Review: Weekly Shonen Jump (December 1, 2014)

This issue includes chapters for Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment, Food Wars!, Bleach, E-ROBOT, One Piece, Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha, Toriko, Hi-Fi Cluster, World Trigger, and Nisekoi: False Love. In addition, this issue also includes the fifth 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.

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment CH:001

Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment is the third title that’s being included as part of the second wave of Weekly Shonen Jump‘s “Jump Start” initiative.

Japanese education is going through an Era of Educational Collapse, and the government introduces a new system into grade schools across the country: the School Judgment System. It is of the children, and for the children, and features classroom arbitration.

In Chapter One, we see two new transfer students at Himawari City Tenbin Elementary School: Pine Hanzuki and Abaku Inugami. The teacher lectures Abaku for having a videogame in class, and he starts questioning her about it, much in the way a lawyer questions in a court of law. He uses argument to refute her theories and ultimately defeat her.

Later, we hear students talking about the Suzuki murder and dismemberment case. Abaku approaches a student named Tento Nanhoshi and declares that he’s been appointed to defend Tento at the upcoming class session. We also learn that Pine is a prosecutor and that she has an interest in magical girls. It’s then explained that when an incident occurs in a classroom, two transfer students are immediately dispatched: a prosecutor and a defense attorney. After gathering evidence and testimony, they face off in a Classroom Arbitration Session. Even though it’s a grade school version of a trial, the verdicts do have legal binding force; the only sentence that’s off the table is capital punishment.

Abaku interviews Tento about the case, and it turns out the class had been raising a fish in order to eat it at the end. This caused the class to break into two factions: Eat and Don’t Eat. A vote was held, and the Don’t Eat faction won. But three mornings later, Suzuki was found dead in the aquarium and torn into pieces. Tento is suspected because he was the last to see Suzuki and a fish scale was found on his scissors. We learn that Tento voted with the Eat faction, so he could be seen as having a motive. As the days go on, Abaku seems to start piecing together what’s been going on. He presents Tento with a witness summons form, and Abaku delcares that this witness will be their trump card. We also see that Pine has been investigating Abaku, and she has questions about how he became an attorney.

The day of the Class Arbitration Session arrives, and we see Pine set everything up so it appears that Tento is guilty. However, just as we’re about to see who Abaku has called, we’re told that we’ve run out of time for this week, and are given a couple of clues as to who the witness could be.

Well, I have to say that this has an interesting concept behind it. It’s basically a mystery manga, except we’re seeing the mystery from the judicial angle instead of the investigative angle like what Case Closed does. I also thought the idea of making the “trump card” witness a cliffhanger was a smart idea. If this series is done in this kind of format, it will definitely make me interested in coming back week after week. I’m a Case Closed fan, and I also enjoy mysteries, so Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment shows a lot of promise to me. Of the three titles in this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative, Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment is showing the most promise.

Food Wars! CH:097

This chapter introduces the audience to the judges for the competition, and it turns out one of them is Alice’s mother. Alice’s mom makes it clear to Soma that she’s not happy with him beating Alice earlier, and if she thinks his cooking doesn’t taste good, she might get mad. The chapter ends just as the competition is officially started,

This chapter was basically bunch of buildup to the start of the cooking competition in order to lay the foundation for what’s to come. The other point of this chapter is to introduce and establish Alice’s mother in order to add another layer to Soma’s stakes in the competition. I admit to being a little disappointed, because I’d really been given the impression at the end of the previous chapter that the competition would begin. Oh, well. At least it’s guaranteed that the competition will begin in the next chapter.

Bleach CH:607

This chapter continues the battle between Yhwach and Ichibe Hyosube. It’s revealed that Ichibe’s plan didn’t work the way he thought it would, because it turns out no one can take anything away from Yhwach. But Ichibe atacks again using Hyappo Rankan, but Yhwach uses a protective barrier to protect himself. Ichibe uses another attack that Yhwach deflects. But Ichibe’s getting pretty mad, and launches another attack when the chapter ends…

OK, this is starting to get as ridiculous as what I was seeing in Naruto near the end of the Fourth Great Ninja War arc. It really feels like that Tite Kubo is trying to keep upping the ante to ridiculous levels to the point that the characters are overpowered simply to stretch the series out a little longer. There’s been so little progress to the story in recent months that it’s kind of sad. The fighting is kind of cool to look at, but when you realize just how long it’s been going on, it starts to get weary after a while. Please, Kubo, let’s progress the story already!

E-ROBOT CH:002

In this chapter, Yuuki learns from his father that Ai is in school with him so he can help her live up to her full potential. Also, Yuuki is warned not to tell anyone that Ai is a robot. While interactions are going on in the classroom that feature Yuuki and Ai, Hikari watches and doesn’t look happy. Unfortunately, Yuuki accidentally triggers the switch for the boobjectiles and has to touch her again to turn it off. Of course, this continues to give Hikari the wrong idea. Ai keeps coming up with bizarre and pervy ideas to try to help Yuuki change Hikari’s mind about him. Unfortunately, Ai released her heart-pounding perfume, which causes nearby girls to start trying to go after Yuuki. At one point, a member of the girls’ judo team pushes Yuuki’s face into her breasts. And then he’s pursued by the swim team and the cheer squad. But then we see boys start chasing after Ai as well. Ai uses more fanservice to try to get herself and Yuuki out of the situation they’re in.

Yuuki manages to make it to the roof where Hikari is, and he tries to explain the situation. Ai intervenes, but it turns out that Hikari seems to have already figured out that Yuuki and Ai were only trying to save her. In the end, Yuuki doesn’t manage to confess his feelings to Hikari, but they do seem to be a little closer.

Yet more of the pervy antics that we saw in Chapter One. There’s supposed to be an overaching story with Yuuki and Hikari, but it seems to be thin at best. The main focus of this series is definitely on the fanservice. It didn’t get any better for me by the end of Chapter Two than it had been at the end of Chapter One. I’m definitely not in the target market for this title.

One Piece CH:769

The battle between Doflamingo and Law continues. During the battle, Doflamingo reminds Law about the message that Corazon had asked Law to send and tells him that Corazon was trying to save Dressrosa. Doflamingo taunts him and says that if he hadn’t screwed up that way, the tragedies in Dressrosa wouldn’t have happened. And then their battle continues. Meanwhile, Bellamy is trying to fight Luffy. It seems that Bellamy is down for the count, but he finds a second wind and declares that his battle with Luffy will be his last.

There’s a little bit of fighting that takes place in this chapter, but the primary focus is on tying this story back to Law’s flashback, as well as some character development for Bellamy. While this story may be taking a while, at least the pacing feels a little more natural than the pacing that’s been going on in Bleach recently. But hopefully these fights will progress sooner rather than later.

Takujo no Ageha: The Table Tennis of Ageha CH:003

It’s explained that at one time, Japan produced a group of 13 world champions and reigned atop the world of table tennis, but since those years, not a single Japanese player has cracked the upper echelons. Players who have inherited those champions’ techniques are now in high school and are the 13 “golden successors.” Ageha is one of those 13 successors.

This chapter briefly introduces us to Tora, who I’m guessing is also one of the 13 successors. He has a picture of Ageha and says a dumb old geezer wants him to destroy Ageha. We then see Ageha trying to convince Ririka to establish a table tennis team so he can crush the other 12 “golden successors”; he needs her help because the boys at their school won’t join unless she permits them. Unfortunately, it appears the boys have already learned about the deal that unless Ageha stands on top of the world of table tennis, he won’t learn his master’s secret technique and he can’t marry Ageha. The boys are so angry that they say they’ll never join Ageha’s table tennis team. But Miyaji, who Ageha beat in the previous chapter, submits an application form to Ageha to join the team.

Miyaji begins helping them rebuild the table tennis team, and he wants to introduce Ageha to Taketora. It turns out that Taketora is the Tora we were introduced to at the beginning of the chapter. He’s a total perv and we see girls rubbing their breasts against him. When he sees Ririka, he places his head into her breasts, and she’s not happy about it. Ageha and Tora exchange words, and they play a match against each other. Ageha is surprised by how well Tora can play. We learn that Tora is a “golden successor,” and he inherited the techniques of the one who was “the fastest.”

Ugh, here we go with yet more tropes, with perviness added in to boot. While the amount of “fanservice” in this chapter was nowhere near as bad as in E-ROBOT, there was still more than I would normally expect for a sports manga. After reading these three chapters, there wasn’t a whole lot to grab my interest here. It seems to be relying way too heavily on tropes that are all to common in either the shonen or sports manga, and then decided it needed to add in some fanservice to try to make the story a little more interesting. Of the three titles in this wave of the “Jump Start” initiative, I would have to put this one in the middle. But it’s not a series I’d be in a hurry to read again, so I’m hoping I don’t ever have to see it in Weekly Shonen Jump again.

Toriko CH:303

This chapter sees Toriko encountering Bambina, the Monkey King. Zebra gets into an attack stance, and Toriko and Coco fall into support positions. Sunny blinks, and when he opens his eyes, he sees that everyone is gone. As he looks around, he sees dismembered body parts of his comrades. When Sunny realizes what happened, he is in despair…

Uh… what?!? What just happened here? I can’t believe that that almost all of the major characters were just killed off. That has to be a hallucination or something… it just has to. It can’t be what it appears to be… but how can this be explained? This is probably the first time I’m truly looking forward to reading the next chapter of Toriko in order to find out what’s going to happen next.

Hi-Fi Cluster CH:012

Kandera, Peta, Miri, Ekusa, and Heckt are trying to follow the Hi-Fi trail to try to find Landscape Mole. We see them following a lead that Kandera got from hearing a rumor. Miri spots an odd-looking taxi, and Peta uses his Hi-Fi ability and discovers there’s a Hi-Fi inside of it. They follow the taxi in a car chase, and they hit a barricade. The taxi jumps over the barricade, and as the barricade guards chase after it they are attacked. Peta also realizes that there are two Hi-Fi Loaders inside the taxi, and that one of the Loaders is a child…

It appears that this chapter is basically setting the stage for the next part of the story, which seems to involve Landscape Mole trying to gather Hi-Fi Loaders for whatever he plans to do. From what we see of the taxi driver, it appears that he could be Landscape Mole with weird-looking eyes. It could be someone else, but the similarities in the face is rather uncanny. It was also interesting to see that there’s a Hi-Fi Loader that’s a child. The writing says the child is supposed to be about five or six, but the way she’s drawn she looks more like she’s somewhere between eight and ten years of age.

World Trigger CH:085

This chapter sees Osamu going up to the podium at the press conference and addressing the assembled reporters. The Border higher-ups try defending him, but Osamu says he’ll speak for himself. Osamu is grilled quite heavily by the reporters. During the grilling, Osamu says that he’ll find a way to bring back the 32 people who have gone missing. Osamu’s actions force Border to admit to top secret missions of unmanned trips to the Neighbor world. Commander Kido also works at putting the reporters in their place. Now the reporters buzz about a rescue mission to bring people back from the Neighbor world. Also, Osamu’s mother starts to understand better why he wants to be in Border.

This chapter basically focuses on the press conference, as well as lays out the groundwork for the upcoming rescue mission. The reader is also given the impression that Osamu and Yuma will also be working at trying to become A-Rank Border agents, so I suspect the next arc will cover their attempt at going up to the next rank in Border. And after that, I suspect we’ll see the rescue mission carried out. I have no idea how long the author will spend on either of these plots, though, so it could ultimately take a couple of months or an entire year. It’ll be interesting to see how the story continues to play out going forward.

Nisekoi: False Love CH:149

Chitoge says she wants to eat oyakodon, but Tsugumi says she doesn’t know how to make it. Chitoge tells Tsugumi to have Raku come over so he can teach her how. While Raku is there, he comes to realize that Tsugumi is not only a good cook, but she can sew, too. Raku realizes that Tsugumi’s situation is a lot like Yui’s, and asks Tsugumi if she’s okay. During their discussion, we get to see some panels with flashbacks of when Tsugumi and Chitoge were children.

This was a great character development chapter for Tsugumi. And getting to see the flashback panels was so sweet, and Tsugumi and Chitoge looked so cute! This is one of the better chapters of Nisekoi: False Love that I’ve read recently, and I wish more of the chapters could be like this. Overall, Nisekoi: False Love is an average manga, but it does have its moments, like this chapter, where the series shines and rises above average.

Naruto CH:005

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

This chapter gets the survival exercise training going. Early on, Kakashi teaches his new pupils battle skills, such as taijutsu. Naruto tries to take down Kakashi, but the teacher can deflect his attacks very minimal effort. During the exercise, Naruto uses his shadow clone jutsu, which surprises everyone. But when he launches his attack, something unexpected happens…

This is the chapter that officially introduces the reader to the now legendary book series, Make-Out Paradise, which is part of the Make-Out series that Kakashi enjoys reading so much. It’s also interesting to re-read these early chapters and realize just how much Kakashi’s character progressed over the course of the series. This particular chapter focused on Naruto’s interactions with Kakashi, but I know that we’ll be seeing more of Sakura and Sasuke during the exercise before too much longer.

Also, it appears that Chapter Six will be appearing in next week’s issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. I’m starting to think they’ll be running Naruto as part of the “Jump Back” initiative until this survival exercise is finished, so that way Team 7 can officially be formed.

Additional reviews of Weekly Shonen Jump:

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