By Dustin Cabeal
First and foremost, I’m enjoying reading new, manga. It’s just extremely interesting to me to see what’s new and if it can make it in the long haul. I will again be focusing on half of this issue due to trade reading and lack of interest… One Piece.
Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries – Score: 3/5
I’ve come to appreciate how strong We Never Learn’s debut was because in hindsight it’s had the strongest first chapter of the three current Jump Starts. Any time “Diaries” is in the title of something I get nervous about what I’m about to read. I don’t like diary narrations at all, but thankfully in this manga, it's referring to the diaries that Poro is keeping about his adventures in Japan.
The gist isn’t anything particularly new, but there’s an added layer of humor to the story. Poro is the demon prince of hell. A place that is all about defeating others and ranking up with the prize being the highest ranked demon will become the next king of hell. Poro is ranked number one, but he hates fighting and only defends himself, which earns points in the ranking as well. The catch is that he is the current demon king’s son and so he’s incredibly strong. In fact, strong enough to punch a hole in space and time.
The comedy comes from his crybaby personality. It’s not so much that it’s annoying all the time, but it provides for funny scenes. Poro’s strength and lack of challenges do feel a bit like Saitama in One-Punch Man as it’s humorous to see the villains before and after the battle. What is a bit tired is his explanation of why he chose Japan which is just a carbon copy of Blood Lad practically. Still, the character and his one friend that doesn’t care he’s a demon, make this first chapter entertaining. Demon Prince Poro's Diaries has a lot of potential if it can quickly move away from the fight of the week formula it’s set up and focus in on the supporting cast and humor.
The Promised Neverland – Score: 4/5
This fucking story. The Promised Neverland continues to be one of the best things I’m reading each week. It is just masterful reading this story, and even though it’s almost two years in its run, I don’t feel left out in the least bit. This particular chapter of The Promised Neverland offered a lot of missing pieces to the story that I may have had.
The bulk of the story is just an argument, but it’s wonderfully executed. The argument is what to do about Norman who is scheduled to be shipped off and eaten. Emma and Ray come up with a plan and numerous suggestions, but Norman shoots them all down. It’s great because it’s not as if he doesn’t want to live and survive, it’s that he doesn’t want someone to die in his place. That’s the argument and the challenge, what can they do to make sure all three of them survive. It’s very much like the fox, the chicken and the grain riddle in which you need to get all three across the river, but you can only take one at a time. Let’s just say they figure it out, but we’ll have to wait to see if it works or not.
Again, this is a great story that has surprised me because it’s not something I would normally be drawn to as a reader. It has children protagonists, dystopian future setting and art style is usually one I’m not a fan of, but I’m coming around on it in a big way though and will be looking forward to next week’s issue.
U-19 – Score: 2/5
The biggest problem with this series is that it’s being overwritten. The creator is just writing so much that it’s just redundant. In one scene, the same thing is mentioned three times, and it’s like, “we get it already, fucking move on!”
I was curious about this one because of the ranking system they introduced right at the end of the first chapter, but then also the X-Men element they teased as well. Let’s just say that the later of the two is tease a bit more in this chapter of U-19, but its cliffhanger reveals leaves a lot to be desired.
Unlike We Never Learn, which seemed to find its footing instantly with the second chapter, U-19 doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. There’s too much introduced, and the parts aren’t forming a solid whole. There’s a little bit of this and that mixed in, and maybe one day it’ll work out, but for now it doesn’t. If the next chapter doesn’t pick up, it might make my skip list.
We Never Learn – Score: 3/5
This chapter of We Never Learn, addresses Yuiga being poor which was one of the more interesting parts of this story. For some reason, he invites the two girls, Ogata and Furuhashi, over to work on his custom study guides. Nothing from the last chapter is brought up, but it is the classic “oh we thought our son/brother would never date and now he’s brought home two girls” scene.
It's okay. There were some funny bits, but the overall chapter’s goal seemed to be to remind the audience what the two girls were good out while forgetting to remind us what they’re bad at as well. The other goal was to introduce Yuiga’s family and remind the reader that he’s dirt poor. The dirt poor part didn’t come into play, though, and it wasn’t shown as well in the artwork. It still seemed like this family had necessities like enough rooms for the kids, a working kitchen and enough food to have two extra people join them. I don’t know if I was dirt poor I might be hard pressed to invite extra mouths to the table, but whatever to that.
The art is really good still and looks the most polished from the three Jump Starts that I’ve read. I have a feeling that it’s familiar look and love triangle set up will mean that We Never Learn, makes it through in the end, but we’ll see what the other new series have to offer.
That’s it for this week. Hopefully, I’ll get the next one done earlier and maybe even have a longer review. I am thinking about reading One Piece just to have more to write about, but we’ll see. Also, thank you to the person on twitter that informed me that I could jump around without having other stories spoiled for me, that was a life saver, and sorry I don’t remember your name, it’s very late at the time of writing this.
Weekly Shonen Jump no. 12
Publisher: Viz Media