Oh man, oh man, this week was awesome. Jump is not wasting any time bolstering its lineup. Spoilers follow because of the awesomeness. Even with Ichigo showing up on the scene, ready to fight Yhwach, One Piece still took the cake for most awesome and most dramatic chapter in Jump this week. The Franky vs. Mr. Pink fight has been one of my favorite fights in Dressrosa, not just because post-timeskip Franky is even more awesome than pre-timeskip Franky, but because Mr. Pink has one of my absolute favorite devil fruit powers. For those of you haven't caught up and are currently indulging yourselves with the spoiler-ific-ness of this review, Mr.Pink can swim through solids as if they were water. Him and Franky have just been beating the holy hell out of one another, each too proud to dodge the other's attacks.
Of course, the other thing I love about Mr. Pink is that he wears a baby bonnet. And there was never any explanation at all regarding why the hell this grown man wore a baby bonnet: until this chapter. Saddled with the loss of his son and the guilt of lying to his wife who would soon be in a horrible accident, Pink took to wearing the bonnet to visit her in the hospital in order to make her smile. Oda's ability to give even the dumbest little detail of a character a dramatic back-story (and in a matter of a few pages, no less) is unrivaled. Franky won the fight, and readers got to have a new respect for both characters in the brawl. We will see how useful Franky can be elsewhere in the fray now that he's half-dead from that battle.
Toriko and friends have been training to beat the Monkey King in battle for a few chapters now, and it's official: they're going to have to best him in combat during a Monkey Wrestling tournament. What I sort of forgot in the middle of this arc, however, was the fact that the healing powers that they need from the Monkey King to heal Komatsu are from the Monkey King's balls. Not sure how I managed to forget something so crazy, but this chapter actually featured the Monkey King's nuts making a sound that replenished the strength of all the warriors for the tournament. I'm not kidding. You could say "you can't make this stuff up," but Shimabukuro can, apparently. The end of this chapter showed that the final fight with the Monkey King is really going to stretch the limits of the manga, since it's going to have to depict such extreme speeds and distances. I thought last chapter did a great job emphasizing how absurdly powerful and fast everyone involved in the fight has become, and hope Shimabukuro keeps pushing the limits of the medium for the rest of the fight.
Most exciting of all, My Hero Academia is joining the Jump lineup and we got to read the first chapter this week before we start getting new chapters simultaneously with Japan next week. The series flips an age-old comics trope on its head: people on the planet are getting super powers--"quirks," as they are known in the series--and rather than just some of the population receiving these quirks, it's 80% of the world. Unsurprisingly, the story follows a main character interested in being a hero but part of the shrinking minority of people on earth who are quirkless.
What strikes the reader immediately is that Horikoshi is not afraid to play with your expectations on every page. He is very capable of gorgeous details, but often keeps them in his back pocket until shit starts to go down. Knowing when to really overwhelm the reader is the mark of a seasoned mangaka. I think Horikoshi is a little ahead of his time in this respect, especially since the plot of his manga is so brusque by default. Where series like One-Punch Man are practically packed with overwhelming details and scenes for what is essentially satirical effect (not to say their titular character doesn't offer any contrast, but this too is tongue-in-cheek), this series looks to be keeping its art in step with its theme: if superheroes are the norm, then depictions of them should often come off as nothing too special, except when it counts.
Jump Start is back again next week with the first of some new titles to try out. Let's see if this time around has a winner as clear as School Judgment.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz media Release Date: 2/2/15 Format: Digital Anthology