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, Vince and Zach check in with “World Trigger” and “One Piece.” If you have any thoughts on these titles, or “The Comiq,” “Black Clover,” “Dr. Stone,” “Hunter x Hunter,” “The Promised Neverland,” “Food Wars,” “My Hero Academia,” or “We Never Learn” let us know in the comments!
World Trigger Chapter 167
Written and Illustrated by Daisuke Ashihara
Reviewed by Zach Wilkerson
Three chapters in to its post hiatus run, “World Trigger” has successfully returned without skipping a beat. This week’s chapter kicks off the latest match in the B-rank Wars, pitting four teams against one another in simulated warfare. I’m continually impressed by the level of thought and planning that goes into the strategy of a World Trigger battle. These chapters play out like dream versions of Counter-Strike or Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. There’s a staggeringly large cast of characters, but Ashihara somehow manages to keep the various teams distinct and relatively easy to follow through the use of maps and character commentary. While the chapter is rather dialogue heavy, the maps in particular provide an outlet for Ashihara to show rather than tell. Despite how engaging the choreography for these battles may be, the action is undercut by the art’s low energy level.
Don’t get me wrong, Ashihara’s artwork is quite good. The strong, crisp, and distinctive line work is among the most attractive styles in Weekly Shonen Jump. Nevertheless, for a story that hinges on action and tactics, the art feels quite static, lacking in dynamic motion. There are a few exceptions here, particularly when Ashihara breaks panel boundaries. A particularly strong example in this chapter features a character with an extendable claw hovering outside of his panel as he latches onto a nearby building. The following pages feature another character stepping outside his out panel, planting his foot in another as he braces agains the recoil of his rifle. The illusion of three-dimensional depth is impressive and is something I’d love to see more of in the future. Otherwise, characters who are meant to be sprinting often appear to be on a leisurely jog, while those engaged in fierce shoot outs or melee combat feel posed and stilted. It’s difficult to pin down the exact reason for this, though it may have to do with the personality and expressions of the characters themselves. Few characters appear to be exerting themselves to a significant degree. Rather, some in fact some seem to be in a perpetual daze. The lack of dynamic expression makes this feel more like “LARP in the park” than true urban warfare.
Despite these shortcomings, “World Trigger” is still very fun and engaging. Ashihara builds up the status of several characters such as Ko, Yuga, and Hyuse, giving us heroes to root for. He also plays up the underdogs, setting up for the fantastic upsets that are sure to follow. Again, the strategy and tactics are where Ashihara excels and this chapter is the first to truly capture that sense of “the game” since its return from haitus. The unique battle royale setting makes “World Trigger” a unique addition to Weekly Shonen Jump, and all the more relevant to the current zeitgeist.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – High on strategy but low on energy, World Trigger continues to fill its niche as a fun tactical battle manga.
One Piece – Chapter 924: Huh
Written & illustrated by Eiichiro Oda
Review by Vince J Ostrowski
I couldn’t help but chuckle at the title of the latest chapter of “One Piece” when I first saw it. “Huh.” “Well,” I thought, “I guess after 900-odd chapters you start to run out of ideas for stuff like that.” It’s a testament to Oda-san’s power that by the end of the installment, not only did “Huh” make perfect sense, but now I can’t imagine it being subtitled any other way. After 900 chapters of the series, he’s still finding ways to surprise me.Continued below
When we last left Luffy & Company, they were embroiled in a battle with Kaido (the strongest man in the world), whose blows can level mountains. The chapter begins with Luffy having been slammed flat on the ground, barely able to move. Luffy’s been in tough battles before, and has basically stretched to the ends of the earth and back, yet we’ve rarely seen Luffy this sorry a shape. Most of the power of “Huh” comes from the catatonic state Luffy spends the chapter in . It feels so out of character to see Luffy not bouncing back from something. I mean that in a story-driven, circumstantial sense, and not the result of poor writing or anything like that. For once in this manga, Luffy is actually a grim figure. He glares at Kaido, even as he’s flat on his back. When he’s picked up and dragged from the battlefield late in the chapter (I won’t spoil where he ends up), he has a look of frightening determination in his eyes. He glowers at everyone he sees. There is a burning sense of revenge that appears to be building within him, but also a crazy-eyed focus somehow. I mentioned how surprised I was by this chapter earlier in the review and Oda’s artistic flourishes in the way he depicts a bruised and beaten Luffy is chief among them. When I picture Luffy in my mind, I see a beaming smile and out-stretched arms. Oda depicts him in this chapter as a (literally, in bandages) wound-up ball of anger. It’s been a long road, but I’m not sure we’ve ever seen him like this.
When word of his condition reaches his allies in a nearby village, each other their reactions amount to a shocked expression (again, some very playful artistic moments from Oda-san) and an incredulous “Huh?” They simply can’t imagine Luffy in this state either. In this way, Oda imprints their expectations on the audience, who (if they’re invested in “One Piece” enough) probably already feels the way the characters are feeling before they even get to that part. And with a final panel banner and an announcement that “One Piece” is taking a week off, that’s how Oda chooses to end “Act One” of the Wano Country arc. A kind of “Empire Strikes Back” ending and another unique angle in the seemingly endless font of inspiration that is “One Piece.”
Final Verdict: 9.0 – “One Piece” is still making me say an astonished “huh” after all these years