Viz Media has recently just announced that the winner of the recent round of Jump Start titles is Black Clover, which I have my own thoughts on. However, let’s actually look at all of these recent Jump Start series as a whole and analyze them. Did some deserve to win more than the winner? Was the winner all that good? Did some titles improve beyond the first issue that I reviewed? Let’s take a look.
Mako invited Kyosuke and Haku to come and live in her apartment, which they do after they help her avoid being kicked out by her landlord. However, soon after, Kyosuke is called in by the Shikigami Association to help one of their agents by the name of Hollow Rabbit bust somebody/something (it’s an abomination, I’ll say that much). It’s been giving people Shikigami powers, including the murderer from the first chapter, and they need to bring him down. The Jump Start run ended with the three heading to a mall, where the agent is trying to capture/take down the Rabbit himself.
Kagamigami was a series that didn’t start off the best in its first two chapters. The execution and odd opening felt off in the first chapter, while the second barely any had story going on in it (it was basically a joke chapter with the three getting into a silly situation). The third chapter, though, is where the manga started to really shine and grab my attention. We got introduced to the organization that Kyosuke works for a bit better, we had an interesting storyline going, the artwork really got to show off some cool and creepy designs, and we even seemed to be expanding the supporting cast. It ultimately figures that it really started to pick up steam just as soon as it wrapped up.
Despite all of its problems and slow start, I really enjoyed it. I really like the character of Mako, who is pretty well characterized and absolutely hilarious (one of the best new female characters I’ve seen recently in any series), I found that the humor got better as time went on, and the final chapter really got me excited to see more. Admittedly, these supernatural type series appeal to me a lot more than others, but I really grew to like this series a lot.
Should It have Won?
Of all the titles we got, I would have personally preferred this to win. There was marked improvement by the time it wrapped up, which makes me wonder how much better it would’ve gotten if it continued. But overall, leaving personal opinions out of it, I could see this being a deserving winner. It did have some of the best artwork of the series we saw, it had a great female lead, and the writing got better. I know a lot of people weren’t into this title too much, but I could easily see this series growing on people after a while if it did win. Oh well.
After the events of the first issue, Asta and Yuno started training fiercely for a few months and took part in the Magic Entrance Exam. Basically, the two of them have to show off their magic skills, amongst many of the other applicants, in front of the leaders of the Magic Knights. Each leader has their own Squad and whatever candidate they pick, that person will automatically join. Yuno has a great showing at the exam and every leader wants him, though he ends up going with William Vangeance, the leader of the Golden Dawn (aka the strongest squad of all the Knights). Asta, on the other hand, has a terrible showing due to his non-magic abilities, but still impresses the Black Bulls’ leader, Yami Sukehiro. Asta is forced to join with them and the Jump Start run ends with him discovering that the Black Bulls are the lowest ranked and worst squad of the entire Magic Knights.
Black Clover is a good series from looking at the first three issues, but one that we have honestly seen plenty of times before in various ways. The characters, the setup, the story going on here, the magic, the whole Squad situation and more…none of this felt all that original nor were there any neat twists or turns at this point. I mean, none of this is poorly written (though the pacing is certainly rushed) the execution isn’t bad, and I do find that there are quite a few good and enjoyable moments here, but this is the least original series we got from the group.
Did it Deserve to Win?
This was my third choice to win (though sometimes it tied with Cyborg Roggy depending on my mood), but ultimately, I’m not surprised it won. Even though it is very familiar and has been done a lot before, it does have a lot of the things that appeal to readers and Shonen action series fans. It has some solid artwork, the story and characters are executed well enough, and the writing is decent. There are other titles that deserved to win more due to better characters and more originality, but I do see why it won and hopefully, the series has improved beyond the three chapters we saw.
Cyborg Roggy was called to do two separate jobs. One job was to rescue a woman from her younger brother, who was being forced to make more augmentation parts for people. The second was for an old man who wanted him to sneak into a toy company and destroy the original augmentation part unit before they use it for evil. He handles the first job without any real difficulty, while the second job is a bit difficult. The Jump run ended with Roggy finding something being locked away in a cage of the toy company just before the bad guys made their appearance.
Of all the Jump Start titles we had, this one was the most original of the series. The main character was different and fairly amusing with his eccentricities, while the setting and backstory felt similar to Hi-Fi Cluster but much better executed and even intriguing at points. I mean sure, Dog as a character was nothing original and barely got to do anything in the three chapters we had here, but I found most everything else to be pretty well handled or at least show some promise.
Probably its biggest weakness was the fact that it barely got anything going in terms of a major story or focus. Kagamigami at least got to develop some sort of story or at least seem like it was heading in some direction at the end. This title didn’t seem like much was accomplished at all nor did we really learn anything about the main character besides his personality. It’s a bit disappointing in that regard, but it could have gotten better as time went on.
Should It have Won?
I would say, if we are just basing it on these three chapters, it probably deserved to win on its uniqueness alone if only to shake things up a bit. Give the readers something different than usual to read every week. That being said, I can see why this didn’t win. Outside of one or two moments and the nice artwork, it’s really not like any of the Shonen Jump series due to its more serious and sometimes mature themes & tone. I mean sure, it’s goofy at points, but its tone and even look are just not really within the norm, which may limit its appeal despite the positives it has going for it.
Ultra Battle Satellite
After Jin won his fight against the Noob Hunter, he’s been wondering what the heck Ultra Battle Satellite exactly is and what Momochi’s role in it is. She leads him to a shrine, where she explains the situation about how there are no rules in U.B.S. and you can be attacked anywhere, at any time. With that, she attacks him herself and reveals that she is a fighter as well. The two fight a bit, with her having the advantage for most of the match until he tosses some sand into her eyes to blind her. The third issue ends with him punching her directly in the heart region of her chest and causing some serious damage to it.
Of all of the Jump Start titles we got, Ultra Battle Satellite was not only the weakest one but also the only one I flat out didn’t like. It’s a very straightforward and basic fighting series, with really no twist other than the characters are allowed to fight dirty and use underhanded tactics to win. Other than that, there really was nothing else to get into with this book. The characters were really unlikeable or unpleasant with no charm to them (the main character especially being the worst of the bunch), the story felt nonexistent, the artwork was average (though all of the female characters looked terrifying) and the action looked clunky and hard to follow at points. It was one of the worst things I read this year and I got a bad feeling I’ll be discussing this title again when it comes time to do my yearly lists.
Should It have Won?
I feel fully confident when I say Ultra Battle Satellite shouldn’t have won and I fully get why it didn’t win either. It just wasn’t very good or all that well written or drawn. There’s just not a lot here to get out of or to really chew into. I know some people like the more straightforward fighting series like this one, but this is just not good enough for that because there are better series in this genre. Overall, it was just not a good outing from these first three chapters.