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In case you hadn't already heard, as of Monday, the online US release of Shonen Jump is going simultaneous with the print edition in Japan. So they're changing the name of the online edition from Shonen Jump Alpha to Shonen Jump Weekly (a direct translation of the Japanese version.)

So I thought now was a good time to show you four semi-random pages from the latest issue and get everyone caught up on what's been happening.

First up is Naruto. This last year has been the winding down of the Ninja World War, and we're in what appears to be the final for sure this time against the puppetmasters who've been behind all of the bad things that have been happening. Naruto is the point man, but every good or neutral ninja left alive is helping out.

But no war is without its casualties, and Naruto needs a quick pep talk to continue. That happens this chapter, and he finds renewed resolve.

Naruto/Hinata shippers rejoice; Naruto/Neji and Hinata/Neji shippers, not so much.

One Piece: The Punk Hazard arc is in its wrap-up phase, but may be prolonged by yet another really strong villain showing up. This chapter, Law demonstrates how sneaky he can be.

Cross Manage: A newer series, about a former soccer star, Sakurai, who becomes the manager of a girls' lacrosse team. (This is a gender flip of the usual shonen sports story, where a male team has a cute female manager.) It has a number of features to recommend it, including having female characters with different body types (and the pudgy girl gets a romance subplot!) but has not ranked well with the Japanese readership so is on the fast track to cancellation.

They've finally gotten to the first game of the tournament and all their hard work is finally starting to pay off. In particular, Sakurai has finally figured out how to best utilize lovable but inept team captain Toyoguchi.

We all know where that's going.

Bleach: Is in what is allegedly its final arc. An army of the supposedly extinct Quincies has shown up and is trying to destroy the Soul Society. Ichigo manages to hold them off just long enough to delay the final blow, at the cost of his sword and severe injuries. So he and Renji are visting the most powerful Shikigami ever to get back their game. Best bit of this chapter is when the boys are enthusiastically greeted by a crowd of attractive women, and immediately assuem there's some kind of trick involved. "They're probably all dudes or something."

Nisekoi: Another new series. Raku and Chitoge (both scions of yakuza families) meet, each thinking the other is kind of cute, but quickly learn that their personalities clash, and wind up hating each other. They are then forced by their fathers to enter into a fake romantic relationship to halt a feud between the families. (Thus the title, which translates as "False Love.") To no one's surprise but theirs, the two teens have started developing genuine feelings for each other.

But wait! Raku has a special lock pendant that can only be opened by the girl he promised to marry as a small child. And it just so happens that Chitoge has a key that might fit that lock...but so do at least two other girls who also have feelings for Raku. It's an amazingly generic series, but also extremely well-done.

In this week's chapter, Chitoge changes her look a little, but is disappointed when Raku seemingly fails to notice. So she tries more drastic changes, with the same lack of reaction. Finally she confronts him.

Toriko: A series about food. Toriko is one of the greatest food hunters ever, and his faithful chef companion Komatsu has grown into a top-ranked cook. Lots of bizarre food items and eating scenes. Right now, Komatsu is participating in a cooking tournament, but it looks likely to be interrupted by the hideously mutated villain army attacking.

Blue Exorcist: Rin, the son of Satan decides to become an exorcist to fight his evil father. Yes, just like Daimon Hellstrom. Except he's a teenager in exorcist school. This chapter focuses on his twin brother, Yukio, who is supposedly fully human. But lately, he's begun to wonder....

And finally, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. This series was moved to monthly to allow the creator to really go all out for his final plot arc, including full color. And fittingly for the last issue of Alpha, this is the final chapter of the monster-heavy series, as Riku goes up against Nue, who plans to destroy everyone who will not serve him.

And so the wheel turns.

Your thoughts and comments?
(Still struggling through second week of college.)
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