What a year this month has been. With everything going on in the world recently, you might have missed these news items and volume releases from VIZ media. Luckily, the monthly VIZ Pubwatch is here! This month we’re mostly focusing on long-running fan favorites and some classic series, including Mermaid Saga by Rumiko Takahashi.
First, an update on last month’s news: I started watching the Jujutsu Kaisen anime and can now personally recommend it as a weird, occasionally gory but very funny and well-animated show. The opening theme is by Eve, a singer I’ve been a fan of for a few years now, and it’s great.
On to the new stuff!
One Piece Approaches 1000 Chapters
One Piece by Eiichiro Oda is the best-selling manga series in history. This comic has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since before I was born! The manga will hit 1000 published chapters in a few more weeks. To celebrate this upcoming milestone, the Shonen Jump app is making select chapters of One Piece free to read each Wednesday. The following Wednesday, those chapters will be locked again and replaced by different free chapters. An excellent time to catch up!
If you’ve been on Tumblr or Twitter this past week, you’ve probably seen at least a few people talking about this. Chapter 290 of My Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi reveals a twist many fans have long suspected, but was never explicitly stated in the comic before. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the chapter yet, but if you were ever invested in this series at all you’ve probably already guessed what I’m referring to. The new chapter can be read for free here. It was certainly well-foreshadowed!
Revolutionary Girl Utena: After the Revolution by Chiho Saito is a new all-in-one compendium of three short stories, following the lives of the student council members in a world where Utena has never existed. To be perfectly honest, I have never read or watched Utena and everything I know about it I learned from friends by osmosis. However, WWAC’s own Paulina Przystupa reviewed this volume recently if you’re interested in learning more about it from someone who is familiar with the franchise.
Enough about things I haven’t read but have heard about, it’s time to talk about…
What I’m Reading
Haikyu!! Volume 41
November 3, 2020
I really love Haikyu!!.
In Volume 41, in the middle of the final set of Karasuno’s match against Kamomedai, an unforeseen disaster strikes the team and our protagonist Hinata Shouyou. It’s the quarterfinal match of the national tournament and tensions are running high for everyone, and every emotion of the players and their audiences is palpable through the pages. What I really love about this arc is how we get to see everyone else react to the events—the managers, the alumni, Karasuno’s rivals who got knocked out of the tournament earlier—everyone is watching Karasuno play, and everyone is rooting for Hinata and his teammates. We get some really great comedic and characterization moments for a number of minor characters, and Hoshiumi is established as a character the manga will return to later.
If this isn’t enough Haikyu!! for you, the second part of the anime’s fourth season is currently airing on Crunchyroll, with new episodes coming out every Friday at 2:30 PM EST. It’s just as delightful as the manga.
BEASTARS Volume 8
November 17, 2020
BEASTARS is a series where everything happens so much.
In Volume 8, the mystery of Tem’s murder is finally solved, while new mysteries arise. At the Cherryton school, the administration moves to disband interspecies clubs and separate classes into carnivores and herbivores, much to the dismay of the students. Also, Legoshi calls his grandpa! Also, Louis is around!
Sometimes this series reminds me of Riverdale, in the best possible way. The tone bounces wildly from intense action and drama to comedy to lighthearted school life, but it is precisely those dramatic shifts in tone that make BEASTARS such a compelling read. You can’t help but want to see what happens next. Most importantly, Legoshi is immensely likeable and sympathetic and I want the best for him no matter what. The bit of family backstory we get in this volume helps round out his character.
Speaking of BEASTARS, the trailer for the second season of the anime just dropped, and it looks intense! YOASOBI is doing the opening theme.
I knew nothing about Mermaid Saga going into it except that it was tagged Horror, and apparently had mermaids in it. The actual focus of the story, however, is not about the half-fish half-human nature of mermaids but rather the immortality a human can gain from eating mermaid flesh. The story follows the immortal Yuta and his attempts to become human again, while also exploring the nature of mortality and what it really means to live forever. The real horror comes not from the mermaids, but from the lengths the human characters go to in order to achieve their desires.
Yuta and Mana are a sympathetic pair of protagonists, and the different groups of characters they encounter on their quest throughout history all put different spins on this basic premise, allowing the reader to see many different motivations for eating the mermaid flesh, or feeding it to someone else, or keeping it buried in your courtyard for centuries just in case.
Rumiko Takahashi is a master of the comics craft, and I’m impressed with her versatility and how well she handles a work so much darker than the other things I’ve read by her.
That’s all I’ve got for you this month! Tune in next month for a look at some other series and genres we haven’t covered on this Pubwatch yet.