Review: Weekly Shonen Jump (December 29, 2014)

While Weekly Shonen Jump is off in Japan this week, the English edition has released a special edition that includes two one shot manga: RKD-EK9 by Nisioisin and Takeshi Obata and a special one shot for the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX manga.

You can always check out these one shots in Weekly Shonen Jump for yourself by subscribing to the digital publication at VIZManga.com.

RKD-EK9

The story is set five years after the existence of heaven was scientifically proven. A scientist named Boumei Kamayude has done the research that created a means to convert good deeds to numerical values. Through this, it was determined that people who accrued a certain amount of altruism points could go to heaven after death. But with this discovery, the value of life in the mortal world plummeted. From what we learn through dialogue, there are eight levels of heaven. For example, it costs 100 million altruism points just to reach Arrival Heaven, the lowest of all the heavens. Apparently, the average altruism of a good person is about 10 million points. It was also discovered that if souls that don’t meet the required threshold for Altruism Points don’t go anywhere and just simply vanish. With that discovery, the entire branch of research on the subject dried up and it’s basically something done by hobbyists now. But one character (Kenbayashi) is determined to carry on the professor’s will. Kenbayashi declares that his goal is to make it to the eighth heaven. The girl working with him (Chinoike) wonders how, since he’s not a good person.

A girl named Bokoku Kamayude, who is the daughter of Dr. Kamayude, wants to join their club. It turns out she’s had a rough life since her mother was shunned from the academic community for her discovery. Kenbayashi tells Bokoku that she’s welcome to join the club. They start discussing ideas on how to go about inflating altruism points. Bokoku comes up with an idea, and also offers to bring in her mother’s research notes. She also says she can user her mother’s inheritance to pay for trying out her idea. Chinoike doesn’t seem to trust Bokoku. When Chinoike confronts her, Bokoku gives a sinister reason but then says she’s just kidding.

We then see that they have made a test batch of pills, which is known as RKD-EK9. One pill equals one level of heaven. Kenbayashi decides to be the human test subject, and declares he’ll take eight at once. Since a successful result means there’s no coming back, he wants to shoot for the highest level. Chinoike hadn’t realized that taking these pills would kill the taker. She assumed they simply increased a person’s Altruism Points…

I have to say that this was an interesting one shot. It’s kind of a strange concept, but it was also fascinating. I thought the way it ended was a really nice touch, both with the very last couple of panels and with the ominous foreshadowing that one of the characters says right before those final panels. The author also did a great job of developing the concept and the three characters within the short amount of pages for the one shot. But on the downside, I really wanted to see the character in the last panels reacts to the shocking truth that they discover. I’d really like to see more of this story to find out what happens, but I know that won’t happen. But without that, the reader is still given a complete story to read and ponder over.

YU-GI-OH! GX

This one shot is set at the Duel World Tournament America, where Jaden is up against world champion Koyo Hibiki. The one shot seems to feature the duel between these two players, with them using their various cards and explaining what they do. Basically, what we typically see in a Yu-Gi-Oh! manga or anime. Jaden finds himself up against Terra Firma, a monster he usually schools his friends with at the academy. As expected in a duel, the ante keeps getting upped by both sides as the battle progresses. Through the use of a couple of cards, Hibiki summons Elemental Hero Core.

It appears the point of this one shot is to introduce Elemental Hero Core, which was the special Yu-Gi-Oh! card for annual members of Weekly Shonen Jump. But it was annoying to discover that the duel ends before the winner is determined. And with a “The End” at the end of the one shot, it doesn’t appear that the story will continue in order to find out who wins. Fortunately, I’m not a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan, so I’m not going to lose sleep over not finding out the winner of this duel. But I can imagine that a fan of the series has got to feel at least a little gypped about this.

Additional reviews of Weekly Shonen Jump:

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