Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shonen Champion, part 1

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

Shonen Jump, Shonen Sunday, Shonen Magazine and Shonen Champion are the 4 top weekly magazines for boys. They are in constant competition with each other for the top sales spot, and back in the heydays of the 60's and 70's, fought over who would get Tezuka and the Tokiwa Manor gang. One thing they have in common is that there's a monthly version for each magazine as well (although I'm not sure about Magazine). Because the weekly and monthly versions of each title tend to have different stories and are aimed at different audiences, I figured that I might as well try comparing the two for Champion.

(Random sample page: "Urei's Life".)

Weekly Shonen Champion comes out every Thursday, and is 270 yen for about 450 pages, making it a decent deal price per page-wise. There aren't many freebies, outside of the foldout poster of the bikini girl of the week (this time it's Rie Kitahara, from AKB48). Typically, there's a girl on the cover and a photo spread for the first 8 pages. Readers can try to win a Rie-themed QUO card (pre-paid cash card) by entering a drawing.

(Random sample page: "Hanza Sky".)

While I was going to say that there's never been a manga title in Champion that I like, I have to take that back. Tezuka's Don Dracula was included back in the day. But that was before I started reading it.

The primary genres in Champion are sports (bike racing, baseball, soccer, sumo, karate), street fighting and fantasy. The titles most easily recognizable by western fans are:

Shinryaku! Ika Musume
Baki, the Son of Ogre
Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas

The bulk of the titles have decent artwork, and some are actually very well drawn. It's just that the stories are aimed at a younger target audience than what appeals to me and I just don't care for the stories.

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