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January 23, 2013

Bento Bako Lite: All-New Weekly Shonen Jump!

Call it a dream for fans of manga and anime for years now. Some “new comers” to the fandom may not realize it, but once upon a time there wasn’t a way, either legal or illegal, to get brand new manga just as it came out from Japan at their finger tips. Even in the late-90s into the early-otts, as the anime boom started taking form, folks had to import things like Shonen Jump weekly for a high cost, and then spend back breaking hours trying to translate the Japanese pages themselves if you wanted the here and now. As of Monday January 21st, 2013, that is now far from the case as it was even ten years earlier in North America. This week, Viz has unleashed a long wanted dream to the North American fan community. They have officially ended their “Alpha” period of their digital weekly Shonen Jump (a big step in itself) and have replaced and rebranded it with the All-New Weekly Shonen Jump!

So what is so new? The biggest thing here is day and date with Japan! Never before has this happened where the same day readers in Japan are reading it, we here are reading those very same chapters in English. Well with All-New Weekly Shonen Jump, that is a reality! Even when Viz launched it digitally last year, the 2-3 week difference phase was a big step, although some argue not a big enough step to combat illegal scanlators. Well now we all get it, same day! Another change from “Alpha” to “All-New” is a big complaint that the digital copies of Shonen Jump originally expired after “x” amount of time, making some readers not want to jump on board to basically pay money for something they’d lose access to eventually. Again, no more. Viz has announced all Shonen Jump issues are now the reader’s to keep forever digitally with no expiration date!

Now aside from day-and-date with Japan and keeping the issues forever, All-New Weekly Shonen Jump is adding new titles! The first one rolled out this week is the awesome One-Punch Man, story by One and art by Yusuke Murata, who was the mangaka behind long running manga and anime series Eyeshield 21! Originally, One-Punch Man started as a web manga in Japan, but it grew so big it got picked up for print by Shonen Jump. The plot revolves around a superhero named Saitama who has gotten so strong he can defeat all bad guys in a single blow. As great as this is, it is making him miserable since he cannot find an opponent worthy enough to really give him a go. The art is exceptional in Murata fashion, and the story really funny. Picture all the drama building up to a fight in Dragon Ball Z, only for it to be quickly solved in one single hit, and the good guy becoming a cry baby about his victory. Really solid addition, and it will be great to see where this is going!

One-Punch Man won’t be the only new addition, as Viz has promised more new manga will be announced as the weeks roll out to join the All-New Shonen Jump, with next week’s issue featuring a one-shot called Kintoki by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball/Dr. Slump fame! The weekly manga mag still features all new chapters of series Naruto, Toriko, ¬†Bleach, One Piece, Nisekoi, and Cross Manage, with once-a-month titles of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal, Rurouni Kenshin Restoration, and Blue Exorcist!

Add it all up and Viz has not only delivered a long awaited dream of weekly manga the same day it comes out in Japan, but also has done it in a sleek design with a ton of titles that will keep growing as it goes along. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, download the Viz App for your tablet device or smart phone, or go to their website and get a subscription to the All-New Shonen Jump. If being a manga/anime fan during the boom 10 years ago was a good time, this just might be the start of a second period that will be even better with Viz trying to lead the way.

Drew McCabe
drew@comicattack.net

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