The beginning of a new week can only mean one thing: time for new Weekly Shonen Jump! Shueisha’s legendary manga magazine has been releasing every week for over 50 years at this point, and it still has enough exciting series in its roster to justify its hallowed status. Plus, with VIZ Media now publishing the entire thing in English, there’s never been a better time to jump in. In this column, Jacob investigates the latest and greatest in the world of Weekly Shonen Jump, telling you what’s worth your time and what’s not. This week, we’re chatting Chainsaw Man chapter 85, Magu-chan: God of Destruction chapter 12, and Mission: Yozakura Family chapter 51.
Chainsaw Man chapter 85
Let me start this week’s column off by saying that, as a rule, I try to leave at least a couple of months before featuring a series again in the lead spot. Ideally, what I’d like a visitor to do is to be able to scroll down the page and see a variety of different series from different genres in the thumbnails before pressing ‘More Stories’ – this is intended to both capture the variety that exists in Weekly Shonen Jump and prevent one series from dominating the proceedings.
Nevertheless, Chainsaw Man chapter 85 has forced me to break that rule.
Chainsaw Man chapter 85 is incredible. It is the perfect encapsulation of why I love Tatsuki Fujimoto’s writing so much – madcap, unhinged, and endlessly creative. It also comes in a string of incredible chapters; while Chainsaw Man hasn’t been in the lead for a month, it has been featured as part of the line-up for editions practically every two weeks since then.
So, what makes Chainsaw Man chapter 85 so special? Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the surprising plot developments or character deaths (which we will discuss later), but everything to do with an interview that Yuji Kaku, author of Hell’s Paradise: Jigokuraku, did over the weekend.
In it, Kaku described Tatsuki Fujimoto’s writing style as one where “the gag element of a character is the driving force of the story.” More generally, one could say that Fujimoto is a very concept-oriented writer: he has very clear profiles for his characters and simple ideas for his stories, which can, at first glance, appear quite juvenile.
Chainsaw Man chapter 85 is one such story. This week, Fujimoto asks the question “what if Chainsaw Man went to eat a hamburger?” Further, he asks “and what if Kobeni was there?” The end result is both beautiful and terrifying, perfectly showcasing the appeal of the series.
Here’s a joke for you. A broke young man, a chainsaw dog demon, and a hopeless klutz walk into a burger joint. What happens? As Chainsaw Man chapter 85 correctly points out, all of the employees would be absolutely terrified of the dog demon, while the young man just wants to chow down on a burger and the klutz, bless her heart, can’t help but let her knees give in to the pressure.
Fujimoto’s combination of the macabre and the mirthful is as effective here as it has been in the past, forcing laughs out of the reader while also causing them to fear for our characters’ lives. There is true horror in the way that Chainsaw Man waits patiently for his burger while the employees do their best to follow the pre-ordained ritual, only to have Kobeni mess it all up and someone die; it is like being stuck on the worst type of neurotic fairground ride, being whirled around on the waltzers while seeing the corpses of fellow passengers go splat in the comedic funhouse mirrors.
The way that Chainsaw Man chapter 85 takes the very simple concept of the titular character walking into a burger joint and elevates it into something incredible brings forth a comparison with “Let’s Go Eat Some Italian Food!” from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This is not simply because of their food-based theme, but because both stories are simple enough to be understood from their titles – yet go much further beyond what the audience might expect. Of course, the only difference is that Chainsaw Man chapter 85 is much, much darker.
Helping Chainsaw Man chapter 85 along is also the character of Kobeni. She has long since been a favorite of the fan base, but her inclusion in Chainsaw Man chapter 85 perfectly cements her as the tortured pariah of the series – never dying, never killed, but constantly suffering as a result of her own flaws. Is that not a fate worse than death?
Speaking of death, there are also a couple of narrative developments in Chainsaw Man chapter 85 that we should talk about. I am, of course, speaking about Makima’s “death”: right at the beginning of the chapter, Chainsaw Man crashes into where she was standing with Kishibe and cuts her head to toe. Surprising stuff.
Thanks to the exposition delivered last week, we now know how impactful this death in Chainsaw Man chapter 85 could be: any devil that Chainsaw Man kills is erased from existence. As a result, it would seem as if Makima is gone forever.
Nevertheless, I sincerely doubt that this will turn out to be the case. If Makima dies, not only will the series lose one of its most iconic characters, but also much of its narrative momentum – the whole story up until this point has been part of the Control Devil’s machinations. I wouldn’t be surprised, in turn, if this was all part of her plan, even if it contradicts what she told Kishibe last week.
In any case, Chainsaw Man chapter 85 will probably go down as my favorite chapter of the entire series. Chapter 82 was already up there thanks to Makima’s laugh scene, but chapters 71 and 64 were also very strong contenders. It does have that combination of the hysterical and the horrific, however, that just inches it out ahead for me.
Magu-chan: God of Destruction chapter 12
Now time for something completely different. You won’t find any surprising character deaths or stomach-churning horror in Magu-chan chapter 12, but what you will find is a whole load of wholesome humor and a change in narrative that proves very exciting for the series’ future prospects.
Summer is coming to a close in the real world, and it has already ended in Magu-chan. Last week’s chapter 11 saw protagonist Ruru return to school from summer vacation, introducing Magu to her friends and making some new additions to the Destruction Disciples along the way. This week, however, it becomes clear why author Kamiki Kei has chosen to shift the series’ setting: instead of an endless summer, it now becomes possible to transform Magu-chan into a school series.
As it turns out, Ruru’s friend Kikyo is really into the occult. Like, really into the occult. She’s been operating the Occult Research Club on her own for the past year now, left behind by her graduating upperclassmen – what Magu-chan chapter 12 consists of, then, is the classic “save the club by getting together the necessary amount of members” storyline.
Yet, this is exciting for many reasons. Firstly, it offers the hope of narrative structure to what has essentially been quite an aimless series – not that that has been a problem so far, but it may prove difficult to maintain in the long term. Furthermore, it could widen the scope of the story out from being simply “the misadventures of Magu Manueku” and into something more closely related to the occult and the arcane – the prospect of meeting other Elder Gods along the lines of Napu is a tantalizing one indeed.
Of course, the idea for such a story only works if you have the quality of characters to maintain it – in this regard, Magu-chan chapter 12 seems quite promising. Kikyo herself is certainly an entertaining addition to the cast, being obsessed with Magu’s unusual body and enthusiastically accepting initiation into the Destruction Disciple’s Blood Oath. Ruru is quite unremarkable, but it is her relationship with Ren that has me excited – if being together in the same club can lead to more adorable, awkward interactions between the two, then I’m all for it.
To top it all off, Magu-chan chapter 12 is funny. Really funny. Much like previous chapters in the series, it had me laughing out loud at multiple points – especially at the end, when Magu attempts to pass himself off as a human student. The teacher’s reaction is priceless.
So yeah, Magu-chan chapter 12 is good. But what makes it even better is the fact that it opens up so many possibilities for the series going forward. I’ve already been enjoying the series up until this point, but this may mark a new frontier in my appreciation. We’ll have to see what next week’s chapter gets up to, but consider me firmly on board.
Mission: Yozakura Family chapter 51
Finally, we come to Misson: Yozakura Family chapter 51. Speaking of engaged, I’ve been thoroughly disengaged from Hitsuji Gondaira’s spy series as of late – last week’s chapter was pretty good, but the recent climatic arc had me bored out of my mind. Call it an aversion to hyper-masculinity, but I didn’t find the family’s outrageously muscly opponents very entertaining. At least this chapter is good though.
Remember Animal Crossing? It seems like everyone has forgotten about Nintendo’s latest title now that the hype has died down, but Mission: Yozakura Family hasn’t. Chapter 51 opens with Taiyo and Shion playing one of the hacker genius’ custom-made “hacking games” – parodies of popular titles that actually carry out real-life missions – called “Beast Crossing.” No prizes for guessing what the reference is.
We already saw one of these games back in chapter 11, and it is as entertaining here as it was back then. Even so, what makes Mission: Yozakura Family even more entertaining is the fact that we finally get to spend some time with the titular family.
The criticism has been raised multiple times at this point, but the most annoying thing about Hitsuji Gondaira’s writing is that he prefers to introduce new characters instead of developing old ones. Whether or not this is being mandated by his editors is beside the point, as it gives the series the impression of being as wide as an ocean, but about as deep as a puddle.
Much like chapter 50, Mission: Yozakura Family chapter 51 remedies this by letting us spend time with Shion. We also see a bit into her personal life, including her thinly-veiled affection for Kenzi, which does wonders in terms of fleshing her out as a character. Certainly, this week’s chapter is nothing compared to the pure fluff that was last week, but it is still a marked improvement on the previous arc.
Part of the reason why I also chose to focus on Mission: Yozakura Family chapter 51 is because it is dealing with the consequences of that previous arc. Gondaira is not shying away from the fact that Taiyo now has Yozakura superpowers, nor is he afraid to let him use them to overwhelm his opponents.
My only hope is that he also learns the lesson of previous chapters, crafting some better antagonists while also focusing on what makes the series so compelling – family. Much like The Fast and the Furious, that is what this is all about.