Shonen Jump 45, 2020

 “One Piece” is still on hiatus due to series creator Eiichiro Oda’s sudden health issues. If things are going according to plan, the series will return in the following issue of “Weekly Shonen Jump.”

Otherwise, the magazine’s titles are going strong, though some choices authors have made are questionable in terms of execution.

One thing readers should keep an eye on is the big turning point in “My Hero Academia’s story.” If experience serves, a time skip is fast approaching.

“My Hero Academia” Chapter 287

This week’s chapter is more about what follows than it is about what has already come to pass.

What readers should be looking for in the coming weeks is consequential, lasting effects as a result of this arc. The greatest tragedy in writing, and the biggest mistake the series could make, would be to virtually retcon this arc and make everything that happened meaningless.

However, should the consequences of this arc — and this chapter — come to pass, this would become the greatest arc in “My Hero” history.

Chapter 287 is far more metaphysical, philosophical and conversation based than any chapter has been in a long time. Though the dead were telling tales, the hype didn’t hit. Nana Shimura showed up first, rather than the first user of One for All.

Flip that order around and have the two brothers face off from the get-go.

3.5/5 Torches

“Jujutsu Kaisen” Chapter 125

The flashback plot of this chapter was entirely meant to build up sympathy for Nobara, but, the thing is, we should already have sympathy for a main character. Her entire history should have already been explored.

That’s one of the biggest flaws such an action heavy series has — it fails to devote time to fleshing out its characters.

The big event with Nobara this week, while a shock, is a shallow moment. Assumedly, it is supposed to motivate Itadori, but if Nobara survives and comes back just fine with no collateral, what’s the point?

3/5 Torches

“Chainsaw Man” Chapter 88

Admittedly, some of the action this week is really cool, and some of it raises important questions.

What is the fate of Denji? The battle that ensued implies to me he’s no more, but is it possible he is the Chainsaw Man himself, now?

Otherwise, the combat feels like it has no stakes. The Chainsaw Man is insanely powerful, and it amounts to more of a slaughter than an actual intriguing fight.

3/5 Torches

“Undead Unluck” Chapter 35

Chapter 35 opens the door for more mysteries, flashbacks and content to lengthen the longevity of “Undead Unluck.”

The discoveries made this chapter even open the door for potential failure and further resets within the series. Though a reset isn’t necessarily a great move, proper execution can make it work at a craft level.

Though not the most epic of chapters, Tozuka effectively proved his storytelling ability by highlighting his skillful use of minute foreshadowing, a quality that Eiichiro Oda is constantly praised for.

Fans of the series might be sent scouring the volumes for more clues now that we know Tozuka’s propensity for it.

4/5 Torches

“Ayakashi Triangle” Chapter 16

Chapter 16 links itself back into the previous mini-arc and leads into the next phenomenally, while also providing enough content for its own events to have merit.

This week’s comedy stems from the flustered imagination of Suzu as she tries to puzzle together the meaning of Reo’s perhaps unintended innuendos. Despite the backdrop, its wholesome overlay at the conclusion actually explores the human condition.

The latest chapters, this one included, have elevated the manga beyond what it originally presented. This is a series that could easily receive an anime adaptation.

4/5 Torches

“Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin” Chapter 14

To put it bluntly, there was no punchline this week. In fact, the chapter was rather sad, converting from a buddy cop action/mystery/comedy to a slice-of-life tackling relationships and loss.

The move came from out of left field, but it wasn’t unsatisfying. The respite could be interpreted as a calm before a storm, a rest point just before entering a boss battle.

There was a chunk of panels in the center of the chapter that probably won’t land for Western readers due to the difficulty in translation and the issue of a culture gap, but they weren’t the focus of the chapter.

However, even being versed enough to recognize the references didn’t make them feel any funnier. They just came off as contextually odd.

3/5 Torches

“Phantom Seer” Chapter 7

Chapter 7 does everything right when it comes to character introduction.

Though readers have seen Yayoi in a few panels and speak through a phone, they hadn’t ever met her interact with the protagonists in person.

Likewise, those who know her have talked her up, telling us she’s a big fish that shouldn’t be trifled with, but up to this point we hadn’t been shown any proof.

Had Yayoi’s proper introduction been mundane as a meeting over tea as had been expected, readers wouldn’t be able to understand why characters behave around her as they do. We didn’t get that, though.

Yayoi is introduced performing feats far beyond that of our protagonists. This gives her needed credibility, and prevents the reader from questioning the characters behaviors at every turn.

The only issue this chapter presents is in its worldbuilding, though perhaps this is a question that will be answered soon. What’s the point in imprisoning strong phantoms beneath the mansion if it’s so easy for Yayoi to exorcize them?

Right now, the established story and the actions undertaken by its character’s are at odds.

4/5 Torches

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