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 two titles 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, Robbie and Ken check in with “Mashle: Magic and Muscles” and “Undead Unluck.” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Mashle: Magic and Muscles Ch. 11
Written & Illustrated by Hajime Komoto
Reviewed by Ken Godberson III
You know, it’s always important to make a good first impression. To make sure you make such an impact that will be memorable. Look at some of the biggest characters that Shonen Jump have ever seen. It’s a key that can make or break a character or even a series.
In regards to this chapter of “Mashle,” it certainly made a character memorable. In that I don’t remember the last time I’ve met a character and immediately wished something bad happened to him.
This chapter’s main focus is the introduction of Daut Barrett and when I say that this character gave me a headache just looking at him, with his overly large hair that kind of makes him look like an off-brand Renji Abarai from “Bleach,” his mad boisterous declaration that he’s the main character and then him getting getting all mad at Mash because he “firggin’ hates guys who get attention from women.” Like, this was one scene and my mind was screaming “Incel! You annoying incel twit! I can’t stand you. Get off my screen.”
Clearly, going by Mash’s reactions to the character, I’m supposed to at the very least find this character annoying. So, well done Komoto, but it went overboard for me with a character archetype in shonen that I just don’t like. Not helped at all by the only female character in this chapter feeling like she has no agency at all, both in interactions with Mash and Daut, just being there to affect them.
Art-wise, the chapter was fine. Just fine. Komoto does a good job of making Daut’s reactions incredibly over the top (even if I personally don’t find it makes him endearing or charming). There isn’t a whole lot of action in this chapter, but what there is serves as functional, if unremarkable. If you can get past or even enjoy the characters in this, then the artwork works for it, with the potential to go to good places.
The first impression is so important and it can color your opinion for a long time. I fully acknowledge that Komoto did a good job of introducing this character, but it’s just a character archetype that I have become completely sick of. Will the character improve? Hope so, but as it stands, this was just a sheer turn off for me as a chapter.
Final Verdict: 4.5- Functional, but introduces one of the most obnoxious characters this reviewer has seen in a while.
Undead Unluck Chapter 12
Written and illustrated by Yoshifumi Tozuka
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
“Undead Unluck” was not off to the best start. While it has an interesting concept, the fact that so much of the series tried to draw humor from a very much adult zombie constantly groping a teenage girl instantly pulled me away from it. When a later fight scene had her holding on to his back, just trying to spend enough time with her chest pressed against him to build up enough bad luck, I only kept reading long enough to write a review complaining about all that. The humor in a man fighting while totally naked after his clothes were destroyed got old pretty fast.
Then the manga actually begin cutting back on everything that I hated. Last chapter saw Andy (the “Undead” of the title) get an intelligent suit that can repair itself, so he can stop spending every fight scene in the nude. The villain even has an area of effect active that only Andy has a chance of surviving, so he has to fight without Fuuko’s unluck powers. Does it fix everything? No, but it’s a start.Continued below
Actually, this chapter shows that it can have something a little closer to heart when it tries. After throwing hordes of rotting creatures that were once humans at the characters, we actually get to see something close to humanizing; Andy shows a shred of empathy and the ability to listen before cutting things up, which is rare in this series.
Does that make it a good chapter? I’ll say it makes it better by “Undead Unluck” standards, but my expectations are still pretty low.
The artwork tends to be a little uneven as well. Most of the art is lacking in details or depth, making everything appear flat. The character designs themselves have enough distinct style and personality that it’s easy to tell them apart, but there’s a certain lack of definition and detailing that makes it feel rushed. For instance, one pair of panels shows us Andy and Shen, and their heads are drawn exactly the same way; square chin, neck the same width as the head, and so forth, even if this is at odds with how Shen was drawn before.
Sometimes the artwork does get more detailed, such as when we see the main enemy or get a closer look at the zombified townsfolk. It’s a step up when we get there, but it doesn’t make up for the rest of the chapter.
While it may be a bit of a step-up story-wise, the art just feels unfinished, especially when compared to other series in Shonen Jump. I’m not going to compare it to the likes of “Doctor Stone” and Boichi’s beautiful illustrations, but it even falls short compared to most of the other series here – even “We Never Learn,” for all my complaints there. I’ll give Yoshifumi Tozuka credit for the improvements, but there’s still a ways to go.
Final Verdict: 4.0 – The manga is starting to add a little to the characters and move back from its over-reliance on pervy humor, but it still needs to step up its story and illustration game.