Shonen Jump Issue 16 2020

This week, traitors show their faces, some good, some bad.

Regardless, there’s a lot of cool stuff going on, and one of the poorer series in this review actually managed to put out a chapter that was slightly better than average for it.

However, chapter quality was about on average for most of these series.

“One Piece” Chapter 974

Though it’s still a mystery as to what happened to the four-thousand two-hundred samurai who were going to raid Onigashima, we’ve finally seen the end of the Kozuki Oden Flashback arc and have returned to the main story line where we left off.

I’m beyond excited for the battles ahead, and this chapter didn’t disappoint with revealing who the villainous traitor among the Kozuki vassals was for all these years, and furthermore has set up a vast naval confrontation between the allied pirate fleet and Kaido’s crew.

While I obviously won’t spoil the identity of the traitor, I think few people will have seen this coming, so the reveal was rather shocking for me.

Otherwise, we had a lot of bombshell chapters recently, so even though this chapter was pretty exciting in its own right building up to this next huge battle, it didn’t blow “One Piece” out of the water.

9/10 Torches

“My Hero Academia” Chapter 264

This chapter was a bit of a lull in the excitement of the climactic clash between the Liberation Army and the heroes, but it did shine a light on another underappreciated student-hero and has set up for a clash between friends.

I enjoyed this weeks chapter, specifically in how Horikoshi used lighting to manipulate the atmosphere around the hero Hawks. By shrouding him in darkness for much of the chapter as he spoke, it gave Hawks a villainous, ominous feeling that you don’t normally get from him. That’s a fitting thing to do to his character too, based on how his story has progressed and the characters he was talking to.

Horikoshi’s work with Hawks has been phenomenal, and how he’s finally tying that into the break-down of the human relationships he’s made with so many people is exactly what I like to see. This works especially well as it is an involve character that we just learned a lot more about, and many readers would now feel for him on a personal level.

8.5/10 Torches

“The Promised Neverland” Chapter 171

This chapter surprised me for the better. While the politics surrounding the demons isn’t totally interesting, surprise reintroductions of forgotten characters is.

What I liked most about this chapter was the plot resolution that mangakas Shirai and Demizu have come up with, as it wasn’t something I thought about happening and is an organic development within the plot of the story.

Such a development is refreshing after so many chapters of things occurring that felt like Deus ex Machina.

Finally, though I wish he’d just go down instead of continuing to scramble, don’t count the villain out just yet, as the other chunk of this chapter was dedicated to him trying to come up with yet another way to change his fortunes and come out victorious.

I suppose that lines up with his characterization, but I’m sick of him, and I don’t think he’s very interesting.

7/10 Torches

“Chainsaw Man” Chapter 62

I don’t have a lot to say about this chapter as nothing super exciting happened, but there was a lot of combat where the stiff movements were painfully obvious.

During that first half were more of that was going on, there was even more past character relationships being hinted at, and the overwhelming of Quanxi is becoming more and more undeniable. Characters that were shown to way outclass out protagonists can’t even stop her, so her threat level is reaching unprecedented levels.

As a reader I’m excited to see just how this will get resolved, specifically whether or not it’ll be done well or if Fujimoto will write himself into a corner.

Otherwise, there was some interesting stuff in the latter half of the chapter where Denji and friends are finally getting in on the action, and it seems like something odd is going on with who they’re fighting. I’m really intrigued to see what’s going on there.

7.5/10 Torches

“Zipman” Chapter 14

The series seems to be rushing to its end, now more so than ever, as the final fight appears to have begun.

Honestly, most of this hasn’t been interestingly lately because there has been a complete removal of stakes. Zipman has been shown to be so vastly overpowered that it doesn’t seem that he can lose. Furthermore, the quick acceleration to so much destruction and carnage has removed all personal stakes from the conflict. There isn’t one person on the line anymore, so now all the destruction going on around them is merely a statistic. It no longer has meaning to the reader.

You could argue that the emotional conflict between the twins means something, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s just another confrontation between robots because there wasn’t enough time put into developing characters.

5/10 Torches

“Undead Unluck” Chapter 9

This chapter did a lot in terms of world building. Singlehandedly, its explained the major conflict going on that drives the narrative, and has even introduced new concepts that are equally as cool as the established “Negation” power system.

Moreover, Tozuka managed to fit in a lot of subtle characterization between the introduction of the artifacts while simultaneously creating further mysteries for the reader to learn about later.

This chapter did so many things right as an info dump and as an expository chapter for new characters and story elements that I don’t think it could have been executed any better.

10/10 Torches

“Mashle: Magic and Muscles” Chapter 8

Yet again, I found nothing to be funny in this chapter, but I do have some positive things to say.

There was a noticeable improvement in the art quality, along with the beginning of an actual battle that wasn’t resolved within a single panel. Furthermore, the antagonist in question is being taken seriously by the narrative rather than being treated like a joke from his inception.

That does bring in some seriousness that could draw in readers who aren’t meshing with whatever comedy is hypothetically hidden within the panels and speech bubbles. And honestly, I saw promise emanating from this chapter. With the improved art and a bit more dedication to real story, “Mashle” actually seemed to be something of an actual story.

Despite that, it’s lack of originality is still hindering it as it isn’t performing well at all as a satire for me.

6/10 Torches

“Guardian of the Witch” Chapter 7

This chapter was another middle of the road, “meh” kind of chapters, at least for its bulk.

The one thing that might pan out to be interesting came at the very end with the introduction of mysterious character, but the way this introduction was handled didn’t feel organic at all.

I feel as though this new character has the making of a fan favorite and will be vital to the story moving forward, but if this could’ve been executed in a better way I’d have liked it more.

6/10 Torches

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