Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #12

No One Piece this week, but My Hero Academia, Food Wars, Black Clover, and One Punch Man continue a seriously excellent streak of chapters. Murata draws a spread in this week's One Punch Man that should honestly make everybody else in comics doing action spreads feel bad about themselves.  We've seen him do this before, and I've praised him for it as well: Murata is very good at drawing several quick actions occurring in a single panel.  He uses bold, dramatic lines curving in arcs to depict motion, as he draws a character (mostly Garo, as of late) blurredly dodging around them.  I see spreads depicting a single action all the time that fail to have the clarity and impact of these sequences, and this is one of Murata's best.

Kurokiba is one of my favorite characters in Food Wars, so I am both excited and nervous to see what happens to him as he goes up against one of the council members who we really haven't seen in action.  Kurokiba just looks like a lot of fun to draw, which makes him a lot of fun to read.  This is the first of the legitimate Central vs. Everyone shokugekis that we're getting to see, so the result is going to set the tone for the next part of this major arc.

wsj 12 coverBlack Clover has cemented itself as a must-read.  It's honestly worth it to go back and buy the issues that comprise the current arc just to witness the fight with the mysterious, treacherous bearers of light magic.  As I mentioned several reviews ago, a big part of the current fight is the fact that it hinted at an important secret underlying this series: the theft of magic via the genocide of the original magical race.  If true, it changes the landscape of this series completely.  Yet even independent of the brief but major tease embedded in this fight, the fight itself has been outstanding.  Tabata has shown before that detailed magic fight scenes are capable of setting Black Clover apart.  This fight, however, features Asta maturing as a swordsman.  Adding this dimension to the series is such a huge boon to the series, both dramatically and visually.  The sword has been anti-magic and a central feature of the series so far, but hasn't really seen much action as a sword ought to.

Academia continues to be excellent, but it's just so good that I want to wait out until the end of the arc and then write a blow-out review about how much this series continues to mature.  So be on the lookout for that!

The Jump Start I spent so much time on last week, Kimetsu no Yaiba, pretty much let me down this week.  The pacing is choppy, as pages and even panel-to-panel sequences jump around more than they should, particularly in a chapter where only a couple of things are really happening.  The visuals maintain their rustic feel, which I found charming last week, but suffer from being too rough around the edges.  Especially in English Weekly Shonen Jump, the caliber and type of art with which Gotouge must contend sets Kimetsu no Yaiba apart in a bad way: nearly everything in this anthology feels decidedly polished and contemporary.  While I am open to artistic styles that break with that trend (as you should be too!), that doesn't really change the de facto standard that a reader is going to have while reading through Jump.  If the story doesn't do some big, interesting things fast, I don't expect this series to stick around long, even in Japan.

Score: 5/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #12 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Price: $0.99 Format: Digital Website