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 “Sho-Ha Shoten!” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Sho-Ha Shoten! Chapter 18
Written by Akinari Asakura
Illustrated by Takeshi Obata
Lettered by James Gaubatz
Translated by Stephen Paul
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
While Azemichi is, ostensibly, the main character of “Sho-Ha Shoten!,” we don’t always get to spend a ton of time getting to know him better. Sure, we get little instances here and there where his personality bleed through a little bit, but his stake in this story is pretty well mapped out by this point. In fact, even his backstory has been somewhat glossed over in the past year or so, as the story has been so much about building up the comedy scene around them. But this week, we get two reminders of his past, and both are used to push the story forward a bit.
Akinari Asakura’s decision to make Azemichi an anonymous comedian via his ‘Everyday Shijimi’ persona acted as an entry-point into these competitions, but has been more or less put on the backburner ever since. Here, someone puts that piece of information together, which gives them a deeper understanding of One Way Ticket to the Top than almost anyone else in the manga thus far.
This chapter also reminds us of the girl, Mizuha, was started Azemichi on his comedic journey. Now, why is this chapter the one to bring everything back to the beginning? That’s unclear as of now, but it does so in a third way, too. This is the first time in awhile that we’ve seen OWTTT really struggle in a competition. Sure, they haven’t won everything, like last chapter’s failed ‘batting leadoff’ experience, but they’ve looked adept and capable in every interaction thus far.
This allows Takeshi Obata to draw Azemichi melting down in a number of ways. He’s a ball of sweat and nerves for most of the chapter, but also gets some crazy facial expressions and body humor tossed in to really emphasize his mania. For an artist that has to convey ‘clever’ spoken comedy through images, it must be a nice change of pace to only have to draw physical humor for a chapter.
Overall, this chapter felt like a real pivot point, where the past and the future are colliding, giving the series an arc that brings back elements from its earliest chapters, but also continues to push the story forward. “Sho-Ha Shoten!” has been a lot of fun in its minutia, but this is the first chapters since the first couple that seems to remember the vibrance of the team coming together for the first time.
Final Verdict: 7.8 – It is nice to see Azemichi’s past confront the team’s future.