Weekly Shonen Jump - Review of Issue #34 (2012)
Not a bad set of chapters and unfortunately One Piece was absent after yet another ending that was nothing short of great. The notable chapters in this issue were Assassination Classroom and Beelzebub. Also included in this review is review of the Naruto special one-shot "Road to Naruto the Movie." Here's how it all went down in Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #34: Naruto - 594 Here's a break down of what new info we finally learned from this chapter: .......................... silly me, we didn't learn anything new at all. I'm all for recapping important information, actually I think it's necessary, but to have the Kyuubi recount all of the information we have known for a while and merely point out that with the single tail of the Hachibi and the Ginkaku and Kinkaku is enough to revive the Jyuubi, made this chapter feel like the biggest waste of time. The most I got out of this chapter was confirmation that Kuruma, our beloved nine-tailed beast, isn't strong enough to take on its ten-tailed "parent." All that was left to tie together yet another boring chapter from Naruto was ending it in an obvious way (Naruto attacking Tobi) and hopefully progressing the story to an actual fight which will determine how the rest of the story plays out. I have nothing more to say. Naruto: Road to Movie (One-shot) It's said when a one-shot promoting the new movie for the series is better than the chapter of the manga that's relevant to the story. Not much to discuss, but the chapter made for a good laugh and had a pretty awesome centre colour depicting the reversed personalities the characters will possess in the upcoming Road to Ninja movie - I'm really looking forward to the confident Hinata and skinny Chouji. That said, I was a little disappointed that the chapter was just your average comedy extra chapter and not an introduction to the moive thus denying me sneak peek I really want. You can't really go wrong with a bathhouse setting and this special chapter makes good use of it to lighten the mood and distract from the ongoing Naruto plot which has been subpar to say the least. Surprising to see Rock Lee playing such a big role in this chapter, but because he has been absent from quite a lot of the new chapters it only ended up adding to my enjoyment of this chapter. Bleach - 501 Byakuya dying Really Generally I tend to follow popular opinion when it comes to how each chapter played out for series running in Shonen Jump but this time I find myself being in the minority. I thought this chapter was not bad, it was quite good because it kept building up the powers of the Quincy and delayed Ichigo s arrival into Soul Society yet again. By not revealing who it was pointing the sword at Urahara in the last panel of chapter 500, the suspense is not wasted plus it keeps me hooked and interested as to when this bit of crucial information is revealed and of course who it will be. The focus shift to Byakuya was also handled well and didn't feel unnatural which is my main worry whenever a change in focus is used in shonen series like Bleach, One Piece or Naruto. As nice as those particular elements of the chapter were, what really did it for me this chapter was Byakuya's downfall. I don't mean to say his downfall was handled that well, with a long-winded speech from As Nodt about fear but when he actually lost it came with a myriad of implications which do more for the story than if he had beaten As. With Byakuya being one of the strongest characters in Soul Society, his downfall definitely adds to the superiority of the opponent and continues to elevate the situation to a much more dire state that makes fighting Aizen and the Espada look like child's play but his final moments show us how much he has changed; to the point where he worries about Rukia openly. Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) - 4 After 3 chapters for a series like Assassination Classroom, one begins to question how the series can go on if it has done nothing but feel like a collection of one-shots. Enjoyable high quality one-shots, but definitely not what you would expect to be serialised in the most popular Shonen magazine in Japan or even the world. Don't worry, Matsui-sensei came up with a way to make this series more interesting. The chapter felt much shorter than usual, but that can be mostly attributed to the first 3 chapters being repetitive and all about the characters thus making an (proper) introduction of a new character for the upcoming arc and the chapter as a whole very short. Karma as a character was shown to be a character who's not comparable to his classmates because he is a genius at weapons and violence, the perfect combination for him to succeed in this class and yet another display of people being smarter in more ways than just book smart. Karma's appearance also ended up rekindling some memories of Great Teach Onizuka, a series which up until now I thought was wildly different from Ansatsu Kyoushitsu but now I'm beginning to reconsider my initial thoughts. Of course this means that the series will probably end up being one of the more predictable ones in Jump, with a formulaic (for the most part) plot progression which you can see in GTO but as long as the emotions are handled well and the story doesn't get too ridiculous, it won't really matter (much like how I felt about GTO). All in all, a decent chapter, hinting towards a more continuous story line from now on and signalling the end of the random and episodic first few chapters. Beelzebub - 165 Has anyone figured out if Kugayama is a girl or a guy That was my one lingering thought after reading this chapter of Beelzebub, because quite frankly there was almost nothing to take away from this chapter. Just to clear things up, this isn't a complaint on my part because I was left in hysterics after being bombarded with a barrage of jokes and classic Beelzebub humour I love and hold dear. The layout of the chapter resembled the one of the last few chapters, being all party at the front (humour up front) and business at the back (ending on a more serious note) and as I've already mentioned being full of that trademark Beelzebub humour I love so much. The highlight of this all was definitely the jokes surrounding Himekawa's Pompadour which has not been made fun of as much as you might expect, unless you count an equally funny but unrelated filler episode in the anime, so I was definitely pleased. Another gem from the comedy perspective was Furuichi's interruptions of the story telling which we haven't seen since the very first chapter of the series but something that I've definitely missed and may possibly be the reason why I got into the series. The chapter felt a little more serious
when Himekawa and Kugayama told the gang about their history with the painting, and at the same time kept me guessing as to what Kugayama's gender is by making things more confusing with the flashbacks, and then it proceeded to end on a serious and sensible note with a double page spread of the painting. Whether Beel's mother will be an important character in the near future is yet to be seen but it would definitely be nice to see more revealed about one of the more unknown characters of the series, even if his name is the title. A funny chapter but that's not all it had going for it. Kuroko no Basket - 174 With the semi-finals coming up and the impending unveiling of the captain of the Generation of Miracles, it's nice too see KuroBas do a good job with the introduction of probably the best team in the entire story. The introduction was about as generic as you can get with sports series, with the whole "I accidentally bumped into you in ever day life and then you find out I'm your opponent" scenario being used but I quite liked how it was used to introduce the 3 players who will be formidable foes other than Akashi, who we've known about for quite some time now. Having the remaining Uncrowned Generals belong to Rakuzan hints more towards Rakuzan v Seirin being the final match of the Interhigh Tournament and possibly the series, and what's more is that it's very possible that KuroBas' remaining time with us isn't all that long. Certainly the Rakuzan v Shutoku showdown should bring some more insight into Rakuzan's insane power but the match, alongside Seirin v Kaijou, will probably be a short one so that the final may come sooner rather than later and give Kagami the opportunity to beat the final member of the Generation of Miracles. The story's progression after the Touou has been less to my liking and the post-Yousen mini-arc with Kaijou was a little bit of a let down, so I wonder if it really was the right time to introduce the Rakuzan team who are still not Seirin's opponent. On another negative note it feels like the series is rushing towards its end in a rushed manner with everything going on, but that still doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the chapter; enjoyable in a familiar way. Sensei no Bulge (BARRAGE) - 10 10 chapters in and a new power is introduced. That makes sense. The biggest part of this chapter was the introduction of the powers which are used by aliens called "Dark Energy" which I'm assuming will be encountered many times on the journey around the planet and the universe. This revelation wasn't made a big deal out in a refreshing manner, but it still comes across as important and not just another irrelevant act. Tico is taken down quite easily but she doesn't become submissive, proving more and more that she is one of the stronger heroines you encounter in shonen action/adventure series and not just another useless weakling. Before anyone points this out, yes she does need to be rescued by Astro but that was an inevitable part of the story to get her to join Astro and Tiamats world excursion and no matter how clich d or generic it may sound it's still quite well done. With the resolution of the fight in sight, opportunities for Astro's development keep popping up but I worry that it will feel rushed. Aside from this worry, the arc seems far from over and should carry on for a while longer until all other enemies are defeated and subsequently solve the issue of pacing which could pop up at any time. Not a bad chapter, though a little too familiar and slightly boring. Takamagahara - 3 A much better third chapter, after some terrible first chapters. Far from perfect, this chapter resolved the fight in a bizarrely comedic manner resembling JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. This is not a comparison of the two manga, because it's ridiculous to do so but once I stopped taking this series as seriously as I was at the beginning, it got much better. The powers possessed by people are just funny to me and don't make me think of this series as a semi-serious action. Not much else happens of not aside from the substitute teacher finally approaching Yamada, an ending far better than what we've seen in the last two chapters which felt awkward and unplanned. I'm not really sure if I'm going to continue reading this series because it still riddled with faults and is not doing a good job competing with the other action series in Jump but I can understand why some may be inclined to carry on reading. Better, but still not good enough.
Nisekoi - 35 Truth be told I wasn't expecting Raku to remember who Marika is so soon, but it was inevitable.
Unlike the last few pseudo-cliffhangers brought about by revelations and confrontations (chapters 27-29 left me in awe) this ending felt a little weaker and less exciting but it's not something bad or unexpected. Since Nisekoi has been a high quality romantic comedy, I sometimes forget that this type of manga tends to be a less exciting read and that this particular series is one of the few exceptions that give me a level of excitement equal to that from reading an action series and that means weaker chapters like this one are to be expected also.
Marika has already been shown to be deceptive and manipulative, so it's not a surprising move to have her be a girl who is yandere. I'm guessing she used to be a girl who either made fun of Raku in the past or was completely ignored by Raku hence driving her to change herself completely for him, a setting that's as western romcom as you can get. Other than "Mari's" sudden outburst, it's disclosed that she is sick which may hint to her getting a short appearance as a character instead of a recurring role, which was also expected because I've thought from the beginning she was meant to be a character to shake things up and not get that much romantic focus.
Not a bad chapter from Nisekoi, but the next one will probably be better.
Simply for the copious amounts of comedy which happened to be much more enjoyable than the previous chapter's, this issue's best chapter was Beelzebub. A close second would be Assassination Classroom for managing to switch up the story from feeling like a continuous string of one-shots.
Care to guess It's Naruto yet again.
Preview of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #35
Issue #35 will have Naruto on the cover and the lead colour page, while PSI Kusuo Saiki and Kochikame will get centre colour pages. Next issue also marks the start of the 2012 Golden Future Cup and it's first entry Goblin Night (which also has a colour page).
Cover - Naruto
Colour Page - PSI Kusuo Saiki
Colour Page - Kochikame
Colour Page - Goblin Night