cover art by Yoichi Takahashi
As of writing this piece, I’ve been reading Grand Jump for 15 issues, released twice a month since September last year, and it’s been an interesting journey compared to our last highlight for these, Weekly Shonen Sunday, being a magazine aimed at a much older audience; that of older Japanese businessmen (though as with all demographic stuff, this is largely an arbitrary designation). This means that the content is aimed at a much more mature audience, and presumably a more intelligent breed, doing away with the furigana (hiragana above kanji) that’s helped me keep my head juuuust about above water when reading, and as such I’m usually up s**t creek without a paddle reading this stuff.
But I’m nothing if not stubborn, and equipped with both a decent ability to kind of work stuff out visually when my own brain and dictionary/vocab reference lets me down, and manage to read some eleven of the magazine’s twenty(ish) series on a regular basis, all of which I’m going to talk about at some short length below. The vast majority of these aren’t talked about in western comics circles, and so I really wanna shed light on what are some of my all-time favourite comics. Let’s go.
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art by Hiromu Arakawa
Silver Spoon vol. 1
Story & Art: Hiromu Arakawa
Translation: Amanda Haley
Lettering: Abigail Blackman
Originally Serialised in Weekly Shonen Sunday
Published by Yen Press, 2018
Copy purchased at Amazon UK
Me and the farmer get on fine
Through stormy weather and bottles of wine
If I pull my weight, he’ll treat me well
But if I’m late, he’ll give me hell
-‘Me and the Farmer‘, by The Housemartins, 1987
What is it?: Silver Spoon is a Weekly Shonen Sunday series sporadically published since 2011, about Yuugo Hachiken, a directionless city kid, moving to an agricultural high school expecting an easy time where he’ll be able to prepare for entrance exams to a ‘proper’ college. Little does he know how badly he’s underestimated the hard-working world of agriculture, facing grueling physical activity and difficult studies in areas completely unknown to him! Along the way he reassesses his views on life, finds new friends, and maybe even a new future outside of traditional academia.
Silver Spoon is also one of the more recent works of Hiromu Arakawa, celebrated creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, Hero Tales, and the current manga adaptation of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, with a successful anime under its belt from A-1 pictures, and a live-action film. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also the quickest title to ever sell a million copies for Shonen Sunday’s parent company, Shogakukan. A big deal, then.
art by Aka Akasaka, cover design by Izumi Evers
Kaguya-sama: Love is War vol.1
Story & Art: Aka Akasaka
Translation: Emi Louie-Nishikawa
English Adaptation & Editor: Annette Roman
Touch-up art & Lettering: Stephen Dutro
Cover & Interior Design: Izumi Evers
Published by Viz Media, 2018
Copy purchased at ComiXology UK
I taught myself the only way to vaguely get along in love
Is to like the other slightly less than you get in return
–‘We are beautiful, we are doomed’, by Los Campesinos!, 2008
What is it?: Kaguya-sama: Love is War is an ongoing comic from Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine (and their currently defunct sister publication Miracle Jump), based around one key concept; that love is a battle of dominance, and that to be the one in power require the person not giving an inch, even to the point of not being the one to confess their feelings first!
And so we’re presented with two members of the student council at the prestigious Shuchiin Academy; Kaguya Shinomiya, the well-bred and royal-rich sheltered queen of the council, and Miyuki Shirogane, the handsome wunderkind and president of the student council. Both are hilariously vain, self-involved, emotionally stunted, and very, VERY in love with each other. But what’s a pair to do when they each refuse to be the one to admit it? Why, warfare, of course! Endless battles of the mind to give one up over the other and get their heart’s desire; a confession from the other.
We’re back for the last chunk of the series I’m reading in Shogakukan’s anthology Weekly Shonen Sunday, organised by my enjoyment of them. Once again, none of the order is to say that the series at the bottom of the list are *bad*, just that every other title above them is one I love more than it. It’s a list of love. I’m full of love.
Also I’ve played with the format a bit to make it a bit easier to both explain the series and why I love it. Readers of the previous version of the site will find it passingly familiar, so it’s *almost* like I’m learning again.
I’ve been reading Weekly Shonen Sunday for about 26 issues now, inspired mostly by friend of the site Sakaki’s Weekly Shonen Sunday Talkback blog, and whilst my language skills aren’t quite up to snuff, I’ve been having fun reading about 3/4 of the magazine week-on-week. So to give me an excuse to gush a little about the titles I’m currently reading, here’s a list of them all from top to bottom, in terms of my personal enjoyment. The order isn’t *massively* relevant, as I do love EVERY SINGLE SERIES I’m going to talk about in this two-part write-up, it’s more an excuse to organise them all. So, eight series in this one, then the remaining seven, with the three latest Sunday series being exempt because hardly any chapters are out of those so far (with the promise of reviewing them in the future). Okay? Okay.