Hello there and welcome to Your Manga Week. Finding time to keep up with all the manga that releases on a weekly basis can be difficult, so I’m here to tell you what’s worth your time and what’s not. We’ll also be discussing the story and arc developments as they come. This week, we’re talking My Hero Academia chapter 263, Dr. STONE chapter 142, and Guardian of the Witch chapter 6.
This column is now officially old enough to drink. Will you be toasting a glass to the continued future of Your Manga Week? I know I will. By the way, have you checked out our schedule for this coming month? We’re doing a whole host of features and interviews on Madoka Magica, starting with one fascinating piece from Alicia on Yuji Kajiura’s music. It’s not exactly manga related, but definitely still worth a read. Anyway, on with the manga.
My Hero Academia chapter 263
Big things are happening in My Hero Academia chapter 263. That may surprise you given that we have covered most of this latest narrative arc since it began back in January, but the true significance of our heroes’ latest assault on the forces of evil was not made clear until this week. Simply put: the revolution is beginning.
After remaining underground last week to track Mirko’s encounter with Daruma, My Hero Academia chapter 263 casts a wider focus this week and finally gives us a sense of what the rest of the characters are up to. More specifically, this week focuses on the members of Class 1-A, who have also been recruited for this latest raid. Mineta kicks things off before Jiro, Yaoyorozu, Ashida, and others join the fray. It’s always good to see our characters in action, so it’s a welcome sight.
One of the fruits of this renewed focus is a fantastic moment with Kaminari, who has been peeled off from the rest of his classmates to join in with the Pro Heroes’ assault. He’s not too happy about being thrown into the deep end like this, but some encouraging words from Jiro – as well as a hint that the Stun Gun Hero may have feelings for her – fills him back up with confidence and even makes him appear quite cool, if only for a second.
Aside from reuniting with old friends, what’s important about My Hero Academia chapter 263 is the supposed long-term ramifications of the heroes’ actions. Put simply, by engaging in an all-out assault on the villains’ base, they may have actually forced their hand – instead of waiting for Shigaraki to finish his Quirk-augmenting process, the Paranormal Liberation Front is going to launch its revolution, as hinted back in chapter 245, right now. That certainly wasn’t a part of the heroes’ plan…
Whether or not this bold declaration will pan out in the long-term will be interesting to see. At this point in the series’ lifespan, it wouldn’t surprise me if Horikoshi was interested in launching the endgame, and the power escalation of our two main protagonists and antagonists – Deku and Shigaraki – has long since foreshadowed their coming final conflict. But, then again, the series is doing well enough that Shueisha may want to keep things going a little longer, so this ‘final’ phase may not be as final as first thought. We’ll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, what’s not speculation is the fact that Hawks and Twice will be having some sort of confrontation sometime soon. The very end of My Hero Academia chapter 263 sees the Wing Hero baring down on the villain, murder in his eyes, and several death flags were already triggered back in chapter 258. Whatever the outcome – either Hawks gets outed as a traitor or he is forced to somehow silence Jin (read: kill) – it’ll be a tragic one, as the pair struck up an unlikely friendship. Expect some tears next week…
Dr. STONE chapter 142
Over in the Stone World, things have been progressing smoothly ever since the totally realistic and not-crazy-at-all declaration that Senku and his friends would be going to the moon. To this end, last week saw Tsukasa finally pulled out of cryo-sleep so that his incredible faculties could be recruited for the cause, and this week’s Dr. STONE chapter 142 deals with how exactly this cause is going to be achieved – spelling out the series’ biggest and most ambitious ‘roadmap’ yet.
Ever since the series’ very first ‘roadmap’ – a plan of action drawn up by Senku to make some sort of scientific item (I believe the first one was alcohol, but I could be wrong) – the scale and complexity of Senku’s plans have increased every time. But the fact that our hero plans to get his hands on a space rocket is definitely way crazier than we’ve ever seen before, and there’s a roadmap to match: in order to gather all of the materials needed for the rocket, the Kingdom of Science will need to travel all over the world, revive all seven billion people and rely on their cooperation to gather the massive amount of resources needed to replicate what could rightfully be considered mankind’s greatest achievement – landing on the moon.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Senku alone will have to complete this task. In terms of reviving all of humanity, you have to assume that he will teach the way to make revival fluid to the first cohort of people that he revives in a particular location, who will then teach it to the others that they revive and so on and forth, spreading in a wave across the world until, eventually, humanity is back on its feet.
Furthermore, he has precious friends who will be helping him in this task. Among these are the regular faces – Kohaku, Gen, Taiju, etc. – but special attention should be paid to Tsukasa, who makes his first real appearance as an ally in Dr. STONE chapter 142.
Reviving Tsukasa doesn’t mean that all of the old conflicts go away, however, Dr. STONE chapter 142 sows some interesting dramatic seeds that may or may not sprout in the future. Firstly, there’s a moment of reconciliation between Gen and his former overlord, recognizing the fact that Gen’s betrayal was perhaps for the best. Secondly, there’s a slight mention of the fact that Tsukasa disagrees with reviving all of humanity. While this is quickly squashed in a comedic exchange, it’s hard to imagine that the fundamental ideological difference between Senku and Tsukasa will go away any time soon.
Bad blood is also being created between Tsukasa and Ryusui, another relatively recent addition to the cast. Their conflict is more personality-based than the one with Senku, but Ryusui’s way of living – desiring everything and everyone (irrespective of gender) – still rubs Tsukasa the wrong way and quickly leads to a moment of conflict. Again, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if this tension surfaced once more in the future.
In the immediate term, the task left to the Kingdom of Science is to set sail for America and revive all of the petrified people there so that they can use all of that bountiful US corn to make lots of alcohol, which is a key ingredient of revival fluid. This means, in an interesting twist of fate, that Gen’s lie about the USA being back up and running during the Communications is going to come true, which was definitely something that Riichiro Inagaki had in mind from the very beginning.
Guardian of the Witch chapter 6
In discussing My Hero Academia chapter 262 and Dr. STONE chapter 142, we’ve given most of the word count to some of Weekly Shonen Jump’s most high-profile series. It only feels fair, then, to at least try and give one of the new guys a chance.
Out of these new guys, several candidates stood out. This week’s Agravity Boys continued the series’ upward trajectory; this week’s Undead Unluck served up some surprising plot developments, and even Mitama Security got a little emotional. But, out of everything, Guardian of the Witch chapter 6 compelled me the most. Why?
Firstly, this chapter reveals some pretty important plot information. Attempting to fight back against the witch-hunting duo Gen and Ruli reveals that Manasfa isn’t as powerful as we may have originally thought – the tower that she inhabited was full of special tools and talismans that helped amplify her power, but now that she’s outside, in the real world, she’s like a sword without its scabbard. She can scarcely cast a fireball, let alone help Fafner fend the highly coordinated duo off.
With this in mind, Guardian of the Witch chapter 6 delivers some very cleverly-written action. As Fafner fends off Gen’s magically augmented attacks, he begins to formulate a plan that will work in spite of Manasfa’s sudden lack of ability. Instead of relying on properly cast support magic, he orders her to cast a fireball at him, using the explosion as a smokescreen to launch himself upwards and land an aerial blow on Gen.
Previous chapters have delivered some competent action, but nothing comes close to this moment in Guardian of the Witch chapter 6. The way that author Asahi Sakano establishes a new plot element and utilizes it straight away is practically writing 101 as it gives the reader the confidence to begin to thread together the narrative and predict its future development on their own. In this sense, he did a great job.
Nevertheless, in many other areas, Sakano falters as a writer (not as an artist – his art has always been great). In the first place, the use of humor in Guardian of the Witch chapter 6 often feels off. Take this moment, for instance, right in the middle of the clash between Fafner and Gen. Is this really the time to be having a funny exchange? Aren’t their lives on the line? Using humor in this way just takes away from the value of the narrative and hardly encourages the reader to become invested.
Even worse than Sakano’s use of humor, however, are the issues stemming from his pacing. We are approaching the magic seven-chapter mark (the number of chapters that go into a volume), meaning that the series’ first volume will be full of a fight that hasn’t really excelled in any major aspect, Guardian of the Witch chapter 6 being the exception to the rule.
If Sakano continues with good writing practices and works on his humor, there is no doubt that Guardian of the Witch can improve in the long run. But what I fear is that the author has already used up all of his chances – the series’ first volume isn’t shaping up to be the best, and good volume sales can make or break a series. It’s doing fairly well in the table of contents, but that’s not always an accurate reflection of a series’ reception. We’ll just have to wait and see how this all pans out.