Review: Weekly Shonen Jump (November 17, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Food Wars!, One Piece, Nisekoi: False Love, Bleach, Hi-Fi Cluster, Toriko, and World Trigger. In addition, this issue also includes the third chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative, as well as an interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Kosuke Yahagi.

For the series that carried over from previous issues I’ve read, I tried to put a little more focus in my write-ups about the progression of the story from the previous chapter. I will warn you that these write-ups will more than likely contain spoilers.

I only started reading Weekly Shonen Jump back in late February/early March of 2014, which means there’s a number of series published in the magazine that I jumped in the middle of. Since then, I’ve been able to start reading older chapters of some of the titles, but I haven’t managed to do this for all of the titles yet. Because of this, there may be times I might inadvertently include incorrect information in the write-ups. If you see something in a write-up that’s incorrect due to my having not read earlier chapters of a series, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Not only can I correct the incorrect information in the write-up, it will also help provide information for me to have when reading future chapters of a series in Weekly Shonen Jump.

Of course, you can always check out Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:001

This is the first series that’s part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s next batch of titles for their “Jump Start” initiative.

We briefly meet a ping pong player named Ageha Hanazono, who decides to return to Japan to learn from his former master in order to advance. We then meet Ririka Otsuka, a second-year high school student who lives at a table tennis center that’s owned by her grandfather. Ririka’s grandfather wants her to take over the table tennis center, but she has no interest. Ririka is a vain girl, and we see that she’s constantly being asked out by guys at school. However, she doesn’t think any of them are good enough for a gorgeous girl like her.

Ririka has a run-in with Ageha, and he’s not impressed with her, especially after hearing her call table tennis “lame.” It turns out that he’s a new student at Ririka’s school, and she decides to try to make him interested in her, even though she’s not interested in him. It doesn’t work, and she seems to make it her mission to make him fall for her over table tennis. When the former captain of the now disbanded table tennis team comes into the room, Ageha is told that no guy will let him play table tennis at school unless Ririka’s cool with him. Ageha challenges the guy, with Ririka adding the condition that if Ageha loses, he’ll never play tennis table at that school again.

It ends up being a best of three games match. Ageha wins the first match. Ririka’s grandfather shows up, and even the guy challenging Ageha recognizes him. Her grandfather reveals that Ageha is his student. Ageha wins the second match, and is declared the winner at that point. Right at the end of the chapter, Ririka learns that not only is Ageha living at the table tennis center, he’s also her fiance.

Ok, where do I start with this? As I read this volume, a lot of what happened ended up being rather predictable. It was also full of tropes that have been overused in shonen manga. I nearly facepalmed at the end when I saw that Ririka and Ageha are engaged. My first thought was, “Oh, so we’re combining a typical shonen sports anime with Nisekoi: False Love.” With this first chapter, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha brings nothing new to the table. I found Ririka to be an annoying character, and I also became more and more bored with this manga as I read through this chapter. The only reason I’ll read more at this point will be due to two more chapters of this series appearing in Weekly Shonen Jump.

In the end, I have to say that this series feels more derivative than Nisekoi: False Love. For me, that’s really saying something!

Food Wars! CH:095

This chapter sees Soma and Megumi in the empty dockside market, trying to come up with a strategy for in-season mackerel pike. We get to see a flashback of Soma and his father at this fish market, and Soma learning how to find a good sardine. After the flashback, Soma and Megumi realize they’ve already come to a dead end.

Meanwhile, Hayama is giving an interview, which includes him giving an explanation to the reporters as to how he’s able to detect the best pike by its scent. We also see Kurokiba being interviewed by reporters. Then it’s back to Soma, who’s brooding over how he can possibly compete with Hayama and Kurokiba. Right at the end of the chapter, he comes up with an answer and asks his friends for help…

So we go from a boring chapter of a table tennis anime to a chapter of a competitive cooking anime. Maybe it’s just my mood spilling over from the previous series chapter I just read, but I also found this one to be on the boring side. Soma’s part of the story is the most important, because it allows the reader to see that Soma isn’t as confident as he tries to portray himself to be. My favorite part of this chapter was Soma’s flashback.

One Piece CH:767

This chapter continues the flashback that we’ve been following for several chapters now. The Don Quixote Family arrives and goes to the hideout of the Barrels Pirates. Meanwhile, Law tries to talk with Corazon, but he can’t get anywhere before Doflamingo arrives. Corazon tries to hide Law from Doflamingo, while Doflamingo declares that he’ll have to raise Law so he knows to die for his sake. We then see Doflamingo kill Corazon…

With the way this chapter ends, it looks like there’s going to be at least one more chapter of flashback before we return to the main storyline. But, as I predicted last week, this chapter saw the end for Corazon. Now the main thing we have left to see is whether or not Law returns to Doflamingo or if he manages to actually get away. Even though this flashback’s been going for a while, I’ve really appreciated getting Law’s backstory. I do feel I understand him a bit better now.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:147

In this chapter, Yui’s bodyguard arrives in the classroom and sees Raku next to the collapsed Yui. The bodyguard asks Raku to help her get Yui home. After getting home, the bodyguard tells Raku that Yui usually collapses from being overworked about every three months. It’s revealed that Yui overworks herself because she doesn’t want to be alone again. When she was growing up, she was always alone because her parents were busy and they were also sickly. Raku is told that he’s the only person that Yui trusts. Yui awakens when the phone rings, and she starts panicking about all the things she needs to get done. Raku tells Yui that she needs to rest. Raku tells Yui he thinks of her as a sister and says he wants to help her when she’s got a heavy load to carry. The chapter ends with the Char Su group rushing to check on Yui.

OK, after reading this chapter I have to say that I’m starting to like Yui a little bit better than I had prior to reading this chapter. I can now understand why she insists on trying to help everyone. I still think she’s going to be manipulative when it comes to Raku, but at least I know why she acts that way. I honestly appreciated getting some more backstory for Yui in this chapter.

Bleach CH:605

This chapter opens with a brief discussion between Ukitake and Kyoraku. We then return to Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube as they prepare to battle. It appears that Ichibe is getting the upper hand (literally) with his Thousand Ri Heavenly Hand. But Yhwach does something surprising that takes away Ichibe’s advantage.

For the most part, this chapter is basically another one that focuses on a short piece of a battle before quickly halting to a stop. My favorite part was getting to see Ukitake and Kyoraku. Too bad we couldn’t have seen more of them! Outside of that, I really don’t have much to say about this chapter.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:009-010

Chapter Nine sees Kandera and Ichiro Noto facing off against each other. Peta, meanwhile, tries to get an injured Miri out of the area. As Peta talks to Miri about the case, he learns that Ichiro is the killer responsible for the 6/11 massacre and that he was on the police force at the time. Specifically, he had been Kandera’s right hand man. It’s also revealed that it’s this incident that caused Kandera to start Special Unit Six. Back at Kandera’s battle, it looks like Ichiro will win; but we see Ekusa and Heckt appear to provide backup. Miri also tells Peta to go back to Kandera so he can be their eyes for them. When Peta returns, they discover a kid on a statue appears to be in charge of Ichiro. The kid calls himself Landscape Mole, the name of the person who created the ability labels.

In Chapter 10, Ekusa and Heckt try to take on Landscape Mole, but he’s able to easily deflect their attacks because he has several Hi-Fi labels attached to him. Landscape Mole reveals that he had been involved with the killing four years earlier, and that it was just a demonstration to show what labels can do. He also explains why he created the labels. But it turns out he’s disappointed in how his invention ended up being integrated into society and that if someone doesn’t have the will to use a label, it’s useless. He also declares that he wants to start a revolution to redo the ability society with Hi-Fi loaders at its helm. But after this, both Landscape Mole and Noto disappear.

So we appear to have met the creator of the ability labels, and these chapters also seem to be setting the stage for something major to happen sooner rather than later. While I liked getting the backstory for the labels, there was just something about how these chapters were done that almost make me wonder if this manga may be wrapping up sooner rather than later. This plot point feels more like something that should be showing up closer to the end of the series, not this early on in it. I mean, we finally got the world and characters established when we get a storyline like this thrown out here. The ante is being upped a lot in a rather short amount of time. I hope I’m wrong about Hi-Fi Cluster potentially wrapping up and that I’m reading too much into what was presented in these two chapters.

Toriko CH:301

A lot of this chapter focuses on the Monkey King, and he’s playing around. We also get an explanation for what he’s doing, which is called Skipping Mountains. We finally get to see Toriko and the others, where they receive an explanation for the events and mutations that took place to create the Sundoriko Flower. Right at the end of the chapter, they find the Birthcry Tree.

Ultimately, not much takes place during this chapter. I know we needed some establishment for the Monkey King, but I thought there was a little much here. Outside of that, it was basically characters talking to each other. Hopefully a little more will take place in the next chapter.

World Trigger CH:083

In this chapter, Osamu wakes up and has a discussion with his mother. His mother says that Chika didn’t cry for him, so they need to become closer as siblings. Osamu is surprised to learn that people have visited him in the hospital. We also learn that Osamu had been unconscious for more than a week. When Chika wakes up from her nap, Osamu asks if Yuma has visited. She says he hasn’t in a bit. Later, Osamu is visited by Usami, and she shares with him the distinguished service awards that were recently handed out. He learns that Yuma received the Special Distinguished Services Award, and that he has received the Outstanding Distinguished Services award. After this, Yuma arrives, and Yuma tells Osamu that Replica still has to be alive somewhere. Right at the end of the chapter, Osamu receives a visit from Karasawa, the Business Director for Border.

Most of this chapter focuses on wrapping up the storyline we’ve been following for the past several months, and this also included several pages of Usami’s report on the various awards that had been handed out. While it was nice to know this information, it just felt like it took a little longer than it needed to, and that this bogged the chapter down somewhat. From what we see at the end, I expect that the visit from Karasawa is probably going to be laying the foundation for whatever the next story arc will end up being.

Naruto: The Beginning

This is a six-page feature that is an interview with Masashi Kishimoto and Kosuke Yahagi, the founding editor of Naruto and the current editor in chief of Jump SQ. The interview comes from the December 2014 issue of Jump SQ. Topics in the interview include how Kishimoto and Yahagi met, Kishimoto’s initial one shot for Naruto and what worked for that one shot and didn’t work for the Karakuri one shot, the next couple of works Kishimoto worked on, how Naruto almost didn’t make it into Shonen Jump, that Chapter 2 of Naruto was originally going to be Chapter 4, and other memories they have of those early chapters of Naruto.

Overall, it wasn’t too bad for what it was. While some of the information I already knew, I also learned a little more from reading this interview.

Naruto CH:003

This is the third chapter of the Naruto manga, which is being published as part of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Back” initiative.

This chapter introduces Sakura Haruno and Sasuke Uchiha, two of Naruto’s classmates who become his teammates in Team 7. Before they meet their squad leader, Kakashi, Naruto disguises himself as Sasuke to try to learn what Sakura thinks of him. After learning her feelings, he decides to use the disguise to try to make Sasuke look bad.

So this chapter starts expanding Naruto’s world, and we now get to see him interact with a couple of his peers. This starts the love triangle between Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke that ends up playing an important role in the series. And of course, this chapter includes the infamous kiss…

And according to the end of this chapter, Chapter Four is supposed to be appearing in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump.

Additional reviews of Weekly Shonen Jump:

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