Sunday, January 15, 2012
Commentary: Weekly Shonen Jump
It may seem odd that I haven't commented on Weekly Shonen Jump before, and, in fact, I did make a mention of it over a year ago when they included the papercraft version of the Merry (the ship from One Piece). I've been holding off until the publishers decided to run another one-of-a-kind freebie. Well, now is as good a time as any.
(Punchout calendar holder)
Weekly Shonen Jump is easily THE most well-known manga magazine on the market. At its peak, in 1995, it had a world-wide circulation of 6.5 million copies. (Probably due solely to the serialization of Dragon Ball). In 2007, it was 2.7 million copies. There is an English version of the magazine in the U.S., put out by Viz as well.
(Pages for January and February of the calendar, plus assembly instructions.)
Along with past titles like Dragon Ball, Slam Dunk, Doctor Slump and and Hell Teacher Nubee, Jump currently has Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Hunter x Hunter, Gintama and Beelzebub, along with the insanely-long running Kochira wa Kameari. All of the popular titles have been licensed for U.S. release, and are also currently being fan scanilated. This means that there's really very little point to discussing those titles here now. In fact, you probably know more about them than I do.
(Every New Year, Jump has the artists do 4-panel gag strips with their characters. Here, with Kameari, the gang wastes all 4 panels complaining that all they ever do in here is normal stuff.)
As the name implies, Shonen Jump is targeted at younger boys, primarily in the lower teens range. As such, the stories tend to simple adventures, fighting action, school intrigues and slapstick comedy. The artwork is all over the board, but as the artists mature when their series runs more than 1 year, their techniques generally improve quickly. Currently, the titles with the most sophisticated art are Bleach and Kochira wa Kameari. But, I think that most of the storylines are a little too silly or superficial. So, the one that I gravitate towards the most is Kameari (which is sillier than most) because of its great insight into otaku culture in Tokyo and Akihabara. If you want to know what fad is trending now, Kameari will be lampooning it.
(Kurogane 4-koma page.)
As for the freebie - it's a small punch out desk calendar featuring all of Jump's main characters. The calendar sheets are double-sided and double-folded on 3 pieces of paper. It's not that big, and therefore is perfect for placement on a crowded desk.
(Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa (Harisugawa of the Land of Mirrors))
If you like manga, you probably like the stories that appear in either Shonen Jump, Shonen Sunday or Shonen Magazine. Jump will also probably be at the top of your list, too.
Dates for 1/14 to 1/21:
Fujio (Tensai Bakabon) Akatsuka, 1/14/1935
Hal Roach, 1/14/1892
Robert Silverberg, 1/15/1935
Jim (Wildwood Weed) Stafford, 1/16/1944
Steve Harvey, 1/17/1957
Andy Kaufman, 1/17/1949
Mack Sennett, 1/17/1880
Oliver Hardy, 1/18/1892
Danny Kaye, 1/18/1913
Robert Anton ("Illuminati Trilogy") Wilson, 1/18/1932
Edgar Allen Poe, 1/19/1809
Andre-Marie Ampere, 1/20/1775
Arte Johnson, 1/20/1929
DeForest Kelly, 1/20/1920
Nancy ("Beggars in Spain") Kress, 1/20/1948
Benny Hill, 1/21/1924
Doodles Weaver, 1/17/1983
Curly Howard, 1/18/1952
Rudyard Kipling, 1/18/1936
George Orwell, 1/21/1950
250 yen, 560 pages.