Review: Weekly Shonen Jump - Week 1

Wondering how Weekly Shonen Jump’s new series are going?  Enjoy talk of boobs?  INQUIRE FURTHER WITH THY CLICKING UTENSIL AND EYEBALLS! Below are my usual three awesometastic things about this week’s issue of WSJ.

1) The third candidate in this round of Jump Start premiered this week with Gakkyu Hotei: School Judgment.  This one jumps on the current courtroom/attorney craze that is sweeping a lot of Japanese media geared at the Shonen age group (10-17, roughly), wherein child attorneys represent other students to combat a corrupt educational system.  Like the Jump Starts before it, this is a niche manga that still has a lot of funny moments.  It's also the only manga in this round by a writer/artist team, which gives it a slightly more refined layout that some solo creators have a hard time achieving.  School Judgmentended in a KILLER cliffhanger that really left me excited for next week, which is definitely a great sign from a first issue of anything.

2) WSJ #1 (remember, last week was #52, finishing the yearly cycle, and we’re back to number one for the next year of issues!) was the first to collect all three of the newest Jump Start stories at once.  The surveys that WSJ puts out will go a long way towards determining which one gets serialized, and even though it's only got one chapter, my vote is for School Judgment.

Weekly-Shonen-Jump-15-1All of the new series have their niche-- either courtrooms, table tennis, or boobs -- but the other two series (Takujo no Ageha and E-Robot) are such one-trick ponies that I have no idea how they can stay fresh past ten issues.  Now, I know what some of you are thinking: "Austin, I love boobs.  Are you suggesting I could get tired of something about boobs, and squeezing boobs, and boob-missiles, and boobs?"

I am indeed suggesting such a thing, even as a fellow enjoyer of boobs and boob-depictions of boob-like things.  You must be insane to think that there's any need for a manga in WSJ that centers around boobs when One Piece, one of the most incredible series on the planet, is going fifteen years strong with plenty of boobs.  But boobs are not the kind of thing that you base an entire series around.  If you were making a successful video game, boobs would never be the main quest: they're a side quest that keeps the game interesting when you need to let your mind wander.

And if boobies aren't going to get us any longevity (well, not the right kind of “longevity”), then table tennis definitely isn't going to cut it for serialization either.  I have to admit, other than the successful female fan service aspects of Free!, I don't understand the appeal of sports manga at all, even though I enjoy both sports and manga.  That said, I could maybe appreciate the team aspects that might get explored in such manga.  A table tennis manga, however, affords no opportunities to explore anything except asexual ball whacking.

I'm not 100% sold on School Judgment or anything, but as we know well in America, a courtroom drama is the kind of thing that you can be intensely repetitive with while still retaining a decent amount of readership.  The fact that I feel this way after three chapters of table tennis, two chapters of boobs (have I mentioned boobs?) and only one chapter of a courtroom drama for ten-year-olds, in my opinion, suggests that School Judgment should be the surefire Jump Start choice.  We'll find out if I'm right around the turn of the new year.

3) The boobs.  Just kidding, One Pieceis seriously awesome right now, EVEN WITH A BOOB-FREE CHAPTER THIS WEEK YOU GUYS.  It's almost like independent of hypersexualizing characters, a story gets by on its own merits!  Go figure!

Score: 4/5

Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release date: 12/1/13 Format: Weekly, Digital