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, Brian checks in with “MamaYuyu” If you have thoughts on this or any other current Shonen Jump titles, please let us know in the comments!
MamaYuYu Chapter 1: The Day I Became a Hero
Written and illustrated by Yoshihiko Hayashi
Translated by David Evelyn
Lettered by Finn K.
Reviewed by Brian Salvatore
A good twist can help a mediocre story become something more interesting. A bad twist can make a compelling story feel slight. But multiple twists, no matter how good they may be individually, usually make a story seem muddled and confused. “MamaYuyu” tries a couple of twists, and each one brings the story further from solid ground.
Yoshihiko Hayashi does a really succinct job in setting up the parameters of the world this story takes place in and, both visually and in the script, gives the different characters enough differentiation for the reader to pick up on the differences between humans and demons, but adds enough similarities that we understand the culture that has grown from these two species living in harmony. That bit of storytelling is really effective, especially because the overarching idea of ‘what is a hero in a time of peace?’ is heightened by the visual representation of harmony in demons and humans living among each other without incident.
That central question is an interesting one, and a really intriguing place to begin a story. However, with the arrival of Evan All Green from a different world, that question shrinks into the background because peace is disturbed. And while it is logical to add more tension and conflict, we’ve seen this story before. The hero from another world, bringing with him a villain from another world, it’s old hat. A manga built around finding purpose in a time of peace sounded truly new; a manga about two worlds’ heroes having to band together to fight a common enemy is something expected.
But, believe it or not, there are two more twists before the first chapter wraps up, and while one makes a lot of sense, the other doesn’t really at all. And when taken as a whole, the story feels incredibly slight because not a single one of the changes in direction is given enough time to really stick. This feels incredibly rushed, like it could’ve been an opening arc that as condensed into 56 pages because the story that Hayashi really wants to tell is what comes next. That’s fine, but it just hurts the overall story to have it so compressed and, in the unbearably decompressed world of manga, that is saying something.
The best thing that Hayashi does here is use a variety of art styles to distinguish the denizens of each world. Evan, and especially the demon lord End, look totally different than any character from Corleo’s world. The difference in the character designs are stark and really hammer home the idea that you’re seeing a clash of two worlds.
But ultimately, that’s just not enough to make this memorable. While the design of End is one of the best things I’ve seen in a manga in 2023, the constant twists and turns make this a seasick reading experience.
Final Verdict: 5.2 – A missed opportunity to tell an unique story that instead feels sloppy and rushed.