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, Ken and Robbie check in with “The Promised Neverland” and “Yui Kamio Lets Loose.” If you have thoughts on these or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
The Promised Neverland Ch. 154
Written by Kaiu Shirai
Illustrated by Posuka Demizu
Reviewed by Ken Godberson III
The thing about “The Promised Neverland” is that, for all the horror it has, for all the world building it has been doing, there is a fulcrum to this series and that is the emotional relationship between Emma, Ray and Norman. When that is central to the current going-ons in this series, it flourishes. Subsequently, when we get a bit too far from that, the book diminishes and sometimes risks being a bit indiscriminate from the rest of the pack. Between this chapter and the previous one, with the reunion between between the three, it has brought both a heartfelt repreve and questions for the future.
The reunion between the three is at times heartwarming and heartbreaking. For a while, Emma, Ray and Norman had to put on brave, sometimes to a fault, faces on, but Shirai and Demizu allow that to crumble, in particular for Norman, considering his circumstances. They are allowed to be vulnerable. They’re allowed to be kids, if only for a moment. But it’s not just these three that get there time. Norman’s change of pace doesn’t sit so well with some of his followers and it creates a layer of tension that can be played with later down the line. Finally, the last page serves as a massive dose of suspense, helped along by Demizu’s panache for going full creepy when it’s called for it.
There is one concern I do have, and one that should be kept in mind: how quick Norman seems to be forgiven. Let’s face it: Norman’s done some bad things. Things that really need to be considered. He’s not the same kid he was at the beginning of the series. And while the reunion between the three was touching, I truly hope going forward it won’t be the case of some other shonen action series that some foul deeds are forgotten just from a change of heart. It’s early days on this, but something to consider.
Final Verdict: 8.0- A touching reunion brings the heart of this series back to the foreground.
Yui Kamio Lets Loose, Chapter 30
Written and illustrated by Hiroshi Shiibashi
Reviewed by Robbie Pleasant
What even is “Yui Kamio Lets Loose?” In its early chapters, it seemed like a comedic story about a girl with an angry and strong alter ego and the classmates who had to keep it secret. Maybe one with a little romantic comedy mixed in as the characters developed.
Now? Now we have characters involved in violent battles against ninja, bags full of wasps, and a lot of demonic insects called “mushi.”
I get the feeling that the manga wasn’t ranking too well earlier on, and mangaka Hiroshi Shiibashi decided to change gears to a more typical shonen fare to keep readership up.
So the question is: does it work?
Chapter 30 primarily features character fights and a race against the clock as the characters try to get an antidote. The action keeps up, and the characters each have unique skills that we see get put to good use. The action is fast-paced, with intense impacts that make it feel high-stakes. The chapter ends with a triumphant boast from two supporting characters, showing off their strengths and giving them both a moment to shine.
Kiito himself gets put in more dangerous situations, so his development has become more about bravery and physical strength. While many of the characters have special powers, he’s just got a lot of money and a high charisma stat.Continued below
Meanwhile, Yui spends most of the chapter suffering from poison, so the chapter has time to focus on the other characters.
Shiibashi’s art style is not innately suited for action, but it works. The character designs are fashionable, with just a bit of gothic style to them, and the villains also have distinct designs. Between the mushi-infested ninja and the beekeeper with a massive bag of wasps, they look pretty dang cool.
If I had picked up this chapter without knowing any of the context behind the series, I might have thought it was a dark modern fantasy manga with a fair bit of fighting. But having read it from chapter one, it feels strange to look back and compare how it is now to how it started. The manga has an identity crisis, and while it’s still an entertaining chapter, its voice still isn’t quite there.
Final Verdict: 5.1 – A manga with solid artwork and good action, but it feels out of place compared to how it started, and the changing tone does it few favors.