Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #39

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V manga makes its premiere as a few other titles are in-between the action. A fixture of my Saturday mornings in high school was the original Yu-Gi-Oh! anime.  I could care less about the card game, to be honest: I spent my summers back then as a camp counselor confiscating the cards from campers and I think I might have kept a Blue Eyes because I knew what it was.  The mix of strong character work, suspense, and awkward ancient Egyptian mystery made it easy to look forward to the series every week.  The villains were quintessential petty, malicious creeps, and Kaiba really had a great Vegeta thing going on.

... I have almost no love for any of the sequel series.  There are motorcycles and giant world-destroying monsters and I don't know what the hell is going on or why I'm supposed to care about the characters.  Additionally, the fact that the same aesthetic (like, the exact same aesthetic) is used for the lead character designs throws me a lot.  I know a lot of series have similar character designs throughout sequels and such, but the original Yu-Gi-Oh! character designs were iconic.  Seeing those eyes and haircuts recycled is confusing.  I straight-up thought Yugi was in a panel of this comic.  In the black-and-white realm of manga, this is especially problematic.

WSJ 39 coverI haven't caught any of the Arc-V anime yet, so I don't have any strong feelings positive or negative about the series.  I didn't think the first chapter was anything to write home about, but let's be serious here: this series pretty much just exists to sell trading cards.  There is nothing immediately wrong with that, since there have been some amazing cartoons that exist solely because their being licensed might boost toy sales.  Just read the first chapter of this series and you'll understand, however, that there's not really anything to look forward to unless you're going to read a Yu-Gi-Oh! series no matter what.

Ignoring the impressively meh premier of Arc-VOne-Punch Man is a great read, when it's actually in the anthology.  The first print trades come out in a few weeks and, not having had the experience of reading chapters back-to-back, I'm curious about how much the series benefits from not being so spaced out from serialization.  In any case, where some other ongoing manga like Inuyashiki feature art that makes the simple seem extravagant, One-Punch Man crams a ton of obviously extravagant stuff into simple encounters.

It's no surprise that Murata is able to depict otherwise normal encounters with incredible exaggerations on the speed and physical limits of the people involved: Eyeshield 21 showcased this exact skill set.  In the world of One-Punch Man, however, Murata's unique brand of organized, cleanly-inked chaos defines our perception of how this world works.  I'm very interested to see how the anime draws on Murata's style which draws much of its impact from being in a static form.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #39 Writer: Various Artist: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 8/24/15 Format: Weekly; Digital