Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #44

My darling Mononofu ceases its "Jump Start" run as One Piece finally has a chapter that breaks up some of this massive tension, despite Oda's reminder that shit is about to get really real. I like Mononofu way more than Samon the Summoner; but, that's to be expected, since one of them is clearly aimed at dudes (Mononofu) and the other (Samon) at least has a potential foothold with female readers.  That's not to say that I'm incapable of enjoying manga with a more female demographic in mind, but it's at least a statistical reality that I'd be more likely to like the one that I do, in fact, like more.

That said... Mononofu is just a better series.  First of all, Ikezawa actually listened to my advice (not really): Mononofu contained at least one real technical nugget about Shogi in this chapter, and I thought it was a real high point for the issue.  But Samon just isn't as clever, nor is the art up to snuff.  It's hard for me to even find Samon's characters all that cute when a lot of the contrast in how the characters are depicted doesn't have much of an impact because they're drawn so washed-out to start with.

wsj 44 coverI don't talk much about Black Clover, mostly because none of the arcs have grabbed me yet.  It's got a lot of typical shonen things going for it and while I love the aesthetic it's just not original enough story-wise for me to latch on.  That doesn't stop me from flipping through the pages every week, however, because the art is setting an incredibly high bar for all new entrants into the anthology.

One Piece puts in another arc wrap-up chapter, but at least this one had no fighting and wasn't super emotional.  All of the Straw Hat bounties have been updated (along with updates to Barto Club's ship) and we got to hear the stakes of the next arc straight from the mouth of the newly-imprisoned Doffy.

I think the Dressrosa arc was a massive success for Oda and for this series.  I have a lot of friends who read One Piece and people who were getting a little weary of things were reinvigorated by the massive, ambitious-even-for-Oda character-work that made up this arc.  One Piece is an incredibly daunting series to just jump into mid-stream (making it inaccessible to a lot of folks given its sheer length), but the other benefit of Dressrosa was the fact that the island has its own monolithic story.  Rather than being driven by worldly, inter-character drama (though the Law-Doffy connection was a huge part of this arc), things like the royal family and Doffy's crew were big enough and interesting enough to warrant attention on their own, without much prior knowledge.

The Kurotsuchi-Pernida fight is over (not sure if you can really say anybody won that one) and we are seriously heading into some shit in Food Wars.  Jump is pretty exciting right now.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #44 Writer: Various Artist: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 9/28/15 Format: Weekly; Digital