The return of Kishimoto Masashi to the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump has been in the works for years now, ever since he finished his massive 15 year run on the global phenomenon NARUTO in 2015. But despite helping out with some elements of NARUTO’s sequel BORUTO, the now-legendary creator has laid dormant – that is, until this year’s Jump Festa, where a surprise announcement PV for Kishimoto’s new manga dropped at the end of the BORUTO event. Check it out below:
Titled ‘Samurai 8: Hachimaruden,’ the series will see Kishimoto tackling the story while another, as of yet unknown artist called Akira Okubo tackles the artwork. While I’m unsure about giving the artwork for such a highly-anticipated title to a newbie, spreading the work between two people is a great idea – NARUTO suffered greatly from drops in quality of the artwork as the series went on, after all, no doubt due to the hectic environment of serialization.
And even if Okubo is a new artist, the artwork on the show during the PV is certainly impressive, with some seriously impressive character designs on display with the samurai cyborg aesthetic. The question is, however, how much of this is due to the flashy editing, and how it will actually look during serialization.
It’s from this artwork on the show during the PV as well as the text appears on screen that we can deduce several things about the series in lieu of any real concrete information. Firstly, the series will take place in an alternate sci-fi setting that somehow blends cyborg technology with samurai, with one sword-wielding character’s head splitting open to reveal the circuitry within. No doubt the story’s setting will function much like NARUTO, that being an exploration of an alternative world – in this case, the world of cyborg samurai.
Furthermore, much of the text that appears on the screen refers to the “strength within” and “resolve,” which seems to pretty heavily imply that this will center around a protagonist that will grow in strength, much like every Jump manga nowadays. It’s possible that our protagonist will be the younger, bespectacled boy that appears in the trailer, and that the older character whose head splits open will be his mentor, but I couldn’t say for sure. Given that NARUTO followed this very format in centering its story around the growth of one young ninja called Naruto Uzumaki, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case though.
There’s a real lack of good science-fiction manga in Weekly Shonen Jump at the minute, with Dr. STONE being the only series that comes close to scratching that itch recently. With such a talented and established mangaka such as Kishimoto handling the direction of the series through the story, it’s an understatement to say that I’m pumped for when Samurai 8 launches this spring.