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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Ages of Jump Redux Part 2: The Iron-Forged Future is in "Our" (read: Japan's) Hands

So in the two(-ish ) years since the original Ages of Jump, a lot of things have happened related to the mangaka & titles I brought up back then. Play Ball received a currently-running sequel, 2017's Play Ball 2 by Yuji Moritaka, & I've heard it's very faithful to the style of the late Akio Chiba. Kochikame surprised everyone by ending in late 2016, after 40 years & 200 volumes, and a new anime TV special was made to celebrate. Captain Tsubasa finally saw a new anime adaptation by David Production, which is still airing right now & about to make its English debut on Primo TV. Speaking of David Pro, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Golden Wind's anime adaptation will be debuting this October, after having its first episode premiere at Anime Expo. Dragon Ball Super ended not long ago, for the time being, & a new movie is in production. City Hunter is getting a new anime film by Sunrise that's set to debut on February 8, 2019, featuring the original cast & director. Goku!! Otokojuku ended, & has since been followed up with Shin/True!! Otokojuku. Saint Seiya is getting a full-CG remake series that will air on Netflix in 2019, under the Knights of the Zodiac name, and spin-off manga Saintia Sho is getting a Toei-produced TV anime that same year.

Yes, this is nothing but re-purposing already existing artwork... But it still looks awesome.

The Hana no Keiji spin-off manga franchise will be coming to an end later this year. Yu Yu Hakusho is getting its first new anime production, an OVA, in over 20 years. Hoshin Engi finally received a new TV anime adaptation, almost 10 years after Shomei TV's alleged attempt at gauging interest. Hiroyuki Takei left Shueisha & moved to Kodansha, taking all of the Shaman King rights with him... Oops. Bleach finally came to an end in 2017, totaling 74 volumes. Muhyo & Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation finally received an anime adaptation that just debuted last week! Toriko ended in 2016, totaling 43 volumes. To-Love-Ru Darkness ended in early 2017 after 18 volumes, giving that whole franchise a total of 36 volumes. Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan received not one, but two seasons of TV anime; you might know it better now as The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.. World Trigger has been on an unfortunate indefinite hiatus, due to Daisuke Ashihara's health, ever since the end of 2016. Hinomaru Zumo is set to debut a TV anime adaptation this October. Finally, My Hero Academia has truly become Jump's new smash hit, all around the world, both in manga & anime form.

Oh... And Nobuhiro Watsuki was revealed to be in possession of a ton of child pornography, yet was given nothing more than a slap on the wrist & allowed to return to his Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc manga after only a few weeks. Compare that to Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro, who had his manga Takeshi! outright cancelled, was pretty much exiled from Shonen Jump for six years following his "incident", & needed the good word of Eiichiro Oda just to be given a second chance to prove that he had changed. Hey, they can't all be good news, unfortunately. Anyway, let's see what noteworthy manga I let fall between the cracks from the Silver Age of Jump, shall we?


Even though its importance as a part of the Golden Age of Jump seems to be a bit muted, Haruto Umezawa's Hareluya II BØY still ran for 33 volumes, before ending at the start of 1999, & is still his longest work, so I'm sure that there were readers who were highly anticipating his next series. It took a year, but on the very first issue of 2000, the same issue where JoJo Part 6: Stone Ocean debuted, Umezawa debuted Bremen, which featured an interesting title & logo, as the kanji used read as "Burai Otoko/The Decadent Men", possibly as a reference to the Buraiha of Post-War Japan. Similar to those people who went against the norms of society of the time & were deemed "aimless", Bremen followed four young people (Romio Kasuga, Reiji Hino, Ryo Hayama, & Ran Fujii) as they hope to become a success rock band (nay, the "Gods of Rock"), only to constantly wind up getting into trouble with biker gangs, gangsters, rich kids, each other, & even a conspiracy theory. It was a story about people who didn't simply belong in the environment they were in, yet did everything they could to make an impact in it, nonetheless. For those who have read Bremen, the general consensus was that it was an excellently told story, if maybe a bit too wild & crazy for its own good. If anything, that would help explain why the manga didn't last anywhere near as long as BØY, being forced to end early in mid-2001, after 9 volumes. Following this, Umezawa wouldn't see another series of any real length, as both 2002's Sword Breaker & 2004's Live wouldn't last longer than one or two volumes. In late 2004, though, he ended his 14-year stint with Shonen Jump & debuted Countach, a racing manga that would run in Weekly Young Jump until 2012 for 28 volumes. After 2015, Umezawa left Shueisha completely, & currently is working on the manga Surfingman, which debuted in Monthly Comic Zenon, another home for former Jump mangaka, in mid-2017.
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Look, as much as what Nobuhiro Watsuki was revealed to be into is horrible & disgusting, his importance in the history of Shonen Jump cannot be denied & ignored, so please understand why I am bringing him up again here. Also, I do believe that, sometimes, bad people can do good things, & in Watsuki's case he made some great shonen manga, and he managed to keep his sick fetishes out of his works; this is why the reveal was so shocking. If you don't agree with how I feel about the situation then you are free to feel differently, and can simply move on to the next featured manga, but the story about the serialization of early 2001's Gun Blaze West is one that I think is worth telling. After the end of Rurouni Kenshin at the end of 1999, there were high expectations for Watsuki's next series, and that wound up weighing heavily on him. He didn't know what kind of story to tell right away, and even a year later he barely had anything really set in stone. In fact, by the time GBW debuted in the second issue of 2001, the only things that Watsuki really had down pat were that it was a Wild West story, and its main character Viu Bannes was mostly defined. What wound up happening was that the story of how Viu wanted to head to the eponymous place of legend somewhere in Western America, in order to test his abilities as a gunslinger, was essentially made up on the fly, with Watsuki creating entire characters & plot points as he went on, week by week. To no surprise, the manga wound up being cancelled in mid-2001, after just three volumes, but what is surprising is that Gun Blaze West isn't some sort of incoherent mess of a story. While it certainly wasn't refined by any means, Watsuki did manage to (mostly) hide the fact that he was creating his story from scratch as he was drawing it. Not just that, but he made no excuses for the end result, writing in detail in each volume about how he was overwhelmed by the weight of expectations, and how he wound up rushing himself into his next work without feeling comfortable. Because of Gun Blaze West's wild & crazy creation, Watsuki decided to properly take his time getting his next series ready, which resulted in his "last shonen action series" Buso Renkin debuting two entire years after GBW's cancellation, and that series wound up being an excellent love letter to the style of manga Jump is so synonymous with. In the end, Gun Blaze West was a picture perfect example of how both massive success can crush a person, as well as how massive failure can be the best teacher... One can only hope that he learns from his most recent "failure", too.
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You know, considering that this next series was a gag manga, I'd figure that Amon Dai's name was meant to be a reference, especially since in Japanese it sounds exactly like the Bastard!! character of the same name, Dai Amon (which itself was a reference to metal singer King Diamond)... But, from what I can tell, Amon Dai is indeed his real name, so that's awesome. Moving on, Taizo Mote King Saga debuted in Jump back in mid-2005, introducing readers to Taizo Momote, a 100-year-old young boy with a rice ball-shaped head who actually is the Prince of the "Middle World" of Baal Zebul; despite the name, the land is not actually Hell, but rather the space between reality & fantasy. He has come to Earth with a single goal in mind: To create his own personal "Harem Land", where he can live his life in polygamy, and in order to do so, he has to find women with star-shaped nipples. Without a doubt, Amon Dai, who's apparently the nephew to voice actor Eiji Ito (Shigeru Fujiwara in Natsume's Book of Friends), aimed at making Taizo Mote a gag series, focused heavily on parody, especially towards other Jump properties; JoJo was a common victim, as Dai was a big fan. Unfortunately, while manga from this Age of Jump tends to be easier to find information on, due to simple recency & the proliferation of fan-produced "scanlations" during this time, Taizo Mote King Saga is one of those rare counter-examples, as there is little to no real information to be found in English regarding this series, and Wikipedia Japan would only be able to detail its gag style so much. At the very least, it did manage to see representation in late 2006 crossover game Jump Ultimate Stars for the Nintendo DS, though only as support & help units. In the end, the manga ended in mid-2007 after a two-year run that lasted 8 volumes. Since then, Amon Dai has remained fairly low-key, creating short parody manga for Jump & some of its spin-off magazines, with Taizo Mote King Saga remaining his longest work.


Following the end of Pretty Face in mid-2003, Yasuhiro Kano returned to what he knew best, i.e. making one-shots, until he finally decided to give making another serialized manga a go three years later. Debuting in mid-2006, M×0 (pronounced "Em-Zero") told the story of Taiga Kuzumi, a young man who, when asked what he would do with magic, answered with "Conquer the World" (a man after Hareluya Hibino's heart, I take it). Unfortunately, that question was part of his interview to get into Seinagi Private High School, and it was made all the worse when a girl laughed out loud to his answer; needless to say, he failed to get in. Wanting to confront the girl about her outburst, Taiga heads to the school, only to be mistaken for a truant student by one of the teachers, who pulls him in, only for Taiga to realize that Seinagi is a school for magic users... And he has no magic ability whatsoever, so now, after being admitted through a loophole, he has to fake his way through magic school by making everyone believe he's actually a powerful magic user. Similar to Pretty FaceM×0 was a story about someone who had to lie to everyone in order to hide a secret, but at least this time around it wasn't based around an intensely sensitive subject matter that constantly risked entering much-too-risqué territory. Because of that, Kano's second series managed to stay around for longer than his first, but in the end still wound up facing cancellation after a two-year run, ending in mid-2008 & totaling 99 chapters collected across 10 volumes; it ended right before hitting Chapter 100. To this day, M×0 remains Yasuhiro Kano's longest work, as even his latest series, Kiss×Death, only totaled 7 volumes, even though it ran digitally in Shonen Jump+ for nearly four entire years, from mid-2014 to early 2018. Unfortunately, some talented mangaka just can't quite get that lucky break & maintain a series for an extended period of time.
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Considering all the various sports that have appeared in the history of Jump, it is a bit surprising that it's taken so long for me to cover a kendo manga in this overview. Getting his start as an assistant to Eiichiro Oda, Haruto Ikezawa (not to be confused with Haruto Umezawa; same kanji first name, wildly different kanji last name) made his debut with mid-2011's Kurogane, after it initially received interest as a one-shot earlier that same year. The manga starred Hiroto Kurogane, a brilliantly smart high school student with dreams of being a "hero", who is the worst at any type of physical activity. At the same time, though, he has intensely keen eyesight (odd, considering that he wears glasses), which would give him outstanding reflexes if his body was able to take physical advantage of it. After hearing about Sayuri Tojo, a ghost who roams an alleyway with her katana, Hiroto decides to check it out for fun, only to see that Sayuri is real. He manages to avoid her attacks, though, prompting Sayuri to make him the new student of her Sakura-style sword technique. Luckily, this fits in perfectly for Hiroto, as his friend Shiratori has wanted him to join the Kendo Club. Obviously, Ikezawa must have been influenced by Hikaru no Go, as the concept sounds intensely similar to that of Hikaru Shindo & Fujiwara-no-Sai, and for the time it did seem to perform decently well, even earning itself a bit of a cult fanbase abroad (though "other means"). Unfortunately, Ikezawa wasn't able to keep the momentum going, and in early 2013 Kurogane was dealt a sudden blow to the head & cancelled after 8 volumes. At the very least, it was "adapted" into a voice comic, or "Vomic" for short, in May of 2012, but a traditional anime never came to pass. In late 2015, he gave it another go with Mononofu, but that ended in mid-2016 after 5 volumes. Currently, he is working on his newest work, Noah's Notes, which debuted in Jump earlier this year & saw its first volume come out in Japan just last month. Who knows, maybe Haruto Ikezawa can pull it through for a good while this time around, resulting in people like me constantly getting him & Haruto Umezawa mixed up!
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Normally, a series like this next one would have absolutely no real importance in the history of Shonen Jump, other than it being notable due to the fact that this was the manga Kohei Horikoshi did before making My Hero Academia. In fact, this manga did worse than his prior series, Oumagadoki Zoo, which at least ran for nearly a year & five volumes. Still, it's important to include mid-2012's Seisen no Barugi/Barrage of the Battle Star, or simply Barrage, for a single reason: It marked the start of a new form of international distribution for Shonen Jump. In particular, it was the first brand-new Jump manga to be simulpublished in Viz Media's reformed (& digital-only) Shonen Jump magazine, which started back up at the beginning of 2012 with already-published series; before, it was published in print every month, but now it's published digitally every week. Though technically serialized with a two-week delay, so the first chapter debuted in English in mid-June, rather than in late-May like in Japan, for the first time ever in the magazine's history, English-speaking Jump readers didn't have to rely on illegal fan translations, which generally used scans of new issues that were often "acquired" (i.e. stolen) before actually being sold in Japan; nowadays, though, Viz publishes within a day or so of Japan's release. At the same time, though, this resulted in the English-speaking fandom finally experiencing the cutthroat nature of Shonen Jump, as the Prince & the Pauper-inspired tale of how Astro takes on the identity of the runaway Prince Barrage of Industria couldn't even make it through the rest of the year, ending in late 2012 after only two volumes. Barrage apparently found itself a bit of a potential fanbase in America, but the appeal of the manga outside of Japan had absolutely no consequence to its life domestically, and this would effectively remain a constant nagging issue for fans to this very day. Finally, Shonen Jump is available to fans simultaneously in Japan & America, at least whichever series Viz decides to actually publish, but the international fanbase has no real effect on whether or not a series can survive in the magazine; they are merely there to look at the pretty pictures & keep quiet, essentially.


Case in point would be this manga, which managed to find possibly an even larger & loving fanbase than Barrage internationally, yet still fell victim to a lack of interest in Japan. Shonen Jump had always been familiar with sports manga, but nearly every single notable series to run in the magazine starred, or at least primarily focused on, the actual players of the sports utilized, even though there was always plenty of storytelling to be told through off-field positions, like the coach or manager; the only real exception would be Rookies, which technically starred the teacher/coach of his school's baseball team. As for the person known only as Kaito, they debuted back in 2004 & for the longest time simply did one-shots, not debuting a full-on serialization until late 2012 with Cross Manage, which initially appeared as a one-shot in the Winter 2012, i.e. early 2012, issue of Jump Next! magazine. Turning the concept of a sports team manager around, the manga focused on young Tsuneyori Sakurai, a school soccer player who has to stop playing due to injury, who is forced into becoming the manager of Fujioka High School's girls' lacrosse team after accidentally touching the chest of Misora Toyoguchi, the Captain & lead attacker of said team. Usually, we would see the opposite in terms of managers, i.e. female managers of male sports teams, and Kaito should be commended for trying something different, both in terms of the sport chosen & the position of the lead character. Unfortunately, the series just didn't seem to resonate with Japanese readers, even though it did find an audience abroad, due to it breaking the mold. Kaito fought as much as could be, but in the end Cross Manage ended in mid-2013 after five volumes. Even more odd, though, is that Viz has yet to give the manga a physical release, even though it was simulpublished in English; as of mid-2018, it remains a digital-exclusive. I know that it does sound a bit rough to end this revisit of the Silver Age of Jump with a couple of quickly-failed titles that introduced the idea of simulpublishing, but I think they do illustrate just how different audiences can be between countries; what might be finding an audience in America finds nothing but crickets in Japan, & vice versa.

Finally, to finish things off, let me showcase six manga that look to, potentially, become the next major (or at least notable) hits for Shonen Jump, all of which debuted after the end of Naruto. Following Hesiod's Five Ages, which is how I gave names to most of the prior Ages of Jump (if you want, you can call the Dark Age the "Heroic Age"), I guess we can call this current period the Iron Age of Jump.


Amazingly enough, in the entire history of Jump up until 2015, high fantasy was rarely, if ever, a successful genre. Sure, there were plenty of stories that went into the fantastical, but in terms of straight up "swords & sorcery" manga, the only truly notable ones up to this point were Bastard!!, which actually took place in a post-apocalyptic version of the real world, & Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken, which was based on a previously-existing video game series. At the very least, that likely helped give Black Clover by Yuki Tabata something of an instant appeal when it debuted in early 2015, especially since his prior series, late 2012's Hungry Joker, ended quickly after only three volumes. This was about a quarter of a year after Naruto's finale, and I bring this up not just because this could potentially be a proper starting point for a new "Iron Age", which would kind of be fitting due to the kind of world this manga takes place in, but also because Tabata was very obviously influenced by Masashi Kishimoto's work. You see, Black Clover follows Asta & Yuno, two boys who were raised in the same orphanage. While Yuno is a prodigy in a world where everyone uses magic, Asta seemingly can't use magic at all, but when Yuno's grimoire, which holds his magic power, gets stolen, Asta fights to recover it, only to discover that he actually has the power of anti-magic, which can negate any & all magical effects. Now, both hope to become "Wizard King", while working in different squads as Magic Knights. Hmm, that sounds awfully similar to Naruto Uzumaki wanting to become Hokage, even though he seems to have little to no natural ability, but in reality has great power within him, and has a rival in the form of his surrogate brother, Sasuke Uchiha. Yes, Black Clover very much sounds like a swords & sorcery take on Naruto, with a dash of One Piece for seasoning, but I guess you shouldn't fix what isn't broken, am I right?

Really, iamong the "newest generation" of Jump manga (because you aren't going to top One Piece), if My Hero Academia is the #1 title currently, then Black Clover may likely be the #2 title, and it honestly would be for the best if Kohei Horikoshi & Yuki Tabata wind up having a bit of a friendly rivalry because of this, similar to what happened to Masashi Kishimoto & Eiichiro Oda. Regardless of how similar it might be to Naruto, at least in concept, Black Clover is currently one of Jump's hot manga at the moment, with Volume 17 having just released in Japan a week ago & with no signs of coming to an end anytime soon. In fact, it even recently received a spin-off manga, Asta's Journey to Wizard King, in Saikyo Jump this past February, which only proves its staying power. Finally, a TV anime adaptation by Pierrot, the studio behind tons of prior Jump properties, started back in October 2017. While initially planned to be just 13 episodes, the anime was popular enough to extend to a full-year run of 51 episodes, and who knows if it will just keep on going from there. While it won't seem to overtake My Hero Academia in terms of popularity, especially internationally, one shouldn't discount Black Clover simply because it conceptually hews closely to the last manga to receive a full-color final chapter. Naruto certainly wasn't the first series of its ilk, and Yuki Tabata shows that it certainly wasn't going to be last, either.
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Like just about any mangaka, Koyoharu Gotouge got her start in manga by doing some one-shots, winning an honorable mention for the Treasure Newcomer Manga Award in 2013 for her Jump Next! story, Kakari-kari/Hunting Overkill. After a few more one-shots in 2014 & 2015, Gotouge decided to give making a serialized story a try, and she chose to expand on her nearly-award-winning first story. The end result was early 2016's Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (similar to Food Wars, it's redundant to translate the Japanese here), the story of how Tanjiro Kamado, a young boy living in the Taisho Era, decides to become a "Demon Slayer" & hunt after man-eating demons, after his family was slaughtered by a horde while he was away, leaving only his sister Nezuko alive & infected with demon blood, which is turning her into a demon herself; Tanjiro hopes that she can be cured. Admittedly, her artistry comes off a bit rough, and there is no word of her having worked as an assistant to anyone before going pro, so she may be (effectively) self-taught. Still, what's managed to keep Demon Slayer running to this very day, & is currently at 12 volumes, is her ability to tell a story revolving around something that, I'd imagine, just about anyone can relate to, since it's about Tanjiro wanting to keep his only remaining family with him, and not have to be forced to kill Nezuko. If anything, the subject matter & Gotouge's art style helps give this manga a bit of a unique look & feel, and while Viz decided to not serialize it in the English Weekly Shonen Jump, following a "Jump Start" test, the company has since licensed it for release, regardless. Not just that, but a TV anime adaptation has been announced, though all that's currently known is that ufotable will be doing the animation & that it will air in Spring 2019. Sometimes, the finicky world & nature of Jump's roster can easily kill off something that either looks or feels different from the norm, let alone doing both, but Demon Slayer: Kinmetsu no Yaiba has, so far, managed to keep up with the pack, which is commendable on its own.
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Ever since To-Love-Ru "ended" back in mid-2009, & then returned in Jump Square in 2010, Shonen Jump was pretty much lacking a full-on harem comedy series with lots of fanservice; Food Wars delivers the fanservice, but that is primarily a cooking/battle manga. That drought would end in early 2016, with Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, or Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san/Ms. Yuuna of Yuragi Inn in Japan, by Tadahiro Miura. While this wasn't Miura's first serialized manga, since he had drawn Koisome Momiji back in 2012, this was his first real hit, and did so by heavily pushing the boundaries of what could be shown in Shonen Jump, much like some of its spiritual predecessors had done in the past. The series follows Kogarashi Fuyuzora, a homeless high school student who tries to make ends meet by using his knack for psychic exorcisms, which he learned in order to ward off the spirits that often possessed him when he was a child. He happens across the Yuragi Inn, which is haunted by a ghost, and he's promised free room & board for life if he can exorcise it. Unfortunately, the ghost is found out to be of Yuuna Yunohana, who has no memory of who she was when she was alive, so she asks Kogarashi to help her find out who she was. Fortunately for her, Kogarashi finds her cut, which makes him hesistant to simply exorcise her, so he agrees, only to wind up getting a harem due to the other residents of Yuragi Inn, who range from a kunoichi to a disguised oni to a zashiki-warashi, among others. Similar to To-Love-Ru, Yuuna has no qualms about being perverted when needed, with the chapters often initially using hot spring steam to cover bare breasts when in the magazine, only to have them be fully laid bare in the compiled volumes. That being said, though, Miura's manga is also known to have a tender heart amid the fanservice, complete with the girls in Kogarashi's harem being more than simple stereotypes. Most interesting of all, however, is that this is the first Shonen Jump manga to NOT be released by Viz in English while being serialized, with publication duties being done by Seven Seas Entertainment's adult-oriented Ghost Ship label. Plenty of finished series have been published by non-Viz entities before, like Fist of the North Star or City Hunter, but not one that's actively running. Currently, Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs is at 11 volumes, & a TV anime adaptation by Xebec just started last month, so it's likely that Yuuna's mystery could very well remain unfinished for a good bit still.


Traditionally, Shonen Jump is primarily known for its more, to put it bluntly, "in your face" style of stories, whether it's fantastical action spectacle, hard-hitting sports, naughty fanservice, or even teenage romance. That's not to say that the readership for the magazine can't accept something with more of a dramatic thriller vibe; just look at Death Note. Still, it is a rare breed for something of that ilk to truly succeed in Jump, which makes mid-2016's The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai (writer) & Posuka Demizu (artist) stand out all the more, especially since both creators had no major notoriety beforehand. Shirai is a relative newcomer to manga, only having written a pair of one-shots for Shonen Jump+ in 2015 & 2016, while Posuka had only done various short children's manga before this, with her "biggest" work being a two-year run drawing the Hana Kappa manga from 2011 to 2013. If anything, that's likely what has made Neverland into the surprise hit that it currently is, because from a relative nobody writer & a children's artist comes the story of a group of 37 kids, let by the rebellious 11-year old Emma, who find out that the Grace Field House orphanage that they've been growing up in is in fact a nightmare straight out of Soylent Green. Without a doubt, this sounds very much unlike your standard Shonen Jump property, even more so than Demon Slayer, but it's managed to grab the attention of readers like no one expected... Including Shirai & Posuka, some argue. After a point early on, some fans feel that the story slows down a bit, possibly due to the co-creators not expecting the manga to become such a success, but since then it's recovered & is currently at 9 volumes, and has sold over 5 million copies worldwide already, plus winning the Shogakukan Manga Award for shonen in 2017. Not just that, but a TV anime adaptation by CloverWorks, & directed by Mamoru Kanbe, is set to debut January 2019 on Fuji TV's late-night noitaminA block, making it the first Shonen Jump property to air in the block's ~13-year history. While I doubt The Promised Neverland will go on to live a hyper-long life like its more action-oriented Jump brethren, if simply due to its general concept & genre, it's already more than earned its place as a notable entrant in the Iron Age of Jump.
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We're now entering 2017, which as of this Redux was not that long ago, but so far two titles that debuted early that year seem to be maintaining enough popularity to keep on going, so I'll cover them & hope that I'm not retroactively wrong about them. First up is Bokutachi wa Benkyou ga Dekinai/We Never Learn by Taishi Tsutui, which offers an interesting twist on the sub-genre of school manga starring someone who teaches. Instead of a literal teacher, like Nube or Koro-sensei, the manga stars Nariyuki Yuiga, a 3rd year high school student who's tasked with tutoring three of his female classmates into earning scholarships so that they can get into college, with the twist being that each excels in one thing, while failing at others. There's Fumino Furuhashi, an arts & literature ace who's terrible at math; Rizu Ogata, who's Furuhashi's direct opposite (i.e. a match & science genius, but a dunce at arts & literature); & Uruka Takemoto, an ideal athletic specimen, but completely helpless at literally everything else in school. It's up to Yuiga to make all three more well-rounded students, especially since Furuhashi & Ogata both wish to go to college for what they are so good at, but need better grades at their weaker studies to get in. Obviously, with all of the tutees being girls, We Never Learn likely has a bit of a harem or romantic comedy aspect to it, which is likely what's kept it in Jump so far, with no real indications of it trailing too badly with readers in Japan. Viz is even simulpublishing the series in the English Weekly Shonen Jump, and compiled volumes are set to start seeing release in Winter 2018. Currently, We Never Learn is at 7 volumes in Japan, and considering that all of the previously-mentioned Iron Age manga have either been adapted into anime or are set to be adapted, the chances for this series to join them may be promising.
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When Eyeshiled 21 ended back in mid-2009, writer Riichiro Inagaki didn't seem to be in any rush to find his next big work, instead writing the occasional one-shot with various artists, and one wasn't even for Shueisha, instead appearing in Shogakukan's Big Comic Superior. Still, while his old artist partner Yusuke Murata would eventually find new success in 2012 with his remake of One's webcomic One-Punch Man, Inagaki would have to wait a little longer before he hit long-term paydirt again. Said success would finally come to light with Dr. Stone, with artwork coming from Mujik "Boichi" Park, a South Korean manwha artist who had finished his hit seinen manga Sun-Ken Rock just a year prior in Shonen Gahosha's Young King magazine. It's a post-apocalyptic tale, taking place in the year 5738 A.D., thousands of years after all of humanity was suddenly petrified into stone statues. Eventually, a high school student named Taiju Ooki is released from his imprisonment by Senku Ishigami, who was also encased in stone previously. Along with Yuzuriha Ogawa, a girl Ooki had a crush on, and was literally about to declare his love to before the end of the world happened, the teens decide to find a way to bring humanity back from the brink of desolation. What has managed to make Dr. Stone such an interesting title for readers already is its dedication to showcasing good science, with Inagaki truly showing that he continually does his homework when it comes to portraying how things work from a scientific perspective; Senku wants to find a cure for petrification, and he does so through accurate science. Still, Inagaki & Boichi aren't taking their sweet time going through the story, as with only 6 volumes released in Japan so far, the manga has already finished two "arcs", the initial Prologue & "Part 1: Stone World the Beginning", and is currently on "Part 2: Stone Wars", showing that Inagaki has likely thought out Dr. Stone well in advance. Much like We Never Learn, though, it is a little too early to exactly say if Dr. Stone will go down as one of the Iron Age's early hits, but with two creators as proven as Riichiro Inagaki & Boichi, plus an interesting concept mixed with well-researched science, the chances are fair, at the very least.
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And with that comes the end of not just The Ages of Jump Redux, but The Ages of Jump for good. I'm sure someone, somewhere, might be able to bring up that I still "forgot" or "missed" some really small title that might still be ever-so-slightly relevant, I already know that I didn't include Blue City by 2001 Nights' Yukinobu Hoshino, but I think that just shows the breadth of Weekly Shonen Jump's immense roster of manga from across the past 50 years. Sure, there are other magazines out there, each of which have their own histories, legendary catalogs, & importance, but Shonen Jump simply had an ideal starting point with its Golden Age, which in turn allowed me to create a rough idea of splitting up its history into four, now five, "Ages" that helped illustrate how things have changed over these past five decades. I don't even think Monthly Shonen Jump fits quite as nicely into Weekly Jump's Ages, even though that magazine had its own notable catalog (& still does via Jump Square). Still, after this two-part Redux, I feel as though I truly am done with The Ages of Jump, so may the Iron Age go on to live as long as the Bronze, Golden, & Silver Ages.

Here's to another 50 years of "Friendship, "Effort", & "Victory"... Now can I get some Matchbox Twenty up in here?!

5 comments:

  1. In what period would Hero Academia fit more? It started as last Silver age manga, but looks way more like the first superhit of this new Iron manga (Naruto ended just 8 weeks after Hero Academia began and now we see the manga has sold almost 20 million copies in 19 volumes, anime has 3 succesful seasons plus a movie, a lot of spinoffs, videogames, etc). Even some people are saying we are now in a Big Two age (One Piece and My Hero Academia)

    Same way Hokuto no Ken was the beginner of Golden Age and Naruto the beginner of Silver Age, could Hero Academia be counted as the beginner of Iron Age instead being the last remnant of Silver Age?

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    1. Really, the start & end points of each Age can be considered rather fluid & up to personal interpretation. It's like how wrestling fans tend to state WrestleMania X-7 as "The End of the Attitude Era", even though the Attitude Era's style & influence was still pretty obvious throughout the InVasion storyline for the rest of 2001, and even up through WrestleMania X-8 in early 2002. Similarly, there's obviously a transitional period between the end of the Silver Age & the start of the Iron Age, and one can use their own start dates, if they want to.

      When I first did The Ages of Jump, I labeled the end of the Silver Age as the exact date when Naruto ended, but now I'd personally put it down as when Black Clover debuted, similar to how Fist of the North Star started the Golden Age; it allows for a bit of a transitional period. That being said, if you want to put the start of the Iron Age where Academia began, then go right on ahead.

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  2. Wanted to also leave this in comments for completion (I understand these two titles aren't there because they are from this very year and is unknown what would happen after all the RobotxLaserman milking by Viz and Shueisha only to get the manga axed). Wanted to leave this in comments because Shueisha is already merchandising them with rest of Jump stuff and seems both of them are already safe and succesful

    -Act-age by Tatsuya Matsuki & Shiro Usazaki: 28 chapters so far. Yonagi is a girl who wants to be an actress but has serious problems separating real world with acting world. Genius director wants to raise her to be a first-rate actor.
    -Jujutsu Kaisen by Gege Akutami: 21 chapters so far. Exorcists manga. Yuuji Itadori is a genius in athletics who gets involved in exorcism world for accident, and then ingests the finger of one very powerful curse. Reminds me to early Bleach. Already having success (has already gotten 1st place in ToC rankings, is getting color pages lately, and seems volume 1 is selling very well).

    PD: Noah's Notes is going to be axed next issue or the following one.
    PD2: Honor mention to Sesuji wo Pin, that 2015 competitive dancing manga from Takuma Yokota which lasted 85 chapters.

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  3. Good article but there are some things that you left off for the ages of jump article and two of them are controversial such as Takaya by Yujirou Sakamoto which is known for its genre shift and the infamous ending,Tsugihagi Hyoryu Sakka know for its meme that is used in luffys special movie in Jump vs in the final chapter as the series is cancelled.Anda good one such as Sesuji wo Pin! to: Shikakou Kyougi Dance-bu e Youkoso by Takuma Yokoto

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    1. As I said at the very end, I'm sure that there are still some Jump manga out there that have their own little bits & pieces of noteworthiness, but I had to put the hammer down somewhere; there are others I know of that I just didn't include in the end, too. If nothing else, it shows what these creators are willing to do to try to survive in a magazine as cutthroat as Jump.

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