Friendship! Effort! Victory! Episode 21 – Enigma

It’s conflicted opinion time!
Enigma's first and only cover in Weekly Shonen Jump, back in 2010


What is Friendship! Effort! Victory!? – It’s a podcast about the manga and inner workings of Weekly Shonen Jump, with an eye towards accessibility and soothing camp tones.

What is this episode about? – It’s about Sakaki Kenji’s Enigma (ǝnígmǝ if you’re pretentious), a title that was incredibly popular right up until it wasn’t, and examining how that came about. I also talk a bit about how creepy it is when fans obsess over the personal life of a creator.

Where are the show notes? – Zzzzz *snurk* Wha? Oh, I guess I wrote them in my DREAM DIARY (below)

-Want to know more about Enigma? There’s the Enigma Wikia, a great fan-managed resource that tells you just about everything you’d ever want to know, and the plain old Enigma Wikipedia Page, which I guess also tells you about it.
-Want to BUY Enigma in the original Japanese tankobons? Amazon Japan is your friend, although the reviewers certainly aren’t Kenji’s. LOOK AT THOSE AVERAGES.
-You can learn more about Weekly Shonen Jump over at the wiki page for it, which is almost slightly reliable.
Friendship! Effort! Victory!’s on iTunes, where subscriptions and reviews are always most welcome.
-You can find me on Twitter @Maxy_Barnard where I usually just swear and be wrong about stuff
-You can also find me on Tumblr over at The Despondent, where there’s a Schedule of upcoming episodes & an irregular supply of things relevant to mine and your interests (NOW INCL. A VERY SMALL GALLERY OF ENIGMA COLOUR MATERIALS)
-You can also e-mail me at maxy dot barnard at gmail dot com if you’d like.
-As always the music used in this episode is from Jump Ultimate Stars. The intro is [INTO PLANET] and the outro, appropriately is ‘Loser’


4 thoughts on “Friendship! Effort! Victory! Episode 21 – Enigma

  1. Haven’t read the series, but the first batch of participants, they were 7 didn’t they? The author managed to put each of them in the spines, asuming that volume 1 and 2 are the main boy and girl, at least she did this. The covers are very pretty and bussy, and it was an interesting premise, I heard that she did an one shot after it ended, but neither I nor Baka updates remembers about it.

    Some series should stay short, an advice that AssClass seems to be taking seriously, and that Enigma and Death Note should take.

    Taking the TRULLY needless or outright bad content out of Bakuman would be like taking just a volume, and it’s just an anoying kid and it’s dog.

    • It started out as seven participants, but Ryo Kurisu was saved from his failure several tests ago by the group about half-way into their test and became a participant himself, so I think he might have been kept off the spines as the least important character from the 8.

      I don’t bring it up in the show, but when it comes to series staying short I’m of the mind that there should be more planned miniseries like what Toriyama was doing post-dragon ball. It’d suit a lot of works like Enigma, or ST&RS (i’ll probably bring it up in that episode in a fortnight)

      (also I don’t mind the assistant and his dog, it just kinda came and went, so.. yeah, it’s pretty pointless, and could be cut)

      OH! And the one-shot, yeah that was in Jump Next in… either Spring or Summer 2012. One or two Nexts after the Enigma finale that was published in there. Didn’t read it myself (I only check out the seasonal mags if Akimoto’s got new work in it), so I can’t say I know anything about it. One to look up, I guess.

  2. Man, I didn’t think her marriage would be such a big deal to fans. I thought it’d just be a bit of trivia to most people. I’ve heard of the glass ceiling for a long time, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it firsthand until hearing your podcast on it.

    If I remember correctly, the pictures may have originated out of the hairdresser’s website, seen making the peace sign between Usuta and Sakaki, but don’t hold me on that. I think the reason people were so hyped up over her personal life is because a lot of it is already an enigma in itself, including her gender. Given her alias, all people used to know was that “he” was a long-time assistant for Akira Amano of Reborn. Also, why is “Yasuhiro + Mariko” written on the wedding cake? Could it be an indication of Kenji Sakaki’s true identity? Come to think about it, is Kyosuke Usuta an alias too?

    I think there was another photo of her smiling in front of a mural, but I’m still not sure if it’s actually her. I’ve always wished Kenji Sakaki would open up her own Twitter account so that she could open up a little, because I’m really seeing potential in her work. Maybe it’d stop all the hype around her personal life too.

    As for the low Amazon ratings, if I’m reading some of the reviews correctly, I will admit that I agree with them. After you read Enigma’s intensive storyline for the first time, you don’t feel that same intensity in subsequent rereads. Hence, the reread value really dwindles, and maybe that’s what’s causing people to steer away from picking up the volumes. I also remember back when the e-test arc ended, I was concerned with the student’s Talents because they were pretty randomly introduced. By that, I mean they were introduced specifically for the select occasions that they were desperately needed. I couldn’t imagine how Sakaki, or any other mangaka, could possibly group the same students together with their same Talents beyond the e-test. In that aspect, I think that’s also what caused Enigma’s downfall after the e-test.

    • Oh! You’re right about it being the hairdresser, that definitely rings a few bells. I also didn’t give much consideration to her being an assistant to Akira Amano, which reminds me of rumours about Amano in that she only hired female assistants. Never looked into that.

      I’ve also never thought about the names on the wedding cake, I guess? I mean I try not to be nosey, but pen-names seems likely as anything, and I recall it being said that Usuta was a pen-name before, but goodness knows where.

      Twitter accounts are kinda weird with Jump writers, aren’t they, with some having to close theirs at least temporarily once they get serials (The only obviously explainable one of these is kurogane’s author, who had to cut ties with his past of insulting Jump creators). So it seems just as likely that Shueisha themselves aren’t hot on having a fresh talent like Kenji out there yet. Which is a shame, because as much as i bash the noseyness, if people had a way of just learning a bit about her they’d have less to speculate on.

      And with the amazon ratings… Yeah I can see that. I only sped through to brush up on my memory of the title, but even with that you get a lot less impact just knowing how it’ll play out than there was on the first read. And I agree on the difficulties there’d be with regrouping them after the test, loathe as i am to admit it.

      Finally, thanks for listening, man, I hope it was worth it!

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