Weekly Shonen Jump is home to some of the world's best and most popular manga. As well as ongoing heavyweights from the likes of Akira Toriyama and Eiichiro Oda, the Japanese publication keeps its roster fresh with new titles on a regular basis, some of which have 'next big thing' written all over them, while others may end up fading into obscurity.
The only way for the discerning reader to separate one from the other is to check out everything that's available, so let's take a look at what the first quarter of 2021 has to offer from Shonen Jump.
The Elusive Samurai
From Assassination Classroom's Yusei Matsui, The Elusive Samurai is a historical series that might fill the void left by Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. Taking place in medieval Japan, the story follows its titular hero, Hojo Tokiyuki, a young samurai prince who finds himself at the center of violent upheaval in his province. Rather than stand and fight, however, as most shonen protagonists would, Tokiyuki's true skill lies in avoiding danger, as the title suggests, thus ensuring his survival.
Matsui's Assassination Classroom was one of the magazine's most successful and recognizable new titles during the 2010s, concluding its run after nearly 200 chapters and garnering a successful anime adaptation. The Elusive Samurai releases new chapters every Sunday.
i tell c
Beginning serialization at the start of February, i tell c is a detective story with a twist: its lead investigator, Risa Aioi, might be far more dangerous than the criminals she apprehends. Shepherding her are detective brothers Sakon and Ukon Futatsuki, who are far more traditional in their crime-fighting work; Risa, meanwhile, doesn't bother with looking for clues or motives -- she gets under a suspect's skin simply by falling in love with them, then pushing the object of her affection to give themselves up.
The manga is helmed by Kazusa Inaoka, whose previous series, Invade You ran in WSJ for just 16 chapters during 2018. New chapters of i tell c release weekly every Sunday.
From the creator of Astra Lost in Space, Witch Watch comes on the heels of similar magic girl/action boy series, Guardian of the Witch, which recently ended at WSJ after 19 chapters. Witch Watch takes a lighter approach to the idea, with teenage friends Morihito, who possesses ogre-like strength, and witch-in-training Niko, brought together under one roof for odd couple, comedic shenanigans.
The series began in February and is authored by Kenta Shinohara, who, as well as Asta Lost in Space, is also known for SKET DANCE, both of which received limited anime adaptations. Witch Watch releases new chapters weekly every Sunday.
Nine Dragons' Ball Parade
Baseball has long provided furtive ground for many a mangaka, from Ace of Diamond to Mix. Nine Dragons' Ball Parade is the latest series to join their ranks after starting serialization in February. The story revolves around budding player Tamao Azukida, who dreams of making it onto his favorite team, headed up by Hakuo Gakuin. Tamao takes a studious approach to hone his skills, but an encounter with a prodigious pitcher throws (what else?) a curveball at him.
The series is written by newcomer Mikiyasu Kamada and drawn by Ashibi Fukui, whose previous works include RE: Sukeban Deka and Slime & Dragon. New chapters of Nine Dragons' Ball Parade come out every Sunday.
Another sports series but this time, with a romantic angle, Blue Box collides the underrepresented world of badminton with the overrepresented field of basketball. Representing the former is the less than average Eimei Junior while superstar Chinatsu Kano belongs to the latter. For this reason, the pair's meet-cute happens at the gym rather than on the field of play, and a shocking revelation at the end of the first chapter knocks them into even more unknown territory.
Created by Miura Kouji, the series began life, as many do, as a one-shot in WSJ last August, before beginning serialization this April. Blue Box's chapters update every Sunday.
Candy Flurry's post-apocalyptic world forgoes the usual Akira-esque atmosphere of grime and engine fuel. Instead, magical sweets are to blame for Tokyo's destruction, with 'illegal' candy-users like Tsumugi Minase left to fend for themselves against similarly suped-up ruffians. It's sort of like if One Piece's Devil Fruit consumption led to urban rack and ruin, rather than a golden age of piracy.
The battle-comedy is the work of mangaka duo Mitarashi Santa and Takeguchi Ippon. Both are relatively unknown, but Santa's back catalogue at Shueisha includes Cinnamon Nanmon, Spacecraft Minamo go and the 2019 one-shot, Seiken no Yuusha no Goei. After starting its run in April, new chapters of Candy Flurry come out weekly every Sunday.
The eagerly awaited follow-up to Sui Ishida's Tokyo Ghoul, Choujin X is a hot-off-the-press May release. Following a terrible bout of burnout -- which is sadly prevalent in the industry -- Ishida has been afforded a much more relaxed publishing schedule for Choujin X, but in terms of theme and form, it's still Tokyo Ghoul all over.
Set in an "incredibly ordinary" Japanese prefecture, the series features those who are anything but -- the titular 'choujin,' meaning superpowered. Tokio Kurohara and Azuma Higashi are two teens playing vigilante against rogue choujin and, much like Ken Kaneki, are set up to undergo a significant metamorphosis by the first chapter's end.
A pioneering dark fantasy manga of the 2010s, Ishida's aforementioned Tokyo Ghoul ran for three years in Weekly Young Jump, subsequently spawning both a prequel and sequel series, as well as numerous animated and live-action adaptations across television, film and video games. The first chapter of Choujin X was released on Monday (May 10) and will follow a varying release pattern going forward.