Updated: Sep 9
Dominating the manga scene is not easy, yet that’s exactly what Kouji Miura has done recently with his hit new series Blue Box. It’s a very simply romance story that might seem boring and cheesy at first, but quickly turns into something much greater than just that. And yet it’s also only a small sample of the content that Shonen Jump is currently offering. There’s tons of other series currently publishing that are more than worthy topics of discussion.
And with that said, in this post, I’ll be covering all of the Shonen Jump manga that are currently being published in the magazine that I find noteworthy. This includes manga that have started publication since the last state of Shonen Jump post, older manga I finally caught up to, and updates on titles I’ve already talked about.
Once again, I won’t be going over any of the big name manga being published as I already think those get enough attention. And if you want to compare my opinions from this post to what they were three months ago, then I highly recommend checking out the previous post: The State of Shonen Jump in May 2021.
And just so you know, the last Jump issue that came out as of writing this post was the double issue #36/37. And the opinions expressed on this blog are strictly mine and mine alone.
So, with that said, this is the state of Shonen Jump in August 2021.
The Hunter’s Guild: Red Hood by Yuki Kawaguchi
Current Number of Chapters: 6
If you follow me on Twitter (which you totally should) you’d know that my immediate impressions on Red Hood weren’t exactly positive.
The story and characters were bland, I wasn’t a fan of the fairy-tale fantasy setting, and the style and art lacked. All the while not having anything to really keep me invested. So, right off the bat, the first chapter left a lot to be desired.
But, surprisingly enough, it has definitely gotten a lot better since then. And in only a few weeks too. The action is definitely the thing that keeps me going, it’s so well drawn, there’s a very defined and awe-inspiring sense of scale and perspective. Each chapter is paced almost perfectly, knowing what to focus on and what not to.
It’s surprisingly engaging and even the story has started taking interesting turns, primarily with its two main protagonist who were boring in the first chapter but have since grown into more developed characters with a very interesting dynamic.
The last chapter released gave the prologue for the upcoming arc and I’m already hyped to see the turns the story takes next and the big and fantastical creatures Kawaguchi will draw.
Even though I was underwhelmed at first, right now, I’m really excited to see where the manga goes next. Hope it turns out great.
Neru: Way of the Martial Artist by Minya Hiraga
Current Number of Chapters: 5
Similar to Red Hood, Neru was another manga that I felt was shockingly underwhelming when I read the first chapter. The previews looked so good; the art style is amazing. Yet the story leaves a lot to be desired.
There’s was practically no story in that first chapter. It felt more like a series of really pretty looking images that are kind of connected if you think about it really hard. It lacked depth, character, a defined conflict, stakes a sense of purpose. It feels like the author doesn’t really have a narrative to tell and puts all of his efforts onto the art. Which looks great, don’t get me wrong. But I expect more from something that’s supposed to be a storytelling medium.
And unlike Red Hood, I’m still not completely sold on this series yet. It’s not bad, and at this point there is definitely more of an actual story. But again, I just don’t feel like there’s anything worthwhile here. The whole thing just feels like your generic martial arts movie, or a very tropey training arc.
There are some unique aspects to the story that make it stand out. Like the historical perspective to the martial arts taken at the beginning. Or the really interesting exam arc that started recently which I’ve always been a fan of in shonen. But so far, it mostly feels like style over substance and while it looks great, it doesn’t feel like it has anything to offer story wise and to me that’s a massive disappointment.
Mission: Yozakura Family by Hitsuji Gondaira
Current Number of Chapters: 93
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this manga since there is a lot to unpack.
I was originally gonna read this one for the first State of Shonen Jump post, but I just disliked the first few dozen chapters so much that I was just not bothered enough to actually read the whole thing to write about it. And man, after finally doing so, I have a lot of conflicting opinions.
Okay, to start. One of the first things that stuck out to me about this manga is the very striking similarities it has to a comic that came out at almost the exact same time called Spy X Family. You’ve probably heard of it; it’s become really popular in recent times and for good reason. It’s really funny, the characters are fun and well developed, there’s a good sense of pacing. Overall, the immediate impression is that Yozakura Family is riding on the train set by Spy X Family by having an extremely similar concept.
Though, as somebody that has read both manga, I can say that they’re different enough to make Yozakura not feel like a complete knock off. But that doesn’t really help it for two reasons. First of all, Spy X Family is still the vastly superior manga. And two, Yozakura isn’t just a knock off of Spy X Family, it’s also a knock off of an entirely different manga called Nisekoi.
While Nisekoi is more of a rom-com than anything, the similarities between it and Yozakura are striking. They’re both about a boy and a girl who are part of a criminal underworld, they both have a huge family element, and they both have an overprotective older brother figure who harasses the main character. Again, they are different enough so that it’s not just a complete rip off. But you can’t help but compare Yozakura to the manga it’s clearly taking inspiration from and notice how weak it is in comparison. And Nisekoi isn’t even that good.
The first few dozen chapters in particular are really bland, lack personality, have underdeveloped characters and overall, it feels like it’s trying to be all these other manga.
However, even though it could be a lot better in the beginning, somewhere around the thirty chapter mark it starts to improve drastically. Instead of being like a rom-com and having an episodic structure. It starts to take in a lot more traditional battle-shonen elements that are actually really well implemented. Main character Taiyo goes from being a little bitch who needs to be protected at all times to a formidable fighter that can actual handle himself in a fight, which in turn makes him a much more compelling character when with the flashbacks that teach you about his past. And the lore surrounding the Yozakura family slowly starts to unfold and is revealed in multiple surprisingly well written arcs.
Suffice to say, Mission: Yozakura Family actually has a lot of great moments later on in the series. And overall, it feels like more of its own thing. I still wouldn’t say it’s better than something like Mashle – especially with the occasional weak ass chapter – but it’s surprisingly enjoyable when you can tell the mangaka is putting a lot of effort into the story.
I would recommend this one only if you’re willing to sit through a lot of bland material before getting to the good parts. But still keep in mind that these good parts aren’t the best that Jump has to offer. They’re just enjoyable in my opinion.
Blue Box by Kouji Miura
Current Number of Chapters: 16
In my first State of Shonen Jump post, I said that while Blue Box seemed to have a promising future, I was worried that it might fuck it up and end up becoming a disappointment like a lot of similar rom-coms.
Well, I’m glad to say that I worried for nothing cause right now, Blue Box is easily one of my favorite titles that Jump currently published every week.
The art stands out a lot and has this very defined artistic design to it. Just looking at the manga gives me a warm feeling inside my heart. It is so well done all the while never lacking on some excellent paneling and pacing.
The story as well does what it sets out to do perfectly. Having a very well developed - yet somewhat complex – romance that’s surprisingly engaging. Characters that are memorable, and the romantic aspects of the story never feel forced or even cheesy I’d say. Every character naturally flows into every scene and their reactions and decisions feel very genuine and believable.
I’m really excited to see where Blue Box goes next and maybe even re-read the whole thing after it ends. If you like rom-coms, or just feel good stories, then I whole heartedly recommend Blue Box. It’s really good so far and I don’t see it going downhill any time soon.
Candy Flurry: Story by Ippon Takegushi and Art by Santa Mitarashi
Current Number of Chapters: 15
After a long line and multitude of different chapters, sadly, Candy Flurry has turned out exactly like how I thought it was gonna turn out. With a lack of ideas, imagination, and a defined direction to take the story in.
My points in the last post have kind of stayed the same regarding Candy Flurry. The combat system is too gimmicky, none of the characters stand out, it doesn’t feel like the writer has an idea of where he wants to take the story. It’s just boring.
Now, that’s not to say that the whole thing has been disappointing. There have been these brief glimpses of some hint of quality. Like during the exam arc where main character Tsugumi had one of the more interesting struggles in the series where she had to fight against some invaders or some shit while handcuffed to a guy who couldn’t be more pathetic. And there was this one joke in chapter 14 which I thought was genuinely clever and funny and actually made me smile.
But even with all these moments, they all feel severely hindered by the sweets element of the manga. Like I said in the last post, this gimmick works as a huge detriment to the narrative as a whole. Because it really is hard to not only come up with compelling and fun candy based powers, but even if you do, taking something like that seriously is going to be really difficult once you get to the really specific candies. Like the Confeito superpower, or the Popcorn whip, or the suicide bomber who uses Kernels as explosives! It would be fine if all of this was supposed to be a joke or parody. But it’s not. And if it was, it wouldn’t even be that funny!
I don’t really think this one has a future and its place in the rankings is reflecting that. I really hope that the duo who worked on this come back with a manga that’s not hindered by an astonishingly bizarre gimmick and can explore the manga medium to its full potential.
Nine Dragon’s Ball Parade and i tell c
Before I end the post, I wanted to briefly go over two manga that have been cancelled since the last time I talked about current Jump series, and those two are Nine Dragon’s Ball Parade and i tell c.
Both of these series ended very shortly after I posted last time and my opinion of them didn’t really change during their death days.
i tell c at least tried to do something different to try and save itself from cancellation, but even then, its lasts attempts at quality don’t feel super genuine and I think that the story just didn’t have the characters or story to keep itself afloat. Which of course, ended in cancellation.
Meanwhile, Nine Dragon’s just kind of throwed whatever shit it could find to the wall and see what stuck. Which did not end well. And in all irony, I think that if it just kept going with the same pace it did in the beginning, then it would have probably been cancelled anyway, but at least the quality of the manga would have been better.
Generally, I more than understand why Jump decided to cancel these series and I hope that all the mangaka involve come back with something truly special next time.
Okay, now that I have gone over all the current Jump manga again. Once more, it’s time for my updated tier list:
Must Read: One Piece, Dr Stone, My Hero Academia
Recommended: Mashle: Magic and Muscle, Jujutsu Kaisen, The Elusive Samurai, Blue Box, Sakamoto Days, Me and Robocco
Cautiously Optimistic: Red Hood: Hunter’s Guild, Neru: Way of the Martial Artist
Not Bad, but not very good either: Witch Watch
It’s Complicated: Mission: Yozakura Family, High School Family
Not Recommended: Candy Flurry
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What’s your opinion on all the current Jump manga? Make sure to let me know on the comments below, and also let me know of what you thought of this post. Regardless of what you think, I’m already grateful enough that you read all the way till the end.