Tomorrow's Jump Part One: The Survivors of 2018

Yes, because the most appropriate title for an article series on Weekly Shonen Jump contains a reference to a legendary manga...published in arch-rival Weekly Shonen Magazine. Oh well. I suppose that wasn’t especially well thought out.

But anyway. Weekly Shonen Jump is the most circulated manga magazine in the world. It is also Japan’s most circulated magazine. Publication in Weekly Shonen Jump is considered a guarantee of quality and popularity. The most famous and influential manga series in history — titles like Dragon Ball, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, One Piece, Naruto — have all come from Weekly Shonen Jump. Think of the most popular manga or anime right now. It’s probably a Shonen Jump property.

All great manga must come to an end, eventually. However, Shonen Jump readers have been staring at a flurry of endings of late. Gintama, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, Food Wars, and the aforementioned Demon Slayer have all published their final chapters in recent times. Haikyuu and The Promised Neverland have been officially confirmed to be ending soon. Even the poster child of modern shonen, My Hero Academia, appears to be slowly moving towards an endgame.

The void left behind by these departing series will no doubt be occupied by new, up-and-coming manga. And plenty of new series make their debut in the magazine every year. But Shonen Jump is an unforgivingly competitive environment. Writers are given a very short window in which to impress fans, failing which the series is mercilessly culled. We’re not even halfway through the new year and 2020 has already seen four new Jump series meet a premature end, with one of them (Zipman) having only started in January this year.

On the flip side, the manga that do survive the year tend to display impressive staying power. 2018 is a good example: although only three titles out of twelve released that year are still being serialised, those three titles are now looking to be the most promising new manga in the magazine. They are fresh and unique, not merely following in the same shonen mould. In part one of this article series, we take a closer look at these survivors of 2018: Act-Age, Jujutsu Kaisen, and Chainsaw Man.

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