Welcome to This Week in Shonen Jump, in which a rotating duo of Multiversity staffers take a look at two stories contained in each installment of Viz Media’s Weekly Shonen Jump. For the uninitiated, Weekly Shonen Jump is an anthology that delivers more than 200 pages of manga of all varieties. We hope that you’ll join us in exploring the world of Weekly Shonen Jump each week. If you are unfamiliar, you can read sample chapters and subscribe at Viz.com.
This week, Robbie and Ken return! If you have any thoughts on the two titles discussed this week, or thoughts on “The Promised Neverland,” “Black Clover,” “My Hero Academia,” Blue Exorcist,” or “Food Wars,” let us know in the comments!
Dr. Stone #4 & #5
Written by Riichiro Inagaki
Illustrated by Boichi
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
Of all the new series coming out in Shonen Jump, “Dr. Stone” is the one that’s been the most interesting, and the one I’m most likely to keep on following. We’ve got two chapters to look at this week, but fortunately, it’s all the same series, so we can look over them both.
We begin with the introduction of a new character, having just woken up and OHKO’d a pack of lions in the last chapter. This is Tsukasa Shishio, and everything about him screams “badass.” After killing the lions with his bare hands, he makes sure to put every piece of them to good use (allowing him to walk around in an awesome lion pelt outfit). He can apparently spear multiple fish at once, and he’s got an eight-pack drawn in quite the impressive detail. Indeed, everything points to him being an incredibly useful asset to the team.
So, of course, this is where we learn he’s the dangerous one. The reveal is done in a great way, slowly building up to one intense moment where he shatters a once-human statue, and it’s properly chilling. Even then, the briefest of flashback panels during his narration helps the readers see through the filter of his experiences, so his reasoning makes sense, even if we don’t agree with it.
Yet, even with that well-executed introduction, the manga still has time for some good comic relief. I love the way Taiju and Senku bounce off each other; they can play it cool when need be, then shoot into goofy features and humorous exclamations the next moment. There is one absolutely hilarious page in Chapter 5, where Taiju proves he can’t keep his mouth shut at the worst possible time, and the expression on Senku’s face is outstanding in its exaggerated expressiveness. I never knew so many emotions could be crammed into one ridiculous expression, but Boichi’s artwork really shines through with every page.
Often times, manga artists are responsible for both the story and art. In this case, however, since “Dr. Stone” is a collaborative effort between Riichiro Inagaki and Boichi, each can focus fully on their part, and they work together perfectly. Boichi’s art can be super detailed and intense, or huge and goofy, and Riichiro’s dialogue and story pacing makes each side work expertly. Just like the synergy between the characters, the art and narrative work together just right.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – “Dr. Stone” has set itself up strongly with a unique story and solid characters, and it keeps developing in very well-delivered ways. These two chapters are no exception, and continue to kick plot points off, making them a shining example of both art and storytelling.
Seraph of the End Ch. 56
Written by Takaya Kagami
Art by Yamato Yamamoto
Breakdowns by Daisuke Furuya
So. That was a chapter.
Okay, think I might be a tad unfair to this chapter. “Seraph of the End”, not unlike my relationship with “My Hero Academia”, is a series I check in with periodically. It’s—to me at least—a solid, if unremarkable series. It has the premise of supernatural creatures meeting our world but it’s never had the impact that other series have had. I don’t find it as tedious as “Attack on Titan” but it’s never reached the heights of something like the more character-centric issues of “Tokyo Ghoul”. So even with the recap for this jogging my memory a bit, it was an uphill climb to feel invested in what happened here. A lot is happening here, plots shifting between Yuichiro, Guren, and Kureto but, it is difficult to feel investment in them.Continued below
On that note, looking at just this issue, there was something that kind of unnerved me. Now, look, Japan and America are different. There are different social and cultural norms, expectations, e.t.c. are different, I get that. Yet, I couldn’t help but cringe at how the only interaction between two girls in this chapter is one telling the other that in order to wake up her demon, her “greed has to be more intense” and in order to do that she has to fall in love. “A need for love. A need for physical intimacy”. It is really annoying that this is the only interaction between two women and it’s about loving the boys.
Onto the artwork, it’s always been pretty decent. Yamamoto and Furuya as an art team do provide some good, if brief, fight scenes. The highlight of the chapter is Guren vs Shinya and there’s a great flow between a long-range and melee expert. The linework is sharp and panel choreography is kept simple, but effective. And, my-oh-my, Byakkomaru is a beautifully drawn beast when he comes out to play.
Final Verdict: 5.5- Some decent artwork combines with characters that are just not memorable.