Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #48

One Piece takes us to a town full of furries or something, as Food Wars continues to take a very sharp right turn into a much more dramatic story arc. I'm not crazy about the character work in Academia.  As the series continues, I think it has potential to be a strong feature of the world that Horikoshi is building.  But, I think we're only just now starting to see a lot of these characters coming into their own.  Todoroki is the one character with a back story that makes who he is and how he develops worth paying attention to.  Given the quality of the art, the action, and the little bit of personality on display from everyone, Horikoshi has sort of earned the benefit of the doubt from me in ways other creators of series that are this ambitious have not.

WSJ 48 coverI bring this up because the current final exams are serving to be transformative moments of both confidence and humility, where each is applicable, to the young characters in this series who are still trying to figure out who they are as heroes.  Of course, it's thus a necessary feature of this series that a lot of these characters have notable personalities in limbo: the whole point is a lot of them are trying to figure it out.  The fact that they're all working through this process together while discovering the value of teamwork is definitely one of the strongest shonen features of My Hero Academia.

Food Wars has gone completely off the rails.  I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing, but this series has fundamentally changed in a way that challenges the title of the series itself (no spoilers, just go read the chapter).  We knew Erina's dad was bad news, but what concerns me more--and what makes for great storytelling potential--is the fact that actual students who are members of the council of ten have been okaying this fascist's ideas for the institute.

We knew that this story would be playing sort of a long game given some of the mysterious air around Soma's father and his ties to the institute and his reasons for sending Soma there.  But we're now slowly finding out that maybe some of why Soma is there ties into the current abrupt shift in the tone of the series.  That essentially means that we've just entered the major story arc of this series.  Shun Saeki's art is as menacing as ever when it needs to be, and though I'm not crazy about the potential for a really typical "damsel in distress" angle, author Yuto Tsukuda can prove me right with this next arc that he's one of the best mangakas working now, with a knack for more than just ecchi and soufflés.

If I'm not mistaken, over in Bleach land, we've never seen Captain Kyoraku's Bankai: until now.  So far Kubo has been going all out in its depiction, both artistically and story-wise.  As it has been with most of the big fights against the Sternitter, it's unclear whether Kyoraku will make it out of the fight alive, being pushed to his limit.  But this is a limit we have literally never seen, so it's a fun, if not potentially very sad, moment for fans of the series.  Though I'm not rooting for Kyoraku's death, I am hoping that at some point, rather than having all these dudes barely survive, Kubo acknowledges that this series has to end at some point.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #48 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 10/26/15 Format: Weekly; Digital