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 checks in on “Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin.” If you have thoughts on these or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin chapter 14
Written and illustrated by Ryuhei Tamura
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
“Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin” has been, if anything, a unique series. While it has some ups and downs, the core of the story is about the strange world that exists under the sea and Chako, a child with the strange power to influence it. It’s most certainly a comedy series, but one that’s still working towards an overarching story and character arcs.
This chapter can act as a standalone, focusing on a single event before getting back into more story-driven chapters. It focuses on Chako as she adopts a small, cat-like aquatic creature, which is apparently a sea cucumber.
As the chapter goes on, we see Chako grow close to her little pet (which she names Uminyan) and learn what it is. Without giving away too much, it’s a creature that can heal others by taking on their pain. While this is played for a little comic effect, such as curing someone of “middle-schooler delusions,” there’s a tragic overtone to it. After all, a creature that takes on other peoples’ afflictions can only withstand so much itself.
That brings a sad conclusion to an otherwise humorous story. While it’s the kind of ending one would expect, it feels uncharacteristic of “Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin,” which usually doesn’t do things like, well, make the child cry. Sure, it’s a kind of life lesson for Chako and adds more depth to the story, but it also feels at odds with the usual tone of the manga. The fact that Uminyan is drawn so comically makes the ending feel even more out of place.
With that said, the manga does do its best to keep up the comedy where it can. There’s good comic timing early on, using the pacing created by the panel size and placement to add to the visual gags. Chako’s peculiar personality is still cute, and characters get some decent side comments throughout the chapter.
Ryuhei Tamura also gets to stretch artistically here, adding extra shading and details to more dramatic moments. The last few pages makes great use of the lighting effect from a rising sun to really add to the scene visually, amplifying the emotional effect.
While the majority of the chapter uses a more typical manga art style, shifting between high and low detail as necessary for the pacing and effect, it does show that the creator can up the art style when the moment calls for it.
Although this chapter of “Hard Boiled Cop and Dolphin” can work well as a standalone chapter that still adds a little to the overall story, it almost feels like it just exists to try and tug on our heartstrings in a predictable way. This sort of story is nothing new, and Uminyan hasn’t been around long enough for the readers to really form a connection. The only tragedy comes from seeing Chako sad, which also feels a little cheap. Is there a purpose to this? Perhaps we’ll see down the line, but until then, it feels like it’s just trying to have a chapter with a sad ending for the sake of it.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – While chapter 14 does show notably good artistic moments for Ryuhei Tamura, the chapter adds an unusually dark moment for an otherwise comedic manga that just feels out of place. As its own chapter, it’s otherwise fine enough for helping grow the characters.