Over the past several months, Shonen Jump has introduced a number of new manga titles, each with some degree of pre-debut promotion to get fans interested, but for its latest title Gokurakugai, that wasn’t the case.

On March 2, 2023, Shonen Jump readers were surprised to find Gokurakugai amongst the other weekly series. Their surprise was not over having another new title but that Shonen Jump released the title without any of the usual fanfare it gives to a new member of its periodical manga. The only promotion was a tweet from the official Shonen Jump Twitter account that was posted on the same day the chapter dropped.

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Gokurakugai Proves It Can Play In The Big Leagues

Written and illustrated by Yuta Sano, Gokurakugai tells the story of Tao and Alma, who runs a private detective-like “problem solver” agency that will “fix” any problem for the right price. They are not the ordinary “heroes for hire” though. Tao has a side business killing a special type of monster, known as “magi”, while Alma (a half-human, half-monster) has his own monster issue.

What’s most surprising about the series was that the debut included seven chapters which, depending on whether it’s a traditional weekly or true monthly release, is anywhere from seven weeks to seven months of content. Considering Shonen Jump‘s reputation for canceling new titles, such a “low-key” debut suggests leadership is either supremely confident Gokurakugai is a winner or it’s a short-term content placeholder for another title.

Shonen Jump Has Major Confidence in Gokurakugai

Cover for the first volume of Gokurakagui

It turns out the reason for Gokurakugai’s stealth drop includes elements of both possibilities. It turns out it is a content placeholder but for its own title. While many Shonen Jump readers and fans may have never heard of Gokurakugai, it’s actually been “out” off and on since 2020. It originally premiered as a “one-shot” chapter in the January 2020 edition of Jump SQ., another in Shueisha’s Jump line of manga anthologies, that, according to the Jump SQ. website focuses on creating an electronic square where manga lovers and talented writers can read and discuss “finest manga” while enjoying an environment twice as fun as found in Shonen Jump. Over two years later Jump SQ. reintroduced the title, but this time as an ongoing series beginning in July 2022. It’s now made the “jump” to Shueisha’s top-level manga anthology Shonen Jump.

The transition from a one-shot into a popular monthly title was likely all the evidence Shueisha leadership needed to believe that Gokurakugai had the “chops” and fan base to make it in the big leagues. In fact, by having an already-built fan base, Gokurakugai will already be ahead of most other new titles. It can only become more popular on the bigger platform and media exposure that Shonen Jump provides its titles. Moreover, if it is not successful, it can easily be reassigned to Jump SQ. where it will likely be the biggest fish in a smaller pond. It’s a win-win strategy for the manga that makes one wonder why Shueisha doesn’t employ this more often with its new titles. Nevertheless, with its interesting story, eye-popping artwork, and built-in fan base, Gokurakugai is well-positioned to be Shonen Jump‘s next big manga.

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Gokurakugai is now available from Viz Media.

Source: Jump SQ., Shonen Jump

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