Sunday, May 27, 2012

Commentary: Miracle Jump

I've only recently started noticing Miracle Jump, so I was thinking it's another one of those magazines that started within the last 6 months.  However, while searching for the wiki entry, I came across the ANN story stating that Monthly Young Jump had gone on hiatus in August, 2010, and was to be rebranded as Miracle Jump starting in January, 2011, on a bi-weekly basis.  Turns out that I've somehow missed both the Weekly and Monthly versions of Young Jump up to now.  At least I don't have to worry about one of the two anymore.

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

Miracle Jump, 480 pages, 450 yen.  Bi-Weekly (this issue is dated 5-20-2012, but actually was out on the 10th).
According to the ANN article, MJ was being repurposed as a seinen (young men's) magazine focusing on SF and fantasy.  About 1 year later, it seems to have branched out a bit to include fight stories.  The one title that shows up the most in the search results on MJ is Tiger & Bunny, which I've commented on elsewhere, because it shows up in Newtype Ace as well.

The artwork for the most part is above average, with a few stories being drawn really well, although several aren't all that great.  The main comment is that at least 5 of the stories are one-shots.  This is unusual, since most magazines focus on long-running series to build up the fan base for each of it's artists.  Because the target audience is young men (college age), the stories tend to be violent, with lots of reader service (although no overt sex). In the U.S., it'd get a PG-17 rating for "adult subject matter".  There aren't any freebies, but there is a fold out poster, with a full-page illustration of "Jeanne" on one side, and a pair of calendar posters for Zetman and Nyaruko-san on the other.


(Ex-Vita, with our android-human traffic cop women.)

You can get a list of the ongoing titles from the Manga Baka Updates page, so I'll just limit my comments to those titles that catch my eye.


(Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, with Naruko in full Elder God mode.)

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, writing by Manta Aisora, art by Kei Okazaki
Based on a light novel series by Manta, this is a manga adaptation of a Lovecraft-inspired gag horror story.  Nyaruko is one of the Elder Gods, disguised as a silver-haired girl during the day.  She takes up with a school boy after saving him from a demon, and things go downhill for him from there.  Artwork's not bad, and the premise is amusing.

Tiger & Bunny:
Guys in powered suits run around and make fools of themselves.  Overly-styled character designs, above average artwork, silly story.


(Aruma undercover in a sexdroid dance club.)

Ex-Vita, by Shinya Komi
One of the most highly-detailed, best-drawn manga in MJ right now, Ex-Vita is a futuristic police drama, that's just up to chapter 3.  Look for this one to be fan scanilated soon.  Minami and Aruma are partners working traffic control in 2050 AD Tokyo.  Aruma is a prototype android with a 4-year lifespan.  In this chapter, the two are directing traffic around a murder scene, where the mutilated body of a man is found to have the business card for an android sex show called Sorciere Show Club.  One of the detectives on the case sends Aruma undercover to pose as an erotic dancer in the club, and the group discovers that someone has been rewiring androids to allow them to kill humans.  In this specific case, in order to protect the ongoing business of the club.  It's kind of like A.D. Police/Bubblegum Crisis meets Blade Runner.


(Dangan Tenshi Fanlub)

Dangan Tenshi Fanclub, story by Murata Yusuke, art by Wanpanman
This is the latest of Murata's one-shots, however, given some of the artwork showing up on a French fan site, it may become serialized.  The artwork is pretty good, although the character designs are a bit cartoony.  The story is silly, but in a good way.  A male school student is enlisted by his classmates to investigate a girl in their school that is believed to be a super-suited demon fighter.  The investigation goes pretty easily, and it turns out that the girl wanted to be popular, and a weird magical creature granted that wish by giving her the powersuit and heavy weapons.  Then, a demon shows up and beats the girl to a pulp until her fan club finally rallies around her.  Except that she also demonstrates an extreme domineering side.

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Of the entire magazine, I'd say that Ex-Vita is the only title that I have any continuing interest in.  In part, it's because it's kind of a throwback to 80's style SF, with androids manufactured to fulfill their owners wishes, then developing their own sense of self-preservation and rebelling against the "use-'em-up-and-throw-'em-away" culture.  Plus, the exotic dancers look really good.

Summary: Miracle Jump is Monthly Young Jump repurposed as an experimental SF and fantasy publication, with an unusually high number of one-shot stories.  If you like power-suited heroes and pretty soul-eating demons, this is the magazine for you.


6 comments:

Terrance Jackson said...

Hey, would you know of a site where I could buy Miracle Jump volume 8? Like a site that actually has one in stock?

If not, would you be able to help me find a copy of Dangan Tenshi Fanclub?

TSOTE said...

Thanks for dropping by.
Unfortunately, no, I don't know of a site that allows for ordering Miracle Jump. I tried visiting the bookstores and convenience stores in the area, and none of them have MJ right now. Looks like it may have been taken off the shelves to make room for the next magazine. I'll see what I can do about Dangan Tenchi Fanclub, but no guarantees.

PhoenixRoy said...

Aw, that's unfortunate, if only I'd found out about Yusuke Murata's one-shot sooner. Thanks for looking into this!

Kathy Smith said...

Dang, I've been scouring the internet for ages and this is the first place I've seen anything more than just the color illustrations for Dangan Tenshi Fanclub. No raw providers seem to have taken interest in it, and obviously physical copies are nigh-impossible to find.

I dunno if you still have the magazine kicking around (or know anyone else who does), but I'd kill just to see a scan of it, and I know from all the searching that I'm not the only one.

TSOTE said...

Hello Kathy, thanks for dropping by. Unfortunately, my apartment is too small to keep any of these magazines for more than 2-3 weeks. Actually, this is the first time since I started reviewing manga magazines 18 months ago, that anyone has asked about scans of one of the manga I commented on. I don't have that issue anymore, sorry. But if it gets serialized, I can pick up the next issue to do a more formal review.

Kathy Smith said...

A serialization doesn't look likely, since both artist and writer have moved on to projects with Young Jump's new webcomic endeavor over at tonarinoyj.jp

Good news for me, since I'm mostly in this for Murata's art, and that means it'll be easy to see what's new for the forseeable future, but this oneshot still looked fun. Oh, well.

Thanks anyway, this post means I have at least a little more information to go on. Just about everything else that turns up is either a translation or copypasta of the same article! On with the search, I guess.