Without even gushing about how they are flashing back to my favorite original Naruto chapters, here are three awesome things about the latest Weekly Shonen Jump. 1) School Judgment is pretty great, and a clear winner over other Jump Start titles in this round. Though the art is obviously fantastic since this artist has been around the block, the writing is equally tight. I talked last week about how the competition wasn't exactly close between the three newest titles and the amount of experience and the tightness of these chapters really pushes School Judgment over the edge. I will be shocked if this title doesn't get serialized.
2) Bleach. Oh, Bleach. Of the Shonen Big 3 -- Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach -- I have followed Bleach the least. I hear that religiously reading Bleach is a heartbreaking experience where the series constantly gets something right only to throw it out the window and drag things along until the next story arc. One thing that writer/artist Tite Kubo is amazing at, however, that his brothers in arms Kishimoto and Oda do far differently, is in presenting a kick-ass fight between characters who you have yet to acquire a vested interest in. That's been going on in Bleach big time for the last handful of chapters, and it’s really been at a peak for the last few weeks. Of course, regardless of what criticisms you might hear about Bleach, make no mistake about Kubo as a mangaka, or as a sequential artist: there are very few creators that I have read who are able to be so efficient and sparse with panel choice while still fluidly depicting an epic fight scene. Kubo is constantly at his best in this regard, even when story arcs make you scratch your head.
3) This was hopefully the last issue with E-robot, and that is definitely awesome. I'll take my fan service (read: boobage) as part of a more interesting plot with actual characters and conflict that is not constantly resolved by boob-fu. No, seriously: they call it boob-fu.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 12/8/14