To celebrate Kishimoto's trip to North America, Weekly Shonen Jump ran one of his original one-shots this week, Karakuri, which I'm pretty sure you can't read (legally) absolutely anywhere else in English. A really interesting feature of Jump deciding to run Kishimoto's first award-winning one-shot, Karakuri, is that they also included the editorial comments made about Kishimoto's style and potential. That's interesting to see not just because it's an early evaluation of one of the most successful authors in history, but because it's an insight into how they vet young talent that the public doesn't normally get to see. It appears that they recognized his artistic abilities and his strong sense of character work, but they also knocked him for incomplete backgrounds and a half-assed plot.
I don't see any real potential in Karakuri: it seems like a fairly typical play at a cerebral, gimmicky, shonen action title that rests heavily on its own obtuse machinations and doesn't have enough curb appeal. The character designs weren't there yet, either. Despite the writing of the characters and their personalities being pretty strong for a one-shot, the visual designs had some personality, but failed to stand out all that much. Of course, Naruto can be seen in this light as him listening closely to feedback from the people at Jump. Early Naruto arcs were much tighter than Karakuri, and Naruto always had a strong sense of background and place.
The action in Academia this week was awesome. Bakugo, being a stubborn jerk, forced an encounter with All-Might rather than listening to Midoriya and running away in order to avoid the encounter. All of this is a part of a big important test and, up until the very end of the chapter, all indications are that this pair is going to blow it. Still, watching All-Might beat the shit out of Bakugo and Midoriya provides a fun little look at just how far out of their league the real heroes in the series are. And there are some indications, as I said, at the end of this chapter, that maybe these two kids with a lot of potential will stop being morons and listen to each other.
Not much really happened in One Piece as we gear up for what I can only assume is going to be called the "Zou Arc" since "Zou" is where it's happening--Zou being a city on the back of a massive, thousands-of-years-old elephant roaming the sea--but a really unfortunate situation for the revolutionary army has presented itself. I'm hoping it doesn't end up too ugly for them, but another major encounter for the revolutionary army will move the story forward in a big way.
Of course, One Piece is off next week, and I'm hoping Oda is doing okay. I know that even Kishimoto came out and said that he hopes Oda's health is holding up, since he's been missing so many deadlines lately. The end of this manga is absolutely nowhere in sight, and could easily go on for another fifteen years and still be pretty great, so I'm hoping it's just a temporary issue.