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The Most Underrated Shonen Jump Manga

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Joined: 25 Apr 2017
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:14 am Reply with quote
The cancellation of Red Sprite and the other series of Yagi, Iron knight, still eat away at me every time I think about them. Such cool designs and awesome potential...just cancelled off. *crying*
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:25 am Reply with quote
Horikoshi is a great example that to get a series to succeed in JUMP takes a lot of work, skill and frankly some luck. He had two series before MHA, the one listed here in the article, and one about a Zoo full of animals that turn into people at sunset.

Both aren't bad, both aren't great but their solid attempts. He clearly used what he learned there in MHA, heck two characters from the Zoo, Uwabami and Gang Orca are straight up ripped and dropped into MHA. But he got lucky in that he got three chances, most artists and authors aren't that lucky.

Not everyone can be Oda and get that near perfect masterpiece on the first try. Like all creative fields it takes some skill, some passion, some luck and a whole lot of refining to get it just right.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:36 am Reply with quote
Even though it's just now getting an Anime adaptation I'd have to cast a vote for Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san partially because Romantic Comedies seem to get short shrift in English Language Shounen Jump.

The last one I can remember Viz publishing to completion is I's along with Rosario + Vampire but that series slowly began to feel more like a battle Manga as the second series drew to completion. As well as To Love Ru and To Love Ru Darkness are both just now getting released by Seven Seas. Along with Viz putting out Kaguya-sama: Love is War wich I wish I could say I liked but the art is little too rough in places to keep me reading.

Also Fire Punch deserves more of an audience from it's bleak post-apocalyptic world to the grim anti-heroic protagonist in Agni to the finely crafted fight scenes to sub textual social criticism. To the weird commentary on film inter spliced with scenes of man committing horrors against man.

Thankfully Viz is putting out in print but it is one that frankly gets kind of ignored wither because it's so grim and people find it hard to believe it could be a Shounen Manga. Still it is a series that I think could find a really loyal fan base if word of mouth spreads widely enough.

I wish I could say I liked Promised Never Land but after I read the first ten chapters in Jump the pacing seemed Stygian.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:55 am Reply with quote
Barrage and Red Sprite are not underrated, they got straight up cancelled, as they weren't very good, and didn't manage to attract an audience.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:08 pm Reply with quote
Hah! Loved this article, almost feels like it was written just for me. Cross Manage is still one of my favorite series ever. I am very sad it never got the popularity it deserved, but it's kinda a miracle it got 5 volumes, considering how short most jump-starts last. Stealth Symphony was an absolute mess, but like the reviewer i loved how insane the ending was. Kimetsu no yaiba gripped me immediately; in a lot of ways, it felt like the successor to Claymore, and i couldn't be happier that it's getting an english release.

(And for the reviewer; i read Psyren last year and liked it a lot!)
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:15 pm Reply with quote
Man, this list makes my favorite Shonen Jump series look like big stars! I've always enjoyed the Shonen Jump series that managed to make it to completion in the states, but never made it big over here: Buso Renkin being the top of my list, but I also enjoyed Muhyo and Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation (talk about crazy art with a creepy yet warm undertone!).
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:28 pm Reply with quote
Stealth Symphony needed more polish because I loved the aesthetic of the series. Cross Manage is definitely a really good sports title with a lot of heart. Actually kind of fine with it not going super long.

Neverland is probably the series I look forward to most in Jump these days that isn't Hunter x Hunter. Read Dr.Stone for a little while but, it's a fun read and one I think will be a hit with a good anime adaptation.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:50 pm Reply with quote
I will never forget Psyren, honestly I feel it was too short.

GoldCrusader wrote:
The cancellation of Red Sprite and the other series of Yagi, Iron knight, still eat away at me every time I think about them. Such cool designs and awesome potential...just cancelled off. *crying*

Ditto. Red Sprite was even heavier since I liked it more than iron knight.

Last edited by ultimatehaki on Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:52 pm Reply with quote
What’s always the real shame is twofold: if the manga doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion, and if it doesn’t get an anime. The latter is simply sad, but the former is downright harsh.

In terms of currently-running manga that weren’t already mentioned, Robot X Laserbeam looks like a genuinely good sports manga, which is no surprise considering it’s from the mangaka behind Kuroko’s Basketball. It’s really starting to gain popularity, so I hope along with Dr. Stone (which is written by Eyeshield 21’s mangaka for those unaware) and Promised Neverland, it can get an anime. As for much older titles from famous mangaka, there’s two I’ve read that deserve to be read. First, there’s Masashi Kishimoto’s Karakuri manga. It only got one chapter - IKR - before getting cancelled, but it was a pretty good read, if not a violent one, and people will be quick to note how much influence it had on Naruto. There’s also Zombiepowder from Tite Kubo, which if you’re only into Bleach because of the art and literally don’t care about the story, this manga should be perfect for you. Plus, it got four volumes.
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Lord Geo

Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Understandably, this list only goes from the start of digital distribution (& specifically the launch of Jump Start), but that results in way too many other hidden gems from Shonen Jump that happened years, if not decades, ago. In that case, I'll add in some underrated Jump manga that predate the digital era, focus primarily on titles that didn't become massive hits in Japan, either:
Fuma no Kojirou
The manga that Masami Kurumada made after he first hit it big with Ring ni Kakero. While it still generally operated like a lot of action manga for its time, it did hint at some of the larger changes that would become standard, like embracing the fantastical over the realistic when it comes to combat. Kurumada even went a fair bit philosophical during the second story arc, essentially questioning the concept of destiny & if it can even be fought against in the first place, not to mention the Buddhist concept of death & rebirth, Samsara. For an early 80s action manga, it went into a rather surprising & unexpected direction. It's not quite up there with RnK, B't X, or Saint Seiya, but there's still lots to like.

Otoko Zaka
Another Kurumada manga, but this is easily his most infamous. After a decade as a mangaka, he decided to make what he considered his magnum opus, an homage to Otoko Ippiki Gaki Daisho, Jump's first hit manga. Unfortunately, it failed to attract an audience in the mid-80s, partially due to Kurumada making an action manga that followed the way they worked in the 60s & 70s, even though Kurumada himself was a major help in changing shonen action into what it's still today known as. In the end, he had to stop making it, but fought back by splashing a giant "mikan/not finished" kanji on the final page; today, it's an iconic image that's been referenced & parodied by other manga. Still, what he did manage to put out in the original Jump run was fun, obviously planned out, and had tons of potential. Nowadays, he's been able to continue it on a yearly basis, already more than doubling the length it initially was back in the day. I'd say that the jury's out on where exactly it slots in against his other major works, but I only hope he can fulfill that potential.

For a moment, put aside the memes that are commonly associated with this story, primarily from the OVA adaptation ("Baoh's got a laser cannon!"). Even without all of that, Hirohiko Araki still made a very fun, very violent (seriously, even for the 80s it's amazing this ran in Shonen Jump) manga equivalent to an 80s action gorefest. That being said, the story was still brisk & kept you engaged, the characters were good (though understandably simple), & you can definitely see the origins of Araki's penchant for posing that would become an iconic appeal for JoJo. Sure, it's a fair bit cheesy in a lot of ways, but that honestly just adds to the appeal. I'm not quite sure how much more Araki really could have gotten out of Baoh had it not been cancelled so quickly, but at least he made its short run count.

Hareluya II BØY
This is one cheating, since it did run from 1992-1999 & lasted 33 volumes, but since the article mentions Psyren (which wasn't exactly a short runner itself), I'll make an exception here. Still, it debuted during the Golden Age's rise, survived during its greatest success, didn't end until just less than a year shy of Naruto's debut, & it's length was only surpassed by a small handful of other Golden Age series, yet this manga very rarely gets brought up whenever iconic Jump manga is mentioned, even in Japan. In the end, though, the series featured immediately relatable & likable characters, an interesting mix of yankii with more chic visuals & clothing (i.e. Hareluya Hibino can sometimes act a bit like a yankii, but he dresses much better than most), it feels very defined by the decade it ran in (similar to how Kimagure Orange Road was definitively the 80s), and its TV anime adaptation in 1997 introduced Shonen Jump to late-night time slots.

Sexy Commando Gaiden
I'd argue that this manga was the originator of modern gag manga, with its constant use of fast-paced gags, non-sequiturs leading into more non-sequiturs, & barrage of absurd situations & punch lines. Sure, the anime is a cult classic outside of Japan, but in its home country Sexy Commando has been seemingly forgotten, due to the creator's later hit, Pyu to Fuku! Jaguar.

Going off of memory more here than the others, but I remember really enjoying Tite Kubo's debut serialization. It had tons of style & flash, sure, but I think it also had a bit more to it thematically than Bleach. At the very least, Kubo had more of a definite vision for what it was going to be from the start than he did with Bleach. Really, the biggest let down was that Kubo admitted that he just wasn't ready for the weekly grind, which resulted in him relying too much on what his editor felt that manga needed (instead of using his advice to simply guide the story), which resulted in readers not caring for it anymore, which resulted in cancellation & nigh-depression for Kubo. While I'm sure he doesn't have any real urge to do another serialization, I wouldn't mind seeing Kubo come back & continue ZombiePowder., especially since he gave it a non-ending in the first place.

Buso Renkin
Yes, yes, I know that Nobuhiro Watsuki made this manga, & that apparently everything he ever wrote is now supposed to be unrepentant vile. Too bad he created one of the absolute best love letters to shonen action out there, with tons of imagination, excellent characters, fun action, & an ever a really damn good love story. Rurouni Kenshin is one of the series that made me start to really appreciate anime & manga, so I completely understand others' feelings towards Watsuki, but no matter how much of a sick, pedophilic man he may be, I can't deny that he made one of my all-time favorite action manga in Buso Renkin. Even bad people can do good things
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Love this article! It just saddens me that some of these got the early ax. In particular, Red Sprite and Barrage both sound very interesting, but I don't know that I'd want to read them knowing they both have non-endings. The Double Arts cancellation still hurts me a little bit Sad. Still might have to check out Stealth Symphony though out of curiosity. You definitely got me interested to see how Narita ends it.

I am keeping up with both Dr. Stone and Promised Neverland though and echo the thoughts made in this article. These are easily two of my favorite new upcoming manga and can't wait for the inevitable anime adaptations. Demon Slayer sounds like an intriguing pickup too.

And yes, I too remember Psyren! It's been so long that I don't really recall any plot details or characters, but I'm pretty sure I still had an enjoyable time reading it.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:08 pm Reply with quote
Kimetsu no Yaiba feels like the new World Trigger in that it's not very big at all, but survived long enough to get a nice cult following that kept it running. Incidentally, both are my favorite currently published Weekly Jump titles... I think Psyren falls in that category too because like Nicholas said, no one really remembers it but I am super fond of that series. I bought the digital bundle Viz offered a couple years ago and reread it over the summer again. Back to Kimetsu, I really love the unique art style and original types of demons. It's kind of the opposite of how Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan/Nurarihyon no Mago used famous yokai monsters (incidentally, that's another relatively unloved Jump gem, read it for the art, stay for the cast!) One last thing: Everything that was said about Cross Manage is entriely true. If you have time and can spare some money for 5 volumes, it's a very gripping sports drama with amazing art and characters. It may have been cut short but damn, was it satisfying.
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Joined: 22 Sep 2009
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Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:52 pm Reply with quote
Great article. When you look into the more ""obscure"" side of Jump, you can find a lot of interesting manga. With Jump, yeah, you could potentially be the next Kishimoto, though probably not, but even if your manga gets cancelled quickly, you may end up like Komi or Furudate. As a reader, it's pretty fun to check out what they did before they managed to make something stick. Yotsuya-senpai is certainly very different from Haikyuu. With Barrage, it's nice because there are actually physical English volumes available, so there's no reason not to read it, if you're a fan of Horikoshi.

Stealth Symphony, on the other hand, if you want to read it in English, legally, the only way is by digital SJ back issues, which are long unavailable. In the Japanese volumes, the final chapter is extended, but I don't think any translation exists?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:01 pm Reply with quote
And does anyone besides me still remember Psyren?


It's impressive where even having to rush the ending, Psyren still ended up great. It's a real pity that the mangaka's next work tanked, though.
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Joined: 20 Apr 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:51 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for this list! I loved a lot of these series, but haven't actually caught up on Kimetsu no Yaiba. I read through the first few chapters and wasn't grabbed, but I feel like I should give it another chance. On the other hand, I've adored Promised Neverland since the beginning, and, while not initially a big fan of Dr. Stone, I've come to really like it during this current arc.

As for other SJ suggestions, I know it's kind of cheating but I feel like more people need to read World Trigger, especially since it is currently on hiatus. It takes a few chapters to start getting good and the anime was clearly made on Toei's traditional shoestring budget, but it brings a more analytical and tactical approach to a shonen battle series that is very much appreciated in the current magazine.
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