Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #20

FOURTH GEAR!!!!  LUFFY'S GOING FOURTH GEAR!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! One Piece is going to be off next week, so Oda decided to kick readers in the face by ending his chapter with Luffy going into fourth fucking gear in what really looks like it's going to be the climactic, final battle of the Dressrosa arc between Luffy and Doffy.  Third gear, of course, made its iconic appearance in the Ennies Lobby arc, where after being teased with some off-screen third gear action, we finally saw third gear in the Lucci fight.  There will be no tease here: we are going to see Luffy on a brand new level going against one of the most powerful figures in the world of One Piece.  I am more than happy to wait two weeks to see this shit go down, and only Oda could deliver a cliffhanger this substantial in the manga world.

Weekly Shonen Jump #20 (1)Bleach is up to its usual fuckery, but Food Wars is keeping up with One Piece in terms of increasing the abilities of its main character.  A running theme throughout Food Wars has been that Soma actually knows a lot of fancy cooking techniques from working with his father, but Soma himself has no concept of the fanciness of these techniques.  Being thrust into a hardcore, fast-paced, French cooking environment forced Soma to push himself, and also made him come to the realization that the thing which makes his father great is his assimilation of cooking techniques.

Where Soma was lucky enough to have his dad there in his formative cooking years, now he has to be willing to branch out and integrate different styles into his cooking.  Maybe this underscores how boring some people find this series, but I think it's a refreshing take on the Shonen trope of increasingly strong heroes: the twist here is that Soma isn't going Super Saiyan 23.5, but growing as a person just like someone in the real world might.  That's good shit.

Black Clover is here to stay, so this issue had three entire chapters of the series.  The verdict?  I'm not sure.  I love the Black Bulls and the addition of Noelle Silver to the cast.  Tabata is doing well so far playing on the themes of class division, both in terms of the characters he is introducing and the world he is building.  His art is also back to form, after some of the detail began to bleed away from backgrounds in the last couple of installments of the series.  All that said, Asta is a likeable character but needs more depth.  The Shonen trope of puckish moron with unlimited stores of ambition and a penchant for ass-kickery demands a supporting cast of characters that are particularly special.  Naruto is the prime example here, and though Tabata is setting the stage with a lot of interesting characters, it remains to be seen if they are interesting enough to carry Asta's bit for dozens of chapters.

Academia is still kicking ass, and School Judgment is starting to wear thin.  Jump will sorely miss One Piece next week, but the lineup is still strong enough to warrant the read.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #20 Writer: Various Artist: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 4/6/15 Format: Weekly; Digital