Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #16

A few interesting editorial choices stood out in this week's issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. Kubo was taking it easy for a few weeks until he decided to drop a bomb on us and reveal Kisuke's bankai.  In this chapter, we get a bunch of stuff that had me shouting with excitement, all built on the back of some incredible pages.  One of my favorite pages, where Kisuke is heavily consoling a dying opponent has a rare typo on it.  Independent of that, Kubo does a great job of rendering both the psychological weight and the physical, real danger of a deadly poison with painstakingly dense vertical inks.

WSJ16coverThe title page on this one was so important (whether it represents a real death or not) and so gorgeous that the editorial team actually made the decision to leave Kubo's original lettering.  Granted, given the length of the chapter's title, I think it might have at least partially been a forced choice; still, it was an editorial decision nonetheless, and it's a page I'm grateful to experience nearly exactly as Kubo intended.  To end the chapter on the couple of big ink wipes that make up most of my favorite character, Kenpachi, is just too good.

Tabata, after flexing his big picture sensibilities in the previous big fight now gets to pepper in some humor.  I love that a big part of what Tabata finds humorous hits on some of the more peculiar aspects of his art.  Asta gets starry-eyed so often that seeing a major, mature character mimic this effect is automatically funny.  Captain Yami, despite being the stoic, chaotic good figure, continues to have awkwardly timed violent mood swings, and Tabata has really settled into when to use these for comedic effect.  In this chapter, a gag that leans on one character impersonating the other captains is especially funny because Tabata's stilted faces are kind of funny on their own.  The fact that this is all occurring during a brief recess as the most important arc of this series continues shows that Tabata is getting more comfortable mixing all the things that make this series work.

Food Wars and Academia continue to be excellent, with the former continuing to display that it has no fear of spending plenty of important story moments on developing minor characters.

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Weekly Shonen Jump #16 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Price: $0.99 Format: Weekly; Digital Website