Shonen Jump's Childish Manga Scars Fans with Outrageously Dark Twist

Warning! Contains spoilers for Protect Me, Shugomaru! chapter 24!

The Shonen Jump series Protect Me, Shugomaru! just revealed one of the darkest twists in manga. The series is far from the magazine’s most popular and it seems likely to end soon. But before ending it has made sure to re-contextualize its most childish joke in an incredibly disturbing light.

Protect Me, Shugomaru! is a gag manga by Daiki Ihara following Sanagi Ojo and her childish bodyguard Shugomaru. The central joke of the series is that Shugomaru takes his job too seriously and sees threats in the most mundane activities. The ways he then tries to “protect” Sanagi often end up being incredibly destructive and ironically put her in danger. As the series has gone on, the jokes have gotten more and more bizarre, including an assassin with a very inappropriately shaped head and battles decided by Yu-Gi-Oh! duels. The series has also dealt with some surprisingly serious topics like a character learning to accept their gender identity with a suitably non-comedic touch. This has led to the series being one of the most unpredictable series in Shonen Jump, but even fans who thought they may have gotten used to the manga’s twists and turns will likely be surprised by its latest chapter.

Related: New Shonen Jump Manga Has One Joke Too Inappropriate for Translation

In chapter 24, Shugomaru is captured by his siblings who restrain the 10-year old child against a wall. When Sanagi and her friends discover this, they are shocked and outraged at his treatment, but his older brother Ikkan explains that it is for the protection of the world. Their father was in love with Sanagi’s mother, but due to the difference in their classes, he knew he could never marry her. This made him want to destroy the world and so he developed a gene that would cause its owner to destroy everything around them without regard to morality and ethics. He tried to breed a child with this gene multiple times, giving birth to Shugomaru’s siblings who were deemed failures for not possessing the gene. Shugomaru did receive the gene, however, and once he was born, the father gathered his children around him, declared the experiment a success, and shot himself in the head, showering his children with blood.

This whole flashback is utterly horrifying both in content and art style. Shugomaru’s father is depicted as having a flat plane or darkness instead of a face, which looks extremely disturbing, especially when he cries in joy after accomplishing his goal. But the panel where he kills himself in front of his children that he treated as failed experiments is easily one of the darkest in any Shonen Jump manga. And to make matters worse, outside of the flashback, it appears in the present that the 10-year-old Shugomaru has been tortured by his family.

The overall darkness of the chapter seems even darker when contrasted with the childish tone of the rest of the series. It also re-contextualizes all that comes before it, as Shugomaru’s clumsily destructive attempts at protecting Sanagi are all the result of his father’s experimentation. Thus the dark twist in Protect Me, Shugomaru!’s latest chapter is sure to traumatize fans of the Shonen Jump series’ light hearted tone and childish jokes.

More: Shonen Jump's New Bodyguard Manga Shows Why Sales Are Falling

Protect Me, Shugomaruchapter 24 is available from Viz Media.

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