Thanks to the generosity of Viz, I have a subscription to Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha. Starting January 21, 2013, there will be a simultaneous US release to coincide with the Japanese release of the magazine. I am curious to see how that’s going to work, and to see what new series will be added to the magazine, so here is the first of my weekly looks at Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha. The magazine looks great on my iPad, though I did have a bit of a headache before I was able to get my first issue loaded. All it took was an update to the Viz Manga app, but I didn’t think of that until after wasting about 15 frustrating minutes. Always check for a software update! Note taken.
This issue kicked off with Bleach Ch 516. Whoa! I haven’t read Bleach in ages, even though it is one of my favorite series. For shame! I spent the pages here wondering what the heck was going on, but by the last panel, had it figured out. I think. There will soon be an epic confrontation with Squad Zero, a squad comprised only of Squad captains. No peons in this group of warriors! There still has to be some kind of pecking system, some top dog to lord over the other squad members, right? Unless they are all so bad ass that they have a mutual fear and respect for each other. I am looking forward to learning more about them and catching up with Ichigo in future issues.
Naruto Ch 609 was next. Ch 609, folks! I am hopelessly out of my depth with this one, but there was fighting! Which I like. And Kakashi! Who I like. Naruto and Kakashi are duking it out with the bad guy Obito, who hates Kakashi. That is enough right there to elevate him to evil bad guy. Who could possibly hate Kakashi?! After a little help from Nine Tails, it looks like Kakashi is ready for more fighting, so next week, the battle with Obito and Madara will continue! This is comfort reading for me – mindless speed lines, over exaggerated poses, and endless wells of energy to keep up that toe-to-toe action.
Nisekoi Ch 51 followed. This is a new series for me, and I believe it just started it’s run in the magazine. Raku, one of those impossibly hopeless, hapless guys who can barely comb his hair, has attracted a gaggle of girls, I think by being nice, which in manga usually means wimpy. Raku’s gangster father has him engaged to Chitoge, who hated him at first sight, but she’s come around and realizes that he’s not such a bad guy and that she might really, really like him. To cast some mystery over his love life, Raku made a childhood promise to a girl, but he can’t remember who the girl is! Her identity is locked in his prized pendant, but the lock is broken, so he can’t open it to reveal his childhood love. You’d think he would remember the first girl he fell in love with! No wonder these manga boys are always single! I am actually going to have to read the sample that’s on the Viz website to help wrap my head around this one.
Toriko Ch 22 – I don’t have much to say about this one, because the entire chapter is nothing but character introductions for the upcoming Cooking Festival. I usually love cooking manga, but the endless parade of contestants bored me. Better luck next week.
Wrapping up this issue is Cross Manage Ch 10 is a sports manga about a girls’ lacrosse team. I liked this story the best. It was easy to follow for a new comer, the art is engaging, and the characters are likable. Ex-soccer player Sakurai reluctantly agrees to manage the high school girls’ lacrosse team. They need a lot of help! They can barely fill the roster, and they all pretty much suck at the game. I’m sure that under Sakurai’s guidance they will quickly overcome their shortcomings. I love sports manga, especially with an underdog team, so I am looking forward to more of this one.
No One Piece! It’s on break until the next issue, which is a bummer, because Luffy always makes me laugh.
To purchase Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha, click here. You can check out the free Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha starter pack here. Viz is having a sale on their digital manga. You can get 20% off until January 8th! Click here for the deets.