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, Jess and Alice check in with “Food Wars” and “One Punch Man.” If you have any thoughts on these titles, or “My Hero Academia,” “Robot x Laserbeam,” “Boruto,” “Black Clover,” “Dr. Stone,” “The Promised Neverland,” or “We Never Learn,” let us know in the comments!
Food Wars Chapter 230
Written by Yuto Tsukuda
Illustrated by Shun Saeki
Contributed by Yuki Morisaki
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle
I’m not much of a fan of the phrase “guilty pleasure,” especially in terms of the consumption of pop culture, but I think it’s the closest way to describe my love of Food TV. From cooking shows to contests and food-related game shows to the breaking of the format through YouTube, I love what we can do with Food TV these days. Turns out, taking that formula and mixing it with a healthy dose of shonen manga is a great way to make me love your story.
This chapter has all the hallmarks of great shonen manga and great food TV; it focuses on the training of a rather nervous cook by an overbearing and rather shouty chef. The older chef’s attempts to push the younger cook beyond her limits have only served to make her more nervous to fail in his eyes and left her with nowhere to go. Calling on a love of shonen manga, she realises that if she treats the older chef’s tirades as a triumphant pep talk then she can overcome her barriers.
As a distillation of the story, chapter 230 of “Food Wars” showcases fantastic storytelling and art in a way that introduces not just the unique themes and styles related to a manga all about food competitions, but also to the varying characters and their personalities. The artwork by Shun Saeki does a whole lot with a chapter that is, generally speaking, contained to only a handful of locations with use of cutaways and, as is natural for shonen manga, wildly expressive characters to break up what could otherwise be a pretty monotonous chapter. It’s perhaps the only downside here; the chapter basically repeats itself twice, reiterating the younger cook’s nervousness around her mentor, before moving on and that takes up most of the chapter.
Outside of that, though, “Food Wars” makes for a lot of fun reading with a unique style and concept that I will definitely be revisiting after this.
Final Verdict: 7.5 – A lot of fun, but the repetition of scenes smacks of trying to fill a lot of space with too little story.
One-Punch Man Chapter 73
Written by One
Illustrated by Yusuke Murata
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
One of the most consistently amazing things about “One-Punch Man” is that it somehow always feels fresh. It doesn’t do anything entirely new in each chapter but the characterization of Saitama is so great and so fully realized that he stands above other superheroes in both eastern and western comics. The 73rd chapter of this series is the end of the big martial arts tournament that Saitama lied his way into. This chapter is the tail end of that as the entire thing is over and Saitama is looking at a situation he’s far too used to – a monster is in his way. Like I said, somehow this still feels fresh because we’ve seen Saitama do the blank stare thing, we’ve seen him be very nonchalant in the face of someone 10 times his size, and we’ve seen him one punch his way out of things. One is so good at what he’s done with this character and he keeps getting better as Saitama continues to be the most unique superhero in the entire genre on either side of the world. What’s been interesting about this arc, and this chapter in particular, is we’re seeing hope in Saitama, which is very different than usual. It’s a sign of an evolution and that makes me excited.Continued below
Murata’s art continues to be some of the best in “Shonen Jump” mostly because it’s so visceral. This is unlike a lot of the other series currently running in the magazine because Murata’s work gets very violent and gruesome, yet it’s still striking. Murata’s monsters are grotesque and parodies on their own because he just takes things further and further the angrier the character gets. There’s something really special in how Murata conveys Saitama’s emotions as there is a subtle difference in quizzical and apathetic. It adds to the comedy that exists in this story in a very subtle way.
Final Verdict: 8.3 – Another great chapter of a series that deserves the hype it gets.