An asterisk is that little star you sometimes see, next to things like ‘free* checking’ or ‘free* bat day’ or ‘free* Willy’. It is an indicator that things are not on the up-and-up. That is certainly the case with “The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water” (“ Gakusen Toshi Asutarisuku” “Academy Battle City Asterisk”). But, first, we must go back to the front.
In the 20th century, a disaster called Invertia led to the destruction of numerous cities across the world. (Well, I assume the world. I mean, only Japan got pulverized?) In response to the declining economy, the Integrated Empire Foundation is organized to assume the world’s leadership. The parallel city of Rikka, also known as Asterisk, has six academies which hold tournaments called “Festas”. Seidokan Academy becomes the 5th highest-ranking academy in Asterisk. Now, the thing about Rikka is that it is designed to look like a stylized asterisk, with the six academies as the points of the star and the festival battlegrounds as the center.
This was a show that went in a different direction than I had imagined, in that what (or who) should have been the ‘star’ was relegated into being a support player. But I digress. Welcome to the world of “Heavy Object “(“Hevī Obujekuto”).
We are in an alternate future (and can a future be ‘alternate’? It’s the future; who knows what it may hold? Except no hover boards), and war as we know it is obsolete. Well, not completely, as war is war, but instead of sending in hordes and hordes of soldiers to shoot and stab and bomb and blow up, we send in the “Heavy Object”, a massive orb on tank tracks. And I mean heavy. Aside from being 50 meters in diameter, it is also 200,000 tons of hugeness. And those are the ‘small’ ones! Part of the issue is that where it can go is somewhat limited. You had best have something special when you go to the desert (and, yes, there are floating versions of this weapon as well).
Magazine covers for the second batch of “Jump Start” debuts in 2017
I wrote a post in February about the first three manga series in Weekly Shonen Jump‘s 2017 “Jump Start” program, which were We Never Learn, U19, and Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries. Since then, three more series have had their own three-chapter trial runs – Hungry Marie, Dr. Stone and Robot x Laserbeam. After Viz weighed the reader survey results for all six series, they added Dr. Stone, Robot x Laserbeam, and We Never Learn to the magazine’s regular lineup. The first three chapters from all the Jump Start series are available as free chapters on Viz’s website.
In this post, I discuss the following chapters: Hungry Marie chapters 1-3, Dr. Stone chapters 1-9, Robot x Laserbeam chapters 1-7, U19 chapter 3, Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries chapters 2 & 3, and We Never Learn chapters 4-9. I have enjoyed reading all six of those series up to now, some more than others, and would like to see them get digital volume releases in the future.
This was a show I started to watch, had it taken away and picked it back up to complete it when it returned. “Sora no Method” (“Celestial Method”) is kind of like what happened to me with this show, in that things we did in the past have now come around to greet us again and need to be completed.
Nonoka Komiya (far right) is a girl who once lived in Lake Kiriya City, but moved out. Seven years have passed and she returns to discover there is a mysterious blue saucer hovering over the city. This is a big tourist attraction, as no one can answer any questions about it. I mean, all it does is hover, but is otherwise completely inert to anything and everything. As Nonoka tries to make herself at home, so to speak, she meets this odd girl, Noel (blue hair in the center) who claims that she not only knows of her, but has been waiting all this time to grant her wish to her, a wish that was made seven years earlier. Continue reading
This is an anime with another capacious title: “Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru” (“Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation” or “A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako’s Feet”) and is one of the better horror/crime dramas I have seen recently, despite an obvious problem. Sakurako Kujō (left) is a genius beauty in her mid-twenties whose life is centered around one thing and one thing only: bones. People are dull, boring little creatures, but if we can get to their bones…..well! Who cares about six-pack abs when a well-formed humerus is far more appealing. Here is where the problem sets in.
She has little tolerance for others and is fully content to be completely isolated in her study, crammed with skeletons, if it weren’t for high school boy Shotaro Tatawaki—her new assistant and constant companion. Well, she does have Ume Sawa, her caretaker (look, she would be skin and bones, never eating, as she admires bones. One feels her culinary skills are highly suspect and might not know how to boil water) and Hector, the family dog. Together, they can solve crimes, because the bones talk to her and tell her a story that others can miss. Continue reading
The English-language Weekly Shonen Jump digital magazine is in the middle of a six-series “Jump Start” event. Three series have already debuted – high-school comedy We Never Learn, shonen action/drama U19, and monster comedy Demon Prince Poro’s Diaries – while the other three new series coming soon are Hungry Marie (February 27th), Dr. Stone (March 6th), and Robot x Laserbeam (March 20th).
I recently bought a one-year subscription to Shonen Jump during a promotional sale, partly so I could easily check out the new manga debuts. Here are my short thoughts on the first three that have come out.