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 “Dragon Ball Super” and “My Hero Academia.” If you have thoughts on these or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
My Hero Academia Chapter 233
Written & Illustrated by Kohei Horikoshi
Reviewed by Ken Godberson III
“I’m starting to think “My Hero Academia” might have too many characters for its own good.”
That was the thought going through my head as I read Chapter 233, the continuing battle between the League of Villains and the Meta Liberation Army. This was a very “move pieces” along kind of chapter. It didn’t feel like much was accomplished and a great deal of the characters with the exception of Shigaraki felt just… “there.” Even the briefest glances into Spinner’s background in this chapter doesn’t feel like they resonate, nor does it make Spinner that compelling a character.
The other bit of an albatross around the neck of this chapter is the “antagonists.” The Meta Liberation Army (and multiple times I’ve had to stop myself from typing “Mutant” there, which is a problem) is just not an interesting group. Despite their ambitious motivations, they themselves just come off as very drab. Their leader -Re-Destro’s- quirk does play an interesting twist on the Hulk, which leads to an admittedly good cliffhanger. With that said, there still feels like little meat on this group to want to see them be beat.
On the art side, Horikoshi continues to do good work. Spinner and Re-Destro get some of the better action beats in this chapter, with Horikoshi visually showing a speed to Re-Destro that betrays his large frame. Furthermore, the crazed rage on Spinner’s face as he attacks is pretty powerful. With that said, not unlike the plot itself of this chapter, a lot of the visuals do feel like the standard for “My Hero Academia” and there wasn’t much that stood out in this chapter that served to move us from one point to another.
Chapters like these can be the worst ones to try and talk about. There’s nothing egregious about the chapter; nothing that insults me from a technical or personal perspective. But with that said, there is precious little that felt like actually happened here. It’s a chapter of connective tissue, something that will work in a larger collected format, but when just trying to talk about it on its own, feels very shallow. Here’s hoping that the next few chapters pick the story up a bit.
Final Verdict: 4.7- While technically competent, this chapter felt very bare bones and just serve as a means to get us to the next plot point.
Dragon Ball Super Chapter 49
Written by Akira Toriyama
Illustrated by Toyotarou
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
There’s nothing quite like a classic shonen series battle, is there? Escalating power levels, planets getting wrecked, villains breaking out new abilities just to make it harder for the good guys – it’s classic fun. Just when we’ve thought we’ve seen everything the genre has to offer (and that’s just in the pages of “Dragon Ball” alone), the latest chapter of “Dragon Ball Super” gives us a little but of something new.
No, not the potential destruction of planet Namek – I’m talking about the space battle between Buu (now with the memories of the Great Lord of Lords he once absorbed restored) and Merus against villain Moro.
By bringing the battle off-planet, we get a different use of scenery than the vast, empty plains that “Dragon Ball” has so commonly given us. In fact, the heroes and villains alike use this environment to their advantage – Moro hides behind asteroids while projecting images of himself, while Merus breaks apart and tosses around pieces of space rock while using his rocket boots as improvised weapons.Continued below
While the fight gives us plenty of the usual energy blasts and rapid punching we’ve come to expect from “Dragon Ball,” the new characters add enough mix and variety to add new life to the fight.
Of course, it does all still come down to Goku and Vegeta in the end, which does mean putting them back on a planet with a vast, empty field to fight in. But up until that point, we got an engaging and more distinct battle than we normally get from the series, which I can appreciate.
Toyotarou’s art is getting more and more akin to Akira Toriyama’s classic style, although there’s still a level of cleanliness that makes it clear he’s trying to mimic the designs as closely as possible. With that said, it’s all easy on the eyes and the action flows nicely – we even get some scenes with a more cinematic flare, like when Moro swings over to Merus before blasting him in the face with rockets.
There are a fair amount of characters distinct to “Dragon Ball Super” appearing, primarily space cop Moro and ancient goat-man villain Merus. Their designs work well within the established universe without being derivative of any existing characters or designs, so they’re a nice addition to the series. Seeing the two face off gives Toyotarou a chance to work with his own designs, in addition to the stylistic change to Buu we’re given.
Overall, this chapter is filled with plenty of fun action and combat. It’s just designed to entertain as it brings the characters back to a spot where Goku and Vegeta can fight, but it’s nice to see something a little new to “Dragon Ball” and to give the new characters a chance to shine.
Final Verdict: 6.8 – Plenty of amusing action, solid artwork, and new moves and scenery we don’t typically get to see makes this a fun chapter of “Dragon Ball Super.”