So if you’ve been following the Spring 2013 season at all, you’re probably aware of how much of a hubbub Aku no Hana has kicked up. The trimodal mal score distribution attests to the strong difference in opinion, which has caused tensions to flare up in any number of discussion forums. Forums nominally for discussion, anyway, because there hasn’t been much actual discussion going on.
There’s a scene in Naoki Urasawa’s Happy! where the main character Umino, who’s gotten herself matched up against a player who should be by all rights an easy win, gets mixed up in a match-fixing gig. Due to her honest nature, she still tries to win the game, but finds herself stymied against an opponent playing much harder than she normally would, at a level that one informed observer remarks she’ll “never reach again” as a result of considerable pressure heaped on her from outside sources.
You know who else is under crushing pressure all the time? Mediocre manga authors.
If you know anything at all about manga, you’ve probably heard the name Weekly Shonen Jump before. Armed to the teeth with megahits like One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, and Toriko, it stands undisputed atop the manga industry. But did you ever wonder how that dominance came to be, or why it’s been largely unchallenged for upwards of 20 years? Here’s a hint: it’s no accident.