Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #18

Academia was the star of this week, with Bleach digging deep and trying to be relevant again. Man oh man, My Hero: Academia reminded me of Naruto big-time this week.  The current tournament in which the students are engaged is very much like the Chunin exams, one of the high points of the entire Naruto series.  It's not just because it's a bunch of kids fighting one another in a single elimination tournament: it's the strategies that these kids are employing in order to try and get the upper hand on one another.  One of the thrills of the Chunin exams, after all, was not that they were all beating the piss out of each other, but rather the really clever fighting strategies that kids like Naruto deployed against superior fighters.  Academia is making great use of the different quirks in its series to underscore the cleverness and tenacity of certain fighters.  It goes a long way towards not only the richness of a given chapter, but of the characters over the long-term.

WSJ 18 coverBleach is building towards a series climax; or at least, it better be building towards a series climax.  With the kinds of bombs Kubo is dropping on us, like what now seems like the inevitable return of Sosuke fucking Aizen, if this is anything but the end of Bleach, Kubo is making it impossible to top himself.  But that's Bleach, isn't it?  The series is notorious for massive buildups and payoffs, and for following those payoffs with attempts to limp along with half-promising plots.  It might turn into a massive trainwreck of Shonen escalation, but if you think I'm not going to be a rapt witness to the return of SOSUKE AIZEN then you are stupid.

I've got nothing left to say about One Piece and Food Wars.  These two series are just so damn solid right now that I am doomed to repeat the same types of praise week in and week out.  The pacing of Food Wars has not let up even for a second, and the climactic fight of the entire Dressrosa arc is about to go down in the next chapter of One Piece.  Like, Luffy and Doffy are face to face: it's about to go down.  If you haven't been reading either of these series, for the love of manga, catch yourself up.

In related news, Black Clover got the nod for serialization, which wasn't a hard prediction, but still one I got right, SO THERE.  I'm really excited to see more of that series, which was pretty typical Shonen, but had art that was really pushing some boundaries, so I hope that keeps up.    Also, the Food Wars anime premiers this week, which will be a great way to get acquainted with the series for the first time.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #18 Writers: Various Artist: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 3/30/15 Format: Weekly; Digital