“One Piece” is back in serialization after Oda’s two week health break, debuting one of the greatest fights in the manga’s history.
“No excuses allowed! I’m so, so sorry to everyone. Thank you for all your positive thoughts. I’ll do better!” Oda said in this week’s “Mangaka Musings.”
Meanwhile, “My Hero Academia” mangaka Kohei Horikoshi laments that the manga will be on break next week and that he can’t yet explain why. Regardless, something big is coming for the manga and he’s drawing a lot in anticipation for the big announcement.
“One Piece” Chapter 992
This week’s chapter comes off strong after a two week break, opening with a color spread of the Straw Hat crew together on the Puffing Tom sea train from the “Water 7” story arc.
All together, the contents of the chapter proper fulfilled a number of things that readers have been looking for: a greater understanding of the Big Mom Pirates’ role in the story, a direction for Carrot’s character to take and the battle between the Nine Red Scabbards and Kaido.
Many fans didn’t think we’d see much of that fight, but Oda surprises yet again, seemingly intending on showing most of what occurs within it.
You couldn’t ask for much better from the fight either. The Scabbards actually seem to be putting up a strong fight, mirroring the sword style of their late master Oden Kozuki.
More than that, we get to see each of the samurais’ strongest techniques. The tension developing is vast as the reader expects them to lose, but the question of the losing circumstance is still in the air.
“My Hero Academia” Chapter 288
Chapter 288 strays from the A-plot of Deku versus Shigaraki and focuses in on the B-plot of the remaining heroes and students dealing with the fallout of Gigantomachia’s rampage.
However, rather than keeping broad with the destruction we already know about, Horikoshi zooms in on the rescue operation student heroes Froppy and Uravity have underway, and even allows for the villain Toga to become an active character again.
The contrasted perspectives of Toga’s expectations and experience to Uravity’s highlights the themes “My Hero Academia” displays.
On one hand, it would’ve been nice to stay focused for another chapter, but hitting on theme once again to reinforce the message of the story isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it works to enhance the value of the overall narrative.
“Jujutsu Kaisen” Chapter 126
Yuji has hit his lowest point this week, his resolve broken. Yet even amongst despair one might find light.
That seems to be the general idea, but Todo’s abrupt entrance doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at the moment. It’s fantastic for a bit more life to be put into the fight as things were getting stale despite the drama, though.
Overall, seeing Yuji actually break mentally is interesting to see. Rarely in shonen do you see the hero hit such a low, but when it happens it tends to hit.
Perhaps it would have all meshed far better had there not been an oversaturation of action without much of interest going on philosophically.
“Chainsaw Man” Chapter 89
Impressively, chapter 89 depicts the ramifications of Makima’s plan, and reader’s might’ve figured it out if that thought on it long enough.
In effect, by creating a hero out of the Chainsaw Man, his powers diminish, because devils are fueled by fear.
It’s almost as if “Chainsaw Man” itself is a deconstruction of the superhero genre after reading this chapter, and that’s an interesting concept in a day and age saturated by superheroes in pop culture.
More interestingly, the contrast between Chainsaw Man as a hero and Makima as a villain is striking due to their visual representation. Chainsaw Man is a gory devil, whereas Makima is a petite female human.
Yet, devils are the evil and humans are the victims in this story, aren’t they?
From a craft standpoint, the final panel seems to have far greater implications as a consequence of Makima’s plot that perhaps she didn’t predict. And that consequence is likely what will turn the tide from Chainsaw Man’s lowest point.
“Undead Unluck” Chapter 36
Chapter 36 largely works to explain the nature of the universe in this manga, that being the perpetual time loop of destruction God has entrapped humans within.
This is the reason why The Round Table seeks to slay God, to end the time loop. Juiz and Victor seem to be the only two who have traversed the cycles of time due to their specific circumstances.
There are possible implications that this has on the story such as extending it into multiple time loops. Could Fuuko and the rest of the cast travel to the next iteration of the universe using Juiz’s Ark, and who was Victor in the universe’s first timeline?
Such questions are ripe for fan theories, and “Undead Unluck” will only get more interesting from here.
“Ayakashi Triangle” Chapter 17
Chapter 17 is particularly good because it opens up larger room for conflict within a story that could get stale quickly in a monster of the week format.
Even more so, it shows the character development of Shirogane and Suzu and raises the bar in terms of tension by introducing an entity even Shirogane, King of the Ayakashi, is afraid of.
Kentaro Yabuki effortlessly wraps in slices of life genre aspects into his paranormal tale, creating both fun romantic comedy and shonen action.
Its rare to have both in the same manga and have both halves be of good quality, but it works here.
“Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin” Chapter 15
“Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin” takes a darker turn after last week’s wholesome experiment. This might be due to pressures from the editor, or even an authorial choice based on weekly ratings.
Regardless, the plot going forward has disregarded comedic aspects to achieve a particular goal. The question is though is how it ties into the background of the Sea Cult introduced back in chapter 1.
While the tone changes are dramatic, it creates for a juxtaposition in life on the island. Not everything is happy and not everything can be funny. Sometimes the work of the buddy cops is going to be a string of homicides.
However, a more direct storyline linking each chapter together would be more compelling, and simultaneously keep the narrative push moving forward.
Instead, what we have is an episodic story that won’t keep readers engaged week to week with the off the wall tonal shifts.
“Phantom Seer” Chapter 8
“Phantom Seer’s” eighth chapter not only showcases just how overwhelmingly powerful Yayoi is, but also sets up the next story arc, separating Riku and Iori.
Such a move is peculiar so early in the story. It’s implying a training arc for one and a mission arc for another. Typically the characters would progress hand-in-hand, but by creating two arcs that take place side-by-side the mangaka are able to push the story forward quicker.
That being said, most of the chapter is incredibly enjoyable. The only iffy aspect is the character of Kurose, a pompous, over the top shaman whose character isn’t exactly compelling.
Sure, he’s not boring, but he’s kind of annoying. Getting to know him in future chapters could alleviate that, but he could also just go on to be a character nobody likes.
Overall, chapter eight successfully sets the stage for what’s next to come, tying the past to the future.