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, Paul and Darcy check in with “Dr. Stone” and “One Piece.” If you have any thoughts on these titles, or “My Hero Academia,” “We Never Learn,” “The Promised Neverland,” “Robot X Laserbeam,” “One Punch Man,” “Food Wars,” or “Black Clover,” let us know in the comments!
Dr. Stone, Chapter 61
Written by Riichiro Inagaki
Illustrated by Boichi
Reviewed by Paul Lai
The fun of “Dr. Stone” has been turning the whole world into one giant, ludicrous science puzzle. But now that we’re deep in the run-up to the Stone War, when Senku and the Ishigama Village’s battle against Tsukasa’s army will come to a head, we mix in a good dose of the logistics of warfare. Senku and companions have been employing sound technology to produce a cell phone for their spies among Tsukasa’s followers, as Darcy mentioned last time “Dr. Stone” was reviewed.
This opens a chance for this chapter to extend the tactical possibilities of carrying sound into enemy territory, an instrument of propaganda culture that we probably all thought we advanced beyond after the early 20th century, until we realized our Facebook feeds warped the world for our grandparents (and maybe ourselves?). Senku and Gen plot to send over the dulcet vocals of Lillian Weinberg, a singer we met in the previous chapter, into the Tsukasa empire in advance of their incursion. These are the “sound bombs” volleyed as the opening salvo of the Stone Wars.
Why send a singer’s voice as an opening line of attack? As Chrome screams in a typical “Dr. Stone” exaggerated panel, “I get it! But not really!”
Senku and Gen show their wiles reach far beyond engineering prowess. IN a simple exchange at the chapter’s opening, they acknowledge that Tsukasa’s reign over his people is built on charisma. Charisma and the faith it inspires. So now we get why the last chapters expended so much time and manga sparkle energies presenting Lillian as pop icon and extolling the power of culture funneled through technology (like record players). Something about the essence of humanity locked in media and culture, says Senku in the last chapter.
So in this chapter, pushed into our Stoney world, are images of bygone times and cultures we weren’t sure would resurface here, as the image from this chapter’s fourth two-page spread alludes to. In year two of “Dr. Stone” serialized, Boichi has kept us on our toes and shown off his chops as Inagaki and Boichi keep moving the goal posts of this world, from a stone-covered world and natural discoveries, to communities and cultures invented and resurfaced.
By the end of this chapter, the momentum is full-throttle, and the long-awaited confrontation seems ready to ignite. We’ve been singing the praises of “Dr. Stone” for a while now, and now’s a good time to catch up on this compelling conflict.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Adding to the depth of “Dr. Stone” with an ever-expanding world, this story’s pace is picking up without losing its fascinating sidebar science.
One Piece, Chapter 907: The Empty Throne
Written and Illustrated by Eiichiro Oda
Review by Darcy Forrester
While the cover page for this chapter of “One Piece” gives us another amusing moment with Straw Hat Fleet member Orlumbus, the rest of this week’s chapter is where the true enjoyment can be extracted. From start to finish, Oda manages to shape scenarios that generate intrigue and excitement in equal quantities. This is only really possible though, due to the longevity of the series. After all over decades, Oda has moulded an engaging world and populated it with colourful characters, which he is now capable of assembling in weird and wonderful combinations. The Reverie arc is very much a vehicle for enabling this, so when coupled with key details surrounding the mystery of the world as is seen in this chapter, it is surely a recipe for success.Continued below
Following the cover page, Oda doesn’t waste anytime in showing a gripping conversation, which is indicative of the chapter’s potential for speculation. Surprisingly, we are witness to a conversation between two of the most powerful characters in the series, in Kaido and Big Mom. What is then more surprising, is that the two had a seemingly amicable past, which Big Mom is now looking to exploit in her quest to chase and punish Luffy for his recent invasion of Whole Cake Island. This hint of a history between the two, and the suggestion of future cooperation in an upcoming arc, certainly works to enhance my excitement. This is then strengthened further by the reveal that the Marines were listening in, and the two emperors are apparently nonchalant about it, thereby heightening their powerful presence within the world. Kaido’s military connections are then strengthened to a greater degree, following a comment from Fleet Admiral Sakazuki, in which he is hesitant to deploy Borsalino given the unknown force of the Wano-native Samurai.
We are then shown an informal meeting of Navy members, including Luffy’s grandfather Garp. His unique connection to the pirate captain is on display here, as he simply laughs at the idea of two emperors being after him, rather than being shown to worry for his safety. This scene isn’t just played for laughs though, as it also hints at Garp’s role in the era before the Pirate King Gol D Roger, where it sounds like a group called Rox called the shots. Garp also suggests that their return would be a threat, even without their captain, so this just works towards building the danger for the Straw Hats and their allies moving forward.
Following this, we are taken to Pangaea Castle and the titular Empty Throne; where we follow King Stelly as he prepares to make his oath. In doing so, we are given exposition regarding the makeup of the World Government, which is of course important to have, given the impending start of the Reverie. It is made clear then that the Empty Throne is symbolic, in that it remains empty as the kings of the world are all of equal standing, and it is also guarded by 20 weapons that were first placed there by the original 20 who claim to have made the world 800 years prior. The individual swearing Stelly in as a true king also clarifies that the greatest authority in the world is indeed the Five Elders, who are the most high-ranking of the Celestial Dragons, but even none of them are seen as the king of the entire world. While much of this could have been inferred previously, it’s always good to have understandings affirmed, and this does help to cement the chapter’s importance for me.
The subsequent moment though follows on from a previous chapter, in which the Celestial Dragon Charlos spots the Mermaid Princess Shirahoshi. Given his authority, he claims the princess as his own, and calls for her to be chained up. This results in a series of events that is truly fascinating to read, given the number of characters involved in the interactions. At first, Vivi of Alabasta and Rebecca of Dressrosa protest the actions of the world noble, but they are quickly restrained. Following this, Straw Hat Fleet members Leo and Sai look to intervene, but they are too halted, this time by the appearance of Rob Lucci and other members of Cipher Pol Zero. King Neptune then endeavours to save his daughter from the desires of St. Charlos, despite knowing that doing so would scupper his deceased wife’s dreams to have the Fishmen ascend to the surface permanently, but this action is not needed in the end. Before Neptune can act, a face from the Ryugu Kingdom’s past returns, to chastise Charlos and save Shirahoshi. It is the Celestial Dragon Myosgard, who says the late Queen Otohime gave him his humanity, and so he wishes to aid the Fishmen in whatever way he can. This reveal though isn’t the full extent of the surprise, as the true shock comes from his full name being Don Quixote Myosgard, which places him as a familial relation to a current resident of Impel Down in Don Quixote Doflamingo.Continued below
Surprisingly though, this level of reveal isn’t sufficient enough for Oda to end the chapter on, as he takes the surprise one step further with an additional scene. With a quick transition to the Hall of Power in Pangaea Castle, we are reintroduced to the Five Elders, who were mentioned earlier in the chapter as the greatest authority in the world. Given their ties to the World Government, and their position as the highest-ranking Celestial Dragons, it is then rather astonishing to see them accept the pirate emperor Shanks as a guest in their hallowed hall. While Shanks’ true allegiance is now called into question with this appearance, the final line of this chapter also raises a significant question, with Shanks declaring that he has come to the Five Elders to talk about a certain pirate. While the possibilities are numerous, likely guesses would include Luffy or Blackbeard, but I guess we’ll just have to wait for more content, before Oda starts to answer some of the intriguing questions that the most recent chapters have presented to his audience.
Final Verdict: 9.5 – A truly excellent chapter, which showcases Oda’s ability to construct compelling interactions between many characters of differing allegiances. While we continue to learn more about the mysteries of the world through chapters such as these, Oda is not hesistant to raise more questions, which will have me coming back time and again hoping for answers.