Weekly Shonen Jump 50th Anniversary: 11 Hit Works From the Early Years

Weekly Shonen Jump 50th Anniversary: 11 Hit Works From the Early Years

What comics shaped your childhood? For generations, the answer in Japan has been “Shonen Jump!” This manga juggernaut first starter publishing their Weekly Shonen Jump manga anthology in 1968, making it the longest-running such magazine. Due to its status and influence, Weekly Shonen Jump is being duly celebrated, including a three-part series of special exhibits featuring titles from the the three main eras of its half-century existence:
Weekly Shonen Jump Exhibition Vol. 1 – from the first issue until the end of the 80s (July 18 to October 15, 2017)
Weekly Shonen Jump Exhibition Vol. 2 – the record-breaking 1990s (March 19 to June 17, 2018)
Weekly Shonen Jump Exhibition Vol. 3 – 00s until today (Summer 2018)

In this article, we’re looking at notable manga featured in the first Weekly Shonen Jump exhibit. How well do you know your retro titles? Read on to find out!

Dragon Ball

Dragon BallDragon Ball (ドラゴンボール)
First published: December 3, 1984

Dragon Ball was Shonen Jump’s defining hit title of the era, and one of the most successful manga series of all time, both at home and abroad. From its beginnings of young Goku and Bulma setting out to find Earth’s seven Dragon Balls, the story has developed to span a huge cast, multiple generations, and even time and space over the course of the manga, the original anime adaptations and the recent Dragon Ball Super anime.

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

JoJo's Bizarre AdventureJoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (ジョジョの奇妙な冒険)
First published: January 1, 1987

This supernatural family epic has been ongoing for 30 years – in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1987 to 2005, and in Ultra Jump from 2005 to the present. The complex continent-spanning story plays out over multiple generations, and has inspired anime adaptations and spin-off light novels – even high-fashion collaborations. Despite a comparatively lackluster global following, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is considered an iconic and influential title at hom

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Saint Seiya

Saint SeiyaSaint Seiya (聖闘士星矢)
First published: January 1, 1986

One of Shonen Jump’s world famous 80s titles, Saint Seiya redefines “knight in shining armor.” Also known as Knights of the Zodiac, the setting draws inspiration from constellations, astrology and Greek mythology. The manga follows the fantastical trials of orphan Seiya, who journeys to Greece and awakens a mystical power within himself to become the Pegasus Saint.

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Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North StarFist of the North Star (北斗の拳)
First published: September 26, 1983

Perhaps the grittiest of iconic early Shonen Jump titles, Fist of the North Star is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland following a devastating global nuclear war. In this cutthroat world where survival is everything and the weak are brutalized by the strong (in the form of bloodthirsty gangs and terrifying tyrants), our hero Kenshiro uses Hokuto Shinken, a martial art passed down in his family, to protect the innocent. Fist of the North Star is known for its bleak setting and brutal fight scenes.

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KinnikumanKinnikuman (キン肉マン)
First published: April 2, 1979

Kinnikuman (lit. Muscle Man) is a no-holds-barred parody of superhero series, featuring pro wrestling-inspired battles between an ever-expanding cast of outlandish characters. The titular is the prince of the planet Kinniku, but must battle other superheroes in elaborate wrestling competitions to prove himself worthy of the throne. Its initial run from 1979 to 1987 cemented its status as a shonen manga classic, eventually leading to a revival of the manga in 2011.

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Dr. Slump

Dr. SlumpDr. Slump (Dr.スランプ)
First published: April 2, 1980

Dr. Slump was Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama’s first hit series, running in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1980. This manga comedy focuses on inventor Senbei Norimaki, the titular “Dr Slump,” and his masterpiece: perfect android Arale Norimaki. The little girl turns out not to be quite everything her master intended, combining extreme naivete with superhuman strength. Hilarity ensues!

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City Hunter

City HunterCity Hunter (シティーハンター)
First published: March 11, 1985

City Hunter offers a highly entertaining mix of action, comedy and romance. The story follows Ryo Saeba, a private detective and jack-of-all-trades who takes on all kinds of missions with the overall aim of sweeping Tokyo free of crime. At the start of the series, his partner dies, leaving Ryo to look after his sister. More than capable, Kaori (the said sister) becomes Ryo’s partner in the “City Hunter” business.

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KochiKameKochiKame (こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所)
First published: September 21, 1976

Hapless neighborhood cop Ryo-san and his never-ending schemes are at the heart of this record-breaking manga series, which ran in Weekly Shonen Jump for 40 consecutive years. Ryo-san’s next get-rich-quick scheme is often based on recent news stories or other buzzy topics, freshening up this classic series time and time again for the enjoyment of new generations of kids.

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Wing-ManWing-Man (ウイングマン)
First published: January 24, 1983

The ultimate wish-fulfilment fantasy, Wing-Man protagonist Kenta Hirono is able to realize his dream of becoming a masked superhero afte a chance meeting with a princess from an alternate universe. Having become Wing-Man, he teams up with the princess and a classmate to save the princess’ homeland from an evil dictator.

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Bastard!!: Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy

Bastard!!: Heavy Metal, Dark FantasyBastard!!: Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy (BASTARD!!-暗黒の破壊神-)
First published: March 13, 1988

Bastard!!: Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy is the ultimate in does-what-it-says-on-the-tin titles. This cornucopia of 80s excess is inspired by the creator’s love of heavy metal and Dungeons & Dragons, and follows the adventures of powerful wizard Dark Schneider, awakened in the body of 14-year-old Luche Renren, as he travels the magical dystopia of Meta-Licana in his quest for world domination.

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Rokudenashi Blues

Rokudenashi BluesRokudenashi Blues (ろくでなしBLUES)
First published: May 30, 1988

One of Shonen Jump’s most iconic titles focusing on the world of high school delinquents, this hit manga ran in the magazine for close to a decade. The story follows outsider Taison Maeda, whose single-minded dream is becoming world boxing champion, through his fights and friendships all over Tokyo throughout his high school years.

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Did we miss your favorite title? Use FROM JAPAN to search for more Weekly Shonen Jump titles, and more limited-edition items from the Weekly Shonen Jump Exhibition!

Search for Weekly Shonen Jump Exhibition Vol. 1 items

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