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Metallica Metalluca Canceled, to be Replaced by Light Wing

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Metallica Metalluca, the debut work by Mizuno Teruaki, has been canceled by Weekly Shonen Jump. As with so many other recent additions to the Jump lineup, Metallica Metalluca suffers an early demise, ending at just chapter 17 in Issue #41 (September 13). The news is unfortunate but expected, as while the series did manage to introduce some interesting elements, they were mostly taken from other, more successful series (Dragon Ball, One Piece, Hunter x Hunter). As such, the series failed to stand out from its competition, and its cancellation has thus far mostly been met with approval from fan communities.

Beginning the following week in Issue #42, the space vacated by Metallica Metalluca will be filled by Light Wing, a new soccer series by Shinkai Hideo. Shinkai has already published two different one-shots with Shonen Jump – Dodge the Ball (2007) and Q-Club (2008) – but Light Wing is his first major series. The decision by Jump to begin a new soccer series a mere two weeks after the end of Shonen Shikku is a bizarre one, considering that Shonen Shikku, another soccer series, was canceled at only 15 chapters.

Source: News-Paradise
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Shonen Shikku Canceled; Enigma to Debut

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Issue #40 of Weekly Shonen Jump marks the 15th and final chapter of Shonen Shikku, the first major work by newcomer Tsukuda Yuuto. Since becoming eligible for fan ranking, Shonen Shikku has never managed to escape the bottom 5 of the table of contents, even placing dead last five times. Its early cancellation is yet another in a string of poor performances from new Shonen Jump series, as has been evidenced by the similarly early ends to Lock On! and Kiben Gakuha, Yotsuya-senpai no Kaidan, and as it seems will further be proven with another cancellation expected next week.

The space left by Shonen Shikku will be filled starting next week by Enigma, a new series by Sakaki Kenji, a former assistant to Amano Akira (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!). An early preview picture is available:

(Click for full size)

Source: News-Paradise

Beelzebub Anime in January 2011

Beelzebub is set to receive an anime adaptation this coming January. The first major work by Tamura Ryuuhei, it has been running in Weekly Shonen Jump since February 2009. Beelzebub is a fusion between fierce action and excellent comedy, along with notable supernatural elements, as the story follows Oga Tatsumi, a renowned delinquent who is saddled with the task of looking after Baby Beel, the son of the demon king. The series features a diverse cast of characters, including the loyal servants of Baby Beel, Oga’s rival delinquents, and one of the absolute best comedic straight men in all of manga.

The announcement of an upcoming anime for Beelzebub is both exciting and surprising. While the most recent manga arc has been a minor disappointment, the rest of the series has been a fantastic weekly read, and welcome diversity in the pages of Shonen Jump. However, as of this writing, the series only has 74 chapters, meaning this seems to be rather soon for an adaptation. Four months give more than enough time for the current manga arc to finish, but even with those extra chapters, the worry is that the anime studio would not have enough source material, leading either to questionable pacing or filler episodes. Another Shonen Jump series, Nurarihyon no Mago, had a similar number of chapters when its anime adaptation was announced, and that anime (which is currently airing) has yet to show signs of having insufficient source material; on the other hand, the Nurarihyon no Mago universe has more intricate detail that can be explored by its anime studio, meaning that the current quality of that adaptation may not equate to similar success for Beelzebub.

Regardless of speculation, news of a good manga series receiving an anime is always positive, and a Beelzebub anime should be well worth watching.

Source: News-Paradise

Lock On! Canceled; SWOT, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen to Debut

June 21, 2010 1 comment

Early internet reports indicate that the final chapter of Lock On! will run in Issue 30 of Weekly Shonen Jump, which hits store shelves in Japan on June 28.

Lock On!, the first major series by newcomer mangaka Tsuchida Kenta, never strongly established itself within Jump, but fans of the series could be justified in crying foul over its cancellation prior to Kiben Gakuha, Yotsuya-senpai no Kaidan, another Jump series which debuted a week after Lock On!. Since both series became eligible for fan-voted rankings, Yotsuya has ranked below Lock On! in every week except for two, one of those being the upcoming issue in which Lock On! publishes its last chapter. Yotsuya itself is still far from safe, and could very well be canceled the week after Lock On! ends publication; this depends on whether the Jump editors will treat Hunter x Hunter (again on hiatus) as the other title to move aside in favor of new series. If the editors don’t regard HxH as such, another series would need to be cut to make room for the two debutants, and that series would likely be Yotsuya.

The two new series that will grace Jump are SWOT and Oumagadoki Doubutsuen, both of which received one-shots in Jump in 2009. SWOT, by Sugita Naoya, is a hybrid delinquent / romantic comedy series about a “swot” (defined as a person who spends too much time studying) with lofty ambitions who transfers into a once-prestigious school that has been overrun with delinquents. Soon, he meets a weak boy and a legendary delinquent girl, the latter of which causes him to experience unfamiliar feelings. The other series, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen (“Oumagadoki Zoo”) by Horikoshi Kouhei, is about a clumsy, animal-loving high school girl who applies to work at a nearby zoo which turns out to have a decidedly bizarre secret.

Read the one-shots that preceded each new series: SWOT, Oumagadoki Doubutsuen. (Remember that characters, events, and other plot elements in one-shots may be changed for their series publication.)

Oricon Manga Sales Rankings: First Half 2010

Oricon has released their figures for manga sales in Japan for the first half of 2010.

Top 10 Series – First Half 2010 (Dec. 7, 2009 – May 31, 2010)

Rank
Series
Volumes Sold
Magazine
1 One Piece 15,220,095 Shonen Jump
2 Naruto 4,178,597 Shonen Jump
3 Fairy Tail 3,616,942 Shonen Magazine
4 Fullmetal Alchemist 3,169,048 Shonen Gangan
5 Nodame Cantabile 3,029,300 Kiss
6 Bleach 2,626,932 Shonen Jump
7 Kimi ni Todoke 2,533,556 Bessatsu Margaret
8 Gintama 2,376,060 Shonen Jump
9 Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 2,083,508 Shonen Jump
10 Bakuman 1,574,448 Shonen Jump

The most notable series on the list is One Piece, which not only outsold the next best-selling series (Naruto) by a ludicrous amount, but within a half-year has already outsold its entire previous year’s worth of sales (14,721,241). Weekly Shonen Jump dominates the list, with the only shonen competition coming from Fairy Tail, which has seen a surge in sales thanks to its anime, and Fullmetal Alchemist. Bakuman is the most surprising entrant in this list; having sold this many copies with only eight volumes available to date, and with an anime adaptation coming this fall, it’s a series on the rise.

Top 25 Volumes – First Half 2010 (Dec. 7, 2009 – May 31, 2010)

Rank
Volume
Volumes Sold
Magazine
1 One Piece 57 2,305,594 Shonen Jump
2 One Piece 56 2,276,013 Shonen Jump
3 Fullmetal Alchemist 24 1,251,949 Shonen Gangan
4 Nodame Cantabile 23 1,223,488 Kiss
5 Fullmetal Alchemist 25 1,208,345 Shonen Gangan
6 Naruto 49 1,152,551 Shonen Jump
7 Naruto 50 1,119,029 Shonen Jump
8 Naruto 51 952,072 Shonen Jump
9 Kimi ni Todoke 10 939,831 Bessatsu Margaret
10 Hunter x Hunter 27 918,059 Shonen Jump
11 Nodame Cantabile 24 838,322 Kiss
12 Bleach 42 803,252 Shonen Jump
13 Neon Genesis Evangelion 12 771,680 Young Ace
14 Bleach 43 729,335 Shonen Jump
15 Bleach 44 716,829 Shonen Jump
16 Black Butler 8 612,185 Monthly GFantasy
17 Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 27 583,082 Shonen Jump
18 Detective Conan 67 566,216 Shonen Sunday
19 Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 28 554,355 Shonen Jump
20 Real 9 552,049 Young Jump
21 D.Gray-man 19 547,988 Jump SQ
22 Yotsuba&! 9 529,316 Dengeki Daioh
23 Ookiku Furikubatte 13 514,474 Afternoon
24 Vagabond 32 505,964 Weekly Morning
25 Gintama 32 487,694 Shonen Jump

Weekly Shonen Jump again controls the list, with 48% of the top 25. Of the top 25, 18 are shonen releases, and 12 of those (67%) are Shonen Jump titles. Surprisingly, despite Fairy Tail placing in the Top 10 Series chart for the same time period, no volumes of Fairy Tail or any other Shonen Magazine series placed in this list, while only one Shonen Sunday release did (Detective Conan 67).

Source: Oricon (Series, Volumes)

Hunter x Hiatus (Again)

May 26, 2010 6 comments

News in Issue #26 of Weekly Shonen Jump indicates that Togashi Yoshihiro’s Hunter x Hunter will once again be going on indefinite hiatus beginning in the following issue. This news is not surprising to any longtime fans of the series, as Togashi has frequently taken breaks for unconfirmed reasons. Rumors abound as to the reasons for so much time off, ranging from a serious medical condition to personal issues regarding the merchandising of his works to an overwhelming, life-ruling love for the Dragon Quest series of video games. These rumors are all speculation (well, except for his love of DQ), so it’s difficult to formulate an opinion of Togashi as a mangaka. Is he lazy for taking so much time off? Is he brave for drawing as much as he can while his health allows him? Is he foolish for not expecting Shueisha to capitalize on the popularity of his series, given that he previously wrote the successful YuYu Hakusho?

Regardless of the reasons for his absences, Hunter x Hunter and its fans have suffered. This most recent run of HxH began this year, in Issue 5-6 (double issue), 2010, with chapter 291. Issue 26 contains chapter 310, the last chapter before the new hiatus. In that span of 20 chapters, we’ve seen two major, conclusive fights (Netero vs. the King, Gon vs. Pitou), two minor fights (Killua vs. Palm, Ikarugo vs. Werefin), one huge plot point (Kaito), some other minor / inconclusive action (various people vs. Pouf, King vs. Melereon & Knuckle, the “game”), and whatever the hell chapter 299 was.

This run for HxH has actually been one of the better ones. 20 chapters is enough for two volumes, an improvement from Togashi’s recent tendency to release one volume’s worth at a time. Also, the amount of action and plot advancement in those 20 chapters would be considered good for most shonen series, and is laudable when compared to other HxH runs, but this Chimera Ant arc began way back at the end of chapter 185. 125 chapters in WSJ without breaks would span over two and a half years, and would clearly be considered a long arc for any series. In terms of publishing schedule, though, Hunter x Hunter isn’t just any series; chapter 185 ran in Issue 28, 2003. Seven years ago. This arc has continued for seven years, but without the satisfaction of actually progressing through plot along the way. That, combined with the fact that some of the characters who helped the series reach its peak in popularity (Kurapica, Hisoka) aren’t even in this arc, makes for a frustrated audience.

Even when the series is running, it may not provide a fully enjoyable manga-reading experience. Since he began his frequent hiatuses, Togashi’s returns have sometimes been marred by poor artwork. Here is a comparison of an earlier chapter, when he was releasing at a reasonable rate, with a chapter in the hiatus-intense years. (Click images for full size.)

Chapter 127, Page 2

Chapter 252, Page 12

Clearly, at his best, Togashi is a talented artist, and to his credit, he cleans up his work and creates proper art for volume releases. That said, sketches like this, for which he has become infamous, are unacceptable for a series in a major shonen magazine, let alone one by an established mangaka.

Most glaring, though, are the hiatuses themselves. Here are the shocking statistics:

  • From its debut (Issue 14, 1998) to present day (Issue 26, 2010), Hunter x Hunter has been absent from Weekly Shonen Jump 276 times.
  • The longest hiatus was 79 straight missed issues (2006-2007).
  • The series was absent the most in 2009, missing 46 of 48 issues that year.
  • There have been 585 issues of Weekly Shonen Jump since HxH began; Togashi has missed over 47% of them.
  • Given 48 issues of Jump in one calendar year, that’s 5.75 publishing years missed.
  • By comparison, One Piece (debut: Issue 34, 1997) has missed 33 issues to date. Naruto (debut: Issue 43, 1999) has missed 19 issues to date. Amazingly, KochiKame, which began in Issue 42, 1976, has never missed a single week!

Of course, most of these figures will be obsolete beginning in a couple weeks, as yet another hiatus begins. The future of the series remains worrisome, not in terms of publication (Shueisha is unlikely to choose now to cancel the series, over any other opportunities it has had to do so) but in terms of the story. For all these shortcomings and legitimate issues, Togashi remains a creative and engaging author who devises fascinating stories, clever powers and fighting styles, and interesting characters. His biggest failing is an inability to see his ideas through to an acceptable conclusion, as was evidenced by the end of YuYu Hakusho, and as has been unfolding before us for years now with Hunter x Hunter. Feeling appropriately frustrated, some fans have called for the series to end with the climax of this arc, but that would be a disservice both to those who have stuck with the series through all the delays and scribble-art, and to Togashi’s own unresolved plot. Other fans clamor for Togashi to hand artistic duties over to another mangaka and concentrate on the writing, which Togashi surely is unwilling to do, or it would have happened years ago.

In any case, Hunter x Hunter deserves a proper finale beyond this arc. Will Gon ever find his dad? Will Kurapica ever achieve the full extent of his revenge? Will Leorio ever… matter? This series is too good to die without suitable resolution for its most important storylines, but whether said resolution is acceptable or otherwise, it seems we’ll be waiting quite some time before we get there.

Source: Jump Intelligence Agency

Another New Shueisha Magazine – Shonen Jump Next

Hot on the heels of news regarding Jump SQ.19 comes word that Shueisha is launching yet another magazine. Entitled Shonen Jump Next, this even-newer magazine will be a quarterly release in the style of another of their existing magazines, Akamaru Jump. Like Akamaru, Shonen Jump Next will primarily serve as a launching pad for young artists hoping to establish themselves before being serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump or another Shueisha property.

Shonen Jump Next launches April 30 with several oneshots, some from notable mangaka:

Matsui Yuusei (Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro)
Kawashita Mizuki (Ichigo 100%, Hatsukoi Limited, Ane Doki)
Amano Youichi (Akaboshi – Ibun Suikoden)
Wajima Satoshi (Wasshoi! Waji Mania)

The debut issue will also feature a poster of the Bakuman anime, a special Nurarihyon no Mago chapter (featuring color page), eight short histories about current Weekly Shonen Jump series, and nine oneshots from young authors.

Credit: News-Paradise