Super Smartphone begins with a mystery so obscure that the series’ gimmick of an omniscient phone alone may not be enough to carry future cases.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for super smartphone Chapter 1!
The debut chapter of Shonen jump‘s new detective manga series super smartphone opens with a mystery so intriguingly disturbing that future installments will have a hard time topping it. Subsequent chapters must somehow explore an even darker subject to keep readers engaged – and that’s unlikely to happen.
By Hiroki Tomisawa and Kentaro Hidano, the new manga super smartphone follows freshman high school Kyu Sagurada when he stumbles upon a special device that uses a Google-like browser called Googugu, which can search for anything in the world – with some rules and exceptions, of course. Beyond Googugu, Kyu is haunted by his brother’s disappearance years ago, a tragedy that no doubt contributes to his slacking at school despite being a literal genius. However, Kyu puts his laziness down to the fact that finding innovative ways to fail is much more stimulating, all of which must follow certain criteria he sets beforehand.
In the first chapter of this new Shonen jump Manga series tests Kyu Googugu to see if the device is legit or not. After that, his first major use of Googugu is when he tackles the kidnapping case of a young girl who recently went missing. Although Kyu wants to use Googugu’s extensive knowledge to solve his brother’s disappearance, the smartphone refuses as its goal is for Kyu to rack up as many points as possible, which Kyu achieves by searching for anything on Googugu. Kyu eventually comes to the conclusion that Googugu doesn’t want him to find his brother because it means he stops using Googugu to earn points, which Googugu clearly doesn’t want. It is therefore implied that Kyu will use Googugu to solve puzzle after puzzle in the series while slowly learning more about his brother’s cold case.
Although the decor is fascinating, super smartphone runs the risk of falling into a rut when the mysteries Kyu solves in future chapters feel insignificant next to the girl’s kidnapping. The trouble is, there are few crimes as diabolical or disturbing as those involving children. Even murdering an adult can feel almost boring in comparison, based solely on the likely horrors that can result from being kidnapped. If the mysteries that follow can’t top what happens in the debut chapter, it would be easy to conclude that it would have been far wiser for Kyu to discover the girl was alive but not immediately learn her location, so the suspense only would increase follow rates.
Other new Shonen jump Series suffer from the same phenomenon of starting too strong and not getting past their pilot chapter. earthchild is a perfect example as the first part presents a gripping love story between a hero and a civilian that readers will see grow before their eyes, from them struggling to overcome their differences to raising their own family. All of this makes the twist that much stronger as her newly formed family is tragically torn apart leaving the readers just as traumatized as the protagonist. But then the following chapters basically just turned earthchild into a more serious version of jack-jack The Incredibles.
although super smartphone starts off pretty strong, the gimmick of the main character basically holding the mysteries of the world in his hands isn’t strong enough alone to carry the series. It’s not like Googugu is a Death Note that can kill people. Unfortunately, super smartphone just adds a unique twist to the typical mystery genre that still relies heavily on crime, and those crimes have to be genuinely despicable to top the bombshell that hit chapter one of Shonen jump‘s latest manga.
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