As was expected given the axe dropped on a few titles abroad, Weekly Shonen Jump added some titles in Japan and so now we're getting a new round of "Jump Starts." The first one this week is Straighten Up! Welcome to Shika High's Competitive Dance Club. Um. Well, other than the long, inconvenient title, I have a feeling this series isn't for me. There's a load of coming-of-age stories in Shonen anthologies (because of the demographic they're catered to, natch), but when things are too explicitly... high-school-ish, I just don't know how I can enjoy the story. You certainly don't have to identify with every character in every story; I think that's a bad argument. I do think, however, that sometimes the entertainment value of a story is purely derived from whether you do, in fact, connect with what's happening. The only time this doesn't happen is with a gimmicky premise, or one with a lot of fighting or adventure or whatever. Look at Naruto: I don't identify with ninjas or with having a demon fox spirit inside of me; but, I find war interesting, and the exploration of the relationships between students, teachers, and just the pure mechanisms by which action takes place in the series hold my attention.
By contrast, when your series is pitching me about dance in high school because the main male characters are interested in being "accidental lucky perverts" I kind of have to get off the train. Obviously this all comes crashing down when it turns out that dance is about more than just copping a feel and is actually one of the most rigorous and demanding things you could do with your time if you take it seriously. But... well, I just don't care. We'll see how this series stacks up against Devily Man.
What can I even say about how amazing One Piece is right now? Luffy is still locked in fourth gear, but who knows how long it will actually last. Doffy has shown that he can actually turn things other than his body into strings and has started converting entire buildings into large strings for his defense against Luffy's relentless bouncing assault. Riku has informed the people of the city that the end is near, which was a great dramatic way for Oda to signal to the reader that this is the climax of the arc. I'm still worried that somebody is going to die, and I think now that Doffy is literally up against a wall, with this newly demonstrated ability to turn entire buildings into strings, he is going to lash out next chapter.
And who could forget about Bleach? Everyone and their mother is coming back from the (sort of) dead, ever-so-conveniently just in time for the end of all things! Woohoo! I think it's a mistake to take all of Kubo's messing around seriously at this point: I'm just going to enjoy the return of Grimmjow, who has one of my favorite character designs ever.
I review Naruto on its own (which I will continue to do because IT'S BACK!!!) and even though, for me, Naruto alone justifies the cost of this volume, with normal weeks at Jump nearing 300 pages, it's sort of hard not to justify the cost most weeks.