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 one title 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, Rowan checks in with “Green Green Greens.” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
Green Green Greens Chapter 1
Written and Illustrated by Kento Terasaka
Reviewed by Rowan Grover
If there’s one thing I love about the current output of Shonen Jump as of late, it’s the rise of sports manga. “Dogsred”, “Martial Master Asumi”, and even “Akane-banashi” in a way, have all been delightful series to check out. It feels like a breath of fresh air, especially after the slew of supernatural action we’ve seen come and go. With all that said, I’m glad to report that “Green Green Greens” is a welcome addition to a solid echelon of titles.
In my books, what makes a good sports manga should incorporate so much more than just the competition itself. It intertwines the lives and motivations of the competitors, adding an extra emotional level that elevates it above watching live sports. That’s true of any action manga, really, but it feels like this genre nails that aspect especially well. “Green Green Greens” does this right from the get-go by showing our main cast of characters discussing their hopes and dreams with a high school career counselor.
We get a feel for our protagonist Yaesaki before this as he’s constantly exclaiming facts about pro sportspeople, and maintaining an easy-going demeanor. In fact, he literally says to his counselor when pressed about applying himself, “Eh, I’m fine taking it easy. In everything”. This outward expression seems a little on the nose, but it tracks with everything we’ve seen so far. Our other protagonist, or supporting cast/rival, Oga, is much more laser-focused and driven. Terasaka displays this by having her say little to nothing to the audience before her counselor meeting. She has a hyper-specific goal, and she wants nothing to stand in the way of achieving that. Why would she waste time talking? It’s a great use of dialogue to both subtly and quite clearly express character motivations.
What I love is that in this debut chapter, Golf is and isn’t really the main focus. The thing that Terasaka is voicing via Oga is how important dedication and practice are to hone any kind of craft. Having her point out that you can’t compare physical ability with monetary worth (in this case, how much Tiger Woods’ secondhand clubs were sold for) feels like a great takedown not only of capitalism in sport but also of power systems in shonen manga. Try as you might, it is ultimately derivative to assign a numerical value to something with so many variables like sporting ability. Plus, I just love how vicious Oga is in saying how fanboying for everyone but yourself will avail you naught. So honest! So brutal!
Like the sport “Green Green Greens” is about, Terasaka’s art has quite the no-frills approach. The linework from the get-go is bold, and the environments are detailed and present but never distract from the foreground. What Terasaka does to stand out from the standard shonen affair is focus on dynamic camera angles. We get shown this in the early pages with protagonist Yaesaki throwing a punch that bulges out of the panel, which leads our eyes from his fist back to his happy-go-lucky facial expression. On the successive page, we get a great low shot of a swimmer launching mid-dive into a pool, the shot having a bulbous fisheye effect for more movement.
When Terasaks lets loose, we get to see how much he understands about pacing a comic. The shots of Oga demonstrating her skill at the driving range are slowed down from the everyday pace. We get multiple panels stretching out a single golf swing, all shifted and stretched in size to emphasize the important moments of what likely lasts less than a second in real life. The most interesting thing is that we don’t actually get a panel of the golf ball being hit at all. Rather, we’re shown the effort and control Oga has in lining up her shot, and smack bang in the middle of the sequence, we see the sudden absence of a golf ball. It adds a great deal of gravitas to the scene, and this sensation is repeated through similar shots for the rest of the chapter.
Final Score: 9.0 – Overall, I was very impressed with “Green Green Greens”. It has a compelling premise, dynamite character work, and art that is simple, readable, yet powerful when it counts. Check this manga out!