even sadder is that he’s not a fictional character. There are too many people online just like him ready to destroy other’s lives for no more than petty jealousy.
Bakuman continues to be a fantastic read. After spending the last 18 volumes watching these characters change and grow, it’s almost sad to think it’s nearly over. As a reader you are rooting for Azuki and Moritaka, and hate any more obstacles that get in their way. The real strength of this volume is that the obstacles are introduced reasonably and who they come from are believable. I’m looking forward to the last volume and seeing how it all works out.
Viz Media’s Jump Start! has been busy lately. Several titles that have debuted in the Japanese Weekly Shonen Jump are getting their first three chapters published in the US digital magazine. Readers then get a chance to vote which ones they’d like to see serialized in the digital edition. One title has already gone through the process. Hi-Fi Cluster was previewed in September, and joined the magazine at the end of October, along with Food Wars. Hi-Fi Cluster is a sci-fi crime series. People can now download skills they don’t have to a patch. A black market has sprung up that deal in buying and selling of said abilities. The series follows Kosaku Kandera as he leads Special Unit Six of the Metropolitan Police Department to stop these crimes by any means necessary.
The next title to jump start was éIDLIVE, by Akira Amano, the creator of Hitman Reborn. It follows Chuta Kokonose, a boy who hears a voice in his head that gets him into a lot of trouble. He’s already thought to be an oddball, but when he meets a little blue alien, things start to get really weird. This series was originally serialized on Shueshia’s digital app Jump Live, and has already completed two “seasons”. The Jump Start will begin at with season 1. It ran back in September.
November saw three new titles get the Jump Start treatment. Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha is a “high tension, ping-pong manga. It’s the second sports manga to get the Jump Start treatment. The series started as a one-shot that ran in Weekly Shonen Jump back in June. E-Robot also started as a one-shot that ran back in January. It follows the adventures of a sexy and powerful robot girl.
Gakkyu Hotei (School Investigation Court) started on the Jump Live digital app and is relaunching in print. This “shocking court mystery” follows the court trials of offenders in an elementary school. With increasing problems plaguing the elementary school system, a new solution is enacted; the School Judgement System. Students must stand trial and be defended by their peers in this new court system. Gakkyu Hotel is written by Enoki and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It has joined the digital Weekly Shonen Jump lineup this month.
While not a Jump Start series, RKD-EK9 is another title illustrated by Takeshi Obata. It is written by NishiOisen, writer of the Shonen Jump title Medaka Box. The one-shot originally ran in Jump Square back in November, and is running the US digital Weekly Shonen Jump as a special issue while all the regular titles take the week off for the holidays.
So, out of seven Jump Start! titles, we have two confirmed serializations. Both of these titles sound like things I’d like to read. Hi-Fi Cluster has some of the good elements from the Matrix and sounds like it’s full of action and some procedural elements, two things I like. Gakkyu Hotei is a mystery and court procedural series that I just don’t think we have enough of, so I gladly welcome it to the Shonen Jump ranks. Though, with Obata being the artist on the series, it’s of little surprise that it topped any fan polls.
Of the titles that didn’t make it, I’m not too surprised that Takujo no Ageha didn’t make the cut. Sports manga, even ping-pong it seems, just doesn’t appeal to WSJ readers. I’m glad E-Robot didn’t, not with a description that includes “Erotic Robot”, “advanced features”, and “full power”. I’m sure it’s meant to be a comedy, but I doubt it was very funny. éIDLIVE may just be too far on the weird side.