Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #49

Some retro JoJo action in this week's Jump, with the real stars for me being Academia and Bleach. It's been years and years since I got to read the beginning of an arc of One Piece.  It's always a special occassion, since the arcs themselves last years anyway.  It's special watching Oda go to work on his character designs, sowing the seeds of personal stories that are going to punch me in the face with emotion dozens of chapters down the line.  Of course, I'm always down for more of the Heart Pirate crew too.

WSJ 49 coverBleach was beautiful this week.  Kubo is part of the holy trinity of mangakas (the other two being Oda and Kishimoto) who in the process of escalating their fights to an unbelievable degree also add in serene, personal character moments .  We just saw him flex his ability to do this during the Kurotsuchi fight, but it doesn't feel recycled here.  The books on all of these characters have to close at some point, and there are depths of these characters--especially enigmatic characters like Kurotsuchi and Kyoraku--that haven't been probed.  In this fight in particular, other than seeing Kubo at his artistic best, we are also seeing the upper limits of the Sternritter and, by comparison, we'll see the highest limits of what someone like Kyoraku has to offer.

During the final exams in Academia, I mentioned that I was hoping to see Bakugo and Midoriya stop being such jerkwads.  I wanted to see Midoriya stop being so timid, and I wanted to see Bakugo understand that it's not all on him to be super powerful.  What Horikoshi gave me instead was really interesting.

He essentially did the opposite.  He doubled down on features of both characters, and by doing so emphasized the important heroic qualities that Midoriya has despite his timidity, and the problematic, self-destructive qualities that essentially limit Bakugo.  Only time will tell whether Bakugo comes away with some sort of valuable lesson.  What's particularly interesting is that both characters are being self-destructive in this chapter, and, in a way, even Bakugo's brash decisions are for the sake of someone other than himself.  But if those decisions leave him unconscious before the fight is even seen through, it won't do him much good in real fighting situations.

And holy shit JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is ridiculous.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #49 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 11/2/15 Format: Weekly; Digital