Thousands of fans descended upon Makuhari Messe in Chiba last weekend for Jump Festa 2020, this year’s annual celebration of everything Shueisha and Jump-related. Amidst the many themed booths, stalls, stages and photo spots, many important and exciting announcements were made – here are just a few.
Updates From Jump Festa 2020
Firstly, although surprise announcements might be the event’s specialty, Jump Festa 2020 had a whole host of important updates with regards to already-announced projects to deliver throughout the weekend.
After season 1’s cliffhanger ending, excitement for Dr. STONE season 2 – ostensibly titled Dr. STONE: STONE WARS – is at an all-time high. Clearly, TMS Entertainment isn’t interested in letting any of this go to waste, as the Dr. STONE stage event on Sunday (December 21) unveiled a new teaser trailer for the anime’s continuation:
It must be said that there isn’t much in the way of information in this teaser, but it does offer us an almost nostalgic look back on the events of Dr. STONE season one alongside some new voice lines. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for more information, perhaps even a release date, sooner rather than later.
But even the more recent hype for Dr. STONE season 2 surely isn’t enough to beat out the hype for The Promised Neverland season 2, which has been bubbling away ever since season 1 drew to a close this March. Season 2 was announced not long after, but the series’ stage event on Sunday at Jump Festa 2020 marks the first time in a good while that we’ve heard any updates.
Don’t get your hopes up too much, however, as the series’ stage event was mainly concentrated on the upcoming live-action film adaptation. But at least we got a concrete release date for season 2 of The Promised Neverland anime – October next year – alongside a release date for the live-action film, which opens on December 18.
Moving on to perhaps less substantial announcements, it was announced during the Boruto stage event on Saturday that the anime adaptation by Studio Pierrot would be moving on to adapt the Mujina Bandits arc of the original manga when it returns in January, now that the 20th-anniversary arc featuring a younger Naruto Uzumaki has been wrapped up. Jump Festa 2020 also delivered the surprising news that the previously-announced new Prince of Tennis movie would be 3DCG and is going to be pushed back for a later 2021 release window. Go figure.
But wait, did you think that I’d forgotten about the Jujutsu Kaisen anime? Far from it. Heading into the annual event this year, it’d be safe to say that any and all news about the upcoming anime adaptation of Gege Akutami’s original manga was going to be top of my list. But, unfortunately, no such news came about.
Sure, the Jujutsu Kaisen did have a booth on the show floor at Jump Festa 2020 and made a couple of announcements through it, but this was very limited. We did get a new key visual (see below) and the announcement that Yuuichi Nakamura would be playing Satoru Gojo (a very good choice, may I add), but this wasn’t exactly what fans were hoping for.
It wouldn’t have been unreasonable, going into the event, to expect a release date for the upcoming anime project. That’s what’s happened in the past, such as with the Dr. STONE anime. But, instead of clearing up the many questions surrounding the project – who will be handling the adaptation? How far along is its pre-production? When can we expect to see it on TV? – fans only came away with more, such as why an anime project would be announced when so little of the groundwork has seemingly been laid.
Out With the Old…
Even so, the lack of information on the Jujutsu Kaisen anime was but a small misstep in a weekend full of exciting announcements. If we move on to round up the more surprising Jump Festa 2020 announcements – something the event has become somewhat famous for in recent years – then this excitement only increases tenfold.
Our first announcement is that of another season of the World Trigger anime. It’s incredible to think that it wasn’t that long ago that fans of Daisuke Ashihara’s science-fiction series were left on ice, as the author was induced to take a hiatus for health reasons that ended up lasting over two years. The first season of the anime also ended not long after, making it seem as if – at least for a while – the story of Yuma and friends was going to meet the same fate as Hunter x Hunter.
But then, Ashihara announced that he had recovered from his health problems and that the series would be returning to Weekly Shonen Jump for five issues before moving to a monthly schedule in Jump SQ. Fast forward a year, things are looking up for the series and its fans – at this point, the prospect of a World Trigger season 2 is just the icing on the cake.
Jump SQ, in general, seems to have had a very fruitful time at Jump Festa 2020. That’s because not one, not two, but three of its series are going to be receiving anime adaptations: the first of which is World Trigger, the others being Kemono Jihen and Moriarty the Patriot.
Kemono Jihen has been serialized in Jump SQ since December 2016 and follows the story of a boy known as ‘Dorota-bou’ as he gets involved in supernatural happenings. An anime adaptation will be the first time that any outside source has touched the property, written and drawn by Shou Aimoto.
Moriarty the Patriot, on the other hand, has already made its mark on the wider world with a musical that is set to open next year as well as a light novel adaptation. It follows the story of Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Moriarty from Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous series of short stories and has been serialized in Jump SQ since August 2016.
While both series are popular, the announcement at Jump Festa 2020 that they would both be getting anime adaptations was certainly unexpected – especially when Weekly Shonen Jump’s own properties were conspicuously absent.
That is not to say, however, that Weekly Shonen Jump was somehow missing from the slate of surprise anime announcements. But what was needed was apparently a bit of rummaging around in the magazine’s back catalog, as a new anime based on Ichida Kouji’s classic Dragon Quest: Dai no Bouken (The Adventure of Dai) tie-in manga was announced.
Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1989 to 1996 and has managed to carve out a decent cult following for itself over the years, despite being a tie-in to the Dragon Quest franchise. Obviously, it helps that Dragon Quest fever was at an all-time high when it debuted, as well as the fact that Jump and Dragon Quest have always enjoyed a close relationship. Nevertheless, that doesn’t undermine the wow factor of this Jump Festa 2020 announcement – especially given the success of the recent Dragon Quest: Your Story. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for this one.
…In With the New?
Moving on from anime announcements, we get to the various announcements made during Jump Festa 2020 with regards to Jump-adjacent games – not least of which a new game based on The Adventure of Dai that is coming alongside the new anime adaptation.
As if seeking to replicate the success with which Dragon Quest managed to reap its relationship with Weekly Shonen Jump, Level-5 are launching a new multimedia project called Megaton Musashi in collaboration with the magazine. Below is a new preview for the game that is supposed to form but one basis of its vast network of related properties including manga, anime and web shorts.
The thing is that this project was actually unveiled all the way back in 2016 with a projected launch date of 2017, but things have remained quiet on that front for a long while since then. Hopefully, unveiling a trailer at Jump Festa 2020 like this will give the project the momentum it needs to finally launch and deliver on its fascinating multimedia premise.
Like clockwork, there’s also a new Yu-Gi-Oh! game from Konami on the horizon. Well, to be fair, this time it’s just the announcement that the previously-released Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution will be making its way away from Nintendo Switch exclusivity and towards other platforms, including PS4, Xbox One, and Steam.
In terms of worthwhile announcements from Jump Festa 2020, that’s about it. While I think that there are a couple of pieces of really exciting, genuinely unexpected news in there, I can’t help but come away from this year’s event with just a little bit of disappointment.
Starting with the lack of information on the Jujutsu Kaisen anime – what many, including myself, assumed would be the focus of the whole weekend – there were also no announcements with regards to the magazine itself. That means no series for some of the greats who have been left in the wilderness for a good while, such as Yusei Matsui and Masashi Kishimoto before him.
On the Ground at Jump Festa 2020
But I wouldn’t want to leave off on such a negative note. For as much as I might be able to read into the lack of exciting announcements in comparison to previous years a shocking symbolization of a general downturn in the magazine’s fortunes in the recent period, it must be said that, as a fan, Jump Festa 2020 pushed all of my buttons.
For starters, the event was bigger than ever, with booths for corporations and individual IPs stretching across two halls alongside a cosplay area, the Jump Super Stage where most of the stage events took place, and even a dedicated area for super rare Jump Festa 2020-limited goods.
And even when there wasn’t much to share in the way of anime or game announcements, every single series in one of the Jump magazines – Weekly or not – got a feature in the massive wall of illustrative shikishi postcards that stretched along the wall of the event. That allowed fans and authors alike to celebrate the continued success of the series that make Jump so special in the first place.
So while I may wax lyrical about the comparatively poor quality of announcements coming out of this year’s Jump Festa 2020, that’s never really been the point. The event has always been, first and foremost, a celebration for fans and professionals alike that can only be truly appreciated when you’re actually on the ground, on the floor and in attendance. I’ll see you next year.