Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Commentary: Weekly Young Jump

Back some months ago, I bought Young Jump and wrote up a nice little commentary for it.  Somehow, I managed to delete it and possibly the scans I made, and there was no way to get it back.  Because I didn't like anything in that issue, I didn't really mind much and had no plans for trying again.  However, a few nights ago I went to a net cafe with the hopes of being able to play video games for cheap.  It was inexpensive (500 yen for one hour), but all they had were links to online games that cost money to play, so I ended up reading manga instead.  They had the latest issues of a number of magazines, and I grabbed Young Jump to see if there was a reason for doing a second write up.  And so here we are.

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

Weekly Young Jump, 330 yen, 460 pages.
Started in 1979, according to the wiki entry, it's a seinen (young men) title in the Shueisha Jump brand. Past titles include Gantz, Real, Tough and Zetman. The artwork is a mix, usually with thick heavy lines and lots of black space, but with titles that are both below and above average.  The character designs tend to be all over the place, from realistic to overly cartoony, and everything inbetween. Genres include fantasy, vampires, SF, fighting, shogi, cooking and baseball. There are several photo spreads at the front and back of some of the AKB-48 girls, with a little color booklet labeled Gingham Check (the latest album from AKB-48) with some of the girls doing cosplay.

There are a few titles running right now that western readers will recognize.

Liar Game
Rozen Maiden

Manga worth commenting on:

(Terra Formars)

Terra Formars, by Sagusa Yu (story) & Tachibana Kenichi (art). SF story of a group of enhanced humans fighting monkey-like creatures on another planet.  The heroes will inject themselves with something steroid-like to gain additional strength or powers.  Excellent artwork and character designs.  Hard to gauge the story right now.

(Hito Hitori Futari)

Hito Hitori Futari, by Tsutomu Takahashi. Riyon is a guardian spirit, but a little too laid back for her superiors' tastes. So she's tasked to help the Japanese Prime Minister as he nears the end of his life.  Artist Tsuyou is best known for his Meiji-era "Shidooh".  So you know what the artwork is like.

(Nejimaki Kagyu)

Nejimaki Kagyu, by Nakayama Atsushi. Heavy, blocky art, with rather primitive-looking character designs.  Kind of below-average work, but with interesting fight scenes. No idea why the main boy and girl are fighting, though.

(Devils Devil)

Devils Devil (subtitled Kiryu in Paris), by Tetsuya Saruwatari. If you know Tough, then you know Kiryu.  He seems to be on a quest to recover various famous artworks. In this chapter, he steals the Mona Lisa.

Countach, by Haruto Umezawa. Haruto is best known as the creator of Hareluya II Boy. This time, the main character is a loser who reminds himself of an old dream to become a car racer.

The final page is probably the most important.
Artist Junko Nakano passed away on June 28th from ischemic heart disease at age 45. She wrote B Shock!, Chisa x Pon, Hetakoi and That's Michael.  The editors dedicated the page in her memory.

Summary: While Weekly Young Jump is an adult title, and there are some sex scenes, there are enough good stories to justify buying this magazine on a regular basis.  I like Devils Devil, and Nejimaki Kagyu shows promise.  At the R-rated level for western audiences, I still recommend it.

Junko Nakano will be missed.

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