Many know that I don’t like Shounen Jump. No, I really don’t like Shounen Jump. Next to the big 3, the few series which got anime adaptations over the past year, Bakuman and Enigma, I honestly have no idea what else is running on JUMP and I don’t really care either. But ST&RS, has proved to be an exception.
Despite having only 2 chapters so far, the first chapter itself was already had me hooked and I really wanted to read on.
Though: why, do recent JUMP protagonists all have green hair? *enigma*
ST&RS, a story about the space race after some possibly prophetic message from our martian counter parts, to meet on Mars in the year 2035, July the 7th; though oddly enough, the translated scans state that its really on August the 7th.
Our main protagonist, Maho, is disappointingly your typical shounen main character: hot blooded, simple minded and possibly the chosen one. The first word he spoke was “Mars.” Definitely chosen. And since then, he has been cultivated by his overly enthusiastic father to become an astronaut. This also makes him a weird space maniac, much to the chagrin of childhood friend, Hoshihara Meguru, who ironically does not share Maho’s passion for stars despite her name.
Meguru, your typical shounen female lead: tries to keep a cool head, always fails to do so. Unconditionally goes along with the protagonist despite obviously being against it. The guardian of the childish, immature, hot blooded lead.
So the “Naruto” and “Sakura” of the story is out. Typically we need a “Sasuke”, a rival. Amachi Wataru, genius transfer student, closet space fanatic. Gets along surprisingly well with the protagonist. Has a father with a dark and troubled past which would probably only be revealed very much later.
And then there’s the mentor type character who started out as the loli who discovered the message from martians: Fifi Collins. Grew up to become an interesting no nonsense woman, headmaster of the Space Academy I’d honestly say, this is possibly the most interesting character that has came up so far, but thats just me…
Though I DO reckon the 2 guys above may prove to be interesting.
The thing about Shounen Jump is that the character types are just all too typical and ST&RS has been pretty shounen so far (yes I actually have issues with the shounen genre), but it doesn’t matter the main selling point of the whole manga is the plot itself.
ST&RS is a co written work and I’d have to say, the combo of Takeguchi Ryousuke and Miyokawa Masaru has been pretty stunning throughout the span of 2chapters. The art is A tier: the characters were well drawn, so were the backgrounds, especially the background. I don’t recall having seen any jump work using CG unlike Negima, Hayate no Gotoku, kaminomi and the likes. I imagine drawing all the stars would have required research and quite a bit of work.
The plot is just very, very promising. Sci-fi itself has no limits: pick some mysterious scientific genre like space travel, mix it up with fantasies like message from Mars, add a pinch of friendship, effort and victory. You get ST&RS a plot full of potential.
Space itself is infinite, the concept of aliens contacting earth is interesting too. The whole of Earth struggling to fulfill the prophetic message by martians before the deadline, the trio’s race to be the ones to be on Mars and answer their possible calling. Even the date 7th of July holds the romantic chance that it could be Tanabata related. And after Mars, you can have the whole solar system, galaxies and dimensions even. In fact its pretty exciting to speculate the possible story plots (at least for me).
I can already foresee a whole arc devoted to the entrance exams, another arc to Amachi Wataru’s conflict with his father which was already prominent in the 1st chapter and a long portion dedicated to the trio’s training, before journeying to Mars and Mars itself. Interacting with aliens and intergalactic crisis makes interesting stories too. Or the whole space race could even end up as a huge conspiracy.
That said, I certainly think that ST&RS isn’t suited for a long serialization like the big 3. I wouldn’t mind but I just don’t think space science is something that attract your typical jump readers. Space may be infinite but how interesting space is certainly is.
Though I sure hope they prove me wrong. And pray that the author doesn’t mess up.
I can’t wait for chapter 3.
Side note: Its been such a long time since I posted something and I have no idea why I’m reviewing JUMP manga of all things but my next few posts will probably also be manga reviews in one way or another because thats the only thing I can find time to properly write about since I’m too busy to watch anything other than Steins;Gate and Nyanpire.