Mission: Yozakura Family 011-014 – Manga Review

Synopsis: Romance! A crazy, overprotective brother! And… Spies?! (Official Shonen Jump Synopsis.)

(Warning: Spoilers to Follow):

Review:

Yozakura Family bounces between what appears to be its most standard fare: Taiyo and Mutsumi’s relationship under the weight of his duties to protect her, or her brother’s ludicrous attempts to undo poor Taiyo, and gradually introducing the rest of the family via one off chapters centered on each of these quirky siblings. While the chapters focused on Taiyo, Mutsumi and sometimes her older brother, Hirukawa, generally work well and are the series’ greatest strength, I’ve become apprehensive of the rest of the family. What these one off chapters tell us is that each of Mutsumi’s other siblings is extremely narrow in personality, making it difficult to see how well each of these characters will hold up as the series continues. Let’s Jump In!

First lets keep it positive. Chapters 12 and 14 are fantastic. Taiyo is a great main character and pitted either against Mutsumi’s brother Hirukawa or his own inept understanding of relationships, makes for some of the series stronger content. Hirukawa himself adds a certain insanity to the mix and I think it helps that his design is so lovably evil that every time he’s included the narrative gets a uptick in quality.

It’s chapters 11 and 13 that have me concerned. Chapter 11 formerly introduces Shion, the gamer assassin/spy of the family. While it’s a fun idea, a hacker who hacks their way through security systems by turning them into games, her personality seems entirely wrapped up in that quirk, like so many of the other sibling characters. It’s not like Hirukawa is particularly deep himself, but Yozakura has shown that his creepy brotherly love and expert skills have enough range and variety to keep him feeling fun and enjoyable. Shion though? She feels spent after this chapter, having run the immediately perceivable length of her usage, beyond becoming a background character during multi-chapter arcs.

The same can be said for Kengo, master of disguises. He’s got a bit more variety, playing really well off of Hirukawa, but again chapter 13 doesn’t leave me feeling like there’s more layers of comedy beneath the surface. Really, all of the additional siblings feel like that, furthering my believe that many of these characters should’ve been introduced gradually, allowing them more time to become fully formed in the author’s mind before throwing them into the mix. Kengo maybe has the option of offering a ‘character of the week’ sob story like we see here, but I feel like that would get old fast.

To be fair though, the one note nature of these characters isn’t too hard to fix. We just need some subtle reinvention the next time they take center stage. But the real question is if Yozakura will get such a chance. Currently its rankings in Jump aren’t looking great. It’s not awful, but it’s very middling, and just a few missteps could see reader interest tumbling hard before Yozakura has cultivated itself a devoted fanbase.

All that fear mongering out of the way though? Chapters 11 and 13 are still fun. For what they are, they’re a blast to read, alongside 12 and 14. I’m crossing my fingers Yozakura can prove itself in the coming weeks. It’s managed to right itself after the lukewarm multi-chapter kidnapping, and I think if we can subtly reinvent the rest of the family Yozakura might just secure itself for a medium length run. Right now the series is doing a great job alternating between Taiyo and Mutsumi focus, with shenanigans from the rest of the family. My concerns stem from the up and coming ‘real test’; If the characters aren’t fleshed out enough, what happens once we’ve introduced everyone and it’s time to do something new?

That’s it for this week! Let me know what your thoughts are on Mission: Yozakura Family in the comments below.

Mission: Yozakura Family is published weekly in Shonen Jump.

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