Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #9

Academia, One Piece, One-Punch Man, Bleach, and Black Clover were all outstanding this week.

Things are heating up across all of these titles.  As predicted, the Metal Bat vs. Garo fight is the best Garo fight yet, though I'm sure things will take a turn against Metal Bat next week.  Murata is so good at drawing absurdly bold motion lines that characters with kinetic abilities like Metal Bat are a lot of fun to see in action.

Details are slowly creeping out about Sanji's Vinsmoke ancestry, as the One Piece characters themselves offer a timely appraisal of their current situation.  Going forward in the Grand Line will mean an upcoming confrontation with Kaido: one that will probably find its way to them even if they stay put.  Rescuing Sanji will mean a blowout conflict with Big Mom, something the crew seems to think is inadvisable.  It seems to me that either way, the crew is on a crash course for one Yonko or the other.  Going after Sanji seems to be the thing that makes the most sense, but I'm sure Oda has other plans.

wsj9coverBleach continues its weird limp to the finish.  As much as I am absolutely in love with the visuals now that Kubo is drawing like he has nothing to lose, and the past two big fights have been really great character explorations, the general arc the story is following is pretty silly.  To be honest, I'd rather the core group of Ichigo and the others, including Uryu, would just go away again because of how interesting all of the side fights have been recently.

My Hero Academia had a hallmark chapter this week, probably one of its biggest ever.  Horikoshi went all out in drawing Midoriya's latest fight, an incredibly important one with the life of a child hanging in the balance.  We get to see what I think counts as our first big power creep in the series, at least as far as Midoriya is concerned, and while I'm excited to see how Horikoshi deals with it going forward, I'm mostly just really happy the series managed to convincingly build up to this fight.  Everything about this fight screams shonen: little bitter kid with a chip on his shoulder about something looks up to slightly older kid who, for the younger kid's sake, musters the courage to do the impossible.  But from day one Academia has been a series about heroes and the impression that doing the right thing makes on the younger generation.  Midoriya was depicted as being cerebral about the conflict even when he had barely any time to react, making the title a wonderful mix of punching and thoughtfulness.

Then, there's Black Clover.  Despite not getting a prime cover spot with colored pages like Academia this week, Black Clover arguably had one of its most important chapters yet, and certainly the most visually interesting I have seen.  Tabata is an incredible talent, but a lot of the time I feel like Tabata is showing off instead of giving me the most interesting action possible.  Black Clover never wants for attractiveness; but, sometimes I wish the action were better.

This week granted that wish.  Captain Yami is a thrill to watch in action, and his mix of magic and swordplay brings the kind of agile, almost graceful sword aesthetic that is lacking with Asta's more brute sword animations.  Knowing that Tabata can make swordplay and magic mix as interesting as is done in this chapter is a hugely good sign for a series where the main character is a sword wielder himself.

Perhaps more importantly, a very large plot point was foreshadowed that I don't think has been touched on before: it's possible that humans in this series inherited magic by committing genocide against another race.  If that's true, Black Clover has an intensely dark twist waiting somewhere down the line.  Even if it's not true and was just a warped fable being told by a manipulative villain, it's going to be the source of a lot of intrigue.

Food Wars was great, setting up its next series of big conflicts as well, but holy crap there's already so much cool stuff going on I don't have room to talk about it.  Even World Trigger has picked up the pace big time recently.

Score: 5/5

Weekly Shonen Jump #9 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Price: $0.99 Format: Digital Website