Shonen Jump is a magazine with a very long history dating back 50 years. In that time, it has spawned a plethora of extremely popular series that have received numerous adaptations from anime, to live action, to stage plays, audio drama’s, and of course video games. At this years Electronics Entertainment Expo, at Microsoft’s press conference of all places, Bandai Namco announced Jump Force, a 3D fighter releasing in 2019 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The game is intended to be a celebration of Shonen Jump’s 50th anniversary, and as such popular series from the magazines history will be featured in the game, both in playable and non-playable form. Thus far, Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball, and Death Note are confirmed for the game via the initial announcement trailer with a few additional fighters from those series being announced in subsequent interviews and gameplay demos, with the caveat that Light & Ryuk from Death Note will not be playable.
Since the game’s announcement, many fans have been speculating as to what series could possibly be included in the game, making all sorts of wishlists. The problem with these lists, however, is that they go beyond the borders of Shonen Jump, the anniversary of which this game celebrates. It has nothing to do with the broader Shonen genre. As a result, the chance of Saitama & Genos from One Punch Man being featured in the game, even as DLC, are slim. The same goes for Natsu and other characters from Fairy Tail, another series that did not run in Shonen Jump. While the odds aren’t necessarily zero, they are highly unlikely due to being outside of Shonen Jump.
(UPDATE: So I dug a little bit and it turns out that One Punch Man does actually have some relation to Shonen Jump, being published under Shueisha’s Young Jump Web Comics, and Viz Media publishes the English version under its Weekly Shonen Jump magazine. This means that it’s odds of potentially appearing in Jump Force just went up, especially considering its popularity. However, they’re still lower than most due to the fact that it isn’t published in Shonen Jump proper, while the more likely candidates are since that’s what’s celebrating its 50th anniversary. Fairy Tail, however, still remains more or less an impossibility due to being published by Kodansha in Weekly Shonen Magazine, a completely different thing.)
So the question really is: What other popular Shonen Jump series could make the cut? Well, I’m here to provide you with a list of plausible candidates, even one or two farfetched ones.
When it comes to more recent Shonen Jump series that have set the entire world ablaze, My Hero Academia is indisputably amongst them. The series is so popular that it’s getting it’s own fighting game later this year. And the series certainly does have plenty of characters to choose from. The main protagonist, Izuku ‘Deku’ Midoriya, would definitely be in, but characters like All Might and All For One make just as much sense. They could even use this opportunity to distinguish Deku from All Might by giving him his newer Costume Gamma and distinct Shoot Style fighting, which likely won’t show up in the My Hero Academia: One’s Justice game.
Now, if you’re like me, you may have watched a lot of Toonami back in the day. And if you did, odds are you watched Yu Yu Hakusho at one point. Well, it’s a Shonen Jump series, and a very popular one at that. The anime and manga may have ended a long time ago, but fans of the series still remember it, and considering the series is getting some new stuff soon, Shonen Jump hasn’t forgotten about it either. Since the number of main characters is slimmer in this series, it isn’t hard to pick characters to include. Spirit Detective Yusuke Urameshi, the protagonist, is obviously gonna be there(And we can just assume that the main protagonist of a series will always be included for obvious reasons.) and firing off a spirit gun would be oh so satisfying.
If you even once questioned whether or not Bleach would be on this list(Or that it wouldn’t be included in Jump Force), you’re clearly delusional. While the anime may have been canceled, that hasn’t stopped Bleach’s popularity and it was one of the previous big three(Alongside Naruto and One Piece.). Not including one of the biggest Shonen Jump series of the last two decades would be a foolish decision, especially when you consider the potential of Ichigo, a Shinigami, meeting Ryuk, also a Shinigami, but of two completely different breeds.
Like Yu Yu Hakusho, the tale of Kenshin Himura has long been over, but it refuses to go quietly into the night two decades later with new OVA’s and even live action adaptations. Despite the recent controversy surrounding the series author, I still think this series has at least a shot of being included thanks to its popularity both in Japan and overseas.
Like a lot of popular Shonen Jump series, Fist of the North Star has remained in the publics consciousness long past its end. A recent resurgence in this awareness can be attributed to SEGA’s recently released Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise PS4 game in Japan, and set for a western release this fall. With the series fresh in fans minds, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add it to the roster of Jump Force.
Does this one really need explaining at this point? It’s a Shone Jump series, it’s ridiculously popular, and the fighters are crazy... but of course there’s Dio.
This is one of those wacky picks I mentioned earlier. At its core, Bobobo is a comedy series, and I can count the number of worthwhile fighters on one hand, but damn if slapping people around with nose hairs isn’t kind of appealing. Not to mention the potential for comedic finishers. It is a Shonen Jump series so it is a possibility.
Gintama is another series with a comedic heart, but it’s also got plenty of action and drama. It’s featured in previous Shonen Jump crossover games so the odds of its inclusion in Jump Force is all, but guaranteed.
I could go on, but this list will end up getting ridiculously long, and now we’re entering the territory of series I’ve never seen so it would be hard to explain why they should be included. All you really need to know is that they were featured in the previous game, J-Stars Victory Vs+, including Bobobo which I just now learned. So our honorable mentions are:
- Hunter x Hunter
- Shaman King
- Katekyo Hitman Reborn
- Saint Seiya
- Black Clover
And before anyone asks, if they were open to the idea of guest characters down the line as DLC, I would indeed ask for One Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100, Fairy Tail, and Rave Master. And for those that may ask how Saitama from One Punch Man would work, you have to remember that 9 times out of ten he’s not being serious and can hold back on his punches, so the default playable Saitama could look like our friendly neighborhood goofball, but when powered up(Read: Serious), he turns into One Punch Man.
Now, one last thing I should probably mention even though the odds aren’t quite so high, but...
So you may be wondering why this is here. After all, RWBY is a western production by Rooster Teeth. And that is indeed true. However, a manga adaptation of RWBY was indeed produced by Shueisha in their Ultra Jump magazine. So while it was not featured in Weekly Shonen Jump like every other series, it does still fall under the Shueisha and Jump umbrella. However, it is because the manga adaptation is not published in Shonen Jump that the odds aren’t exactly high. If anything, the characters would be included to appeal to western fans, and considering many of the series on this list are, in some form, popular in the west, it isn’t too out there of an idea, especially since Bandai Namco decided to reveal Jump Force on Microsoft’s E3 stage rather that Sony’s showing a clear interest in an international appeal.