Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #8

The latest fight in Black Clover continues to seriously escalate, as Academia ends on an absolutely killer cliffhanger. One Piece and Food Wars both continued to signal major shifts in their respective series this week.  In One Piece, Sanji is being whisked off to marry into Big Mom's family, as it turns out he's actually part of a mafia family from the North Blue by birth.  The Straw Hats have split up here and there since the time skip, but a character as major as Sanji hasn't gone missing from the action in quite this fashion probably since before the time skip.  Unless Oda is just tired of drawing Sanji or something, this is all laying the foundation of a very big showdown with Big Mom.

WSJ Jan 25 CoverFood Wars has hinted that Soma's father is more important to the plot that has ever really been let on.  Given his relationship with Aizan, the full details of which have yet to be revealed, it looks like the master plan of this series actually hinges on Soma's father, and is an underlying theme that has been building to this very story arc since day one.  The fact that this much shonen-level epicness and forethought has been packed into a goddamn cooking manga continues to impress me.

What had been looking like a cute little side plot in Black Clover that got me reading the series again escalated into one fight, and then escalated again this week with the appearance of the current Big Bad of the series, Licht.  I love that Tabata found a way to rope in readers like me by creating a lull in the action that allowed characters to stand out, while secretly building towards a major confrontation.  Too often in shonen stuff, major showdowns are buttressed by a TON of foreplay and don't grow out of the story organically at unexpected times.  Seeing a great example of things on both ends of this spectrum, between One Piece and Black Clover, is a great thing about Jump currently.

Midoriya is currently WAY outmatched in his fight in Academia right now, so much so that the chapter had to end on the ultimate cliffhanger.  The way fight scenes play out visually in this series continues to be a strongpoint for Horikoshi, and he's able to effectively intersperse the action with moments of tense melodrama.  The set-piece of villains showing up to disrupt the teens training has been a mainstay of the series, but slowly builds each time with new threats and new questions.  As long as Horikoshi keeps using this kind of story repetition to build his characters and world up, it won't get old.

Score: 4/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #8 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Price: $0.99 Format: Digital Website