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, two of our newest writers, Rowan and Matt, tackle both a ‘Jump Start’ title and a sequel to a beloved manga. If you have any thoughts on the two titles discussed this week, or thoughts on “My Hero Academia,” “Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries,” “U19,” “We Never Learn,” “The Promised Neverland,” “Black Clover,” “Food Wars,” “Rwby,” or “Yu-Gi-Oh Arc V,” let us know in the comments!
Hungry Marie Chapter 1
Written and Illustrated by Ryuhei Tamura
Reviewed by Matt Lune
This is the fourth ‘Jump Start’ in the latest batch of brand new series being showcased by “Weekly Shonen Jump”, and by this point you think you’d start to see some similarities or themes running through them that tie them into the Shonen genre. While that’s true in the broadest sense, there’s definitely been enough diversity to keep things interesting, and if different is what you want then boy do you get it with Hungry Marie.
Spoiler right off the bat: you don’t actually find out in this opening chapter why Marie is so hungry. Sorry about that. What you do get however, is a new series that works so much better the less you know what to expect, hence why you won’t find any actual spoilers here. Hungry Marie delights in subverting your expectations, right up to the last page twist which we’ll discuss shortly, but even the actual genre this series is aiming for is tossed around so much it makes your head spin. It opens up like a supernatural horror, then it’s a comedy, then at one point the main character literally tells you it’s a romantic tale. It’s only when you get through this first chapter, meet all the players involved and watch them interact that you realise it’s actually all of those things.
So Hungry Marie is a supernatural romantic comedy, but even that whole deal may get thrown out in the next chapter thanks to the twist at the end. In fact the final page is so game-changing that it’s almost impossible to judge this series until chapter two comes out, because how Tamura handles the status quo moving forward may dictate whether this is a fun series or a completely inappropriate, insensitive mess. Because of all that it’s best to just get back to reviewing this chapter alone.
Despite what the main character Taiga Bijogi may tell us, there’s very little romance on display here, just a teenage boy lusting after his neighbour Anna Sagimiya: two not-so-star-crossed lovers both growing up in different religious families, and for 6 years kept apart at their parent’s insistence. That and the fact that Anna doesn’t seem to even notice Taiga. Pretty standard stuff really, but like the proverbial Chekov’s Gun we all know that at some point these two will interact, and it’s at that point the story really starts to take a dive into the weird.
The biggest draw for this new series is how self-aware it is, and also how downright funny. There are a few genuinely funny moments that have perfect timing. Tamura’s pacing throughout his art is skillfully done, a lightning strike near the end providing the most surprisingly hilarious moment that’s aided by the looks on the character’s faces. Tamura’s previous work was on long running series “Beelzebub”, itself a series that prided itself on its mashup of horror and comedy, so it’s no surprise that someone with a wealth of experience in this area would stick to a similar genre. It’s also no surprise that the art can so deftly switch between the many genres at play. The female characters are straight out of a romance series and the setting and some of the locations could be ripped from a horror manga (or one of the Jiangshi – or vampire – movies that Taiga mentions). Yet the comedy is instilled in Hungry Marie’s art through slapstick, over the top characters and comedic timing that really pays off. There’s even an evil looking priest (Anna’s father in fact) that could easily have been this ominous presence throughout the chapter but is instead probably the funniest character so far. The jury’s out on whether Hungry Marie as a series will be a hit or a spectacular flop, it really does depend on how that final twist is handled. What we’ve had so far however is a great start.Continued below
Final Verdict: 7.5 – A funny, engaging debut that’s unpredictable right up to the final page.
Boruto Chapter 10
Written by Ukyo Kodachi
Illustrated by Mikio Ikemoto
Reviewed by Rowan Grover
“Boruto” is an interesting anomaly for lapsed “Naruto” fans like myself. For most it’s an uncomfortable concept in theory, continuing a story that, although might have dragged on a little, was complete. But there’s a lot of appeal in seeing these old characters grown up, as well as how their progenitors might act.
Chapter 10 works as a solid wrap up to the first story arc, as Kodachi shows us immediately how the ordeal with Momoshiki has affected our protagonist and his supporting cast. Boruto is characterised well, mainly in that he’s not a carbon copy of his father. He breaks the typical Shonen protagonist mould by being calm and genuinely interesting, best exemplified when he tells his friend Sarada is that he doesn’t want to be a Hokage like his dad, but rather a bodyguard for future Hokages.
Some characters are less compelling, however. Shinki, the son of one of the OG series’ best characters Gaara, is more or less a watered down version of his brooding father. Not a lot happens in his appearance, as he ponders somewhat sourly over how Boruto could’ve beaten Momoshiki. Again, for a relapsed fan like myself, it was interesting to see that it was his father Gaara that told him to pretty much grow up. Momoshiki himself is an intriguing addition by Kodachi – an interdimensional god-like ninja that foreshadows great things in Boruto’s future. It’s a solid way to keep fans coming back for more and keep the series and the concept fresh.
Ikemoto serves as a good successor to Masashi Kishimoto’s highly kinetic ninja art. The environments are big and expansive, with feudal Japan style architecture and sprawling cityscapes. At the setting of the Momokishi battle, the field feels genuinely wrecked by the explosive ninja fights, leaving the land permanently scarred and oddly beautiful. The real treat here is how Ikemoto subtly blends this old Naruto styling with a modern touch – as it is a sequel a full generation after the first, this feels appropriate and beliveable. Shinki and Gaara travel via an old timey looking train that feels advanced for the series, yet keeps it interesting.
As this chapter is mostly a wrap up for the first arc, we don’t get to see a lot of the engaging fight scenes the series is infamous for. However, Ikemoto pencils a lot of satisfying moments to the character arcs. When Boruto and Naruto leave their house at the end of the issue together, they see each other off in a fist bump that is actually pretty moving. For long-time fans, it’s great to see how much Naruto’s character has changed with this singular moment, and for fans who’ve just jumped on with “Boruto”, it’s great to see that Boruto has finally connected with his Father. Additionally, the ending scene with Boruto standing atop the sculpt of his father’s head on the mountainside is a great sequence. Boruto moves from worried about his status quo in his expression, to calmingly resolving to accept it, with his mentor Sasuke watching from afar. It’s smoothly paced, and a real visual treat to read.
Final Verdict: 7.8 – A great way to cap off the first story arc, whilst leaving intriguing plot points to bring readers back for the next.