On January 21, Viz Media finally pulled the plug on its Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha digital manga publication. The publication relaunched, sans its “Alpha” in its moniker. The new publication promised new series, higher page counts, and exclusive freebies, among other enhancements.By many standards, three months from launch is more than enough time to iron out those last-minute kinks that may have arisen during the launch window. At the same time, though, it’s also an ideal time to look at the service as a whole.
Pages are presented in the standard black-and-white format, with the occasional color page, and color title leads. Certain titles, like Dragon Ball are presented in full-color due to their format. The overall page quality is strong, with clear images and text. Issues do arise at high zoom levels, when the lines and text begin to blur and edges show signs of aliasing. However, the overall presentation is strong enough that normal reading will not be hindered. Translation quality is Viz’s normal offering which will be a benefit for some, while others will see it as a detriment.
Weekly Shonen Jump currently hosts twelve titles:
- Bleach by Tite Kubo
- Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato
- Cross Manage by Kaito.
- Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama
- Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto
- Nisekoi by Naoshi Komi
- One Piece by Eiichiro Oda
- One-Punch Man by ONE and Yuusuke Murata
- Rurouni Kenshin Resurrection by Nobuhiro Watsuki
- Toriko by Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
- World Trigger by Daisuke Ashihara
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal by Shin Yoshida and Naoto Miyashi
Overall, the selection skews strongly toward the fighting genre, with several titles in the genre, four of which can be classified as more mainstream offerings (five if one counts Toriko):
- One Piece
- Dragon Ball
However, genres such as sports (Cross Manage), sci-fi (World Trigger) and high school comedy (Nisekoi) are represented, and help to offset much of the saturation of fighting titles.
Overall, Weekly Shonen Jump is a balanced publication. None of the titles are overly adventurous, whether it’s terms of content or genre. However, the offerings are fairly solid, and will offer enough to interest most casual readers.