Weekly Shonen Jump - Review of Issues #47 & #48 (2012)
The reason why this is a combined review of 2 issues of Weekly Shonen Jump is simple: while I was waiting for Kuroko no Basket and Nisekoi to get scanlated, most of the chapters for the next issue came out. The same as the usual Weekly Shonen Jump issue reviews, except for double the content.
Let's start with Issue #47
Weekly Shonen Jump - Issue #47
Kuroko no Basket - 186
I guess congratulations are in order. Before this arc even began, I had it pegged for a formulaic story placed in between as a breather before the final match. Just goes to show you that the journey can be made interesting regardless of the destination.
Kise cooling down and reserving his remaining two minutes of Perfect Copy brought about some pretty interesting developments. Actually it's only one development and that was Furihata's entry into the court. Confusing Yes and No. It isn't the first time that a sports manga has done something like this - a certain arc in Slam Dunk comes to mind - and there will be some semi-factual theory that describes it.
I'm looking at this in a different light and enjoying what we have been given. The supporting cast of Kuroko no Basket has always been just there and accomplished nothing. Besides their first appearance about 180 chapters back, Furihata & Co. haven't done anything major, a persistent flaw in the series. Unlike other sports series where the whole team has had to come together, Kuroko no Basket has sometimes made it seem more like a 1-on-1 between Kagami, Kuroko and the Generation of Miracles.
Granted, this development can go either way. It can be a useless little musing by Fujimaki-sensei that can't be included in the final match or it can carry some weight and be genuinely interesting.
Nisekoi - 47
I've said it many a time and I'll continue to say it: the end is nigh, and this chapter has now set the stage for the finale.
The story at this point is progressing just as one would expect any shonen romantic comedy/harem series to and the comparisons to Ichigo 100% keep popping up. Not thrilling, not exciting but then again I dare for someone to recommend me a shonen romantic comedy/harem series that doesn't have a predictable ending.
Chitoge is slapping Raku was the most powerful part of this episode. It's pretty evident now that she has feelings for him and Raku's choice seems all but obvious at this point. It's also made pretty obvious with the way that Onodera keeps looking over at Raku with a certain sadness that can only be portrayed by a girl in the harem who won't end up with the guy.
The chapter ending with Chitoge in tears and the school festival on the verge of starting, its safe to assume that the next chapter will the be major turning point in the final steps to completion.
Beelzebub - 177
At the end of the previous chapter, I wondered what this new arc could possibly have to offer us. Apparently Beelzebub is now providing some material for all those shippers out there.
Memory loss Hilda and a meeting with Aoi was the spark that started this all off and it ended with more shipping to come: a couple Christmas battle! This really should make my eyes roll on an infinite loop - romance in Beelzebub - but for some reason it works.
It makes sense that there would be fans of the series who pair up our dimwitted yet powerful main character with either the girl who is too shy to admit it or the cold maid who has now turned into a loveable and cute dream girl. When venturing into the romantic comedy side of things, many series tend to lose their presence and become dull however this isn't true in Beelzebub's case.
The randomness of the series is what makes it acceptable to do this kind of thing. We've seen many random chapters that haven't progressed the story in any way and this is just another addition to the hilarious. Fans might be sighing and putting the series on hold for now, but I'll be enjoying the comedy for now.
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! - 406
A very happy and comedic end to a series that has been for the better part of a few years, quite serious. I'm not into endings that are this happy nor am I big fan of mentors thanking their students but even I can find some joy in this chapter.
There was a resemblance to One Piece in the slightest way possible, tied in with a little bit of Fairy Tail for all the craziness. There isn't all that much to comment about either; a pretty uneventful epilogue to the end of the most recent arc.
It only makes sense that Reborn and the other Arcobaleno didn't return to their adult forms. There really would have been little sense in this occurring, considering the origins of the manga. Not everything has been resolved in the world of Hitman Reborn! so to have one of the main characters turn into a different form for the remainder of the series.
With that over and done with, I can't really imagine what's left to take care of in this series.
One Piece - 685
More is revealed about Ceaser and the reason for Momonosuke's Chinese dragon appearance, but I still can't get excited about the remainder of this arc.
The flashback doesn't reveal anything we didn't know about Ceaser already, though it did serve its purpose in explaining why Momonosuke is in dragon form. Since I've grown tired with the arc, I wasn't appreciating all the in between humour we got from Luffy and Momonosuke's interactions.
There wasn't much else in this chapter. We got to see a few snippets of the other crew members fight and that was about it. I do wonder how boring Smoker and Vergo's fight is, especially after the way it started. Unfortunately, even the end when Monet steps in to battle Zoro, there was not a cell in my body that jumped in excitement.
Naruto - 606
Blah Blah flashback, blah blah girl problems.
I would write something more meaningful and/or thoughtful but I seriously can't. The flashback has only exacerbated the situation and the major plot development, with no hope of salvation. Girl problems is the worst reason ever for to start a war of biblical proportions, though I understand it being used to lure a weak-minded character to the dark side.
In all honesty, I shouldn't hate this series as much because there is a faint resemblance to Star Wars in that sense but I just can't get past the lack synergy. The plot development technically works because the Sasuke-Sakura-Naruto love triangle has existed from the beginning but it's not the most exciting of choices.
The flashback is a continuation from last time and the silver lining is we get to finally see how Nagato and his friends were recruited by Obito.
Bleach - 512
Bleach always makes itself hard to review on purpose. I swear!
Ichigo's arrival had quite the build-up after all this time away from the panels, so it makes sense that a grandiose entrance introduced by Byakuya was how it happened. Effectively the only thing we can take away from this chapter is how Byakuya was handing over all responsibility and placing all of his trust into Ichigo.
A part of me is excited and anxious to see what Ichigo's arrival will bring with it, but a part of me is disappointed that he will save the day in an obvious manner such as this one. Let's not forget, we still don't know what is happening to Urahara and who was pointing a sword at him, so there is always a possibility for that to yield interesting results in the future.
Nothing else left to say, except that props to Kubo-sensei for that full page drawing of Ichigo standing like a boss.
Best and Worst of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #47
This was a boring issue. There weren't any stand out chapters in my opinion and to crown the best would be way too generous, considering the average quality.
Crowning the worst would be an even harder task to do so. There were plenty of series that had boring or just plain bad chapters.
Final Note: Loving the Beelzebub and One Piece Halloween colour pages.
Weekly Shonen Jump - Issue #48
The better of the two issues and it's also the first time since it's debut chapter that Assassination Classroom is on the cover! Great showing to be able to pull this off after being serialised for less than 20 chapters. Let's hope the impending first volume release sells as well. Let's look at the other series:
Beelzebub - 178
Here's the spice!
Beelzebub teaching us how to make an ordinary scenario into a, well, Beelzebub one. All that shipping will have to wait for the time being whilst we enjoy the craziness of all those couples with killing intent to the maximum.
Poor Aoi in this chapter, getting the rug pulled from under her although that did free up some space for a new star to emerge. No surprise that it's Furuichi and he's becoming more and more like a boss in this chapter, by being able to call the former head of the Red Tails in such a nonchalant manner. One of the more hilarious moments that didn't involve all those couples was most certainly this one, and in particular when we got to see Nene red with embarrassment.
I still fail to see any real value of this arc in terms of the bigger picture but I don't seem to care. That would have to do with Beelzebub's special trait of making you forget about the actual story and forcing you (without your knowledge) to enjoy the new and random arc.
Something tells me the rest of this arc is going to be a shippers wet dream and a comedy fans weekly pick-me-up.
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! - 407
.........Oh right, I remember when Reborn! used to do this.
Think back to the any of the first 60 chapters and you'll be hit with a wave of either welcomed or unwelcomed nostalgia. This is Reborn!'s roots, before it was forced to change into a battle manga in order to survive in the harsh ranking system of Weekly Shonen Jump.
Whether you cared for the first 60 chapters of Reborn! or not will definitely affect your opinion about this chapter. I didn't mind the comedy chapters and I ended up missing them once they were over, although whilst getting through them a part of me was thinking when it was going to get serious.
Looks like the series is wrapping up some loose ends and it started with the loosest of ends: Haru or Kyoko. I for one haven't been interested in the romantic elements of the series that have popped up on occasion and have often brushed them off as part of the comedy. Needless to say I don't really care about the outcome of Tsuna's decision, though I must admit I favour Haru more than Kyoko as a character (not love interest).
That last panel with the original dying will state just tells us how ridiculous and silly the next chapter will be. Presumably this the start of Reborn!'s end and it kind of makes sense that everything will be resolved.
Bleach - 513
If it took you more than 90 seconds to read this chapter, then you must fall into the minority.
As I've mentioned many a time, Kubo-sensei is one of the few mangaka out there capable of making a chapter that feels like a fleeting moment. Memories of the final battle between Soul Society and Aizen can only bring back happy thoughts of how gripping the manga was back then for doing this. This arc doesn't have that same intensity but I can certainly appreciate the effort put forth.
The hard part about chapters like this is actually writing something. Ichigo now has gained the Blut power possessed by the Stern Ritter, so I'm expecting some kind of explanation in the next chapter and whilst it does raise some questions, it does make sense. By being human, Ichigo has the potential to possess powers that aren't afforded to his fellow shinigami and with Quincys being human, there isn't any issue when it comes to believability.
Ending the chapter with that revelation wasn't as gripping as one might expect, but it's interest cannot be disputed. It left a lot to the imagination and now there is potential for more.
Naruto - 607
At least the flashback is over. The rest of the chapter could have been written by anyone but that was to be expected.
Due to us having seen some of this flashback beforehand, the knowledge of Tobi's identity doesn't add to it and so it was kept nice and short, which is a good thing. What followed was the predictable pairing of Naruto v Madara and Kakashi v Obito.
Personally, I don't think that Naruto's fight against Madara is one to last. If he's still going to fight against Sasuke at the end of the series, having a fight against Madara feels unnecessary. Obito and Kakashi's fight is the more obvious bet in terms of what'll be in the spotlight, since it feels right in a generic way.
Presumably the fight will force Kakashi to get serious against an old friend, thus forcing an emotional burden upon him. This fight will most likely reveal the truth about what happened to Rin before concluding. Furthermore, the fight shouldn't last that long considering how unimportant both of these characters are at this point in the series and I hope that we won't see a repeat of the lengthy battle between the Uchiha brothers and Kabuto.
We're getting somewhere now.
One Piece - 686
A considerable improvement from the previous chapter, and with promise of something new to come.
I've voiced my complaints about the current arc dragging on for too long and becoming too convoluted, and luckily this chapter doesn't follow that particular flaw. Here we have a much simpler chapter with a more streamlined focus that doesn't misdirect any attention.
Surprisingly enough Monet has become the more central to the plot, and has displayed some of her terrifying power. Changing into a literal monster has made her more attention-worthy and made me take her more seriously as an enemy.
There does seem to be some confusion about Zoro's powers. We were led on to believe that he possessed some skill with Haki and that's why he was included as one of the few that could face Ceaser, but Tashigi's sudden arrival makes me wonder. It still likely that Zoro possesses Haki and that this team-up with Tashigi is for the purpose of building up a Gold Roger and Garp relationship (much like what Smoker and Luffy have going on).
There is potential for more because Zoro's only competition in the race to become best swordsman is Mihawk and arguably Kinemon. Tashigi isn't at a hight enough level to be called a rival, so her entrance into the fight and the next few chapters may change this. A change for the better it could be and at the same time we'll finally see a decent fight.
Final Note: Unrelated to the manga, two of Avril Lavigne's songs will be used in the One Piece Z film coming out next year. Oda-sensei sent her a letter after being impressed by her covers of "How You Remind Me" As it stands now, she'll be covering Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" for the film and her cover of the song previously mentioned will also be included. [Source 1, Source 2, Weekly Shonen Jump Announcement ]
Nisekoi - 48
Didn't see that coming. No wait, I did.
Honestly this is the part of romantic comedies that I hate. An ending like this is the industry standard for the innocent shonen romance series such as Nisekoi and unfortunately even good execution isn't present. The series has always been clich so I can't complain about anything clich but I can say I'm not thrilled with how the chapter turned out.
Unfortunately - my preferences acting up - I had a hunch that Chitoge would be the one to play Juliet. Not the most original developments, but I have to say that even the reason for it was so dull. The moment of reconciliation between Chitoge and Raku was textbook and cute and generic, so it didn't evoke much emotion either. I just couldn't feel in tune with the characters.
Could have been better, should have been better.
Kuroko no Basket - 187
This chapter was a little corny, but I liked it nonetheless.
Corny isn't a bad thing when it comes to sports manga; the underdog winning and the tears that follow, a less active team mate surprising everyone etc. are all moments we can't have excluded from a
shonen sports series. Getting back to the chapter, Furihata's involvement in all of this is a nice surprise. It's just the right amount of silly and realistic, which makes it a heart-warming chapter as a whole.
What I really like is how the benched players are finally getting some attention. As I mentioned above, one of the flaws of Kuroko no Basket has been the lack of involvement from all of the characters. With that in mind, I think the flashback scene in the chapter was so right for the situation and made me more empathetic and sympathetic towards the freshman. The comparison Furihata made between the other freshmen and Kuroko seemed appropriate given everything; a little obvious when you consider it, but it didn't detract from the quality of the chapter.
It also didn't hurt that Furihata is actually skilled, as you should expect from a player who underwent the same harsh training. The fruit of his training is the ability to catch one of Kuroko's crazy passes to score on his first try. A moment of everything coming together.
Just because it's quite late in the series, there is that risk of it being a fleeting moment than something more memorable. With that being my only concern, I'm quite fond of what the series is doing
Best and Worst of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #48
Best - Bleach/Beelzebub
Both these series had something that made them memorable. One was fun and the other was exciting.
I'd say Naruto but I'm tired of crowning it the worst. I didn't care so much for Reborn!'s antics and I'd prefer a smoother way of tying up loose ends.
UPDATE: After adding Nisekoi and Kuroko no Basket to the review, Nisekoi was the worst chapter this issue.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #49
Cover - Nisekoi (One Year Anniversary)
Colour Page - Medaka Box
Colour Page - Haikyuu!!
Absent - Naruto