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, Vince and Zach check in with “Bone Collection” and “Dr. Stone.” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Bone Collection – Chapter 1: I Don’t Want to Die!
Written & Illustrated by Jun Kirarazaka
Review by Vince J Ostrowski
Read enough manga and you start to feel a sense of deja vu. A lot of the time, it can’t be helped. After all, there’s nothing new under the sun. As the years go on, how well a series does or doesn’t play upon common genre tropes in shonen manga has actually become a major element of the discourse among enthusiasts of the hobby. When it comes to “Bone Collection”, the latest exorcism shonen series to grace the digital pages of Jump, you could toss out any number of its predecessors that it’s cribbing from: “Yu Yu Hakusho” and “Twin Star Exorcists” are two that immediately came to mind. With nothing much to differentiate itself from what came before, the least the series could do is be a high quality summation of the tropes. I’m afraid it’s not even that. It’s a story that feels like its idly checking off boxes on a list of things it must accomplish based on manga stories that have come before, without very much enthusiasm. It’s not a sin to craft a story based on parallels and allusions to the stories of the past – we all stand on the shoulders of giants – but it brings me no pleasure to report that “Bone Collection” commits the greatest sin of all: being boring.
Our main character is Kazami Jinai, a high school student who is also a part time exorcist that hunts yokai, as is customary. I’m hard pressed to describe Kazami’s personality, as he doesn’t have much of one outside of the fact that he’s a really big fan of breasts. This guy has more issues of Big’Uns in his closet than Al Bundy. It’s the key motivating factor to his character, and something the character seems to constantly think about. I wasn’t offended by it, but it certainly is a tired trope at this point and it does leave you wanting more from his character, as far as personality goes. If I had to describe any other aspect of his character, it would be that he seems insecure, in that most interactions with other characters leave him feeling unjustifiably slighted, as exemplified by an early interaction with a longtime high school friend, Rino. He also seems like a guy who wants to do the right thing, but the sincerity is undermined by his constant obsession with the female form. As a joke told about 3 too many times, it tips past being funny pretty early on. The lecherously horny character is a manga trope that can certainly be done right (see several examples from Dragon Ball), but it had better be funny.
It’s a shame because there are a few genuinely funny moments in this manga aside from that, and it’s probably the one thing that really sets it apart from something like “Twin Star Exorcists.” Early on, Kazami’s teacher seems entirely unsurprised that his student must leave class to go catch a yokai. Later, a yokai villain references a “Yahoo! Answers” (the specificity is quite funny) search he did for information about Shibuya. These funny bits are too few, in this 50-odd page story, but they do perhaps lend the series its one glimmer of hope that they could have something here. I somehow doubt that will bear fruit.
Other than that, this is fairly standard stuff. Kazami bumps into a mysterious (and busty) girl who seems to fall from the sky. It seems like she’ll be the requisite 3rd in a potential shonen love triangle. Rino is the earnest and nerdy one, while “Paira” is the aloof girl with a strange secret, who, without spoiling anything, isn’t accustomed to the ways of the world. She likes pancakes. How quirky. I wish there was more to say about even how generic it all is, but it really does feel like a paint-by-number exercise in writing a horny yokai story. The art is fine, but it lacked the bombastic moments and inventive design that make something like “Zipman!!” or “Mitama Security” such a joy to read every week. The yokai featured here don’t stand out and aren’t given the sort of rich detail or weird accouterments that are generally found in memorable manga. As it is, “Bone Collection” is going to have to get a lot more charming if it wants to become a memorable entry in a genre riddled with stories like these.Continued below
Final Verdict: 4.0 – “Bone Collection” has a sparse handful of funny moments, and the art is just good enough, but nothing about the story nor its characters inspires a desire to return to this world. Every series is someone’s first series, but I would implore them to check out the classics first.
Dr. Stone, Chapter 148
Written by Riichiro Inagaki
Illustrated by Boichi
Translated by Caleb Cook
Lettered by Steve Dutre
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
The latest chapter of “Dr. Stone” hits a major milestone as the kids of this post-apocalyptic future become “Kids in America.” The group reaches the western shore of North America in search of corn, meat, and hijinx.
It’s been a little while since I’ve checked in with this series and I’m happy to report it’s as strong as ever, perhaps better. “Dr. Stone” feels like the successor to “One Piece” in so many ways. The large cast is daunting but they interact with such fun ease as to be infectious. The plot pivots from serious to rambunctious antics on a dime. The crew even has a boat with a face now!
The moments upon reaching the shores of future California are stunning thanks to Boichi’s intensely detailed artwork. Readers are immediately met with a startling scene of petrified bodies jutting off cliffsides; a striking image reminiscent of the Source Wall for all the DC heads out there. “Science” has always been the core gimmick of “Dr. Stone” and the attention to detail here plays to its strength. Boichi’s illustration of petrified bodies stretching out into the ocean is justified by the startling realization that the Golden Gate Bridge, along with all the cars upon it at the time of the petrification event, have deteriorated completely, leaving only their passengers behind. Pretty haunting stuff!
Despite the heavy post-apocalyptic tones, the gang doesn’t fail to keep things lighthearted. A craving for meet sets up the warrior characters for a humorous encounter with a group of giant alligators. “Dr. Stone” action/fighting game when?
As a whole, this chapter propels the story forward in an exciting way, planting the seeds for a major status quo shift down the line. In the meantime, there’s plenty of potential for exciting stories with these characters in a new land.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – “Dr. Stone” has found strong footing in its almost 150 chapter run, and this story deftly sets the stage for hundreds of chapters more.