Aliens Area includes several references to other popular manga, with the latest incorporating the name of Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura’s ninja team.
Warning: contains spoilers for Aliens Area chapter 3!
New Shonen Jump manga Aliens Area just paid tribute to the ultra-popular Naruto, honoring the series with the name of its central team of characters. Aliens Area is about a teenager living in Tokyo who was infected with an alien substance. The manga includes multiple shout-outs to other series, with fans speculating this could be a way to quickly gather readers and avoid Shonen Jump‘s tendency to cancel new series before they’ve had a chance to shine.
In the first chapter of Aliens Area, readers were introduced to Tatsumi Tatsunami, an orphaned teenager caring for his two younger siblings. When aliens attack Tatsumi and his family, his arm turns black and displays a punch similar to One Piece‘s Luffy’s Devil Fruit power. When he attacks, his arm stretches and punches the alien through the wall and sends it flying into another building. This was the first callback to another popular series, but it wasn’t the last.
The next major callback happens in Chapter 3 of Fusai Naba’s series. There, Tatsumi joins Foreign Affairs 5, a secret branch of the government that deals solely with extraterrestrial matters. Within the organization are ten teams, of which Tatsumi is placed on Team 7, with three other members. This is the same team name that Naruto, Sakura, and Sasuke had in Naruto. Given the previous reference to One Piece in the first chapter, it seems like this is an intentional hat-tip to a major forebear. The characters of this Team 7 even look similar to Naruto’s original Team 7 design in the early 2000’s.
Tatsumi being placed on Team 7 isn’t the only reference to another popular manga series in the chapter. Immediately following the Team 7 reveal, one of the members, Yumeko Fujiko, says, “Just because he’s unusual doesn’t make it okay to treat him that way. He isn’t a panda!” If Team 7 wasn’t clear, this one definitely is, as she is likely making a reference to Jujutsu Kaisen‘s walking, talking, spellcasting Panda.
These fun Easter Eggs are a fantastic way to assure fans of these properties that Aliens Area is on the same wavelength, and even to subtly promise that it has the same level of promise as past successes for Shonen Jump. However, it is still early in the new series’ run, so hopefully Naba doesn’t get too caught up with making everything a reference – much as shonen fans love Naruto, they’ve already got the original series and its sequel to scratch that itch, and Aliens Area needs to also establish its own identity.
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Aliens Area chapter 3 is available to read now on the Viz Media website.