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, Beau and Ken check in with “One Piece” and “Beast Children.” If you have thoughts on these or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
One Piece Chapter 957: ULTIMATE
Written and Illustrated by Eiichiro Oda
Translation by Stephen Paul
Lettered by Vanessa Satone
Reviewed by Beau Q.
First and foremost, you don’t just pick up “One Piece” at a jumping-on point. “One Piece,” for most, has been an impenetrable fortress, built upon a legendary shonen battle empire, whispered of, and rallied for in every sacred manga hall you’re want to occupy. There will be 94 tankobons 2 days after penning this, which places “One Piece” as the 26th longest manga of all time by tankobon count. This is the 957th chapter, which would make “One Piece” the 26th longest manga by chapter count as well. I shouldn’t have to speak about “One Piece’s” additionally rigorous accolades as best-selling manga of all time [454+ million copies worldwide] and 19th highest-grossing media franchise of all time [$21+ billion]. All this to point out the substantiality of “One Piece’s” legendary run.
You could say “One Piece” is The Ultimate.
So when “One Piece” Ch 957 opens on one of the few ultimate authority figures left, Inspector General Sengoku, following the Shichibukai’s dissolution, Oda is pulling out all the stops, but to what end? Sengoku reveals a lost piece of history that is simultaneously not part of “One Piece’s” Void Century, but also neatly packages all available threats as born from the same place, the same crew, and why their dissolution rings familiar to those old enough to remember it. Oda is creating more questions where there weren’t any, but in doing so, refocuses “One Piece’s” power creep using bounties as indicative of a pirate’s worth. What shakes out is reestablishing the Yonkou’s worth, their rankings in relation to one another, their relation to the most infamous pirates in all “One Piece” [Gold Roger and Whitebeard], and how an alliance between the 3rd and 4th ranks [Kaidou and Big Mom, respectively] could topple history, historically speaking.
For “One Piece’s” 957th chapter, Oda skimps on the art, focusing on exposition and narrative flow than excelling the medium. Combating this narrative vacuum, Oda uses panel size to illustrate a character’s worth/power, which results in a montage of 2-3 panel pages focusing on a single massive panel showing the Yonkou’s bounty as prominently as possible. Using size, scale, and numeric worth helps silently add gravitas to Oda’s grand endgame.
You could even say, what comes next is Oda’s Ultimate “One Piece.”
Final Verdict: 9.0 – AAhoy. Read “One Piece.”
Beast Children Ch. 18
Written & Illustrated by Kento Terasaka
Reviewed by Ken Godberson III
One of Shonen Jump newer stories, the rugby-based sport manga “Beast Children,” continues on with a chapter that slows things down a bit, despite being a fast-paced, hard-hitting game. But that actions here play as background more so to Sakura’s internal (both mental and physical) conflict as the central theme of this chapter makes itself apparent: fortitude and the sheer punishment these players take.
Terasaka’s examination of the physical wear and tear the team goes through hits home with one line of dialogue: “Just how many hundreds of times do those guys fall?” That is what this chapter is as Sakura and Co. try to catch up in points: very well drawn examples of these players fighting, exerting themselves, enduring as Sakura’s monologue describes the pain he’s going through, about his feet feeling like they are filling with lead everytime he gets back up. Nevertheless, he persists. He keeps going and going until a dive results in Sakura getting a cut on his head, forcing him to be pulled out. And yet, even through it all, Terasaka shows Sakura’s complete love for this with a smile as the blood trickles down his face.Continued below
While Terasaka does a good job of centering Sakura’s internal narrative with both words and illustrations, the chapter, as mentioned before, does slow things down a deal. Almost to the point where it can be a bit of a slog if you’re not into Sakura’s narration. Furthermore, while artisitcally the book is good; Terasaka exceeding on impact shots, it isn’t perfect. There are some character expressions that don’t convey what it feels like they are supposed to and come off a bit flat.
“Beast Children” is still in its creative infancy and it shows. We are still getting to know these characters, but I still have to give credit to Terasaka for slowing it down to talk about something that is important in an athlete’s life, wear and tear. There will be time for cool moments and scenes that make us roar and cheer, we just still need the foundation to be put in place.
Final Verdict: 6.2- A solid, if slow, chapter that delves into an important aspect of any athlete.