Monday, December 2, 2019

REVIEW: Zipman!! Ch. 1

In last week's issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, two series published their final chapters. That means we're getting two new series this month. First up is Zipman!!, and holy crap guys, this series is great.

Zipman!! follows high schooler Kaname Tatara who has always had a rivalry with his younger twin brother Koshiro. While Kaname is mostly normal, Koshiro was a genius who founded a robotics R&D company when he was fifteen. When the series begins, Koshiro has just died in a tragic accident at work.

As children, the two bonded over their love of a dog-themed tokusatsu series called Jackman. When they're saved from a bully by a tomboy named Cheena, their a romantic rivalry was born. While Koshiro focused his mind, Kaname poured his efforts into his body, learning martial artists and joining every sports club he could.

Kaname's goal is to get cast as Jackman, but before his brother's death all he managed was a gig as a monster in a stage show. Even though Koshiro is gone, it still feels like their rivalry - both professional and romantic - is continuing as Koshiro wins multiple posthumous Nobel Prizes.

And then a giant robot attacks.

At the halfway point, I was kind of expecting this to be about the behind the scenes look at tokusatsu shows and local hero events with a heavy romance subplot. And I was down for that. But shonen gonna shonen and I am all for a tokusatsu-inspired series.

This is the manga Kamen Rider fans have been waiting for. For the most part this first chapter plays out like the first chapter of a tokusatsu series. I won't spoil the gimmick, but I'm getting vibes from both W and Drive, and of course there's some Samurai Flamenco feels here.

If you love tokusatsu shows, Zipman!! is absolutely your jam. I'm not at all familliar with mangaka Yusaku Shibata or any of their previous work, but the artwork here is amazing. Character designs are crisp and distinct. I like all the little doodads in Cheena's hair and the suit and mecha designs are really cool. I look forward to seeing what other kind of characters show up.

You can read the first chapter of Zipman!! completely free on Viz Media's official Shonen Jump app, and on Shueisha's Manga Plus app which also has Spanish versions I am now learning. New chapters will be added weekly same day they are available in Japan.