Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #31 see's the start of the first of the two new series, Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) by established author Yusei Matsui and we have colour pages from Nisekoi and Kuroko no Basket which you can see above; PSI Kusuo Saiki also has one but I didn't include it in this review. This post will include a first look at Assassination Classroom.
An average set of chapters, which is a rarity; Naruto keeps being disappointing, Bleach and One Piece switched things up with their respective storyline whilst Sensei no Bulge and Kuroko no Basket started new arcs. Let's take a closer look:
Assassination Classroom - 1 (Weekly Shonen Jump Debut)
Korosensei is a mysterious creature who has take a bite out of the moon, leaving it crescent shaped forever and now he has come to Earth claiming that he will blow it up in one years time. Now to give humanity a chance, he requests to be the homeroom teacher for a 3rd year Junior High class that is thought to be the worst class ever; not for behaviour but rather intelligence and each day the students take a few minutes every to try and assassinate Korosensei so that they might win the 10 billion yen prize that the world leaders have put on their head.
Why is Korosensei doing this Because of some promise or maybe for fun, either way the students have until their graduation ceremony to assassinate him or the entire world is going to be blown up.
It's safe to say that Matsui-sensei has a knack for creating characters who possess a twisted sense of humour, like Neuro in MTNN and now Korosensei. The character is definitely fun and interesting and maybe a little clich d but in a good way, and there is still room for development of course since he's not actually perfect.
The story, is also an intersting start with potential for improvement as time goes by, with the end goal of killing Korosensei. It feels somewhat like a gag manga more than an actual story manga, further made to feel this way with less serious art, but it's closer to a Beelzebub setting with less obvious humour than a plain and simple gag manga.
When you put it all together, this chapter is proof that Matsui-sensei is in fact an established author. It didn't wow me but I could tell that it's a story with potential to become interesting and fun.
Kuroko no Basket - 171
Anyone see that coming If you didn't you probably don't read enough shonen sports manga to know better.
It's got to the point in this manga that introducing any characters with new skills is pretty much impossible for 2 important reasons. First of all, the amount of "super skills" that you can come up with for a manga about basketball is limited, especially since Kuroko is the first one I've read which is done in the style of Eyeshield 21 or Prince of Tennis. The other reason: you have to make it somewhat different, otherwise the story will become dull.
Now I'm not saying that there hasn't already been a case of new skills not being introduced - you can argue it happened with Kagami and Aomine - but this felt kind of silly. I'm all for another copy-cat like player and it makes even more sense that he goes up against Kise, the guy who replaced him, but at the same time it makes me think that the mangaka of the series has gotten lazy and just come up with something that should do the trick for now.
Silliness aside, the skill itself makes Shougo even more of an antagonist and with the likelihood of Kise's team loosing (expectations from Eyeshield 21 amongst other shonen sports series), he should make for an interesting opponent for Kagami and Kuroko to take down. So far there hasn't really been a player who's played basketball for the sake of destroying others so all the previous opponents weren't really hate-worthy but he's definitely got me feeling hostility against him.
This chapter provided a better start to an already better arc than the one we previously sat through and still holds promise of more developments and improved matches to be shown. Not a bad start to the arc and it makes me want to see how much longer Kise v Haizaki is going to last for before we go back to the main story with Seirin.
Final Note: The few drawings of Haizaki Shougo in his pre-cornrow time makes me convinced that the author is drawing inspiration from Eyeshield 21's main antagonist Koungo Agon.
Sensei no Bulge (Barrage) - 7
Last chapter we saw the preliminary end of the first 3 chapter arc of Barrage and this chapter we the story move on in a swift and waste-less manner.
Instead of dwelling on the aftermath of Astro defeating Dear Rock, the story decides to move along as if nothing major has happened. Now I found this to be quite a good move because it played off very well later on in the chapter where Astro makes Tiamat train him because he still thinks he's weak which only further downplays this victory's importance.
After a quick observation from Tiamat about Astro's personality being strange and after we are shown the hostages rejoice, the chapter progresses with the plot almost immediately. That wasn't actually a bad thing, mainly because of what I mentioned about downplaying Astro's first victory but also because this chapter doesn't dwell on things like it has for the first few chapters and moves on with the story which is set in a considerably larger universe than what you'd find in most other manga. It might have been handled a little better if we were shown sometime type of change in time via the art but that's a very minor nuisance one can overlook.
Finally, we are introduced to who I presume is the heroine of the series and I've got to say that I already like her. Maybe it has to do with her attacking Astro and Tiamat, but a part of me thinks it's because we rarely see any noteworthy and strong heroines in Shonen Jump series and this one at the very least doesn't look weak.
As far as transitional chapters go, this one wasn't bad but could use some more thought in the future if it's going to be attempted again.
One Piece - 672
The chapter doesn't actually accomplish much, although because it's One Piece it does accomplish whatever small amount of plot progression in grand style.
It is revealed that the man at the end of chapter is 671 is still of unknown origin to us; we just know his name is Virgo (Velgo/Welgo depending on alternative spellings), he possesses a strange ability and that him and Law are acquainted. I honestly thought the cliffhanger was for introducing a character we already knew or would have at least heard about and not someone completely unknown; I thought maybe Aokiji or one of the Yonkou but it's still possible that Virgo works for the Yonkou whom Law is targeting.
It's also worth mentioning Monet as a spy, a turn in the plot that was a little surprising and full of implications that are yet to be seen. It's clear that if Monet is spying on Ceaser Clown, a man with a 300 million berri bounty on his head, then she's working for someone higher up on the food chain which doesn't leave all that many people as candidates.
The rest of the chapter wasn't what I would call noteworthy, with most of the focus being on Sanji (in Nami's body) recovering Kinemon's (the samurai) body. Now the recovery of the body wasn't anything special but right after that Kinemon went onto display his swordsmanship skills, leaving many shocked with their mouths open and for good reason. I like to think that Zoro will eventually fight Kinemon and that this display of power was for that specific reason, because Zoro has yet to fight any real swordsman besides Dracule Mihawk and since Mihawk's the strongest we haven't been able to fully grasp his growth. Also something to consider is that as soon as there was mention of Samurai and the Wano country, it looks like there will some type of Zoro centric arc and this chapter seems to be one of the stepping stones to do so.
A fine One Piece chapter but it was definitely lacking in some areas.
Bleach - 498
Really After all of those chapters that happens
This chapter wasn't infuriating just disappointing; how can you go through weeks of making it look like Ichigo was suffering only to end the fight with him turning the tables on Opie without breaking a sweat and then having Urahara step in and finish him off with a single attack
Putting aside that, it look like the pace is picking up and that Ichigo might be going back to Soul Society faster than anticipated because he's the only one that can't have his bankai stolen but that might be untrue unless it doesn't apply to the high ranking members of the Stern Ritter. All of this feels a little rushed to me and it annoys me that Ichigo will come back to save the day so soon when there are still viable candidates for battling against the Stern Ritter.
And of course not much else happens, because having more than one or two major things happen in any chapter of Bleach is out of the question.
Naruto - 591
Ugh..... Will it ever end
I wouldn't have had that much of a problem with this chapter but when Kishimoto-sensei decided to use Dan - one of Tsunade's lost loves - as the focus of the chapter, that was the point I went back to rolling my eyes and wondering if I would have gotten into Naruto had I known that after 550 chapters the story would decline to this level of pointlessness and mediocrity.
The biggest problem with bringing up Dan and then getting to say a farewell to Tsunade is that it borders on the pointless. If you remember back to the time when Naruto and Jiraiya went to bring her back to the village, you would have assumed that she made her piece with the losses she experienced thus making this into an even bigger waste of a chapter.
On the other hand the battle between the 5 Kage and Madara seems to be heating up with each passing chapter, even though we can expect Madara to leave this realm any time soon. Keeping Madara alive and unwilling to go is the more logical move because of his legendary strength. All of this leads to a "cliffhanger" where Madara tells them that there are certain risks involved with Edo Tensei. Now I think the cliffhanger suffered because of the pages with Dan and Tsunade, but it also feels like this entire arc has made it feel like the story being dragged out to its limits, which is frustrating.
Another weak chapter from Naruto: to be expected for weeks ahead.
Beelzebub - 162
I don't have much to say for this chapter of Beelzebub at all.
Here's the bullet points:
- It was funny.
- It didn't accomplish much in terms of plot progression until the end.
- Since Oga has been made into such a strong character ever since he defeated Toujo, you kind of expected him to win that easily.
- Next chapter should go back to the main story and reveal more about the painting.
Not a bad chapter but not one I can say much about.
Nisekoi - 32
I think Komi-sensei is definitely trying to turn this into a harem, which it officially became once Chitoge decided to fall in love with Raku but anyone will tell you that a harem with just 3 girls is not enough so adding at least a fourth character is going to propel this series further on the road to harem.
Before we get to that, it's back to Raku and Chitoge and in the usual Nisekoi way they have the meaningful yet tsundere exchange which is getting a little boring. Raku and Chitoge have been doing this dance back and forth for a while and even though it wasn't until recently that at least one of the parties involved has had feelings for one another but it does feel like more of the same thing we've already seen. The one major difference is that with every passing chapter Onodera is being pushed to the side, even after she indirectly confessed her feelings to Raku.
Now the introduction of the new character is probably to shake things up and I'm questioning whether introducing her so soon is the best course of action. Depending on how things play out, it might have been a wiser choice to keep the girl with the third key out of the loop until more developments have occurred with Onodera and Chitoge (Tsugumi seems more like a side character rather than potential love interest) but maybe I'm underestimating Komi-sensei who has managed to make this series so enjoyable thus far.
magico - 65 (Weekly Shonen Jump End)
Another one bites the dust eh
With a cheesy ending that seemed to be lacking in adequate pacing yet again, magico wraps up it's run in Weekly Shonen Jump. I'm a little sad that this series was axed and prematurely so in my opinion but it's quality had been in decline since the start of the "Best Couple Tournament" arc and subsequent issues with pacing followed, during the arc and after it.
The last chapter contained the same flaws as the build up to what I consider a terrible ending to the series. Even if the series was rushed, there was no need to introduce Oz and Echidna at the end because all it did was try and wrap up any lose ends which could have been left untouched, leaving me happily ignorant, instead of being forced to see a series with plenty of potential being subjected to a very corny ending that ultimately lowered the quality of the manga overall.
Looking back at the series as a whole, magico was a great idea executed poorly by a rookie mangaka. With fantastic art being its biggest saving grace in the later chapters, there wasn't all that much else to this series which otherwise could have been great by being planned out and paced a lot better. There were also occasions where the series couldn't decide if it wanted to be a romantic comedy or if it wanted to stick to the fantasy battle plot elements which were actually quite well executed but couldn't shine through in the muddled mess the series eventually became.
It might sound like I hated the series but my frustration comes from its execution being much weaker, thus hindering the series from reaching full potential. For a first piece it was very good attempt by the mangaka Naoki Iwamoto-sensei and I can't wait for him to bring out something new which will hopefully incorporate his experience garnered from his 16-17 months of experience of being a serialised author because god knows he's got the ideas and the art down.
NOTE: There will be a special 45 page chapter running in Jump NEXT which will show Shion and Emma's wedding.
Because there weren't any outstanding chapters and because it was a very good chapter, the best one was Assassination Classroom. If not for this new series, I think my second choice would have either been One Piece or Senei no Bulge.
I'm tired of saying Naruto but it has yet to give me a reason to stop calling it the worst chapter. Even though it was Naruto, Bleach was a close second.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #32
Cover - Takamagahara (Weekly Shonen Jump debut)
Colour Page- Haikyuu!!
Colour Page- Medaka Box
Colour Page- Assassination Classroom