This article is purely speculation about possible additions to an unannounced video game. Shonen Beam is not currently aware of any new Jump video game in development by Ganbarion or any other company.
In 2005, little-known Japanese video game developer Ganbarion teamed with Shueisha and Nintendo to release Jump Super Stars for the Nintendo DS, a crossover 2D fighting game featuring characters from Weekly Shonen Jump. The game allows the player to construct a deck made of manga panels, or “Koma,” which feature Jump characters. That deck is displayed on the lower screen during battles and enables players to quickly switch between playable characters, or “Battle Koma,” and launch special attacks via “Support Koma,” all while the top DS screen shows the combat taking place.
The ability to create fantasy battles between shonen heroes proved a great success; the game sold over 200,000 copies in its first week and ranked in the top 20 best-selling games in Japan for that year. The game quickly spawned a sequel a little over a year later, with Jump Ultimate Stars refining the gameplay and supplementing the roster of the original.
However, despite the success and popularity of both games, Jump Ultimate Stars remains the most recent iteration of this franchise. Over five years have passed without even a substantial rumor of a new edition, let alone official confirmation. Clearly, then, the power trio of Ganbarion, Shueisha, and Nintendo are long overdue to create another sequel to this great series.
Given the amount of time since JUS, the landscape of Weekly Shonen Jump has changed considerably, with some series represented in the first two games having exited the magazine, and other notable new series having debuted. Assuming the next game would continue to expand its roster, here are some choices for potential new playable battle characters that could be added to this hypothetical release.
The first addition to the roster is an absolute no-brainer. Since its debut in 2008, Toriko has quickly become one of the most popular and important series in Jump, promoted alongside major series like One Piece and Naruto. With the success of both the manga and its anime adaptation, the titular hero Toriko would certainly join the fray of the next Jump Stars game. His overwhelming physical prowess and Fork and Knife techniques are well-suited to a fighting game, and his Nail Punch would make for a great close-combat special attack. His intimidation ability could also be used as an area-of-effect special attack, damaging or inflicting status ailments on anyone close to Toriko’s demonic appearance.
Toriko also features a variety of supporting characters who could contribute to the game. Coco, Sunny, and Zebra have all displayed enough combat abilities to be considered candidates for inclusion as other Battle Koma. Three of the Four Heavenly Kings also have animal companions that could jump into the action through their partners’ special attacks. Meanwhile, less physical members of the cast like Komatsu and Rin would work perfectly as Support Koma.
Nura Rikuo (Nurarihyon no Mago)
Another long-running series with an anime adaptation, Nurarihyon no Mago has undoubtedly made a sufficient impact over the last four years for its protagonist to join the roster. The leader of his demonic Hyakki Yakou, Nura Rikuo is a human-youkai hybrid, and while his Battle Koma would surely represent him in his full youkai form, his human form could be used in 2- or 3-panel Support Koma. In his youkai form, Nura has an interesting fighting style based on evasion and misdirection; while he can attack directly, his counter-based techniques would make him a great change of pace compared to the myriad of straightforward fighters already in the game.
While none of the members of his Hyakki Yakou group stand out enough to become playable battle characters, Nura’s Matoi ability would allow them to be more involved than simple Support Koma. By donning the spirit of one of his followers, Nura can temporarily attain greater power and new abilities relevant to that subordinate. Therefore, Matoi would give Nura a variety of specials or alternate Battle Koma from which to choose, and even possibly support attackers akin to the characters that Taikoubou summons in Jump Ultimate Stars. Furthermore, Nurarihyon no Mago is renowned for its art, and assuming this title would be released on Nintendo’s latest handheld, the sumi-e drawings of techniques like Kyouka Suigetsu would be a great way to show off the graphical capabilities of the 3DS.
Kurokami Medaka (Medaka Box)
Medaka Box is divisive among fans of Shonen Jump, but between its three years of publishing life and its high-profile GAINAX anime, the series has achieved more than enough for its heroine to step into battle. Blessed with ridiculous fighting power, Kurokami Medaka is undeniably appropriate for this type of game. Moreso than her physical capabilities, though, it’s her status as a strong female protagonist that makes her such a great addition to a roster overloaded with men. Only nine of the 56 characters in Jump Ultimate Stars were female, and with the vast majority of series throughout the history of Jump featuring male leads, Medaka is a rare example of a female action series protagonist who would fit in a game like this.
Unlike most shonen heroes, Medaka does not use specific special attacks. Instead, she enters different states like War God Mode or Forsaken God Mode, which hugely improve her fighting strength but do not bestow projectile attacks or specific strikes. Therefore, Medaka’s special attacks could simply be scripted combo sequences, or Ganbarion could introduce transformations that affect characters for a limited time.
Most other Medaka Box characters are either not relevant or powerful enough to earn anything more than Support Koma, but Kumagawa Misogi is strong enough and ironically quite popular among fans, and should become a playable battle character.
Oga Tatsumi (Beelzebub)
The last of the certain additions, Oga Tatsumi is the protagonist of Beelzebub, another series with a long publishing life and an anime adaptation. His natural strength as a delinquent would make him a decent selectable character, but his connection with Baby Beel, his adopted son from Hell, gives Oga the supernatural element he needs to be able to contend properly with other amazingly powerful Jump heroes. While he has access to strong demonic spells, Oga’s natural fighting ability would not just make him a fun melee character; it would also enable him to represent classic Jump delinquents like Maeda Taison from Rokudenashi Blues, who are iconic but not outlandish enough to stand a chance against energy blasts and super strength.
While Oga comes up with amusing names for his ordinary physical attacks, he is similar to Medaka in that his greatest technique is not a move, but instead a form. Super Milk Time deepens Oga’s connection to the ever-present Baby Beel, tapping into the child’s latent power and making Oga stronger, faster, and able to fly. Like Medaka, then, Oga would be another character who could make use of a timed transformation special; otherwise, Oga could simply temporarily assume his Super Milk Time form and blast enemies.
Yoshina Ageha (Psyren)
Psyren never quite reached the same heights as any of the aforementioned series, nor did it earn an anime adaptation. However, it did run for three years, and the PSI powers used in this manga would give protagonist Yoshina Ageha a unique feel compared to the chakra-, ki-, or generic energy-based attacks of his video game rivals. With a psychically-enhanced fighting style and interesting PSI projectiles, Yoshina deserves inclusion in the game, as does his co-star, Amamiya Sakurako. If Mutou Kazuki from the similarly long Busou Renkin belonged in Jump Ultimate Stars, Psyren belongs in the sequel.
Shion Eliphas Levi (Magico)
Shion is still a relative newcomer to Jump, but provided fans give the series the support it needs, Magico has shown all the promise and potential needed to sustain a long series. Besides, with Neuro and Muhyo in Jump Ultimate Stars, Shueisha and Ganbarion proved their willingness to include characters from young series. Shion is quite similar to Muhyo in both ability and stature, but whereas Muhyo was content to summon creatures from afar, Shion’s versatile broom-based magic attacks are direct enough for close-range combat. As part of the future of Jump, Shion ought to be added to the roster.
Saeba Ryo (City Hunter)
While an eye on the future is important, these games are about celebrating the past, and perhaps no classic series is more glaring in its omission than City Hunter. Out of the top 20 best-selling Jump series ever in Japan, this wildly popular crime fiction story is one of only two not represented in a Jump Stars game. With that in mind, talented private detective and serial lecher Saeba Ryo merits a place in the roster, and his hand-to-hand combat skills and incredible pistol marksmanship back up his claims. However, Saeba is far more realistic than most Jump Stars characters, and his fighting style might overlap too much with Train Heartnet of Black Cat, who is already in the game.
Hareluya Hibino (Hareluya II Boy)
If Saeba doesn’t provide enough nostalgia for Shueisha’s tastes, perhaps Hareluya Hibino will fit the bill. Hibino is the star of Hareluya II Boy, a delinquent fighting series that ran from 1992 to 1999. With 33 volumes to its credit, Hareluya II Boy has the credentials of a major series, but it faces an uphill battle to be included. While Hibino is strong, he lacks the extra elements of similar brawlers. From the existing roster, Tsurugi Momotaro of Sakigake!! Otokojuku is a comparable fighter with additional supernatural elements, and the developers may be disinclined to add another delinquent after Oga, who certainly merits a place before Hibino.
Unlikely Long Shots
Dark Schneider (Bastard!!)
Considering that it began in 1988 and is still running, Bastard!! seems like a surefire addition to a Jump Stars game. However, considering both its irregular publication history and its move to the seinen magazine Ultra Jump in 2000, this series is not entirely relevant to Shonen Jump. Granted, Ninku moved to Ultra Jump as well, and Fuusuke still appeared in Jump Ultimate Stars. The biggest obstacle in Dark Schneider’s way, though, is the difficulty that Ganbarion would face in balancing his incredible power with the characters already on the roster.
Dai (Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken)
The other top-20 best-selling series not in a Jump Stars game, Dragon Quest: Dai no Daibouken was popular enough to run for seven years during the glory days of Jump. The series’ clear RPG influences should have made it an obvious inclusion in the original Jump Super Stars, let alone its sequel. Dai’s swordsmanship and magic spells make him a perfect Battle Koma, so the fact that he missed both rosters might allude to copyright issues preventing him from making the cut. If there are no such issues, adding Dai to the next Jump game is mandatory.
Mazinger Z (Mazinger Z)
It’s easy to forget that the series credited with defining the Super Robot genre ran in Shonen Jump, but Go Nagai’s seminal work indeed graced the pages of the magazine back in the early 1970s. The titular robot from Mazinger Z would dwarf the characters represented in Jump Stars games, and the series certainly isn’t hurting for video game appearances, given the success of the Super Robot Wars franchise. That said, the single-player aspect of these games is not to be ignored, and the Kouji Kabuto-piloted colossus would make a fantastic boss character.
Obviously, Ganbarion has a wide selection from which to choose for additions to its series. Also, the above characters are all from manga not yet included in a Jump Stars game. There are still many characters from already represented series that deserve Battle Koma, such as:
- Usopp, Chopper, and Brook from One Piece
- Hyoga, Shiryu, and Ikki from Saint Seiya
- Gokudera Hayato and Yamamoto Takeshi from Katekyo Hitman Reborn!
- Killer B from Naruto
- Kuwabara Kazuma from Yu Yu Hakusho
- Kanda Yuu from D.Gray-man
Furthermore, with a few exceptions, these games have focused on series heroes, so there is still a huge amount of villains that could be included. Even only looking at heroes, though, Ganbarion is spoiled for choice, and that’s just when considering series from Weekly Shonen Jump. While that magazine has been the focus of these games until now, Shueisha could easily include Jump SQ in the selection pool, thus paving the way for characters like Clare from Claymore or Okumura Rin from Ao no Exorcist.
Ultimately, while this article might only be speculation, it’s also a reminder of how enjoyable Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars were, and how deserving this franchise is of a new installment.
Jump fans: Who do you want to see in a new Jump Stars game? Leave a comment below!