Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #52

Solid chapters all over the place as we approach that weird time of year where the numbering of Weekly Shonen Jump is going to reset to #1. Jump put Food Wars on the cover this week and gave it the lead spot.  Currently, the Institute is in complete disarray, as the Council of Ten authorized the overthrow of one Nakiri in favor of another.  The results have been expectedly draconian, with the added shock that Shokugekis themselves are essentially pointless, after we witnessed Eizan rigging one in which he won despite the judges never even tasting his food.

As he is wont to do, even in a god damn rigged Shokugeki against a guy as stuck up as Eizan, Soma has inspired the best in someone and pushed them to their limits.  Eizan actually decides to cook in this chapter so that he can show Soma why he's on the Council.  It's yet another in a line of visually stunning chapters from Saeki, with a plot from Tsukuda that is simultaneously dramatic and informative.  There's actually a new cooking technique I really want to try after reading this chapter (I'm sure it will go horribly).  And how often can I say that a satisfying cliffhanger hinged on potstickers?

ws 52 coverIn One Piece, the situation in (on?) Zou is slowly unraveling.  We've only seen bits and pieces of what Zou has to offer, but so far it has been a densely packed, intricate match for the equally detailed and eye-candy-filled island of Dressrosa.  There's added potential to the style and mythology behind these visuals as well given that, you know, the city is on the back of a giant elephant.

In Academia, two new villains showed up last week wanting to join forces with Shigaraki, and he's hesitant to admit them.  This week, when we were due to find out their names, a tall zombie-esque dude refused to give his real one.  Seems like a plot twist waiting to happen.  I can't recall off the top of my head if any of the young heroes have older brothers who are MIA, but it's hard to tell who he resembles anyway since he has a pretty vanilla design; well, other than sections of flesh that have been transplanted onto his body.

Kubo is transcendent.  I don't know what else to say anymore.  Stylistically there is not a shonen manga (perhaps not even a seinen, at least not one that I've been lucky enough to read) that is currently being published that is on Kubo's level of design.  What's more is that the narrative and emotional weight of what's currently happening in the series is enough to justify the grandiose stylistic choices being made.  From page layouts, to pages that themselves come apart at the seams with dramatic kana sfx, to the way the black robes bleed into the shadows--if you gave up on Bleach any time over a year ago, I have to stress that it's worth catching up.

Buddy Strike, the newest Jump Start, continued to show off it's great sense of humor; but, for a chapter 2, I thought this was quite slow.  Granted that rushing off to face the next batter would make chapter 2 too much of a mirror for chapter 1, but there were better ways to shirk making the two chapters too similar than to make the second chapter crawl its way to anything interesting.

If you flip-flop on reading Black Clover as much as me, I recommend that you flop your way back into reading this chapter.  It was hilarious and a lot of fun to look at.  I know that Asta's starry-eyed signature look annoys a lot of folks, myself included, but Tabata is pound-for-pound one of the best mangakas working right now.  I wish the backgrounds were a little more consistent in being, you know, actually there, but when the environment is rendered, it's always rendered with care.

The best deal in comics is even bestier when so many series have a week like this.

Score: 5/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #52 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release Date: 11/23/15 Format: Weekly; Digital