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A very strong start for Neru: Way of the Martial Artist in its debut chapter. The story was simple but extremely effective at introducing the theme, characters and setting. Neruma seems like a bit of a goof, with his head solely focused on martial arts. Not much to say about Okuto yet, though he definitely seems like the type to stand out for attention. Akebi is perhaps the best thing about this chapter. Her nonchalant attitude and quick wit, not to mention her physical prowess, have me wanting more. That also brings me to the art style and wow, this style is very reminiscent of the ’90s. It actually comes as a breath of fresh air to see such a distinct style in Jump. Akebi’s design really shines throughout this chapter. I hope the author can keep it up.
New chapter and we’re immediately thrown into a fight between Wahlberg and the leader of Innocent Zero. Did Wahlberg defeat Necross Mance? They implied it at the end of the last chapter but, the transition between opponents was a little jarring though. That said Wahlberg now faces a much more capable foe boasting time magic. With Wahlberg taking the brunt of the damage it begs the question: what is more powerful time or space?
The mighty battle between Jinbei and Who’s-Who continues raging. Luffy has become the target of Who’s-Who’s rage because of his connection to Red-Haired Shanks whom Who’s-Who bears a grudge. The reason behind this possibly goes deeper than just stealing the Gum-Gum Fruit.
Blue Box continues to straddle that line between epic sports manga and rom-com. Each element is always given the appropriate amount of time and never overshadows the other. I’m just as invested in the romantic life of Taiki and Chinatsu as well as their athletic pursuits. Of course, this can all change but there’s a strong chance the series would do well whichever side it came down on. Ultimately, let’s hope the series keeps up this strong weekly output.
Megicula’s design, as it protrudes from Vanica’s body, is both intriguing and vulgar. The leech-like blobs that hang from the clothes or worse body are not instantly apparent but as you study the form, it’s quite gross. That said Megicula’s current power is much greater than Vanica’s, which puts Noelle and the others at a great disadvantage. How long can they hold on, do Noelle or Gadjah have something else up their collective sleeve?
This was a good follow up chapter to last week’s debut. It felt a little rushed compared to the first, given how much happened. This gives me a little cause for concern in how well suited this series is for a weekly format. The werewolf designs are brilliant as are the adult characters, though the heavy reliance on a My Hero Academia style for the main character feels unnecessary. It’s hard to see where this series might go but hopefully, we’ll get more interesting and unique werewolves along the way.
Another round of name dropping and references. This series is fast becoming just an advertisement for other Shonen Jump series. The premise in this chapter was interesting but the execution just falls flat. I’ve noticed that I have become attached to the characters in this series and at this point, I just wish better for them.
Nemu is back and so ensues another chapter of her not overcoming the bashfulness she has around Otogi. Very much like the last time Nemu spends much of the chapter transformed as a cat. Things go further, however, as she gets bathed and her hair brushed. There must be some kind of weird fetish at play that keeps bringing out this even weirder turn of events. No doubt we’ll see another version of these events again.
When the container ship Ever Given blocked the Suez Canal back in March, did no one think to blast it out of the way? Senku comes to that very line of thought when their passage through the same canal is blocked thousands of years into the future by a naturally formed dam. With a miniature rocket already in hand, they set about blasting their way through the canal, saving precious travel time and fuel.
The fight between Sakamoto and Kashima continues and on a populated passenger train, no less. In terms of pure action, this fight might easily be the best in the series yet. Sakamoto, in his shopkeeper garb, remains me of Jackie Chan as he mixes comedy with action perfectly. Perhaps another influence in this series that is so clearly inspired by a Smörgåsbord of action movies.
Apart from a page of full-on nudity, censored appropriately, this chapter was actually rather tame. Instead, the chapter focuses on Yayoi and her unfortunate encounter, and subsequent possession by an ancient ayakashi. Remember her odd possession by an ayakashi that kept making her trip over? Well, this one is Kubire Oni – The Hanging Demon who takes great pleasure in dropping her from an apartment building.
Finally, a chapter for Haruka and it’s exactly the kind of weird scenario I’ve been wanting. As the youngest and by far the smartest member of the family, Haruka has a mystery surrounding her life before high school. Here we get a glimpse of that life. And, it’s clear she was not a normal grade school kid that just happened to be smart enough to get into high school. She’s fairly weird.
The mystery surrounding the first head of the Yozakura family deepens. Speaking to Taiyo through the blood he received from Kawashita, she begs him to kill her. Explaining that to kill her Taiyo will first need to understand her. The old her and the current her. It’s nice to get back into the trappings of a proper story arc. These individual chapters between arcs are fun but only when used sparingly.
Chapters like these are very hard to judge fairly. Half contains the heightened tension of a conclusion to a conflict, the other a relaxed situational conversation of little importance. Take Sadamune and his army, reinforcing the bandits attacking the village. That could have been a very enticing cliffhanger had the chapter ended there. Or even the arrival of Suwa’s army and then beginning anew the following week. As it stands, the conflict is settled, Tokiyuki gains a new retainer in Fubaki and Yorishige wants Tokiyuki’s help in regaining his second sight.
It’s only taken seventy chapters but Fuuko finally has some determination. Being a hostage to Under doesn’t stop her from seeing the bigger picture and stepping up to take on the Uma Spring. It’s hardly a surprising conclusion to draw however that Fuuko’s Unluck Negator power will be necessary to take on Spring who uses an artefact based around luck. The Uma Spring has the form on an Oni and a box strapped to his back. I wonder how these facts will play into the coming battle?
Misaki receives some much-needed page time this week but we’re still not delving into his character in any meaningful way. Who is Misaki, how did he become a Recette agent and what motivates him? Those are questions still to be answered. What we can see is that he’s guilty of taking credit for actions not his own and doesn’t respond well to the praise and adoration he’s receiving. Tsumugi is informed by Irie that she passed the exam. Perhaps not a moment too soon as danger looms over the school with the arrival of some sweets users.
Another series comes to an end. Nine Dragons’ Ball Parade may not have been groundbreaking, or a smash hit from the off, but it was a good series. Given more time, the series could have hit a real home run, but it was not to be. The series suffered some pacing issues in the early chapters and may have taken too long to get going. The Nine Dragon’s last match against Benikoma was the first proper match we’ve seen played out in any meaningful way. Week to week, the series was steadily improving and a good sports manga could have been a real benefit to the pages of Shonen Jump.
Although the series has been rather bland for some time the equilibrium of characters feels right. That balance may be at risk with the introduction of a new God of Chaos. Sixth Pillar, God of Dreams, Nosu Koshu of Illusions enters the mix. While cute in design, their sleepy disposition reeks of background character used for comedy or lazy storytelling. As such, the residents of this small seaside town have been put to sleep with only the Gods of Chaos and the dog BS unaffected.
Let us know in the comments or via social media your thoughts on this week’s Shonen Jump. Be sure to check back in next week for another roundup!