Back to the keyboard after a brief (and necessary) vacation, I'm here to talk about a magazine near and dear to my heart, Sheuesha's Weekly Shounen Jump, aka the most popular manga magazine in the world, and the trendsetter of all manga. I have a few suggestions that I think Jump needs to address, and I also have some major praise, prepare for controversy
Goodnight sweet mob boss
are over, two pillars of Jump fallen, and two of the biggest innovators to recently hit Shounen Jump are defunct, and while both anime remain on the airwaves, it's time for the magazine to move on, and yet the ideas set forth in Bakuman
should remain prevalent in Jump, because Bakuman
pointed out certain holes in the magazine's philosophy that should be addressed, and yet Obata's series also set a precedent for the manga that appear in Jump, as it proved that any manga can be popular with enough love and care put into it, and while that has been apparent for years, Bakuman
became a shining example throughout it's serialization period. Anyways, after reading through the completed Bakuman
one more time, I realized that Jump really does need to change, and honestly some of the stuff expressed in this work of fiction is quite legitimate, and Jump might make more money if they address some of the things said in Bakuman
and also some of my personal complaints, which I believe are shared in a large section of the manga community.
Relying on what works is the right way to do things, and often stepping out of the box unnecessarily is a silly idea, however in a magazine publishing up to 15 manga once a week, a few spots should be given to nonmainstream manga, and while there are sports, and the occasional cult manga in Jump, the ratio is far from equal, and while a 50-50 ratio isn't a smart idea, the magazine should publish at least one Bakuman
or even Psyren
for every 5ish safe bets, it's just the right gamble to make, because the Bakuman's
and other great cult manga pay off well, and for a long time.
Bakuman isn't perfect by any means, but it's pretty darn good
Creativity is still huge in Jump, Sket Dance
, Gintama (especially)
, and even Naruto and One Piece
are quite creative, and differ from the norms of their genre in many of the right ways, however the massive presence of the battle manga still lingers over the comedies and sports manga, and battle manga are often the reason Jump sells so well at times, but people are still going to pick up the magazine to read the Naruto's
of the world, so why not stick something like Detective Conan
in there, to create some more variety, and take a gamble on that, as the few successes will outweigh the failures, cut one of the Hungry Joker's
and bet on another Psyren
Jump is dominated by action and sports manga, and while many of these are fantastic, a few of the unoriginal ones could be cut for something more cult, although at the same time, these manga may not be sucessful, its all a gamble
This leads me to the questionnaires, the bane of the new mangaka, and one of the ways to bring more diversity into Jump's lineup. For the uninformed, the questionnaires are a system introduced by Jump where readers rank their three favorite manga from that week, and send that in to the offices, influencing what ends up in the magazine, and while tankobon sales are also a factor, some series don't end up in a tankobon due to being cut extremely short because of questionnaires, and while this isn't the system's fault by any means, some change's could be instituted to make the system more fair. For one, the system could be changed to where instead of picking three manga, readers rank every series in the magazine from one to fifteen, and decisions are made based on the reader rankings, another easier solution would be to ensure that every manga gets at least one tankobon release, BEFORE being cancelled (cancelled manga still usually end up in a tankobon).
Another way to revamp the questionnaires would be to change the order in which manga are placed in the magazine, as manga are slotted based on their rank in the questionnaires in the manga, meaning the less popular manga end up in the back, and maybe if they ended up near or in the front more often, more readers will see them, instead of just flipping to the front and reading Naruto
, as where popular manga are in the magazine isn't gonna stop them from being read. However, the effectiveness of this change is debatable, as I would assume normal human beings would read the whole magazine, despite having favorite sections, I would....
The manga on the cover is Ansatsu Kyoshitsu, a manga about kids trying to kill their teacher, it's like nothing I've read before, but it's not great...
Individualism in manga is not necessarily important concept, Sket Dance
is essentially Gintama
with a setting change and cleaner humor, and that's not a bad thing, and being "cult" is not synonymous with being good, and often the popular battle manga tell quite good stories, and deliver great experiences, however, as the most popular magazine out there, the rise in Japanese self puplishing creates an intrinsic need for magazine's to innovate more, as the magazine is a dying format in itself, and perhaps the new place for Jump, cult manga and all is online. Digital comics are skyrocketing in popularity as many American magazines make the transition to digital, along with American comic books, and American manga publishers, and it's about time Jump did the same (it's American equivalent already did).
Manga already has a thriving digital community due to illegitimate translations, and scanlation sites have created a massive manga community, and it's all digital, proving it can be done, and while the tradition of Jump magazine is still important, a digital piece can, and should be created, in order to bolster sales, and create new manga, digital exclusivity could be the place for these new "cult" manga, after all, even in Japan self publishing and webcomics are rising due to the popularity of series like Noblesse
, and dojinishi, and while a lot of dojinishi is porn, many dojinishi do a lot of things right, and even end up being big hits.
Technically Nobless is manwha, and Korean, but it's still popular.....
My last suggestion for Jump is a more direct one, and a suggestion that tugs at my heartstrings, because I think that if Jump is going to stay paper, its time for Hunter x Hunter
to end, I love it, but Yoshiro Togashi just can't do it, its clear. Yoshihiro Togashi's classic about Gon and friends is an amazing tale, and he's crafted an amazing world in his own right however, ever since his health declined Togashi's been missing deadlines, and in the magazine his art quality has dropped drastically (he touches it up for the tankobons), and his refusal to rely on assistances creates a quandary, Hunter
is massively popular, but it isn't always in the magazine, creating a flux of whats going to be in Jump next week, and this impacts authors trying to get into the magazine, as they may not get in, or have their manga cancelled abrubtly for Togashi's return.
This was published, and while art doesn't necessarily have to be great, we've all seen what Togashi is capable of drawing
Hunter x Hunter
is great, and doesn't have to necessarily be cancelled, perhaps it could be moved to the monthly Jump Square! I just think that if Togashi won't rely more on assistants, and isn't healthy, then it's unfair to other authors trying to get in to do what he's doing, and while I appreciate both his works (he wrote Yu Yu Hakusho
as well), I think that he should move the manga elsewhere or buckle down and get it out weekly, and if unknown assistants aren't the way to go, perhaps his wife could help (his wife is the creator of Sailor Moon
.) I know Togashi isn't healthy, and perhaps Hunter
could just go on another extended hiatus, but coming in and out isn't the right way to go, sorry Gon.
Greed Island remains one of my favorite manga arcs of all time, but still, it's time for a move Gon...
In closing, Jump is gonna be fine, nobody's gonna just up and stop buying it sometime soon, but it could usher in another golden age with a few changes, and who doesn't love golden ages, sorry Gon...
Drop me a comment! Am I awful for saying HxH has gotta go? Is Jump fine the way it is? Is this article the biggest piece of excrement ever? Please god no more moe debate! Am I wrong about Jump?
The golden age, in my opinion