School Judgment is officially serialized! I am the Nostradamus of an entertainment medium targeted at Japanese boys in their teens and pre-teens! Huzzah! It's awesome that we're going to be getting more School Judgment. The latest round of Jump Start is officially over, with the manga about child lawyers beating out the manga about table tennis and the manga about... boobs, I think. It's not entirely surprising, but it's still my first prediction as an actual reviewer that has come true, so I'm batting 1.000 and should probably just retire now. What was really exciting about the serialization of School Judgment is that it hasn't eased off the gas pedal at all this week.
Essentially the first trial and thus the first little arc of School Judgment was comprised of a tight two-issue story, with a really killer issue one cliffhanger. Issue three was a pivotal moment for the series this week because being serialized is just the first small battle in manga publishing. The much bigger challenge is staying serialized and the first few chapters of a series are sink-or-swim in the most terrifying way for the people working on these series. Issue three got the ball rolling again, gesturing more explicitly than previous chapters to the overarching storyline that is going to take us forward with the argument-loving defense attorney Abaku. I'm excited to keep reading this series. It's pretty clever and has a great sense of humor regarding the absurdity of its own premise.
I talked about the fact that Bleach has been a lot of fun lately, and though the last few chapters have all been pretty fun, this one brought it to the Shonen-style-escalation peak that Kubo is so good at doing. You see, especially since Dragonball Z-- don't act like you didn't watch it-- a mark of Shonen manga has been the escalation of fights with one guy getting really powered up, and then the other guy pulling the ace out of his sleeve, and then the first guy doing the same. This goes on for as long as it needs to, depending on the level of villain. But with Kubo, nearly EVERY DAMN FIGHT IS LIKE THIS. Last week we found out one half of a ridiculous power: a black paintbrush sword that removes the names of objects, people included. In a world where powers owe themselves completely to learning the names of the powers, this is devastating. This week, we learned the next half of the power (which pairs well with the first half, is super cool, kind of scary, and really funny when you think about it), as well as getting a great cliffhanger regarding that escalation stuff I mentioned.
And then, naturally, we have Food Wars. I don't have a lot to say about this because we’re in the midst of an arc’s ending, but if you like mindless cooking shows like Chopped and enjoy manga even in the slightest, you should be reading this series.
Honorable mentions: Toriko is the weirdest kind of fun right now, and One Piece is just non-stop insanity and drama. With at least five series every week that are knocking it out of the park, as well as the re-serialization of early Naruto chapters that look gorgeous, this anthology is a must-read for manga fans.
Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 12/15/14