The sheer evolution gold that comes out of Shōnen Jump and Shueisha is mind boggling when put into scale. Shōnen Jump itself has been published since 1968, of course to compete against Shōnen Sunday which was very popular and successful. I mean Naruto has been running a weekly serialization for 15 years come this November. 15 years. One Piece has been serialized for 17. Of course, neither One Piece or Naturo hold a candle to Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo, which has been running in Shōnen Jump for over 30 years. Guess what my friends, thats longer than I have been walking and breathing on this Earth.
These manga then evolve into anime. Recently the animation world has been flooded with Kuroko no Basket, Medaka Box, Nurarihyon no Mago, Gintama and the return of HunterXHunter. Walk into your local, or website, animate and characters goods abound for these shows. I can find coasters, coasters for god sakes for Ao no Exorcist and Gintama, shirts, clear files, CDs, writing boards, cups, bowls, pencils, boxes, and just about anything else for them there. Why is this?
Of course, part of this is that there are always new little boys to catch in their plot depths, though maybe not if you look at the Japanese birth rate. We as older readers are also always sucked into them too. We've all seen the guy who still wears a Naruto headband, walks around with a Pikachu hat on, and proudly declares himself an Otaku.
The reason I bring this up is fairly simple, I have been reading Kenshin in honor of the up coming movie. My friends are so happy about this movie and are going wild just thinking about it. I imagine that the online fansubing community has been conducting strategy meetings to be the fastest group to put it together in the best quality fansub. Hell, they probably have a random friend set up to record at the movie theater for them. I'm not even half way through Kenshin yet, but that's my plan for the next couple weeks. I gotta finish it before the movie comes out.
While I was reading Kenshin, I was struck by how, for lack of a better term, different it was from normal Shōnen Jump titles. I mentioned this after I read Shaman King as well, how Yoh was not the stereotypical Shōnen Jump hero. Instead of putting all his energy and personality into defeating Hao and "becoming the best Shaman King ever", Yoh has got to be one of the most relaxed Shōnen Jump characters I have ever read. Kenshin, instead of being a young idealistic boy who is out to prove himself to the world, or within his own community, has already done so. He is much older, 28, and already possesses skills that put him at the top of the social ranking.
Then I got to thinking about the whole Jump Universe, yes it deserves to be capitalized. All the Jump spin off magazines need to be involved in this discussion: Jump SQ, Saikyo Jump, V Jump, Grand Jump, and only slightly JumpX. When I look at a lot of the manga that comes out of these magazines, I just can't help but get a little nostalgic for their plot lines. I mean really, they are so entertaining and you are able to suspend your disbelief so well with these titles. I mean really, a world of ninja and pirates that are able to turn themselves into skeletons and giant rubber bands? What's not to love on a sheer ridiculous scale?
So my question is this: What Shōnen Jump or Jump Universe is your guilty pleasure? Do you have a secret bible to Naruto? Have you read and watched every episode of Reborn? Do you yearn for the days of Slam Dunk over Kuroko no Basket? You have a crush on Rukia that hasn't vanished? Are you actually happy that Shaman King now as a sequal? Have you seen the Prince of Tennis musical yet? Or are you still all about Goku and Dragon Ball? Tell me and share it with all and sundry!