Weekly Shonen Jump #51

Even though there's no way every single story in Weekly Shonen Jump is for you, you can probably find one or two things that are a ton of fun right now. It's an exciting time in the world of Shonen manga with the gaping hole that Naruto is leaving, particularly in its serialized location at the Weekly Shonen Jump.  As Viz scrambles to grab and maintain readership with new mangas via "Jump Start" and serialize already established manga like Food Wars, it's a great time to check this stuff out.

Weekly Shnen Jump 51 CoverHere are three awesome things about issue 51 of Weekly Shonen Jump.

1) There is a really candid interview with Naruto creator Kishimoto and his original editor who helped get Narutoserialized and who then stayed on for ten years, Kosuke Yahagi.  It's amazing as a huge fan of the fifteen year series to see how down to earth and, frankly, dorky Kishimoto is.  In the interviews that have been coming out since the end of Naruto he just seems like the most humble guy, and was apparently completely clueless about how much of an international sensation Naruto was.  Having Yahagi there to hear some of the ways that he helped guide Kishimoto during the formative chapters of the series is really amazing.

2) Weekly Shonen Jump for the past few months has been trying a "Jump Start" program where they serialize the first few chapters of several brand new manga and then, based on reader feedback, continue to serialize just one of them.  For anybody that hasn't read Bakumanor doesn't know that much about how new manga get serialized, this is the exact kind of cutthroat all-or-nothing stuff that goes into a series either surviving or dying in a massive fire of failure.  It's intense.

The victor during the last round of "Jump Start" was a series called Hi-Fi Cluster, which I'm not particularly impressed with.  The first candidate up during this round is a manga called Takujo no Ageha which translates, disappointingly, to "The Table Tennis of Ageha," where "Ageha" is the name of the main character.  It was a really fun read, and I don't want to sound too... judgmental here, but it was Japanese as shit: a mix of absurd, mundane super abilities, perverted moments, and nearly irrational resolve for a silly goal.  Very Shonen.

3) One Piece and Food Wars are both killing it right now.  One Piece just had one of its quintessential massively dramatic flashback chapters that the creator Oda is so fond of dropping on us like a bomb full of tears, and Food Wars is just pandering so hard to the cooking geek in me and I can't get enough.  Even if none of the other titles are that appealing to you and all of the "Jump Start" candidates fall flat on their faces, these two series are going to be worth the price of admission if they continue like this.

Score: 4/5

Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Release date: 11/17/14 Format: Weekly, Digital