The future of Shonen Jump manga is here. Literally! In the microwave!
Story: Kenji Ichima
Art: Tsunehiro Date
Tranlation: Stephen Paul
Lettering: Snir Aharon
What They Say:
On a cold and stormy night, I decided to give up on my dream. But lightning strikes! And now I have an issue of Shonen Jump from the future! Teppei Sasaki is a passionate rookie manga artist who dreams of getting a series in Weekly Shonen Jump. One day, he gets a copy of Jump from ten years in the future. Is it all a coincidence, or is it fate? Whatever the case, destiny is about to change…. Time Warps! Destinies intersected! For a tomorrow that was never meant to be.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The latest of the new additions to Weekly Shonen Jump is Ghost Writer Time Paradox. This series is being written by Kenji Ichima and drawn by Tsunehiro Date, whose previous works include Cross Account and Tokyo Wonder Boys. This series caught my eye with its premise. It blends in elements from Bakuman and Steins;Gate and I hope to see it capitalize on those two aspects.
This series starts with an upbeat rookie manga artist, Teppei Sasaki who wants to have his work published in Weekly Shonen Jump. He wants to be the main star so bad, it becomes horrifying. The series starts by painting him in a good light as he rescues a little kid’s balloon from a tree. But it all goes downhill from there. He has a meeting with his editor, Kikuse to get published. Kikuse reads Teppei’s but he rejects and gives him some constructive feedback on what went wrong. Teppei wants a second chance for tomorrow to get published as soon as possible. He spends all night coming up with a new draft. So far, he is a great, positive protagonist as he has heroic qualities and an unbroken spirit. He seems like a great character to be leading this manga.
But his tale goes downhill from there. Teppei has created a new manga and is about to see Kikuse for the second meeting. Teppei gets rejected again and is offered some more constructive feedback but he refuses to listen. He wants to create a manga that everyone will enjoy. Such a goal is completely unrealistic and impossible to achieve. But he believes that it’s his destiny to be a major star. That where his character starts to become unreliable and a change from what was presented at the beginning of the chapter.
After he gets rejected, he walks a path of shame and depression. He wants to quit working as mangaka after all the years of wasted effort he put in. As he is about to quit, lightning strikes his apartment and hits his microwave. This is the part where it starts to remind me of Steins;Gate. Instead of sending messages like in Steins; Gate, it sends issues of Shonen Jump from ten years in the future. I wish there was some sort of explanation for why it randomly sends issues but it doesn’t feel like this manga is going to dwell on that subject. This manga has a science fiction element but it’s not going to play too much with that factor.
He opens the manga and reads a future series, White Knight by Itsuki Anno. He is amazed at what the manga he just read and feels like its the best thing he ever read. He conveniences himself that it was a dream and decides to publish it as his work. He then goes to the Shonen Jump offices and asks Kikuse for one last chance but he denies him. He breaks into the offices and the editor in chief reads his work and decides to publish his work directly into Shonen Jump. This is the point that made him into an unlikeable protagonist. He skips through a lot of steps and gets directly to his goal. He claims someone else works as his own. His editor, Kikuse questions whether he was capable of writing such a wonderful manga. This is also going to be a source that will push for some great moments going forward. How will Teppei be able to keep writing such a wonderful manga that isn’t his idea? Those moments will be a wonderful challenge for him.
The end of the chapter reveals, Itsuki Anno, a shut-in high schooler, who was originally going to write White Knight. She is pissed that Teppei took her idea and hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. She seems like she is going to make an excellent character foil for Teppei. They both love manga but they have different methods in their love of writing it.
Teppei had such a noble start but that fell apart soon. He switched from a likable protagonist to a misguided character. I want him to achieve his goals but it has to be in a proper manner. Itsuki is bound to spice things up for Teppei and create boundless chaos. I mentioned this series taking cues from Bakuman and Steins;Gate but those cues are few and far. This chapter is barely tiptoeing around the two themes that it laid out but is building towards something greater. The time microwave is still working and I hope the effect it has on the present is explored further. There is also a small glimpse into how Shonen Jump and the manga industry functions.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Shonen Jump
Release Date: May 17, 2020