Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekly Shounen Jump: The Next Big Thing!


Naruto.

One Piece.

Bleach.

Once upon a time, these three were juggernauts. However, only one of them remains now. Thus, it is only natural for us to wonder one simple thing.

What's going to be Jump's next Big Hit?


There are plenty of Shounen magazines out there. There are monthly ones. There are weekly ones and probably some bi-monthly ones as well.

However, out of all of them, Weekly Shounen Jump occupies a special place. Name a popular shounen manga, and chances are it got its start there.

Dragon Ball. Saint Seiya. Fist of the North Star. Yu Yu Hakusho. Rurouni Kenshin. Houshin Engi. And even Death Note.

All of them started in Weekly Shounen Jump.


To be a Jump Manga is a badge of honor. However, it also means you have to live up to way stricter standards compared to other publications.


For example, Beelzebub's sales would have been okay for most other shounen manga, but they were not what was expected of a Jump manga so it was canceled. Mx0 started out with an interesting premise, but couldn't maintain its hold on the audience, so it was canceled.

Yeah, even for a Jump manga, success is not a sure thing.

However, even with all the failures, Jump was fine because it had One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach. Now, that's not really the case.


Naruto ended. Bleach declined (though not to the extent most claim) and then it ended. One Piece once held a sizable lead over every other manga in the market, not only managing to be consistently ranked first in terms of volume sales but also managing to sell more than the second and third places combined.

The same cannot be said of the current One Piece.

The appearance of manga like Attack on Titan has been weakening One Piece's grasp on the market for a while now.

With two of its former titans now over and the third still strong but not quite as dominant as before (still first in sales though) who are the likely candidates to step up?

Let's take a look, shall we?


1. My Hero Academia

If you like Shounen manga, chances are you already got your hands on this one. It's been running for two years now, and it even got an anime.

My Hero Academia is, of all things, a Superhero Manga.

As in Western Superheroes.

The mangaka likes them, and thanks to the boom of Marvel movies (the DC ones suck), this manga came at just the right time to be well-received by the audience.

Now, here's the part where some people would tell you to read it because the Main Character uses his brain unlike every other shounen hero, but I say those people don't know what the hell they are talking about.

Instead, I'll say My Hero Academia is a really good manga. A combination of great timing, a great cast of characters, and a very nice plot has contributed towards its quick rise in popularity, and I hope its star continues to rise.


2. Shokugeki no Soma

A cooking manga drawn by a former H-artist and written by a guy no one had heard of before with a real chef serving as an advisor.

This is one of those things that shouldn't have worked, but it did. It really did.

The art was great, and the girls were (obviously) hot. The plot was endearing, and it got you invested in the characters. For a period of time, this was the one manga I looked forward to the most each week.

Sadly, the current arc, despite a fantastic start, has been very weak on just about every level. It has become a victim of its own formula.

It doesn't help that as the manga advances the foodgasms (yes, really) get weaker. If you have an ero-artist that good, it's your duty to make good use of him.

Time will tell whether this manga will recover its quality and reach greater heights of popularity, but for now, I'm leaning towards no.


3. Toriko

It is a bit unfair to put this one here since it's already over, but I want to talk about it all the same. See, Toriko is the perfect example of how you can't fabricate success.

Toriko was one of those manga that Jump pushed very, very hard. It even got a crossover with One Piece and Dragon Ball! Even at the end, when it was slowly rushing towards cancellation, it actually managed to get a proper end. That's something most canceled manga can't say.

Jump put lots of expectations on Toriko, and it's not hard to see why. It had a wacky world reminiscent of One Piece. It had power levels and ridiculousness, and a mangaka who actually knew how numbers worked (the last one is the biggest plus of the whole thing for me).

It never reached the popularity that was expected of it.

For the past three years, it didn't even break into the Top 30 manga of the year. For a long-running Jump manga, that's just not right.


4. Black Clover

I'll freely admit I haven't read this one, not beyond glancing at a couple of pages at any rate.

It's... standard. That's all I can say about it. It uses a very standard formula. About the only thing that jumps out about it is that it's using a medieval fantasy setting. You don't see many of those in Jump.

That said, being standard is not exactly a bad thing. Standard is standard because it's tried and true.

I have met plenty of people who like Black Clover. If it can keep gathering fans and doesn't screw up, well, it could become something big.


5. The Promised Neverland

Very much the opposite of standard.

This is one of those manga that as soon as it starts, you just know you are in for something different. Much like Death Note, it is a Jump manga that doesn't feel like a Jump manga. It's a bit more psychological than the usual fare.

And that's good.

Sometimes, you need variety to stand out.

Depending on how well the mangaka develops its plot, this one could very well be a hit.


All in all, while the future does not look bleak for Jump, it doesn't look strong either. Out of its current roster, only My Hero Academia can be said to be a sure hit. The other ones are all a bit more unreliable. 

However, anything could happen in the future.


Even as I type this and even as you read this, there are plenty of aspiring manga preparing themselves and there are plenty of editors going through submissions to Weekly Jump.

The next big thing could very well be among those.

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