The beginning of a new week can only mean one thing: time for new Weekly Shonen Jump! This is where Jacob investigates the latest and greatest in the magazine, telling you what’s worth your time and what’s not. You can find coverage of other series under the tag Jump Time. Here’s i tell c chapter 1.
There is a reason why detective stories don’t feature in many weekly shonen magazines. Unless you’re a genius like Gosho Aoyama, putting together an interesting one on a weekly basis is very hard: practically impossible, in fact. Secondly, the core young male audience that such magazines profess to target doesn’t reward such series, with the obvious exceptions being things like Neuro: Supernatural Detective and Detective Conan. But even those are from bygone decades.
Still, there is also another saying: nothing ventured is nothing gained, which is why I am pleased to see Kazusa Inaoka take another brand new step forward with i tell c chapter 1.
Most of the English-speaking Jump audience won’t know that Inaoka just finished up a new series in Weekly Shonen Jump last year, albeit the digital version of the Japanese magazine: Bunkiten, which proved compelling as both an interesting editorial experiment and a break from the author’s previous work. As a result, most readers will probably be most familiar with their first Jump series, Kimi wo Senryaku se yo!.
What made Bunkiten so interesting is that Inaoka purposefully broke away from the sloppy love comedy that defined their debut and moved towards more serious, narrative-driven storytelling. So when I heard that i tell c would continue this trend, I was delighted: gone is the focus on goofy character designs and cheap gags, and in is a kind of realistic, yet artistically distinct artwork that sits alongside beautifully a strong story focus on murder mystery.
i tell c chapter 1 follows the case behind the murder of Haruka Shinomiya, a famous entertainer. In terms of the mystery, it’s pretty good: nothing comes out of nowhere, and there is a good balance between investigation and explanation. By far the series’ biggest initial draw, however, is its main character, Risa Aioi.
As a detective, Risa has an unfortunate tendency to fall in love with the culprit: this apparently stems from a kidnapping incident earlier in her childhood, where she developed Stockholm syndrome for her kidnapper. In one fell swoop i tell c chapter 1 both introduces a genre that has been missing from Jump for a while and one that was in danger of disappearing: mystery and romance.
Whether this will work out in the long run remains to be seen. As mentioned, the magazine’s core audience doesn’t tend to reward either genre, and the actual mechanics of i tell c’s overall narrative have yet to be revealed. Will it all be episodic mysteries, or will we get more arc-based stories based on Aioi’s past? I imagine that the two other detectives, Ukon and Sakon, will also have an important part to play.
Regardless of the technicalities, I’m almost naturally drawn to i tell c chapter 1. I love mysteries and I love Inaoka’s recent work, so call me biased, but I’m also in love with the character designs, as well the way that Inaoka uses color to obscure Risa’s face up until halfway through this opening chapter.
It doesn’t happen often, but this series is just my cup of tea.
You can read i tell c chapter 1 for free via VIZ Media‘s Shonen Jump.