Review: Weekly Shonen Jump (November 24, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for E-ROBOT, One Piece, World Trigger, Food Wars!, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Toriko, Bleach, Nisekoi: False Love, Hi-Fi Cluster, and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. In addition, this issue also includes the fourth chapter of Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative.

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.

E-ROBOT CH:001

This is the second series for Weekly Shonen Jump‘s second batch of titles for their “Jump Start” initiative.

Yuuki Rindo wants to declare his love to Hikari Shirahama, but he ends up not going through with it. Since Yuuki’s father works with robots, his friend suggests that Yuuki should havw his dad create a robot so he can practice his confession. As Yuuki is walking down the street, he sees a cat in danger in the road and tries to rescue it. Just as it looks like Yuuki is going to be hit, he is saved by a mysterious girl who stops the truck by using her breasts. Oh, and her butt ends up in Yuuki’s face during this. Later, he learns the girl is actually a robot known as Ai Roborovskil. Oh, and Ai was able to heal Yuuki’s injuries by producing a strong ointment in her mouth and licks it over him.

Yuuki gets a phone call from his father, and learns that Ai is a weapon that his father developed; she’s the “ultimate erotic weapon, E-ROBOT. Yuuki’s father says he needs to demonstrate with Ai can do to the stubborn academic community, and asks Yuuki to help him do that. Yuuki tries to run away, but Ai catches up to him. Yuuki tells Ai about his situation with Hikari, and Ai decides to try to help him with his love confession. On television, they see a news report that a bank has been taken over by robbers and that Hikari is a hostage inside the bank. At the scene, Ai does an erotic dance and Yuuki gives a commentary in order to get the robbers’ attention. When one of the robbers opens the shutter, Ai and Yuuki make it inside. Ai does another fanservice thing in order to distract the robbers so Yuuki can try to save Hikari. Ai then adjusts her breasts to the perfect angle for every bullet’s trajectory and deflecting them. But it turns out the robbers have a bomb rigged to explode in three minutes, and Ai asks Yuuki to grope her chest. After some hesitation, Yuuki does it and activates a firing switch. The switch causes her breasts to become projectiles.

Yuuki goes to confess his feelings to Hikari at the end of the chapter, but Ai appears at just the wrong moment. It didn’t help that the police told her everything that happened while she was unconscious, so now Hikari has the wrong idea. And right at the end, we see Ai is a new transfer student in Yuuki’s class.

OK, this is even worse than Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha. With this chapter, it feels more like it wants to focus on the fanservice than on an actual plot. I’d go so far as to say this manga is coming across as rather stupid. If I’m going to read a manga about a cute robot girl, I’d much rather read Chobits over E-ROBOT! I’m forced to read this one for two more weeks, but I hope that after its “Jump Start” run is through that we’ll never see it appear in Weekly Shonen Jump again.

One Piece CH:768

Well, it turns out I was wrong in my writeup last week. I thought for sure there would be one more week of Law’s flashback, but we return to current time in this chapter. By returning to current time, we return to the fight between Law and Doflamingo that was taking place before Law jumped into his flashback. But we don’t stay there very long, and we start getting brief glimpses of the other battlefronts that are spread across Dressrosa. Then, we return to see the next slight bit of Law’s battle right at the end of the chapter.

Phew! After reading through Law’s flashbacks for the past several weeks, I’d forgotten just how dizzying the manga has been in regards to the various battlefronts taking place in Dressrosa. I understand needing to re-establish what had been going on in the other battlefronts, but the way it was done felt rather dizzying to me as a reader. And I’m really hoping that this story arc comes to an end soon, because this has been the only story arc running for the roughly nine months that I’ve been reading Weekly Shonen Jump.

World Trigger CH:084

Karasawa tells Osamu’s mother that he needs to borrow Osamu for a little bit. She protests at first, but Karasawa tells her that he’s received permission from Osamu’s doctors. Osamu and Yuma are taken to a press conference. They watch from backstage as the higher-ups at Border tackle questions about the fact that were victims inside Border’s facilities. It’s pointed out that while this attack was about eight times that of the Neighbor attack four years ago, they only suffered 1/40th the casualties. The higher-ups continue to be grilled by the media over their handling of the attack. Osamu’s use of Trigger as a trainee earlier in the series is brought up during this press conference, which is asked by a reporter who was a plant by Mr. Netsuki in order to divert the press’ wrath from all of Border to just one agent. This is why Osamu was brought to the press conference. Right at the end of the chapter, Osamu emerges from backstage and begins talking to the reporters.

After reading this chapter, I’m glad that I’ve seen the first five episodes of the World Trigger anime, since this chapter makes references to events that took place during the episodes that I’ve seen up to this point. With that knowledge from seeing the anime, it made this chapter a much stronger and easier to understand read. I’m glad to see those early events brought back up again, because they tie in quite nicely with what’s being talked about at the press conference. And it’s awesome to see Osamu having the guts to go out there and try to defend himself in front of the reporters. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Osamu in the next chapter.

Food Wars! CH:096

Soma goes to see Nikumi to ask her to teach him about aging meat. It’s now nine days to the finals, and Soma tries the three varieties of aging that he’s been taught; this also includes some technical explanations of how to do them. While he waits for the fish to age, Soma decides he’ll go to the dockside market every day to improve his eye for picking fish. We then move ahead in time three days, and the first batch of the aged fish is tried. When Megumi and Soma try them, they declare that the fresh pike Kurokiba had prepared from them the other day tasted better than these. However, Soma does admit that their umami did improve significantly. But through a conversation with Miss Fumio, Soma gets an idea.

It’s now the day of the finals, and the other competitors notice that Soma isn’t at the dockside market. Right at the end of the chapter, the three contestants reveal their fish, and everyone is surprised by Soma’s fish.

This chapter sees Soma finally figuring out what he needs to do and setting the stage to get the actual finals going. For the most part, it wasn’t a terribly exciting chapter, but one that needed to be there so the events of the finals can take place. I think it’s safe to say that the finals will begin in the next chapter of Food Wars!, but at this point, who knows how this story arc will ultimately conclude. My guess is that Soma will win, but I’m not sure just how he’ll do it.

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:002

Ririka is told by her grandfather that he decided to arrange a marriage because she refuses to play table tennis and won’t take over the center after he retires and he wanted to make sure she was married off to someone with a passion for the game. Ririke says she’s so beautiful that every man wants her and she doesn’t want to be stuck with a boring guy like Ageha. But to herself, she thinks Ageha’s pretty amazing when he’s holding a racket. Ageha says this is the first time he’s heard of this, and he declares that he doesn’t have any intention of getting married until he stands atop the world of table tennis. Ririka’s grandfather says he won’t teach his techniques to Ageha unless he marries Ririka. They both insist that they’re not getting married.

Later, Ririka asks Ageha why he’s so devoted to table tennis. He says it’s because of his love for the game. A couple of guys are there who are table tennis hustlers who look to play people with money on the line. This is against the rules of the center, and Ageha tries to tell them to leave. These guys are also hitting on Ririka. When they refuse, Ageha asks to let him play against them; if they win, they can do whatever they want with Ririka, and if they lose, they must promise to never bet on table tennis again. He says they will be playing doubles, with him and Ririka as a novice. As they play, Ageha tells Ririka what she needs to do to hit the ball. As they play, Ririka finds that she can return the ball. At the end, Ririka gets so excited when she smashes a ball back that Ageha tells her that she enjoys table tennis. It turns out Ririka’s grandfather was behind the two guys coming in.

Ririka’s grandfather tells Ageha that first, he needs to reach the top of the high school table tennis world. It turns out all 13 Golden Successors will be at the tournament. and they are students of each of the 13 champions who shone in Japan’s golden age of table tennis.

Sigh. It looks like this series is still trying to rely so heavily on various shonen tropes, whether they’re regular shonen tropes or tropes used in sports manga. I’m predicting that as the series goes on, Ririka will be forced to play table tennis for one reason or another and somehow discover that she actually likes the game. While this chapter wasn’t as bad as the first chapter, the series is still feeling very derivative. However, I have to say that this series is actually better than E-ROBOT. Hopefully the third series for the “Jump Start” initiative will be stronger than either of the first two that were introduced in this wave.

Toriko CH:302

Toriko and the others arrive at the Birthcry Tree; it turns out it’s also known as the Stardust Tree. The stars they see in the sky are Acacia’s Soup, Food Treasure Pair. It’s also revealed that Pair is the symbol of Bambina’s reproductive organs. Toriko has mixed feelings about substituting Pair for Komatsu’s heart. It turns out that Pair is the hardest food to capture in Acacia’s full-course meal. They then move on to head toward the Zero Mountain Range. As they head along, they see wild Sundorikos. If they are even slightly disturbed, all aboard the Choo-Choo Chomper are in grave danger.

We are then presented with narration and a montage of their journey through the Zero Mountain Range, and there are only four days remaining before Komatsu’s time is up. Then, they arrive at 100 G Mountain, and discover that it’s a pretty dangerous place with its intense gravitational pull. Right at the end of the chapter, Toriko is approached by Bambina…

The vast majority of this chapter focuses on providing more exposition and establishing the locations that Toriko and the others go to. While the information being provided is needed, the exposition did drag the chapter down and bit and made it seem to be a bit borting. But I think it’s safe to say that with the way the chapter ended that there should be more in the way of action in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:606

This chapter continues with the battle between Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube briefly, and then the story shifts its focus to Kisuke and the Visored. The Visored are unhappy that Urahara sent Ichigo and the others ahead of them. We also get to meet Yoruichi’s sister, Yushiro Shihoin.

Then, we return to Yhwach and Ichibe’s battle. It appears that Ichibe’s getting the upper hand again, but the final panel seems to suggest otherwise…

Recently, I’ve been having a hard time having much commentary on the Bleach chapters. I think my favorite part of this chapter was learning that Yoruichi has a sister and getting to meet her. Outside of that, the other scenes are just so short that just as you’re starting to get into what’s going on, the scene changes. I wish I was more excited about reading these chapters of Bleach than I am, because I really enjoyed the series with its early chapters.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:148

In this chapter, Yui continues to go at the same pace she had been before she collapsed, and Raku is concerned about her. She insists that she’s fine and now she feels like she can do anything. We see that Yui’s bodyguard is watching her closely, and comments that Yui seems really different; she’s working harder than ever but doesn’t seem tired. When they get home that night, Yui and Raku find that the wall dividing their rooms is gone. Yui’s bodyguard says she did it in order to force them to get married. The bodyguard says she’s doing this in order to address the crisis of succession for the Char Siu syndicate, since Yui currently doesn’t have any family. They are informed that a marriage between them is not optional. The bodyguard finds ways to force Raku and Yui into various situations that include Raku being able to see Yui with little to no clothing on. Yui later finds her futon gone and a note telling her to sleep with Raku…

OK, I know this manga tries to present outrageous situations, but this chapter just felt over the top. It seemed like Komi was trying to find as many ways as possible to get Raku into awkward situations. From what I’ve read of the series, I’ve seen Raku end up in the occasional embarrassing and awkward situation, but this chapter piled them on one on top of the other. There were times I felt as if I was being “hit over the head” with it and found it be on the excessive side. And for the most part, I didn’t find the situations they were in to be humorous.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:011

It’s now been a week since the incident in Harajuku. Peta gives some narration as to what’s happened to everyone since then. Peta runs into Nano and they talk, and he tells her what he can about what he’s been doing. As they walk, he sees three guys from their school ganging up on someone. He tells Nano to head home without him, and Peta goes to help the guy being ganged up on. Unfortunately, Peta finds himself getting beat up by the three guys. We are introduced to Yokuto Asukawa, the guy that Peta tries to save. Peta’s phone rings, and it’s Kandera telling him about Hi-Fi’s being brokered. Peta has to leave, and we see Yokuto look sinisters and comment that it must be fate. It’s then revealed that Yokuto is actually Landscape Mole.

When I first saw Yokuto, I had a suspicion that he was really Landscape Mole; this was reinforced when Peta seemed to believe he’d seen him somewhere before for some unknown reason. So I wasn’t caught off guard when Yokuto’s true identity was revealed right at the end of the chapter. I have to admit that when the chapter first started, it almost felt like the author was setting the stage to wrap up the story; fortunately, with the introduction of “Yokuto,” it appears that the story will be continuing for a little while. While Landscape Mole had declared that he was starting a revolution, he hasn’t started it right away. Since the revolution is being built up, it looks like the series can potentially last for a while.

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal CH:48

Yuma appears to see his father, and learns his father’s soul is now in the Astral World. Yuma’s father begins going into an explanation as to why he’s in the Astral World. He tells Yuma that unless E’rah is defeated, they have no future. He also relays there is a way to seal her, and begins explaining the four powers that are in the Astral World: land, sea, air, and light. Four priests with these powers were sent to the human world, and those souls transcend the human life span and awaken in the hearts of those who fulfill a mission. And it just so happens that three of them are Kaito, Ryoga, and Yuma. It’s also revealed that it was Yuma’s father who sent Astral to Yuma. The four souls must be awakened and defeat E’rah in a duel. It also turns out that Yagumo has the fourth soul. Yagumo then suddenly decides he wants to go back to when he was innocent, and he sends his Numbers cards over to the others to use in order to save him. The battle against E’rah begins in earnest; unfortunately, it appears that E’rah has the upper hand. Right at the end of the chapter, it appears that Yuma and Astral are going to be destroyed…

The beginning of the chapter was very heavy on exposition, and then relied on coincidences in order to progress the story. I still say that E’rah is very overpowered. Right now, it looks like Yuma and the others are finished, but I’m predicting that somehow they’ll find a way to turn this around. This seems to happen a lot in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, which makes it feel a little predictable. However, what I’m unable to predict at this point is exactly how the situation will be reversed and will allow Yuma and the others have the upper hand.

Naruto CH:004

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

This chapter official introduces the reader to Kakashi Hatake, the leader of Team 7. Their first formal training is survival exercises; they must try to get two bells away from Kakashi before a timer sounds. Anyone who fails doesn’t get any lunch. The exercise is just getting going when the chapter ends.

This chapter not only introduces Kakashi to the mix, but it also gives the reader a little more insight into Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke. Admittedly, there’s not a lot of action in this chapter, but some of the dialogue is so amusing here that it’s easier to overlook the overall lack of action.

And according to the end of this chapter, Chapter Five is supposed to be appearing in the next issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. OK, so how long is Weekly Shonen Jump planning to publish older chapters of Naruto? When Death Note was featured for the “Jump Back” initiative, only four chapters were published, so I had assumed it was going to be the same for Naruto. Apparently not, though. I’m wondering if the idea is to get up to the end of the survival exercise story.

Additional reviews of Weekly Shonen Jump:

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