15 underrated manga that could become shonen jump's newest hit
From Naruto to One Piece, Shonen Jump has been home to several mangas that became hit anime, giving rise to the general notion that any manga in the magazine has the capability to become something amazing. In keeping with that, there are plenty of manga currently circulating in Shonen Jump that are contenders for top-tier status.
From the oddity of Tenmaku Cinema, where a boy's life turns upside down when he's possessed by a screenwriter's ghost, to the codebreaking antics of Cipher Academy, there are more than a few mangas that have the potential to become Shonen Jump's next big hit. This article will cover 15 such titles.
Disclaimer: As a lot of these mangas are new, this article will tread lightly to avoid spoilers where warranted. Any and all opinions expressed are subjective.
15 ongoing manga, such as Kill Blue, that may become Shonen Jump's next heavy hitter
1) Cipher Academy
Cipher Academy follows a tenet that most Shonen Jump manga don't: Information can be an even deadlier weapon than firearms or superpowers. What nets the manga on this list specifically was the surprising amount of negativity the first chapter got, given how interesting the premise is. For something people thought would fail, it's still going steady in the top 50 with 22 chapters.
Here's the basic summary: Iroha Irohazaka, a "token boy" in the titular school, gets embroiled in a mysterious rivalry between an inventor and the heiress of a weapons manufacturing company when the inventor gives him glasses to decode ciphers. Not only that, he also stumbles upon a conspiracy surrounding 50 billion morg worth of cryptocurrency that might end all wars or double them.
2) Tenmaku Cinema
An interesting and humorous concept of a Shonen Jump manga that just began in April 2023 is Tenmaku Cinema. As the manga just started and is evidently on a weekly release basis, it only has four chapters to its name so far. This hasn't stopped fan and critical opinions alike from praising the story, with comparisons being made to Hikaru no Go and Bakuman.
The best way to describe movie buff and main character Hajime Shinichi is that he's Izuku Midoriya levels of obsessed with movies. As he was constantly sick in his youth, he could only experience the world through movies. Shinichi's life gets flipped upside down when his arm is possessed by the spirit of a deceased screenwriter, who forces him into making a movie with an actress that attends the same school as him.
3) Kill Blue
An interesting premise described as Detective Conan meets Sakamoto, Kill Blue joins Tenmaku Cinema in having just started in Shonen Jump as of April 2023 and only having three chapters to its name. Despite having only three chapters, however, many readers have commented that it feels like a breath of fresh air amongst all the isekai being released.
Juzo Ogami is a hitman who primarily deals with the irredeemable sort of targets. After taking down a gang, Ogami finds himself stung by an experimental wasp. This regresses him physically down to his 13-year-old self, forcing him to infiltrate a middle school on his bosses' orders. One big twist is that he enjoys learning, having barely completed elementary school before being forced into the assassin life.
4) Blue Box
A surprise hit of a starcrossed lovers-meets-sports story is Blue Box. This manga started in Shonen Jump in April 2021, and hasn't stopped its weekly updates ever since. It's at 99 chapters right now, and has already garnered impressive fan and critical reception, so much so that its first volume sold well over 170,000 copies in circulation less than a week after its release.
The manga's story concerns two up-and-coming sports stars, Taiki Inomata, on the boys' badminton team, and his fellow crush Chinatsu Kano on the girls' basketball team. When Chinatsu has to move in with Taiki, due to his parents opening their house to her, things begin getting awkward. The two decide to make the situation work by helping each other get to their respective nationals.
Yet another surprise hit of a manga, Akane-Banashi started on February 14, 2022. It's been deemed a breakout hit by critics, and the collected volumes has over 200,000 copies in circulation by September 2022. The series has likewise been recommended by famous mangakas Hideaki Anno and Eiichiro Oda, the creators of Neon Genesis Evangelion and One Piece, respectively.
The story pulls an interesting trick on the audience. The first chapter begins by describing the Japanese one-person performance art of rakugo and setting the audience up to follow a father and aspiring rakugoka Shinta Osaki. Then the twist occurs as he's expelled from the program.
The story then switches to Akane's part, six years after that event, as she sets out to avenge her father and prove rakugo is a legitimate profession.
6) Fabricant 100
A slightly more dark manga that's been making the rounds since December 2022, Fabricant 100 may not have the same critical acclaim that some of the others on this list do, but it's survived long enough to reach 20 chapters. If fan reaction was anything to go by, they're pleased that it's still going.
This tale involves a mysterious series of murders occurring in and around the countryside of an unnamed nation. The primary culprits? 99 artificial humans called Fabricants, crafted by a doctor in order to create the perfect human being. When the doctor died, the Fabricants decided to go forth and finish his work: killing people to make the perfect human being.
Enter Ashibi Yao, a 14-year-old survivor of his family's brutal murder by Fabricants and number 100, the strongest Fabricant, as they make an unlikely duo in hunting down the rest and investigating the murders.
7) Sakamoto Days
One Punch Man meets Hitman is a good descriptor for Sakamoto Days. This action comedy manga premiered on November 21, 2020, and was considered a sleeper hit. It was recommended by manga author Hiromu Arakawa, creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, and won the U-Next Prize at the 2021 Next Manga Awards.
The setup is very simple: legendary hitman Taro Sakamoto has retired, fallen in love, and had a kid. He also became incredibly overweight and a lot more laid back as a humble convenience store owner. The trouble is that the world of hitmen never left him alone, as a telepath named Shin Asakura helps him deal with threats to his new humble life and family.
8) Witch Watch
If fantasy and romantic comedies are an interesting combination for the aspiring manga reader, Witch Watch is definitely up their alley. Premiering in Shonen Jump in February of 2021, Witch Watch has well over 100 chapters as of the time of writing. Likewise, it's been nominated for the Next Manga Award in the Best Printed Manga category twice, earning 10th out of 50 in June 2021 and 2nd place out of 50 in 2022.
The story involves a teenage witch named Nico Wakatsuki, and her childhood friend and future ogre familiar Morihito Otogi. Nico and Morihito now live together, albeit with very different goals: Nico wants Morihito and her to be a couple, whereas Morihito is oblivious to this and only wants to protect her.
9) Do Retry
A boxing manga set in the post-World War II era doesn't seem like something that would catch on in Shonen Jump. Then again, the same was said about other similar manga like Baki or Hajime no Ippo. As Do Retry just premiered in Shonen Jump on May 7, 2023, there's a chance this just-starting manga may go places, considering its subject matter. After all, Barefoot Gen was a success despite its topic.
This manga concerns the life and times of Aozora Okami and his sister Akari Okami in the aftermath of the firebombings in 1945. While nowhere near as graphic as the above-mentioned manga or Grave of the Fireflies, Do Retry focuses on Aozora's efforts to get Akari treatment following the two being rendered war orphans by being coerced into boxing by the head of a gang.
10) Undead Unluck
A stranger Shonen Jump manga for this entry is Undead Unluck. This manga started three and a half years ago in January 20, 2020, and already has hit well over 150, with an anime announced to be airing in October 2023. That, plus the ringing fan endorsements and endorsements from the co-founder of Type-Moon Kinoko Nasu, have already helped the manga get well over 1.8 million copies and likewise win the sixth Next Manga Award.
Fuuko Izumo was a reclusive girl for a decade since an incident occurred when she was eight that killed over 200 people, including her parents. This led to her feeling like she has an "unluck" ability, much like a black cat. Thankfully, before she can kill herself, she meets an undead man named Andy who never dies.
The two are chased by a mysterious organization called The Union and must work together to try to live and find out if Andy can die that perfect death he wants.
11) The Elusive Samurai
Another Shonen Jump historical drama with more of an emphasis on swordplay is The Elusive Samurai. In fact, it's been said to fit the typical shonen mold even with the historical context. The manga already boasts 1 million copies in circulation, plus is lined up for an anime release.
Set during the Kenmu Restoration, the story of this manga follows a young samurai lord named Hojo Tokiyuki. Hojo's only talent is running away and hiding, perfect for avoiding confrontations. This unfortunately was a blessing and a curse, as he only narrowly avoided the bloody rebellion set forth by the trecherous Ashikaga Takauji. Hojo seeks to keep moving, and hopefully fight against Takauji.
12) The Ichinose Family's Deadly Sins
Another surprise hit is The Ichinose Family's Deadly Sins. It's been going since November of 2022 and is a heavily suspenseful manga from the start of the first chapter in Shonen Jump. Many fans appear to be already invested, even if the suspenseful premise is strange and borders into seinen territory.
The story centers around the titular Ichinose family, who all wake up in a hospital following a car accident. The first thing to note is that they all have shock-based amnesia. The second thing is the twist towards the end, showing that their situation is frankly a lot more based on the movie Inception than anything else.
Unlikely friendships over the supernatural collide with the typical kind of weirdness one expects from fantasy and comedy in Dandadan. Part of Shonen Jump+, this is more of a mature-rated manga alongside the likes of Chainsaw Man. It has been going since April 2021 and has over 105 chapters.
The basic summary of the manga is it involves two people obsessed with the paranormal. Momo Ayase believes in ghosts and the supernatural, having been raised by a spirit medium grandmother. A nerd she stood up for, nicknamed Okarun, is an alien buff. The two dare each other to see if their respective things are real. Long story short, they're both proven correct.
Remember Getbackers, the Shonen Jump manga and anime about a detective agency getting lost things back for people? Gokurakugai might very well be its spiritual successor. Despite a relative lack of a major critical response, Gokurakugai has been seeing major positive fan reception, which says something about the Shonen Jump manga.
The story is about a pair of troubleshooters who work to solve any problems that the people of Gokuraku may have. The duo consists of a cold-hearted woman named Tao and her upbeat and generally jovial male partner Alma. The problems usually consist of demons or other malevolent spirits infesting the city.
15) Mashle: Magic and Muscles
While technically not an underrated Shonen Jump manga, Mashle still qualifies, as the anime has only just premiered in April 2023.
This Shonen Jump manga sold out its first volume in June 2020 despite having only premiered in January of that year. It likewise had a really good audience and critical reception.
Mashle stars Mash Burnedead who, much like a lot of others in Shonen Jump manga, entered a magical academy despite a lack of magical talent. Mash instead uses his muscles and strategy to survive and prove muscles can beat magic, though he's likewise a great person instead of being a jerk about it.
This concludes this list of 15 manga that have the potential to become Shonen Jump's next big hit. All of these mangas, from the ones that just started like Do Retry and Kill Blue, to the ones that have been around like Blue Box all have the potential to be great for one reason or another.
It just proves that even if they're in Shonen Jump, they are positively oozing excitement despite the different genres they all hit. If any manga is missing, let us know in the comments below!