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, Zach and Vince check in with “Yu-Gi-Oh” and “Dr. Stone.” If you have any thoughts on these titles, or “Food Wars,” “One Piece,” “Robot X Laserbeam,” “My Hero Academia,” “Black Clover,” “One Punch Man,” “The Promised Neverland,” “We Never Learn,” or “Hunter X Hunter,” let us know in the comments!
Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V Chapter #24
Concept by Kazuki Takahashi
Production Support by Studio Dice
Story by Shin Yoshida
Illustrated by Naohito Miyoshi
Duel Compositing by Masahiro Hikokubo
Review by Zach Wilkerson
Sandwiched by the end of one duel and the beginning of another, this chapter of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” is a rapid series of kooky, high concept plot developments. The mechanics and machinations of Adam, Eve, and G.O.D. are straight out of a PS1 era JRPG, complete with hamfisted, thinly veiled religious symbolism. Nevertheless, it all still manages comes across as moderately compelling.
Full disclosure, my familiarity with Yu-Gi-Oh is limited almost primarily to the card game, and this is the first chapter of “Arc-V” I’ve check up on since the early chapters. Nevertheless, this chapter does a better job than most at acquainting the reader with its large cast and intricate plot. Well, intricate may be an overstatement, but the number of moving pieces here is certainly impressive. Plot elements such as space/time manipulating religious acolytes, future descendants of alternate personalities, scientific conspiracies, and a sinister take on the biblical creation account weave together to make a tapestry that feels surprisingly complex for what is, ostensibly, a children’s property.
Yoshida smartly frames the issue’s exposition between battles featuring two central characters, each bearing the “Adam Factor.” In this way, the chapter is able to transition back and forth between the two characters, detailing their reactions to this new information. Likewise, splitting the exposition between their two opponents help break up the potential information overload. The transition from Yuya to Reiji also works to escalate the tension, moving a more seasoned duelist in a far more exotic location.
Stylistically, this chapter is pure Yu-Gi-Oh. The character designs carry the distinct visual style that most any child of the 90’s will recognize instantly. That said, the focus is definitely on the characters themselves, with sparse to non-existent backgrounds inhabiting most panels. The exception to are the outer space section, which lend a degree of variety to the proceedings. While sparse, Miyoshi-san’s character work is certainly strong enough to carry the chapter. The characters feel alive and dynamic as their animated counterparts. Likewise, the issue truly picks up as a new duel begins near chapter’s end. “Yu-Gi-Oh” is arguably at its best during the duels, and this chapter sets up one that’s particularly promising. Giant cards float face down in outer space. Behind the cards, their owners face off, likened to gunslingers or dueling samurai. It’s over-the-top, melodramatic, and honestly, a lot of fun.
This chapter of “Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V” doesn’t break the mold set by itself or other “Yu-Gi-Oh” series, though who would really expect it to at this point? It does, however, deliver a surprisingly complex and engaging plot, outside of its bread and butter card duels.
Final Verdict: 6.5 – A portfolio of JRPG high concepts carry this chapter that’s bookended by card battles.
Dr. Stone Chapter #20
Written by Riichiro Inagaki
Art by Boichi
Review by Vince J Ostrowski
If you haven’t been keeping up with “Dr. Stone”, it’s moving at an incredibly fast pace. The first “arc” essentially ended with three characters alive after the world had been frozen in stone for a few thousand years. As these sorts of stories are wont to do, “Dr. Stone” began adding to its cast as the main characters went about their journey to survive and uncover the mysteries of what had happened. In Chapter 20, they find themselves in an entire village of unfrozen people that have apparently been thriving for some time. And in this village lies their latest challenge, save the sister of one of their recent allies from a disease that is currently infecting her.Continued below
Up front, I have to say: “Dr. Stone” is a joy to read for someone who likes the academic subject of science, but doesn’t mind it being a little contorted for the purposes of manga bombast. It’s got a one track mind when it comes to subject matter, so if the prospect of following some young adventurers as they methodically form sulfonamide medicine using a series of chemical reactions doesn’t thrill you, then it might not be for you. As it stands, there’s no other manga like it. You can’t expect a story like this to contain 100% accurate demonstrations of science, nor would that probably make for a great read. Instead, the step-by-step, almost “do-it-yourself” details, mixed with the cuteness and brevity of the presentation creates a super entertaining product that is also at least a little academically enlightening. The details may be glossed over a little (“sulfonamide comes from rocks” is a gross oversimplification), but the overall points are sound. All the while, Inagaki-san writes little character beats in as the group gathers their scientific materials. Senku, the defacto science savvy, but boastful leader of the group, carelessly overlooks that the axis of the earth has shifted in relation to the North Star. Meanwhile, the rest of the group accidentally stumbles into the key to figuring out which way is actually north now – I won’t spoil that little detail. “Dr. Stone” may be fast moving and science-heavy, but it doesn’t skimp on substance of character development.
But “Dr. Stone’s” most charming aspect is easily the art supplied by Boichi. The aforementioned step-by-step scene of Senku describing how to make sulfonamides from rocks is not merely a dry retelling of the chemical reactions, but chock full of little humorous comic details, a few of them being: a character guzzling alcohol (a key ingredient), a dog urinating to supply the ammonia, and a character salting the biggest dumpling you’ll ever see. Boichi draws the typically loud characters making big declarations in the shonen manga tradition with aplomb, but the key to “Dr. Stone’s” charm is in these little comedic moments, often happening in the background. Most of all, Boichi’s commitment to embracing the science obsession of “Dr. Stone” with as much enthusiasm as the writing is something to witness. It’s this combination of writing and art meeting the concept with equal skill that makes this such a satisfying read week in and week out.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – With a unique point of view and a very specific obsession with the scientific subject matter, “Dr. Stone” remains one of the high points of Viz’s Weekly Shonen Jump