Shonen Jump 030622 Columns 

This Week in Shonen Jump: Week of 3/6/22

By | March 9th, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome to This Week in Shonen Jump, our weekly check in on Viz’s various Shonen Jump series. Viz has recently changed their release format, but our format will mostly remain the same. We will still review the newest chapters of one title a week, now with even more options at our disposal. The big change for our readers is that, even without a Shonen Jump subscription, you can read these most recent chapters for free at Viz.com or using their app.

This week, Brian checks in with “Akane-Banashi.” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!

Akane-Banashi – Story 4: Who is That?
Written by Yuki Suenaga
Illustrated by Takamasa Moue
Translated by Stephen Paul
Lettered by Snir Aharon
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore

At first glance, it may be a little tricky to talk about this story, due to a lack of familiarity with Rakugo as a medium. However, in the fourth chapter, the story continues to unfold in ways that both give the reader a sense of what Rakugo is, and sets the story in ways that the Rakugo itself matters less than the reasons and techniques behind it. It is interesting to compare this to other current Shonen Jump stories “Sho-ha Shoten” and “PPPP,” in that all of them require some level of understanding of the artform on display, but except for “Sho-ha Shoten,” it is impossible to really tell, by the art portrayed if it is any good or not. Both Rakugo and music require an auditory component that isn’t featured on the page, but in a way, that gives this strip a leg up over “Sho-ha Shoten,” which can fall flat due to its not-exactly funny attempts at comedy.

Takamasa Moue does a fine job in attempting to blur the line between what is happening on a Rakugo stage and what can be presented on the page. In this chapter, there is more narration around the Rakugo performance, and so this both helps the visuals do their job without having the burden of also filling in the uninformed, and also a greater insight for the audience into the art itself. Moue is incredibly expressive in the faces of the various characters, especially when on stage, and helps get across emotion in both subtle and over the top ways.

So many manga, and all stories, really, are based around the master/apprentice relationship. As this story deepens and Akane grows in her Rakugo skills, we will see various mentors, but what makes this story unique is Akane’s continued belief in her father’s abilities. In a way, he is her master, even though she is not actively studying under him. It’s a nice flipping of the trope, and allows her to be more than a reactionary pupil. There’s a lot of room for this story to grow still, but by adding in some competition and breaking the ice of the first performance, the end of Chapter 4 feels like the most major shift in the story thus far. From here, Akane’s path seems clear; I’m interested to see how Yuki Suenaga and Moue obscure and change that path as the story moves forward.

Final Verdict: 7.3 – This was a chapter that was less abut Akane and more about the world of Rakugo, but didn’t scrimp on the emotional impact.


//TAGS | This Week in Shonen Jump

Brian Salvatore

Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).

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