They say comedy is subjective…
From the moment you open up Show-ha Shoten, you immediately understand why Takeshi Obata was chosen to do the art – it’s comedy Bakuman, right down to how Azemichi Shijima becomes “Everyday Shijimi” in a similar manner to Ashirogi Muto.
However, what is it that makes it tick?
It runs in the family
Show-ha Shoten gives you proper insight into Azemichi’s family and what makes them tick. It’s a good sign it’ll be better than the Ohba/Obata combos Death Note and Bakuman, because those focussed purely on their protagonist and how said protagonist was hindered by their parents. Recently, the parents and siblings (if they’re present at all) of Shonen Jump characters have become much kinder and more developed in comparison to the magazine’s previous fare (see Boku no Hero Academia, Mission: Yozakura Family and Demon Slayer as examples…although, of course, Yozakura is focussed on the hijinks of the family, so it makes sense) and this seems to be going along the same trajectory.
Sidenote: Note I did not say Weekly Shonen Jump, which is where the named series come from. That’s because Show-ha Shoten hails from Jump Square, a related publication.
It knows comedy
It takes a good teacher to explain a concept in a way a wide readership will take interest in it, especially when that target audience is kids and teenagers. Bakuman was rather lecture-y about how it did this, but Show-ha Shoten keeps things brief while still showing an expert knowledge of how comedy works by demonstrating the “comedic range” of jokes with the aforementioned Shijima family.
That said, even if the explanation of comedy doesn’t make you love it, Show-ha Shoten also tries for more visual humour. Bakuman‘s exaggerated face game also works in Show-ha Shoten‘s favour, as do Taiyo’s silly props.
“Everyday Shijimi” really is “everyday”
There is a hint in “Everyday Shijimi” that Azemichi is bland as all-get-out…”jimi” (地味) means things like “simple” or “reserved (in attitude)”, words that describe Azemichi well. However, his inability to commit to things and his regret over not committing, despite clearly demonstrating both passion for the field of comedy and talent for it, makes him relatable, so it makes the reader want to root for him when he does start to give his all to it.
Likewise, “Taiyo” is likely to refer to the sun (太陽) or characters homophonous to it, similar to the name of the protagonist of Yozakura, but unlike that Taiyo, Show-ha Shoten‘s Taiyo really lives up to his name in “sunniness”. The unabashed homage to Death Note (the joke about a Death Note user who yells “Killstreak!”) suggests “Higashikata” may hail from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
Show-ha Shoten may not be for everyone – as stated at the start of this post, comedy is subjective – but then again, maybe the comedic range of the jokes just isn’t for you. However, as long as the series continues its run, it still has a chance of winning people over, just like Taiyo and Azemichi.
Personally, aside from using the ol’ Bakuman “the girl is my goal” thing that really gets my goat
(…not that I have any goats), I think Show-ha Shoten is going to be fine pursuing its own ends of conquering the world with laughter, just like its protagonists.